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Class of 2021

Proud and Grateful 1st Gen Grad

"I came to this University feeling very alone and I am now graduating feeling very loved, thanks to the Women's Center. Tomorrow I will be the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelor's degree, and as I reflect on my time at UVA, I can honestly say that the best part of the last 3 years has been working for the Maxine Platzer Lynn's Women's Center."

-Alyssa Candelmo

I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a YWLP big my second year, as director’s intern my third year, and finally as Senior Director’s intern for my fourth and final year at the Women’s Center. When I look back at my time at UVA, I will of course remember the late nights on the lawn and my first year hall, but I will also remember the Women’s Center. I will remember my enlightening discussions about anything and everything with Abby, I will remember the amazing smiles I would always receive as I walk through the front doors of the building and I will also remember the vulnerability and compassion the Women’s Center staff and interns shared with me. I feel lucky to have been a part of such a community of wonderful, brilliant, and committed individuals working towards social justice.

About a week ago, Abby, Emma, the other director’s intern, and I were able to share a meal together in person after spending the better part of the last year staring at each other through the screen. As we discussed whatever topic enveloped our attention at that moment, mid-sentence I looked at Abby who was looking right back at us both and we all shared an understood look of appreciation and one with a twinge of sadness. Abby said to us “I can’t believe we are together right now” with one of the biggest smiles on her face and tears lining her eyes. And in that moment, I felt gratitude that I got to spend the last year of my undergrad experience, also one of the strangest years of my life, with these two women who are revolutionary, and powerful, and encapsulate everything that the Women’s Center hopes to achieve in its purpose. With that, I want to say one last thank you to my team, Abby and Emma. I want to say thank you to the Interns, the Senior Interns, and the Women’s Center Staff for being who they are and doing what they do. And lastly, I want to thank my family for supporting me in everything I do and challenging me in ways that I need. Thank you all.

I’ve had the privilege to work directly with some incredible people these last three years, and serve as a cheerleader on the sidelines for those that I didn’t get a chance to work with. Sometimes I have to take a step back and take a deep breath and admire the work that we accomplish because it's truly overwhelming all that gets done in just one year alone, especially this past year during a pandemic. In spite of the pain, in spite of the isolation, and in spite of the challenges this past year has brought, I saw light and I saw appreciation, and I saw community in the work of the Women’s Center interns. These interns have created positive change and left an impact that will, without a doubt, be felt long after we’re gone.

In the same way that I am thankful that I had the opportunity to create impact, I am also thankful for all that I learned during my three years. I was young and curious and only beginning my journey when I first started at the Women’s Center and as I stand in front of you all today, I would like to say that I am still young and curious and I am still on that journey. That is because the Women’s Center showed me that it is never too late to keep learning and teaching and listening and standing up to injustice in whatever way you are capable.

-Guada Pinto

Supporting Our Success

"Before the Women's Center, I had never been in a space where the goal is to help our experience. Everyone wants you to succeed and that is not something I had encountered previously."

-Gabi Szabó

Community of Care

"The staff at the Women’s Center see us as more than just students or campus workers. They are constantly taking in, making space for, and honoring the human, feeling parts of ourselves that come in to do the work that we do. Thank you for creating this space where we get to practice work in social justice and equity WHILE taking care of ourselves and each other."

-Alexis Gayle

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