Women Warriors

2023 Women Warriors

The 2023 Women Warriors event held on November 6, 2023 was very successful with nearly 100 attendees. Five women were nominated by community members and honored for their service. Three nominees were gifted a Quilt of Valor and two received bracelets. 


MTSU News: AAUW, MTSU spotlight women in military at special Veterans Day event

Thank you to our sponsors - AAUW of Murfreesboro, TN, MTSU June Anderson Center, and MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.


Five Women Warriors nominees standing in front of a blue background. From left to right: Dr. Joann Neubauer, Anne Anderson, DeAnne Hathaway, Twylla Peebles, and Kimberly King.

(Image from MTSU News)
From left to right: Dr. Joann Neubauer (Army), Anne Anderson (Army), DeAnne Hathaway (Army), Twylla Peebles (Navy) and Kimberly King (Navy).

Kimberly A. King

Nominated by Perry Louden

Kim is retired from the U.S. Navy as a Chief Petty Officer. She served from 1985 to 2007 as a Naval Aircrewman (Loadmaster) on large transport planes.

She currently serves as the Commander of VFW Post 10904 and VFW District 5 in Tennessee comprised of 10 VFW Posts. All 10 posts this year were awarded the VFW National All-American Award and the VFW Department of Tennessee All-State Award. First time in State history.

Her post has won the All-American National award 5 years in a row and the All-State award, 6 years in a row. She says she has a great post and that their achievements are not entirely her doing and that she is very proud of everyone in our Post and District.

Kim is married to David King. Kim calls him a first-rate husband and her best asset hands down!

Twylla S. Peebles

Nominated by Elaine Jenkins

Twylla joined the military in November 1979 in Miami, Florida and completed basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. This is where she saw snow for the first time! She trained in Fort Belvoir, Virginia to be a photolithographer—a printer in layman’s terms. After using those skills at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas she decided to train as a 71L Military Clerk. She also served in Fort Lewis, WA, 100th Division in Nashville, TN and the 81st Regional Command in Birmingham, AL.

Military assignments were Chief Paralegal, Equal Opportunity Advisor, Senior Advisor/Recruiter, Senior Administrative Assistant, Sexual Assault Coordinator, Sexual Assault Advocate, Sexual Response Coordinator, Certified Mediator EEO Counselor, and Equal Opportunity Advisor.

Military Deployment Tours:

Operation Enduring Freedom, 2003-2004, with HQ 2145th, Fort Benning, GA, as Chief Paralegal.

Afghanistan, 2013-2014, with HHC 333rd MP Battalion, Farmingdale, NY, as Senior Equal Opportunity Advisor, Sexual Assault Coordinator and Certified Mediator.

Birmingham, AL, 2015-2016, Army Reserve Recruitment Initiative.

Military Awards: Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Medal, NATO Medal and numerous other medals.

Twylla retired from the Army in 2017 after over 30 years of service. She is currently working with the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division as an Investigator. She is the Commander of Music City Women Veterans of American Chapter 20.

DeAnne M. Hathaway

Nominated by Danielle Gruber

DeAnne left for boot camp the year she graduated high school. Her first duty station as an 18-year-old was a small Island in the British Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia. After her first year there she came back to the states and was on the USS Holland, a submarine tender out of Charleston, S.C. She reenlisted and headed to the USS Emory S. Land in Norfolk, VA. In 1998 she was stationed at United States Joint Forces Command where she worked for over 24 hours straight during 9/11 providing video teleconferencing for this command to communicate with commands across the world to combat this war on terrorism. She then went to Little Creek Naval base to work on surveillance and maintenance on small patrol ships. She picked up Chief Petty Officer in 2005 and after initiation she deployed to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa to help maintain security, stability and humanitarian efforts across the region. From Djibouti she was selected to go to Kampala, Uganda and help provide training for the Ugandan Army that were fighting to stop the genocide happening in Northern Uganda and the Congo.

She returned to Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit in Norfolk where she was an instructor of the Stabilized Glide Slope Indicator system and completed her military career after 21 years of service. Service medals include the Defense Meritorious Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

After retiring from the United States Navy in 2007, she and her family moved here to Murfreesboro TN where she began working at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic School where her daughter went to school and she worked there for 15 years, Her greatest joy was being a football, basketball, baseball, track and field, swim and volleyball “mom” who volunteered to be a part of anything and everything to ensure the kids had everything they needed, and they can always look over and see her cheering them on!!

