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23 02, 2017

Alum Spotlight: Anthony Buenafe

By |February 23rd, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project|0 Comments|

1. When did you attend UVA and what did you study?
I graduated in Spring 2008 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Psychology. I kept going and earned my M.S.Ed. in Education Policy in 2010 at UPenn.

2. How were you involved with the women’s center? What do you think was the biggest takeaway from your experience
I was a part of the founding cohort of the Men’s Leadership Project (MLP). My fellow MLP brothers and I would meet regularly to discuss men’s issues and to mentor our “Little Brothers” at Walker Elementary School.

To this day, I credit MLP with helping me expand my understanding and respect for masculinity as a spectrum. I don’t remember every detail, but I remember the feeling of a ”safe space,” challenging each other to talk honestly about tough, taboo topics, and coming out on the other side all the better for it.

These days, I miss the camaraderie and the talks I shared with my fellow MLP brothers. Amid the “real world” hustle and bustle of 9-5, raising a family, paying a mortgage, etc., I haven’t found anything quite like MLP – a group of guys to push each other to become better men, fathers, husbands, etc. I know it’s out there, I’m just not there yet.

3. Tell me about the most memorable conversation you had during MLP, whether it was with your Little or another Big Brother.
I remember talking to my Little Brother about his football idol, Tiki Barber… a lot. One night we were getting dinner at Newcomb Hall and we talked about how Tiki seemed like a good guy – never getting into trouble, hard working, and generally a good character. Tiki had also written a children’s book and was at our very own Student Bookstore for a book signing that night!

When we arrived at the Bookstore to line up to meet Tiki, we learned that we needed to buy his book (at full price, which I couldn’t afford)… and the line stretched out the door. My Little was devastated.

When I saw the look of disappointment on my Little Brother’s face, I thought to myself “what would MY dad do in this situation?” So I ended up walking us up past the line so we could at least get a closer view of Tiki and I positioned us about ten feet away from him. To my surprise, my Little softly blurted out, “Hi Tiki…” and Tiki stopped signing for a moment to return the greeting with a “Hi!”, a friendly smile, and wave of his hand. My Little actually fell backwards and I caught him before he hit the floor.

We both agreed it was a really cool moment and a smile still comes to my face thinking about it.

4. What are you doing now? what do you enjoy most?
My greatest joy was marrying my best friend in 2013 and starting a family together.

I also have a full-time job as a management consultant in service of our federal government. I honestly had no idea where my career would take me after my first job in AmeriCorps, but I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. Every day, I’m in the position to make a difference and serve the greater good – how sweet it is.

21 02, 2017

Student Spotlight: Nicole Baker

By |February 21st, 2017|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big, Nicole Baker!

Year: First Year
Major: I plan to major in Communications Disorders
Hometown: Woodstock, Va

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I am involved in the YWLP program at UVA where I am a Big sister to a middle school girl. This program is important to me because it helps to begin empowering young girls, teaching them leadership skills, respect, and self development at a crucial point in adolescent development. I love helping and watching the girls grow in their confidence!

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I chose UVA because it has a welcoming and diverse community, endless opportunities to get involved in clubs and service, strong academic programs, and absolutely beautiful grounds. I loved the history and tradition behind the school, and saw myself building a new community of my own in Charlottesville by filling my life with all the amazing opportunities available to me.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
UVA is such an accepting place that seems to care about every member of its community. I was greatly surprised at how quickly I was able to adjust to such a large University in such a short amount of time. I knew very quickly after arriving that I would find a home at UVA due to the amazing people I have met here thus far.

20 02, 2017

Alum Spotlight: Tamara Wilkerson

By |February 20th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

We knew she was a star well before Forbes hailed Tamara Wilkerson as one of the magazine’s “30 Under 30” in Education for 2017, but what a thrill to see her recognized for her leadership as Executive Director of the African American Teaching Fellows. A former Women’s Center intern, Tamara graduated in 2012 from UVA’s Curry School of Education with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education and is currently at work on her dissertation for an Ed.d in Leadership from Morgan State. We’re honored to shine our “spotlight” on her.

1. The work/life pathway to where you are now, was that totally planned? Organic? Some combination?
It was definitely a combination. I knew in school that I wanted to someday be a CEO (of what, I wasn’t quite sure!) so I always took advantage of leadership roles. From being an intern at the Women’s Center, being a Resident Advisor, and even a Peer Advisor – I always wanted to grow as a leader. However, I never knew that I would end up in the nonprofit sector – so that was a surprise! It just fell into my lap and worked out for me.

