Sarah Tucker Jenkins
Photographer: Elizabeth Held
Photographer: Elizabeth Held
Sep 17, 2013
By Andrea Frazier
The opening of fall semester at Ohio University brought with it two new transplants to the LGBT and Women's centers, as well as to the Survivor Advocacy Program on campus.
Sarah Tucker Jenkins, who graduated from Florida Atlantic University with her master's degree in women, gender and sexuality studies in May, was recently hired as the program coordinator of both the LGBT Center and the Women's Center.
Jenkins will split her time between the two centers, spending 30 hours weekly in the Women's Center and the remaining 10 in the LGBT Center, although there will be flexibility, Women's Center Director Susanne Dietzel said.
Feeling "blessed" at having the opportunity to move from Boca Raton, Fla., to Athens for a "new adventure" (an 18-hour drive she shared with her cats after accepting the position), Jenkins cites social justice, advocacy and activism as some of her main interests.
"It's nice to get paid to do what you love," Jenkins said.
On Aug. 7, Ohio University alumna Kat Wargo took on the newly created position of program outreach coordinator for the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program (OUSAP) for Meigs and Perry counties, which is funded by a grant from the Ohio Attorney General's Office as part of the Victims of Crime Act.
"We hope that at the end of the two-year grant period, we will have established community response teams in both of those counties and have a system of services in place that will catch a victim when they experience trauma and really make a difference in the lives of women and men who are victims," Dietzel said.
Both women are uniquely positioned to excel at the work they came to Ohio University to do.
Wargo earned social work and psychology degrees from Ohio University in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Since then she has held several positions. She has worked in domestic violence shelters, the court system, in a hospital helping victims of sexual assault and as a grants administrator who requests funding for domestic violence survivors.
In her new position as the program coordinator for OUSAP Meigs and Perry counties — underserved communities where there are currently no services for someone who has been sexually assaulted—Wargo will concentrate on creating a coordinated and collaborative community response to sexual violence.
This means involving and educating town leaders, members of the religious community, law enforcement, medical personnel as well as ordinary residents in the effort so that "everybody [has] a voice when it comes to sexual violence," Wargo said.
Through trainings for those working with survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse, Wargo will work to define a support system. Survivor services she will implement include a crisis hotline and medical and legal companions to aid in navigating hospitals and the legal system.
While Wargo will concentrate her efforts almost exclusively on the surrounding regions, Jenkins is already planning campus programs and events.
In addition to working on October's annual Love Your Body Day, Jenkins is teaming with Graduate Assistant Bill Arnold to debut a film series called "Lights, Camera, Action: Sex and Sexuality in Hollywood."
She will as also facilitate a sequence of "Lean In Circles," a concept based on Sheryl Sandberg's bestseller, "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead," in which participants will discuss career development and the way strong women are perceived in the workplace. Finally, Jenkins will also coordinate a campus event to recognize National Coming Out Day in October.
Whether it's promoting loving your body or helping others regain a sense of control over theirs, each of these women will contribute to the University's mission "to broaden perspectives, enrich awareness [and] deepen understanding."