The Women’s Center Has a New Graduate Assistant

By Taylor Michl

Hello there! My name is Taylor Michl (they/them), and I am joining UMKC Women’s Center as the Graduate Assistant for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters! I am so looking forward to working with this wonderful team.

I am a master’s student in UMKC’s Counseling program with an emphasis in Mental Health. I was recently awarded the Preparing Future Faculty fellowship, which will allow me to earn a graduate certificate in College Teaching and Career Preparation through the School of Graduate Studies. One of my greatest passions is qualitative research, specifically exploring the lived experiences and stories of transgender and gender expansive (TGE) communities. I currently lead a research team based at Webster University in St. Louis in a follow-up study exploring the study abroad experiences of TGE students. I also serve as a Research Assistant and Qualitative Interviewer for a project at MU exploring identity realization and transition across generations. Finally, I recently assisted with an experimental study exploring the impact of self-compassion on TGE body image and well-being through UMKC School of Education. Talking with folks about the joys, hardships, and complexities of gender-based marginalization, and identifying common themes among these stories, is one of the most sacred, beautiful things I get to do with my time. After graduating, I plan to pursue a PhD in Counseling Psychology in order to continue this research, become a faculty member, and see clients in private practice.

As someone who graduated with a degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I was instantly drawn to the Women’s Center’s mission of advocating, educating, and providing support services for the advancement of gender equity on campus and within the community at large. One of the most powerful tools we have to fight against oppression is community. Having a place to come together, bear witness to each other’s experiences, educate one another about our similarities and differences, and commit to advocating for each other is invaluable. That powerful, transformative, community-building space I just described is the Women’s Center, and when I learned this, I knew this was where I needed to be.