Happy International Women’s Day!
Mar 8, 2021
As the world begins to move past the hardships of 2020, a feeling of hope emerges that seeks to embrace the rewards begotten from the struggles. In light of the positive changes making their way into 2021, the United Nations announced that the theme for this year's International Women's Day would be “Women and Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.”
When it comes to female leadership at Florida Southern College, the presence of strong women leading filters throughout the entire campus community. Our students and alumni, our faculty and staff — whether they are men or women — witness what a wonderful difference successful women make in any field they are passionate about. During the hardest of times in this past year, we have been especially proud of the FSC women in the STEM field who have shown absolute resilience.
We talked with FSC alumna Capt. Jane Ramey of the Florida National Guard and Dean Dr. Linda Comer and Professor Dr. Nancy Morvillo, all of whom have demonstrated exemplary success in their careers.
On Dec. 6, Capt. Jane Harn Ramey ’08 of the Florida National Guard — who was commissioned from Florida Southern’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in 2008 and deployed with the field artillery in 2010 — became the first female officer to command a field artillery battery in Florida.
Capt. Ramey is commander of the 75 soldiers in Bravo Battery 3-116th Field Artillery in Avon Park, and is one of just two female field artillery officers to take a command position in the state’s battalion. Women first became eligible to serve in the field artillery in 2014, when the U.S. Army opened about 3,600 officer positions.
“We had an amazing cadre in ROTC that didn't expect less of us because we were females,” Capt. Ramey said. “They pushed me beyond my boundaries, and I took those lessons with me.”
The main focus of Capt. Ramey’s battery during March is to provide uniformed support and assistance for community-based COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites at locations such as Hard Rock hotels, the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Dr. Linda Comer, professor and dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida Southern, has said that she considers the value of human care and respect to be the foundation of her teaching philosophy.
“Nursing is who I am, and I'm proud of the way that my discipline is leading the way and tackling women's issues,” she said. “Part of our role is to be an advocate — for our patients, our profession, and our community. The way we treat each other as we go about our work is of utmost importance”
Before joining Florida Southern in July 2016, Dr. Comer had 23 years of experience as an intensive care nurse, a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist, and in counseling and psychotherapy. She earned her MS in Community Counseling, her MSN in Nursing Education, and her Ph.D. in Curricular Foundations of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Under Dr. Comer’s leadership, FSC’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs have grown in size and academic stature, with members of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) pre-licensure program earning a 96% pass rate over a three-year average — and an outstanding 100% first-time pass rate in 2018 — in comparison to the U.S. average of 88.29%.
Dr. Nancy Morvillo, professor and chair of the biology department at Florida Southern College, is an advocate of reading, thinking, and exploring: “Learning is not something that just takes place in the classroom and ends when you obtain a degree; it is something you do throughout your entire life, in all aspects of your daily existence.”
The human inclination to be curious and inquisitive can lead to rewarding results that stem from passion and enthusiasm. Dr. Morvillo has won several awards and honors that serve as a testament to her academic philosophies. Among her many recognitions is the Southern Superlatives Award for favorite female professor in 2009. She currently serves as the Nelson C. White Chair in the Life Sciences.
During her tenure at Florida Southern College, Dr. Morvillo has seen her students become doctors, dentists, and researchers. She has added majors such as Medical Laboratory Science, which has a partnership with Lakeland Regional Hospital that helps place students in direct-entry jobs right after graduation.
“I know how important it is to have mentors, and I was fortunate to have other men and women in my life who helped me to get to where I am,” said Dr. Morvillo. “It is an honor to think that I can have the same impact on my students, and a joy to see them achieve their goals.”
Dr. Morvillo has been an important female figure in the lives of many, and her success speaks to both the men and women in the College community who seek a career in the STEM field.