Intentions for a New Year of Programming

From all of us at Price Women and Allies (PWA), welcome to a new school year at Price! For those returning students, it’s great to see you again. For those new students, we’re excited for you to be joining us. As we begin this year’s programming at PWA, we wanted to take some time to revisit our mission and set our intentions as an organization moving forward.

While we are an organization that focuses on preparing women, trans, gender non-conforming, and ally policymakers for fruitful and impactful careers, we reaffirm our belief that there are many complexities and intersectionalities within this space. We seek to stand together with all students at Price, as well as the broader LA community, to advocate for social justice.

Under a turbulent new administration, we have been particularly angered and saddened by harmful policies and hateful acts in our communities – especially against the most vulnerable groups among us. From the violence at neo-nazi and white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville to Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented immigrants, the need to act has never been more critical.

We start off this year with a renewed focus and determination to be active participants in the events and environment around us. We will work to share meaningful news and hold empowering and relevant events for all Price students.

In order to better shape our upcoming agenda, we would love to hear from you to see how we can provide a more valuable experience for our fellow students. We ask you to please take a few minutes to participate in a poll to let us know what types of events you would like to see, as well as what days and times are most convenient for your schedules. We appreciate in advance your help in allowing PWA continue to grow with the needs and interests of our community.


Congratulations Class of 2017!

Today some of our own PWA Board crossed the stage and received their degrees. We are so proud of the Class of 2017 and cannot wait to see what the future had in store for you.

To honor this special day, we are sharing some wise pieces of advice and wisdom –  some from our own board members and others you will recognize.

Take full advantage of the power of your cohort, across programs. This is the strongest team I’ve been a part of, and I’m a better feminist, woman, and person in general just for showing up.” – Christina Baghdasarian, MPP ’17, PWA Finance Chair 

“Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.” — Amy Poehler

I don’t have my own words of wisdom, but I try to follow Tracee Ellis Ross’s advice: choose compassion over judgement and curiosity over fear. Graduate school will be overwhelming, frustrating, and a little scary at times – it’s also an amazing opportunity to be compassionate and curious. I fail often, but it’s a northern star to work towards.” – Rachel Huguet, MPP ’17, PWA President

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.” — Nora Ephron

“A quote by lawyer Ben Ferencz struck me the other day as I reflected on graduate school –  ‘It takes courage not to be discouraged.’ So many of the issues we look to address are overwhelming. School is often times overwhelming. Our fight for equality is certainly overwhelming. The whole journey you are on right now is overwhelming and it is easy to be discouraged. Remember that pushing through that discouragement is an accomplishment in itself. Choose courage.” – Liz Prosch, MPP ’17, PWA Communications Chair

“As women with strong voices and strong values, you are in a unique position to support women worldwide who don’t have the resources you do, but whose lives and dreams are as worthy as yours and mine … Talent is universally distributed, but opportunity is not.” – Hillary Clinton


Congratulations Grads!

Femme Financials Event Recap


On Saturday, February 4, Price Women & Allies hosted Femme Financials, a financial management seminar geared towards women, trans, and non-conforming individuals. The seminar featured four impressive speakers who covered a range of important financial topics, including budgeting, investing, philanthropy, and negotiating. Below are some highlights, which we thought were particularly informative from each speaker.


Budgeting and Planning for the Future

Speaking on the importance of budgeting and planning for the future was Courtney Smith, a USC alumna and owner of Courtney + Kurt, a residential real estate firm. She offered the following advice:

  • Identify and follow your financial values, such as establishing security for the future and becoming financially independent.
  • Develop a system of habits which forces you to live within your means and prepare for the unknown.
  • Build up a savings account with 6 months of living expenses in the case of an emergency or major life change.
  • Use the “envelope” method. Set a budget for the month, and set aside envelopes for each spending category with the designated amount of cash in them. Only use what is provided in the envelopes. Do this for 3 months to establish financially healthy habits.
  • Don’t just pay the minimum balance for your credit cards and student loans. Pay off whole balance of your credits cards each month. If in debt, pay off the cards with the highest interest rates first. Make sure you are paying the real payment necessary for your student loans to not accrue additional interest.
  • Consider purchasing income properties rather than buying a home.


