We would like everyone on campus and in the community to feel welcome during their visit to the UMKC Women’s Center. Our friendly staff is always willing to assist with inquiries whether it be discussing programs, finding resources or just getting on-campus directions. Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Click here for contact and location information.
Brenda Bethman, Ph.D., Director
Brenda has been at the UMKC Women’s Center since January 2007. She also holds appointments as Director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, and as Affiliated Faculty in German in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Before coming to UMKC, she was founding Program Coordinator of the Women’s Center and then Director of the Women’s & Gender Equity Resource Center at Texas A&M University. She is a past chair of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Women’s Centers Committee, as well as past Secretary for NWSA. Brenda was a member of the committee that revised the CAS Standards for Women Student Programs and Services. Recently, she completed a term serving on the MLA’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities.
She has presented and published on social media, assessment, women’s leadership, women’s literature, Elfriede Jelinek, Marlene Streeruwitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, and feminism in a variety of venues. She holds a B.A. in German Literature from Dickinson College, an M.A. in German Literature from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Modern German Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from UMass Amherst. Her book, “Obscene Fantasies”: Generic Perversions in Elfriede Jelinek, examines Elfriede Jelinek’s investigation of Austria’s and Western Europe’s “obscene fantasies” through her “perversion” of generic forms in three of her best-known texts, women as lovers, The Piano Teacher, and Lust and was published by Peter Lang in 2011.
Arzie Umail, Assistant Director
Arzie joined the UMKC Women’s Center in August 2009. Prior to joining the Women’s Center staff, Arzie worked as the Student Services Coordinator for the UMKC Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Program Coordinator for the UMKC African American History & Culture House. With several years in higher education, Arzie has extensive experience in program development for multicultural student populations and in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented and first-generation college students. An advocate for women’s issues and social justice, Arzie served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center for two years and has been an active volunteer for the local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union for more than a decade. In 2007, the ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri awarded Arzie with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Arzie holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the University of Kansas and an M.P.A. in Organizational Behavior from the UMKC Bloch School of Management. She is an active member of the Kansas City arts community exhibiting her artwork, judging various art scholarship competitions, and contributing to panel discussions regarding women in the arts. Arzie is also the proud mother of two children, Max and Mimi.
Devashree Naik is the new Graduate Assistant in the Women’s Center. She graduated with Bachelors of Dental surgery and practiced dentistry in India. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration with Health Services emphasis from the UMKC Bloch School of Management. Her academic objective is to understand the framework and design of healthcare systems and policies in the US and to research factors that cause health inequities in developing nations along with designing innovative and effective solutions towards them. She intends to start an entrepreneurial venture that serves as an idea generating incubator to reduce overall inequities of health through collaboration with academic experts and policy makers. She is excited to work in Women’s center and its organizational culture of transparency, innovation, empathy, adventure and fun. She strongly believes that with the responsibilities of this job she will be able to hone her leadership skills. Firm belief in the power of women and girls as agents of change and leaders, rebuilding peace in this war prone world and developing equitable public policies is what inspires her to move towards her goals.
Matiara Huff is an Office Assistant at the Women’s Center. She is a junior at UMKC studying Theater, and this is her second year at the Women’s Center. She is very interested in learning effective solutions to issues of gender inequality. Her main goal in life is to change thousands of lives for the better and she knows that by working at the Women’s Center, she can develop some of the skills needed to do so.
Korrien Hopkins, Student Assistant
Korrien Hopkins is in her first year at UMKC majoring in Communications Studies with an emphasis on Film, Media Arts, Journalism and Mass Communications. She believes her purpose in life is to bring knowledge and positive awareness to racial, political, environmental, and gender inequality issues to the media. She is also in the process of creating her own personal blog where she will examine those topics. Korrien is very excited to be working at the Womens Center. She looks forward to help advocate, educate, and provide supportive services to this campus and community and strongly stands behind the mission to promote feminism throughout college campuses, communities, and the world because she believes that this is needed for us to progress as people.
Zaquoya is a work-study employee at the Women’s Center and is a first year student studying Pre-Pharmacy. She is an advocate for women’s equity and enthusiastic about learning different ways to make a difference in someone’s life. Her passion is travelling and nurturing rescue animals. She plans on using her degree to start a program to provide elderly and young children with general medication and vaccines in her home country of Anguilla.
Thea Voutiritsas joined the Women’s Center in fall 2015. She is a senior at UMKC studying English Language and Rhetoric with a minor in Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing. Her main goal at the Women’s Center is to find creative ways to make feminism accessible and relevant to people across all races, ages, genders, and classes.