About Us

The Arizona Women’s History Alliance is a 501(c3) created in 2012 by co-founders Melanie Sturgeon, PhD., Joan Mecham and Ted Hale, PhD.  We work closely with our two affiliate organizations the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame http://azwhf.org and the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail http://www.womensheritagetrail.org  


Our primary goal is to aid in the expansion of Arizona women’s history including research and writing and in increasing public awareness of the experiences and contributions Arizona women from all walks of life and representing our rich and diversified cultural, social, economic and political history have made to the development of Arizona and to the nation.


Melanie Sturgeon, Ph.D.


Retired as the State Archivist and Director of the Arizona State Archives in 2016. Melanie has served as President of the Southwest Oral History Association, the Coordinating Committee for History in Arizona, the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists, the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame, and as Deputy Coordinator of the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board. She also served as a Board member of the Council of State Archivists and the National Association of Government Records Archivists and Administrators. She presently serves on the Boards of the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame, the Central Chapter of the Arizona Historical Society, the Arizona History Convention, the Arizona Archives Alliance, the Coordinating Committee for History in Arizona and the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board.


Joan-Faye Meacham


Joan’s women’s history activities include chairing and later co-chairing the national suffrage statue campaign returning the only suffrage monument to Capitol Rotunda, and President, National Suffrage 75th Anniversary three day commemoration in Washington DC. She has co-founded the National Women’s History Museum, National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, The Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail and the Arizona Women’s History Alliance where she serves as Vice President and board member.

Carrie Gustavson


Carrie Gustavson grew up learning about other cultures and people around the world through the United Nations IAEA program. Her first career as an archaeologist, she received her advanced degrees from UCLA/University of California, Berkeley and the University of Toronto. 25 years ago, Carrie returned to the United States and completed her degree in Museum Studies at Arizona State University. As the Director of the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, Carrie led the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum to state and national recognition for museum excellence and award-winning interactive exhibitory. Under Carrie’s leadership, the Museum became the first rural affiliate nationwide of the Smithsonian Institution’s Affiliation Program. In 2016, the Museum was nominated by Representative McSally for the 2017 National Medal for Museum Service.

Mary Melcher, Ph.D. Secretary 

Mary Melcher, Ph.D. retired in 2017 after a long career in public history.  She has worked for the Arizona Historical Society in Tempe and the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, as well as acting as a contractor for numerous public history projects.  She also was the historian for the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail and is the author of Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Choice in Twentieth-Century Arizona, published by the University of Arizona Press, 2012.

Duku Anokye


Duku Anokye is an Associate Professor of Africana Language, Literature, and Culture, Associate Director of the School of Humanity Arts and Cultural Studies (ShArCS), and Director of New College International Initiatives, office of Interdisciplinary Global Learning and Engagement (IGLE) at Arizona State University. A sociolinguist, her research focuses on African Diaspora orality and literacy practices, folklore, discourse analysis, and oral history with a specialization in Ghanaian culture, religion, storytelling, and dance.

Laurie Boone


Laurie Boone is currently the Special Collections Librarian for the Yuma County Library District. Laurie received her undergraduate degree in International Affairs from Florida State University and a Master’s degree of Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida.

A dedicated public librarian, Laurie is keen to promote and share Arizona women’s history with local communities.

Gloria Cuádraz


Gloria Cuádraz is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University. She publishes and teaches in Most recently, she is co-editor of (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2018and co-editor of (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2017). In 2013, she was awarded the Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar of the Year Award by the Arizona Humanities Council. From 2014-2017, she was co-lead editor of Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.

Catherine L. May


Catherine L. May, Research Historian. Catherine is retired from a 23-year career at SRP where she worked as an archivist, researcher, and writer. She has served multiple history and history-related organizations over the years, particularly in the State of Arizona. She is currently completing her dissertation on the work of faith communities in the Mexico/USA border region.

Anna Ochoa O’Leary, Ph.D. Member

Anna Ochoa O’Leary, Ph.D. is Professor and Head of the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. She is a two-time Fulbright Scholar for research on repatriated migrant women (2007) and students who have returned to Mexico as a result of US deportation policies (2020). She is a Tucson Public Voices Thought Leader Fellowship (2014-2015), and recipient of the YMCA Women on the Move award (2012), and the Raúl H. Castro Institute “Latina Trailblazer” award (2011). Her current research and teaching interests focus on the culture, history and urban politics of Mexican Americans, gender, education, and immigration.

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