“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, SUNY Empire State College faculty, staff, students, and alumni share how they have worked, are working, or intend to break the bias in the interest of cultivating a gender-equal society.

image of mascot and two women
Kelly Mollica, channel recruiter, and Lindsey Clark, interim director of communications, pose with Blue for International Women's Day.

On International Women's Day, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women here in the United States and around the world. Yes, it’s a day for women to celebrate women, but the day does not belong to women alone. International Women’s Day is a day for all of us — regardless of gender or gender identity — to reflect on the accomplishments of courageous, determined, everyday women who have made this world a better place. The day is also a call to action, an important reminder that to make progress toward equality for women, we must practice and support it, and the women in our lives, every day — in our actions, our speech, and our thoughts. Make International Women's Day your day, and do what you can to make a positive difference for women.


Read Our Stories

Judith Frizlen ’89, ’01

Frederick Lothrop Jr., ’13

Judith Rae '04, '06

Francesca Cichello

Virtual Events

On March 8, International Women's Day, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. International Women’s Day is a day for all of us — regardless of gender or gender identity — to reflect on the accomplishments of women who have made this world a better place.

Make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to make a positive difference for women everywhere. A good place to start is by attending the exciting and important events we have planned.

For more information, email events@esc.edu.

Since 1972, SUNY Empire has worked to make our degrees accessible to students all over the globe. What exactly is involved in making that possible, and who are the people who make it all happen?  Join the women of the Center for International Education live, as they describe a day in the life of a program coordinator in Albania, Greece, Lebanon and the Czech Republic.

Moderator: Erin Catone, Saratoga Springs


Vicky Ampatzoglou, Athens, Greece

Najada Fani, Tirana, Albania

Joyce Haddad, Beirut, Lebanon

Anna Oravcová, Prague, Czech Republic

About the Panelists
Vicky Ampatzoglou
Athens Program Coordinator Vicky Ampatzoglou

Vicky Ampatzoglou's name comes from Istanbul, a city she’s never seen. It is one of her dreams to make this trip! Both her parents were born in the provinces, where they learned how to collect tobacco, produce oil, make raki and mine salt.

She holds a diploma in translation and interpretation in English and Italian, as well as an MBA. She worked as a subtitle editor back in the early 2000s for three Hollywood movies. When Vicky was in school, she belonged to a choir where she worked with her voice and learned about orthophony. A colleague offered her a job to do a voiceover for a TV ad campaign for cereal. From an early age, Vicky liked design and arts, combining colors and experimenting with interior decorating. A few years ago, she took over the planning of two weddings of very close friends, which, opened the door for her to pursue event planning.

Vicky has been working for SUNY Empire State College in Athens since 2011. She finds that the students offer a very vibrant life at the office, which differs from regular office jobs. “It is very fulfilling, creative and responsible job that brings you very close to the students’ vision and dreams.”

Najada Fani
Tirana Program Coordinator Najada Fani

Najada Fani is currently the SUNY Empire program coordinator at University of New York Tirana in Albania, a role she has held since 2006. Prior to her position with SUNY Empire, she served as Immigration Counselor at Citizenship and Immigration Canada for four years.

Najada earned her B.S. in Physics at the State University of Tirana, where she continued as researcher in the Department of Applied Physics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences. She won a two-year scholarship, and completed a professional study program at Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen University in Germany.

In her free time Najada is active as a committee member of Tirana Intellectum, a cultural organization that promotes preservation of intellectual and historical heritage in Tirana as Albania’s capital.

Her native language is Albanian, and she speaks English, German and Italian.

Joyce Haddad
Beirut Program Coordinator Joyce Haddad

Joyce A. Haddad was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Banking & Finance and an MBA from the Lebanese American University, where she graduated with distinction. In addition, Joyce holds a Teaching Diploma.

Joyce currently works for the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut. She has been there since 2012 and serves as director of the external and international degree Program with SUNY Empire State College/State University of New York and other international universities. they are affiliated with in Europe, Canada & the USA. She also teaches business and entrepreneurship courses in both English and French, and speaks fluent Arabic, English, French and some Spanish.

Joyce is proud to come from a hospitable country known for its beautiful geographic location and its cuisine. In her spare time, she cooks Lebanese food as well as many international dishes. Joyce plays the piano and enjoys indoor and outdoor sports.

Anna Oravcová
Prague Program Coordinator Anna Oravcová

Anna Oravcová earned her Ph.D. at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in Prague. She obtained her master’s degree in gender studies at the Faculty of Humanities. Anna’s research focuses on hip hop culture and rap music, their appropriation in the Czech Republic, and discourses of authenticity. She also organizes hip hop events and hosts a radio show on Prague’s station Radio Spin 96.2.

