Jenna Gilio Joins Women’s Center This Summer

By Jenna Gilio

Hey there! My name is Jenna Gilio. I am so excited to be writing to you as one of the newest staff members here at the Women’s Center! I am a middle school teacher in the Kansas City Public School District and currently pursuing a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at UMKC. In my free time, I enjoy reading, gardening, listening to podcasts, and taking trips to the dog park with my two dogs, Bella and Collins. As a former Culinary Arts teacher, I love cooking, trying new recipes, and most importantly, eating yummy foods! My favorite food blogger is The Minimalist Baker. Check her out sometime!

When I graduate from UMKC next year, I hope to continue working with college students at UMKC. I love the community at UMKC, the focus on inclusivity and the celebration of diversity. For me, college was such an important and developmental time, and I hope to one day walk alongside students as they navigate their own college experience.

I was drawn to the Women’s Center because I want to support and learn how to be a better advocate to my sisters on the UMKC campus. I love that the Women’s Center offers a safe space to those who are seeking refuge, provides resources to those who aren’t sure where to find them, and strives to promote awareness of the women’s issues so many college women face today. I am so excited to be a part of the Women’s Center mission this Summer. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello!

Introducing Rhonda Cooksey

By Rhonda Cooksey

Hello. The Women’s Center is now open, and I am excited to join the staff as the new Blog Editor for summer term. I have an MFA in Creative Writing and Media Arts from UMKC and am currently a doctoral student in English and the Social Science Consortium. I am president of the English Graduate Student Association and the recipient of the Farnsworth Fellowship for Colonial/Postcolonial studies in English for the 2021-2022 academic year. Promoting non-judgement drives my writing, whether fiction, nonfiction, academic, or social. Even in the 21st century, women face judgement every day, and we need to see that change. For my dissertation, I research the myths and rituals behind representations of racial justice in 19th century print culture such as fiction, journalism, laws, and sermons. What I discover makes me want to fight for social justice, and the rights of women tops my list of issues that American society needs to address. Our society is askew because of white, male-centric control, and the only way to restore balance is with equality. It is time to move past gender and racial judgments and work together to create an America with equal opportunities and justice for all.

On a personal note, I have two cats and two dogs, all rescues, and so many indoor and outdoor plants I stopped counting. I am a Greater Kansas City Master Gardener and avid proponent of sustainable permaculture, which comes in handy since my family just moved to a farm field. One good thing about the lack of trees—the sunsets are amazing.

CALL FOR ARTISTS: The Personal Universe

Presented by 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics and the UMKC Women’s Center, The Personal Universe will be a competitive exhibition featuring artists who identify as women or non-binary from across the globe.


  • First place
    A featured album on the 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics Facebook page.
  • Three Purchase awards
    The jury has arranged with personal collectors to purchase 1 piece from the exhibition.
  • A “People’s Choice” award will be given to the piece that receives the most Likes/Loves on its Facebook post.
  • Ceramics: Art & Perception subscription award for one year


  • January 4, 2021
    Entries accepted at
  • February 12, 2021
    Entries closed
  • March 17, 2021
    Exhibition opens
  • May 11, 2021
    Solo exhibition set up.

Rules and Regulations:

  • All submissions are electronic and should be sent to
  • Submission will be accepted between January 4 and February 12.
  • The work must either:
    a) Be made primarily of clay.
    b) Be video or performance work where clay is prominent element of the work.
  • All entries MUST include: Title of work, Date of work, Dimensions of work, Date of Work, Artist’s name, Artist Location or Academic Affiliation. While not required, artists are encouraged to include their personal website address in the entry.
  • Any person who identifies as female, gender-fluid, or non-binary can apply.
  • Two entries– including up to two images per person.
  • Submission of work will be considered a release by the artist to allow 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contributions to Ceramics organizers to use images in the exhibition as well as in any publication materials. Any use of images will include the maker’s name and contact method.
    • This release extends to publication of reviews of the exhibition on blogs, tweets, and in Facebook groups.
  • For the purchase award, the maker will be responsible for any shipping fees included in the sale of the work. The purchasers live in the United States.
  • All images need to be JPEG or PNG formatted.
  • Prices will be listed in the final exhibition. If no price is given, the work will be labeled “NFS.”
    • Will list prices in local currency ($, Australian $, €, ¥, R, etc…)
  • All entries must be original works of art.
  • All entries will be reviewed at the time of submission to ensure adherence to the artwork condition rules and regulations of the exhibit.
    • Inclusion/Exclusion in the exhibit is at the sole discretion of the Jury: Ms. Alex Kraft, Ms. Melanie Shaw, and Mr. Anthony Merino.
    • All works must adhere to Facebook’s policy regarding acceptable images.
  • “People’s Choice” award will be determined by total number of image Likes / Loves.
    • Likes = 1 point
    • Loves = 2 points
    • This award is independent of any other awards.

