Women are Funny (too)

First, let’s start off with saying that the Women’s Center is stoked about Hannibal Buress making his way to campus this weekend for Homecoming. We very much enjoy his character, Lincoln, on Broad City. More importantly, he called out the rape allegations against Bill Cosby in his stand-up routine back when very few others were because it was “too hard” and “unbelievable” to simply just believe and support the victims coming forward.

But, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share something we’ve noticed when it comes to comedians coming to campus for the annual Homecoming event. They’re all dudes! Nick Offerman. B.J. Novak. Bo Burnham. Donald Glover. Lewis Black. And now, Hannibal.

Now, this just isn’t a UMBC thing. It’s kind of just a thing we call sexism. For example, check out the hosts of late night television:

From Vanity Fair's October 2015 issue on late-night television.

From Vanity Fair’s October 2015 issue on late-night television.

Then there’s this catalog that was delivered in the mail the other day that shared all the great comedians colleges can book and bring to campus:

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Really?! Just four women out of 24 on this list of options?


So, with that in mind, some of the Women’s Center staff has compiled this short round-up of some of our favorite women comedians. In their own words, staff members write about why these women are funny (too).

Tig Notaro – Kayla’s Pick

hotListTigNotaroxCR_0Tig’s comedy varies from silly, heartfelt, personal, to goofy. She’s made me cry from laughing and actually just made me cry. She’s got a joke where she just moves a stool around the stage for awhile and it might not sound like it but its HILARIOUS.
What you should know: Tig went through C-DIFF (an intestinal infection that can kill people), her mother’s death, a huge breakup, and then got breast cancer. ALL IN ONE YEAR. She is literally one of the strongest people in the world and is definitely one of my heroes (“sheroe” is definitely more apt). Oh and she’s a lesbian which is always a fun and awesome thing to know.
Fun Fact: Tig briefly performed topless in her 2015 HBO special Boyish Girl Interrupted to show her doubles mastectomy scars.

Mindy KalingJulia’s Pick

Mindy Kaling is probably my favorite comedian right now. She started acting and eventually became a writer for The Office, and now she has her own show: “The Mindy Project.” It’s clever, hilarious, and heartfelt. Something interesting about her is that she recognizes her responsibility to young women for representation, but she also points out that she often talks about diversity and representations while other white male writers actually get to talk about their shows. She says:

“There are little Indian girls out there who look up to me, and I never want to belittle the honor of being an inspiration to them. But while I’m talking about why I’m so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art.”

Maya RudolphMeagé’s Pick image

My favorite comedian is Maya Rudolph. She is best known for her time on Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids. More recently, she has done hilarious impressions of Rachel Dolezal. For a short time she has a self-titled show where she often brought other women of color on to promote solidarity and visibility of women of color in the media.

Janeane Garofalo – Carrie’s Pick

In 1990 there was this funny sketch comedy show on MTV called The Ben Stiller Show.  It is where I first met Janeane Garofalo and fell in love.  She has this amazingly dry sense of humor which I totally latched on to.  After her stint on MTV, she was popping up in movies, usually playing the best friend.  This is what happens to comediennes and actresses who are not considered conventionally attractive by Hollywood standards.  Still, I was lucky enough to make her a coffee one day while I was working at Starbucks and she was in town doing a show and it took all I had not to gush and profess my love for all that she is.  Not only was she kind and funny during our brief interaction, but she was also polite.  A staunch feminist, politically active, this smart woman gets my vote. Now I think I am going to curl up on the couch and watch Reality Bites.

Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones – MJ’s Pick 

Both of these women are currently on Saturday Night Live (SNL). I believe this is the first time in 40 years that SNL has had two black women on the show at the same time!!! (Seriously, SNL!?!?) But they are incredibly funny, while tackling racial stereotypes in their skits. They’re amazing!

Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones


Sasheer Zamata

Elahe Izadi – Jess’ Pick

So, I totally had Leslie Knope as my top pick until last night when I went to Creative Alliance to see W. Kamau Bell perform. Elahe opened up the show for him and she was hilarious! She was wonderfully pro-woman and feminist with each and every joke to the point that after every punch line my friends would literally punch me and say “You’re loving this aren’t you?! You love her don’t you?!” I did a little research on her when I got home and this DC-based comedian also writes for The Washington Post, covered Congress for National Journal, and speaks Spanish and Farsi. Funny AND smart! While Leslie will always and forever have my heart (and yes, I know Lesile isn’t a real person), I wanted to give Elahe a shout-out considering she’s right down the road making her shows and jokes very accessible to the UMBC community.

