The usually closed doors at the Women’s Leadership Institute were swung open to proclaim it’s new mission and highlight its new scholars last Thursday.
Director of the WLI, Margo Okazawa-Rey, said that the purpose of the open house was to showcase the visiting scholars and their work to the community.
“We want to reintroduce WLI to the Mills community,” Okazawa-Rey said. “We want to let people know that our doors are really open on campus.”
To facilitate its visibility, the WLI has brought together 10 scholars from various backgrounds including the arts, medicine, women activists, aids activists, novelists, a filmmaker, and a journalist.
Physician and writer Eliza Chin is dedicated to building awareness and providing support for women in medicine. Recently, Chin published a book ” This Side of Doctoring-Reflections from Women in Medicine,” which explores the struggles and triumphs of women in the past 50 years in medicine.
“Women have had a hard time in the medical profession,” said Chin.
Chin focuses on discrimination issues and how to balance career and family among female pre-medical students.
“Vocalize and unite. Change will happen,” said Chin.
Tressa Berman is a visiting professor from Arizona State and an anthropologist in a field she developed called Trans Indigenous Arts.
Berman is facilitating artists initiative projects with her organization BorderZone.
BorderZone is an international community organization, which facilities collaboration between historically underrepresented and emerging artists with art organizations.
“These are community based projects,” said Berman “We are acting locally, thinking globally.”
Berman recently published her book “Circle of Goods” and is currently working on her second novel, “No Deal!” which is concerned with indigenous arts and politics of possession.
Through the WLI these scholars are fulfilling this mission and hope to bring more visibility to their work and reach out to the Mills community.
Some students didn’t know what the Women’s leadership Institute was and the event gave students and faculty a chance to meet with the scholars.
” I heard about the institute-knew it was here but I didn’t know what it was,” said senior Brianna Lengel.
The WLI was founded by Dr. Edna Mitchell, former director of the institute.
The WLI brings women with leadership roles in their given field, to share their professional work and provide a forum for the communication of ideas.
” I am highly impressed by what is going on here,” said prospective student Emelia Udd. The scholars said they want to reach out to students and faculty either in internships, mentorships, research and class lectures.