Posts Tagged ‘College of Charleston’

C4W Member Profile: Lisa Burbage

September 19, 2012

What is your profession? I am the Director of Recruiting and Training for ERA Tides Realty, where I sell real estate as well.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career?  In my spare time, I have enjoyed being active in the Charleston community. Currently I am a Board member for the College of Charleston School of the Arts. Hobbies and ways to unwind include swimming, walking/running, reading, entertaining and attending art performances.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? 2 years

What inspired you to become a member? Professional development and networking.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? Opportunity to network with like-minded women.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? Reach out to people one-on-one and network.

How can people connect with you? Either by phone, (843) 793-4430 or email,

In Memory of Kimberlee Shonk

October 7, 2011

Last January Kimberlee Shonk, age 20, died as a result of ovarian cancer.  She was a College of Charleston student, a biology major with a 3.7 GPA and with plans to attend medical school.   Kimberlee attended Wando High School and was a proud member of the Wando Marching Band.  She was an intelligent, articulate, beautiful young woman with a great sense of humor.  Recently her college friends sent me their recollections of Kimberlee —

  • She taught me so much about living and how to enjoy life.
  • Seeing her walk down a busy street;   it was like the sea parted for her with her beautiful long blond hair and flowing skirt.
  • She coined the word “Swooztastic” to define the joys of life.
  • She never lived in fear of dying.

Although we were separated by 40 years in age, we were sisters in ovarian cancer.  Sitting in my office with our bald heads we compared notes on chemotherapy and talked about the lack of a reliable test to detect ovarian cancer.    Both of us wondered how we could have had an earlier diagnosis.   What symptoms did we ignore?   What should we have done differently?  Kimberlee was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer in the spring of 2009.  I was diagnosed with stage III peritoneal  ovarian cancer at the same time.   Each year, over 20,000 women are diagnosed  and about 15,000 women die as a result of ovarian cancer.   The symptoms:  bloating, abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary frequency or urgency, are common and often ignored.   Kimberlee sent me an email last September 2010 as we were preparing events for Ovarian Cancer month.  She included her symptoms, bloating and pain in the abdomen, in hopes that by sharing them she would encourage other women to pay attention and “listen to their bodies.”

Ovarian Cancer occurs more often in older women; however, it can attack women of all ages.   For this reason, the Center for Women’s  Lowcountry Women With Wings organization in conjunction with the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance at the College of Charleston hosted “Teal Day” at the College on September 30th, the last day of  Ovarian Cancer Month.   Teal is the color to recognize ovarian cancer awareness and all students, faculty and staff were encouraged to wear teal not only to bring awareness of ovarian cancer, but,  most importantly,  in memory of Kimberlee Shonk, a member of the College of Charleston family. “Teal Day” included distribution of ovarian cancer information and a “Breaking the Silence” event at 11:55 am in the Cougar Mall.

Another awareness event was held at the MUSC horseshoe on Sept. 27 with the Pink Fire Trucks that travel the country promoting awareness about cancers that strike women. Lowcountry Women with Wings was there as well with a teal convertible!

The goal of Lowcountry Women with Wings is to Rise Above Ovarian Cancer by educating our community about the symptoms.  Kimberlee wanted to tell her story with the hope that she could encourage other young women to listen to their bodies, have regular check-ups and to attack this silent killer.

Sue Sommer-Kresse, PhD

Charleston, South Carolina

Guest Post: Shooting for the Moon-Graduation & Women Who Changed Our World

May 18, 2011

The C4W is very proud of our intern, Sarah Andrews, and her graduation a few weeks ago! Follow her on her Southern Belle Feminist Blog.

I graduated. A week ago, today.

Holy sh- wait. That would not be very Southern Belle of me 😉

But, gah! It really happened!?!

Saturday, May 7th, I crossed the Cistern (yes, Cistern… not an auditorium stage. We do things differently at C of C!).

 No cap and gown… white sundresses and summer tuxedos 🙂
I hope you aren’t jealous!

A week later, the beauty and charm and celebration of the ceremony has settled.

Now, I have to enter the “real world.”
And, I am excited-nervous-frightened-pumped.

What do I hope to do?

What any Southern Belle Feminist would:

Change. The. World.

