In March 2023, the Women's Resource Center celebrated 25 years of building community and advancing gender equity at Georgia Tech.
Sunday, March 12
A weekend brunch kicked off the WRC’s 25th anniversary celebration. More than 40 alumni, staff, and current students from throughout the past 25 years mingled, reconnected, and shared stories about their time at Georgia Tech and the WRC. Dean Stephanie Ray and past WRC directors Yvette Upton and Colleen Riggle spoke about the founding of the Center and its significant contributions to building an inclusive, supportive environment for women at the Institute. WRC program coordinator Miranda García urged attendees to remember “what it felt like to sit on the WRC couches, trying to change the world” and reminded participants “that that’s exactly what our students are still doing here every single day.” One such student, second year Anushka Chalmeti, spoke about her role at the WRC where she serves as a student advisor to the WRC’s first-year leadership group, RISE.
Tech alumna Anna Pinder concluded the program with an exciting announcement in honor of Billiee Pendleton-Parker, who was an active supporter of the WRC and a beloved staff member at Georgia Tech for more than 30 years. Through the BPP Memorial Fund, Anna, along with many more alumni, established an endowed gift to support programming initiatives of the WRC. These funds will impact the lives of many more Tech students.
Wednesday, March 29
The WRC hosted a Resource Fair to highlight the many organizations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in the surrounding area.
Students who stopped by tables were gifted with free swag, as well as information about various topics, including reproductive health in Atlanta, women's sports on campus, available support groups, and more. WRC staff was also there with a tote bag painting craft and everything you need to know about us!
Thursday, March 30
The WRC’s 25th anniversary celebration culminated with a keynote presentation by Raja Schaar*, BSID 2001, entitled Future Legacies: Leading Inclusion by Design. Raja began with a few memories of her time at Georgia Tech where she was a member of the Women’s Student Union and helped establish the WRC. She then spoke about her field and how industrial design can be a catalyst for change that can lead to a better quality of life. (Watch the video below.) In addition, the WRC past and present staff presented Dean Stephanie Ray, associate dean of students and director of student diversity programs, with recognition for her role in founding the Center and advocating for the WRC over the past 25 years. Colleen Riggle, past WRC director and current associate dean of students, presented the award to Dean Ray: “She is the first to downplay the significance of her role and her impact at Georgia Tech, but for the WRC directors and staff, we know that she has always been there, to support and guide us, to listen and advise, to be the support person we needed to support our students.”
(*Raja served as a student leader in the early days of the Women’s Resource Center and graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design in 2001. Raja is currently program director and assistant professor of product design at Drexel University's Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.)
70 Years of Women at Tech
Written by alumna Kelley Freund, 70 Years of Women at Tech: Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future looks back at 70 years of women at Georgia Tech—women who have never been afraid to speak out about what they deserve, women who have never been afraid to make change. The article also includes the history of WRC and mentions Raja Shaar among other distinguished alumnae.