10th Annual Rutherford County Athena Leadership Award Goes to Dr. Chandra Story and Samantha Weir

May 18, 2023 at 06:58 am by WGNS News

(L to R) Dr. Chandra Story and Samantha Weir, see details in article below.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. Dr. Chandra Story has been named the recipient of the 2023 ATHENA International Leadership Award of Rutherford County, and the 2023 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award of Rutherford County recipient is Samantha Weir.

The ATHENA International Leadership Award ceremony, celebrating the accomplishments of 10 ATHENA nominees and eight Young Professional nominees from the Rutherford County community, was held at Middle Tennessee State University on Friday, May 12, 2023.


The ATHENA Award recognizes an individual who excels in her profession, gives back to the community and helps raise up other leaders, especially women. The Young Professional Leadership Award recognizes an emerging leader under age 40 who exemplifies the ATHENA attributes and serves as a role model for young women.

Nominated for the ATHENA Award by the American Association of University Women, Dr. Chandra R. Story is a public health professional with experience in clinical, community and academic settings. Notably, she provided a TEDx Talk on cultural support and wellness. She is a member of the Tennessee Health Disparity Task Force and board president of the Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls. Additionally, Dr. Story is chaplain for the Kappa Tau Sigma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc., and a licensed minister at First Baptist Church Murfreesboro. Dr. Story is a professor of Community and Public Health at Middle Tennessee State University and the 2023 recipient of the John Pleas faculty award.

Young Professional Award recipient Samantha Weir was nominated by the League of Women Voters for Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Weir is a Rutherford County native who has spent her career advocating for children and families. Currently a lecturer at MTSU in Child Development and Family Studies, she focuses on family policy, advocacy and positive aging. Weir previously worked in the prevention and intervention of child abuse, where she trained thousands of children and adults on the prevention of child abuse and worked as a forensic interviewer for the Child Advocacy Center. Weir is an active member of the League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, MTSU’s Positive Aging Consortium and the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse.

The nine additional nominees for the 2023 ATHENA Award and their nominating organizations are: Sheryl Chesnutt, Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County; Christa Gassler, Rutherford County Democratic Women; Mary Beth Hagan, Locally Owned Murfreesboro; Sherri Harris, Rutherford County Democratic Party; Megan Keen, Rutherford Cable; Missy Lay, 100 Women Who Care – Rutherford County Chapter; Amanda Moore, League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro; Martha Tolbert, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties; Jessica Warner, Junior League of Murfreesboro.

The seven additional nominees for the Young Professional Award and their nominating organizations are: Jami Averwater, MTSU Jones College of Business; Rebecca Goodwin, Junior League of Murfreesboro; Polly Hill, Murfreesboro Young Professionals; Jessica Prater, Rutherford Cable; Crystal Routon, Locally Owned Murfreesboro; Alicia Stachura, 100 Women Who Care – Rutherford County; Kristen Swann, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties.

In addition to founding sponsor RUTHERFORD Cable, the 2023 ATHENA Awards are supported by sponsors Pinnacle Financial Partners, First Horizon, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Dr. Ellen K. Slicker, Licensed Psychologist, Smith-Wright Law, Ascend Federal Credit Union, TrustPoint Hospital and Holloway Accounting. In-kind sponsors include Veda’s Flowers and Gifts, Read to Succeed and Bell Jewelers, and media sponsor VIP Murfreesboro.


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