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Interns with the Body Positive team are passionate about creating a Body Positive culture on Grounds and are interested in issues related to diverse social identities, intersectionality, and inclusivity in connection with body image. 

Browse the Related Events and From the Blog items linked on this page to see examples of who's involved with this team and what they do. 

The Body Project

Too often, unhealthy body image interferes with college students' well-being and their success in school and in life. The center's Body Positive team offers sessions of the Body Project to groups of students to help promote a healthy, body positive mindset at UVA and to prevent negative attidudes and eating and exercise behaviors. 

The Impact of Trauma

Over the years, we have learned more and more about how traumatic events impacts survivors, both during the violence itself and in the aftermath. For a long time, we believed that the effects were primarily psychological, which they are, but there’s more to it than that. Now we know that trauma impacts the brain in biochemical and structural ways, depending on when the violence occurs in the lifespan, whether it is repeated, and how severe it is.

The neurobiology of trauma is a whole science unto itself, and our increasing understanding of this issue has influenced every aspect of how victim advocates, criminal justice professionals, therapists, college administrators, and legislators address these issues.

Supporting a Survivor

Sexual and gender-based violence can be experienced by anyone. Parents, guardians, and other loved ones find it very difficult to hear that their student was victimized. It might be challenging to know what to say, how to act, and to how to best offer support. This section will help you understand and recognize common reactions to trauma among survivors of gender-based violence. Understanding these responses will help you to be supportive of someone’s healing process.

Note that people differ on what terms they prefer, victim or survivor, and we want to clarify our use here. We use the word “survivor” in this section to emphasize that a person has agency in their healing, and that it is a difficult and ongoing process. We use “victim” in the context of talking about criminal justice or someone who is actively experiencing abuse or violence.

Further information:

Planning for one’s safety can mean a lot of different things, whether it’s making sure your doors and windows are locked, downloading safety apps such as LiveSafe, taking a self-defense class, or developing a safety plan because you are in an unsafe relationship.

Women tend to engage in planning for their safety as do LGBTQ+ people, gender nonconforming people, non-white people, and people whose attire makes them vulnerable to hate violence (Sikh men and Orthodox Jews as well as women who wear hijabs). White, heterosexual men are often shocked to learn how much energy this takes out of the lives of people not like themselves. But straight white men can benefit from laerning about safety planning, too.


Survivors of gender-based violence who are members of marginalized groups have special concerns and experience particular challenges. Other forms of discrimination, such as racism, homophobia, and/or ageism can complicate a survivor’s access to the resources they need. Navigate the "for survivors who are ___" list that we have provided below to find information that is specific to facets of your identity (or the identity of a friend or family member that you are supporting). 

Getting Started

When you or someone you care about has experienced gender-based violence, you have options for where to seek information and support. Our staff has prepared the pages in this section of our site to share key information they've found to be useful for many people in the days and weeks after gender-based violence occurs. Navigating these pages will help you get familiar with essential information and will point you toward good sources for ongoing support and further information related to sexual assualt, intimate partner violence, stalking, or harassment. 

Interns with the Engaged Scholarship team are interested in supporting key aspects of the Women's Center mission including developing leadership and compassion through academic community engagement and building powerful partnerships for social change. Interns on this team contribute to a variety of Engaged Scholarship activities and support the overall programming of the Women's Center.

Browse the Related Events and From the Blog items linked on this page to see examples of who's involved with this team and what they do. 


Typical Activities for Interns on this team

Interns on this team maintain, expand, and analyze the effectiveness of the Women’s Center’s social media presence. They curate relevant content from around Grounds, the Charlottesville area, and the Web, as well as implementing publicity campaigns for Women’s Center events and initiatives. Summer extensions of this academic year internship are possible. Interns who bring personal connections that can help the Women’s Center reach the full breadth of schools and student groups at UVA are encouraged to apply.

Interning at the Women’s Center gives students hands-on experience developing skills that will be useful to them in the wide variety of fields they pursue after graduation. Social Media Marketing interns learn highly valuable skills that directly connect with job requirements in our digital age.

**Please note that Legal Clinic appointments are happening via video or phone consultation while UVA and many other area offices are closed in response to COVID-19.** 

The Legal Clinic offers professional, pro-bono legal advice to Charlottesville community members every month, regarding such topics as landlord disputes and family law. The clinic is offered every second and fourth Wednesday of each month. To schedule an appointment, please do one of the following: 

Interns and Gender Violence and Social Change staff collaborate with UVA students, faculty, administrators, staff, and organizations to foster non-violent, healthy relationships across Grounds. 

Typical Activities for Interns on this team

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Red Flag Week
  • Survivor Support Network Training
  • Collaborate with cross-Grounds coalitions on Take Back the Night Week to include hosting the Day of Healing

Browse the Related Events and From the Blog items linked on this page to learn more about who's involved with this team and what they do. 

Interns with Iris write an array of content for this (mostly) online magazine. They work with their Editor and Student Editor to plan content throughout the academic year.  Read Iris online any time and look for copies of Iris' semesterly print edition around Grounds.

Typical Activities for Interns on this Team

  • Writing opinion pieces, poetry, fiction, advice and more 
  • Attending & covering events 
  • Conducting interviews 

Browse the Related Events and From the Blog items linked on this page to see examples of who's involved with this team and what they do.

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Each year one or two students are selected to work closely with the Director of the Women's Center on research or efforts related to special Director's Initiatives. Preference is given to applications who will have completed a year in one of our programs prior to serving as a Director's Intern. 

Browse From the Blog items linked on this page to read posts by the center's director, Abby Palko, and learn about her work. 

The Women’s Center’s internship program is a selective engaged scholarship opportunity in social justice advocacy. In this learning and leadership opportunity, classroom study is combined with working on one of several teams at the Women’s Center under the guidance of a member of our staff. The practical experience that our interns gain during the academic year provides a context in which they can better understand their coursework and a foundation upon which they can build careers in a variety of fields.