Staff Spotlight: Genevieve Brackins
Join us in welcoming Genevieve Brackins, the newest addition to the Women's Center team! Genevieve has joined us as the Outreach Coordinator for the Men's Leadership Project. She will not only be working closely with our Big Brothers, but will be assisting the Gender Violence and Social Change team in planning events and developing programs related to women's and gender issues for the University community.
1. Tell us about your path to UVA, to where you are now and the work you’re currently doing for the Women’s Center.
I came to UVA from Florida State University where I taught many courses about gender and justice. I also guided programming of the student agency Men Advocating Responsible Conduct and worked on a sexual violence prevention grant at the Florida Center for Prevention Research.
I’ve been a gender activist since at least kindergarten (ask me to tell you that story sometime). By early elementary school I was noticing bizarre discrepancies in how people treated one another based on gendered norms. By second grade I was asking questions that my teacher was ill-equipped to answer, like “Why aren't women in our history book?” Her terse answer–that women hadn’t contributed to humankind’s history–while quite hurtful at the time, may have ultimately contributed to my career path.
Here at UVA I help educate a diverse population about gender-based violence and how to prevent it. I provide creative, inclusive outreach informed by a deep understanding of intersectionality. One of the main vehicles for this is our Men’s Leadership Project, a mentoring program that pairs UVA undergraduate men with Charlottesville middle school boys.
I am working now on producing a replicable model, implemented across institutions of higher education, to decrease the number of sexual assailants in student populations.
2. Whose work (musical, artistic, professional, or personal) inspires you to work harder or think differently?
Harriet Tubman. The day I learned of Harriet Tubman, life changed for me. Something inside my soul awoke. Tubman’s titanium determination, her deliberate defiance of immoral man-made laws, her beyond-courageous service to the dignity of humanity, inspires me to be the best human I can be.
It was an exciting day in the 4th grade when I learned of Harriet Tubman. At the dinner table that night I spoke about her. I was profoundly saddened and deeply disappointed when I learned my father had no idea who Harriet Tubman was. How could that even be possible? In that moment, my ten-year-old self realized that the education my mother had received growing up in Irondequoit, New York, and the education I was getting there, was markedly different from the education my father had received in Maryland. I felt outrage that his educators had failed him so, and outrage that he had fumbled through adulthood still not learning about her.
I also would like to use this opportunity to thank many important teachers and role models in my life including Dr. Jean Chambers, Dr. Gerry Forbes, Dr. Maureen Shanahan, Dr. Joyce Carbonell, Dr. Maxine Jones, Bob Cox, Tina Bush-Rester, and Dr. Kim Wiley.
3. What’s something you learned in school/college that turned out to be useful later, in some way you didn’t expect?
Practically speaking, I think typing may be the most useful thing I learned in high school. It has saved me hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours up to this point.
4. Who would you most like to meet (living or dead) for coffee?
No coffee for me, thanks, but for fair trade tea? Harriet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Wayne Dyer.
5. What’s your most unpopular opinion?
I wish cigarettes didn’t exist; even 3rd hand smoke leaves me feeling ill.
6. What’s something you do that you know you do differently from most people?
7. Tell us about a time when a risky move paid off.
I moved to Australia in my early 20s to study at university. I met some life-long friends from Sweden who were also studying as international students. Hi Karin! Hi Frida!