She just recently began working at the MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans Center where she can begin to help veterans and their dependents to reach their full potential and get their college degree.

Anne Anderson

Nominated by Stuart Fowler

Anne graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1987 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. While assigned to the 92nd Engineer Battalion, Anne served as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer. Her first mission was to Honduras where she worked with her platoon to build an orphanage near Palmerola Air Base (now Soto Cano Air Base). In addition, the battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia and Anne worked with her unit to prepare for Desert Storm. In 1991, Anne completed the officer Advanced Course at Fort Leonard Wood and then transitioned to Individual Ready Reserve status. In June 1999, Anne was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army. After working in the apparel industry for a few years,

Anne returned to school to earn a MBA from the University of Tulsa in 1998 and a PhD in Finance in 2003 from the University of Arizona. Since 2003, she has worked in Academia spending time at Lehigh University, MTSU, and Heidelberg University where she now serves as Dean. While at MTSU, Anne served as faculty advisor for the Daniels Center. Anne has taken on many leadership roles and strives to help others in any way she can, helping them to succeed in their endeavors.

Dr. Joann Neubauer

Dr. Neubauer enlisted in the Army in 1991 with a health professional scholarship and was honorably discharged in 2000. While in the Army she served as Chief Resident for one year and later became head of the Internal Medicine Clinic for several years. Upon discharge, she went into a group practice in Minnesota, where she later served as Chief of the Internal Medicine Department. During her time in Minnesota, she was the physician in charge of woman’s health seminars and community events along with women’s health events for immigrants. In 2020, after leaving private practice, she returned to government service working in the VA health system.

Dr. Neubauer was nominated by Sheryl Sweat who said, “Dr. Neubauer has been a welcomed addition to the Women Veterans healthcare at the Murfreesboro VA. Her dedication to women’s health is commendable and she understands women’s needs and advocates for quality care. She is intelligent and kind and takes time to explain information to her patients without demeaning or belittling them.”


2022 Women Warriors

The 2022 Women Warriors event was a huge success with over 85 people in attendance. All women veterans received swag and gifts. Thank you to all our volunteers and donors


Daily News Journal: Warm embrace: Female veterans honored during MTSU's Women Warriors ceremony

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Jennifer Vedral-Baron, RN, MN, ARNP, NP-C, FAANP, FACHE

Jennifer Vedral-Baron has over 35 years of experience in healthcare as a clinician, healthcare executive, military leader and chief executive in medical centers, headquarters and military command environments. With a proven track record of improving clinical operations, transforming cultures, engaging team members and developing effective leaders, she had led immensely successful teams in a variety of settings.

Jennifer has an innate ability to understand organizational needs, challenges, strengths and opportunities in order to strategically set goals and achieve them. Her expertise is on coaching and developing executives, front-line leaders and staff by re-engaging them in their purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference. Jennifer brings expertise to all healthcare environments through her years as an administrator and clinically active nurse practitioner.

Prior to joining Huron, Jennifer was the Health System Director at the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, Tennessee where she led 4500 staff across two states and 21 facilities in the care delivery for over 120,000 Veterans. Jennifer joined the VA after 30 years as a Nurse Corps Officer in the United States Navy completing two command tours, three headquarters tours and led the medical unit responsible for the care of the President of the United States at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.


Seven female Veterans left to right Kelley Barnes, Anna Marie Butler, Pat Cooper, Karlie Franks, Anna Mapps-Stanley, Erica McMurray and Christy Sigler were honored Nov. 1, 2022

These seven female Veterans left to right Kelley Barnes, Anna Marie Butler, Pat Cooper, Karlie Franks, Anna Mapps-Stanley, Erica McMurray and Christy Sigler were honored during the MTSU event Women Warriors, that celebrated Women Veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022 in MTSU's Sam H. Ingram Building. Photo by Helen Comer, The Daily News Journal

