By Emma Sauer
A huge hello to all of you! My name’s Emma (she/her/hers). I’m a junior here at UMKC, but this is my first year here as a transfer student. Initially I was disappointed by the lack of live kangaroos bouncing around campus, but it turns out the human residents are pretty awesome too. As someone who’s lived in the KCMO area for 10 years but has barely ventured outside her bedroom door, I wanted to expose myself to Kansas City and all it had to offer. UMKC was the optimal choice! I’m majoring in English, with an emphasis in rhetoric and writing. I’m still considering different career paths, which is why I’m trying to expose myself to as many hands-on experiences as I can.
I’m someone who has always felt very passionate about women’s issues, so when I caught wind of an internship opportunity at UMKC’s very own Women’s Center, I was immediately interested. I’ve done a lot of my own research and learned a lot second hand about intersectional issues, but the Women’s Center offers a chance for me to do real, meaningful work. I’m elated to be able to share my knowledge on intersectional issues, and if I’m lucky, I’ll learn a thing or two myself!
In my free time, I love to write, read, draw, and listen to podcasts. I’m also really into anime, cartoons, and D&D! If you ever see me around the Women’s Center and want to chat about a new game or show you’re watching, don’t be afraid to chat with me (especially if you a have recommendation with kick-ass female characters). The last and single most important thing I have to share about myself is my two cats who can do no wrong, ever, because they are my perfect little fuzzy angels.
You’ll hear from me soon, Roos!
P.S- As a gesture of goodwill, any of you higher-ups at UMKC can totally take my kangaroo idea for free. However, I do get to name every single one; that’s non-negotiable.
By Ace Garrett
With my internship coming to a close, the end of the semester feels like a goodbye—but now I actually get the wonderful opportunity to interact with the Women’s Center as many of you do, as a student. I am sure to keep stopping by for coffee, to borrow a fork, and to study or read a book on our couch. I will continue to be one of the Center’s biggest fans.
But there are some endings: I will no longer be contributing to this blog, or working with the rest of our wonderful staff. Though I will be happy to have more time for my studies (and sleep), I am so glad to have gotten this opportunity. In the introduction post I wrote mere months ago, I mentioned that I am aspiring to be a copyeditor. Since then I have gotten experience working directly with writers, organizing and managing deadlines, and editing, of course. I have picked up more time-management skills and social skills. I have become much more confident in my my ability to hold a position of authority and in my competence as an editor. This internship has certainly better prepared me for my future, and for that I am thankful.
And all this doesn’t even take into account the joy I’ve felt advocating for gender equity. Although I was not very involved in the Women Center’s wonderful programming this semester, I know that the posts I edited and wrote are making a difference in their own way. I hope students will use this blog—the posts from this semester and beyond—to find support and growth. And I am proud to have left a little bit of myself here.
Keep learning. Keep chasing empathy.
Thank you for all you do,
By Taylor Michl
What a semester it has been! The Women’s Center hosted and co-sponsored many events in Fall 2021, set up Healing Arts corners in several locations across campus, and provided a cozy campus spot for students to host meetings, complete projects, and do self-care. I am proud of the work that we have done, and so glad that we had the opportunity to spread the message of gender equity on campus and beyond through our programs and blogs.
I have felt so lucky to work with the amazing Women’s Center staff over the past several months. I’m not sure what miracle caused this to happen, but the staff here is filled with people who are incredibly fun, hardworking, creative, and dedicated to intersectional gender equity.
I’ve worked many jobs in my life, in everything from food service to non-profit to marketing. Of course, every job has its benefits and drawbacks. That said, the Women’s Center has connected me to a community of smart, like-minded people who make me laugh and inspire me. Thanks to them, I am excited to come to work every day.
Being the Graduate Assistant at UMKC Women’s Center has been special to me because we get to spend our time thinking, talking, and educating about gender equity. On top of that, though, the folks that I am lucky to call colleagues walk the walk: they check in with each other, they practice radical vulnerability, and they constantly challenge themselves to grow as intersectional feminists and human beings.
To my wonderful coworkers, and to everyone who attended a Women’s Center event, did homework on our comfy couch, or read one of our blog posts, thank you for making this semester special. You rock. See you in 2022!
By Brianna Green
I started working at the Women’s Center in the fall of 2020. We started off the semester working in the center but eventually had to move everyting online. We stayed online until the academic year was almost over. Although that year was pretty virtual, I still got to assist with amazing programs like Walk A Mile, Denim Day, and bringing take-away arts and crafts to the residential halls. I was able to learn a lot and even connect with some coworkers virtually.
Skip to this semester, Fall 2021, and it’s been a completely different experience. It’s been incredible to see what the Women’s Center can do in a semi-regular year. There’s been so many tabling events, healing art programs, and many laughs shared by the staff. Although I will not be returning in the spring, I’m still going to participate in the incredible events I know will be had.
My time at the Women’s Center has taught me how to create and implement a program, run a social media campaign, and how to manage multiple responsibilities all at once, and it’s been a very good experience overall. As I mentioned, I won’t be returning as a staff member in the spring, but I still plan to stop by events and the center to see the staff that I’ve gotten so close to this semester. So, this is not a goodbye, just a see you later.
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.
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!
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!
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).
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!
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!