Impactful Investing and Responsible Spending

Malaika Maphalala, CPWA, a private wealth advisor at Natural Investments, a SEC registered investment advisory firm specializing in socially responsible investing, discussed how to utilize impactful investing and responsible spending. Malaika suggested that:

  • Once you accrue around $30,000 in investible funds, seek the help of a professional.
  • When seeking a financial advisor, trust your questions, and keep asking them until you get answers that are satisfactory.
  • Seek a financial advisor that has a fiduciary duty to their clients; that is a fee or percentage-based advisor and not a stock broker who works on commission.
  • You should make socially responsible investments, because money has power.
  • Practice shareholder activism and invest in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Funds, such as Parnassus Endeavor Fund or Green Century Fund, which invest in sustainable companies and address ethical risks.
  • Divestment can be a key strategy for change. Make sure you invest in socially responsible banks, such as Beneficial State Banks.
  • Make sure you plan for the future with retirement accounts and understand the difference between employment-based 401(k) accounts (which make pre-tax contributions), traditional IRA accounts (which are pre-tax contributions), and Roth IRA accounts (which are post-tax contributions).



Heading up our discussion on philanthropy and how to give back was Farrah Aziz, a USC alumna who now works as a private nonprofit and philanthropy advisor at her company Give Great Group. Farrah recommended that young women:

  • Consider forming Giving Circles with your friends to give more power to your smaller gifts.
  • When determining which charity to donate to, look at how long the CEO has been with the company. Serving too long or too short can be a bad sign.
  • Look at the composition of the organization’s boards, including the relevance of members and donation participation rates. Also look at how organizations leverage a dollar in donations.
  • Look at Jezebel’s Progressive Cause List, which provides information on pro-woman, pro-immigrant, and pro-earth organizations.
  • Impact investing is a way to give back before you feel ready to outright donate.
  • Be a socially responsible purchaser, utilize websites such as Amazon Smile, which make donations with each purchase. Learn about companies’ corporate social responsibility programs to make sure they align with your values.
  • Volunteer your time when you don’t have enough money to donate. Consider volunteering with friends to incorporate giving into your social live, such as by coordinating a day with the Do Good Bus.


Salary Negotiation

Gaurav Valani, a professional career coach at Career Sprout and General Assembly, detailed specific steps on how to negotiate your salary more successfully. He explained that:

Before the negotiation process starts, make sure to build a network with your target audience. Connect with people who work at your companies of interest on LinkedIn and send introductory e-mails expressing your interest in their experience and learning about any openings.

  • The negotiation begins when you are conducting your outreach. Be sure you communicate with people in the company who have the power to approve your salary.
  • During the interview, don’t be nervous and don’t brag. Instead, focus on making the interviewer feel special.
  • Begin your interview with the question: “What was it about my resume or background that made you decide to bring me in today?”
  • Ask when you will hear from the company after the interview, and if it’s okay for you to follow up with them after a certain date if you have not received any news.
  • Research the market salary for your desired job title using,, and so that you know your worth.
  • Give your desired salary first to begin negotiations at your level. Be sure to give a specific number, not a range, based on your research.
  • If the interviewer asks about your salary history, tell them that “the jobs I’m being considered for now pay between X and Y.” If they press you, you can tell them your previous salary, but be sure to tell them that you were not being paid at fair market value.


Book Suggestions

For those interested in additional information on the topics above, our speakers offered a couple of book recommendations.

  • From Courtney: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, which offers transformative advice on how to think about your personal finances.
  • From Malaika: The Resilient Investor by Brill, Kramer, and Peck, which explains how to diversify your assets to better reach your financial goals.
  • From Farrah: Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus, which discusses the power of microfinance as a tool to eradicate poverty.


The event was generously sponsored by Veretta Everheart, Chief Management Analyst at LA Sanitation and two-time USC alumna. It is support like hers that allows us to hold trainings such as these. We also want to thank all of the women who attended our event.

Thoughts From an Ally

I grew up in a Jewish denomination with egalitarian principles—that is, a man and woman have equal rights under Jewish law, and thus can participate in the same rituals as one another. I’ve always been proud of this aspect of my Judaism, a way to reinterpret millennia-old stories to align with contemporary American values. Leading Rabbis of my denomination, ironically called the Conservative movement, have passed laws grounded in Torah that declare that exemptions and prohibitions historically made for women were no longer valid because our society has progressed to a point where women can fully take part in all activities traditionally performed by men.