Not an exhaustive list by any means! Who are the funny women you would add to the list? 

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Go Dawgs! Stop by the Women’s Center during Homecoming week to check out all the funny women cheering on the home team!

UMBC Women Who Rock: The Women Behind the Staff of Color Network

UMBC Women Who Rock is a blog series I’ve been writing since last year and it has become one of my favorite things to think and write about for the Women’s Center blog. In my role as Women’s Center director, I have some of the best opportunities to become acquainted with some of UMBC’s best and brightest women on campus. I admire the ways they live authentic lives unapologetically that challenge the stereotypes and assumptions that are often assigned to women. By debunking these stereotypes and forcing us to check our assumptions, they allow us to expand our notion of what a woman is and can be.

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UMBC Women Who Rock!
The Staff of Color Network Co-Chairs

“In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful, white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”
That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something, the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”
– Viola Davis, Emmy Award Speech on September 20, 2015

The Staff of Color Network co-chairs. Women who ROCK! L-R: Lisa Gray, Donna-Lee Mahabeer. Mickey Irizarry, & Alexis Melville

The Staff of Color Network co-chairs =Women who ROCK!
L-R: Lisa Gray, Donna-Lee Mahabeer. Mickey Irizarry, & Alexis Melville

What a powerful counternarrative. How unapologetic and courageous. As I’ve watched Viola Davis’ acceptance speech several times this week and seen the gif-ed articles on all the ways Black women were each other’s biggest fans at the Emmy’s, the women behind of the Staff of Color Network (SCN) at UMBC keep coming to my mind. Donna-Lee, Lisa, Mickey, and Alexis are women of color on campus who are challenging that line and finding ways to create opportunities for themselves and others on campus as people of color. While Davis calls for more roles to be written for Women of Color in Hollywood, these UMBC women are creating safe and validating spaces for themselves and other people of color on campus. They’re asking important questions about lack of visibility, calling out (and in) racial microaggressions, and being each other’s allies and advocates. This has taken raw courage and bravery as they challenge the institutional and systemic white narrative and experience. Indeed, they are UMBC Women Who Rock.

In this UMBC Women Who Rock post, I veer from the reflective narrative I tend to write in and opted for a Q&A format instead. I hope to feature all of these badass women in their own UMBC Women Who Rock post one day, so stay tuned!

What is the Staff of Color Network (SCN)?

Donna-Lee: “The Staff of Color Network is a group for staff and graduate assistants that self-identify as persons of color within the Division of Student Affairs. It is our goal to uplift, support and cultivate the staff of color community through the efforts of our network.”

Why was SCN created? What is the networks goals? Can you share a little bit more of the creation story?

Donna-Lee, The Commons Program & Services Coordinator, tells her story.

Donna-Lee, The Commons Program & Services Coordinator, tells her story during the Women’s Center’s Telling Our Stories Project.

Donna-Lee: “SCN was created because there was a need not being met on campus. UMBC not only has less representation when it comes to staff of color, but it the perception of many that we seem to do a poor job recruiting and retaining staff of color. The culture among the persons of color I interacted with came across as discontented, stifled and invisible. In creating the Staff of Color Network, our goal is to alleviate those feelings of inadequacy. We are to be more than visible. We are to be seen wholly in our racial identities and acknowledged as such. My goal for SCN is to create a feeling of community among professionals of color at UMBC so that no one feels alone and ostracized when they show up as their authentic selves on campus. In building this community, people hopefully will feel a greater sense of safety and belonging, which in turn hopefully leads to retention and recruitment for both faculty and staff of color.”

How did each of you decide to be in (or get called into) a leadership role for SCN?

