Meet the Well-Woman Peer Eds!


Back Row: Marilla, Naomi, Jenn, Julia
Middle Row: Shirley, Christina, Anne, Rosara, Sophie, Naila
Front Row: Chelsea, Tamara, Sara
Not Pictured: Kimberlynn, Meg, Jade, Emma

We asked the peer eds a few questions to let you get to know them a bit better. Check out their answers after the jump and let us know: what do you think?

What are you most passionate about to do with women’s wellness?
Julia Meyers
, BC 08: Consent/healthy relationships and reproductive rights

Naomi Schachner, BC 10: I am most passionate about the women’s issues of body image, sexual health and satisfaction, nutrition and stress-management. I hope to work toward building a campus with an understanding and acceptance of a diversity of sexual practices, and an expanded appreciation of our notions of beauty. I’m also intrigued by the key role food plays in our lives as students; discovering the food that’s right for you greatly improves overall health and simply makes your body happy. As for minimizing stress, anyone who goes to Barnard knows that we put plenty of pressure on ourselves. I find that it’s easy not to realize how stressed you really are simply due to never releasing a certain level of tension. I’m a big fan of adopting a few relaxation techniques that can really aid in slowing down periodically.

Chelsea Whittaker, BC 09: I’m passionate about learning more about women’s wellness. I’m a woman and a student, not a doctor, so I am always learning new things about women’s bodies and overall wellness. Its especially fun to have dialogues with other people and understand more together.

Kimberlynn Avecado, BC 10: I am passionate about providing people with honest and sufficient information to help guide them in making healthy choices for themselves. I don’t believe in telling people what they should or should not be doing but I do believe that it is important that we inform people of all aspects regarding issues that are salient in everyday life. Issues like emotional, physical, and sexual well being are embedded in women’s every day lives and it’s important to recognize this and be realistic in how we build our knowledge about how to deal with them.

Christina Peay, BC 08: I’m most passionate about reproductive health and preserving a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.

Shirley Torho, BC 08: At the moment, I am most passionate about community building and organizing women to take a stance, whatever it may be, on an issue surrounding women’s health/activism, etc. If I had to choose one issue that I would like more women to educate themselves/others about, I would say HIV/AIDS and the factors that contribute to infection (ie: urbanism, place, nutrition, psycho-social, behavioral factors). I think that we tend to focus on the sex education aspect of things, but don’t really have much dialogue surrounding other factors

Jenn Schwartz, BC 08: I love to foster discussion about topics that some may consider to be unmentionable or taboo.

Rosara Torrisi, BC 09: Rosara’s two main Well Woman passions are being a strong advocate of comprehensive sexuality education and being curiously interested in green cleaning and eating.

Meg Pederson, BC 09 (from Denmark this year): Reproductive rights and cooking dinner together! (a good combination!)

Anne Vicksman, BC 10: Promoting positive body image on campus and advocating for an overall self-respect and self-love.

Sara Horvath, BC 10: Reproductive rights and access to abortion and contraception are pretty big on my list, as is getting the Hyde Amendment overturned.

Tamara Vital, BC 08: I have many interests involving women’s wellness, but I think that food and nutrition is my biggest passion. Eating good nutritious food is, I think, one of the easiest and most effective way to be and stay healthy.

Sophie Soares, BC 09 (on leave semester leave from WW): I am most passionate about women’s wellness on an international level. This includes how socioeconomic status, attitudes towards gender and women’s own understanding affects their access to healthcare both in this country and others. On this campus, I find that women’s confidence in and sentiments towards their self-image both physically and emotionally are the biggest issues and I try my best to work towards affecting change in this area.

Emma Thorne, BC 09 (on semester leave from WW): Mental health – I think it’s essential to look at all parts of a woman’s life (family, friends, romantic relationships, work, physical health) and how they impact her emotional well-being. A lot of people don’t stop to think how a problem in one of these areas can also drag down function in another one. We need to be taking care of ourselves in ALL these different ways!


What’s your favorite thing about Well-Woman/your favorite WW resource?

Julia: The space itself — you can find books on all aspects of wellness or just relax with our wonderful de-stressing toys

Naomi: One of my favorite things about Well-Woman is that planning and leading workshops and events is often as much of a learning experience for me as it is for the students attending. Well-Woman keeps me mindful of wellness and health in ways that improve my own lifestyle as well as positively impacting my friends and suite-mates

Chelsea: My favorite things about Well Woman’s resources are all of the wonderful, informative books in the office as well as the collection of Vegetarian Times. It’s always exciting to learn something new from these texts or discover something hidden in the plethora of Well Woman’s office!