Lofty – yes – but, as they say:

Whether you’ve just graduated or not,

I hope you’re shootin’ for the moon, too.
If you need a little inspiration, check out these 125 women who shot for the moon and changed our world.
Here are a few of my favorites and some you may have never heard of before:
  • Diana, Princess of Wales – activist and icon
  • Nancy Drew – yes, as in the teen detective… I swear I think I read every single book in the series growing up!
  • Rosie the Riveter – hello girl power!
  • Anne Frank – I have been journaling ever since I read her book.
  • Helen Keller – true example that women can overcome whatever life throws at them
  • Wendy Kopp – founder of Teach for America
  • Gertrude Belle Elion – medical researcher who helped us transplant organs and fight Leukemia
  • Rosalind Franklin – first to discover proof about the double-helix in DNA
  • Jacqueline Cochran – first woman to break the sound barrier
  • Valentina Tereshkova – first woman in space
  • Mia Hamm – “She scored more international goals than any other soccer player, and led a generation of adolescent girls to change their minds about sports.”
  • Wilma Rudolph – “She overcame polio to become a runner, winning three gold medals in one Olympics, the first American woman to do so.”
  • Eve Ensler – creator of The Vagina Monologues
  • Gloria Steinem – feminist writer and activist
  • Betty Friedan – author of The Feminine Mystique and co-founder of the National Organization for Women
  • Jeannette Rankin – first woman elected to Congress… back in 1916
  • Gertrude Ederle – “First woman to swim the English Channel (beating the men’s record by nearly two hours), 1926.”  
  •  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton – suffragists and women’s rights supporters
  • Hedy Lamarr – “Inventor of an anti-jamming device for radio-controlled torpedoes, 1942.” And a glam actress… talk about multi-talented 😉
Clearly, all of these women are talented.

Hopefully, as I enter the real world, I can follow in their footsteps to change the world and succeed in life:

Success:  To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded!

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Me, about to “Cross the Cistern”

And, across, an official College of Charleston alum!

Now I’m off to enter [and hopefully change…] the real world!
I hope you’ll join me and…

C4W Board Member Profile: Alison Piepmeier

January 5, 2011

What is your profession? Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and associate professor of English, College of Charleston.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? These days I’m enjoying learning all about child development, particularly for children with Down syndrome, since my two-year-old daughter Maybelle has Down syndrome.  I’m finding it exciting to learn how high my expectations for my daughter should be.  Plus, it’s great fun to hang out with a person who loves to sing, dance, and do sign language to her favorite songs.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Since I moved to Charleston in 2005.

What inspired you to become a member? My work and my passion is to make the world a better place for all of us—especially disempowered groups like women—to achieve our fullest humanity, so the Center for Women was a natural fit.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? The best part of my involvement has been the wonderful women I’ve gotten to meet (some of whom are alums of CofC’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program!).

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I’m generally aware of the ways that gender affects what we do and how we’re treated—we often have some really misinformed beliefs about what gender “means” (i.e. that women are more timid, that men don’t have emotions), and often they’re hurtful.  So I go through my life trying to challenge those stereotypes where I can.

Center for Women Executive Director’s College of Charleston Commencement Address

January 7, 2009

By Jennet Robinson Alterman
December 20, 2008

Dr. Jennet Robinson Alterman delivers CofC Commencement Address

Dr. Jennet Robinson Alterman delivers CofC Commencement Address

Madame Chairman, President Benson, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff…my thanks to you.  To my esteemed fellow Doctors of Humane Letters…Mary Ramsay and Lucille Whipper…we have certainly come a long way and folks don’t even think of calling any of us baby.  I am humbled to be in your esteemed company.  

To you the class of twenty oh eight…Congratulations…you have made it!!!  Now before I start I need to know a few things…Will all of the women who are receiving degrees today please raise your hand…You and Mary and Lucille and I would not be receiving degrees today were it not for a woman named Carrie Pollitzer.

Today we are celebrating 90 years of coeducation at the College of Charleston…but for an educational institution founded in the 1700’s it is interesting to look at what prompted the longstanding male student body and faculty to change their minds and admit women… You all need to know the story of Carrie Pollitzer…Carrie was one of the three Pollitzer sisters of Charleston…Carrie, Mabel and Anita. All 3 of them went to Columbia University in New York because there was no higher education institution for them to attend in Charleston in the early 1900s. In April of 1917 the United States entered World War One. Thousands and thousands of men began to be shipped overseas. Carrie Pollitzer was running the first kindergarten program in Charleston in a carriage house behind her family home on Pitt. St. She had been concerned for a long time that the College of Charleston did not admit female students. So in light of the impact the war would have on student enrollment she though it an appropriate time to press her case with the College Administration. She took it upon herself to call on Dr. Randolph, the President of the College at that time. She implored him to allow women to be admitted. Dr. Randolph, who adamantly opposed coeducation refused to consider her plea. But Carrie pressed on asking for a concrete reason for continuing to not allow women. He finally said to her that the College couldn’t afford to admit women as they didn’t have the money to add a separate ladies room. Carrie took that as her call to arms. When asked how much building a rest room would cost he told her it would cost $3000…which was a fortune in 1917. He obviously thought that a sum that size would intimidate  Carrie into dropping the subject of coeducation. Au contra ire…instead Carrie said…let me see what I can do. She spent that summer (before AC!) and fall going door to door asking for donations from friends and neighbors and by the end of the year she had raised $3000.

And in fall of 1918 ten women were enrolled at the College of Charleston…and now today all of us follow in their footsteps.  

Read the rest here.

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