Celebrating the life of a remarkable woman, Dr. Skaidrite "Skai" Krisans

Celebrating the life of a remarkable woman, Dr. Skaidrite "Skai" Krisans

Dr. Skaidrite "Skai" Krisans, Portrait

It is always a pleasure and an honor to work with wonderful women.  Dr. Skaidrite Skai Krisans, or just “Skai”– as we called her– always had a great sense of humor. Her energy and love for life was just contagious.

“Skai was a fitness buff and was always willing to try the next new workout,” comments Kay Pierce, Treasurer of the Foundation.  “For a while she did the Perfect Workout– moving very slowly while lifting weights.  I would meet her at her gym and join her in this work out… years ago…”

She continues to talk about Skai. “She loved her trips to Italy and improving her working knowledge of the Italian language.  She took pride in the fact that after the first two trips she was treated like a local in Italy.  In other words, she would go in and buy an espresso and get the locals price and her husband would go in later in the day while she was in her Italian language school and he would get the ‘tourista’ price. It took them some time to figure out that he was paying more because they never went in together. She also loved fashion and was always dressed ‘to the nines’ in the latest Italian fashion.”

Anyone who knew Saki understood her passion for women’s health. And that’s the person that remains in our hearts.  In her honor, the Howell Foundation granted a memorial scholarshipto keep her passion for women’s health alive.

Sara Torres Robles honoring Dr. Skai

We believe that Sara Torres Robles is the perfect candidate to emulate Dr. Krisans’ vision for SDSU and her contribution to research.

“Sara is interested in pursuing knowledge for the sake of knowledge.  This will inevitably lead her to make important contributions in the area of women’s health”,  coments Dr. Carole Banka, Immediate Past Chair of the Howell Foundation.  “What makes Sara special, in addition to her intelligence and dedication, is her desire to make a difference.  She applied to two academic research programs to study abroad with the objective of gaining international research experience, and was accepted at both, one in Japan, and one in China. Most recently she spent the summer doing research at the University of Wisconsin.  According to the three SDSU faculty members who supported Sara’s application, she is a superstar!  Weat the Howell FOundation are proud to have selected her to honor and remember our beloved Dr. Krisans.

Dr. Skaidrite Krisans was an Associate Dean and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at SDSU. She mentored and coached many in ther 30+-year tenure at the institution; many were as inspired and thirsty for knowledge as Sara Torres.  “I am extremely honored to be receiving a scholarship from the Doris A. Howell Foundation in memory of Dr. Skaidrite Krisans. It’s people like her, and my mother, who inspire me to continue on my path to address scientific problems in women’s health.  After graduating from San Diego State University, I aim to earn a Ph.D in biochemistry in order to become a research professor to mentor under-represented students and scientists, and focus on scientific problems in women’s health.”

In attendance at the luncheon were Skai’s family, her husband, Janis;
her niece, Susan Waterman and husband, Scott Gifford; and their daughter, Taylor Skai Gifford. Susan was touched to present the scholarship to Sara.

“What a wonderful way to honor a fellow Board Member”, comments Carolyn Northrup, Communications Chair for the Foundation.  “So long as there are women and men in our community coming to Sara for an answer to any given women’s health-related issue, Skai’s essence will be there!”

Thank you, to all who took the time to remember her by donating towards the Howell Memorial Scholarship:

Robert P. Banka Fund                    Susan Mazza
Betty Brayshay                                 Kay Christian Pierce
Mandy Bultler, Ph.D                        Colleen Peterson
Cherr Conner                                    Carol Tuggey
Kathleen Franklin                            Sharon Weremiuk
Terrence Frey                                    Cheryl Wilson, RN
Hamilton Loeb Jr.

Dearest Skai, you will forever be in our hearts for your efforts in making women’s health a reality!  You are sorely missed!

Pictures of attendees of Skai's celebration of life


About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

For over 20 years, The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research has been dedicated to keeping to women we love healthy by making a long-term, positive impact on women’s health.  To date, it is the premier organization advancing women’s health.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community; bringing women’s health research to a full cycle.

Event summary prepared by Carolyn Northrup and revised by Carole Banka, Ph.D., with information provided by the keynote speakers.

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