2. Looking back, what advice would you give your former, Women’s Center intern-self?
I was very self-conscious and didn’t trust my own abilities. I would tell her that she is enough, and capable of achieving each and every dream she has!

3. Describe your dream vacation.
Valencia, Spain! I studied there when I was at UVA and I have been dying to go back. I’d love to be there, relaxing on the beach.

4. Who’s going to play you in the movie of your life?
Even though she looks nothing like me, I absolutely love Taraji P. Henson. I’d pick her just because she’s a great actress.

7 02, 2017

Student Spotlight: Golda Houndoh

By |February 7th, 2017|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Golda Houndoh!

Name: Golda Houndoh
Major: Hopefully Global Development Studies and Anthropology
Hometown: Born in Togo, West Africa but Hometown is Leesburg, Virginia

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I’m passionate about the YWLP program at the Women’s Center because my Little Sister has already showed me so much in the most subtle ways and I feel so lucky to have her and YWLP in my life.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I felt like I was at home the second I stepped on grounds– the people, the programs, etc. It was actually my tour guide who sealed the deal, he was walking around and saying hi to all his friends and they were all so diverse and cool and (seemed) accomplished and I kind of decided that I wanted to be like them.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
The thing thats surprised me the most at this wonderful university is the diversity within the people. I know you kind of expect to meet a lot of new people that you’re not quite used to at college but the passion that i’ve seen in people for such a broad range of things has been amazing and rewarding and inspiring.

30 01, 2017

Student Spotlight: Catherine Toro

By |January 30th, 2017|Blog, Interns, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP intern, Catherine Toro!

Year: 3rd
Major: Psychology and African American Studies, (AAS undeclared)
Hometown: Baltimore, MD

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I didn’t really know what mentorship meant until I came to college. My first year here I went out of my way to become friends with people who inspired me, but also people I could relate to and go to for advice. In myself, I quickly saw how having role models so close to you, mentors that could relate to what I knew and where I came from, empowered me inside and outside the classroom. The Young Women Leadership Program (YWLP) does exactly that, matching young girls with UVA women so as to affirm their own ability and value, to empower.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
Honestly, I chose UVa because I thought it was a great school academically and at the time I thought I wanted to be a doctor (lol). Although I am no longer pre-med, I have grown a lot at this university and have learned to appreciate the space that I occupy here.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
When I first came here, part of me was afraid of the Southern culture, something I hadn’t really encountered before. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to speak Spanish or find people of color in my classes. I know that might seem extreme but I was coming from a very diverse area in Baltimore and I had no idea what to expect from Charlottesville. So, what surprised me is how quickly I was able to find a community that I identified with at UVA. As soon as I got here I was welcomed into the IRC and joined LSA and met such a diverse group of people that I had never anticipated would exist at UVA. And these communities made me feel like I could genuinely call this place home.

4. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I drink a lot of coffee, especially in the evenings. My parents are both from places where coffee is just a big part of the culture. My mom is from Ethiopia and when we went to visit family, I was part of a coffee ceremony for the first time. My aunt burned some incense and we watched as she carefully prepared the coffee and poured us some in these really small cups. Hands down, the best coffee I’ve ever had. And with my dad’s family in Puerto Rico, we drink coffee with every meal. Especially after dinner. I don’t really know why, but it just what we do. My friends think it’s weird that I drink coffee at night, even if I don’t have to stay up late. I just really like coffee and it reminds me of my family.

30 01, 2017

Support and Resources for an Inclusive University Community

By |January 30th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

At the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, we stand with students, faculty and staff in expressing support to the members of UVA’s international community who are so essential to the vitality of our University. An environment that welcomes and supports people of different backgrounds, beliefs, ages, identities, ethnicities and worldviews best accomplishes the goals of a modern public institution of higher education. The Women’s Center works to promote this environment at UVA by actively engaging in discussions about social change and bias, challenging our assumptions, and perhaps most importantly, by supporting the many students whose leadership among their peers is essential to bringing about a truly inclusive University community.

As always, we encourage students in need of support during challenging times to inquire for information about additional support services by phone at 434-982-2361 or in person in Emmet House on McCormick Road. We are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can find our front door just off of Bonnycastle Drive. When demand for our services exceeds what we are able to offer, we work to connect students to other resources on Grounds and in the Charlottesville community.

We encourage you to read this statement from President Sullivan on January 29, 2017 and continue to follow news from the President’s office during this time.

27 01, 2017

Apply now! Join one of our mentoring teams in 2017-18

By |January 27th, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Through our Young Women Leaders Program and Men’s Leadership Project, we give students the chance to give back to the community they call home during their years at UVA. These community-based mentoring programs pair undergraduate men and women with middle schoolers from the Charlottesville area. Pairing course work with group meetings, as well as one-on-one activities with their littles, our Big Brothers and Big Sisters grow as leaders while helping their littles realize their own leadership potential.

