12th annual Women of Tomorrow Awards recognize 32 local leaders


The Harford County Department of Community Services and Commission for Women celebrated the next generation of women leaders at the 12th annual Women of Tomorrow Awards March 24. Here are the details provided by the Harford County government:

Pictured from Left to right: Amber Shrodes, director of Harford County Department of Community Services; Mary Hastler, chair, Harford County Commission for Women; 2022 Women of Tomorrow recipients Bethany Davies, Nina Grafton, and Chamiere Roberts; Jill Hamilton, vice chair, Harford County Commission for Women, and Dr. Mary Teddy Wray, chair, Women of Tomorrow Committee. (Photo courtesy of the Harford County government)

2022 Women of Tomorrow Awards Celebrate Harford County Dedicated to Community Service, Academic Achievement

BEL AIR, Md., (March 25, 2022) – The Harford County Department of Community Services and Commission for Women celebrated the next generation of women leaders at the twelfth annual Women of Tomorrow Awards on March 24 at the Richlin Catering & Event Center in Edgewood. These awards recognize young women who are dedicated to compassionate community service and superior academic achievement. This year’s ceremony also honored the late Mazie Rose Taylor as the 2022 Woman of the Past.  Keynote speaker, Robin Tomechko, was recognized as the Woman of the Present.

There were 32 award nominees for 2022: Marissa Altenburg, North Harford High School; Michaela Blackburn, Bel Air Middle School; Keturah Cameau, Harford Technical High School; Jordan Cook, Bel Air High School; Bethany Davies, Swan Creek School; Camille Duncan, C. Milton Wright High School; Isabella Lugo Frasqueri, Havre de Grace Middle School; Chloe Gauthier, Havre de Grace High School; Nina Grafton, Fallston High School; Sanai Knox, Havre de Grace High School; Jordan Lawson, North Harford High School; Maggie Layman, North Harford High School; Emma Lyman, Patterson Mill Middle School; Chloe McDowell, Harford Technical High School; Marin Moore, Fallston High School; Lillian Moss, Roland Park Country School; Liliana Norkaitis, Fallston High School; Emmalia Nuce, Bel Air High School; Kayla Oteyza, Swan Creek School; Riya Patel, Aberdeen High School; Mikaila Phillips, Joppatowne High School; Kelsey Pollock, Joppatowne High School; Chamiere Roberts, Edgewood High School; Logan Roberts, Bel Air High School; Jordyn Robinson, Patterson Mill Middle School; Nia Robinson, Harford Technical High School; Mackenzie Sigler, C. Milton Wright High School; Divya Somuri, Bel Air High School; Isabella Stewart, Patterson Mill High School; Ises Webb, Aberdeen High School; Saniah Wiggins, C. Milton Wright High School; and Isabella Wilson, the John Carroll School.

The 2022 Women of Tomorrow Award winners are Bethany Davies for grades 7 – 8; Chamiere Roberts for grades 9 – 10; and Nina Grafton for grades 11 – 12.

Bethany Davies is an eighth grader at Swan Creek School in Aberdeen and plans to attend the Academy of Health Care Professions program at Harford Technical High School to prepare for a career as a physician.  In 2021, Bethany created Heartz Without Boarderz, a donation program geared to help families during the holiday season.  Bethany admires the late Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig for her perseverance in becoming a physician during a time when women were not accepted as doctors, and she hopes to one day practice medicine at Johns Hopkins like Taussig.

Chamiere Roberts is a 14-year-old freshman in the International Baccalaureate Program at Edgewood High School. She is part of the concert, marching, and jazz bands and captain of the junior varsity volleyball team.  Chamiere is vice president of the Archonettes within the Zeta Youth Affiliate Clubs and participates in Wreaths Across America and Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She also sends holiday cards to soldiers and veterans. Chamiere has completed her certification in pediatric CPR/first aid, helped create a video for Black History Month, and held fundraisers through the Student Government Association. She admires abolitionist and women’s activist Sojourner Truth for her ability to prevail in the face of adversity.  Chamiere’s goal is to become an adoption lawyer after college.

Nina Grafton is a 17-year-old senior at Fallston High School and an advocate for mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.  As the head of the Student Mental Health Council Outreach Committee, she helped create Stop Stigma Night and school-wide mental health newsletters. Nina is a GSA leader, member of the National Honor Society, GLSEN Maryland’s Youth Leadership team, and All County Orchestra.  She is the Senior Class Council vice president and German Honor Society treasurer.  Virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, but Nina persevered, hosting virtual GSA meetings and maintaining exceptional grades.  An avid music lover, Nina admires Nina Simone, and how she uses music to raise awareness about corruption and violence against African Americans.

As winners in their categories, each young woman received a check for $500 sponsored by the Harford County Public Library and multiple citations from local elected officials.

County Executive Barry Glassman honored the nominees in a video message. “These outstanding young women are already changing the world,” he said.

Emcee Mary Hastler of the Commission provided inspirational guidance and encouragement to the nominees.

Dr. Mary Teddy Wray, chair of the Women of Tomorrow Committee, recounted the life story and community presence of the late Mazie Rose Taylor, this year’s Woman of the Past, who was instrumental in shaping the minds of children as a teacher in both the Central Consolidated School for Black children and Edgewood Middle School.  Taylor founded Black Youth in Action in 1972 to help youth develop leadership, talents, and learn about their culture and heritage.  She also organized the first Sickle Cell Anemia Walk-a-thon in Maryland to help those who suffered from the disease.

The keynote speaker and this year’s Woman of the Present was Robin Tomechko, Chief Executive Officer of Harford Family House, the largest provider of transitional housing for families and children in Harford County.  Tomechko, a Harford County Athena Award winner, advised the young women to live with balance based on the four Athena tenants – live authentically and learn constantly; build relationships and foster collaboration; act courageously and advocate fiercely; and give back and celebrate.

The Commission would like to thank the Richlin Catering & Event Center for hosting this event and thank the event sponsors for their generosity: Harford County Public Library, Harford Mutual Insurance Group, Harford TV, Harford Technical High School, Bravura Information Technologies, Inc., Harford County Z-Hope Foundation, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

The Harford County Women’s Commission consists of 15 volunteer members appointed by the County Executive and approved by the County Council. Their mission is to support the economic, social, and political equality of women. For more information about the Commission for Women, please visit www.harfordcountymd.gov  or contact 410-638- 3389. Applications for the 2023 Harford County Women of Tomorrow Awards will be available in the fall of 2022.