Today’s Trivia: Who is the woman unanimously elected Judge for the U.S. District Court for Arizona, making her the first Native American woman Federal Judge?

You may have heard Diane Humetewa’s name recently as a possible candidate to fill the position of Supreme Court Justice after the sudden death of Antonin Scalia. Humetewa was recently appointed Federal Judge to the U.S. District Court for Arizona, a historic appointment, making her the only active Native American judge and the first female Native American judge. Humetewa’s has spent her career working as a victim advocate, prosecuted violent crime cases, and advised on Indian Country issues.

Humetewa is a graduate of Arizona State University, earning her B.A. in 1987 and her J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 1993. She served as victim-witness advocate for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona in 1986, prior to earning her law degree. Following her graduation from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, shNational_5e served as counsel to Sen. John McCain of Arizona, before returning to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona in 1996, where she worked as a Special Assistant then Assistant U.S. Attorney. In 2001, she worked as an appeals judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court, where she fostered relationships between the office and Arizona’s Indian tribes. At the same time, she supervised the U.S. Attorney’s victim Witness program.

In 2007, she was appointed to U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona by President George W. Bush, where she served until he left office. Then-Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) described her as “the first Native American woman and, as far as I know, the first victim advocate, to serve our nation in this important office.”

Humetewa left office at the end of Bush’s Presidency, where she returned to the Arizona State University where she worked as a special advisor on American Indian affairs until Senator McCain nominated her for federal judge in 2013. Humetewa was unanimously elected to the position, and was sworn in in 2014. McCain described her as having “an impressive legal background, ranging from work as prosecutor and an appellate court judge to the Hopi Nation to service as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.”

Today’s Trivia: Who was the first African-American woman appointed to Surgeon General of the United States?

Joycelyn Elders, 16th Surgeon General of U.S.

by Logan Snook

When Joycelyn Elders was appointed the first African-American woman appointed as the U.S. Surgeon General, she took the bull by the horns. Elders controversial views on sexual education and drug legalization caused for a tempestuous time in office, and she resigned from the post after only 15 months. While the controversy of her viewpoints severely affected her political career, Elder’s told CNN in a 2005 interview: “If I had to do it all over again today, I would do it the same way.”National_3

Elders was born in rural Arkansas in 1933. She was one of 8 children who lived in a home with no running water, and from the age of 5, split her time working picking cotton with her siblings and attending a segregated school 13 miles away. Elder’s never met a doctor until she attended college, which inspired her to study Biology. This is where everything took off.

After graduating from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1952, she worked as a nurse’s aid in a Veterans Administration hospital in Milwaukee. In 1953, she joined the Army, where she spent 3 years training as a physical therapist. After leaving the army, Elder’s enrolled at the University of Arkansas Medical School, where she earned her M.D. degree in 1960, completed an internship at the University of Minnesota Hospital, and held her residency in pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center. She later went back and completed an M.S. in Biochemistry in 1967.

Elder’s has remained close to the University of Arkansas Medical Center for most of her career. In 1967 she joined faculty as an assistant professor in pediatrics, where she was promoted to professor in 1976. During her time here, she became increasingly interested in endocrinology, and became the first person in the state of Arkansas to become board certified in pediatric endocrinology in 1978, and became an expert on childhood sexual development.

In 1987, then-Governor of Arkansas bill Clinton appointed her as head of the Arkansas Department of Health, where she mandated a K-12 curriculum covering sexual education, substance-abuse awareness, and promoting self-esteem in children and teenagers. She nearly expanded sexual education, doubled the rate of immunizations for toddlers, and dramatically increased the number of early childhood screenings. In 1993, President Clinton appointed her as Surgeon General, where she continued to advocate for health and sexual education in schools, and promoted universal health coverage.

Because of these outspoken and controversial views, primarily on sex education, Elder’s was highly criticized by conservatives which led to her resignation after only 15 months in office. She returned to the University of Arkansas Medical Center as professor of pediatrics.

Now retired from University of Arkansas Medical Center, Elder’s is still working to improve public health education in the U.S. You can learn more about her in her autobiography, Joycelyn Elders, M.D.: From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America.

