How the Student Advisory Council Gave Me an EdgeJuly 26, 2013
This summer, we are catching up with former members of the AAUW National Student Advisory Council, the exclusive group of college women who advise AAUW on student issues and help plan the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. Kerry Deikmann served on the 2010–11 SAC while pursuing her doctorate in education in the Counseling and Student Personnel Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and also held a graduate assistantship in the university’s women’s center. She now works at American University as the coordinator of women’s and gender programming and is completing her dissertation on how women define themselves as feminists.
Q: You came to the SAC as a graduate student, when you were also working at your school’s women’s center as a program coordinator. Why did you want to join the SAC?
A: Yes, I was in my third year of my doctoral program at Minnesota State University. I wanted to step it up a notch and be able to connect with people across the United States to see what work was being done at different campuses. I also wanted to advocate for gender equity on a larger scale than just at my campus.
I enjoyed the work I had done at my campus and I wanted to continue to have that connection with other feminists and also to have that solidarity, the “we are all in this together” mentality, because this is a big movement. I wanted to make sure I was in an organization where everyone was fighting for equity every day.
Q: What did you take away from your service on the SAC?
A: The experience allowed me to think about different programming ideas and how to execute them for different audiences on campus. It also provided me with a network of professionals who supported us and our efforts, and who are still a supportive resource today. I also connected with the other SAC members through Facebook. We are still connected today and can see each other’s progress.
Q: Was it hard to launch and execute programs on campus as a graduate student, or did your connection with the campus women’s center make it easier?
A: I believe my position at the university set me up in a way that enabled me to implement a lot of programs, and because of my involvement in the SAC I was able to access so much more material and so many more resources; that’s why I was able to put on so many programs. It definitely helped.
Q: What programs did you bring to campus?
I learned about the SAC because of that program; my supervisor at the women’s center introduced me to the SAC and wanted me to be trained as a $tart $mart facilitator. I started looking online and found the SAC.
Q: What was your favorite moment on the SAC?
A: Like everybody else’s, it’s the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). With the SAC specifically, it was great to have everyone come back together again at the end of the year during NCCWSL and reconnect with them. We got to work behind the scenes at NCCWSL and witness firsthand how AAUW works and how everyone comes together to put this conference on every year. It was amazing.
Q: What projects are you working on today?
A: After serving on the SAC, I completed a certificate on gender and women’s studies at Minnesota State University and I am currently finishing my dissertation on feminist identity for my doctoral program. Since then, I have accepted a full-time position at American University. I work in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion as the coordinator of women’s and gender equity. It’s an amazing job.
I’m very fortunate and I feel that SAC complimented what I was already doing. It gave me an extra purpose, to do something bigger than my campus that went along with what I was already interested in and working for. It was definitely nice to already have on my résumé that I worked at a women’s center in school, but I felt like I needed an extra edge — and the SAC definitely gave me that edge.
This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Interns Samantha Lambert and Mabinty Quarshie.