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Women’s and Gender Studies Program

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Partnership Council

Our Partnership Council is made up of members from the community who advise the Women's and Gender Studies program on community issues and opportunities related to the well-being of women and other underrepresented groups. The Council also works to strengthen the Women’s and Gender Studies Endowment and to raise money to support projects directed toward improving the well-being of women and other under-represented groups throughout South Carolina.

2021-2022 Council Members 

Claudia Brinson headshot

Claudia Smith Brinson

Claudia Smith Brinson worked as a journalist for more than 30 years for newspapers in Florida, Greece, and South Carolina. She was a national columnist and writing coach for Knight Ridder, winning more than three dozen state, regional, and national awards, including being named a Pulitzer finalist as a member of the team covering Hurricane Hugo. She also covered South Carolina as a free-lance writer for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek. And Brinson is a short story writer who has won an O. Henry.  After teaching a course a year in the Honors College and English department of the University of South Carolina for twenty years, she served as a senior lecturer and program coordinator for the Writing for Digital Media major at Columbia College for ten years. She is currently writing about the missing voices of S.C. black activists during the civil rights movement. 

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Archie Crowley

Archie Crowley is a PhD Student in Linguistics and the Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Certificate Program at the University of South Carolina. Their work, which focuses on language practices, ideologies, and linguistic activism within trans communities is supported by UofSC’s Presidential Fellowship and SPARC Graduate Research Grant. Archie is involved in a number of both on- and off-campus projects to facilitate greater affirmation of trans, nonbinary, and queer communities, from UofSC’s LBGTQ+ Grad Student Affinity Group, the Harriet Hancock Center’s Nonbinary Peer Support Group, and the Committee for LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Linguistics for the Linguistic Society of America.

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Adia Daniels

Adia Daniels, a native of Columbia, SC, serves as Education & Outreach Manager for Pathways to Healing, formerly Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s degree in Education from Old Dominion University. Her background involves work higher education for almost 12 years, where she gained experience in developing curriculum, policy, and facilitating workshops and training related to sexual violence prevention. Adia oversees volunteer programs and prevention education initiatives for Pathways to Healing. She is an authorized Darkness to Light facilitator and is also trained to facilitate primary prevention programs for ages 3 through adulthood.

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Valerie Ekue, Chair

Dr. Valerie Ekue serves as the Chair of the WGST Partnership Council and as Director of Membership Support and Community Justice for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She provides expert training and technical assistance for 23 member organizations, statewide community partners and allies. Dr. Ekue is a member of the Richland County Fatality Review Team, Trauma Development Team and the Workforce Training Collaborative. Dr. Ekue is also responsible for increasing the capacity for member organizations to provide effective advocacy and outreach to marginalized and unserved communities throughout South Carolina.

Headshot of Ayaan Hawkins Regis

Ayaan Hawkins Regis

Ayaan Hawkins Regis, a native of Atlanta, GA, grew up understanding the importance of diversity and social justice. As a small group leader of Intervarsity, a campus ministry, she enjoys connecting with young women and acting as a mentor during a time of transition. Ayaan is currently a student at the University of South Carolina, pursuing degrees in public health and women’s and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, hiking, and watching documentaries. 

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Sarah Ingraham

Sarah Ingraham serves as the Supportive Health Coordinator at The Cooperative Ministry. She helps to provide supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS such as rent assistance, utility assistance, and transportation costs. She previously worked at Sexual Trauma Services as the Volunteer Services Coordinator and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic as a field organizer. Sarah received her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of South Carolina in 2017.  

Meeghan Kane headshot

Meeghan Kane

Meeghan Kane teaches history at Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia. She edits Unsweetened Magazine, an online publication devoted to feminist voices in the South, and she serves as President of Deckle Edge Literary Festival, a festival devoted to southern storytellers who challenge the status quo. She is currently secretary of the Women and Gender Studies Partnership Council. 

Headshot of Maria Martin

Maria Martin

Maria A. Martin is Executive Director for PASOs of SC, a community-based organization under the Center for Community Health Alignment and hosted at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Founded in 2005, PASOs helps Latin@ communities and service providers work together for strong and healthy families. Maria was born in El Paso, Tx. and raised in the U.S. by Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrant parents pursuing a better life in the States. She has lived in South Carolina and has considered it home since the tender age of 16. She is an individual who has always sought to utilize her education, passion, and skills for the betterment of underserved and vulnerable populations with a focus on supporting Latin@ populations that can benefit from her bilingual and bicultural competencies. Maria is a proud community health worker and has a Master of Social work degree from the University of South Carolina. She also has 22 years’ experience of leadership and non-profit/public programs administrative and community health work with statewide Latin@ communities in our state. Maria is a committed community health worker, social worker, and professional who has a heart for community work and understands how to meet communities where they are and how to build upon their strengths for optimal wellbeing and lifelong success. 

Robin Waites headshot

Robin Waites

Robin Waites is the Executive Director for Historic Columbia and has served in that capacity since 2004.  A life-long resident of Columbia, Robin is well equipped to work with the various constituents and issues that are key factors in the preservation of historic assets and education on local history in South Carolina’s capital city. A product of Columbia’s Richland School District One, Robin attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont where she received a bachelor of arts with a double major in Art History and Russian.  She received a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of SC in 1996 and subsequently began work at the South Carolina State Museum.  She served in a variety of capacities including the chief curator of art, which was her position when she left the State Museum to work with Historic Columbia. As Executive Director for Historic Columbia, Robin has overseen the transformation of the historic buildings and grounds; established an expansive community engagement program in Columbia and Richland County; and spearheaded a number of major historic preservation efforts including the Palmetto Compress Warehouse and the 1600 block of Main Street. Robin is active in the community, serving on the board of the Delta House, Inc., the SC Humanities Advisory Council, and the South Carolina Dharma Group.

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Bobbie Wofford-Kanwat

Barbara Wofford-Kanwat earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of South Carolina.  She also earned her juris doctor and international masters of business administration from the University of South Carolina.  After graduation, she worked as a staff attorney for the South Carolina Court of Appeals.  In 2012, she was appointed a Richland County magistrate.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, reading, and traveling.  

Laura Woliver headshot

Laura Woliver

Laura R. Woliver (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin –Madison, 1986) is Distinguished Professor Emerita in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies. She taught at USC for 32 years. She became a joint appointment in Women’s and Gender Studies in 2001. She served both Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies in faculty, College, University and professional association committees, and as a mentor to many students and colleagues. She continues her work on intersectional social justice through her writings and activism. Professor Woliver specializes in American politics. Her interests include gender and politics, social justice, social movements and activism. Her current emphasis is on fair districting in American elections, voter protection, and making democracy work for all people. She does this in her writings and her work in the League of Women Voters of the Columbia Area.  


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