coffee with cool women

The SIUE Women’s Studies Program is proud to sponsor


coffee with cool women

conversations with women of imagination and accomplishment

This program originated in a series of conversations with successful women about their career paths.  As one might expect, many cited long-term relationships with mentors in their field as crucial to their choices, but, more surprisingly, they also spoke about much briefer encounters with women who made them think, “Wow.  I want to do that.  I can do that.”  Coffee With Cool Women, then, is a series of one-hour conversations in which “cool women”—women who have chosen interesting, challenging, and sometimes unconventional careers—meet with a small group of SIUE students to talk about the pleasures, frustrations, and surprises of their professional lives thus far.  The setting is casual, the conversation is candid, and the coffee is fresh.

All cwcw sessions are held in the Women’s Studies Office (Peck 3407) and seating is limited.  To reserve your space, contact Prof. Alison Reiheld at

fall 2015 cwcw events…

tuesday, Oct. 20, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

pat piety

Pat Piety, the daughter of two Pentecostal preachers who pastored a church in East St. Louis in the 1940s and ’50s, is a writer, editor, educator and mother. Married at the age of 19, she worked her way through college while teaching third grade in O’Fallon, Illinois; maintaining a household; and rearing three daughters. She received a B.A. in English from SIUE in 1967 and an M.A. in English from the University of Dayton in 1970. She has taught English at eight institutions of higher learning, including two Historically Black universities. She has also served as a full-time writer/editor for the Kettering Foundation, the American Express Western Region Operations Center, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, among other institutions. After her retirement from full-time work in 2003, she wrote a regular column for a small-town Oklahoma newspaper. Her memoir, Don’t Get Yourself Talked About, opens with a moving description of the illegal abortion her mother arranged for her in St. Louis on her 15th birthday in 1958.


tuesday, Nov. 3, 11:00 a.m.-noon

meredith rataj

Meredith Rataj is a bilingual licensed marriage and family therapist and site director of St. Francis Community Services Southside Center in St. Louis, MO.  Ms. Rataj received her BA in Spanish from Truman State University and her MA in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller School of Psychology.  She has lived abroad in both Spain and Argentina.  Ms. Rataj has worked as a bilingual therapist in community mental health since 2004, providing counseling to Latino youth, adults, and families in individual and group settings. Ms. Rataj provides clinical supervision and speaks regularly at universities and with law enforcement in the St. Louis area about cultural competency and working with immigrants in mental health.  She currently serves on the executive committee for the St. Louis Immigrant Service Provider Network.


tuesday, Dec. 8, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

rachael tompkins

Rachael Tompkins, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist serving patients in the Metro East.  She has a long experience in the areas of child welfare/custody issues and has worked extensively with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as well as a local abused women’s shelter. Dr. Tompkins also has a general clinical practice including individual, marital and family therapy with all ages.

spring 2015 cwcw events…

thursday, february 13, 2:00-3:00

dr. dolores cantrell, family practitioner

Dr. Delores Cantrell is a board certified family practice physician. She graduated from SIUE in 1981 with Biology/Premed degree, and after earning her medical degree, she completed her residency through the SIUE School of Medicine, specializing in family practice.  In her cwcw session, Dr. Cantrell will talk overcoming obstacles throughout her training and practice, as well as balancing her roles as a doctor, wife, and mother of three children.


thursday, march 26, 2:00-3:00 pm

prof. ladonna long, academic and advocate

LaDonna Long grew up on the south-side of Chicago and received her Ph.D, in Criminology, Law and Justice from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2009. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Roosevelt University. Inspired by her internship with The Chicago Metropolitan Rape Crisis Hotline as a graduate student, she has combined her research interest in victimization with activism.  Currently, LaDonna is a certified medical advocate with Rape Victim Advocates, and her research focuses on advocates’ experiences volunteering in the emergency room with rape survivors and their interactions with law enforcement and medical staff.

In her cwcw session, LaDonna will talk about the motivating factors to volunteer as a medical advocate and what are advocates’ experiences in the emergency room with rape survivors.


thursday, april 16, 2:00-3:00 pm

michelle krusiec, actor and advocate

Michelle Krusiec began her professional acting career at the age of twelve, and she has acted on stage and in numerous films, including roles in Sweet Home, Alabama, and Sunset Stories, among others.

In her cwcw session, Michelle will talk about the many hats she wears as an actor, writer, and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.   Check her website for a glimpse into her work:


Our cool woman Hall of Fame:

Karin Caito, US Drug Enforcement Agency

The Hon. Ann Callis, judge, 3rd judicial circuit

Nancy Cambria, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter

Dail Chambers, Artist/Activist, and Co-Founder of YeYo Arts Collective and the Gya Galllery

Trish Cheatham, CEO of Think Tank

Joann Condellone, midwife, activist

Dr. Elizabeth Ferries-Rowe, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University

Bev George, enterpeneur

Prof. Jennifer Horney, Deputy Director, UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness  

Jennifer Lee, filmmaker (here’s a link to information about her film Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation)

Elizabeth Massie, writer, producer, and director (here’s a link to information about her documentary Compañeras)

Tanya Patton, Principal N.O.  Nelson School

Caroline Pender, owner, 222 Bakery

Lt. Carole Presson, Madison County Sheriff’s Office

Andi Smith, entrepreneur/owner, Beyond Timbuktu

Megan Smith, women’s advocate, St. Martha’s Hall

Monica Stump,  Human Trafficking Specialist, U.S. Prosecutor’s Office

Veronique LaCapra, biologist and science reporter for 90.6 KWMU St. Louis Public Radio (here’s a link to the KWMU Health, Science, Environment webpage)

Elise Waldman, Genome Analyst


WMST Office ~ Peck Hall 3407 ~ Campus Box 1350  ~ siuewmst@gmailcom