Mickey: “… A couple of years ago I was a part of the Division’s Brave Spaces group – we were a mixed group of Student Affairs staff that met once a month and talked about race, privilege, and inequalities. And, even though I enjoyed my time in the group and learned a lot, I still felt like there was something missing – a safe space where persons of color could talk freely among each other and not feel judged, or a space where we would be able to share stories find commonalities between one another in many areas of life – personal and professional. I spoke with Donna-Lee about the Brave Spaces group and she told me about how at some other universities they have coalitions and university-wide and university-recognized groups for staff and/or faculty of color and that it would be really great to have one at UMBC too. From there the formation of the SCN began and I’m so happy to see the energy, support and acceptance behind it so far.”

Alexis: “I feel that it is important to have spaces where staff of color can be free to self-express when triggered at work. I was fortunate to find Donna-Lee, Mickey, and Lisa as well as people in my own department who I would go to so that I could process certain feelings and perceptions that I may have. As my tenure at UMBC continued, I noticed that not a lot of staff of color had that opportunity or safe space to process. Given the importance self-expression and self-care and how tied it is to mental health and work performance, I felt that partnering with other individuals to help provide a space where people can feel supported is paramount to a healthy work environment.”

The UMBC Women Who Rock series aims to tell the stories of women on campus living their authentic lives apologetically. What ways do you feel you live an authentic life at UMBC? What do you need from the UMBC community to more readily live an authentic life as a Woman of Color at UMBC?

Lisa: “I live an authentic life at UMBC in several ways that include showing up with the intention of supporting others and letting other people see the different sides of myself. I’m a mom, single but partnered. I love salsa dancing. It’s important for me to share my off-campus life with others while I’m on campus. With that being said, what I need to live an even more authentic life as a woman of color at UMBC is more visible signs that we matter. I want to see more work of women of color highlighted so we don’t feel as invisible to ourselves and others. I would also like to see an expanded narrative of who women of color are – we are not just Black women. We need to open up and move beyond a black and white dichotomy.”

Mickey, UHS's Health Education Coordinator, shares her I'm Not as part of the Telling Our Stories Project

Mickey, UHS’s  Assistant Director of Health Education, shares her I’m Not as part of the Telling Our Stories Project

Mickey: “…Life is stressful enough as it is to constantly be thinking about how I should act today or what image I should project for a specific group/location. I live my authentic self by valuing keeping an open mind in all situations and standing up/speaking out for what I believe in. But I also make sure to be aware of checking my privileges as a multi-ethnic, passing woman with the educational and professional background that I have, and to understand that not everyone has the ability to be able to live authentically all of the time, which is extremely disheartening to me and something that I hope will shift in the future.”

The UMBC Women Who Rock series also addresses stereotypes and assumptions that are often assigned to women. What role do you see SCN playing at UMBC in debunking stereotypes about Women of Color or encouraging white community members to check their assumptions?

Mickey: “I hope that as a result of SCN, the campus will more readily recognize women of color as leaders on our campus and that they keep that in mind when they are thinking about hiring, promoting or re-classing staff and faculty. I would like UMBC to be much more intentional about getting our staff to reflect the diversity in our student body so that we can truly say UMBC is a diverse school without being misleading.”

Donna-Lee: “SCN has already charged ahead in taking the initiative to meet with those in positional power at UMBC in order to provide them with an understanding of what our cause is about and how they can help. SCN is working to eliminate the preconceived notion of the “angry” person of color. We are simply looking for equity and equality and we plan on doing it in a direct way as opposed to taking a more passive direction.”

How do you practice self-care?

Alexis: “I practice self-care through watching movies, mediation, and spending time with friends. I find spaces where I can be my authentic self which includes spaces where I can be a mix of peaceful, goofy, and intellectual all at the same time. I think self-care is integral in how I keep myself grounded.”

Lisa, Assistant Director of Student Life, Cultural and Spiritual Diversity, let's campus know who she isn't in the Telling Our Stories project.

Lisa, Assistant Director of Student Life, Cultural and Spiritual Diversity, let’s campus know who she isn’t in the Telling Our Stories project.

Lisa: “Four things I do to practice self-care. Deep breathing. Doing something I love that has nothing to do with work (dancing!). Prayer and silent reflection. Venting with people I love and who love me.”

Any words of wisdom you’d like to share to other Women of Color on campus?

