Women Who Shake Up Their Industries

Three impactful women have made huge accomplishments in their industries.

Essentials > Women Who Shake Up Their Industries
 Women Who Shake Up Their Industries
Ibtihaj Muhammad (left), Vanessa Brantley Newton (middle), and Misty Copeland (right) are three remarkable women.

Fajr Eutsey

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements of women. People may embrace this month by watching documentaries, hosting events, supporting female authors, or reading insightful information. The three individuals mentioned in this article provide a glimpse into the array of accomplishments that women contribute to society. 

Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first Muslim woman wearing a hijab to represent the United States at the Summer Olympics as a sabre fencer. Muhammad made history by taking home the bronze medal for the team at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.  

According to her website, she earned a dual major in African Studies and International Relations from Duke University. Despite the accomplishment, her hijab intimidated others in the workplace when searching for employment after graduation. Through hardships such as sexism, racial prejudice, social isolation, and religious discrimination, Muhammad had the willpower to remain confident. This confidence and resilience, combined with much practice, ultimately landed her a position on the United States women’s sabre team.  

Muhammad exemplifies the necessity for diversity in sports. She has continued to inspire others through her memoir “Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream,” and her children’s books that explore topics such as Islam and friendship.

Continuing with the topic of athleticism, it’s only right to mention American Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland. As mentioned on her website, Copeland began her ballet studies when she was 13. In September 2000, her skills earned her a spot in the American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. 

Within the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland became their second African American female Soloist. This occurred in August 2007 and this honor was the first to happen in two decades. Copeland was later promoted to principal dancer in June 2015, making her the first African American woman to have that position in the company.

Copeland has an extensive resume filled with the results of her consistency and dedication to the art of ballet. To learn more about her life story and all she’s accomplished, students can visit her website

Vanessa Brantley Newton is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator who has a love for all things vintage. With children’s selection of books being based on colorful and creative illustrations, this author’s work will always catch their attention. Brantley-Newton’s college background in fashion and children’s illustration led to her artistic style which consists of mixed media accents, hand lettering, and collages. 

For Brantley-Newton, it’s important to include children of all ethnic backgrounds in her work because she wants them to resonate with her books and feel empowered as they see themselves in the pages. Brantley-Newton has illustrated over a dozen books and she makes a new mark in history every time a child opens one of them. Her books have won numerous awards including CCBC Choice, Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and The Jane Addams Peace for Children’s Books Honor. 

The women in this article are examples of the different paths women have taken to make a positive impact on the world. Kean University encourages students, faculty, and staff to celebrate women and appreciate those who are entrepreneurs, activists, and visionaries in their unique ways. 

Happy Women’s History Month Cougars!