But I was always struck by the dichotomy. As a traditional movement, men were expected (read: required) to participate in ritual, and as a progressive movement, women were “allowed.” Only after many years of passively accepting this legal differentiation did I recognize the implication: men and boys were much more likely to read from the Torah, lead prayer services, and take on religious leadership roles. Conversely, unequal requirements and societal pressures forged a culture where women and girls rarely elected to even dawn the prayer shawl or yarmulke. Our microcosm of society had adopted seemingly progressive policy positions, but continued to operate in a strongly patriarchal way.

At the Conservative summer camp where I was a unit head, I pushed back on this, and frankly, I made a scene. I stepped on the toes of some passionate women leaders who were making real progress in the community, and had a valuable learning experience about letting women lead their movement for justice. But I also encountered disturbing resistance on the other end of the spectrum: I discovered that many people who opted into this movement, who claimed to feel comfortable including women “equally,” were still uncomfortable with women rabbis and including the names of our matriarchs along with our patriarchs in prayer because they believed in “preserving tradition.”

In America, we too have won many of the big legal victories for gender equality. Still, many unequal conditions penetrate our society, and the gap between de jure and de facto remains large. Patriarchy exists in our language, art, music, relationships, workplaces, politics, and… well, everywhere.

When thinking about what to write for this piece, I crowdsourced ideas from some of my most passionate feminist friends. Having dedicated the last few years of my life to working in progressive activist spaces, I consider myself decently well-versed in the extensive infiltration of gender inequity in our society. However, while I can name many moments where I witnessed patriarchy affect loved ones, I recognize I cannot fully know its extent because I don’t have that lived experience. I am often reminded of my privilege with a story or perspective that helps me realize a blind spot. This time, we spoke about restaurants, and how waiters will often give more attention to a man, assuming that he’s the one paying (tipping). I never noticed. After all, why would I? I wasn’t the one being ignored.

In fact, patriarchy that I am still struggling to unlearn contributed to my writing this piece at all. When asked, I accepted immediately with enthusiasm and without hesitation. Only later, when staring at the computer screen for the umpteenth hour, did I confront the questions of why I felt empowered to be able to speak for feminist allies, or why my voice can exist in this space at all.

These moments haunt me. Stepping on toes, discovering blind spots, vying for a voice–I continue to encounter areas for growth in my allyship. They serve as a reminder that this work isn’t easy; it’s messy, and we’re bound to miss things. And I am only touching upon a tiny fraction of the issue, not diving into how intersectional identities and gender fluidity complicate this even further! But I am learning to accept the mess, and to not be deterred.

Truthfully, I do believe that feminist allies are vital to the success of the feminist movement. After all, we can only challenge recurring patriarchy when men start to recognize it within ourselves and call it out in others. Crucially, men cannot be leaders in this movement, nor can we have a parallel movement of feminist allied men; that would reinforce our patriarchal instinct to vie for power. Rather, we must work to support women, recognizing the large burden they carry in society and the structural barriers that exist that make it extremely difficult to change the hearts and minds of those implicitly and explicitly reinforcing sexist norms. We must listen to the stories of women to unearth blind spots amongst ourselves. We must lift those stories up to shed light on the blind spots of others, and call out insensitivity wherever we see it. And we must be vulnerable, a trait that patriarchy has often taught men to suppress, as we accept our ignorance, admit our faults, and commit to relearning a new way forward. All the while, we must remember to hold our role in this movement, and consult with leading women thinkers as we navigate it.

There are many days when I struggle with the reality that Judaism, rooted in the value of justice and the tradition of resistance, can be hypocritical. But I’ve come to learn that our people and our God are flawed by design, intending to make us recognize a more just world through our own failings. With this framing, I appreciate my Judaism as both a catalyst for my feminism and a vehicle in which I can identify and understand societal issues of systemic oppression. We should all be grounded in the why of our work. For me, I want to see my Jewish community, the core of who I am, exemplify the very values it taught me to uphold.

– David Bocarsly, Master of Public Policy 2018

Make Like Beyonce and Get In Formation: A Call to Action for White Liberals

This blog post may come off as aggressive, but I hope you give it a chance and consider it impassioned. Besides, the time for tiptoeing around white fragility passed as soon America decided it prioritized screwing the establishment over the wellbeing of millions of people.

