Stony Brook University launches Women’s History Month

Stony Brook University recognizes Women’s History Month with its annual observance that highlights women’s accomplishments, raises awareness against bias, and promotes social action for equality. This year’s theme #BreakTheBias was adopted by International Women’s Day which takes place every year on the first Tuesday of March. The events will run until Monday, March 28.

The university’s “Hybrid Opening Program to Celebrate International Women’s Day” will take place on Monday, March 7 at 1 p.m. ET in Ballroom A of the Student Activity Center with limited seating, and will also be available on Zoom. This year’s program will feature a discussion of the issues facing women with three accomplished SBU alumni – Maureen Ahmed ’11, Stephanie Baez ’08 and Brooke Ellison ’12.

The program will be moderated by Senior Cassandra Skolnick, a student member of the Women’s History Month Committee who specializes in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Additionally, student moderators will be Amber Lewis, a junior journalism student; Minors in Music and Gender and Women’s Sexuality Studies and Sanjana Thahura, a Biology major with specialization in Interdisciplinary Biology, Undergraduate College Academy Minor in Health and Wellness. Participants can Register online to watch the opening ceremony on Zoom.

Meet the panelists:

  • Stephanie Baez

    Maureen Ahmed (’11) is a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), where she provides policy guidance on how to advance human rights, democracy and governance in South Asia and Central Asia. Ahmed is also an international human rights activist and political leader with expertise in diplomacy, foreign policy, human rights, gender, global health, HIV epidemiology and civil society integration. Prior to DRL, she worked in the Department’s Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (O/GAC), where she managed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program in South Africa. South, the largest global health assistance program in the United States. Ahmed was named a 2020 National Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project and a 2019-2020 Penn Kemble Fellow with the National Endowment of Democracy.

  • maureen ahmed

    Stephanie Baez (’08) is vice president of communications and public affairs at Global Strategy Group in New York, a public relations and research firm. She leads strategic communications planning initiatives that integrate traditional and digital communication channels and platforms, as well as core/building blocks. Baez served as director of communications for Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries and John Conyers, served as senior vice president of public affairs for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and served as director of communications and public affairs for Central Park Conservancy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Journalism.

  • Brooke Ellison

    Brooke Ellison (’12) is an Associate Professor of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Behavioral and Community Health at the Stony Brook School of Health Professions. She is also Director of the Doctoral Program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development. Ellison’s work as a researcher and scholar focuses on the ethics and politics of science and health care, in particular the intersection of disability and bioethics, and strategies for making health care and technology accessible to those who need it most. Ellison was paralyzed from the neck down after being hit by a car on her way home from her first day of high school; 10 years later, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University. She earned her doctorate in sociology at Stony Brook in 2012, was chosen to be a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2014, and in 2017 was chosen to serve on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the New York Civil Liberties Union. In 2018, Brooke was named a political partner in Truman’s National Security Project and was appointed commissioner to the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission in 2020.

Monday, March 21 (2 p.m. ET) as part of the East Speaker Series “In defense of all female spacesat the Melville Library, Special Collections Seminar Room, E-2340.

Stony Brook University graduate teacher Stephanie Bonvissuto will moderate this discussion:

How is access to social spaces linked to the social construction of gender and sexual identities? How does in situ signage taken as a signifier offer a look at societal ethics and cultural ethos? What are the institutional investments in law enforcement bodies and the application of cis-heteronormativity? And what can queering space (and spatiality) offer in terms of a future conception of “something else”? This conference takes debates around gendered public toilets as a starting point to consider the biopolitics of space, conceptions of power and knowledge, and the generative links between spatial equity and social justice.

Monday, March 28 (between 3 and 5 p.m. ET), “Closing Program to Celebrate International Women’s Day” in Ballroom A of the Student Activity Center with limited seating.

Former National Public Radio “The Takeaway” host and New York Times/CNN reporter Tanzina Vega (’96) will host.

Meet the host:

For more than a decade, Tanzina Vega’s (’96) career as a journalist has focused on inequality in the United States through the lens of race and gender. She was a reporter and producer for The New York Times and CNN, where her work covered text, digital and broadcast television. She recently spent three years as the first weekday Latina host of “The Takeaway” on WNYC, New York Public Radio. Tanzina has covered many of the most significant news events of the past decade, including several presidential elections, the COVID 19 pandemic, the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, Puerto Rico’s political crisis and the January 6 Capitol uprising. . In 2019, she received the Robert G. McGruder Distinguished Lecture and Award from Kent State University. Previously, she was a Fellow of the Nation Institute and Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. She is a distinguished graduate of the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York, where she earned a master’s degree in digital journalism. She lives with her son in New York.

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