Alexis: “Find spaces where you can express yourself fully. The media, society, friend, family, etc. have a way of trying to dictate who women of color ought to be, how we should look, and how we should act. There are times in which we might get caught up in their views of us and we forget to define ourselves for ourselves. Be sure to take time out of your many roles, demands, and pressures to find your authentic voice. To echo the great Audre Lourde:

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

Mickey: “Don’t be afraid to meet new people and find allies/advocates. Building a support system of people you can talk to openly and trust on campus is so important.”

Lisa: “No title or accomplishment is worth losing yourself for or being asked to be someone you’re not.”

Donna-Lee: “Please don’t ever feel like you have to apologize for who you are and how you show up. Be willing to educate, but also be more than willing to advocate if not for yourself, then for those who will surely come after you.”

Who are the UMBC women in your life that inspire you to think outside your expectations and assumptions? What are the counter narrative stories they’re sharing with us allowing UMBC and our greater community to be more of exactly who we want to be? Comment below and maybe you’ll just find them featured in a future UMBC Women Who Rock post.

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  • For more information on the Staff of Color Network, contact anyone of these fabulous co-chairs via their UMBC email address.
  • To celebrate and support the achievements and ambitions of women of color in the UMBC community, join the Women’s of Color Coalition’s 3rd Annual Women of Color Reception on Tuesday, September 29th from 5-7pm.
  • To learn more about the Women’s Center and Women of Color Coalition’s Telling Our Stories project, visit our website.

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Check out other UMBC Women Who Rock:

Amanda Knapp (featured August 2014)
Susan Dumont (featured October 2014)
Jahia Knobloch (featured January 2015)
A Reflection on Encouragement and Accountability (February 2015)
Amelia Meman (March 2015)
Ashley Sweet (May 2015)
Rehana Shafi (August 2015)

“You Don’t Look Like a Sorority Girl” – On Greek Life and Being a Woman of Color in a Predominantly White Subculture

A blog reflection written by Women’s Center Staff Member Meagé Clements


“You’re in a sorority? You dMeagé Clementson’t look like a sorority girl!”

Since becoming a member of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority Inc., this has become something I’ve grown quite used
to hearing. Intrinsically, I politely answer with, “Yes, I am in a sorority” and disregard the latter
microaggressive statement, while thinking to myself what does a sorority girl look like?

With such encounters occurring more frequently as I approach my one-year anniversary of being in a sorority, I’ve begun to think more about “what a sorority girl looks like.” Specifically, I’ve begun to think about what it means to be a woman of color in what seems to be a predominantly white subculture.

A lot of TV shows and movies portray only one side of Greek life and I suppose this is where a lot of these stereotypes are perpetuated; of course, it also doesn’t help that 99% of the images found on a Google image search of for “sorority girl”
are white blondes and brunettes “sorority-squatting” behind their letters. Oh, and don’t get me started on that viral
“recruitment” video a sorority at the University of Alabama thought it was a good idea to share.

Students join Greek life for many different reasons but in my experience most people don’t bother to ask about our motivations for joining a Greek organization and instead just make assumptions. We often see people’s experiences in Greek life being boiled down to only negative media attention rather than also seeing their service projects or community involvement. Needless to say, this limited representation does not reflect the true of the diversity of sorority women, and it especially is not representative of the number of women of color who also happen to have gone Greek.

As a member of a multicultural sorority, I can’t help but notice that the increasing diversity in Greek life is not being reflected in the media. There are countless articles online about less-than-inclusive Greek organizations discriminating against people of color, but little coverage regarding the successes of organizations that embrace women of color and diversity.  And because there are so few representations of women of color in sororities in particular, this stereotyping can be even more detrimental.

Being a member of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority Inc. means acceptance and knowing that although my sisters come from different backgrounds, they are accepting of me and all women. A large part of what drew me to this sorority were the vlaues of service and social justice, the diversity of the organization, and the fact that ALL women were accepted regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Although this may sound cliché, my sorority sisters motivate me to be a better me and I’m proud to be part of this community — that’s why I want everyone else to have a chance to see the side of Greek life that I see.  

While I’m not here to convince everyone to go Greek, I’d like people to acknowledge and embrace the diversity of Greek organizations and more of the positive aspects of Greek life.

