Blog

7 06, 2017

Research Verifies Body Project’s Impact on UVA Women

By |June 7th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

During the spring semester of 2016, Curry PhD candidate Nora Arkin conducted surveys and interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of the Body Project, an eating disorders prevention intervention used in the Women’s Center’s Body Positive Program. Nora’s soon to be presented findings from her research verify the Body Project’s positive impact on undergraduate women at UVA.

The Body Project is offered through sessions in which participants engage in group activities that provide them with opportunities to critique the thin ideal, a prevailing notion that emphasizes being thin as essential to being beautiful.

The Body Project uses the act of critiquing the thin ideal to generate cognitive dissonance which then reduces the degree to which participants internalize that ideal and engage in unhealthy behaviors aimed at controlling weight. The key to this intervention is that holding onto an ideal you have criticized out loud to others becomes uncomfortable. As participants choose to articulate reasons that the thin ideal is unattainable, it becomes more unlikely that they will continue maintaining that ideal as something that influences their feelings about their bodies and related choices about eating and exercise.

Nora studied a group of 56 Body Project participants and evaluated the intervention’s impact on them using four measures that have been established by prior research:  thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, fat talk, and dieting. Participants showed significant change in the desired direction. Thin-ideal internalization and dieting were reduced and body satisfaction increased to degrees that were all significant. One type of fat talk significantly reduced while another type did not change significantly.

7 06, 2017

PALKO POV: Mothers.

By |June 7th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

This spring here at the Women’s Center we were honored and humbled to present Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children and a 1988 Darden graduate, with the University’s 2017 Distinguished Alumna Award. With Mother’s Day occurring just a couple of weeks later, I was struck by the timeliness of the challenge Carolyn posed to the colleagues and admirers gathered in her honor.

Save the Children board member Cokie Roberts, in her letter supporting Dean Beardsley’s nomination of Carolyn for this award, had referenced the organization’s attention to and reporting on the unbreakable connection between children’s well-being and their mothers’ well-being in this way: “One of our mantras at Save the Children is that you can’t help children if you don’t help their mothers.” Save the Chidren’s work to promote the health and well-being of children is easy to appreciate, and their efforts to help mothers so that their children’s potential can be realized may seem similarly uncontroversial.

US RankingsBut Carolyn’s award acceptance remarks called our attention to deeper challenges. She poignantly shared that “in my work, I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot about ‘them’ lately. And all this talk about “them” has been making the world feel like less of an ‘us’ place.” In telling the story of Save the Children’s founding by Eglantyne Jebb in post World War I Britain, Carolyn emphasized Jebb’s profound – and wildly unpopular – belief that “children should not be made to pay for the sins of their parents.” At a moment when British children were also suffering greatly, Jebb’s cry for aid for Austrian orphans was difficult to understand, but it was a hallmark of “mothering practices” as the philosopher Sara Ruddick defines them.

Since Ruddick’s groundbreaking 1989 work, Maternal Thinking, scholars who focus on mothering, as I do, have found useful her framework of three demands made of mothering practices that set maternal activity apart from other modes of caretaking: preservation, growth, and social acceptability. Understanding mothers as people who must provide the love, nurturance, and training that enables children to stay alive, grow, and fit into society forces us to examine economic, geographic, and social inequities that mothers face in meeting these demands. Think of mothers in Flint, Michigan whose kitchen faucets dispense contaminated water, mothers in Syria whose streets double as battlefields, mothers in South Sudan, Nigeria, and Somalia whose countries are devastated by famine.

16 05, 2017

Tips for Emerging Adults: Navigating Life after Graduation

By |May 16th, 2017|Blog, Counseling|0 Comments|

Written by Hannah Trible

Did you know there is a life stage called Emerging Adulthood? Well, as a UVA student or recent graduate, you’re right in the middle of it! It’s an exciting and uncertain time, full of opportunity and change. Read on for tips on how to enjoy and master this important phase of life.

The Five Defining Characteristics of Emerging Adulthood are:

  • Identity Exploration
  • Instability
  • Self-Focus
  • Feeling in-Between
  • Possibility

TIP: This is a time for exploring who you want to be, in love, work, and worldview. It’s a time when almost nothing is certain, because most of your major life decisions are still ahead of you. Watch this Ted Talk by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, who coined the term emerging adulthood, and conducts extensive research on the topic. (And guess what – he got his PhD from UVa!)

