LEWISTON – Lewis-Clark State College alum Liz Chavez, professor Heather Van Mullem, and student Lizeth (Liz) Serecero were all honored during the college’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference at the Williams Conference Center on campus Friday.
The LC State Women’s Leadership Conference awards honor a member of the community, an LC State employee and an LC State student who exemplify leadership in their field of expertise or workplace, serve as a role model to other women and girls, who give back to and are respected in the community, and who advocate for positive change to close the leadership gap for women. The winners are chosen by a selection committee consisting of community leaders and LC State personnel.
Chavez was honored with the Community Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree from LC State in 1970 and taught more than 30 years in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, including several years at Lincoln Middle School in Clarkston.
Chavez has been a champion for both the college and community. She continues to serve on the LC State Foundation Board, where she was board president during 2017-19. She also was named the winner of the Marion Shinn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Sponsored by the LC State Alumni Association, the award recognizes outstanding contributions of an alum who has shown long-term dedication to the college and community.
She and her husband Jerry were honored last year by the Warrior Athletic Association with its Lifetime Warrior Award, which recognizes an individual or couple who have helped raise awareness, funds, or promoted the athletic department and/or its programs.
Chavez has served on various college committees, including the last president search, and is a strong supporter of both Warrior athletics and the Center for Arts & History. She also has served various roles in the community, including with Family Promise, League of Women Voters, Valley Transit, and with her church. In 2006, she was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives. She was re-elected in 2008, serving a total of four years.
Van Mullen, who teaches in the Physical, Life, Movement and Sport Sciences Division, was named the winner of the Campus Award. She started teaching at LC State in 2005 and became a division chair in 2012, a position she held until 2019 when she decided to also attend law school while teaching.
Van Mullen holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree from Humboldt State and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington. She teaches primarily in the fields of sports studies and health education at LC State.
Van Mullem has won both national and college awards. She was selected as the Society of Health and Physical Educators’ 2021-22 Collegiate Educator of the Year for the state of Idaho. In 2019, she was selected as the winner of American Kinesiology Association’s Jerry R. Thomas Distinguished Leadership Award in the Undergraduate Degree Granting University category. In 2016, she was one of 25 selected to participate in the inaugural class of The American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ Emerging Leaders Program.
At the college, she has received the President’s Award for Excellence in Diversity & Cross-Cultural Understanding and the President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, among other honors. She has served on or chaired more than 30 committees at the college and helped organize the annual LC State Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration.
Serecero is the winner of the LC State Student Award. She is majoring in elementary education with minors in middle school math and Spanish. She also has worked at the Learning Resource Center on campus for nearly three years as a tutor.
Serecero was born in Mexico and her family eventually moved to Kamiah and started a Mexican restaurant where she worked through high school. She was active at Kamiah High where she served as the student body president and earned the student of the year award.
A first-generation college student, Serecero remained active at LC state. She is co-chair of the Warrior Entertainment Board, is a tour guide for Residence Life, has worked in the advising center, and is active in the Spanish Club. She also is an AmeriCorps member and participates in the college’s Work Scholars program.
After graduation, Serecero would like to teach in the Lewiston area.