Among an impressive group of nominees, a Valley infectious disease specialist was chosen as the recipient of the 2023 Athena Award Thursday evening.

The Athena Award is given annually to recognize area business and professional women who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen career, provided leadership in the community, and mentored or contributed to the growth of other women.

Dr. Dee Banks fits the bill perfectly, in her role as an infectious disease specialist at the Northeast Ohio Infectious Disease Associates.

Dr. Banks was one of 26 nominees. The Athena Award is one of many that she has collected over the course of her career.

She joined the Northeast Ohio Infectious Disease Associates after 15 years as the head of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Horizon Campus in Hermitage. During her time at UPMC Horizon, she was named clinician of the year. Dr. Banks continues to be an invaluable asset to the Valley, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and more.

Three soon-to-be high school graduates were also honored at the event. Boardman senior Chloe Khoury was awarded the 16th Athena scholarship, worth $1,500. Khoury is ranked #1 in her class, and plans to attend YSU's Bacc-Med program this summer. She plans to become a pediatric neurologist.

Two additional $1,250 scholarships were presented, funded by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Those were awarded to Warren G. Harding's E'Mari Joi Edmonds and Jackson Milton's Paige Grope. Edmonds will study nursing at Kent State University, while Grope pursues early childhood education at YSU.