I am a Black woman, an introvert, a self-proclaimed “awkward Black girl,” and a member of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority Inc., and this is what a sorority girl looks like.


My Lesson in Women’s History to the GOP Candidates

A blog reflection from Women’s Center staff member, Carrie Cleveland

Carrie Profile PicI watched the Republican debate twice.  Yes.  That is six hours of my life I spent listening, analyzing, and forming my own opinions about the candidates. I went in with some preconceived notions.  I knew any talk about Planned Parenthood would make me upset because this group of people fail to acknowledge what Planned Parenthood does for women who do not have access to gynecological care.  I was surprised when Donald Trump said he believes we need to spread out the vaccinations that children get because I feel the same way, but I’ll save that post for another day.  I was hoping to see Carly Fiorina carry the torch for  women, but she let me down.

Ms. Fiorina especially let me down when at the end the candidates were asked a “lighthearted” question about having a woman on the ten dollar bill, but so did most of the candidates. Senator Ron Paul chose Susan B. Anthony (yeah!) but then Mike Huckabee said his wife.  Wow.  Not to say anything negative about his wife Janet, but was he so unable to think of ONE woman who did anything for this country? Earlier in the debate he went on and on about ninth grade civics class but clearly Mr. Huckabee needs to spend some time learning about the great women of this country.  Continue reading

White Womanhood + Critical Whiteness Resources Round-Up

A resource round-up provided by Jess Myers, Women’s Center director 

In case you missed last night’s roundtable on White Womanhood and Critical Whiteness (or if you were there and want to keep the conversation going), I thought it might be useful to share some resources that have helped me on my ongoing journey of what it means to be a white woman and how I show up and impact those around me as a white woman. As I mentioned, white women need to “hold up the mirror” for ourselves and engage with our reflection of whiteness and white privilege. Having resources and community to help hold up the mirror for us and work through what we see is vital as we engage in this self-work. Below are (just) some resources I’ve found helpful and transformative in my journey. This is not an exhaustive list so I welcome suggestions as well!

It was standing room only at last night's roundtable on White Womanhood and Critical Whiteness! We can't stop here, though, let's keep the conversation and learning going!

It was standing room only at last night’s roundtable on White Womanhood and Critical Whiteness! We can’t stop here, though,  white women, let’s keep the conversation and learning going!

News Outlets and Blogs:

“Colorlines is a daily news site where race matters, featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis. Colorlines is published by Race Forward, a national organization that advances racial justice through research, media and practice.”

Everyday Feminism
“Our mission is to help people heal from and stand up to everyday violence, discrimination, and marginalization through applied intersectional feminism.”
Twitter FacebookWesbite

Feminist Wire
“The mission of The Feminist Wire is to provide socio-political and cultural critique of anti-feminist, racist, and imperialist politics pervasive in all forms and spaces of private and public lives of individuals globally. Of particular critical interest to us are social and political phenomena that block, negate, or limit the satisfaction of goods or ends that humans, especially the most vulnerable, minimally require for living free of structural violence.”
Twitter Facebook Website

Articles and Books:

White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness (I personally recommend chapters 3 & 7)

When White Women Cry: How White Women’s Tears Oppress Women of Color by Mamta Motwana Accapadi (AND, just read this article as of 9/28 which is a great compliment: White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them)

Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant: White Feminism and Women of Color by Mariana Ortega

Learn more about the term “white fragility” 

More thoughts about “calling in” and “calling out”

From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue Around Diversity and Social Justice by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens

Conferences and Trainings:

Baltimore Racial Justice Action

Social Justice Training Institute

Facing Race Conference

  • This conference happens every other year. I was lucky enough to go on a scholarship when it was in Baltimore a few years ago. If you’re down to travel, do it!

Women’s Center Things!

Critical Social Justice
A year-long campaign with a week of concentrated programming and events each year. This year is October 19-23rd!

Our Lending Library 

Our Twitter and Facebook 

Where My Inclusive Dawgs At? — A reflection on American sports culture.