On November 8, 2016 many white Americans were awakened to the drastic truth that America is a nation driven by racial systems of oppression that many will go to great lengths to protect, a truth people of color realize on the daily. Even though I was aware and actively fought against the beast that is white supremacy, I was still caught off-guard by the outcome of the election. Why you ask? Because I put too much faith in white people, more specifically, white women.

White feminism, you have let me down many times. You continually demonstrate to me and other women of color that you will choose your race over the sisterhood if ever there is such a decision to be made. This was evident when Susan B. Anthony declared that she would cut off her right arm before working to ensure the vote for black men and not for [white] women. And it was evident on Election Day when white women, both college-educated and non-college educated, turned out in masses to vote for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, 94% of black women got in formation, did what we had to do, and voted to protect the civil and human rights of all women and people of color in our country. Black women have been building and saving this country since the dawn of its existence, and we are tired of being taken for granted. I have done my due diligence, have had more than my fair share of conversations regarding race, and have come to the conclusion that this is no longer solely my, nor other women of color’s, burden to bear. The time has come for white liberals, both men and women, to take conversations about race, gender, and systemic oppression into their fellow white moderate and conservative communities. Acknowledging systems exist to oppress people of color is no longer enough. In the words of Pete White, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, “If you acknowledge an issue exists you are duty-bound to do something about it, and if you don’t, you are complicit in whatever that thing is.” For now, we can start off slow. We will consider your active participation in conversations about race a catalyst for future commitment to the cause.

Recognizing that many of you will be participating in more conversations regarding race, the following are a few suggestions for how to engage indifferent or combative people on the subject.

1.) Language Matters.


Be sure to refer to your melanin-rich friends as people of color, not colored people or minorities, and be steadfast in your readiness to correct others when they fail get the language right. Contrary to popular belief, correcting word choice is not an instance of liberal political correctness. Words matter. They are the essence of communication. They are the basis of our thoughts. Those thoughts, when merged, form ideas. Those ideas, when solidified, form opinions. Those opinions, when scaled, have the power to shape policy.

This point is more easily understood when discussed through the lens of the phrase “illegal aliens.” There was a time when this term was commonly used to refer to people who immigrated to America unlawfully. In a video compiled by Fusion, Latina journalist Maria Hinojosa outlines precisely how dangerous this type of language can be. She cites Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, who maintains that the first order of Nazi Germany was to declare anyone of Jewish decent an illegal people. Declaring a group of people “illegal” serves one purpose – to erase their humanity. Once that’s accomplished, society more willingly turns a blind eye to how that group is treated because language has effectively labeled them subhuman. Hence the importance of language discussing issues regarding race.

2.) Yes race is socially constructed – but it has literal deadly consequences.


Recently I was engaged in a conversation that took a turn for the worst when a participant alleged that, because race is socially constructed, acknowledging the role race plays in police violence is ineffective and unnecessary. Essentially, his argument was grounded in colorblind rhetoric.

Here we have an opinion predicated upon a semi-fact, that is being used, whether intentional or not, to erase the influence systemic racism has in policing policies across the country. Yes, race is a result of social construction, but, as MTV Decoded’s Franchesca Ramsey so eloquently states, race has very real consequences.

If you face this kind of pushback in your future conversations about race, consider reiterating a version of the following:

The concept of race existing as a result of social construction doesn’t belie the fact that racism has played a significant role in state-sponsored violence, disparate policing practices (ex: stop and frisk), as well as the disproportional imprisonment of black and brown people. In fact, it explains it. The social construction of race is what tells “suburban white folk” to fear the “urban black male.” Claudia Rankine, author of the award-winning book Citizen, contends that we act upon that which we conceive. That is, when society constructs and perpetuates the narrative of the black male criminal, associating black men with criminality over time becomes second nature to those who do not interact with a significant number of black people on a regular basis. Rankine expands on this idea by declaring “because white men can’t police their imagination, black people are dying.”

Telling me that race isn’t real in the face of evidence of its very real consequences does nothing to alleviate those consequences or prevent more from occurring. Similar to the way colorblindness does nothing to dismantle systemic racism. Your comments may lack ill will, but the result is the same as those who shout “alive lives matter” in the face of the Black Lives Matter movement – you distract and erase the experiences of people of color in this country. In actuality, these types of mentalities make matters worse. So lets agree that race, while not being real in theory, plays a role in the way people are perceived, treated, and policed in this country (and around the world – it’s a global phenomenon). Ok? Ok.

