In her office, Sandy Neubaum has an old wooden dorm door painted with a replica of Led Zeppelin's "The Hermit," signed by a Weatherford Hall resident in 1981.

"Why wouldn't I want a stairway to heaven?" she asked, in a reference to Zeppelin's 1971 song.

She could use a revolving door to accommodate the steady procession of students who pass through her office. They arrive with questions about interviews, internships and class work - even about dress code.

"When I'm here, it's about the students."

Weatherford Residential College is home to the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, "a living, learning community," and Neubaum has been the program's associate director for the past three years.

Nominated by her students, Neubaum is one of four recipients of a Women of Achievement award. Each year, Oregon State University's Women's Center presents the awards to honor the contributions and commitment of outstanding women on campus and throughout the state of Oregon whose work has benefited women.

As a teenager, she saw a documentary on throwaway children that left an enduring impression.

"It was inconceivable to me that a child would grow up without a family."

When she met her future husband, she told him, "You need to know two things: I plan to adopt, and I don't cook." They raised nine children through foster care, adopting two of them. Neubaum considers children "our first and most important resource."

After 20 years in the nonprofit world, Neubaum turned to the classroom. She's taught business classes at OSU for four years.

"I have loved teaching since the moment I walked into a classroom 10 years ago."

Growing up in Atlanta, Neubaum was steeped in the southern traditions of poise and etiquette. She keeps a copy of Emily Post's book - "the southern Bible," she called it - on her office bookshelf. She noticed that students are often missing comportment skills that are important for business - and life.

"We spend an entire class period on social networking. I'm not talking about Facebook," Neubaum said. "We do a four-course etiquette lunch just to teach the skills. The more comfortable (they) are, the more comfortable they'll be putting themselves out there."

She believes in applying those business and life skills to social issues. This term she's teaching a freshman class focused on social entrepreneurship and "the triple bottom line: planet, people, profit."

"Do good while doing well," Neubaum said.

In her class, students are divided into teams. Each is given $100 and challenged to create a business plan, a marketing plan and a fundraising campaign.

At nearly 6 feet tall, with a big voice, Neubaum demands her students' attention and keeps it. She asks questions, enforces deadlines and pushes for participation.

"I want the hands in the air. I want them to take an active role in their education."

At the end of the term, the students will donate their fundraising profits to a nonprofit they've chosen. "In 10 weeks, (they) have the opportunity to change someone's entire life."

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