CHSS Professor Wins Gracie Award

Photo: Mike Peters

Susan Somers-Willett

Susan Somers-Willett, assistant professor of English, received the 2010 Gracie Award for her collaborative documentary-poetry-video project, In Verse: Women of Troy, which aired on public radio’s “Studio 360” in November 2009. She won in the category of Outstanding Soft News Feature in the Local, Public, and Student Award Winners division, and was honored at an award gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

Women of Troy is about women in Troy, New York, once a thriving industrial capital that has fallen on hard times. “How poverty particularly affects women and children in America is an underreported subject, I believe, and for this reason I am thrilled to see the project make its way in the world,” says Somers-Willett. “What I and my artistic collaborators in radio and photography hope to offer is a richer, more nuanced documentary vision of these women, showing them in moments of joy and empowerment as well as hardship.”

A national award, the “Gracies” are handed out annually by the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, an organization that strives to encourage the realistic and faceted portrayal of women in entertainment, commercials, news, features, and other programs.

Women of Troy is a project by and about women, and so I feel especially honored to be recognized by American Women in Radio and Television,” notes Somers-Willett. “Yet in all honesty, the award is secondary; these women and their stories should take center stage.”