Leaving the Center, Not the Fight

By Brooke Davidoff

Working at the Women’s Center has helped me realize that even today a lot of work needs to be done to give women an active voice in their lives. I have learned that balancing a new life in the middle of a pandemic is mentally and emotionally exhausting, but that art can bring us together.

On multiple days I have watched art projects positively transform college students’ day. I have seen strangers bond at tables while coloring Shrinky Dinks in between class. I will be adding Art Therapy to my list of classes to take for clients I hope to work with in the future.

I have enjoyed being involved in the multiple art experiences we have provided and participated in over the semester. We have touched many topics that have impacted me and close friends of mine, from Trans Awareness Week to Domestic Violence Awareness Month and The Clothesline Project.

I will not be returning to The Women’s Center in the Spring, but my education towards female health care equality will continue. I plan to transfer to Oregon State University in Bend in the Fall 2022 to complete my degree in Human Services and work with newly diagnosed HIV Positive Women. My fight to silence stigma and to protect those who are afraid to speak out is not over.

See You Soon Women’s Center

By Adriana Miranda

Maybe this is because I literally started at the Women’s Center mid-semester, but WOW does time fly! For me, this is just an until-next-time post because I have SO enjoyed my time here so far and will definitely be back. Now, I know I only got a couple posts out to you wonderful folks, but I’ll be back next semester with a lot more! I’ve met some wonderful people here and I’ve loved being a part of a space that actively works towards and advocates for gender equity. Here, I get the chance to talk about things that matter to me and share them with you all both online and on campus.  

Being at the Women’s Center in a space where I feel supported and involved is so important to me as a woman of color and a lesbian who has been fighting for social causes as long as I can remember. Next semester I hope to continue to advocate for intersectionality in the fight for gender equity, and hopefully bring y’all some more blogs on topics that are important to me. In the meantime, I hope you get some time to relax, have a self care day, watch some empowering movies, etc. Until next time! 

New Women Center Student Staff: Meet Adriana!

By Adriana Miranda

Hi all! My name is Adriana Miranda (she/her), and this is my first year at UMKC! I am a first-generation Mexican-American transfer student from Los Angeles. There, I attended community college for four long years before transferring to UMKC as a junior psychology major. I was born and raised in East L.A, an almost entirely Latine area of L.A, and chose to come to UMKC for a new environment with new people (and some actual seasons for once)! So far I am loving Kansas City, UMKC, and all the new friends and community I’ve made. 

I want to eventually get a graduate degree in social work or psychology and work with LGBTQ+ Latine youth, providing mental health care, resources, and a safe space for forming community and connections with people who understand their intersectional identity. 

I was initially super interested in joining the Women’s Center because I have been involved in social activism and been advocating for gender equity since I was a pre-teen. Being a lesbian who grew up in a Mexican immigrant household, I had to navigate the struggles of identity and gender inequality within my culture, those same issues outside of my culture, and learning where I fit in in queer spaces, women’s spaces, and Latine spaces. Learning about intersectional feminism was a big part of my formative years and it shaped the friends and chosen family I have to this day. I wanted to be involved in something on campus where I could share these values and passions, and the Women’s Center seemed like it could be that for me. I can’t wait to settle in as part of the team of wonderful people here!  

As far as my hobbies and interests go, I love painting, dancing, 80’s music, cheesy spanish novelas, travelling (I’ve lived in 3 countries so far!), baking, taking care of animals, and watching movies! 

Sierra Voorhies Joins Women’s Center Staff

By Sierra Voorhies

Hi y’all, I’m Sierra Voorhies (she/her)—some people call me Barn Owl, Voorhies, and CiCi  (feel free to use those)—and I am a senior here at UMKC. This will be my third year at UMKC, and before that I spent 3 years at JCCC doing my gen eds and associates. Since this is my sixth year in college, “senior” sounds inadequate. What I really am is someone who’s just getting to know myself as an adult and has about 20 hours left to graduate.