27 01, 2017

Apply for our internship program in 2017-18!

By |January 27th, 2017|Blog, Interns|0 Comments|

Apply NowWith 8 programs, there are lots of ways for you to get involved with the Women’s Center next year. Our internship program gives you the chance to combine classroom study with the practical experience of working with staff members on one of our many teams.

Former Iris intern, Carly Gorelick, gives you 5 reasons you should intern with the Women’s Center:

19 01, 2017

Join us in Celebrating MLK

By |January 19th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Many of us are aware of the impact of traumatic events on individuals. Post-traumatic syndrome became a familiar term in response to the Vietnam War and what men and women experienced in that war. There is also growing research on how an individual’s brain reacts to trauma with encouraging news about how to help individuals recover. However, we do not know as much about how trauma impacts a community. The Charlottesville community has had several traumatic events in the past few years that have affected many people. In addition, when there are parts of a community where people feel marginalized, the impact of trauma is different. There are barriers for people in the marginalized community that can prevent recovery as well as natural healing relationships that can be used as resources.

The Maxine Platzer Women’s Center at UVA is sponsoring a talk as part of the 2017 Community Martin Luther King Celebration entitled How We Begin To Heal: Addressing Lifelong Impacts of Trauma in Communities of Color. We’d like to thank UVA’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights for joining us to co-sponsor this event.

The theme of the MLK Celebration this year is “Silence as Betrayal.” In 1967, speaking out against the war in Vietnam, Dr. King stated, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” This theme is very relevant to trauma. The impact of trauma becomes more severe when everyone remains silent about it. By acknowledging trauma and giving voice to our reactions, the healing process can begin.

Please join us at this free event on Wednesday January 25th to hear psychologist Russell T. Jones, who is a professor from Virginia Tech. Drawing on his extensive work with traumatic events including Hurricane Katrina, and the Virginia Tech shootings, Dr. Jones will discuss the impact of generational and systemic trauma on people in communities of color. We will learn about the nature of developmental trauma, how it shapes individual and community coping behaviors, and what are some suggested interventions to foster healing and growth.

The talk will be from 3:00 – 4:00 followed by a group discussion and then a reception from 4:30- 5:30 at the Harrison/Small Library at UVA. We hope that this event will help participants better understand what our community has experienced as well as develop some ideas of how we can become a part of the healing process.

19 01, 2017

Attorney Spotlight: John Ralston

By |January 19th, 2017|Blog, Legal Clinic|0 Comments|

UVA students have the opportunity to learn about the legal process by working closely with local attorneys in our Legal Clinic. The commitment from our local attorneys and student interns has allowed our clinic to grow and meet a greater need in the community. Since 2013, we have added a summer legal clinic and increased the frequency of our clinics from once a month, to twice a month, allowing us to meet the needs of more clients all year long. While you can get to know our hard-working interns through our student spotlight series, we want to shine light on the dedicated attorneys who donate their time to our legal clinic.


Get to know John Ralston of E. Randall Ralston, P.C.!

A 2015 graduate from the University of Richmond School of Law, John Ralston is already putting his degree to good use at his family’s practice, E. Randall Ralston, P.C., in Charlottesville and right here at the UVA Women’s Center Free Legal Clinic. The clinic is held twice a month on Tuesday evenings at the Corner Building on the UVA Corner, and serves about 6 clients per clinic or about 12 clients per month. Clients reach out to us either by phone (434-982-2361) or email (freelegalclinic@virginia.edu) to sign up for thirty minute pro-bono consultations with an attorney. Attorneys from around the community graciously volunteer their time to serve on one of our clinics. Mr. Ralston has graciously gone above and beyond serving on two of our clinics this fall, taking time out of his busy schedule to give back to the community at our clinics.

 While Mr. Ralston was at U of R his concentration was in corporate law and contracts since he greatly enjoys the drafting process and having to tailor a document to a client’s objectives. Outside of his studies in law school, he volunteered for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society’s Bankruptcy clinic and the Carrico Center Housing program. Today he focuses his work on real estate, corporate and incorporation, estate planning, land use and zoning, and landlord or tenant issues. Giving back is obviously an integral part of Mr. Ralston’s work, or as he likes to put it, “I often see clients in desperate circumstances, and I find it rewarding to help them develop a plan and counsel them through bad times.” We’re grateful for all the help he has provided us. Charlottesville is lucky to have him!