Welcome Jordan Tunks to the Women’s Center Family!

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By Jordan Tunks

Hello! My name is Jordan Tunks and I am a senior here at UMKC. I will be graduating in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Health Sciences. I came from a small town of about 5,000 people, so UMKC was a big transition for me. Coming to school in a big city has opened my eyes to how much more is out there and how much more is going on in the world. This has helped me grow as a person, and taught me that there is so much more to fight for!

As an intern at the Women’s Center I look forward to learning how to properly and effectively fight for women’s rights. I hope to be able to fight for those who do not know how to, or cannot, fight for themselves. By the completion of my internship I also hope to be able to educate those who would like to participate but do not know how or where to.

After graduation I plan to get a job helping kids and young adults develop healthy lifestyles. Learning how to educate and advocate for women’s rights will help me become a better mentor for young women.

Hey Stranger, I’m Brianna!

By Brianna Green

Hello fellow Roos! My name is Brianna Green! I am a transfer student and this is my first semester at UMKC. I am originally from the Chicago suburbs and I came out here to finish my Bachelor’s in Psychology! I also plan to move on to a Master’s in Psychology after I complete my current program. I want to specialize in human sexuality and sex trauma. I chose UMKC because of all the opportunities I saw here. I feel like this is the first step and best place to reach my academic and career goals. Kansas City has been great so far and I’m excited to call this place my new home.

Additionally, I am thrilled to be a part of the Women’s Center! Being here feels like a great way to connect with campus, as well as my fellow Roos. It’s also very important to me that I’m a part of a place that is still doing its best to offer services and support to students during these unpredictable times. Pandemic aside, I’m excited to be in a position that allows me to support and empower my college colleagues.

April Brown Joins the Women’s Center as the New Blog Editor!

By April Brown

Hello Everyone! Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! My name is April Brown, I am 22 years old, and in my last semester of my undergraduate career at UMKC. I am majoring in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing as well as double minoring in Manuscript Editing and Print Culture and Writing. Writing has been my passion since I first learned to hold a pencil.  Artists are kind of bred in my family as my mother draws, my sisters paint and sketch respectively, and my brother is musically inclined. I found my home within the pages of a notebook. I used to feel inferior to my siblings because I was unable to create visual and auditory masterpieces the way they could, but in my senior year of high school it was pointed out to me by an English teacher that my ability to create was a combination of all things visual and auditory. I created whole worlds with my words.

I am excited to begin a new path after school, but I am also a little sad to know my time at UMKC is coming to an end. I can’t think of a better way to end it though, than by working for the UMKC Women’s Center. Not only does this opportunity open doors for me to start doing work that is extremely relevant for my career path and life choices, such as editing the blogs for the semester, but it also allows me to submerge myself in campus and community life with the events and programs we have planned this year! In a social climate such as the one we are living in now, there is no better time than now to become involved and learn more about the issues within your community.

There isn’t anything quite normal about this school year but I hope to use that uncertainty to shake up a few things in the name of progress, and the Women’s center is going to be a wonderful place to start such processes. I am beyond excited to start my new work with the Women’s Center, and with our community.

How to Access the Women’s Center This Fall

The UMKC Women’s Center is #RooReady to assist our students this fall semester. Our office hours will be Monday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. A student assistant or intern will be available at the front desk each day to answer questions, provide resources, check out library books, and direct visitors to other campus resources. A number of safety measures will be in place to ensure the safety of our visitors and our staff while in the Women’s Center:

  • Occupancy will be limited to 2 visitors at any time and visits will be limited to 15 minutes.
  • Plexiglas has been placed at the front desk, furniture has been moved, and signage will remind visitors to maintain a 6-ft of social distance.
  • All visitors will be asked to check in at the front desk for basic health screening and to record their contact information for contact tracing.
  • The kitchen and conference rooms will be closed; however, the Lactation Room will remain open but must be reserved by contacting the front desk (umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu or 235-1638. Storing breast milk at the Center will not be permitted at this time. There will be no time limit on usage of the Lactation Room; however, individuals will be instructed to clean the room after each use.
  • At the close of each day, Women’s Center staff will clean and sanitize the Center using hospital-grade supplies provided by Campus Facilities. All visitors to the Women’s Center will be required to wear masks while in the Center.

All Women’s Center programs during the fall semester will be delivered remotely or in a no-contact way. Events will be listed on Roo Groups (https://roogroups.umkc.edu/organization/womenscenter), on the Women’s Center website (https://info.umkc.edu/womenc/), or on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/umkcwomenc/events/). Please check these pages often for the most up-to-date event details.

