Penn State Lehigh Valley professor honored as 2018 Woman of Influence

Lehigh Valley Business honored Nichola D. Gutgold in May
Nichola Gutgold holding a plaque

Nichola D. Gutgold, professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley, was honored at the Sixth Annual Women of Influence awards luncheon last month at Cedar Crest College.

Credit: Nichola Gutgold

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Nichola D. Gutgold, professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley, was honored by Lehigh Valley Business as a 2018 Woman of Influence, alongside 27 other Lehigh Valley women.

Gutgold earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from King’s College, a master of arts degree in speech communication from Bloomsburg University, and a doctorate of philosophy in speech communication from Penn State.

Her early influencers were her teachers who instilled a love of learning in her, and taught her the value of education.

“They were the first professionals I was exposed to, and I was greatly influenced by the devotion they had to their work as educators,” said Gutgold.

Gutgold’s mission is to bring to life the stories of women who are trailblazers, but yet are often not included in history books.

“I am most proud of giving a voice to women who many do not know about. It is a joy and honor to bring their words to life in books, including a children’s book and an upcoming documentary,” said Gutgold. “My mantra 'Speak Up and Speak Well' is carried out both in the classroom and in the research I do about women who have often been left off the history book pages.”

Gutgold was nominated by Anne Alexander, president of Brand Strategies, Inc.

"I think the world of Nikki. She is an amazingly accomplished woman who consistently seeks out new opportunities that advance the women, students and girls around her,” said Alexander. “I am delighted to know Nikki personally and was thrilled to have been able to nominate her."

In addition to her work with students, Gutgold is a distinguished researcher on the rhetoric of women in male-dominated fields, and on how all women can use their voices to lead whatever passionate cause they believe in. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, NPR, PBS and U.S. News and World Report.

Her books include: “Still Paving the Way for Madam President” (2017); “Women in the Academy: Learning From Diverse Career Pathways” (2016); “The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options” (2012); “Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton ‘won’ in 2008” (2009); “Seen and Heard: The Women of Television News” (2008); and “Paving the Way for Madam President” (2006). With Molly Wertheimer she co-authored “Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart” (2004). With Ted Sheckels and Diana Carlin she co-authored “Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced” (2012).

She recently traveled to Zagreb to interview the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, about the barriers Grabar-Kitarović has faced as the youngest and first woman ever elected to lead Croatia. The interview will be part of a new book on women world leaders to be released in 2019.

Gutgold also serves on the Literacy Board of Directors advancement committee and mentors students, especially those who are first generation, to expand their future goals. She recently received one of the Alumni/Student Awards for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State, and was named a 2018 Penn State Teaching Fellow. Last year, she received the 2017 King’s College Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.

The Sixth Annual Women of Influence awards luncheon was held in May at Cedar Crest College for the 2018 honorees and a total of 400 attendees.


Dennille Schuler

Public Relations Specialist
Penn State Lehigh Valley

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