The Mustang Story of the Week: Women of Western

© Western New Mexico University

The Mustang student newspaper revived its Women of Western series this week, profiling a handful of outstanding females on campus. Read on for the highlights from each personal profile.

Lauren Dazey, Graduate Student
When Lauren Dazey arrived at WNMU to get her Master in Business Administration, she had a background working in heavy industrial jobs, particularly working on oil rigs.

Lauren was inspired by her mother’s career as a geologist so studied geology. As an undergraduate, Lauren worked at the University of Wyoming Museum of Geology. After earning a bachelor’s in geology in 2013, she found a job working on off-shore oil rigs.

Lauren faced some push-back when she entered that career; not only was she a woman working in a male-dominated occupation, but she was also a geologist entering an engineering field. Once, Lauren wasn’t allowed to join her co-workers on a rig due to some outdated superstitions. “There are some myths that a woman on an oil rig is considered bad luck,” Lauren explained.

But she bent the rules, disregarded the “company policy” and went aboard the rig anyway. While there, she caught a mistake made by one of her supervisors, corrected it and saved her company nearly $300,000.

Lauren eventually began taking graduate classes at Western New Mexico University and hopes to get a job working in human resources at Freeport-McMoRan, a company she plans on interning with after graduation.

Lauren currently lives in Safford, Arizona, with her husband of three years and her dog Dallas. She makes the two-hour commute to WNMU a few days a week for her job as a graduate assistant at The Center for Gender Equity and Social Justice.

She aims to get a doctorate one day. “People can call me Doctor Dazey,” she said.

Kathy Sorells, Department of Community and Workforce Development Program Manager
Kathy Sorells, who works her magic from the bottom floor of WNMU’s Juan Chacon Building, was born in Fabens, Texas, a small farming community outside of the El Paso city limits. Her father dreamt Kathy would become a nurse, but she knew it was not the path she wanted to pursue.

After graduating in the top 5 percent of her class in Fort Worth, Kathy attended Kilgore College, working a variety of jobs while taking intense class schedules and commuting two hours every day.

“One day the cook of the restaurant where I was working and I decided to run away together. I spent the next 30 years raising my children and loving every minute of it,” Kathy said.

Kathy has always had the natural instinct to protect others, and that is how she found herself at Western. Kathy is force to be reckoned with, working with each student in her programs to ensure that they receive the best education and opportunities possible.

Kathy believes that in leading by example, women can change the world. “The best thing about being a woman is the opportunity we have to pass down our wisdom to the next generation,” she said.

Amanda Moffett-Lane, Alumni Affairs Director
Someday, today’s students will be tomorrow’s alumni. However, regardless of where life takes them, they will always be Mustangs.

Maintaining ties between past WNMU students and their alma mater is the main objective for Amanda Moffett-Lane, the Director of Alumni Affairs. While Amanda has only been with the University for a few years, she has already made great efforts to increase ties between the university and alumni, involving the wider community, too. Amanda loves keeping people connected.

Amanda works closely with both the Western New Mexico University Foundation and the Western Institute for Life-Long Learning and also works tirelessly to bring alumni back to their university for homecoming and Great Race.

Amanda was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. At seventeen, she was working at a country club and realized that she had what she called a “servant’s heart,” meaning that she had a desire to work with people and help them.

Amanda graduated from Methodist University in North Carolina with a bachelor’s in marketing and a concentration in resort management. After graduation, Amanda worked in country clubs and as a wedding planner. As an event coordinator, Amanda takes great joy in playing a role in other people’s special days.

Amanda has been married for three years and is currently raising a baby girl. While aware that she devotes a large chunk of her time hard at work in the alumni office, Amanda wanted her little girl to know two things growing up. One, that she loved her very, very much, and two, that she could do anything she wanted to do growing up and that there are no limits to what she can achieve.

“The glass ceiling [that so many women have had to deal with] has been shatter,” Amanda said. “All it is now is glitter around her feet.”

Jessica Morales, Assistant Dean of Student Life
Jessica Morales has always been at WNMU, even for her college years. The Silver City native was part of the Silver High School dance team, history club, choir, peer education, honors society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was also the manager for the men’s basketball team. After high school, she planned to attend UNM, but when her grandparents got sick, she decided to stay home and enrolled in the local university.

Jessica studied secondary education and worked part-time as the secretary for special events for WNMU. As her college years went on, Jessica said she really enjoyed classes. She had a great support system and mentioned that if she could go to school for a living, she would.
For her master’s, Jessica decided to study counseling and academic leadership. For 7 years, she was the dance coach at Silver High but found her calling when she got a job in Student Affairs.

Since July of 2017, she’s been the Assistant Dean of Student Life and said she loves working to create events for students around campus.

Dr. Heather Steinmann, Assistant Professor of Writing

Dr. Heather Steinmann’s achievements and involvement in the community make her a celebrated woman of WNMU. Originally from North Dakota, Dr. Steinmann taught for over a decade at five other colleges before coming to WNMU. In 2015, Dr. Steinmann accepted a job in the Humanities Department and finished her dissertation during her first semester.

In addition to a Doctorate in Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture, she also has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English. One of her recently published poems, “Fetish: For Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind,” won the 15th Moon Prize from Writing in a Woman’s Voice.

At a young age, Dr. Steinmann found her deep love for literature. Her passion followed her in college where she took all the English courses she could manage, turning her life-long passion into her career.

She is also a certified yoga instructor. Wanting to bring her yoga practice to the next level, Dr. Steinmann became a certified yoga instructor and gives classes every third Thursday at The Center for Gender Equity and Social Justice.

“Teaching yoga is entirely different than teaching writing. There are no rubrics in yoga, no grades. Writing is about audience. Yoga is about the individual,” she said.

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