We would like everyone on campus and in the community to feel welcome during their visit to the UMKC Women's Center. Our friendly staff is always willing to assist with inquiries whether it be discussing programs, finding resources or just getting on-campus directions. Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Click here for contact and location information.

BrendaBrenda Bethman, Ph.D., Director

Phone: 816.235.1643

Brenda has been at the UMKC Women’s Center since January 2007. She also holds appointments as Director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program, and as Affiliated Faculty in German in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Before coming to UMKC, she was founding Program Coordinator of the Women’s Center and then Director of the Women’s & Gender Equity Resource Center at Texas A&M University. She is a past chair of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Women’s Centers Committee, as well as past Secretary for NWSA. Brenda was a member of the committee that revised the CAS Standards for Women Student Programs and Services. Recently, she was appointed to the MLA's Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities.

Brenda is a co-founder of and blogger at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech, a group blog that serves as a forum for women in student affairs with an interest in technology. She has presented and published on social media, assessment, women’s leadership, women’s literature, Elfriede Jelinek, Marlene Streeruwitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, and feminism in a variety of venues. She holds a B.A. in German Literature from Dickinson College, an M.A. in German Literature from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Modern German Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from UMass Amherst. Her book, Obscene Fantasies”: Generic Perversions in Elfriede Jelinek, examines Elfriede Jelinek’s investigation of Austria’s and Western Europe’s “obscene fantasies” through her “perversion” of generic forms in three of her best-known texts, women as lovers, The Piano Teacher, and Lust and was published by Peter Lang in 2011.

ArzieArzie Umali, Assistant Director

Phone: 816.235.5577

Arzie joined the UMKC Women’s Center in August 2009. Prior to joining the Women’s Center staff, Arzie worked as the Student Services Coordinator for the UMKC Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Program Coordinator for the UMKC African American History & Culture House. With several years in higher education, Arzie has extensive experience in program development for multicultural student populations and in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented and first-generation college students. An advocate for women’s issues and social justice, Arzie served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center for two years and has been an active volunteer for the local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union for more than a decade. In 2007, the ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri awarded Arzie with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Arzie holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the University of Kansas and an M.P.A. in Organizational Behavior from the UMKC Bloch School of Management. She is an active member of the Kansas City arts community exhibiting her artwork, judging various art scholarship competitions, and contributing to panel discussions regarding women in the arts. Arzie is also the proud mother of two children, Max and Mimi.

MichelleMichelle Kroner, Victim Services Adjudication Advisor

Phone: 816.235.1652

Michelle assumed the duties of Victim Services Adjudication Advisor in April 2008. Before coming to UMKC, Michelle worked as Victim's Rights Advocate for the Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Missouri. She was also a board member for the Lincoln County Family Violence Council, as well as the Chairperson for the local Sexual Assault Response Team.

She has devoted her entire professional career to empowering the lives of women and is very excited to be working at the Women's Center.

Student Staff

 The phone number for all student staff is 816.235.1638

Graduate Students

Katie Birkenfeld, Graduate AssistantKatie

Katie joined the Women’s Center staff in the Fall 2013 semester as the Graduate Assistant of Programming and Marketing. Katie is in her first year at UMKC, working towards a Master of Arts – Liberal Studies, with a focus on Philosophy and a certificate in Bioethics. In May of 2013, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Philosophy from Rockhurst University. Katie is excited to join the Women’s Center staff in order to help foster change, explore the ethics of gender equality, and promote awareness about women’s issues in the campus community.


Anna Maria Kretzer, Graduate Intern, Her Art Project

Anna Maria

Anna-Maria Kretzer is the 2013 Her Art Intern at the UMKC Women’s Center.  She moved from Southern Illinois to Kansas City in 2012 to attend graduate school at UMKC.  She has previously received two Bachelor’s Degrees from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.  The first was in art history, and the more recent degree was in anthropology.  Anna-Maria was an intern at the Madison County Historical Society in 2011, and she has continued her summer internship at the Belger Art Center into the fall semester.  She is looking forward to composing her thesis next year and plans to write it about the art of local fiber artist NedRa Bonds.


Undergraduate Student Assistants

Amber CharlevilleMorgan

Amber Charleville is a sophomore at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. When not in the Women’s Center, she can be found on Hospital Hill at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, learning the skills she’ll need to graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016. She hopes to pursue a career focusing on women’s health and reproductive rights.  Currently, Amber runs a small yearly conference that focuses on popular media, women’s representation therein and interpretation thereof. Her passion for the intersection of feminism and modern culture informs her approach to everything from her education to her consumption of TV and movies. She’s also the Public Relations Chair for the Student Nurses Association, and is an active participant in the School of Nursing activities. She hopes to use her experiences as a student nurse and her passion for feminism to benefit the Women’s Center and bring a unique perspective to its services and events!


Maritza GordilloEdith

This is Maritza’s second time joining the Women’s Center as an office/event student assistant. She is a senior double majoring in Sociology and Spanish with a minor in Latina/Latino Studies. She aspires to become a social worker and work with domestic violence victims in her community. Maritza was born and raised here in Kansas City and enjoys spending quality time with friends and family. She is happy to join the Women’s Center team once again because they have not only helped her personally, but have continued to help the campus and community by advocating and educating for women’s equity.


Torshawna GriffinMorgan

Torshawna Griffin is a first-year mechanical engineering student at University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was born in Chicago, but raised in Saint Louis. She hopes to take her degree in mechanical engineering to break gender barriers in the engineering field and one day she wants to own an all-female car repair shop. Torshawna hopes to gain more experience and knowledge about women’s issues from working at the Women’s Center.

Morgan PaulMorgan

Morgan is in her first year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies the spring of 2017. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City and chose UMKC due to its LGBT reputation. She was an active member in her High School’s Queer-Straight Alliance and plans on getting her masters in Queer theory. She is passionate about human rights and equality and hopes to make a difference during her time at the UMKC Women’s Center.



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