Introducing Elise, The Women Center’s New Staff Member

By Elise Wantling

Hello all! My name is Elise Wantling, and my pronouns are they/them/their. I am a senior here at UMKC studying political science, with the goal of attending grad school next year either here or at the University of Kansas to get my masters in social work/social welfare. My plan is to become educated in non-profit management, and eventually open my own home for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. I transferred here from KU at the beginning of 2019 because, well, out of state tuition gets expensive after a while when you’re a Missourian studying in Kansas. While I enjoyed my time at KU thoroughly, I am also really enjoying studying here at UMKC! I am glad I found a school in Kansas City that has a strong political science program and an LGBTQ+ friendly campus.

I am excited to work with the Women’s Center to promote equity and equality for all genders. While I do not identify as a woman anymore, I have lived as one for about two decades and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of the struggles women face. Being nonbinary, I also have the unique perspective of what it is like living outside the gender binary. I hope to use my unique gender related experiences to be able to help people of all genders live a better life. I am looking forward to blogging, working and planning events, and seeing everyone’s beautiful faces at the Women’s Center.

Join The “I Am Enough!” Photo Campaign

By Kiana Mullins

Body image was one of the many things I struggled with in my high school career.
Over the years, I learned the definition of self-love. I had to learn to love myself first and accept the fact that I am beautiful regardless of how I look. I would look at social media and see so many women and believe they were the definition of beauty because of their body image. Today, I look in the mirror and see I am beautiful enough.

The phrase “I am beautiful enough” means I do not have to strive to show my worth, I do not have to change the way I look, I do not have to be self-sufficient, and it does not mean I am the final product. Being enough does not mean you are changing yourself, but you are being yourself.

On October 23, 2019, I will be coordinating the “I Am Enough” Photo Campaign.
This event will inform people on campus on how to love their body. Participants will be able to take a photo with their board describing why they are enough. This will build confidence in the participants to know they are worth it despite their body image. I am very passionate about the development of this event because I want to reach out to the community to help them understand the importance of positive body image to achieve overall health.

Body positivity means feeling comfortable and confident about your body image and accepting oneself concerning body size and appearance. Negative body talk can be linked to negative health issues. I want this event to intervene with the risk of health issues by promoting resources that are available on campus for students.

We hope you will join us on Wednesday!

When: Wednesday, October 23 from 11 a.m. -1p.m
Where: UMKC Student Union, 5100 Cherry St.

Co-Sponsored by: Campus Recreation and UMKC Counseling Services.

Pre-Dental Hygiene Student Joins The Women’s Center

By Kiara Coleman

Hi, my name is Kiara Coleman. I am third year Pre-Dental Hygiene student.  I choose UMKC because of its diversity, low cost and commitment to student success.  Along with becoming a Dental Hygienist I would also like to become a business owner. I can be quoted, “I don’t want to be a woman of one career but of many.”  My passion for women’s rights and the injustice against women is what interested me in joining the UMKC Womens Center. Maya Angelou said it best: “each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women”.

In my free time, I enjoy watching HGTV and hanging out with friends. I am new to Kansas City and am excited to try new things!

Walk A Mile®Through Our Graduate Assistant’s Lens

By Indra Mursid

The first time I heard about Walk a Mile in Her Shoes© I was a senior student representative during my undergraduate studies. Student Senate was co-sponsoring the march with our own sexual assault and Title IX program so we weren’t the ones who were making the executive decisions on how to advertise or how to incorporate community outreach into the march. When I first found out about the Women’s Center involvement in hosting UMKC’s annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event – I was thrilled to be one of a handful of people making executive decisions on how to incorporate community resources within the march. Before Walk a Mile©, I assisted in curating the roaster of community organizations for the Resource Fair. Some organizations there were from previous Resource Fairs like MOSCA, League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and some were new-and-upcoming organizations that I knew about in the Kansas City area through social media like Barrier Babes. To communicate with organizations about Walk a Mile ©, its cause, and how these organizations could help empower others was incredibly powerful to me because we were exposing survivors and advocates to communal resources they might not have even thought to look into. During the march, I got to witness my efforts through another lens – literally.

During the march, I was also in charge of taking photographs from various vantage points in many stages of the event from the Resource Fair tabling to men crossing the finish line. It was amazing to see students, faculty, Greek Letter societies, and UMKC sports teams unabashedly put on high heels and march in awareness of rape, sexual assault, and gender based violence. I could tell through my interactions with many men how passionate they were about the subject, especially in the speeches Dr. Martin, Justice Horn, and Humberto Gonzalez gave. They spoke about how they advocate for the women closest to them and women who cannot speak out due to the fear of retaliation or lack of support to do so. I want to emphasize how much we need men to use their voice as a vehicle for change, especially in women’s issues. Overall, the experience of planning, executing, and sprinting around the route with the participants taking photos was incredible. I hope to be involved in some way during my time at UMKC and beyond.

