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Inspirational Women: In Honor of Women’s History Month

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we have decided to share some of our female inspirations! From celebrities to family members to teachers, we are influenced by your strength, love, and ambition, and for that, we thank you.


“An influential woman that I personally look up to is Marie Stopes, a British scientist from the early 1900s. She endorsed women’s rights and started her own birth control center. Even though her views were highly controversial in her time, she continued to argue for women and refused to abide by the established gender norms society had created.”

—Summer Segar


“I am collectively inspired by 2 women in my life! My lineage in my sorority, especially my big and my grand big, are two of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. I have never met people as dedicated as they are to every aspect of their lives. I have seen them drop everything they’re doing to take care of friends, and, at the same time, they are killing it in school, extracurriculars, and receiving amazing internships. I hope to be just as talented as they are someday, but even more so, they inspire me to look at the positives in life. They are always smiling and looking up, and their smiles are infectious!”

—Casey Lyons


“Isa Spoerry is a friend of mine and an inspiration for all. She is a freshman at NYU studying journalism and social and cultural analysis with a concentration in metropolitan studies. Each time I check in with her, she has taken on new projects; her most recent endeavor is volunteering at an intercity high school, and specifically, promoting their summer youth employment program. On top of her college course load, Isa always manages to add more to her plate in the name of bettering the people, community, and world around her. She does this, I should add, with unwavering generosity in her heart and (usually) a box of coconut water in her hand (“Less calories and more benefits than coffee”). Isa is the ultimate humanitarian multi-tasker and one of the smartest, strongest, most selfless women I know.”

—Sophia Allen


“A woman who inspires me is my best friend Emily. Not only does she excel in school and create amazing art, she is also the president of the skating team on campus. And yet, she always has time for her friends. Whether it’s a late night froyo session, a quick run to the grocery store when I am completely out of food, or a heart to heart call at 2 a.m., she’s always there for me. Her commitment to being a good friend is something that motivates me to be more like her.”

—Jaclyn Nagel


“My Oma hasn’t stopped moving for 78 years. She has that spirit of adventure that so many people crave, that need to do and the motivation to do it. I’ve watched her in the garden, treating her flowers like children, cultivating them with the love that she has to give. After raising her own children, she went to live with her grandchildren (that’s me!), helping to raise them and showering them in affection. And she’s strong—she’s lived through a war, left Germany, and crossed the Atlantic at 21, making a new life in America. She fights for what she believes in; she sends letters to the government in protest and as submissions of her own ideas. And through it all, she’s maintained a beautiful outlook on life and an appreciation for all she has made for herself. I find myself constantly marveling at the way that my Oma has lived—with zest and with a purpose that she did not wait for, and the life that she surrounded herself with.”

—Lauren Weiss

“I am incredibly inspired by Emma Watson. Her work as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and her campaign “HeForShe” has made a tremendous impact on the contemporary feminist movement. As a graduate from Brown University, she put her education over her acting career, and, in my opinion, overall just has her priorities straight. Emma is talented, driven, intelligent, poised, and is a perfect role model for all girls—plus Hermione Granger is the bomb.”

—Stephanie Harris


“My identical twin sister Sarah inspires me. Despite her intensive coursework as a Mechanical Engineering major at UPenn, she manages to have time to be Co-Captain of the Cheerleading team, former board member of her engineering sorority AOE, and is active in a ton of other clubs on campus. She is incredibly smart, determined, and (perhaps most importantly) kind. She’s basically a better me.”

—Rebecca Lawson


“My sister is one of the most influential women in my life. I am inspired by her hard work ethic and her profession as a nurse. She dedicates her life to helping others, and she truly inspires me to be a better person and help others in my own life as well.”

—Emily Munch


“The women making it in male-dominated career fields like computer science, engineering, even business sometimes. They inspire me and remind me that what I’m doing is valid and I have just as big a chance as they do! They inspire me because they don’t have to conform and try to be more like the guys. They’re still girly and feminine but they’re strong and powerful. That’s what inspires me.”

—Jessie Yang


“There are now (and have been) many influential women in my life, but one who stands out particularly is my high school German teacher, Janie Barner. In the classroom setting, Frau Barner cultivated an atmosphere of respect, humor, eagerness to learn, passion and camaraderie among students with her outlandish and entertaining teaching methods. To this day I have not met a teacher more effective than Janie. Not only did she equip us with the skills to read, speak, and write excellent German, she also encouraged us to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world. Through the study of current events, discussions about world issues, and engagement in other exercises pertaining to relevant topics, Janie opened our minds to the world around us. She inspired me to read more current events, to seek peace and understanding with others, and ultimately, to pursue translation as a career. I’ll be graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in German and African studies next spring, and Janie’s support and guidance has undoubtedly played a major role in making that a reality.”