I chose UMKC because I wanted to stay at home and focus on school instead of going somewhere like KU or K-State where I would have to work a lot to make rent. Before this job in the Women’s Center I worked in food service as a server at a pizza place, then as a barista at a local coffee shop (being a barista was more fun but serving made more money). The reason I am attracted to the Women’s Center is because I’ve always been interested in Women’s Issues—in high school I was in the Feminist Club, at junior college I took Women’s Studies and while I’ve been at UMKC I’ve taken Psychology of Gender with Dr. Nilsson. The more I learn about gendered issues and theory the more I realize I have to learn, and I hope the Women’s Center will be a good place to do that, especially here in these blogs—I can talk about what I’ve learned and what I think other people might find interesting, too.

I am also really interested in behavior, and thought processes, which is why I am majoring in Psychology. I think I want to be a counselor, or a social worker in primary schools, but grad programs are being put on hold so I can get a job and move out once I finish my Bachelor’s in the spring. For fun I love to go on walks (not runs), do yoga (not hot yoga), drink coffee (always iced), go thrifting (at like, ATC and Savers), and have deep talks with friends (my zodiac sun sign is Cancer).

Meet Arly Andrade! New Member of the Women’s Center Staff

By Arly Andrade

Hi everyone! My name is Arly Andrade (she/her). I am super excited to be joining the Women’s Center this year! This is my first year at UMKC, and I am a Pre-Dental Hygiene Major. I was born here in KC but was raised in a small town about 30 minutes east of UMKC called Grain Valley. I am excited to experience a new world outside of my small town. I look forward to making new friends, participating in student organizations, and of course working at the Women’s Center!

Women’s rights have always been a passion of mine. Growing up in a Mexican household, I experienced and was surrounded by the machista mindset. I was always told growing up that I couldn’t do certain things because I’m a girl, or that being a girl meant I had to do something.  This mindset continued to surround me once I got into school, and I finally decided to speak up about it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more passionate about feminism. Women’s rights need to be spoken about more, and I am proud to be one of the many voices. I know that working at the Women’s Center will help achieve this goal: letting people know about feminism whether it’s through a blog post, an Instagram post, or an event. I can’t wait to see and share what the Women’s Center offers!

In my free time, I love to hang out with my friends, watch movies, and listen to music. I’m pretty open when it comes to music, and my favorite artist at the moment is Paramore! My favorite song by them right now is “Decode.” I really love spending time with my family too. I have a 4-year-old nephew named Grayson who is honestly the light of my life. Thank you for letting me tell you all a little bit about myself, I can’t wait to see you all in the Women’s Center!

Brooke Davidoff Brings Life Experiences to Women’s Center

By Brooke Davidoff

Hey there, I am Brooke Davidoff (she/her), a 42-year-old single mother and a junior who transferred here to major in Communications with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

I grew up in San Diego in the late 90’s and I majored in print and broadcast journalism at Palomar College.

I went back to school two years ago at Long Beach City College where I got my AA in Human Services. At Long Beach City College, I was the Social Media Chair for the Human Services Club and a writer/editor on the school paper.

My whole life changed when I was diagnosed with HIV as a pregnant newlywed. I was shocked to learn that during a pregnancy is one of the only times doctors test straight women. Within months of my diagnosis, I was picked up as a contracted blogger for www.thebody.com. Eleven years later, I now blog for two websites.

I am excited to work at the Women’s Center because my career goal is to go into HIV education and advocacy for other HIV positive women. The sexual, physical, and mental health of women and other gender minorities is a huge chunk of my passions. We all experience trauma in our lives, and I believe connecting with others who can relate to us helps us to heal. I hope to help teach other women that they are not alone. With the power of #metoo, women are finding the means to break our silence. Together, we can stand up for ourselves and each other!

Our Fall Editor: Ace Garrett

By Ace Garrett

My name is Ace (she/her) and I am a new face at UMKC. I am a junior this year—but do any other students feel like the last few semesters barely counted? Maybe it’s because I transferred to UMKC last spring (and being on campus again is so new) but I feel as though I’m still wrapping up the freshman year that was suddenly cut short years ago…  maybe some of you know what I mean.

