AU Press Releases

AU Women’s Academy hosting women’s overall health, wellness conference

Alfred University’s Women’s Leadership Academy will host Women’s Conference 2011, a day devoted to women’s overall health and wellness, on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Conference registration will take place in Susan Howell Hall; discussions will be held in the Kenyon-Allen Room and the Knight Club in Powell Campus Center.

The cost of attendance is $10 for AU students and $15 for non-AU students. For more information or to pre-register for the conference, email

The conference will open with a welcome address by Patricia Debertolis, assistant dean for New Student Programs. Debertolis graduated from Alfred University in 1995 with a master of science in education degree in college student development.

The conference will offer two discussion sessions on a variety of topics, along with a catered lunch and a keynote speaker. There will be a panel discussion at the end of the day followed by closing remarks.

The keynote speaker will be Judith Colla, an epidemiologist with a doctorate in science. She is also a certified professional coach and practitioner of Tai Chi who works for the second largest food co-operative in the country. Colla will speak about the food industry and its effects on health.

Morning session speakers will include Frederick Marks, Erika Clark, Elyse Flynn and Eva Benedict. Flynn, who will lead a discussion about self-defense, is an adjunct instructor of martial arts at AU and owns and operates Alfred Martial Arts in Alfred Station. Benedict, the president and CEO of Jones Memorial Hospital, Wellsville, will be speaking about the challenges women face in attaining leadership positions in the health care industry.

Afternoon session speakers will include Nancy Furlong, Michael Wohl, Lynda Opiela, and Sarah Covell. Furlong, who will discuss first aid, is a professor of psychology at AU and an active member of the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Co., Alfred. Wohl, a life coach, spiritual adviser, and tranquility meditation instructor in the Buffalo and Western New York region, will speak about the practice of meditation. Opiela owner of T-N-T Gym in Wellsville for 13 years, has been involved weight training for 35 years, has taught Step Aerobics and Pilates for 10 years, and has been offering Zumba classes over the past year. Covell is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Certified Counselor who has worked extensively with domestic abuse survivors. She will be speaking about relational abuse.

Kathy Woughter, vice president of Student Affairs at AU, will close the conference with a speech titled "Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First." Woughter holds a master’s degree in Counseling from AU and a bachelor’s degree in biology and secondary education from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Kathy serves on both the Wellsville Area and Hornell Chambers of Commerce and is a member of the regional board of directors for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

The Women’s Leadership Academy’s mission for this conference is to "bring awareness of women’s health and wellness, educate the public on medical practice and research, build unity among college students and community members, and provide an avenue to medical advocacy for participants."