Raleigh, NC

How the Mission and Empowerment from Raleigh's Women AdvaNCe Encouraged Moxies Years Later

Ashley Broadwater

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Despite the fact the Moxie interns completed their work with Women AdvaNCe a year or more ago, what they gained has stuck with them and influences their gender equity work still today.

The Carolina Women’s Center at UNC-Chapel Hill started the Moxie Project in 2013. The Moxie Project is a paid academic and community engagement experience in which students take a spring semester course on women’s activism and leadership. Then, the following summer, they intern at a gender equity-focused organization, municipality, or nonprofit in the Research Triangle area.

In addition to their internship, Moxies engage in weekly seminars during the summer in which they share what they’ve been working on, discuss assigned readings and meet the organizations’ staff members.

The 2018 Moxie intern, Olivia Neal, worked on a variety of important projects that embodied her passions. For example, she planned a slam poetry event for the North Carolina Women’s Summit. In addition, she wrote articles about feminist issues she cares about and co-organized an interview with Dr. Rachel Seidman, the director of the Southern Oral History Program.

The 2019 Moxie intern, Brie McGhee, also worked on a variety of passion-based projects that benefited Women AdvaNCe and women across North Carolina. She organized female empowerment-centered fundraisers, created surveys to help the editorial process at Women AdvaNCe, and completed research to help educate women on policy issues.

The Moxies learned a great deal from Women AdvaNCe, in which the education and encouragement Women AdvaNCe provided inspired their paths and empowered them moving forward. To know more about how Women AdvaNCe positively affected two recent Moxies in their lives and careers, as well as where they are now, read below.

Olivia Neal, 2018 Moxie

What are you doing now career-wise and activism-wise?

I’m a grant writer coordinator for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. This means I write and manage grants for the local affiliate of Planned Parenthood, which covers North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. We provide critical sexual and reproductive health care to more than 35,000 patients each year. I also make and sell zines at local festivals and continue to write in many different forms, including poetry, fiction, and essays.

How did your time as a Moxie at Women AdvaNCe help or inspire you in your endeavors afterward?

My time as a Moxie really gave me an idea of what a career in the nonprofit sector could look like. Prior to becoming a Moxie, I had always planned on becoming a college professor, but through working at Women AdvaNCe, I realized that nonprofit work could be just as fulfilling and that I could make changes in my community. I also learned about many of the other local nonprofits in the area and their work, which was very helpful in looking for post-grad jobs.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Women AdvaNCe?

Ultimately, the most important lesson I learned at Women AdvaNCe was not about the content of our work but how we do it. I learned what I wanted in a workplace — an employer that values me as a person, flexibility in work schedule, respect for a positive work-life balance, to name a few. My supervisors at Women AdvaNCe really encouraged us to make the internship our own and advocate for our interests, which I’ve taken to heart in my career. I felt like a valuable member of the team rather than just someone punching a clock. That feeling has been very important to me.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Being a Moxie was one of the highlights of my college career and set me up for a great post-grad experience with my current position. I’m so happy I found that corner of the UNC community.

You can read Olivia’s reflections about her work with Women AdvaNCe here.

Brie McGhee, 2019 Moxie

What are you doing now career-wise and activism-wise?

In May, I graduated with my bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in public policy. In August, I will be starting work full-time at Qualtrics as a product specialist.

How did your time as a Moxie at Women AdvaNCe help or inspire you in your endeavors afterward?

Looking back one year later, I am very grateful for my time at Women AdvaNCe, which helped me immensely in determining my career and educational goals.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Women AdvaNCe?

[My time at Women AdvaNCe] helped me in clarifying and crystalizing my political views, and learning to speak up and use my voice.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am very excited to be starting this new chapter in life — I am especially thankful to WA and the UNC Moxie Project for enriching my college experience and making me feel more prepared, informed, and confident moving forward.”

You can read Brie’s reflection about finding her voice with Women AdvaNCe here and her reflection about what she learned as a Moxie here.

A version of this story was originally published on Women AdvaNCe's website.

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A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, I'm an Atlanta-based freelance writer with fun news to share on local entertainment, mental health, dating, and more.

Atlanta, GA

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