Meet Our New Blog Editor, Skye

By Skye VanLanduyt

Hello! My name is Skye VanLanduyt. I’ve just joined the Women’s Center as the blog editor this semester. I graduated from Baker University in May 2019 with a B.A in English (emphasis in creative writing) and a minor in gender studies. In addition to being the editor, I intern with the Women’s Foundation in Kansas City.

I grew up in a supportive family who encouraged me to follow my dreams no matter how big or small. I didn’t realize my gender or sexuality could threaten my goals until I started college. I credit my professors for unveiling the truth about women’s progress. I was horrified, challenged, and inspired by stories of women who fought and succumbed to the barriers against them. I begged my professors to let me focus my essays around feminist ideology, gender hierarchies, and issues about femininity and masculinity. I am passionate about finding ways to become more involved in helping women achieve equality.

Since graduating, I’ve worked on numerous municipal and congressional campaigns in the Kansas City area. My experiences working in politics and for women’s organizations is inspiring me to pursue a career fighting for women and the LGBTQIA community. I have future plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Administration and/or Queer and Sexuality Studies at UMKC.

I’m interested in being part of the Women’s Center at UMKC because the Center directly impacts women in Kansas City. I believe in not only helping women’s voices be heard but educating them on how to be confident, strong, independent thinkers and leaders. I hope to gain a better understanding of how a nonprofit women’s organization runs. I believe these types of organizations are proactive, influential, and responsible for helping drive community involvement.

Film Student Joins Women’s Center Staff

By Maggie Pool

Aloha! My name is Maggie Pool, and I’m an undergrad studying film and media arts here at UMKC. This is my third year at UMKC, but I started off my very first semester as a theatre major. In high school, I created props, wrote one acts, stage managed, and I acted and directed a little bit. When I got to UMKC, I eventually realized that my passions veered more towards film and photography more than the stage; however, I am grateful for the experiences and knowledge it gave me. I hope to use my abilities as a filmmaker to give a voice to those who have not been given the mainstream screen time and representation they deserve, specifically women and people of the LGBT+ community.

My passion for feminism bloomed last year when I was an RA in Johnson Hall and I found out the wing I was responsible for was entirely made up of women. I wanted to create a space where they felt celebrated, listened to, and cared for. I remember one time I was decorating a bulletin board with famous women throughout history and one of my residents came up to me and pointed at a picture of Anne Frank I had put up. She then told me that she was Jewish, and it was empowering to be represented in such a way on my bulletin board. Ever since then, I’ve made it a mission of mine to create more spaces and more projects to help women feel heard and help women feel empowered, which is why I’m so excited to be working at the Women Center this semester!

Meet Our Summer Intern from Mizzou: Allison Anderson

By Allison Anderson

Hello everyone! I’m Allison Anderson.

I am spending the summer interning for the UMKC Women’s Center. I just finished my first year of graduate school at Mizzou. By this time next year, I will have my Master’s of Public Affairs. With this degree I hope to manage or run a nonprofit. I actually did my undergrad degree at Park University, so I wanted to come back to Kansas City. I chose UMKC because I have spent some time here before and always enjoyed it; plus, I have some close friends that just graduated and never had a bad thing to say.

Being a graduate student, research and data collection are something that I spend a lot of time doing. At the Truman School (my master’s program), we get to pick a policy area we are interested in, and that is what we do our research on. At first I wanted to look at sex education in high school, but as I got into it, I realized that researching rape on campus and sexual violence were some things I was much more passionate about. At Mizzou I am a peer educator fort the RSVP center (Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention). When thinking of where I wanted to intern, I knew I wanted something similar to being a peer educator, especially, something that would allow me to spread awareness of social issues. The Women’s Center at UMKC was a very easy choice for me. Not only will I be able to continue my research on sexual violence, but I will also be learning about other issues that affect women.

I have a lot of goals this summer, but the first is to learn as much as I can. I also want to be creative and think of some programs in areas that I may be new to. I am looking forward to all the events and assignments I will be working with, and honestly, looking forward to helping as many women and students as I can.

