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Concord Student Makes a Difference through Women's and Gender Studies Capstone

By Lydia McGee
On October 13, 2017

Presenters include WV Department of Education and the WV Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Photo By Concord University

This semester, Women’s and Gender studies program student Sierra Richmond has organized three talks presented by the Regional Youth Services Center, the West Virginia Department of Education, and the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

    Richmond coordinated with these groups for her capstone project. Currently, she is a senior at Concord preparing to graduate with an Interdisciplinary Degree integrating physical education, health education, health promotion, and women’s and gender studies courses. This past spring, Richmond was selected to be a student ambassador for the West Virginia Women’s Commission. “Each one of the presenters I have collaborated with have a unique and important related issue that I think college students need to be aware of,” says Richmond.

    “Trauma 101,” the first talk presented by the Regional Youth Services Center given by coordinator Amy Thomas, took place on October 3. This talk “focused on trauma and related events and resources were given,” according to Richmond.

    Two more talks will come to campus—the first will be presented by the West Virginia Department of Education, and the second will be presented by the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Both “will be geared toward enhancing West Virginia as a whole, and what individuals can do to contribute as well as ending domestic violence in our great state,” Richmond says.

    “I coordinated these presentations with the help of the West Virginia Women’s Commission (WVWC) in Charleston, WV. The final two presenters Nancy Cline and Kenyatta Grant are a huge part of the wonderful Commission that have given me the chance to be a part of something like this…” Richmond says. “I have been given so many resources since my induction into the First Class of Student Ambassadors for the WVWC. Truthfully, I think [all of the talks] are of equal value because as students there is no handbook of what we do after we graduate.”

    Dr. Jill Nolan, Master of Arts in Health Promotion program coordinator, head of the Women’s and Gender studies program, and Richmond’s program advisor, reminds the community that “These talks are open to everyone, faculty, staff, students and community members. We would love to continue having presentations related to women’s and gender studies.”

    Richmond sees Dr. Nolan as “the most influential person throughout this entire process…She has been there every step of the way during my four years here at Concord. She has been an excellent mentor for my final WGST course as well as an outstanding professor in my health education and promotion degrees. She was the one who actually asked me if I wanted to apply for the Student Ambassador program this past spring.”

    “I’m very proud of Sierra Richmond,” says Dr. Nolan. “She is a unique student who is driven and motivated to make a difference.”

    Women’s and Gender studies is one of the lesser-known minors. Richmond joined “because I believe it needs a voice and publicity, and recognition is rightfully due for the dedication of the professors involved,” she states. “WGST is often overlooked but I would not change my decision for anything, it has helped me grow academically and as a person in general.”

    The upcoming talks will take place in the AB Conference Room on the third floor of the Jean and Jerry L. Beasley Student Center.

    For more information regarding these talks, you can contact Dr. Jill Nolan at or by phone at 304-384-6327 or Sierra Richmond at or by phone at 304-573-9904.

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