Women’s Center leadership staff will be available for virtual appointments by phone or Zoom. Arzie Umali, Senior Assistant Director, can be contacted at umalia@umkc.edu to schedule an appointment. Dr. Brenda Bethman, Director, may be contacted at bethmanb@umkc.edu to schedule a virtual appointment. All staff working in the Women’s Center will be asked to assess their health prior their shift. Any staff person exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms must report this to their supervisor and will be instructed to stay home and contact their primary care physician. These plans may be modified at any time as we receive updates from the university regarding the Return to Campus plan. All UMKC campus health and safety policies and guidelines apply in the Women’s Center, including the UMKC mask policy, and distancing, cleaning, and illness guidelines.

A Journey to Remember

By Shanakay Osbourne

The Spring 2020 semester has come to an end, so has my journey with the Women’s Center. I would like to share with you some of my most memorable experiences and what I have learned. As the graduate assistant at the Women’s Center, some of my responsibilities included supervising undergraduate student staff, serving as a liaison between student organizations and the Women’s Center, managing and assisting with programs and events, and assist with managing the front desk at the Women’s Center.

My favorite part of being a staff member with the Women’s Center is getting to work with such an amazing team. I enjoyed spending time with the staff during events, one-on-one meetings, and getting to know each individual. We helped to support each other in planning, setting up, and working tables at events, as wells as providing encouragement and great feedback to help each other. One of the events that I enjoyed managing was the Motivational Mondays. The program was a weekly virtual event that included social media posts of inspirational quotes that help promote positive thinking and mental health. The event also included a series of self-care activities. Motivational Mondays allowed me to express my creativity while helping others to stay motivated throughout the semester.

I have learned so much during my time at the Women’s Center. I learned how to better advocate, support, and educate for the cause of women’s equity here at UMKC and in our community. I also received additional knowledge about the different challenges that women encounter such as the gender pay gap between men and women, how much unpaid domestic work women contribute to, and the impact women have made throughout history. A professional skill that I learned was how to hire employees. This is a great skill that allowed me to be able to know what to look for when hiring an individual that will be a good fit for a job position.

The Women’s Center has given me the opportunity to grow, lead, and inspire others. With being a first-time UMKC student, the UMKC Women’s Center gave me my first tour of campus, help me to publish my first blog, and is my first graduate assistantship job! I am thankful and have been honored to be a part of the team. I look forward to seeing how the Women’s Center will continue to develop with helping to promote gender equality and helping individuals reach their fullest potential. To the Women’s Center staff, I want to say thank you for making this a wonderful first-year experience for me at UMKC!

Farewell to My Internship, But Not to the Women’s Center

By Allani Gordon

My time as the HerArt Project intern for the Women’s Center has been a defining and profound moment in my college experience. To be a part of a feminist organization, larger than anything I’ve ever been a part of before, and to work alongside so many brilliant women, has left an empowering impression on me.

When I walked into Brenda Bethman’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality class on my first day of freshman year, I had no inkling that this course would introduce me to an internship opportunity. I would’ve never expected I would be finishing my first year of college with experience at the Women’s Center under my belt. I’m so glad I can say that I have.

I’ve learned a lot of life-long skills and gained an immense amount of knowledge on women’s equity and women in the arts. I think I’ve learned even more about myself. Being much younger than everyone else at the center pushed me to evolve in order to perform at a professional level.

Despite the in-person aspects of my internship being cut short, I’m thankful for all the collaborative work I was able to do and help I was able to offer to my fellow interns with their on-campus events and programs. I’m proud of myself and the rest of the staff for being so resilient and adaptable to our online restrictions.

Brenda and Arzie have become supervisors-turned-mentors for me. I still have several years of college to go, but I know I can rely on them going forward. They’ll be around to offer me advice, give me guidance, or simply just have a good conversation with.

This will not be the last of my time at the Women’s Center. I won’t be an intern anymore, but I will continue to be a supportive member and advocate for everything the Women’s Center does.


So Long For Now, Women’s Center!

By Elise Wantling

This will be my final blog for the Women’s Center, and wow have we come a long way! I feel like my life has been such a whirlwind between now and when I started here last October. In that time we had the winter holidays, we put on a production of The Vagina Monologues, Coronavirus caused campus to shut down and everything to move online, I got married (barely!), we converted all our programming into online events, and now the semester is wrapping up and I’m about to graduate. It really has been a wild semester, and while it was not how I imagined my final semester of college would go, I think I’m quite pleased with the outcome.

I’ve really enjoyed being an intern here at the Women’s Center, and if you are reading this and considering an internship or work study position here, I definitely say go for it! Arzie and Brenda are both fabulous to work for and with. I also want to give a shout out to the Violence Prevention team; we work closely with them and not only are they doing great work but they’re also absolute pleasures to work with.

I want to thank all my fellow interns and work study students for being so wonderful to work with. We banded together in the face of extreme adversity and managed to overcome. We did it y’all! We survived!