Kelley Barnes

Nominated by MTSU 2003 Alum and current graduate student Kimberly Hair-Howard

Kelley pursued her dream of enlisting in the United States Navy after high school. She became part of VF-211, which was an F-14 Tomcat squadron stationed in Virginia Beach, VA. After establishing herself in the squadron, she was tasked with picking the skill path she wanted. After visiting a couple of shops, she came across a shop that said, “This is a man’s job, you couldn’t do what we do here so move along little girl.” She knew then THAT was the path she wanted because she would not be told, “You can’t." They really put her to the test but she became one of the first women to work on F-14 engines and fuel systems as an Aviation Machinist Mate. She was deployed on a world cruise on the USS Nimitz, which was interrupted, and they were sent to the Persian Gulf for Operation Southern Watch/Iraqi Freedom. After serving for four years, she was told to “get a hysterectomy or medically separate from the service” and “You won’t be able to have children.” Again, she did not want to be told “You can’t.” She was actually pregnant when she signed her honorable discharge papers and she is the proud mom of three children. While being home alone with three kids while her husband was away at work, she decided to teach herself how to bake and sculpt cakes. Kelley later turned this hobby into a thriving business and she is now the owner of Whisk and the Whimsy. When the Women Warriors event was announced she volunteered to donate desserts for the event before she even knew she would be nominated. Kelley says her motto comes from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She says, “As long as I keep the faith and keep picking myself up, nothing will keep me down. This motto has brought me through much in my life, as well as a strong support system. My family is everything to me!”

Anna Marie Butler

Nominated by Toni Butler Click of MTSU, Anna's sister

In 2007, Anna Marie was diagnosed with ALL leukemia after being on active duty for over 15 years. She was sent from her duty station at Ft. Bragg, NC to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, DC. She received blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and radiation. By December 2007, she received a stem cell donation. That is just the beginning of her story. She overcame leukemia! During her healing, she completed her BS in Business Administration/IT Management at Colorado Technical University. She retired from the Army in 2014 and moved from the DC/Maryland area to Murfreesboro, TN. She has served the community by helping with the Cold Patrol and participating in events of volunteerism. She was also a caretaker for our father, Wayne Butler (retired USAF) and our mother, Anna, at the end of their lives. Anna Marie attended the Kenneth Copeland Bible College in Newark, TX and graduated with a 4.0 Summa Cum Laude. Toni said, “I know her as a warrior and I'm blessed to call her my sister.”

Patricia Cooper

Nominated by CoreCivic

Patty Cooper is a Human Resource Professional with over 27 years both in Military Service and Federal Service and currently is the Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for CoreCivic. She is a Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and spent 20 years in the Air Force culminating in her retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. During her time in the Air Force she led Elements, Flights, Squadron and was a Strategic Planner in the Pentagon. She also held Congressional Liaison positions, and a Joint assignment with the Joint IED Defeat Organization. Following her retirement, she spent time as a lobbyist before joining the Federal Service as a GS-14 Director of Human Resources for the Air Force International Affairs Directorate in the Pentagon. She resigned from Federal Service when her husband retired from the Navy and they made the decision to relocate to Nashville Tennessee. Her desire to work with Veterans continued, and she became a career counselor for the Tennessee National Guard. CoreCivic approached her with an opportunity to increase Veteran Recruitment and she made the transition to the private sector in 2020. Since then, she has been a Veteran Focused Recruiter, a Facility Recruiter, a Director of Talent Acquisition, and was recently promoted to the Senior Director role. She is married to Michael Cooper, a 24 year Veteran of the US Navy, and they have one daughter. Patty is a champion for veteran recruiting and retention within our organization. Her commitment to veterans, veteran and active-duty family members, and allies was highlighted recently with her appointment as the Vice President of the CoreCivic Business Resource Group (GRP).

Karlie Franks

Nominated by the MTSU Charlie & Hazel Daniels Veterans Center

Karlie served in the Army from 2013 until 2016 before she was medically retired due to injuries. After being medically discharged from the Army, she attended MTSU. While working and going to school full time, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2021 and Master’s degree in Social Work in 2022. While attending MTSU, she volunteered at Stepping Stone Safe Haven, Tennessee Valley Health Care System, and the Center for Family Development. While doing field placement at the Center for Family Development, she researched and wrote a proposal for a grant from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. She successfully secured this grant of more than 1 Million Dollars that provides funding for a program called “Connecting Generations” (CGP). Families served by the CGP receive at minimum monthly home visits and additional services needed by the families who are raising relative children. She is currently a Receiving Area Manager at the Walmart Distribution Center in Shelbyville. She participates in the Back-Pack events sponsored by Walmart. During that time, they pack three weeks of food for children in need. Karlie’s nomination from the veteran’s center stated that her work ethic is unparalleled and that she is someone to admire. She has served our country and now our local communities.