Naila Campbell, BC 09: My favorite WW resource has got to be the massage chair. Even during the most hectic times, it’s great for relieving stress and feels amazing!

Shirley: My favorite thing about Well Woman is the physical space. There aren’t that many safe, peaceful, vibrant spaces on campus, and no matter what mood I’m in, I’m able to find something in the office to compliment and/or channel that energy. The sex books are great too—I always get a good laugh flipping through them for obvious reasons, but mainly because most people don’t (or can’t) actually re-enact the positions they see in those manuals.

Jenn: I have been known to curl up on the couch with a nice book from our library during my office hours. Feel free to come and read with me!

Meg: Sitting on the sofas during office hours reading all the fascinating books about women’s health… and free condoms

Anne: Any resource that revolves around the topic of masturbation (sexy self-love, anyone?) and any feminist work.

Sara: My favorite Well-Woman resource is the women who work there.

Tamara: I love the Well Woman Library, we have so many books on so many topics– even things one wouldn’t expect.

Sophie: My favorite Well-Woman resources are the massage chairs! Everyone must check out all our relaxation items!

Emma: The huge library of books on every imaginable topic relating to women’s health. You can truly find anything in that collection. Oh, and the S-curve massage tool – I’m not sure what it’s really called, but it’s fantastic! Come and check it out!




Share a song that always makes you want to dance!

Julia: Dancing queen… nobody can sit still while that’s playing

Naomi: Scatman’s World, by Scatman John, is a totally random, ridiculously fun pick-me-up song that i love to play at dance parties. It’s also perfect for those one minute dance party study breaks when you’re feeling too sluggish to absorb what you’re reading. Mixing in movement with sedentary studying is so energizing!

Chelsea: Anyone who knows me knows I always want to dance. Whenever Jamiroquai comes on it’s a dance party!

Christina: Tough choice, but it would have to be SexyBack. Who doesn’t love Justin Timberlake?

Shirley: I can dance practically to anything; I’m not kidding. But I guess right now, Ciara and Chris Brown songs do it for me because deep down, I strive to be a combination of the two.

Jenn: “Jump” by the Pointer Sisters. Every time I hear it, I think of Hugh Grant dancing in Love Actually.

Marilla Li, BC 10: “Dance to the Music” by Sly & The Family Stone

Meg: “Dragostea din tei” Ozone 🙂

Anne: This is actually very embarrassing, but if I must be honest…”Break the Ice.” Britney Spears. Blackout CD.

Sara: I’m not much for dancing (read: I can’t stand it), but London Calling by The Clash is a favorite. Plus, they’re British.

Tamara: I love “Aguas de Marzo” by Carlos Antonio Jobim and Ellis Regina—it makes me smile.

Sophie: Jump for My Love (the Pointer Sisters)

Emma: “Superfreak,” by Rick James. See the movie “Little Miss Sunshine” if you want to understand why.

Share a fun/interesting/surprising fact you’ve learned about women and or wellness.

Julia: You can get more vitamin c from eating red peppers than from oranges

Chelsea: I’m recently learning more about sustainable development and the green movement and truly believe women’s health and wellness is interconnected to the health of our communities, environment, and the world.

Shirley: A fun wellness fact that I have known, but did not realize until last year is that sitting in meditation, when it’s done correctly, can be as rejuvenating as physical activity. I tend to have a difficult time staying in one place, so meditation is quite a challenge for me, but I’m beginning to believe in its wonders.

Meg: Your body doesn’t stop changing once you turn 18–your breasts, hips, and overall shape will keep maturing into your 20s!

Sara: Did you know that despite Lawrence Summers’s claims, women are just as good in math and science as men? It’s true!

Sophie: The most surprising things I have learned about women and wellness are not facts but rather the diversity of thoughts, particularly when it comes to women’s understanding of themselves on multiple levels and how they analyze this.

Emma: It’s not a single concrete fact, but I’m continually surprised and intrigued by the way women of our generation are grappling with feminism – whether to accept it, reject it, or put their own spin on it. I’ll be interested to see where that discussion ends up.


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