Micalee Sullivan is the new director of the Center for Women and Gender; below, the Clothesline Project in mid-October engaged the issue of violence against women again this year on campus. (photos by Lauren Friedgen '16)
T-shirts sporting powerful messages surrounding sexual assault blew in the breeze Thursday as they hung between trees by the chapel for the 25th annual Clothesline Project, sponsored by the Center for Women and Gender.
This fall, the Center welcomed Micalee Sullivan as its new director. She joined Saint Michael’s faculty last year as an adjunct professor of history and environmental studies, and along with her new director duties, Sullivan continues to teach a couple of classes each semester.
Sullivan attended Penn State University for three years and the University of Pittsburgh for her final year of undergraduate, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in history, then went straight into a doctorate program at Michigan State University. Shortly after graduating, Sullivan moved to Vermont, motivated more by the desirable location than by the job market.
“When you get your PhD, the idea is that you’ll go on this national job search and relocate yourself to wherever you’re able to get a job. For me, the most important thing was being in a place where I felt happy and comfortable,” Sullivan said. “So I didn’t go on the big job search and try to find a job that way; I relocated to a place I knew I would be happy and then tried to find a job.”
She was pleased to find a job with Saint Michael’s not long after moving to Vermont, and says she loves being at small college where many people know her as opposed to the large universities she attended. So far this semester, she has done a lot of learning and discovering what the needs are of the Saint Michael’s community as director of the Center for Women and Gender.
Sullivan is in the process of creating an “art space” for various activities at the Center, which is located in a house along Route 15 by the Ross Sports Center parking lot. She hopes to develop a stronger presence for the Center so it can be someplace everyone feels safe and comfortable visiting to cook, do homework or just hang out. She also is collaborating with the Wilderness Program to offer more outdoor activities, such as rock climbing and hiking, that have a special focus for women.
Outside of the college, Sullivan is the editor of a historical community newspaper back where she grew up and has family in central Pennsylvania. In her free time, she likes being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of Vermont.
The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. The Center at Saint Michael’s has sponsored participation in the national initiative for several years. It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.