I’m so proud of how hard everyone worked to get their programming put online. I think we did a really good job pulling everything off considering we had to change our programs last minute. I will look back at my time here fondly, as it is a great example of how humanity can make the best of any situation. Working at the Women’s Center was a really positive work experience and I am so glad I was brought on board. Thank you all for a wonderful semester!

Haley’s Experience at the Women’s Center

By Haley Dean

This semester, I was the event-planning intern for the Women’s Center. When I started applying to internships, I had no idea I would end up at here, but I am so glad I did! Throughout this semester, I have had so many amazing experiences here! I have grown to love the staff I work with, and will miss them all so much! I’m sad to see the end of the semester come so quickly, especially since I can’t physically be at UMKC to see it end. However, I am excited to graduate and move on from this chapter of my life.

This internship has taught me so many things. Learning about all the events we host, and why we do them, has taught me so much about women’s rights. I have been able to advance my leadership skills through planning/hosting/attending these events, which will be beneficial to me in my future career.

Overall, it was a great semester and I’m so thankful for everybody I’ve met and everything I’ve learned throughout my experience at the Women’s Center!

Thank You, Women’s Center

By Kyra Charles

I was shocked when Arzie Umali picked me as blog editor. I’d never worked in a position like this before, my only experience coming from my various writing classes. Six months have passed since that interview, and I’m so happy and grateful that she gave me a chance. My experiences at the Women’s Center have been enlightening, not just as a student, but as a feminist and a writer heading into the job market. I truly believe their patience, determination, and trust have given me strength I will use as I head out into the real world.

Of course, as blog editor, my first priorities were the blogs. I always encouraged the staff at the center to write about their passions and they delivered. Shanakay Williams shared her model of self-care. Maggie Pool gave insight into feminism in the film industry. Allani Gordon embraced the lives of the artists she interviewed. Elise Wantling opened up about their personal struggles as a non-binary individual. Adriana Suarez educated us on the big issues like the tampon tax. Sabrina Zavala and Haley Dean dove deep into the importance of our yearly events. I’ve watched the way these writers have grown and I’m proud of them all.

Outside of the blogs, I also took part in several projects around the Women’s Center. The first major thing I did this year was the Vagina Monologues. I got to interact with a kind and diverse group of performers every week, talking about why this project meant so much to us. At the center I advertised the heck out of it on our blog and social media.

Then there was the 100th anniversary of Women’s suffrage, and the Women’s Center committed to telling the story of how we got here. I collaborated with Elise and Allani to make our poster outside the office, complete with adorable arrows for our “map” by Allani. Elise’s research and all the trivia they shared with me was fascinating, from the importance of saying “suffrage fighter” instead of “suffragette” to the efforts of Lucretia Mott.

It’s inevitable that I bring up the way COVID-19 affected everything. Like everybody else, our daily routines were gone in a snap. We moved online, communicating once a week on Zoom and the rest of the week through email. Our creativity was put to the test as we tried to save our yearly events, and I’m glad to say we rose to the challenge. We put nearly all of our projects online and did everything we could to create the same feeling of comradery and dedication to women’s equity that we bring in everything we do. Watching the effort put into this from the staff was inspiring.

Because of everything I’ve listed here, I believe I’ve gained important experience that I can take with me for future jobs. As editor, I’ve gotten to see firsthand how each of our staff writes and how they’ve improved throughout the semester. I’m thankful with how patient they’ve been with me as I tried to communicate the best ways to improve. Our daily activities have taught me the importance of staying consistent with our message and collaborating to making things possible, even in times of hardship. It’s taught me how to bring passion into my work and always keep learning new things on the job. Overall, this semester has pushed me to give the best I can give and stay passionate about feminism and women’s equity. For that, I’d like to say thank you, Women’s Center.

Reflecting Back During My Time at The Women’s Center

By Sabrina Zavala

The end of my final semester at UMKC has arrived, and although it was not exactly how I planned it to be, it was definitely one to remember. Being the Gender Violence Prevention Intern at the Women’s Center has taught me a lot and I have learned so much from all the amazing women that I’ve worked with in the past five months. They’ve helped me gain more confidence in myself and in my work, and made being there more fun than I could’ve imagined. Although I couldn’t be there physically, I was still able to see everyone through zoom and work from home, and I feel like that need for adaptability will help me in future jobs.

Working from home was definitely different, but I was happy to know that we could continue planning and hosting big events for the university. In the past, I had volunteered and attended a few events that the Women’s Center hosted on campus and this semester I was able to see it from a different point of view. I organized events such as The Vagina Monologues and Denim Day. Both of those events were difficult to prepare for and stressful of course, but in the end, the results were worth all the hard work that was put into them.

Everything I have learned from the Women’s Center has given me experience and skills to use in the real world. Although I won’t walk across the stage on May 17th, I still thank the UMKC Women’s Center for giving me the privilege to intern for them. They’ve given me the best senior experiences on campus, and helped me go above and beyond as the Gender Violence Prevention Intern.