Fourth-year student reflects on time at Iris, retirement of Associate Director

April 03, 2014
IrisAddieandGinger Photo courtesy of Adelyn Bender
Fourth-year student and Assistant Editor of Iris Magazine, Adelyn Bender, poses alongside Virginia Moran, former Associate Director of the Women's Center and Editor of Iris. They were in OpenGrounds at a panel event that was part of Iris Magazine's Bad A** Women speaker series. Also pictured are Jane Friedman of the Virginia Quarterly Review, Susie McCarthy, of the UVa Politics Department, and Lingerr Senghor, previous Iris staff member.

On Feb.14, Virginia Moran celebrated her final day with the UVa Women’s Center after a successful tenure as the Associate Director of the Women’s Center and the Editor of Iris Magazine. Virginia, known as Ginger to friends and colleagues, will be continuing on to James Madison University as an Associate Professor, while also pursuing her passion as a life, business and book coach.

A published author, Ms. Moran is best known for her novel, The Algebra of Snow, which was nominated for a Pushcart Editor’s Choice Award. During her time at the Women’s Center, Virginia oversaw the successful transition of Iris from a print magazine to an online publication, while also writing freelance fiction and essay pieces.

It is in this way that I came to know Ginger; I served as an intern for Iris and am now the assistant editor. As time and circumstance would have it, I too am moving on from the University as a complete my degree of undergraduate study. She and I are following a similar path—outward and onward from the Grounds of the University and into a new realm of possibility and opportunity. As an editor, she was dedicated to providing fresh and University-related content to Iris’ student audience. Ginger’s legacy with Iris leaves behind this vision of honoring and commending the outstanding achievements of female faculty and students at UVa.

Aside from her editorial duties, she supported the Center’s development team and oversaw several fundraising efforts for the organization, as well as supported several events celebrating women writers in the Charlottesville and University communities. Though she already held a busy schedule in the position as Associate Director, Ginger’s desire to help others follow their artistic and creative passions led her to a career as a book coach and life mentor. In this position, Ginger will continue to aid others—students, both new and old—to formulate achievable goals in publishing their own novels.

As I was thinking about how best to summarize my experience with Ginger and find one anecdote of hundreds to share with the readers of Iris, I got in touch with the other members of the current Iris team. Here’s what they had to say about Ginger, and the valuable lessons she taught them:

“I remember first meeting Ginger at the end of summer, during Orientation Day. The Women's Center was my first internship and I was a bit overwhelmed, but meeting with her and the rest of the Iris staff immediately put me at ease. Ginger is a breath of fresh air at the University; she knows how to make people feel comfortable and to bring out creativity in others, as well as stands true to her values. As an artist, she saw the importance of making sure we interns had a say in the creative direction of Iris Magazine, thus giving me a great first internship experience. I'm glad to have met such a vibrant woman and she inspires me to always continue my passion for writing, no matter the career I choose.” – Kiana Williams, Iris Magazine Intern

“Ginger has definitely taught me that marching to the sound of my own drum is essential in being successful, especially as a woman. While working with Ginger, I also learned that having passion for what you do ultimately makes a great person. Ginger has been and will continue to be great in all of her future endeavors. I wish you all the best because it's what you deserve.” – Breeonna Reed, UIP Intern to the Associate Director & Iris Magazine Contributor

Aside from being the scholar I have come to know and respect, Ginger is a friend and mentor. In a time in my life defined more by its uncertainty than any semblance of clarity about my future, Ginger has provided me with support, guidance and laughter. I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to spend my time at the Women’s Center under such an inspiring and driven individual, not to mention someone with a sense of humor.

Ginger has taught me how to pick my battles, whether it is struggling with a tough assignment or managing a busy schedule, and to “do it now” and “ask for forgiveness later.” While the latter was more a joke between she and I (two ladies who like it done our way or no way), I have found that it rings true in many situations; is life really lived if we are always in fear of consequences?

As she pursues her own future in coaching others towards theirs, I pursue mine in graduating from the University. There is no doubt that there is a good amount of fear in taking those leaps; we are both “doing it now” and will worry about the rest later. Though our ways have parted for now, I look forward to the time we meet again—as student and teacher, as colleagues, as friends.

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