Makers: Women Who Make America

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WCNY is proud to announce its Sixth Annual Makers: Women Who Make America honorees. These 10 women will be honored at the March 8, 2017 award ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. in the Wesleyan Chapel of the Women’s Rights Historical Park in Seneca Falls. The ceremony is free and open to the public; a post-ceremony luncheon will follow. Registration for either or both of the events can be made at:

The awards first started in collaboration with the PBS documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America.” Since then, WCNY has continued the Makers Awards as a way to celebrate the achievements of Central New York women and inspire others to follow their examples. This year’s ceremony is being held on International Women’s Day. The awards are sponsored by the Lockheed Martin Employees’ Federated Fund with support from the National Park Service.

WCNY is proud to announce its Sixth Annual Makers: Women Who Make America honorees. These 10 women will be honored at the March 8, 2017 award ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. in the Wesleyan Chapel of the Women’s Rights Historical Park in Seneca Falls. The ceremony is free and open to the public; a post-ceremony luncheon will follow. Registration for either or both of the events can be made at:

2018 Makers Award Winners

Kerry Barnes (OSWEGO)
Kerry spends much of her free time making Quilts of Valor for veterans. She organizes sew days, contributes her own money for materials, and travels countless hours to present these very special tribute quilts to physically and psychologically wounded veterans in our region to honor their sacrifices and offer comfort.

Juanita Holmes Bass (HERKIMER)
Juanita has introduced many to classic American Soul Food at her White House Berries Inn, a nationally-recognized B&B and restaurant she opened in 1989 after restoring the historic Victorian-era building that housed it. In 2001 she closed the Inn but launched Juanita’s Soul Classics, featuring her barbecue sauce, special seasoning mix, and sweet potato pie sold in Central New York stores, and in the case of her pie, included in military rations.

Shelly Callahan (ONEIDA)
As the executive director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, Shelly works to refute refugee stereotypes, and detail the ongoing contributions by refugees to the economy and cultural life of Utica. Recently, she was instrumental in leading the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council in securing nearly a quarter of a million dollars to build a One World Welcome and Opportunity Center.

Maureen Campanie (MADISON)
Maureen works tirelessly to educate the community about addiction in her role as Associate Director of the BRIDGES Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Recently, Maureen founded Concert for a Cause, a series of events that raise money for worthwhile causes that could benefit from her drive to organize, promote, and run these concert events.

Sandra Hamilton (WAYNE)
Sandra’s passion for local history led her to help create the Town of Sodus Historical Society and have it recognized at county and state levels. She serves on the Sodus Village Board and on the Sodus Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and was instrumental in supporting the creation and display of the Sodus Point Coal Trestle mural, which portrays the landmark coal dock, integral to the historic role of Sodus Point in the shipping of coal.

Ellen Percy Kraly (MADISON)
Ellen is a geographer, award-winning teacher, and study abroad director. A member of the Colgate University faculty, Ellen’s students engage with community members over issues like food deserts and sustainability, such as in the town of Waterville where they led focus groups regarding small-business development. In 2016, Australia’s Curtin University awarded her an honorary doctorate for her success in repatriating a trove of paintings by aboriginal Noongar children.

Carol Musacchio (ONEIDA)
Carol has been a behavior specialist at Madison-Oneida BOCES for more than 30 years, making a difference in the lives of 3,000 students with educational challenges. The students Carol supports are students others may choose not to have time for or may give up on. She often makes home visits to support students and their families, and she has formed long-lasting connections with former students and their own children who are now in her classes.

Tina Nabinger (ONONDAGA)
Tina has been an elementary school librarian for 24 years, and is always looking for new ways to inspire, and equip her students for success. She started one of the first maker programs in Onondaga County – her afterschool Book Cooks classes that pair excellent reading materials with innovative recipes for them to try. Visits from guest chefs and field trips to explore restaurant careers expand the learning.

Pamela Puri (ONONDAGA)
Pamela saw a need, and worked to fill it. She started her business in 2014 to provide CNY children with early exposure to technology, help them develop coding skills, and spark an interest to pursue futures in science and technology. Her startup has grown from an afterschool program to a successful year-round business.

Tracy Verrier (CAYUGA)
Tracy is an agricultural entrepreneur as well as the executive director of Cayuga Strategic Solutions, which includes both the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce and the Cayuga Economic Development Agency. She was part of the team that helped Cayuga County earn top honors in the recent New York State Regional Economic Development Council awards.

2017 Makers Award Winners

Diana Abdella

Mary Beer

Laurie Black

Ruth Colvin

Sue Edinger

Laura Miller

Kylie Pierce

Karen Sammon

Mary Alice Smothers

Christie Waters

2016 Makers Award Winners

Lisa Betrus

Sharon BuMann

Janet Callahan

Mary Q. Chapin

Annette Guisbond

Mary Krause

Katie MacIntyre

Anne Orr

Theresa Pagano

Tammy Van Epps

2015 Makers Award Winners

Kimberly Boynton

Virginia Carmody

The Honorable Bernadette T. Clark

Jean Harper Dean

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen

Dr. Mary Martin

Mia Adams McSherry

Dr. Erica Miller

Teresa Mosher

Jennifer Nadler

Virginia Robbins

Marietta von Bernuth

Wendy Washeleski

2014 Makers Award Winners

Mary Alice Bellardini

Margaret Buckley

Glynis Hart

Dr. Leslie Kohman

Sr. Monica A. Nortz, CSJ

Rebbecca Oppedisano

Melinda Sorrentino

Melissa Spicer

Patricia Sullivan

2013 Makers Award Winners

Megan Rae Bliss

Marlene Brown

Kimberly Burch

Sue Considine

Renee DeVesty

Rose Marie Fagan

Kate Finn

Gouverneur Business Women Breast Cancer Walk Fund Executive Committee

Dr. Rathika Martyn

Pam Matt

Agnes McCray

Andrea E. Rankin

Gigi Redmond

Karen Y. Richmond

Jean Siracusa

Linda Townsend, Ph.D

Carrie M. Tuttle

Makers: Women Who Change Central New York
March 30 at 9 p.m. on WCNY-TV

WCNY presents its 6th Annual Makers: Women Who Make America Awards honoring the remarkable women who work to change the culture, business world and landscape of Central New York. In this special, explore the life and work of these groundbreaking women in a one-hour program.

Join WCNY to learn about some incredible changes taking place across the region and to see some familiar faces in action. The dedication, creativity and perseverance these women embody in pursuit of a better Central New York is sure to inspire and spark the next generation of change makers.

• Kerry Barnes, Quilts of Valor
• Juanita Holmes Bass, Juanita’s Soul Classics
• Shelly Callahan, Mohawk Valley Resource Center
• Maureen Campanie, BRIDGES Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and Concert for a Cause
• Sandra Hamilton, Town of Sodus Historical Society
• Ellen Percy Kraly, Colgate University
• Carol Musacchio, Madison-Oneida BOCES
• Tina Nabinger, Book Cooks
• Pamela Puri, Tech4Kidz
• Tracy Verrier, Cayuga Strategic Solutions
• Debbie Stack, WCNY Senior Director, Education & Community Engagement
• Susan Kennedy, Journalist and WCNY’s Cycle of Health contributor


Support provided by:


Classic FM


WCNY Oldies




WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom