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Alicia JohnsonDr. Alicia Johnson said she is excited to be in her new role as director of the Women’s Center in the Campus Center for Equity and Diversity at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

“I think there’s a really good energy here,” Johnson said about the University. “I think there is a great commitment to working to gender equity here and in the community.”

Johnson will split her weeks as Women’s Center director and as a lecturer in the College of Letters and Science. She is set to lead classes in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department as well as the Department of Kinesiology.

Johnson, whose appointment took place in July, has a Ph.D. in sport studies with a specialization in socio-cultural studies and cognate in cultural anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Johnson also earned certificates in women’s studies, grant writing and proposal development and graduate teaching while at UTK.

She formerly was a program assistant and social media manager for the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, managed by the University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace and Society; and a research intern for the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport.

In 2012, Johnson earned a master’s degree in athletic counseling from Springfield College. While at Springfield College, she served with AmeriCorps as an academic coach for at-risk high school student-athletes. In 2010, she graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

Johnson’s areas of interest include media representation of athletes, body image in sport, cultural and diversity issues in sport, global women in sport, postcolonial feminism, and sexism in higher education and the workplace.

Johnson initially applied for faculty positions but believed the Women’s Center director role would be a great fit with her interests and expertise.

She recently developed a new tagline for the Center: Intersectional Innovation for Gender Equity.

“I think it really reflects the philosophy that has been the underpinning of the center,” she said.

Last week, a diverse group of people including Voices of Men, met to discuss gender equity.

“I’m really excited about the coming together of different groups,” she said, adding that she feels there is a lot of opportunity here. “I’ve really been impressed with the great energy of students, faculty, staff and administration. So far, it’s really been energizing.”

Another positive response has been to the to the Center’s new feminist gaming initiative.

The Center boasts a 55-inch television and a PlayStation 4 system with games that have an educational base and with messages that are related to diversity and women. It is intended as a haven offering a positive space for computer game enthusiasts.

“About 50 percent of gamers are women, but oftentimes if they reveal they are female, they are subject to (online) harassment–vulgar and really offensive comments,” Johnson said. “The Center is really for anyone. We welcome people of all genders. We’re hoping to make it a positive experience where people of all genders can come together and build a social network.”

The UW Oshkosh Women’s Center, 717 Irving Ave., is open the following hours: Monday, 12-4 p.m.; Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 12-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 12-4 p.m.

Numerous events and programs are slated over the next several months:

  • Take Back the Night: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. The 26th Annual Fox Valley Take Back the Night will be held in the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center Ballroom. Partner agencies and citizens will stand up to violence and raise awareness, spotlight allies, support survivors and remember those lost to violence.
  • International Day of Rural Women: Women’s Healthcare in Rural Areas: 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, Sage 1214, is a discussion by healthcare providers about their care of rural Midwestern women.
  • Love Your Body Day: All day, everywhere, Wednesday, Oct. 19. The campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.
  • Every BODY is Welcome: Size Inclusiveness for Health Promotion: 7-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, Sage 1210, Christy Greenleaf, professor and kinesiology program director at UW-Milwaukee, will share her research on body image and weight bias.
  • Elect Her: 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Reeve Union 306. Elect Her is a program emphasizing the importance of women running for office. Participants practice hands-on campaign skills, hear from inspiring local speakers and discuss research on women in government.
  • Pageant Panel: 6 p.m. Wednesday. Nov. 2, Reeve Theater (307), discussion with panel to explore the stereotypes, truths and trends of the pageant world. With representation from a variety of pageants, hear a discussion about what it’s really like to participate.
  • Election Film: Iron Jawed Angels: 7-9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, Time Community Theater. This film about how young activists impacted the women’s suffrage movement promises to get people excited about fulfilling their civic duty to vote. Free popcorn and soda/water at the non-partisan event with no lobbying allowed.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Film Series: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, Reeve Theater (307). This documentary film explores why the sexual shaming of girls and women, especially sexual assault victims, is still prevalent in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Panel on Popular Culture: Ghostbusters: 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 39, Reeve Theater (307). The Ghostbusters movie remake provides many talking points about stereotypes, gender, race and sexuality. The panel will engage in critical analysis of the popular film.
  • World AIDS Day: 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 (various locations). Join the LGBTQ Resource Center in a World AIDS Day Fact Hunt. Tables will be located throughout campus providing activities and education. Knowledge intended to help with protection against HIV infection and in the support of those who are.
  • Finals Survival Night: Noon to 12 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, Women’s Center. A place to study or de-stress. There will be coloring books, board and video games and other activities to help with the stress of finals. Survival kits filled with goodies available while they last.
  • Faculty and Staff Unwind: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., MondayWednesday, Dec. 19-21, Women’s Center. Faculty and staff are invited to a stress-free environment with coffee, tea or hot chocolate and games, coloring or simple conversation.

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