3.) Indifference towards racism = passive oppression


In the wake of the election, a common theme has emerged to stop shaming Trump supporters for voting a racist, he-man woman-hater into office because they aren’t all racist, as not everyone has the same “bottom-line.” And while logically this may be true, I am not yet ready to face a Trump supporter and discuss with him/her the implications of his/her indifference towards racist hate speech. I am sure if I were to have such conversations my passion would escalate and my words would fall on deaf ears. That’s where you come in, my white liberal friends. Go forth and engage your white conservative friends, family, and possible foes and partake in the much-needed discussion regarding the dangers of racial passivity. This is important work that needs to be done. Awaken people to the fact that there can be no indifference to oppression. Indifference signifies tacit consent, and tacit consent only works in the favor of the oppressor – never the oppressed. Do not be afraid to draw a line in the sand, white liberals, and declare that your moderate and conservative friends are either with us or against us. There is no in between. I need not say more.

-Britney Wise, co-chair of the Price Society of Black Students (PSBS)

Dear Trump Supporters

Dear Trump Supporters,

First, let me congratulate you.  Electing Donald Trump to the highest office in the country is truly an impressive feat.

Second, let me apologize. Clearly, I have not been listening. I understand you are upset, I’m upset too. I’m trying to prepare myself to hear what you have to say and better understand the actions you took on Tuesday. This country will have to learn to work together.

I don’t believe that you are all actively racist or misogynistic, but I need you to take a moment and reflect on why it might appear that way. I need to tell you why, as a woman, this election felt like an intimate and personal blow.

Trump’s positions horrify me on many levels. As a student of public policy, I am genuinely fearful of what he will do to our country’s social fabric and economic well-being. But let’s be real, that’s not what left me intermittently sobbing through Wednesday.

I am a strong, intelligent woman.

And yet, for as long as I can remember, I have received less respect for my thoughts and actions than my male counterparts. I’ve been in meetings where my words are ignored, where my gaze will not be met while instead I’m asked to take notes. I’ve had supervisors who call their young, female employees “bossy” for doing their job. I’ve had a manager tell me to my face that he didn’t realize I was smart until I had spent 6 months proving it. I think that Lindy West said it best in her NY Times column, “I don’t even know what it feels like to be taken seriously — not fully, not in that whole, unequivocal, confident way that’s native to handshakes between men.”

So, watching Hillary remain poised and graceful as she conceded a role for which she was indisputably the most qualified to a man who has never held public office, who has failed in the world of business, who clearly is unable to prepare for even the most basic of political tasks, felt undeniably personal.

As painful and frightening as his inexperience is, that is not what hurts most.

I have been sexually harassed in streets and in public spaces more times than I can remember. I’ve been groped on a metro ride in Portland. I’ve been threatened with sexual assault in Latin America. I recently stood in a bar in LA while a man talked to me about my body – my nipples specifically – in a way that made it clear that he saw me, my own being, as an object for his enjoyment. I’ve been in the position as an undergraduate where I’ve had to physically protect myself from males twice my size trying to act on those same feelings.

These stories are unbearably common. I count myself lucky that this is the extent of it.

So when more than half of our country, including the majority of white women, voted a man into  power who normalizes sexual assault as “locker room banter,” who objectifies women by evaluating our bodies and assigning us numbers, who talks about 10-year old girls as his next prey, who cheats on his spouses with abandon, who discusses his own daughter as sex-object, who denigrates us for our weight, who calls us “pigs” and “dogs,” who has been accused of raping a 13-year old girl – it feels like a big and very personal fuck you to my safety and value as a human being.

It feels as though you have validated all of the attacks against me – and sanctioned the many more that will inevitably occur against me, my friends, my sisters, my niece.

As a straight, white, educated female I know am speaking from a place of privilege. I will not pretend to understand how many orders of magnitude greater these feelings are for my loved ones who are of a different ethnicity, orientation, faith, or ability. The uptick in hate crimes that has already occurred is something beyond my comprehension. I need you to know that my grievances are minute in comparison, but they are all I can speak to.

