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.
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.
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.
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.
The phone number for all student staff is 816.235.1638
Kacie Otto, Graduate Assistant
Kacie Otto is the Graduate Assistant in the Women’s Center. In 2011, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a degree in English. Kacie is currently in her final year of UMKC's Higher Education Administration Program and is looking forward to an exciting career in Student Affairs. Prior to working in the Women’s Center, Kacie was the International Student Coordinator at Rockhurst University. Kacie also works part time as an academic advisor at Longview Community College in Lee’s Summit. She is excited to help create gender equity on campus and looks forward to encouraging students in self-love through her position in the Women’s Center.
Farah Dabbagh, Social Work Intern
Farah Dabbagh is the Social Work intern at the Women’s Center. She graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Social Work. Farah is in the advanced program and is working towards her master’s in social work at UMKC. Before coming to UMKC, Farah worked as the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate at the domestic and sexual violence agency, True North in Columbia, Missouri. She is unsure of which route she wants to take after graduation, but she knows it will be centered around women’s issues either nationally or internationally. Farah is excited to start this new adventure with the Women’s Center and cannot wait to collaborate with all of the amazing people here on how to better the well-being of the students here on campus and in the community!
Torshawna Griffin, Office Assistant
Torshawna Griffin is a sophomore mechanical engineering student at University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was born in Chicago, but raised in Saint Louis. She has one younger sibling that she is extremely close with. Torshawna recently finished an internship at Toyota in Evansville, IN. She hopes to break gender barriers in the engineering field and one day she wants to own an all-female car repair shop. This semester she hopes to continue to advocate for gender equity in the areas of equal pay and body image. She also hopes to bring a new perspective of women in the STEM field.
Matira Huff, Office Assistant
Matiara Huff is an Office Assistant at the Women’s Center. She is a sophomore at UMKC studying Theater. She is very interested in learning effective solutions to issues of gender inequality. Her main goal in life is to change thousands of lives for the better and she knows that by working at the Women’s Center, she can develop some of the skills needed to do so.
Ra'Chell Richards, Office Assistant
Ra’Chell Richards is a work study at the Women’s Center. She is currently working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Performance Theatre. While attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City Ra’Chell has been very active in many organizations. She is the president of Sister Circle, Press and Publicity chair for Renewed Spirit Ministries, and the Public Relations Chair for the Multicultural Student Organization Counsel (MSOC). Ra’Chell looks forward to working with the Women’s Center to not only make a change on campus but in the community as well!
Kemora Williams, Office Assistant
Kemora Williams is a work-study student at the UMKC Women’s Center. She is a junior studying Psychology. Kemora is very involved on campus. She is a member of Renewed Spirit Ministries, the Secretary for Sister Circle, and the Vice President of the Lambda Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She also serves as a Peer Coach for incoming first year students to assist them and raise their awareness to of all of the resources available to them on campus. Kemora is extremely excited about working in the Women’s Center and cannot wait to use the experience she brings with her to collaborate with the empowering women in this office.