Anna Mapps-Stanley

Nominated by Women Veterans of America, Music City Chapter

Anna Mapps-Stanley is a native of Rutherford County, TN. In her junior year she moved to Philadelphia, PA where she participated in track and field. The last track and field club she ran for was New York Masters in NY, NY.

Running has always been her passion, so her decision to join the U.S. Army Reserve was just the service branch to keep her running. She joined the 458th Medical Detachment (Dental) of the U.S. Army Reserve. When Anna returned to Tennessee, she left the U.S. Army Reserve to join the National Guard.

After serving her country for 26 years she retired in 2005. Anna is still dedicating her life and time as the chaplain for Women Veterans of America, Music City Chapter 20, and volunteering for Operation Stand Down, and various other organizations.

The love and dedication of the Army lead her son (Neal Mapps) to join the military. He retired as a Staff Sergeant. 

Anna continues to serve God as a deaconess of New Jerusalem Baptist Church. Anna’s slogan is “I am a Soldier of God and the earth He made”.

Erica McMurray

Nominated by Borderless Arts Tennessee

Erica was recruited for the military right out of high school. She was a top student academically and a ballerina. In the service, a classified action happened to Erica which did lead to an honorary discharge with full benefits. However, due to this incident, Erica was exposed to 9 years of weekly electric shock treatments that erased all of her memories up to the present time and left her with a host of mental and physical conditions. Yet, Erica never complains. She participates in dance, writing, theater and the visual arts through Borderless Arts and she  participates in bowling and basketball through other nonprofits for people with disabilities. Whenever possible, Erica creates art to help others. She makes art to raise funds for feeding children in Haiti, creates note cards to support organizations that serve those with disabilities and volunteers to assist with anything that supports those in the military. She proudly wears her Navy hat and shirts and visits military individuals in the hospital. She is never without a smile and a kind word. Her entire focus of her life is still on how she can serve others with never a word about her own sufferings. If the point of the military is to give all and serve others, Erica has done just that.

Christy Sigler

Nominated by MTSU President's Commission on the Status of Women

Sgt. Christy Sigler served in the U.S. Army for 5 years as a Signals Intelligence Analyst, Russian linguist, and Master Fitness Trainer. After her final tour overseas and completing college, she graduated from law school at the University of Memphis, where she earned honors such as the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award. She began practicing law in 2006 and chose to focus on children’s cases involving abuse, neglect, custody, termination of parental rights, adoption, and delinquency. Over the years she practiced law, she was appointed by the courts in hundreds of cases as counsel for indigent parties, mostly children. In 2013, she earned a national certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist.

Ms. Sigler was appointed to the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth from 2011 to 2020 and is a trainer for Building Strong Brains: Tennessee’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Initiative. She also trains community groups on topics such as advocacy, equity, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Murfreesboro and has volunteered for the Nashville Oasis Center and TN Achieves. She is the mother of twins, Jacob and Noah, with Noah’s special needs driving much of her advocacy efforts.

In 2017, she came to Middle Tennessee State University as a Title IX Investigator, then became Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity and Compliance in 2021, which includes roles as Title VI Coordinator and Title IX Coordinator for the university. She is a certified DEI Practitioner and her service includes being a Trainer for MTSU’s LGBT+ SafeZone Program, a member of the Social Justice Task Force, and a Holocaust Studies Program Committee member. She serves on the MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

2019 Women Warriors

Press: MTSU News

Honorees at the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on the MTSU campus, gather for a group photo. From left are Beverly Henley, Brittany Dinaso, Teresa Carter, Anita Herron, Tabatha Wadford and Marcia Rambert, who attended on behalf of Lesa Prime. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Honorees at the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on the MTSU campus, gather for a group photo. From left are Beverly Henley, Brittany Dinaso, Teresa Carter, Anita Herron, Tabatha Wadford and Marcia Rambert, who attended on behalf of Lesa Prime. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Keynote Speaker: Beverly Groogan, RN, BSN


Teresa Carter

Nominated by MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center

Brittany Dinaso

Nominated by AAUW Murfreesboro (TN) Branch

Lesa Prime

Nominated by Women Veterans of America, Chapter 20

Jennifer Vedral-Baron (Ms. V-B), MN, FAANP, FACHE

Nominated by MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center

Tabatha Wadford

Nominated by MTSU Department of Sociology and Anthropology