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Champions and changemakers

Congratulations to the 2022 recipients of the Linda K. Amos Award and Elizabeth Fuhriman Gardner Prize.

This story was originally published in the Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion blog here.


The University of Utah recognized the most recent awardees of the Linda K. Amos Award and Elizabeth Fuhriman Gardner Prize in a joint celebration during Women’s Week.

The Linda K. Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women recognizes individuals who have selflessly given time and energy to improve the educational and/or working environment for women at the university. These awardees represent the ideals and actions of Dr. Linda K. Amos, the founding chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women and a professor of nursing, dean of the College of Nursing, and associate vice president for Health Sciences. Throughout her career, she was the champion for improving the status and experience of women on campus.

The Elizabeth Fuhriman Gardner Prize is facilitated by Women in Health, Medicine, & Science. The Gardner Prize is awarded to two students, one from the School of Dentistry and another from the Health Sciences (College of Health, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, School of Medicine). As First Lady of the University of Utah from 1973 to 1983, Elizabeth (Libby) Fuhriman Gardner became a strong advocate for and an effective ambassador of the University throughout Utah. Expressing her belief and confidence in education, young people and, especially women students, she contributed significantly to the advancement of the university and its mission.

Leslie Pickering Francis

She, Her, Hers
Distinguished Alfred C. Emery Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy

2022 Linda K. Amos Awardee

Dr. Leslie P. Francis, Ph.D., J.D., holds joint appointments as Alfred C. Emery distinguished professor of law and distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Utah, where she also directs the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences. Francis was president of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association (2015-2016). She is a past member of the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. Francis’ books include "Sustaining Surveillance: the importance of information for public health" (with John Francis) (Springer 2021); "Privacy: What Everyone Needs to Know" (with John Francis) (Oxford, 2017); and the "Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics" (Oxford, 2017). She is the author of many articles on disability law and ethics, bioethics, and justice in health care; as a lawyer, she regularly provides pro bono representation for people who are the subject of guardianship.

“In her over 40 years as a faculty member at the U, Dr. Francis has worked tirelessly to advance the situation of women faculty, students, and staff. She has been a role model for many and has pioneered important new initiatives.”

Morgan Karnath

She, Her, Hers
DDS Candidate, School of Dentistry

2022 Gardner Prize Recipient

2022 Gardner Prize recipient Morgan Karnath will be graduating from the School of Dentistry this spring. Originally from Montana, she will soon be joining the Pediatric Dentistry Residency at Primary Children’s Hospital where she will continue to hone her professional skills and share the passion she has for her profession with pediatric patients and their families. Knowing the positive impact that good oral hygiene can have on people’s lives from a young age, a love of working with kids, and wanting to be a positive role model for young women led Morgan to her current path. Active in community service, she has provided volunteer care both in the Intermountain West region and across the globe in countries such as China and Peru.

“[Morgan’s] eagerness to learn, strong desire to serve her community, and her willingness to face challenges with an excitement for learning from them are all hallmarks of this woman’s character and accomplishments…[she] seems to have an untiring desire to learn and to serve wherever needed, be it locally or foreign health service programs.”

Pearl Sandick

She, Her, Hers
Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Department of Physics and Astronomy

2022 Linda K. Amos Awardee

Dr. Pearl Sandick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Science at the University of Utah. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin before moving to Utah in 2011. Sandick is a theoretical particle physicist studying physics beyond the Standard Model, including possible explanations for the dark matter in the Universe. She has given a TEDx talk and been interviewed on KCPW’s Cool Science Radio and NPR’s Science Friday. Sandick has been named a University of Utah Presidential Scholar and has been recognized for her teaching and mentoring work with a 2016 Early Career Teaching Award and a 2020 Distinguished Mentor Award. She has served on the American Physical Society (APS) Committee on the Status of Women in Physics and has led the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics at both the local and national levels. She currently serves as chair of the APS Four Corners Section, which supports physicists and aspiring physicists from the Four Corners states.

“[Dr. Sandrick] has exponentially improved the environment for women (and others) on the University of Utah campus. She serves as a strong female role model and celebrated mentor (2020 University of Utah Distinguished Mentor) in a field—astrophysics—with few female representatives. In a department and college whose members are predominantly male, she expands the influence of women through her thoughtful administrative, research and teaching activities."

Natalie Surut

She, Her, Hers
DPT Candidate, Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training

2022 Gardner Prize Recipient

2022 Gardner Prize recipient Natalie Surut will graduate in May with her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the College of Health. While a student at Westminster College, Natalie completed training to be a sexual assault victim advocate and marks this as the first time she officially became an advocate. This advocacy work is displayed through her involvement with the Rape Recovery Center, coordinating Westminster’s first Annual Take Back the Night and pro bono work at the Maliheh Free Clinic. In January 2021, Natalie’s commitment to equity led to her founding the Women in Leadership Group. Through this group, she has helped bring more awareness to the gender inequities in the field of physical therapy, while also collaborating with other student leaders and groups to advocate for all historically marginalized communities.

“Natalie has engaged local and national leaders in the discussion surrounding the treatment of women and other underrepresented groups to advocate for increased opportunities to diversify leadership roles across the profession of physical therapy. Such exposure has empowered female and male students through our academic programs to become aware of and work to change existing structures that perpetuate gender-based inequity.”

Ruchi M. Watson

She, Her, Hers
Managing Director, Goff Strategic Leadership Center

2022 Linda K. Amos Awardee

Dr. Ruchi M. Watson is the Managing Director of the Goff Strategic Leadership Center and a faculty member in the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the University of Utah. She also serves as the co-chair for the university’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, chair of the Policy Committee for the Utah Women in Higher Education Network (UWHEN), and the founding Chair of the University of Utah Chapter of UWHEN. In 2021, she was honored as one of 30 Women to Watch by Utah Business magazine. Prior to working at the U, Watson spent ten years in the corporate sector at companies such as Bain & Company, Target Corporation, and General Mills, Inc. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BS in chemical engineering, earned an MBA from Northwestern University, and holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Watson has been a champion for improving the status and experience of women on campus, following in the steps of Dr. Linda K. Amos…including a relaunch program for women returning to work after leaving the workforce for an extended period (typically due to raising children).”