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2008 Woman and Young Woman of the Year Winners

Each year, the Baltimore County Commission for Women presents its annual "Woman of the Year" and "Young Woman of the Year" awards. This year, two recipients were chosen for “Young Woman of the Year.” Four winners were also named in the new category, “Women Making a Difference,” which recognizes women for their outstanding achievements, unique contributions to their community and their ability to provide creative solutions to complex community and social challenges.

2008 Baltimore County Woman of the Year

Photo of Cynthia L. Leppert, Esquire.
Cynthia L. Leppert
Esquire

Cynthia Leppert of Timonium is a principal in the Baltimore law firm of Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin and Gibber, P.A. and has been practicing law for 25 years. She also holds a PhD in economics and has become one of the states most successful and respected business litigation attorneys. But she has also used her skills and experience as an attorney and businesswoman to help advance the interests of women throughout her community and state.

She is the current President of the Women’s Bar Association, an organization of 1,000 attorneys and judges with a mission to ensure a bias-free judicial system, promote the full and equal participation of women in society, promote diversity, equality and justice and assist women in the legal profession to achieve at the highest levels. Cynthia had also previously served as the past President of the Women’s Bar Association of Baltimore City/ Baltimore County Chapter, in all, devoting over 10 years to the organization and its mission.

As WBA President, Cynthia initiated important new programs including: a Pro Bono Program Committee for WBA members to provide free legal services to those in need; a series of panel discussions at local law schools where students could have candid discussions with experienced women attorneys concerning issues like career development and life/work balance; a mentorship program to provide mentors to young women attorneys; and a business development program to help women starting in the profession learn marketing skills. From 2000-2004 Cynthia chaired the WBA’s Judicial Selections Committee. The Committee interviews judicial applicants throughout the state and ensures a highly competent, diverse and bias-free judiciary when making recommendations to the Governor.

For the past three years, Cynthia has served as an officer of the board of the Baltimore Regional Chapter of the National Organization of Woman Business Owners. She chairs the organization’s Education Committee, which presents seminars on issues such as accounting and personnel issues to new business owners in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

In November 2007, Cynthia completed a five-year term as a gubernatorial appointee to the Maryland Commission for Women. She also serves on the national board of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. Cynthia is currently publishing a book about the history of women attorneys in Maryland, the working title of which is “Finding Justice”.

2008 Young Woman of the Year

Photo of Gabriella N. Biondo.
Gabriella N. Biondo

Gabriella, a senior at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, is best described as a scholar, achiever, effective leader, and role model with a passion for medicine and science. As a student in Carver Center’s theater prime, Gabriella maintains a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) with a full academic load of advanced placement and gifted and talented courses. A two time Ben Carson scholar, she is currently interning at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she has designed and is carrying out her own research project investigating cell migration. This project has resulted in Gabriella publishing a scientific paper as well as being named a semifinalist in the 2007 Siemens Competition.

Along with her academic talents, Gabriella also achieves honors in athletics, dance, music, and theater. She has studied dance for 11 years and has participated in the Moscow Ballet Touring Company, the Baltimore Opera Company, the Towson University Children’s Dance Troupe, and the Radio City Rocketts. As a pianist, Gabriella has received the Trinity College of London Music Theory Exam Award of Merit and Piano Exam Award of Distinction. She has choreographed and acted for the Carver Theater Company, Children’s Playhouse of Maryland, and Cockpit in Court Summer Theater. Gabriella is a three-time MVP and captain of the Varsity Girls Golf Team and a two-time participant in the Mid-Atlantic PGA Junior Tour.

As president of the Class of 2008, a member of the Carver Center’s Foundation, vice president of the Student Government Association, and vice president of the National Honor Society, Gabriella is a leader and role model for other students. She serves as a new anchor for the Baltimore County Public Schools Education Channel, where she creates edits, and produces news broadcasts of interest to the community.

In the true spirit of a Young Woman of the Year, Gabriella serves her community in compassionate ways. She was the recipient of a Baltimore Community Foundation/Youth and Resources grant to create a student-to-student tutoring service. Gabriella identified a residential treatment center for abused and neglected children and then solicited Carver student volunteers to provide a weekly lesson in one of the arts. Gabriella says, “This experience has taught me the importance of constantly being aware of the needs around me and using my resources wisely.” Enjoying golf herself, she coaches for the Special Olympics Golf Program and volunteers in the Baltimore County Therapeutic Recreation Adaptive Golf Program. 

2008 Young Woman of the Year

Photo of Kiranjit Kaur.
Kiranjit Kaur

In the words of her principal at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Kiranjit “epitomizes intelligence, talent, and leadership.” She is an excellent scholar with a 4.0 grade point average (GPA), taking Honors, Gifted and Talented, and Advance Placement courses and achieving the top 2 percent of her senior class. She is on the Honor Roll and serves as president of the National Honor Society. Kiranjit has been recognized as Honorable Mention as a Maryland Distinguished Scholar in academics and is treasurer of the National English Honor Society.

Her leadership extends to athletics and class activities. Kiranjit has lettered in three sports: Volleyball, where she served as captain for two years, Track, where she was the MVP, and Tennis. She has been active in the Steering Committee and served as Vice-President of her class for two years. She was selected as “Miss Patapsco” based on her outstanding character, leadership, scholarship, fitness, and honesty. Kiranjit attended Girls’ State as a representative of Patapsco High School in June of 2007.

Kiranjit shares her talents at school, church, and in her community. She volunteers as a peer helper who has been trained in the skills of communication, medication, and academic tutoring. She volunteers at her church be cleaning and helping to cook food for anyone who comes to church and is in need. In 2007, Kiranjit was awarded “ Summer Intern of the Year” for her volunteer work at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Oncology Department. She represented the Southeast Area of Baltimore County at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Philadelphia in July of 2007.

2008 Women Making a Difference

  • Dr. Marlene Mahipat
  • Nzinga Oneferua-El
  • Norma Peden Killebrew
  • Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins

Revised November 18, 2013

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