Briefly, tell us who you are and where you are from.
I am Angela Fitzpatrick, Director of the Women’s Center in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Cincinnati. I have a PhD in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University and more than ten years of experience in higher education. Before I became the Director of the UC Women’s Center I taught Women’s and Gender Studies classes at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. I was born and raised in the western US but I’ve come to think of Ohio as home.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate. Resilient. Learner-Teacher.
What is your favorite color? Favorite activity?
I love the color red and lately I’m really into crocheting.
What is your favorite food?
The meal I could eat night after night is a big chunk of brie cheese, a nice crusty piece of bread, and a spring mix salad with balsamic dressing.
What is a dream that you have? What is something that you are passionate about?
I’m passionate about gender justice, social justice, and education. I dream of building communities that sustain everyone by eliminating violence and providing access to the resources we need to thrive. I dream of a world where one’s gender identity, racial identity, or class identity does not determine their social role. I dream of a world where we are all responsible to one another. I believe that in order to change oppressive systems we have to change the hearts and minds of people behind these systems, which is why I work in higher education.
Tell us your RISE story. What are you RISE-ing from? What are you RISE-ing to?
I’m RISE-ing from a past of poverty, childhood abuse, and sexual violence. I became a mother when I was a young teenager. I threw myself into books and school work as a way of surviving those difficult years, I sought out adults who believed in me, and I fiercely pursued my dream of becoming a college professor. Some folks like to hold me up as an example of how anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, and while it’s true that I was a hard worker, it’s also true that I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without a ton of support. I benefitted from access to public assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid that helped me raise my son and attend school. I also benefitted from access to abortion when I got pregnant again before college. I’m RISE-ing to build a world free from violence, poverty, and oppression, where we all have access to the resources we need to pursue our dreams.
What would you say to those who think they can’t make a difference in the world?
You matter more than you think. When we unite and fight for what is right, anything is possible.
What does RISE mean to you?
To RISE is to break free and to overcome. To RISE is also to lift so that we all RISE together.