I have to believe that when you voted for Trump you weren’t voting for hate. Maybe you were voting from fear or a place of ignorance. Maybe you were just mad at the system. Maybe you were voting against Hillary. I have to believe this because I grew up with you, I’m related to you, I live next to you. I know I need to understand you better, but you also need to understand why your choice hurts.


Rachel Huguet

President, USC Price Women & Alliesimg_20161109_135459

A Woman’s Worth

Beauty Expectations Blog

What is beauty? I’ve asked myself this a lot throughout my life, to the point where it’s worrisome how much energy I’ve expended thinking about one facet of my existence over any other (much more compelling) piece of my personhood. And while I take responsibility for my choice in doing so, I also know that so much of that value wasn’t determined by me, but rather, through a culture forged by those with privileged interests.


I, like so many women, grew up in a world that said: “Your worth is not determined by your appearance,” but then subtly and not so subtly inundated me with conflicting messages. Magazine covers, movies, ads, etc. laden with imagery and messaging reinforcing a notion of womanhood very distinct from courageous efforts and actions towards others (patronizingly referred to as “inner beauty”). They said:


“Be pretty and sexy” (in a litany of unrealistic ways);be composed(don’t assert power, otherwise you’re a bitch);be intelligent” (but in non-threatening ways); “be fun” (as though you exist for entertainment).

Essentially, “spend every ounce of energy making yourself appear to be perfect for men, within their parameters of comfort; THEN you will know you have worth.”


Unfortunately, men in our society have benefitted from making women small, and what’s more, I have contributed to its perpetuation. I’m sad to say that I have wasted years of my life buying into those messages; believing that if I met some magical criteria, I would be “perfect” enough to be accepted and loved, as though my worthiness was something I could obtain outside myself. I undermined all of my inherent value – following the instructions society laid out for me – until it left me small and hollow.

But as I move through life, I have been blessed by people who’ve helped me uncover truths richer and deeper than what society wants me to believe. Namely, that is it is not my responsibility to be beautiful or silent; I don’t owe that to anyone and I am not alive for that purpose.


Because despite every lie we hear from every seller of things on Earth; it is not a woman’s job to get smaller and smaller in body, voice, and opinion – to take up less and less space until she disappears so the world can be more comfortable.                                                                  

Glennon Doyle Melton


Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female.”

                                                                            – Womenempowered


My journey is continuously evolving, but I have been fortunate to learn (and re-learn and re-learn and re-learn) that value comes from within, and that courage, in its many forms, is beautiful and worthy. I further realize that my consumption and participation in society reflects not only my values, but a reimagined legacy of women’s worth in this world. I encourage others to reflect on their participation in the same.

Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time – that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward  conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women’s safety and humanity are secondary to men’s pleasure and convenience. 

– Lindy West

Your body is a work of art; a living piece of history; a breathing canvas. Your body has been worshipped for centuries, not for its negative space – but for its presence. Not for its lacking, but for its abundance. Beautiful girl, Goddess girl – the world will re-learn this, just as you are learning now. Your body is not the problem.

Gina Susanna


Author Note: I want to acknowledge that not all men in society participate in the creation of idealized beauty (and other) standards for women. Further, many men are also subjected to unrealistic societal expectations of who they ought to be as a barometer of their worthiness. And finally, I want to acknowledge that I’m speaking to a binary scale of gender and sexuality, as that is my personal experience. But in no way do I wish to deny the lived truths of any other individual.

Kelsie Michelson, Price Women and Allies Co-Vice President










8 Influences That Made Me a Better Feminist

Attending the Price School of Public Policy, it is hard not to be inspired to be a better advocate for the causes you’re passionate about. In my case, that has meant better understanding what feminism means to me. After some reflection, I am sharing with you the most pop-culture-y things that have made me a better feminist.