Today’s Trivia: Who was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri in 2006?


by Logan Snook

We may be on the national level, but we’re bringing things back to Missouri this week!
Claire McCaskill was the first woman National_2elected the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, but that’s not the only “first” in her book. You may be noticing that many of the women featured throughout our Women’s History Month Trivia Contest have been the first of something – paving the way and creating new opportunities for the next generation, and showing young women to follow their aspirations. McCaskill has disproved stereotypes and bias throughout her career, showing her strength and commitment to public service and government.
Born in rural Missouri, McCaskill comes from a family of devoted public servants. From an early age, McCaskill was encouraged to participate in politics by her parents. Her father, a World War II veteran, served as Missouri State Insurance Commissioner, and her mother was the first woman on the Columbia City Council.
McCaskill attended the University of Missouri for her bachelors and J.D. degrees. Upon graduation, McCaskill began working in the public sector, a place she has spent most of her career. In 1982, McCaskill was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, where she served until 1988. She was elected Jackson County Prosecutor in 1992, becoming the first woman ever elected to the position, raising 3 children under the age of 4 simultaneously. While in this position, she worked to end violent crimes in the county, establishing a domestic violence unit to help prevent domestic violence, sex violence, and child abuse, and created one of the first drug courts in the nation. She served as Jackson County Prosecutor until 1999, when she was appointed Missouri State Auditor.
In 2004, McCaskill ran for Missouri Governor, and was the first person to defeat a sitting governor in a primary. In 2006, McCaskill was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, a position she still holds today.
McCaskill is a proponent of a wide array of issues, ranging from military and veteran’s issues, to sexual assault, to middle-class economics. During her first term as Senator, she “waged a successful six-year effort to rein in wasteful wartime contracting practices in Iraq and Afghanistan, ” and has tirelessly worked to help those who have face sexual assault, including reforms to the way the military handles sexual assaults, on top of finding ways to help military veterans. This term, she has launched investigations involving fraud and waste in an Army National Guard recruiting program, financial management at the U.S. Energy Department, and continued her work in preventing sexual violence in higher education.
One of the favorite stories I read about McCaskill involved her joining with Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, in her movement to encourage young women to be more assertive in professional interactions. McCaskill strongly believes “that ambition and taking risks should be part of our feminine personality.” She recounted a story when she first began running for state legislature, and it goes as follows.
McCaskill was campaigning door to door, and a man answered the door. After hearing her campaign pitch, this is what happened:

“He looked me up and down and then said, ‘Well, you’re too pretty, you’re too young, your hair’s too long. They’ll eat you alive in Jefferson City. You should not be in politics. Go find yourself a husband.’ ” And slammed the door in her face.
“That slammed door has been a huge motivation in my life,” McCaskill said, urging her audience to “find your own slammed door that will push you to achieve great things.”

McCaskill was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and spent the last few weeks receiving treatment in her home base in St. Louis. She returned back to the Senate last week, tweeting: “Back in DC. Feeling strong. Ready to work. Thank you all for your support! #fightlikeagirl #beatcancer.”

Today’s Trivia: Who was the first woman appointed Justice to the US Supreme Court?

by Logan Snook

Let’s start off the final week of Women’s History Month a woman who was a staple to the U.S. Supreme Court – Sandra Day O’Connor!

Not only was O’Connor the first woman appointed as Justice to the Supreme Court, but she was known for holding the deciding vote on many court cases. O’Connor was nominated for by President Ronald Regan in 1981, after promising to appoint the first woman to the highest Supreme Court during his campaign.

O’Connor’s early childhood years were spent on her family’s cattle ranch in Texas – living in a house with no running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing. She credits these formative years of her life to her success, teaching her the importance of simplicity, practicality, hard work, and independence. It was here her aspirations to become a lawyer began, fueled by encouragement from her father.

She attended Stanford University for her undergraduate, as well as her LL.B, completing her schooling in 1951. Following her graduation, O’Connor was relentless in applying for positions. She was denied interviews with 40 law firms – all on the basis that she was a woman. Not to be deterred, O’Connor continued to send out applications, and was hired as the Deputy County Attorney of San Mateo County, California from 1952–1953, and Civilian Attorney for the Quartermaster Market Center in Frankfurt, Germany from 1954–1957. O’Connor returned from Germany in 1958 to Arizona, where she worked in private practice before being appointed Assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965–1969. From 1969-1975, she served two terms in the Arizona State Senate. In 1973, she was elected the first female state majority leader for the Republican party. From 1975-1979, O’Connor was appointed Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court, and from here she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1979-1981.

Anyone else blown away? Did I almost mention that O’Connor is also a mother of 3 sons, and married to a fellow lawyer?

