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University to honor women at International Women’s Day brunch

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University to honor women at International Women’s Day brunch

TechCocktail

TechCocktail

TechCocktail

The Women’s Resources Center is hosting the fifth annual International Women’s Day brunch on March 8 from 9-11 a.m. at the I Hotel and Conference Center, where they will be honoring 10 women across campus for their work in education, health care, policy, history and social work.

The event will honor the work of scholars and activists in Champaign-Urbana who have helped to improve communities in advancing gender equity in the United States and abroad.

Sebnem Ozkan, one of the honorees and the associate director and director of graduate studies of the European Union Center at the University, said she thought there was a mistake when she was notified she received the award.

“It is a great honor and very humbling,” Ozkan said. “I think as a Turkish immigrant myself, I understand the particular hardships that accompany being a female minority trying to carve out a space for yourself, and how daunting it feels sometimes to excel as a student while also making sure you have funding and can secure employment.”

As the director of graduate studies at the center, Ozkan’s work focuses on finding grants for the program and providing fellowships and funding opportunities for students.

Ozkan said she wants to ensure that students will not face the same financial obstacles she did while obtaining their degrees.

“I witness so often that many students feel lost and helpless as they try to navigate the University bureaucracy, which causes tremendous stress and hardship,” Ozkan said. “Sometimes, all it takes is listening with compassion and empathy, and simply using your own experience, knowledge and skills to assist them.”

As a special feature, this year’s speakers will include Dr. A. Naomi Paik and Dr. Yun Shi.

Paik is an assistant professor for Asian-American studies at the University. According to the press release, her latest publication, “Rightlessness: Testimonies from the Camp,” incorporates testimonial narratives of those who were imprisoned in camps by the United States.

Shi is the program director for international education at the University, overseeing initiatives including the Global Leaders: Orange and Blue Engagement program and the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations’s intercultural dialogue series.

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