Influential women make a difference within Baylor community

Acrobatics and Tumbling Coach, Felecia Mulkey, looks to lead her team to their fourth national championship. Photo Courtesy of Baylor Photography

By Micaela Freeman | Staff Writer

The influence women have within the Baylor community is not only evident within academia as well as in athletics. Baylor has brought about significant changes for women such as female presidency, and medical intervention by women in science.

Baylor is home to several dedicated and influential women, including Baylor’s first female president, Dr. Linda Livingstone, acrobatics and tumbling Coach, Felecia Mulkey and Distinguished Professor of Biology, Dr. Maria Bottazzi.

Beginning in 1981, March being recognized as Women’s History Month brings awareness to women’s rights and equality. It has been annually recognized by Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama.

Bottazzi has established her goals using her science platform and said she is compelled to empower others by recognizing the future of science.

“The notion that the young generations are those who will transform this world into a better place,” Bottazzi said. “My philosophy is focused on motivating and empowering my colleagues and the new generations of young students and scientists, creating strong inter- and intra-relationships and contributing positively to scientific efficiency and global health.”

Bottazzi said her knowledge in science has aided her in contributing to science and promoting changes in the younger generation’s values and attitudes.

Bottazzi, who is also associate dean of National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, is a published author and has conducted professional research in tropical medicine and vaccines.

Felecia Mulkey came to Baylor in 2014 to coach the Acrobatics and Tumbling team.

The Acrobatics and Tumbling team is three time national champs, and will compete for a four-peat in April. In 2017, Mulkey’s squad went 9-1. The squad also finished the season with eight straight wins to secure the program’s third straight National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) national title.

Mulkey said the female dominated sport allows a separate opportunity for girls who seek college level competition.

“Acrobatics and tumbling is a sport that was created by coaches and administrators who saw a need for more female competitive opportunities at the collegiate level within a particular skill set,” Mulkey said.

Mulkey has contributed to not only Baylor’s national championship team, but also to the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association NCATA. Mulkey has helped create the point system practiced today in competitions.

Mulkey said she is excited about the expansion of the sport and the atmosphere it creates for female athletes. The sport, now popularized across the country, is a part of many athletic departments.

“We are continuing to grow and expand. Every school that starts the sport is 24 new opportunities for women,” Mulkey said.

Mulkey said she aspires to influence females who dream of being athletes and hopes that her team gives the image of success as a female athlete.

“I hope that young girls and women who are training in one of the disciplines listed above can look at our team and say ‘I can do that. I can be a collegiate athlete,’” Mulkey said. “Belief and confidence go hand in hand.”