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ASU women to receive Girl Scout World awards

November 25, 2008

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack and Katie Barclay Penkoff will receive Girl Scout World Awards at an event on Dec. 6 that pays tribute to outstanding Arizona women and their contributions to their communities.

The World Awards will be presented in seven categories at the event from 10:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa on Saturday, Dec. 6. Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is among the honorees.

Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Public Events, started her career in the arts in the 1970s when she became program coordinator for the Fine Arts Series at Colorado State University. Out of approximately 200 candidates for the position, Jennings-Roggensack was told that she was chosen because she possessed something that couldn’t be taught - passion for the arts.

She has shared her passion ever since at places such as Santa Fe, N.M., where she worked for Western States Arts Federation and at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. She came to ASU in 1992 where she oversees ASU Gammage and Kerr Cultural Center. Since joining the university, Jennings-Roggensack organized the Beyond series, which brought national and international performers to the Valley. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on the Arts, where she served as ambassador until 2004. She also served as co-chair for the 2004 presidential debate at ASU.

“I’ve been here for 16 years. I was a military brat who never lived anywhere. This is the longest that I’ve ever lived and worked anywhere,” she says.

Although the downturn in the economy has made her job more challenging, Jennings-Roggensack still enjoys connecting communities and individuals to the arts.  

She also has a strong connection to scouting.

“Scouting was a big part of my life. My whole family was involved with scouting,” she says.

From wearing her uniform to school even when it wasn’t cool to having her home serve as “cookie central,” Jennings-Roggensack loved earning badges, especially those that had to do with the arts.

“Scouting taught me a lot about working toward goals and that everyone had a story to tell,” she says.

And the World of the Arts award that she’ll receive on Dec. 6 is not only an affirmation of her life’s work, but of her longtime dedication to scouting.

“I am so honored,” she says. Katie Barclay Penkoff will receive the World of the Future award during the ceremony for her work in the Youth in Transition Service Learning program where she directs ASU students who work with incarcerated teens at the Black CanyonSchool and Adobe Mountain School that are operated by the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.  

Student mentors meet with incarcerated teens twice weekly to participate in activities, work on plans for re-entering society and talk about what’s going on in their lives. Youth in Transition was developed in 2004 as an outgrowth of another program for incarcerated women called Adelante Jovencitas or “Moving Young Women Forward” that was spearheaded by the Girl Scouts, Arizona Cactus-Pine Council; Catholic Charities, DIGNITY Services/Diversion Programs; and the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

The program’s sponsor is the Arizona Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Youth in Transition’s goal is to help young women successfully re-enter the community, thereby reducing recidivism rates. Mentors work with the young women and men they are paired with while they are incarcerated and after their release.

Mentors work with incarcerated teens on issues such as creating a re-entry plan, writing a resume and finding a place to live before they are released. Mentors keep in touch with the girls and boys after their release, helping them deal with issues and problems. Although some young women and men have gone back to their former lives, others have made real progress by earning their General Equivalency Diploma (GED), securing employment and staying sober.

“We have seen the impact of the Youth in Transition Program at many levels,” Barclay Penkoff says.

For more information about the awards, go to