Professor combines passions at Radford, plans Women’s History Month 2022
After 11 years at Radford University, Anja Whittington, Ed.D., cannot imagine working anywhere else. With the various fields of study offered here, Whittington has the resources and support to pursue action in both of her passions: the great outdoors and women’s studies.
Soon after her job interview with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Whittington knew Radford University would be her new home.
“I fell in love with the natural environment at Radford University,” Whittington says.
However, the atmosphere at Radford University was not all that caught her eye. Whittington knew that the programs offered were too good to pass up.
“The fact that I can combine my two passions of outdoor recreation and women’s studies, and work at a mid-size school that offers both types of programs, is an anomaly,” she noted. “We are lucky to have both disciplines at Radford University.”
In addition to her work with recreation, parks and tourism, Whittington is also the director of the women’s and gender studies program, a role she proudly took on in 2021. In that position, she plays a key role in the celebration of Women’s History Month, held nationally every March. It’s an event that she looks forward to each year, and for this year’s celebrations, Whittington has organized all the upcoming March events, including a few special ones.
The first event kicking off Women’s History Month was an interactive panel presentation titled “Highly Marketable but Not Respected,” on Tuesday, March 1, at 5 p.m. The discussion shared the perspectives of black educators and the difficulties they have faced in their field. The event was offered both in person at Peters Hall’s Teaching Resource Center and on Zoom.
“Period Pals” is another panel presentation to be hosted by the Women’s Studies Club in Heth Hall 22 or on Zoom Thursday, March 17, at 3 p.m. The panel will discuss its community service project and have a larger conversation about menstruation acceptance.
Radford’s Women’s History Month will culminate in a celebration on Tuesday, March 31, in the Hemphill Hall atrium with support from the provost’s office. This celebration will acknowledge lifetime achievement award winners Mary Ferrari, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, and Moira Baker, Ph.D., retired professor of English, as well as graduating students from the women’s and gender studies program. Additionally, a donation will be made to the local Women’s Resource Center.
More educational opportunities hosted in March by the women’s and gender studies program can be found online. Whittington hopes these events will promote change, connection among others and the acknowledgment of women's issues in society.
This year marks the 21st anniversary of Radford’s women’s and gender studies program, which offers an interdisciplinary minor to students.
“This minor prepares students on social justice issues and prepares them to articulate systemic challenges that individuals face,” Whittington says. “Due to its interdisciplinary focus, students can apply this knowledge to their future careers and their everyday lives.”
Whittington is enthusiastic about all the opportunities she has been able to participate in and create for others since her arrival 11 years ago.
“Radford University has given me the opportunity to work in two subject areas that are of significant importance to me: Gender Studies and Outdoor Recreation. Serving in the role of the director of women’s and gender studies in addition to my position as a professor has challenged me and given me the opportunity to learn, grow and work with various departments across campus,” she said. “We have phenomenal resources at Radford.”
Written by student intern, Sydney Hopkins