Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Kovach Fills Void of Women’s Center Leadership

Since Jill Robinson left her position as director of the university’s Women’s Center in June 2007, the center has been without a director or even a full-time staff member, relying on a team of student and faculty volunteers.

Staffing a center without permanent leadership became such a challenge last year that it even prompted the retired former director of student programs, Martha Swanson, to chip in and oversee student volunteers.

All of that changed, however, in late May when the university announced that Laura Kovach would be assuming the position of director beginning in July. Before accepting the Georgetown post in May, Kovach worked with Georgetown’s Health Education Services in 2006 and helped develop R.U. Ready?, the sexual assault awareness program geared toward freshmen. She also worked for almost two years as a health educator at American University.

Kovach said her primary goal for the center is to increase its visibility and, in doing so, its stability.

“The fact that we didn’t have a director for almost a year is certainly concerning. [Swanson] was absolutely great in keeping the center going. But permanent leadership is very important for students to know that they have a face here that they can always come to,” she said.

She said that, in order to further develop the center, she will first focus on reaching out to more students and making sure they know what kinds of services and programs it offers.

But, while Kovach acknowledged the challenges of stepping into the role of leading a center that previously lacked permanent leadership, she said that Georgetown is still well ahead of the curve in addressing and responding to women’s issues.

“At American, for instance, there is still no women’s center on campus,” she said. “Georgetown has done a fantastic job, particularly in their sexual assault awareness programs, and this was an important factor in my decision to come here.”

Kovach said she aims to continue the center’s tradition of collaborating with other university departments and offices, including Health Education Services, as in the R.U. Ready? program, and the Career Education Center through job placement and recruiting programs. In addition, she discussed her desire to look at new ways of improving programming and reaching out to more Georgetown alumni.

“I think there can be more interaction between students and alumni, and one possible way is to develop some mentor-matching with alumnae who might be in the same major field as a student,” she said.

She also said that Georgetown will participate in the Young Women Leader Program, through which female undergraduates will be working with middle school students in Alexandria, Va.

Kovach said, above all else, she is most eager to begin talking and working with students.

“At American, I learned a lot about really listening to the needs of students. Once students begin to arrive here, we can really begin consulting and getting underway,” she said.

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