Otter Valley grad honored as women’s advocate
By Bruce Edwards
STAFF WRITER | April 17,2014
BRANDON — Tegan Donnelly never considered herself outspoken. But that changed during her junior year at Plymouth State University when she took up the cause of women’s issues.
Her advocacy on the part of women didn’t go unnoticed by the school, which honored Donnelly this month with its annual Powerful Outstanding Women’s Advocate award.
“It was actually a great surprise,” said Donnelly, a 2010 graduate of Otter Valley Union High School. “I didn’t realize that it was an award at all until my boss told me and then I went to the ceremony and didn’t realize how much of an honor it was.”
In her remarks, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen said Donnelly “has been one to stand up for women, to speak out against sexism and misogyny and to help educate people on women’s issues, and she has done so with tact and respect.”
Donnelly is currently a legislative intern at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and a volunteer at NARAL Pro-Choice in Concord, N.H.
Donnelly said she became passionately involved in women’s issues after returning last year from the National Young Feminists Leadership Conference in Washington.
Angela Ricciardi, a tutor coordinator and a member of the college’s Women’s Studies Council, was one of four people who nominated Donnelly for the award.
Ricciardi said Donnelly exhibited an unwavering commitment to promoting issues important to women.
“She genuinely cares about women’s issues in the classroom and outside,” Ricciardi said. “She’s not afraid to have uncomfortable conversations, but she’s very tactful, very respectful of other people’s beliefs.”
She said for Donnelly to have those qualities is “pretty rare for someone her age.”
There are a number of issues of concern to women, including equal pay for equal work.
“I think if I do the same task as a man, if I have the same experience as a man, I should be paid just the same,” Donnelly said. “Why should my reproductive organs keep me from that.”
Donnelly will graduate next month with a bachelor’s degree in history with a double minor in women’s studies and creative writing.
After graduation, she’ll continue her work promoting women’s issues as the volunteer coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire.
Donnelly’s guardians are Beth and Tim Rand of Brandon.