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Palko POV

June 06, 2019

young professionals shaking hands

Black feminist philosophy holds us to a high standard of solidarity. When we breach a barrier or achieve a success, we are obligated to turn back to help someone behind us. Michelle Obama articulates this responsibility as “when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity...you do not slam it shut behind you...you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” 

May 02, 2019

Girls League Baseball Player Hitting

"It's a hit and batter Dottie Schroeder, blonde pigtails and all, start[s] running for first. These girls really hit...and are lightning when running." (April 22, 1948)  Dorothy "Dottie" Schroeder became the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League's youngest player at age 15 and was the only girl who played all 12 seasons for the AAGPBL.

The past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about questions of representation. Spring is in full bloom, so I find myself wanting to quote baseball movies. “If you build it, they will come…” in my mind immediately segues into “There’s no crying in baseball!” Nostalgia aside, the juxtaposition of Field of Dreams and A League of their Own reminds us of the power of seeing people like yourself moving through spaces designed with you in mind – and the discouragement that can follow when you realize a space maybe wasn’t created for you.

March 29, 2019

students walking to class

Academia operates in the shadow of the ivory tower, a perception that studying can (should? does?) occur at a remove. Our students, however, are not content to withdraw from the world for four years while they pursue a degree (if such a withdrawal would even be possible). I have a front row seat for the multiple ways they deeply integrate learning and action. Learning about the detrimental impact of unhealthy cultural gender norms on our social interactions and other ways that gender influences our lived realities is not enough for them.

February 26, 2019

We relish the opportunity for the Women’s Center to be part of the Community MLK Celebration each year but the lecture we hosted for the 2019 celebration of Women in the Movement was an especially fitting one as students and colleagues crowded Minor Hall to hear Brittney Cooper on January 22. January 22 was the third national day of racial healing as a part of the W.K.

January 02, 2019

clover in woods

Sketching out the premise of Perfect Peace’s plot gives nothing away: when the seventh child of Emma Jean and Gus Peace is born a boy, like the preceding six, Emma Jean refuses to give up her dream of having a daughter to raise. She tells her midwife, “This is my daughter […] I know what it is, but it’s gon’ be a girl. From now on.” And so Perfect Peace is born in May 1940’s Swamp Creek, Arkansas. 

October 31, 2018

Staff members walking on path to South Wing at Monticello

Words matter.

Names matter.

October 05, 2018

Prince Edward Island cliffs edge

Every so often, my daughter tries to make me commit at dinner: “No, really, Mommy: what’s your favorite book?” I hedge: favorite 5 authors? Favorite series? Favorite book with yellow on the cover? To be fair, I was absurdly excited when I recently discovered the Japanese concept of tsundoku. “I tsundoku” explains so much of my life.

September 04, 2018

Here at UVA, the 400+ graduates of the Exceptional Assistants Seminar Series sponsored by Talent Development form a network that focuses on personal development and community service.

July 03, 2018

Abby Palko and her daughter visiting Louisa May Alcott's house

Traditionally, the bildungsroman that is so popular among literary novels presented challenges to the author working with a female protagonist. But, there are plenty of novels centered on girls and young women that are worth recommending - and re-reading. Inspired by my daughter’s summer reading list, I’ve decided to revisit some old favorites and (hopefully) discover new gems. This post will kick off an occasional series of responses to novels with girls as their protagonists. If you’d like to read along with me, stay tuned for my reflections. 

The Women’s Center welcomed alumni back to Grounds during Reunions this summer with a panel on the importance of intergenerational mentoring relationships and an open house in our newly renovated space in the Corner Building. In both of those gatherings, alums spoke to us about the life-long friendships they formed during their time on Grounds and the importance of those bonds to their post-university years.

May 30, 2018

When I accepted the position as the director of the Women’s Center two years ago, I only had one concern. I knew that the move would bring transitions both personal and professional. I was sure, though, that it would bring new challenges, and, when met, that these challenges would lead to exciting opportunities. The commitment to engaged scholarship at the Women’s Center assured me that these opportunities would include engaging undergraduate students in working for gender justice.

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