Self-Focus is not Selfishness You may have heard some bad press about twentysomethings: that they are disinclined to work hard, afraid of commitment, or too idealistic. Try not to let these critiques get into your head! Looking through the lens of emerging adulthood, your twenties are a time when one of your main obligations is to yourself. Of course, you may still have responsibilities to others, but don’t forget that you’re an important part of the equation. This can be a time to begin learning what brings your life meaning, what you are curious about knowing and doing, and who you prefer to spend your time with. You can try things now that might be harder in the future when you have long-term commitments.

5 05, 2017

Budding Leaders Learn about the Women’s Center

By |May 5th, 2017|Blog|1 Comment|

It’s never too early to learn about all of the support services and learning opportunities that are available at the Women’s Center.

As part of a “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” celebration, 17 emerging leaders from the Village School gathered at the Center for Global Health to listen to Director of Engaged Scholarship, Jaronda Miller-Bryant, discuss all of the opportunities and services the Women’s Center offers.

The Village School is a local, all-girl middle school in the heart of downtown Charlottesville. The goal of the Village School is to, “provide each student with the tools for transforming information into personal understanding and communicating it effectively.” The Village School emphasizes women finding their own voices as learners, a theme that resonates greatly with the vision of the Women’s Center.

Jaronda took the students through the basics of the Women’s Center, beginning the conversation with a simple question: What do you think a Women’s Center does?

One student answered that it must do something related to important women in history.
Another student pointed to women’s health services.

4 05, 2017

#GivingToHoosDay Success!

By |May 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Thank you! All of you who joined us in last month’s GivingToHoosDay by donating and sharing our social media posts came together with our matching donor to generate a wonderful infusion of funding for our programs. We were thrilled to receive:

Giving To Hoos Day Gifts

Together, we raised $18,626 through our matching challenge!

This strong showing of the UVA community’s commitment to our work would make us proud any day. But we are especially honored/proud that the very people who have the clearest view into our work are investing in it. In addition to the 26 donations we received demonstrating the broad support for the Women’s Center among UVA alums (class years 2010 and prior) and their spouses, we received GivingToHoosDay gifts from:

3 05, 2017

Survivor Support Network Training – Now for Students!

By |May 3rd, 2017|Blog, Gender Violence and Social Change|0 Comments|

Hard work paid off for our Gender Violence and Social Change team with the very first Survivor Support Network Training – Student Edition.

The Survivor Support Network Training was designed for UVA faculty and staff by Claire Kaplan, Gender Violence and Social Change Program Director, and former Women’s Center intern, Julianne Koch Price (CLAS 2008, NUR 2015). Claire had long conducted training sessions on how to be an effective ally to victims of sexual assault or intimate partner violence prior to their collaboration, but Julianne’s experience with the LGBTQ Center and the Safe Space training that they provide inspired what has been known for years now as the Survivor Support Network Training. Together, Claire and Julianne created the training manual and launched the new program as co-trainers.

SSN logo

Participants receive a sticker with this emblem after completing our training to proudly indicate their commitment to creating a safe and supportive space for survivors on Grounds.

Participants in the Survivor Support Network Training learn about the nature of sexual assault and intimate partner violence and how they can best provide support for students and colleagues affected by violence. Additionally, they gain a better understanding of the University’s current policies and procedures related to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The current number of faculty and staff on Grounds that have participated in our Survivor Support Network Training includes more than 230 people from over 50 departments, showing a strong commitment to creating a culture of support for survivors. We look forward to seeing our network continue to grow even more as students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this new version of the training specifically for them.

The Student Edition training was led by Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Carrie Bohmer, and volunteer, Seth Hesser. Using the faculty and staff presentation, they created a presentation that they felt would be engaging and effective for a student audience. Carrie said of the training, “I think that we did a pretty good job of making this applicable to students, being that both of us are students. We had an advantage going in knowing that we were the target audience.”

3 05, 2017

Women on Grounds: Karen Van Lengen

By |May 3rd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Renowned artist, architect, and academic leader – Karen Van Lengen amazes with each new project, a legend in our midst. The former School of Architecture Dean and current William Kenan Professor of Architecture took time from her brilliant work to answer our burning questions. Add “saint” to her list of accomplishments, and take a gander at her economical Spotlight responses below.

Please tell us about a defining moment in your research/work at UVA.
Working with IATH (Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities) at the University, I was able to imagine a new way of visually representing sound and then constructing a way of representing these drawings in a web based form. [Check out their collaborative project, Listening to the Lawn]

How do you practice work/life balance?
I do the best I can. Some periods are more challenging than others but having a rich family life helps a lot.

How has being a woman shaped your experience in your field?
Hard to put that into words since I don’t know what it’s like to be a man or anything else.

