5 UVA Women to Look Up to for International Women's Month

March 31, 2016

Even though our celebration of International Women’s Month is coming to a close, women should be celebrated all year round. On the grounds of UVA, we have some of the most intelligent, innovative, and compassionate female minds in the world. Many women that have walked UVA grounds, of all ages and backgrounds, are breaking ground and activating change. Here are 5 UVA women who are particularly inspirational and exemplar of women we should look up to:

1. The Cavalier Daily 126th term Managing Board The Cavalier Daily has been the University’s premier daily newspaper since 1890. While this may not be just one single woman, the 126th managing board of the paper made great strides for UVA women as a team. What makes the 126th managing board (from last semester) so important is that for the first time in the history of the paper, it was an all-female staff. It took 126 years of managing boards before The Cavalier Daily saw an all-female board and it comes 43 years after the first woman was ever elected to the managing board. The 126th Cavalier Daily managing board shows that every leadership position at the paper was deserved and won by women.

2. Alyssa Dizon One UVA woman’s accomplishments have united the community of Charlottesville and UVA in the name of entrepreneurship. Alyssa Dizon, a fourth-year College student, is the former managing director of HackCville. HackCville is a community “clubhouse” that supplies members with skills that benefit them in careers in entrepreneurship and startups. As managing director, Dizon introduced HackCville to the UVA community and turned it into a student-run organization. Her efforts made HackCville what it is today. The organization reports that over 1,500 students attend their workshops per year on topics like business, tech, design, media, and career development. Dizon’s work with HackCville earned her a 2016 Venture for America Fellowship. 

3. Monica Gray and Annie Medaglia Both alumnae of UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, these two women were instilled with a dedication for public service while at UVA as volunteers through Madison House. Through their volunteer experience, they found that they loved being positive influences in the lives of young people. However, when they graduated they realized that there are very little volunteer opportunities for professionals to mentor school-age children. So, Gray and Medaglia co-founded DreamWalkers. DreamWalkers is a non-profit organization that brings professionals into public school classrooms via videoconference. The program attempts to engage students with the career world and provide interaction between students and professionals. Following the success of DreamWalkers, Gray and Medaglia were awarded with Toyota’s 2016 “Mothers of Invention” at the Women in the World Washington, D.C. Salon.

4. Dean Nicole Eramo In the midst of one of the biggest scandals to happen on UVA grounds, the “Jackie” Rolling Stone article attacked dean Nicole Eramo for failing to help a student who claimed to have been sexually assaulted. However, Dean Eramo has since been vindicated and has used this story as a launch pad for an overhaul of the University’s Sexual Assault policy. As head of UVA’s Sexual Misconduct Board, Dean Eramo has taken great measures to improve sexual assault prevention on grounds and to open dialogue about sexual assaults on college campuses.

5. Professor Anne M. Coughlin Professor Coughlin is a Lewis F. Powell, Jr., professor of law at UVA and co-director of  . Her career is dedicated to women. Some of her specialization includes feminist jurisprudence, women’s issues, and gender in the law. Professor Coughlin has been a national leading figure in protecting women’s rights under the law. She has written a highly-regarded law review on battered woman syndrome and sued the Pentagon for policy that restricts women from military combat roles. Many attribute her lawsuit to the 2013 reversal of the Pentagon’s policy. Even though these women are all inspirational in their own right, every woman at UVA—whether staff, student, or alumnae—is a woman to admire and respect. Taking part in STEM, entrepreneurship, public policy, etc. are all ways that women at UVA are challenging the patriarchal system. For International Women’s Month we should honor these women.

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