At the time of her nomination, O’Connor was 51 years old, receiving unanimous approval from the Senate. Despite this, and despite her incredible career, she did not feel was fit for the position – a notion she soon proved to be false. She held this position for a quarter of a century, retiring in 2006. During her tenure, O’Connor was known for being a decisive swing vote on many occasions, providing the deciding vote for many cases.

O’Connor created an incredible legacy for women, and inspired many to pursue their goals. When she appointed to the Supreme Court, 36% of students attending law school were woman. By her retirement in 2006, that number rose to 48%. She is still active today, lecturing on the government and legal issues across the country.



O’Connor’s life goal is: “Work at work worth doing.” Safe to safe she has lived up that.

Today’s Trivia: Who was an appellate Court Judge assigned to redistrict Missouri’s state legislative map on 2011?

By Mirella Flores

Lisa White Hardwick_3.15.2016Honorable Lisa White Hardwick is a Kansas City native. She received her Bachelor’s from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 1982 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1985.

Upon graduation, Hardwick joined the Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a U.S. private law firm based in Kansas City and the 87th largest in the U.S. (according to The National Law Journal, 2012). Hardwick was a partner at this firm from 1992 to 2000. During this same time, Hardwick also served on the Jackson County Legislature.

In 2001, Hardwick was appointed as a judge of the Jackson County 16th Circuit Court, where she served from January 2001 to May 2011. Hardwick left this position because she was appointed as a judge on then Missouri Court of Appeals Western District. The Missouri Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court for the state of Missouri, which means it is an intermediate step between the trial courts and the courts of last resort in the state. The Western District Court of Appeals is the state’s largest intermediate appellate court. This court usually handles around 40% of the appellate caseload in Missouri. Hardwick retrained this position at the 2002 general election, and again at the 2014 general election. We can expect the Honorable Lisa White Hardwick to maintain her position in the Missouri Court of Appeals until 2026.

The results from the 2010 Census showed an increase in population and regional shifts within Missouri. This meant the state legislative map needed to be reconfigured. At first, bipartisan citizens appointed to this task. Upon them failing to reach agreement, Hardwick and five other appellate court judges were appointed by the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission to reconfigure Missouri’s state legislative map within 90-days. Under Hardwick’s leadership as the Commission Chair, they proposed a redistricting plan for the Senate and for the House. The changes were not welcomed, as the new district boundaries would change the complexion in Southern Missouri. The Commission’s Senate redistricting plan was struck down in court, and it was also determined that the Commission lacked the authority to draw a second map. A new commission was convened to make a second attempt. The new commission issued a final state Senate district map on March 12, 2012.

Hardwick’s public service efforts have not gone unnoticed. Some of Hardwick’s honors include receiving the 40 Under 40 Award by Ingram’s Magazine and the Up and Comers Award from the Kansas City Business Journal.

Today’s Trivia: Who was the first woman Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party?

By Mirella Flores

Today is March 1, 2016, which means it is officially Women’s History Month!! The national theme for this year is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” As such, we kick-off our 2016 Women’s History Month Trivia by recognizing Geraldine Ferraro.

Public Domain image of Geraldine Ferraro from

Geraldine Ferraro began her public service career as an assistant district attorney in Queens County, New York. While in this position, Ferraro created the Special Victims Bureau. This bureau was in charge of persecuting a variety of cases ranging from crimes against children and the elderly to sexual offenses and intimate partner abuse.

In 1978, Ferraro ran and was elected as State Representative for New York. During her three terms in office, Ferraro advocated for women’s right by urging the passage of the Equal Rights Amendments. She was also one of the few women in Congress at the time. Ferraro also served on several committees, some of them including the Public Works Committee and the Budget Committee.

Ferraro was also highly involved with the Democratic Party. As the Secretary of the Democratic Caucus, Ferraro was a part of planning the party’s future direction and policies. Ferraro was further recognized by becoming the Chair of the Democratic Party Platform Committee for its 1984 national convention. This sounds like a big deal because it is!

Ferraro’s accomplishments were further recognized when she was chosen to be the running mate for Walter Mondale, the 1984 Democratic presidential candidate. Ferraro made history as she became the first woman to receive the vice presidential nomination from one of the country’s major parties.

As history has it, Mondale and Ferraro did not will the election. Ferarro wrote a memoir, Ferraro: My Story, which covers her experience as the first and only woman nominated by a major party to run on the presidential ticket. Her book touches on the collective political power and the difference women office holders can and do make to public policy. It would make a great read for Women’s History Month!