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Student Spotlight: Gina Elkin

Class Year: 2023
Major: Youth & Social Innovation and Public Policy & Leadership
Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

1.    What brought you to the Women's Center?

My RA (Jessica LaFarree, who is absolutely amazing) during my first year frequently spoke of the Women's Center. She was an intern at that time and always reminded us of how useful and supportive it is. Then, at the beginning of my second semester my first year, a classmate told me about her experience in YWLP, and I knew I wanted to do it right away! These two people were the reason I really learned about what the Women's Center is and ultimately YWLP!

2.    How has a mentor impacted you?

This is kind of random, but when I came to UVA I was very nervous and unsettled. I did not feel prepared and I did not know what my experience would be like. Luckily, my Orientation Leader made me feel much more calm and confident about the transition, which grounded me coming to UVA. He wasn't necessarily a "mentor", but for the few months from orientation to the winter, I knew I could go to him if I needed anything. That type of support is really important and really necessary in so many situations. We often need someone in our corner who can give us information and perspectives that inform our feelings and actions. Because of him and others who have done the same thing for me, I try to extend the same support to people I am in touch with. I always try to be there for people in the capacity they need and in the capacity I can offer. Being there for each other is super important, in the big or little ways! Being a mentor is often more characteristic and embedded in our decisions than an isolated role.

3.    Who is a woman that inspires you?

My older sister is a huge inspiration to me! She has always been a wonderful sister and she is an amazing mother to her children (I have the cutest niece and nephew!). She has always been a thoughtful, caring, and hard working person, and she carries those qualities into everything she does. She is a strong woman with strong values. She is always willing to listen but she will also stand her ground. I am lucky she is my sister.

4.    How are you making a difference at the Women’s Center?

My participation in YWLP has impacted the Bigs and Littles I have worked with over the past 2 years! I have formed great relationships with everyone I have interacted with in this role. Being a part of that community and being a supportive, enthusiastic, and compassionate friend to everyone is really important to me!

5.    What is something you and your little have bonded over?

My little and I have bonded over many important things, such as body positivity and learning to be confident generally. More lightheartedly, we have bonded over both being twins - it is a unique experience! Even more lightheartedly, we have bonded over SpongeBob! I painted SpongeBob on a pumpkin for her :)

6.    What is one thing you do after a stressful day?

I love watching TV, so after a stressful day my go-to activity is relaxing and watching whatever show I am currently watching or something random with my roommates! I love being able to just sink in to the couch and forget about my responsibilities for an hour or so (definitely more than just that sometimes). I also like playing video games or board/card games with others.

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