A blog reflection written by Women’s Center staff member Kayla Smith. Kayla Profile Pic

Society tells us that women are too sensitive. We’re crazy emotional creatures who are fragile and people need to tiptoe around us and our sensitive flower petal feelings. Because of this stereotype, I spend a lot of time unpacking my issues with certain comments, blog posts, statements and phrases. Is something truly offensive or am I just being a baby? Is something harmful or am I overreacting?

Recently, I attended the first soccer game of the season here at UMBC. I’m not typically a big sports person but I really like sporting events because of the sense of community, which is especially important at UMBC since we’re often seen as lacking in the school spirit department.

I tend to forget how often sports fans rely on sexism and homophobia in their heckling. While I’m framing my experience in the context of UMBC, no sports game is absent of these things. Unfortunately, it seems to be a part of the culture as a whole because every time without fail every time I go to any type of game I end up having this conversation with a stranger:

Expressive gentleman sitting behind me: “HEY [insert number of player here] YOU SUCK AND YOUR MOTHER IS A WHORE.”

Me (startled): “That’s so mean geez why would you say that?”

Man (with feeling): “It’s a sporting event. Get used to it”

So it goes.  Continue reading

Meet the 2015-16 Women’s Center Staff!

Get to know the Women’s Center’s new team of staff and interns!

Women's Center Staff 2015-16

Women’s Center Staff 2015-16

Meagé Clements (she/her)
Hi! My name is Meagé, and I am a new staff member in the Women’s Center. I am currently a senior studying Psychology and Social Work, as well as a member of UMBC’s Honors College. I am a social work intern at Delrey School, where I will be working with children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, among other physical and intellectual disabilities. After college, I hope to earn my MSW and find a career where I can help marginalized and oppressed people thrive in our society. In addition to being a staff member in UMBC’s Women’s Center, I am a member of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority Inc. In my spare time, I enjoy yoga, reading, listening to music and creative writing.Meagé Profile Pic This semester, I am excited to learn and become more involved in the efforts of the Women’s Center. If you happen to see me in the Women’s Center or around campus, feel free to say hello! I am looking forward to meeting new people and engaging in some thoughtful dialogues!

Carrie Cleveland (she/her)
My name is Carrie. I am BEYOND excited to be starting my last year at UMBC. I will graduate in May with a degree in social work after being in college for ten years. Yep. That is NOT a typo. Ten FREAKING years. See, I have three daughters and they keep me incredibly busy and because of that I decided that part time was the way to be. I think we will all be doing a happy dance when I graduate.

Beyond that, I am involved with the BreakingGround initiative on campus as a member of the Community Program Grant Committee. I also am a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee. I am also super proud to be a Return Women’s Scholar. It was my membership in that group that firstCarrie Profile Pic brought me to the Women’s Center and that has been such a source of support for me as I took the long and windy road to graduation. Other that that, I am a wife, a friend, a chick from New Jersey, a lover off all things pop culture and a huge fan of They Might Be Giants.

Julia Gottlieb (she/her)
Hey there! I’m Julia, and I’m a new student staff member at the Women’s Center. I’m interning with the Women’s Center through the GWST Department, and I couldn’t be more excited to dive in. I realized that I wanted to pursue Gender & Women’s Studies as a major three years ago after overhearing a conversation in which two people victim-blamed and shamed women for choosing to get abortions. Looking back, I felt so angry and defensive of women, which made me realize that this was an issue I cared deeply about and needed to investigate further. The Women’s Center is the perfect way to translate my passion for feminism and social justice into a tangible job that challenges me to think critically and to push myself–all while in pursuit of greater social and political change through activism.

Julia Profile PicI’m a senior majoring in Gender & Women’s Studies and minoring in Critical Sexuality Studies. I’m also a co-leader for Women Involved in Learning and Leadership (WILL) and I’m pumped for the new semester! Singing and listening to music are by far my favorite things to do; I took piano lessons for ten years and have been singing all my life. My favorite artists currently are Lianne la Havas and Alabama Shakes. If you see me feel free to say hello (and tell me what music you’re into)!

MJ Jalloh-JamboriaMJ Profile Pic (they/them)
Hey! I’m MJ Jalloh-Jamboria.  I am currently a Gender/Women Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies (Pathology) double major. My minor is Critical Sexuality. This is my second year at UMBC and my first year as a student stuff member here at the Women’s Center. In addition to that, I am the Director of Events of the Council of Majors/Minors. Finally, I am the Music Director of UMBC’s newest a Capella group, the Culture Chords. I know it may sound like a lot but I enjoy staying busy and contributing to the UMBC community!

