Laura Widener is a veteran intern here at the Women’s Center. We first met Laura in 2014 when she joined us as a Marketing and Communications intern and were lucky enough to have her return this year as a Body Positive intern. Ask any staff member in the Center about Laura and they will inevitably smile. Laura brings kindness and patience to everything she takes part in, continuously offering a helping hand with programs and events beyond her own intern team.
Aside from her work here at the Center, Laura has been active in social justice work on Grounds with organizations like the LGBTQ Center, Green Dot, Take Back the Archive, and One Less. In 2014 she received the V. Shamim Sisson Ally of the Year Award and recently won the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Essay Award in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program for her thesis entitled, “Women Over Tradition: The Interaction Between Invented Pasts and Rape Culture at the University of Virginia.”
Laura was asked to speak at the Lavender Graduation, a ceremony hosted by the University of Virginia’s LGBTQ Center. Several staff members attended the ceremony and listened to her story of becoming heavily involved in activism, a path she had not imagined for herself when she first arrived to Grounds. We are lucky to have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know Laura, and wish her the best of luck in her continued work in social justice and activism.
Laura had an immediate impact on the Body Positive Program as an intern by raising our awareness to be more inclusive. She strengthened our partnership with the LGBTQ Center and co-led an event that included diversity issues in a conversation about body positivity. It was wonderful to have Laura be part of the Women’s Center these past two years.
Charlotte Chapman, Chair of Programs