There is no formal application, just email the images and description to, with subject line “Entry for The Personal Universe.” Please attach images and include the following information:

  • Title, Date, Dimensions, Price
  • Artist’s Name
  • Artist’s Location/Professional Affiliation
  • Artist’s Country
  • Clay/Process Information (optional, please keep under 75 words)
  • Webpages and Social Media information (optional)

For more information or for questions regarding this exhibition, artwork submissions, or awards, please contact Anthony Merino at

For more information about 50 Women a Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics, check them out on Facebook.

Reflection Blog Fall 2020

By Morgan Clark

This year has been a difficult year for a lot of students, given the pandemic and all. It has been an especially hard adjustment for me. But I can say that working with the Women’s Center has helped me get through this semester. Joining the team, I was excited to work for this organization because it’s an organization that promoted the same values that I have. This especially showed in our events. One of the first events I was involved in was the social media campaign that took place in August called “Why I Choose to be a Feminist.” We partnered up with the Counseling Center for this event to promote individuals and their passion for feminism. For this event I was able to use and expand some of my creative skills. The next event I took part in was Walk A Mile. Usually, this event is a social event that allows men to strut their stuff around campus in a show of solidarity with victims of sexual assault. With COVID-19 we had to limit that. However, it was still a successful event that got a lot of participants. Right now, I am finishing up our other social media campaign Phenomenal Feminist Friday. For that, I post a feminist, that each of the staff has chosen, on Friday. I will admit I have learned about some women that I did not know prior to this project! Each of these events has taught me something about myself. How I work with others, what kind of workspace I would like to be in, etc. It has even piqued my interest in a career like what I have done here. It has also been nice to plan these events and see how successful they turn out to be. I will be coming back to the Women’s Center next semester, and I hope to bring more of my creative skills into focus when I do! With Black History month coming soon, I do want to focus on Black feminists and how they are contributing to our culture. After that, I want to do the same thing, but with all women, in March. And finally, for April, I want to inform people about sexual assault. I want to let people know that there are many different types of assaults, and provide a resource to those who have been affected by sexual assault. I am looking forward to the Spring semester and the events to come.

See you soon,

Morgan C.

Reflecting on the Semester

By Mia Lukic

I cannot believe the Fall 2020 semester is already ending. No one could have predicted the circumstances of this semester and it held many surprises for everyone. One of the positive surprises I got was when I received my email that I had been awarded work study. I knew immediately that I wanted to join the Women’s Center staff after taking a class with Dr. Bethman, our director. It was the first post I applied to and I was so incredibly happy to have been accepted. Because of my late work study, I started a month or two later than most of the other staff but they all welcomed me quickly and I started contributing to the programs and events, as well as my blog and social media postings.

I loved working on programs like Words of Wisdom Wednesdays where I shared quotes from women on our Instagram, White Ribbon Day where I collaborated with UMKC RISE to raise awareness for gender-based violence, and Transgender Day of Remembrance where I created graphics of information to share regarding the Transgender community.

These blogs have been a great opportunity to learn a lot about a variety of topics during my research and preparation. I have really loved sharing what I found and am excited to dive into new topics next semester. It has also served as a way to start important conversations with my parents, new devoted Women’s Center blog readers. (Hi Mom and Dad!)

I learned a lot about social media as it switched from casual, personal use to a sizable part of my job. One thing I did not expect to encounter were : Twitter Trolls. I had heard of these creatures before, but never experienced them until this semester. It was difficult at first, but I think it made me a better person and feminist, learning not to second guess myself just because someone didn’t agree with me.

I loved working with this amazing group of people and will miss those not returning next semester, but know they are on their way to doing great things! I look forward to working on more programs next semester like the new and improved V-day and even a program that combines issues surrounding the environment, women, and food insecurity into one.

