The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center is excited to welcome the newest addition to our staff, Rashona Sharpless!

Rashona is the Gender Violence and Social Change (GVSC) Outreach Coordinator at the Center. In this position, she will be doing outreach and education around Grounds about gender-based violence. Specifically, she will take on some pieces of programming that already exist like the Men’s Leadership Project, expand small existing projects and define new GVSC projects to carry out.

Rashona received her B.S. from Appalachian State University and her M.S. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She comes to the Women’s Center with a background of working with college students and women’s advocacy. She also has experience with engaging college men in leadership and mentoring.

In her prior position as Violence Prevention Coordinator at Northeastern State University, Rashona worked under a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), attended the OVW Training Institute, and developed a strategic plan for comprehensive interpersonal violence education that met OVW approval. Through this work, she created a coordinated community response team that focused on the prevention and response to interpersonal violence. The team was made up of representatives across campus and in the community. She also attended the Men Can Stop Rape Healthy Masculinity Training Institute in D.C. and had been working to better engage men on campus at Northeastern after this institute.

While at UNC and working on her master’s, Rashona became a skilled presenter as the Graduate Assistant at the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). On behalf of the office, she gave classroom presentations and presentations to student organizations. She created engaging programming on such topics as “Feminist Coming Out Day” and “Fairy Tale Endings: Do Relationships Truly Have Them?”

During her undergrad years, she volunteered at Appalachian State’s Women’s Center by providing resources pertaining to sexual assault, intimate partner violence and other women’s issues. She also prepared the Center’s skit for the Multicultural Student Development Tunnel of Oppression, an annual event where student organizations create creative imagery to bring awareness to oppressed groups.

As an undergrad, Rashona also served on the Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CASA) committee that worked to create a sexual assault prevention program. With other students, she created posters and swag with phrases such as “Ask it softly, ask it gently, always ask for consent,” “Consent is sexy,” and “No means no” that local bars and clubs used.

Rashona recently moved to Charlottesville, VA from Charlotte, NC. She enjoys traveling, eating and writing in her food blog – activities interrelated with each other. She has visited Mexico, Israel, England and Ireland during undergrad and grad school Study Abroad trips. Traveling inspired Rashona to start her food blog as her friends and family kept asking about where she ate. Her favorite types of cuisine are Latin (Mexican, Salvadorian, Peruvian, etc.) and Mediterranean. Her favorite course is dessert.