  1. Matt McGorry – Did you just roll your eyes at me? I get it but it’s not what you think! Matt McGorry serves as a reminder to me that feminism is not just about women. What I see myself and many others forgetting is that men tend to be brought up learning that they ‘shouldn’t’ live an emotionally complete life or engage in things deemed ‘feminine’. Feminism means lifting everyone up and that includes men.
  1. The Black Lives Matter Movement – Feminism is not one size fits all. BLM has driven home to me an important and sad lesson. My experience as a white woman is not the same as a black woman’s (or any different race for that matter). It may be the most obvious thing in the world but recognizing and understanding the inequalities are very different things.
  1. Madeline Albright: A Memoir – I believe most women have a trailblazer that they admire. For me that person is Madeline Albright (not so shocking out of a public policy student). One of the most important pieces of inspiration that I took away from her story was that there is no “I can’t” when it comes to achieving any goals – personal, career or family oriented. I also thought about taking up wearing pins but that was the inspiration high talking.
  1. Eat Pray Love – One time in college I was home for the summer and I ran into a guy I went to high school with. I had class with him, he dated one of my friends and yet, when he greeted me he said, “Hey, Pat’s Girlfriend.” That is seriously how you remember me? Putting this book on the list may be cliché however, when you live in a society where frequently you are defined by a man/relationship status, it is important to have reminders that you are your own person and should discover what that means.
  1. Brock Turner’s Rape Victim’s Open Letter – I cried most of the time I read it. I cried for her, I cried for myself, and I cried for all women. This is the world we still live in. This is a fear I think about every day. This is a reality someone in my life has faced. Her letter was a reminder of why my fighting for gender equality is so important to me.
  1. Gilmore Girls – The TV show came out when I was in middle school and I LOVE the show. For me, it gave me feminist role models who were relatable. In a way, they gave me permission to be completely who I was at a crucial point in my life, even if it wasn’t “girly” or popular. Hoorah for strong female leads!
  1. Guys We Fucked Podcast – These ladies will change the way you think about female sexuality and sexuality in general. You may occasionally disagree or become offended with what they or their guests say but they are creating a space to have an open conversation and expand your worldview. This podcast has given me the confidence to actually call out the double standard between men and women when it comes to sexuality.
  1. The Forward in Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road – I read it and before I even finished the book, sent it to my best friend for her birthday gift. I will let you read it for yourself so not to ruin the point but I will say I hope you all find your purple motorcycles.


That is my eight! I am always looking for things to inspire me and force me to grow so if you have something you believe made you a better feminist please feel free to share in the comments.

Liz Prosch, Communications Chair PWA


Women in PPD Lunch & Career Panel Bios

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 7.57.31 PM.pngJennifer Bravo is Director, Prize Development at the XPRIZE Foundation, where she leads the development of prize competitions that leverage a global community of innovative thinkers, problem solvers, and entrepreneurs to tackle the world’s Grand Challenges. Ms. Bravo contributes to the Foundation’s strategic direction; conducts and oversees the research and analysis necessary to determine the most effective prize competitions in any given domain; collaborates with thought leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, and change makers; initiates and maintains partnerships that make XPRIZE competitions successful; and delivers quality prize designs and impact proposals to clients across the private and NGO sectors.

Prior to joining XPRIZE, Ms. Bravo worked closely with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions for over a decade to develop and implement policy in the public interest. Ms. Bravo earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Sacramento in anthropology, and her Master of Public Policy from the University of Southern California, where she serves on the alumni board of the USC Price School of Public Policy. She spends her free time advocating for animal protection, environmental, and social justice issues.


screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-7-58-07-pmMartha Saucedo is the Executive Vice President, External Affairs at AEG. Martha Saucedo, a highly-experienced public affairs and government relations specialist with expertise in developing and implementing political, communications and community engagement strategies, is responsible for overseeing AEG’s public and community affairs policies, charitable involvement, outreach and development programs. She is Chair of the Central City Association Board of Directors, serves on the Boards of Inner City Arts, the Expo Center in South Los Angeles as well as the California Hospital Medical Center Community Advisory Board. She has been honored as a CCA “Mover and Shaker”, named a CORO “Community Builder” and chosen by the Sports Business Journal in 2013 as one of the 40 most influential sports executives under the age of 40. A Southern California native, Ms. Saucedo attended UCLA where she earned her degree in Political Science.


Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 7.57.59 PM.pngAbigail R. Marquez is the Assistant General Manager for the City of Los Angeles, Housing + Community Investment Department. Abigail R. Marquez is responsible for managing and directing the operations of the newly created Community Services and Development Bureau. This includes overseeing the planning and administration of the City’s Consolidated Plan, which includes $120 million in federal funds to support economic development and neighborhood improvement programs, and the implementation of the department’s social service delivery programs; FamilySource System, Domestic Violence Shelter Operations, Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA), Supportive Housing Services for homeless individuals and families, and Fair Housing programs. In this role, she also works with staff to provide strategic direction to the bureau’s five commissions: Commission on Community & Family Services; Commission on the Status of Women; Community Action Board; Human Relations Commission; and Affordable Housing Commission.