I plan on taking the winter break to force myself to take time for myself and devote at least the time I would be writing these blogs to self care and I hope you find time to do the same. Until January!

Brianna’s Reflection on Fall Semester

By Brianna Green

As my first semester at UMKC and the Women’s Center winds down, there’s a lot of things to reflect on.

The first thing to talk about is the impact the pandemic has had. Unfortunately, as all of us know, this has pushed classes online and has restricted in-person events on campus. Half of my classes were on Zoom and the others were asynchronous. Because of this, I haven’t met my classmates nor have had the chance to really get to know my professors.

For the first part of the semester, I was working on site once a week. Because I was on campus, I got to see how many students were not there. Haag hall was quiet and I felt like I was working in an empty building. Most of our events have been virtual so I wasn’t able to meet and interact with all the awesome people who’ve shown up to them.

As depressing as all of that might sound, I’m really happy and I still feel close to my new school and community. Being at the Women’s Center has allowed me to explore campus and get familiar with its’ layout. I’ve been able to meet the other students who work at the center with me, and I have to say, I’ve worked with some pretty awesome ladies – especially our blog editor April, she’d helped me a lot with my blogs this semester. Not only that but I have had the pleasure of working with the residential halls and on some of our virtual events.

Outside of the Women’s Center, I joined Psychology Club and became their Secretary. At my off-campus job I’ve become very friendly with my coworkers and feel confident in my position. I’ve still been able to go out, social distantly, and explore KC a little bit. I know my way to Walmart without getting lost so that’s an accomplishment in my book.

All that being said, I’m looking forward to spring semester! I can’t wait for all the programs we’re going to do. I’m excited to learn more about UMKC, the Women’s Center, and my major, psychology. And, finally, I’m looking forward to better weather and 2020 to be over.

Fall Semester At The Women’s Center

By Emma Gilham

This semester at the Women’s Center has been full of new experiences, program planning, and learning how to navigate a virtual environment. The first program I worked on with several other staff members was Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. It is a staple event for the Women’s Center, and it had to be significantly modified to accommodate COVID-19 safety protocols. For example, we rebranded the walk as a socially-distanced, contemplative walk instead of a march. However, with ample planning, teamwork, and many enthusiastic co-sponsors and volunteers we were able to put on a successful event that engaged students on-campus and/or virtually. After a brief break, I started working on an event called Grow Your Resilience. This event was aimed to help participants acknowledge and increase their resilience. Resilience is known as the capacity to recover from difficulties. I was very excited to work on this event and extremely grateful for the donation of mums we acquired from Suburban Lawn & Garden with the help of April Brown. Indeed, we have all confronted a need for flexibility this year, and I was not exempt from that. The day before the event, the location needed to be changed from the Women’s Center to another spot on campus. I was very thankful for the Director of the Student Union Jody Jeffries for accommodating us in moving the event to Jazzman’s Stage. We had great turnout for Grow Your Resilience and we gave away all our supplies for the program on the first day! I worked on a couple projects after Walk A Mile and Grow Your Resilience, but I was most involved in those two. I am so happy to have learned so much from my supervisors, Arzie Umali and Brenda Bethman. I could not be more pleased with my fall semester at the Women’s Center. I look forward to engaging students in our spring activities!

Jordan Says Farewell to the Women’s Center

By Jordan Tunks

Finding an internship during a global pandemic is hard. After countless no’s and application deadlines I finally came upon the Women’s Center. I sent in all my information and not even a day later I got an email back to set up a zoom interview for an intern position at the Women’s Center. This gave me a moment of relief before more nerves set in about the interview. I was nervous because I knew there was a whole side of women’s issues that I was unaware of, but I knew I wanted to learn more about them and expand my knowledge. I quickly learned this was no problem when beginning at the Women’s Center, and I began to learn quickly about so many topics that I did not know about before. That’s when I knew this internship was for me.

I’m sad to see my last semester come to an end, but this was a great way to end my undergraduate college career. I enjoyed my time at the Women’s Center considering all the new challenges and changes going on in the world right now. We made the best of our time and used what resources we had. I enjoyed being able to have weekly meetings for everyone to discuss what was going on and to allow for any questions or concerns to be brought up (although these would have been nice to have in person). I enjoyed being in the office and helping any students in need of feminine products, looking for volunteer opportunities, or looking to check out a book from our library.

