"Upon arriving at Washington University in St. Louis my freshman year, I knew within one semester that I would major in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. Feminism? Social Justice? Anti-oppression? Words I had never learned before, but they spoke my truth. To this day, my WGSS major is so important to me, something I am so proud of. My greatest friends and comrades are all connected in some way to the core mission of gender studies programs, to feminism, to social justice.
I've dedicated the last 8 years—as a student, volunteer, and professional—to anti-violence and anti-oppression work. While on WashU's campus I began working to end relationship violence and sexual assault through the Committee Organized for Rape Education, providing peer-education, organizing campus-wide events, and ceaselessly attempting to dismantle rape culture in any way possible! While finishing up my degree, I began volunteering at night with the YWCA Regional Sexual Assault Center’s Sexual Assault Response Team, providing support, information and resources to survivors of sexual violence in local hospitals. My experiences in the hospitals strengthened my resolve and dedication to violence prevention.
Since graduating in Winter 2009, I've gone on to work at Safe Connections, a local organization whose mission is to reduce the impact and incidence of relationship violence and sexual assault through education, crisis intervention, counseling and support services. I have been on our Youth Services team for the last three years, beginning as a Project HART Prevention Educator working with teens in middle/high schools and alternative settings. In January 2012, I transitioned back to working with college students as the Safe Connections on Campus Coordinator. Now, I provide resources for those seeking help, facilitate presentations and workshops, encourage coalition building, and help organize campus-wide events. All of this for the purpose of promoting campus environments that encourage respect, equality, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality. This past summer I had the privilege to oversee the hiring, training and supervision of our newest addition to the Youth Services team: the LGBTQ Youth Advocate.
It is my personal mission that every person leaves a workshop or event feeling like they have the tools to help a friend, the skills to intervene as a bystander, and the knowledge to create change in their communities. No one has to do everything, but everyone can do something!