My favorite thing to do, besides singing and eating, is to look at how my identities come into play as I interact with the world around me. As a fat, non-binary, first generation West African Immigrant, Muslim person, I have a lot to think about!

Kayla Smith (she/her)

Hi! My name is Kayla Smith. I’m a pre-law junior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing in health education. I’m a third semester peer health educator with a special interest in sexual health and I’m Vice President of the Mock-Trial team wherein I act as both an attorney and a witness.Kayla Profile Pic I’m really bad at introductory type things (even in the age of online dating, Facebook, and sure lets say Myspace). The words “About me” or “tell us about yourself!” have always been really intimidating, so I’m going to take a page out of past Women’s Center staff member, Amelia Meman’s book, and adopt the bullet point system.

  • I identify as Queer (Ask what I mean by that!). I’m West Indian.
  • My top five favorite things are: Glitter, wind chimes, fairy lights, bubbles, and miniature things (especially miniature food.)
  • My favorite music genre is instrumental progressive metal.
  • I speak french fluently (and I need someone to speak french with!)
  • My favorite show is Criminal Minds (Spencer Reid is my boyfriend.)
  • I have a rabbit names Lazarus (No he has never died)

Daniel Willey (he/him) 
Hey everyone! My name is Dan and I am a junior GWST major. I joined the Women’s Center staff last year and I am so excited to be back again as the senior staff member. You’ll see me around a lot because I never actually leave the Center. I am the peer facilitator for Spectrum and Rebuilding Manhood, and I’m very involved with the LGBTQIA+ community here. I love answering questions! If you want to have a discussion about or have questions about gender, sexuality, sexual health, polyamory, fiber crafts, cats, or Steven Universe, I’m your guy! I live by the idea that everyone has the capacity for good and every interaction can be a learning moment.Daniel Profile Pic Being at the Women’s Center feels like not only a home away from home, but the place where I have learned how to be the best version of me. I really hope the Center can be these things for everyone, and I do my best to facilitate that here. If you need anything, please ask! I’m very excited to meet you all.

Megan Tagle Adams, Coordinator (she/her)
I’m an unapologetic feminist and woman of color. I’m not your model minority. Megan Profile PicI’m an introvert. I’m not always angry. I’m Team Nicki. I’m a cat lady. I’m a queer femme. I’m not ashamed of my love of boy bands. I’m an advocate for critical social justice. I’m a picky eater. I’m not a fan of Maryland’s humidity. I’m looking forward to another great year at the Women’s Center! 

Jess Myers, Director (she/her)
Wow-wee, where do I begin?! Today I logged into my LinkedIn account because I got an alert that someone was looking at my profile… who was checking me out?! I had to know. Long story short, I found myself skimming through my profile and was alerted to the fact that I have been Director of the Women’s Center at UMBC for 4 years and 6 months. How lucky am I?! I have learned and grown as a professional, as a feminist, and as a person so much since I first arrived here at UMBC. I have gotten to work with some of UMBC’s brightest and most courageous students. I’ve learned how to insert gifs into emails and how to tweet on the Twitter. I’ve been challenged and held accountable to expand my notions of feminism beyond “white feminism” and to boldly live out my social justice values in Jess Profile Pic 1a critical way. Moreover, I get to work in a place where I am authentically me.

I love being silly. I relish in the opportunity to use Leslie Knope gifs as a mode of communication. I identify as a queer lesbian and deserve medals for my fierceness in spin class. I approach my work from my collegiate background in social work and identify as a student affairs professional. I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Kingston, Jamaica, and Fort Collins, Colorado but Baltimore is my hometown. It is a city that forever is rooted in my heart and very being. I also really love my introduction from last year and want to share it again (I’m a big fan of also not recreating the wheel!). You’ll find me on here most often blogging through my UMBC Women Who Rocks series and other Women’s Center confessions I like to make public. Basically and most importantly, I love my job… I’m looking forward to a year full of challenges, successes, and learning opportunities!