But even with the weight of the pandemic still on our shoulders, we have reason to celebrate this semester! The truly wonderful thing is that most of us are back on campus again, and we have new (and now obviously precious) opportunities to build community and connect again. I can’t say how ecstatic I am that I get to re-enter the college community as the Women Center’s blog editor!

At UMKC, I am double majoring in French and English (creative writing emphasis) and pursuing a minor in Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing. I’m a Kansas City native, having moved back home after my short year spent at Occidental College in Los Angeles. I have always had a travel bug, and I never would have imagined attending college in Missouri, but I have already fallen in love with the Roo Community and am so grateful I found my way here.

As a woman and a lesbian, I jumped at the opportunity to intern at the Women’s Center. I am very passionate about gender equity and all branches of activism brought to the feet of our generation. Day to day, I spend lots of time with friends and family, play recreational volleyball, ride dirt bikes with my dad, study way too many languages, read and write (especially poetry), and try try try to stay on top of my schoolwork. True to my adventurous nature, I am at UMKC in pursuit of moving abroad post-graduation and travelling the world as a freelance copyeditor (and maybe a language teacher, writer, or translator thrown in as well).

I can’t wait to learn and grow with you all this semester, I hope you will appreciate everything we have in store!

Hello Again! Returning Women’s Center Student Staff: Brianna Green

By Brianna Green

Hello, my name is Brianna Green! I am a UMKC senior and I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. This is my second year on campus and working at the Women’s Center. I am originally from the Chicago suburbs and transferred from a local community college. I initially decided to come to UMKC because of my minor but, over the year since I’ve moved here, I’ve grown to really love Kansas City and the Roo community.

I came to the Women’s Center for a second year because of how much I enjoyed it last year! Although last year was great – it was virtual. I was inspired me seeing how much we were able to do while being virtual, but I’m excited to see how much more we can accomplish now that the Center is fully open and can have in-person events. I’m so happy to be a part of a place that tries to offer so much to UMKC students and greater community as a whole.

Outside of the Women’s Center, I am also a RISE intern (fall semester), and the Psychology Club President and Psi Chi Service Chair. Outside of UMKC, I am an AmeriCorps Member at Harvesters – The Community Food Network. I love going on walks and hikes, car rides, traveling, and spending time with my friends and family. After I graduate this spring, I plan to go to graduate school! Which school and which program exactly is TBD for the time being. 😊

Aurora Joins the Women’s Center Staff

By Aurora Wilson

Hi everybody! My name is Aurora Wilson (she/her) and I am incredibly excited to be joining the Women’s Center. I was born and raised in Grain Valley, Missouri which is small town about 30 minutes away from KC. I am a freshman this year and am majoring in Political Science. Living in a small town for all my life, I cannot begin to explain how overjoyed I am to be attending a university devoted to diversity and inclusion. I am looking forward to meeting new people and growing as individual through new experiences.

I have always had an interest in women’s rights. I can remember, in sixth grade, getting in arguments with fellow classmates when they said, “girls can do this” or “girls aren’t allowed to do that.” I can recall feeling angry and offended but I was more confused than anything else of why I wasn’t allowed to do certain things just because I was a girl. As I have grown older and learned more, I have discovered the intricacies of feminism and critical need for the education of Women’s rights for everyone. The Women’s Center encompasses this. I am looking forward to learning more about feminism and holding events to help disperse that knowledge. I can’t wait to meet new students and community members and share all resources the Women’s Center has to offer!

When I am not busy with school and work, I love to hang out with friends, read, listen to music and podcasts, and workout. I love to read pretty much anything and try to explore all the different subjects. I like to listen to indie- folkish music, rap, RnB, pop and my current favorite artist is Taylor Swift. I really love doing yoga and hiking and anything that will get me outdoors. I also have a cat who I am obsessed with and miss very dearly but I do force my parents to send me daily pictures of her.  Thanks for letting me share a bit about myself and I hope to see you all in the future!

 

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.