The 2019 Vagina Monologues

By Mackinzie Aulgur

“…find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals, and expands us.”- Eve Ensler

We all deserve to be ourselves, stand up for what we believe in, and voice our opinions; each and everyone one of us. This Thursday and Friday, February 21st-22nd, UMKC will be presenting the Vagina Monologues! Doors open at 7pm and performances will take place at 7:30pm. This year the monologues will have 18 presenters, all of which play vital parts. The Vagina Monologues are personal monologues read by a diverse group of women in our community. Their stories will touch on subjects such as sex, sex work, body image, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, and various names for the vagina. The main theme in the play is redefining the vagina to be seen as a symbol of female empowerment and the embodiment of our individuality (Mission, 2019).

In collaboration with V-Day, we will be selling our famous vagina pops (milk and dark chocolate), t-shirts, feminist mugs, Trailblazers’ blend coffee, and a variety unique of buttons before and after the performances. For those who may not know, V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. In fact, according to the United Nations, one of every three women on the planet will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime (Mission, 2019). While we cannot change the past, we have the opportunity to come together as a community, to show support and raise awareness for a better future. Please join us at this years Vagina Monologues as we all reflect on what unifies us in our fight for this goal.

Mission. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Thursday, February 21. UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry St. 

  • Advance tickets: $10 for students, $25 for non-students, $5 each for groups of 5 or more students
  • At the door: $15 for students, $30 for non-students

Friday, February 22. UMKC Spencer Theater, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St. 

  • Advance tickets: $10 for students, $35 for non-students, $5 each for groups of 5 or more students
  • At the door: $15 for students, $40 for non-students

Tickets may be purchased through Central Ticket Office. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC’s Women’s Center, Violence Prevention and Response Program and V-Day’s 2019 spotlight campaign.


Women’s Centers in Senegal

By Ann Varner

Over the winter break I was able to have one of the best experiences of my life-studying abroad in Senegal for two weeks. While there I studied gender, health, and development in Senegal on a program sponsored by the UMKC Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Black Studies Programs, the Departments of History and Foreign Languages & Literature, the UMKC Women’s Center, and the UMKC Honors College,. The experience was amazing, eye opening, and also saddening.

In Senegal there are many efforts for women’s equality. Women can get divorced, legally and religiously, and they can pursue justice if assaulted in any way by a man. Women can also go to college and have their own businesses. While in Senegal I visited multiple women’s centers. One of the women’s centers was similar to a legal aid office where women can come for support as well as legal advice. I asked how often women actually get divorced and due to the stigma of divorce and family shame, it’s not very often. Women in Senegal can get religiously divorced, but it is much harder to become legally divorced. It is such an issue that legal help is primarily what that specific women’s center is dedicated to.

The other women’s center was quite different. This women’s center was in a small village. There, the women went every day to harvest items to sell such as oysters and fish. They then came back to the women’s center and spent many hours preparing the items to be sold, and spent their afternoons either selling their items or learning. The lessons taught were reading and writing, as well as practical lessons such as how to market and manage money for their business. One of the stories that stuck out to me was when we learned of the small loans that the center gave out. For a while men and women could get a small loan to start their business and then were supposed to repay the loan. The women always did, and the men never did. After realizing that the men were not going to pay the center back a rule was instated that only women could procure small loans. When we asked what the motivations were, the response was that women were more worried about ensuring success for their families while the men were not.

Women in Senegal deserve the recognition for all they do on a daily basis. While all women work hard, there is something different about watching a woman with multiple babies strapped to her carrying a large basket on her head as she walks in the 100 degree heat to her market spot. I feel as though we Americans live in a bubble and need to be reminded that there are people in developing countries just trying to learn to read and write so that they can provide an income for their families. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have visited with the women I did and learn about their lives and culture.

New Intern at Women’s Center Works on Gender Violence Prevention

By MacKinzie Aulgur

Hi, my name is MacKinzie Aulgur and I am majoring in Public Health with a minor in Health Science. I am a senior, currently completing my last semester of undergrad. I originally chose UMKC for the nursing program however, half way into my junior year I found my passion for Public Health. In fact, I did not even know about Public Health until UMKC started their Public Health Program, last January. I actually just started an internship at UMKCs Women’s Center as the Gender Violence Prevention Intern. I have a strong passion for Women Rights, ending sexual assault, and gender equality, which is why I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be the Gender Violence Prevention Intern. With that being said, I am excited to graduate in May and take everything I have learned throughout my education and put it to good use. In the summer I am planning to pursue a master’s in healthcare administration. I strongly believe that the skills I have gained not only in class but the Women’s Center, will give me exactly what is necessary to succeed in my future profession.