Tri-Cities Women of Distinction

Paula Linnen, Becca De Kleine, Stephanie Bauman, Ashley Montes, and Kauser Gwaduri.Stephanie Bauman, professor of psychology, and Ashley Montes and an undergraduate student studying digital technology and culture are among the WSU Tri-Cities Women of Distinction for 2022.

“This year, we were thrilled to honor five women whose leadership transcends their day-to-day work,” said Jaime Heppler, senior director of development and chair of the award committee. “Each year, we receive so many incredible nominations for female leaders who have made tremendous impacts on their community, as well as for WSU Tri-Cities students and the campus,”

The women honored exhibit exceptional leadership in their discipline or area of expertise, serve as role models and mentors to other women, advocate for positive social change and demonstrate a commitment to WSU Tri-Cities’ mission.

Stephanie Bauman

Woman of Distinction Faculty Award
Associate Professor of Psychology

During Bauman’s time at WSU Tri-Cities, she has committed herself to diversity, social justice and inclusion, mentored hundreds of students, proved herself as a leader in her discipline and served the community.

Bauman began her career at WSU Tri-Cities in 1996 in the College of Education as an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology. Her responsibilities included coordinating a Master’s in Counseling Program and teaching 11 graduate courses.  During her time in the College of Education, she served as the primary advisor and chair for 116 master’s students. Many of these alumni provide important mental health services in the Tri-Cities as school counselors and mental health counselors.

In 2011, Bauman transitioned to her present position as a tenured, associate professor in the Department of Psychology. With the support of a Smith Teaching and Learning Grant, she developed a service-learning component in her undergraduate course on the psychology of aging. Her students have volunteered at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Second Harvest, Tri-Cities Union Gospel Mission, Volunteer Services at Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity and a number of assisted living facilities in the area.

Bauman also serves the community by volunteering for the TC Chaplaincy, the Richland School District, the Mid-Columbia Ballet and the Kennewick School District.

Ashley Montes

Woman of Distinction Student Award
Digital Technology and Culture

Ashley Montes leads by example, supporting the campus and her classmates through her involvement in clubs and community events. This includes being a member of the Black Student Union and a student tutor for the digital technology and culture program. She said these opportunities allow her to support her peers by listening, encouraging and helping their goals become a reality. You can often find her in the MOSAIC Center for Student Inclusion where she works on projects and connects with students of different backgrounds.

Montes serves as the marketing chair for the Rainbow Alliance, which helps LGBTQ+ students and allies foster an inclusive community and provides a safe space for students on campus. In this position, she has been a driving force for the club’s event planning and goes above and beyond in her support of events such as pride parades and the Transgender Day of Remembrance. She regularly meets with students one-on-one to support them in their personal journeys.

Montes’s parents immigrated from Mexico in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their children. She said her mother raised her to be a strong woman, and that has motivated her to become the feminist activist and artist she is today. As an adult learner, she inspires those around her to work hard, keep an open mindset and continue growing. She shares her experiences so others may learn and connect, and those around her are always made to feel comfortable in sharing their own stories.


Read about all five WSU Tri-Cities Women of Distinction at