Whose work (musical, artistic, professional, or personal) inspires you to work harder or think differently?
James Welty, (Sculptor and animation artist), Hedda Sterne, (visual artist (1911-2011), Bill Fontana, (an accomplished sound artist), and my daughter, Kiri Van Lengen-Welty.

Who would you most like to meet (living or dead) for coffee?
My future grandchildren.

2 05, 2017

Tips for Exam Stress: Remember the 5 P’s!

By |May 2nd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Your heart is racing, you’re losing sleep, your appetite is changing…is it love?

Nope. It’s EXAMS!

Stress is a normal reaction to an event or occasion where we need to do our best. The good news is that there are ways to manage stress so that we can function and be successful.

1. PLAN: It’s no surprise that you have final exams. Make a written plan or commit a plan with a study partner to get ready for exams. You know what study habits work best for you, but no one does well cramming at the last minute. Look at the dates for your exams and create a list or timeline of the things you need to get done. If you need help, like tutoring or accommodations, ask for it!

2. PRIORITIZE: We know exams are important, but they shouldn’t take over your life. In your plan, don’t knock everything to the bottom of your priority list. Include the normal activities you do to help with stress! Make time to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and yes, even find time to have some fun. Those things may not rank as high on your list as they normally would, but don’t make them your last priority.

3. PRACTICE: Especially if you have test anxiety, consider reaching out to you professor or TA for a practice test. Or ask someone who took the course before you what the test was like, how did they prepare for it, etc. Having as much information as possible about the upcoming stressor, helps to manage stress reactions.

1 05, 2017

PALKO POV: Choice, Take #2

By |May 1st, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

We live in a society that does not value mothering (as measured in economic terms).

The amazing thing isn’t that it is hard to make all of these pieces fit together in a coherent, sane manner – it’s that anyone manages to do so! Simultaneously, our national ethos of bootstrap independence suggests that success is a wholly personal accomplishment that is achieved with no external supports. So it’s little wonder that when a woman who seems to have made the unworkable work is asked how she does it, the default answer often is to choose your partner wisely.

But it is all so much more complicated than the choice of romantic partner.

I wrote last month’s post a few weeks ago. Then I was at a speaking engagement during which I spoke briefly about “choices” I had made to pursue higher education. I put choices in quotes because they were dependent on a number of factors outside of my control: having mentors to suggest it and guide me through the economic aspects, being free of familial responsibilities and therefore free to continue on to graduate school, having had a stellar undergraduate education, being born in a family that valued education, etc. I’d spoken about these factors in the context of discussing changes in gender norms and roles in the US. After I finished, an older black woman who’d been in the audience came up to me. We had a brief exchange that reminded me to think about how I was presenting the issue of partner choice in a wider lens.

It seems to me, she began softly, “that white women and black women have a different perspective on these things.” I rushed to agree, both because I do agree and because I think it’s vital to affirm the impact of these differences. But… Reflecting on my initial thoughts about the marital/professional advice we give women, I was struck by how clearly they reveal my white, middle class upbringing. Our brief conversation culminated in the reminder that white women and black women have different perspectives – as do women of different ages and from different groups, however we configure them.

25 04, 2017

Student Spotlight: Talley Snow

By |April 25th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Talley Snow!

Year: Second year
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I was very lucky to attend private school my entire life, eventually going to an all-girls private school from sixth grade on. At my all-girls school, I was able to learn in an environment where I was surrounded by only girls and was encouraged to speak up. While in high school we had some co-ed classes, I think that an all-girls school really made a difference during my middle school development, because that was the time in my life when I think that I was the most vulnerable to peer pressure and most self-conscious of being smart stating my opinion. I volunteer with the Young Women Leaders Program through the Women’s Center, and I love it because I love to see middle school girls grow into confident and capable young women. Empowering young girls to pursue their education through the university level and knowing that they are going to be successful and make a difference in their future communities is one of the most rewarding things for me.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I actually almost didn’t choose UVA, because it was by far the largest school I applied to and the school closest to my home. In the end, I decided on UVA because I realized that it was the most different from my high school, and I was excited to break out of the small, all-similar-students setting that I was used to. I also really wanted to study in the Batten school, and UVA was the only school I applied to that would let me pursue a public policy-specific school without having applied to it when I originally applied to the school. I also toured UVA in a torrential downpour, and it was still a beautiful campus.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
Because I was so concerned about the size of the school, I am still amazed that I can rarely walk around grounds without seeing multiple people that I know. The student involvement also never ceases to surprise me: it seems like a majority of the people I know are involved in multiple different meaningful activities, which is even more impressive considering the rigor of the work here.