Although it’s a relatively new holiday, International Women’s Day is a transformational celebration of all the achievements and strengths that women everywhere bring to their societies. The day also serves as a soapbox for the equality movement, whether in pay or in opportunity. Celebrities such as Megan Rapinoe or Emma Watson have used their large platform to fight the inequalities that women face, but not all of the work can be done from a high level. Someone has to be the boots on the ground.
UW-Green Bay is proud to hold numerous women among our most distinguished contributors to the campus community – from students and alumna, all the way up to the current chancellor. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we’d like to shine a spotlight on three Phoenix that are doing their part to create equality of the sexes and empower the next generation of female leaders.
Dr. Burns is a social sciences professor and also serves as the Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS). Her research focuses on stereotypes, emotion, and self-regulation. This semester, Professor Burns is teaching an online course for non-traditional students, particularly women: “A lot of my students are women who wouldn’t have been able to pursue college in traditional ways because they are working full-time and/or taking care of their families. It is exciting to see them learn and grow, while also helping them get one step closer to achieving their dream of a college degree.”
Professor Burns sees International Women’s Day as an “opportunity to reflect on all that women have accomplished… we can celebrate on this day, but also set goals and think about what we can do to better achieve gender equity.”
As the Director of Student Life, Claudia spends her time cultivating the ideal conditions for student success through a vibrant campus experience, where students can evolve and experiment beyond the classroom. Her role in the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Climate allows her to see firsthand the impact of student leadership in their campus organizations, as well as during their time as employees and volunteers.
Guzmán’s efforts expand beyond the UW-Green Bay campus. She is a founding member of Latinas en Acción, a grassroots grantmaking fund developed for Latinas by Latinas through the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee. Claudia is also taking time this semester to speak as part of the Women’s Empowerment Series at the Richard Mauthe Center here in Green Bay.
Claudia’s work may be to serve all of the UW-Green Bay students, but it’s her hope that women students see her leadership as a potential for their own. For International Women’s Day, Guzmán is hoping that we spend our time today “look[ing] beyond our own lived experiences and learn about what women in other countries are doing to create change, drive innovation and support their fellow community members.”
Diana Delbecchi graduated from UW-Green Bay in 2010 and has since made an extraordinary impact in the Green Bay community. She serves as the Community School Resource Coordinator at the Howe Community School, but her efforts don’t stop at the end of the workday. Delbecchi works with a grassroots organization, The United ReSisters, that serves recently resettled Somali girls and young women and works to “build a more inclusive community by harvesting the power and brilliance that these youth have to offer.”
As the founder of The United Resisters, Diana spends her time creating community partnerships, supporting the group’s mentorship program, leading activities and projects, writing grants; one of which funded their collaborative book, The First Winter. The book tells the stories of the young women within The United ReSisters and since its publishing in 2019, has been used in universities around the country in courses that strive to teach the refugee experience. It’s no wonder that Delbecchi sees International Women’s Day as a day of solidarity – she lives it daily: “I have high hopes that this group and their words will continue to create understanding around the specific experience that young female refugees go through and provide representation for the younger Somali girls in our community and beyond to reach for their dreams.”
These three women embody what it means to be a Phoenix – hardworking, tenacious, and willing to go the extra mile for those around them. After all, the most special part of UW-Green Bay is the people.
“I have the privilege of working with phenomenal faculty and staff colleagues who are heavily invested in student success… I am always amazed at how much students transform in their time here and I’m glad to play at least a small role in that.” – Dr. Kate Burns
“What I love most about UWGB is that it is small enough that you can get to know your community but big enough that there is an exciting variety of opportunities to take advantage of! I am fortunate to get to know and work with students who are bright, caring and committed to serving others.” – Claudia Guzmán
“I think both the relationships you get to make with professors and the chance to create independent study courses within your major are two of the most special parts of UWGB. Those relationships became powerful motivators for me and helped me develop a strong work ethic and an internal drive that has pushed me far in my career.” – Diana Delbecchi