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Best Campus Leader: Kari Anne McDonald
Best Campus Leader: Kari Anne McDonald

Events Coordinator
Women's Resource Center
Portland State University

Anyone who meets Kari Anne McDonald will recognize a rising star. Her natural leadership ability and enthusiasm infuse everything she touches in her work on campus and as a graduate student. She is known by her peers as a leader on campus, and now it's official. On April 11, 2012 Portland State University named Kari Anne “Best Campus Leader”. Her co-workers at the Women's Resource Center (WRC) were thrilled to see Kari Anne receive this honor.

Even if you've never visited the WRC, you may already be familiar with Kari Anne's work. In her current role as the Events Coordinator, she has been extensively involved in managing three major events for the 2011-12 school year, including (1) Love Your Body Fashion Extravaganza (October), (2) The Vagina Monologues (February), and (3) Take Back the Night / Bike Back the Night (April). In total, Kari Anne oversees a couple hundred events for the WRC throughout the year. In addition, she books the monthly Faculty Favorite Lectures and assists in supporting the events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. She has also chaired the Love Your Body Action Team.

Bridge D'Urso, Director of the WRC states, "The uniqueness of Kari Anne's contribution to the WRC cannot be quantified. She is personal empowerment personified! It's always done on time, it's always done well. Since she began planning our Faculty Favorite Lecture Series, attendance is always high. The faculty speakers always leave with improved relationships. I would send Kari Anne to meet any funder, any administrator, any potential collaborator. She is fun, easy to get along with, reliable, and generous. She is our main contact with the AAUW, with Portland Rotary, the NorthWest Women's Studies Association, and other collaborators, and I always know that those relationships are in the best hands."

Kari Anne has been involved with the WRC since the start of 2009, shortly after returning to college to attend PSU. In her first term, she took an Intro to Women’s Studies course that changed her life. The next term she started volunteering with the WRC at the front desk. She soon realized her passion for ending violence against women and human trafficking, and she shaped her Liberal Studies degree around these issues.

In 2009, Kari Anne became a chartering member of Portland Rotaract, a leadership and service organization (for leaders under the age of 30) sponsored by Rotary International. Working with Rotaract she gained essential skills in event planning, leadership through service, graphic design and website development. She currently serves as president of the organization.

In summer 2010, Kari Anne took the WRC’s Capstone, Sexual Assault on College Campus, and after the class, by her own initiative, volunteered to continue working on the capstone project and add the information to the WRC website. In October 2010, she was hired in the WRC Publicist position and co-chaired Take Back The Night the following year. She graduated in August 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. During 2011-12, she continued at the WRC in her current position as Events Coordinator and a graduate assistant. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

Kari Anne has also recently been accepted into NEW Leadership Oregon, the award-winning women's leadership development program housed at the Center for Women, Politics & Policy at PSU.