Major: Women’s Studies/Spanish
Hometown: Petaluma, CA
Program Position: LGBTQ Program Coordinator
Another intern at the Women’s Center (now GSEC) suggested to Abigail that she become an intern at the center. It didn’t take much convincing. Abigail signed on and spent three semesters as an event planning intern. The center hosts a variety of events to educate and promote awareness of societal norms that have been used to oppress and marginalize various groups of people. Abigail helped organize the logistics for a series of events including Queer Week, Women’s Bodies Week, Tack Back the Night, the Maggie Awards, an LGBTQ Conference and the Vagina Monologues. The planning included everything from identifying topics and securing speakers to promoting events with posters, flyers and tabling.
Then, as a junior, Abigail had an opportunity to study abroad in Chile for a year. Upon her return, she went right back to the Women’s Center and continued as an intern for another year. But this time she had something new to offer. Her experience in Chile was an eye-opening one for her. %u201CI am a loud and very vocal feminist, but in Chile I was able to observe how women from that culture navigate the machismo system. Even though their voices aren’t loud in their society, they are still able to make change through different modes.%u201D Abigail now shares that new-found perspective with her colleagues at GSEC.
During Abigail’s second tenure at the Women’s Center, the organization transitioned to the more inclusive Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC). The broadened vision of the center resulted in the creation of two programs, the Women’s Program and the LGBTQ Program. Abigail is currently the Coordinator of the LGBTQ Program which is dedicated to promoting a safe environment for people of all sexual and gender identities. She supervises seven interns who create programming ideas that further the mission of GSEC. Abigail’s job is to advise the interns and help facilitate their efforts to insure successful outcomes. With five semesters of experience under her belt, she is an invaluable resource to her staff. In addition to supporting the traditional programming, Abigail is interested in moving in a new direction. “My goal is to break away from event based programming by developing the organization as an LGBTQ resource center.” To that end, she and her staff have been collaborating with the Office of Diversity to provide Ally training campus-wide. In addition, the GSEC is currently implementing an outreach program with the Greeks. “We’re providing them with information about the LGBTQ community to promote awareness and inclusiveness in the hopes that the Greeks will incorporate even more diversity into their community.”
Abigail shares her passion for activism with another AS program – KCSC, our student-run radio station. This is her fourth year hosting a talk show that explores local and global women’s and LGBTQA issues. She also uses this platform to promote GSEC events, to share tips about safe sex, and to make listeners aware of all the resources available to them
Currently Abigail is applying for internships related to sustainable farming. After graduation she hopes to move to South America where she can continue to hone her Spanish skills. She would like to work with women in a way that “ties my human activism to my sustainability activism.” Another option Abigail is considering – returning to graduate school with a focus on Gender Studies.
In Abigail’s words:
My experience at GSEC has helped me grow and find my voice as an activist and a lesbian. I’ve been able to build bridges with other students, faculty, and staff and have networked with various organizations on campus and in the community.