Mrs. Marquez previously served as Director of Workforce Development and Economic Opportunity for Los Angeles City Mayor, Eric Garcetti. She led the development and delivery of policy and strategy to meet the Mayor’s education and workforce development priorities. Prior experience also include serving as the Deputy Director with the City of Los Angeles, Community Development Department. In this capacity, she was responsible for managing 21 FamilySource Centers, which provide core services designed to assist low-income families become self-sufficient by increasing family economic resources and academic achievement for youth and adults. She led the implementation of a $15 million dollar system that served over 50,000 low-income city residents annually.

Mrs. Marquez brings fifteen years of public service experience to HCIDLA. She has a proven track-record of forging public and private partnerships to advance policies and programs aimed at lifting Angelenos out of poverty. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside and a Master of Science in Project Management from the University of Redlands.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-7-57-13-pmSilvia Gutierrez currently serves as Executive Director of Bridge to Home. Ms. Gutierrez earned a Masters of Executive Leadership degree from the University of Southern California and a Bachelors’ of Science degree in Social Work from Union Institute and University.

Previously she worked as the Executive Director of The Immaculate Heart Community where she managed a $5.2 million budget and a staff of 80.

Prior to that, Gutierrez served as Associate Director for Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women in and Children, where she managed a staff of 30 and a $2.4 million budget.

Dr. Lisa Schweitzer Awarded 2016 Margarita McCoy Award

Price Women and Allies would like to congratulate our faculty advisor, Dr. Lisa Schweitzer, for receiving the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) 2016 Margarita McCoy Award. We are thrilled to see her leadership and accomplished recognized. Congratulations Dr. Schweitzer! 

See the letter below from Dean Knott announcing the award.

Dear Price Community:

Join me in congratulating Dr. Lisa Schweitzer, Associate Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, for receiving the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) 2016 Margarita McCoy Award. This award is given every other year to a scholar who best advances women in planning at universities through service, teaching, and research.

Colleagues from peer institutions as well as USC faculty nominated Dr. Schweitzer for this award and they noted her exceptional work mentoring junior faculty, her scholarly impact, and innovations such as being among the first scholars to econometrically estimate the equity impacts of toll-road financing.

The nominators pointed to many examples of her research including her work on no-notice evacuations that established that federal and local agency planning, assuming a male-oriented travel pattern, was often blind to the complicated travel patterns and child-care duties that typically fall on women, leading to evacuation plans that disadvantage women, particularly low-income women and women of color.

The ACSP selection committee noted Dr. Schweitzer’s exceptional contributions to research, teaching, and service in the field as well as her scholarship, which consistently highlights gender issues in innovative and sophisticated ways and has consistently been a strong voice for women in planning.

Dr. Schweitzer’s McCoy award follows her 2015 award for the best article in the Journal of the American Planning Association for her work on social media and stigma. In that study, Lisa analyzed over 64,000 Twitter posts, using a methodology that she developed which applied machine learning and text analysis to categorize social media posts into negative and positive comments.  She also uses social media to illustrate that misogynistic and racist opinions exist in relation to core planning functions, and she provides methods and policy suggestions that help illustrate a way forward toward a more just outcome. It is rare in planning to win such competitive awards in back-to-back years.  Dr. Schweitzer has certainly distinguished herself and the Price School through her scholarship and teaching.

In addition, she chaired the ACSP Faculty Women’s Interest Group (FWIG) from 2010-2013, reinvigorating the work and the visibility of that group and organized FWIG’s highly successful 25th-anniversary celebration and established a Facebook page for the group that is among the most thoughtful and active within ACSP.

The McCoy award honors the legacy of Margarita Piel McCoy, who began her professional career in planning in 1959. McCoy, who passed away in April of this year, earned her master’s degree in planning at USC in 1970 and went on to serve as an administrator and faculty member here. In 2008, she received the Price School’s Guardian Award for Alumni Merit for her pioneering work and for serving as a role model and mentor for women entering the planning field and an advocate for women in many different arenas.

Congratulations to Lisa on this well-deserved honor!


Jack H. Knott, Dean