Join SUNY Empire’s International Women’s Day celebration. #BreakTheBias is the theme for this year’s celebration. We will be celebrating the accomplishments of three of our alumnae who have advanced in their careers and have made a difference. They will share both their success and challenges, and their thoughts on how we can move forward on a diverse and inclusive future for women. Together we can #BreakTheBias.


Ann Turner, ’86, Pivotal Advisors

Judith Rae ’04, ’06, Judith Rae Photography

Nakesha Vines ’20, Fishkill Correctional Facility

About the Panelists
Ann Turner '86
portrait of alumna Ann Turner
Ann Turner '86

As a Senior Consultant at Pivotal Advisors, Ann partners with and supports sales leaders to drive healthy sales organizations.

Ann has over three decades of leadership experience in sales, marketing, and training. She has worked with start-ups, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies with a focus on B2B. She loves identifying and developing talent through coaching and feedback and is an advocate for diversity, especially the diversity of style.

Ann has managed teams from two members to 70 including sales managers, sales representatives, customer service and warehouse personnel, marketing, business development, and training, including international teams. Developing strong relationships with manufacturing, R&D, supply chain, distributors, and vendors has contributed to her deep understanding of successful sales leadership.

Education +

SUNY Empire State College – B.S., Marketing ‘86
Smith College Consortium
SPIN Sales Training
Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability
Covey Leadership
Served on five not-for-profit boards


Most nights you can find Ann bicycling or walking in her neighborhood until the snow falls and then you’re more likely to find her curled up on the couch reading, watching movies, or planning her family’s next trip.

Judith Rae '04, '06
portrait of alumna Judith Rae
Judith Rae '04, '06

Judith Rae, Named A Top Wedding Photographer in the World by Harper’s BAZAAR. Judith’s passion to capture images that illuminate the beauty of life, relationships and love radiates throughout the work she creates.

A native New Yorker of mixed race and ethnicity, Brazilian and Jewish. Raised speaking Portuguese, Judith lived in Brazil for several years growing up. Art is in her soul, it is her DNA. She is no stranger to adversity. At thirteen, Judith became pregnant and chose to raise her daughter Jessica, as a single mom while attending high school in New York City. With the help of the LYFE Center (daycare for teen parents finishing high school) she was able to graduate.

In college, Judith discovered her passion for photography. Once she developed her eye and sensibility, the camera immediately became a way for her to express her voice with the world. At twenty-seven, she joined the 3% of teen mothers to graduated college while working to support her family. It took a lot of perseverance because she has a learning disorder. Academics did not come easy for her.

Judith Rae’s educational experience in photography includes a bachelor’s degree at Empire State College, studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, a two-and-a-half-year apprenticeship at a custom black and white studio in NYC, and an internship with Magnum Photos at its New York location.

Fast forward to today, Judith is hired by couples and brands worldwide capturing extraordinary places and people. Photographing their personal stories and helping them share the passion they have for the life they lead and (in some cases) the products they sell; capturing a celebration of life. As for her daughter, she is now a young working professional with a college degree who also loves to travel!

Nakesha Vines '20
portrait of Nakesha Vines
Nakesha Vines '20

Nakesha Vines currently works for the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision as a Correction Lieutenant at a maximum male prison. She has been with the department for 23 years and expects to soon retire. One of her most proud achievements has been obtaining her license as a Registered Nurse in 2017 and pursuing her Bachelor of Nursing in 2020 while working fulltime. She plans on practicing with her license after retirement.

Nakesha participates in several professional organizations. She is the sitting treasurer for Hudson Valley Women in Corrections and Community Supervision (HVWICCS); the sitting secretary for the NYS Minorities in Criminal Justice (NYSMICJ); a member of the American Corrections Association(ACA); a member of the American Nursing Association (ANA); and a member of the American Psychiatric Nursing Association(APNA). In her past time, Nakesha enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. She also enjoys reading books with her favorite book clubs.



Virtual Flower

graphic of flower above text 'Happy International Women's Day'

Send a virtual flower to show appreciation to the women who have made an impact in your life by sharing this link: https://youtu.be/dG3JAa6P5yc

Microsoft Teams Background

Show your participation in International Women's Day with a special Microsoft Teams background for your virtual meetings.

To change your background before a meeting:

  1. Download the background to your computer.
    Click this image link to open the International Women's Day background image in the browser.
    Once the image opens, right-click on that larger image and save it to your computer.
  2. In Teams, after selecting “Join,” you will be prompted to choose your audio and video settings.
  3. Turn on video switch.
  4. Turn on background switch, at which point background settings will appear.
  5. Select “Add new” and upload from your computer.
  6. Your new background will show up in all of your meetings and calls until you change it.
thumbnail image of Microsoft Teams background
International Women's Day Microsoft Teams Background

Note: If you don't see these options in the menu, the backgrounds feature might not be available on your device.

Additional instructions and SUNY Empire State College backgrounds for Microsoft Teams available in the SUNY Empire Graphics Style Guide, Teams Backgrounds.