—Britt Boyle


“My aunt really inspires me. She is a single mom of six kids and always has a smile on her face. She works so hard for her family and her family while being one of the funniest people I know. I only hope I can have her drive and love for life.”

—Jasmine Morigney


“My aunt TJ inspires me daily as she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer a little over a year ago and has fought an incredible battle. Recently, she, her husband, and their two daughters decided the best choice for her quality of life was to end the chemo treatment so she could enjoy the time she has with her family and friends. Her courage, strength, and faith inspire me to keep going when the delicate balance of schoolwork, exams, friends, and life becomes overwhelming and seems to be too much to handle.”

—Olivia Reed

“Jennifer Lawrence inspires me because she is clumsy AND fabulous. I admire that even though she tripped at the Oscars, she had the ability to pick herself right back up. As a truly genuine and talented person, she motivates me to always be myself.”

—Emma Huez


“Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are inspirational women. Hollywood and other professional industries often paint successful, career-oriented women as being fiercely competitive with one another. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, through their supportive friendship, dispel this stereotype and show how important it is for women to come together and support one another, especially in competitive environments. They exemplify how friendship among women, rather than competition, leads to success, a story which is rarely portrayed in the media.”

—Laura Hollander


“A woman outside of my family members who inspires me is my high school accounting teacher Mrs. Kownurko. Her passion for business is what got me initially interested in it, and I’m now majoring in it here at Michigan. Mrs. Kownurko is caring, supportive, motivating, funny, and above all, inspirational.”

—Kelsey Henjes


“A woman who inspires me is my boss at the daycare where I work. Michelle is one of the most caring people I have ever met; she treats each individual child and staff member with respect, patience, and love no matter what, which is not always easy with 50 young children running around. She is down-to-earth and never compromises her values. I hope to learn from her example and carry those admirable attributes out in my own daily life.”

—Emily Gazall


“Coming to the country when she was an immigrant, [my sister Flo] grew up in several cities as my parents moved around Europe and America. Moving to a new high school in the middle of her junior year, the most difficult year of high school, she faced many challenges revolving college decisions, friendships, and, most importantly, career paths. She is now in her second year of being a lawyer, and her perseverance through several moves and countless schools inspires me everyday.”

—Rebecca Reznik


“The woman who inspires me the most in my life is my Bubbe, my mom’s mom. She went to medical school and earned her degree as a doctor in 1950s, during a time when becoming a doctor was something few women dared to aspire to be. More so, she thrived as a mother, teaching my mom and her siblings values and rules that are very much apparent in my life today. Because of my Bubbe, my extended family of 19 on my mom’s side is so close and our dinners together are some of my fondest memories. She is strong, kind, funny, and inspiring, and I look up to her and her accomplishments in many ways.”

—Maia Harrison


“The woman who inspires me most is my godmother Rebecca who is always there for me no matter what. She gives me the best advice and I can always look to her for help. It’s amazing knowing that she will always honestly tell me whether or not my decisions sound like a good idea, but be there for me if I make a bad one anyway. She is intelligent, fun, creative, and a huge inspiration to me.”

—Michelle Kim


“Two women that I find exceptionally inspiring in my life are both of my grandmothers. One of my grandmothers (my BonBon) inspires me because she is the definition of an independent woman. She raised three kids as a single mother, put herself through law school, and now travels around the world all by herself. On the other hand, my Nana inspires me because she is a huge supporter of education and has helped me develop into a fantastic writer and student, along with being one of the most warm, caring, compassionate and fun people I know. They are both truly amazing and I wouldn’t be the young woman I am today without both of their presences in my life!”

—Maggie Davis

“Amy Schumer inspires me because, not only is she hysterical, but she’s real. She embraces herself and life for who and what it is, and she isn’t afraid to call it like she sees it.”

—Rebecca Soverinsky


“A woman who inspires me the most is my best friend here at the University of Michigan, Karen Seo. She inspires me daily, not only because she has a genuine personality, but because she is the hardest working person I know (not only in academics, but overall). She gives me the best advice whenever I am stressed or when I am confused about my decisions. She is someone I could rely on, and I am sure other people rely and depend on her for the similar reasons that I have. I am so lucky to call her my friend.”

—Christine Lee


Images courtesy of: Her Campus, Wikipedia, Community Table, Daily Signal, hungergamesdwtc.net

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