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M. Geneva Murray believes that gender equity requires a community approach. As the new director for the UW Oshkosh Women’s Center, Murray said she hopes to put that collective approach into action.

“I want to make sure the reach of the Women’s Center extends to students, staff, faculty and Oshkosh community,” she said. “We all have a different approach to gender equity, and it’s important to consider everyone’s perspective.”

Murray started in the position in November 2012 and comes to UW Oshkosh from a short break after completing her Ph.D. at the University of York in England. Prior to that, Murray worked as an education coordinator for the National Woman’s Party and a public policy assistant for the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action.

As director, Murray’s duties will be to build personal, academic and professional networks and support for the campus community.

“Gender studies are not just for women, and there isn’t just one way to approach it. We all can support women in society,” she said.

Most recently, Murray studied an all-female roller derby and evaluated the way that roller derby aligns with or challenges gender norms. Her unique area of study has helped her understand that perspectives on women’s roles, social justice and gender equity are individual and unique.

“When we look at pop culture, we see a variety of examples of women empowerment,” she said. “We all can support women in society, and I want to find out what is important at UW Oshkosh.”

Her main goal, Murray said, is finding out how faculty, staff and students see the Women’s Center fitting into needs at UW Oshkosh. She said she wants staff and faculty to let her know how the Women’s Center can fit academic, social and community needs.

“I’d like to open a discussion on campus about what gender equity is to different groups and what that means to us as a campus and a community,” she said.

While some of her program ideas are new, Murray said she is also looking forward to working within current initiatives for gender equity.

“One thing that impresses me is how eager the University is in social justice and community action,” Murray said. “We have a lot of established programs to work with, and I’ll look to see if there are gaps I can fill in.”

In her free time, Murray enjoys woodcarving, painting and reading. She is a self-proclaimed roller derby junkie, and she talks about her research in the documentary “Derby Baby: A story of Love, Addiction and Rink Rash.”

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