This internship helped me open my eyes to all the problems occurring in the world right now. In my future I will know how to help advocate and educate others on women’s issues, thanks to the Women’s Center. This will help me live a more meaningful and helpful life in the future. I am excited to see where this will lead me and what new opportunities I will encounter from here on out.

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April Says Goodbye to UMKC and the Women’s Center!

By April Brown

Welcome to the end of the semester everyone!! Congratulations! You (pretty much) made it through 2020. Despite all the challenges, the turmoil, and the overwhelming uncertainty, you have accomplished another semester and another year on this crazy journey! I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for me, this semester has been one of the hardest semesters of my entire college career. Online classes, zoom meetings, and very high security in the library really made things hard to navigate, and made school hard to enjoy. Which is why I had to spend a lot of this semester learning how to find joy in the things I did have, instead of sadness in the things I didn’t have. Working at the Women’s Center has been one of the bright spots for me. Interning as the blog editor for the Women’s Center was a last minute decision for me. One of my professors approached me with the opportunity and I took the chance that it might provide me some normalcy, or at least a distractions from all of the things that weren’t so great. What I got was so much more than a distraction.

The Women’s Center on UMKC’s campus has been a vital part of my last semester here at UMKC. It provided me not only with relationships that I would have missed out on, but also with valuable learning experiences that both expanded on who I was and, in some cases, changed who I was all together. The staff that worked along side me are some of the most passionate, intelligent, funny, and big hearted people I have every met. It was truly a pleasure to work so closely with them, even if we never got to see each other face to face! Our directors Arzie and Brenda were wonderful! It was never a dull moment in the office with Arzie, she kept us cheerful and optimistic even when things seemed to only be getting worse. Brenda was always there to make us laugh and to help us with whatever we needed and I couldn’t have appreciated that support any more!

Throughout the semester I mostly just edited the blogs and got them posted on here for everyone to read. And this would have been enough. I mean I was getting to edit, write, and learn how to be a leader doing this one job. All valuable and important skills I will need as I go out into the world to find a career. But that isn’t all I did. I also got to work on events that the Women’s Center hosted such as the I can, We can – Day of Action in October which we put on with the help of RISE. This event raised awareness of gender-based violence and encouraged and spread strength in unity in the community. In planning and executing this event I learned about the bleakest parts of reality, and then I saw some of the brightest lights emerge from it. Seeing people come together and protect and support one another through something as gruesome as domestic violence is the kind of thing that makes you believe in humanity again. I was very proud to be a part of the event. I also got to help my fellow staff members with events such as Walk A Mile, and Grow Your Resilience!

This internship has been one of the reasons I got through this year. My time here has come to an end, and I will be graduating in just a week’s time, but what a ride it has been! I don’t really know what my next step is from here but knowing that the choice is and always will be mine makes me hopeful for the future. I look forward to watching the Women’s Center grow and expand, and I will definitely be popping in and out to check on the other staff members and see what other great treats they have planned for the coming semester!



Farewell Women’s Center

By Abbie Lewis

This semester I was a program intern at the Women’s Center and I really enjoyed it! When I applied for the internship, I have to admit, I didn’t really know what to expect or if I would like it or if it would just be something I needed to do for graduation. Little did I know what a talented, motivated, and all around amazing group of girls I would meet and get the opportunity to work beside.

My role as a program intern was to find programs either from past years or help develop new ones and organize and host them throughout the semester. My big program was our annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes which was a one mile walk throughout campus to raise awareness for gender based awareness. Covid definitely made an attempt to ruin this event but I think we did an amazing job of making it a safe and socially distant event after all, taking away new things to do for years to come! I also worked on a couple more programs, one to do with voter education since this was a big election year, and the other on loving your body and overall body positivity. Both events were social media based and I think did well.

I really loved working with all the girls on all our projects and things this semester. Everyone is so smart and hardworking and always ready to lend a hand. I feel very blessed to have met all these fine ladies and know they will all go on to do big things. I learned a lot about event planning, writing blogs, and feminism this semester and I know I can take all of that with me to my future endeavors. Overall, I am so glad I had this opportunity and would highly recommend an internship with the Women’s Center!