It’s International Women’s Day, and we want to highlight just a few Huntsville women who have blazed a trial for others to follow. From politics to science to the nonprofit sector, Huntsville has scores of women who work every day to make our area better.
Below, read about six trailblazers you need to know about.
Ranae Bartlett, Madison City Councilor, District 5
Born in Chuncheon, South Korea, Bartlett moved to the U.S. at the age of four. She moved to Madison in 2003 and has been involved in several facets of the community since, from serving on the Madison Board of Education from 2011-2020 to her involvement with the Junior League of Huntsville and the Madison City Chess League. In addition to representing District 5, Bartlett serves on the finance committee.
Violet Edwards, Madison County District 6 Commissioner
In 2020, Edwards became the first Black woman elected to the Madison County Commission. She has degrees from the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville and is involved in several area nonprofits, including Christmas Charities Year-Round and the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless.
Science + tech
Ghunwa Nakouzi, PhD, Director, HudsonAlpha Clinical Services Lab
Nakouzi was just named director of the HudsonAlpha Clinical Services Lab, which offers genomic testing and genome sequencing for patients seeking diagnoses. Beginning in 2018, she acted as a remote assistant director for the lab while also serving assistant medical director of the Biochemical Genetics Lab at the Cleveland Clinic. A fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics, Nakouzi has a double specialty in both molecular and biochemical clinical assay development, which is important when treating patients in the lab.
Jody Singer, Director, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Singer became Marshall’s first ever female director when she was appointed in 2018. Singer started working for NASA in 1986, when she joined the Space Shuttle Program Office. She also served as the first female project manager for the Reusable Solid Rocket Booster Project and has worked on programs like Ares and Space Launch System.
K.C. Bertling, Co-Founder, Legacy 4 Korean War Veterans Foundation
If you’ve been to an event honoring veterans in the Huntsville area, you’ve probably run into Bertling. She and her husband, Sam, founded the Legacy 4 Korean War Veterans Foundation in 2011 as a way to honor those who fought in America’s “Forgotten War.” Bertling has also published an autobiography, “A Chance to be Born,” that tells the story of her life from her birth in Korea to her career as an Army civilian.
Liz Hurley, WAFF 48 Anchor and creator of Liz Hurley Ribbon Run
In 1999, a year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Hurley established the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund at Huntsville Hospital to provide breast cancer education and to purchase more diagnostic equipment for Huntsville Hospital. The Liz Hurley Ribbon Run was established in 2004 as a fundraising event for the fund. Now, more than $6 million has been raised through the fund, providing Huntsville Hospital with high-tech equipment like 3D mammography machines, biopsy equipment and more.