Presidential Leadership Medalist Jaime McCauley
Date: May 17, 2002
Willing to Speak Out
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Colleen Kelley
Jaime McCauley, a winner of UC's new Presidential Leadership Medal, is a student who never shies away from speaking up in class about social inequality and injustices.
Nor does McCauley, who will receive her master's degree in sociology and a certificate in women's studies at UC's June 7 Commencement, cringe or apologize for being a feminist.
"Her social commitment and sense of responsibility to the world are as much a part of her as her heart and limbs," says Annulla Linders, assistant professor of sociology.
"I think I was born a feminist," says the 25-year-old McCauley, who earned her bachelor's degree from UC in 1999 and is a resident of White Oak. "I was always the one in my neighborhood saying girls can do anything boys can and better," said the 1994 McAuley High School graduate.
Another professor, Steve Carlton-Ford, has known McCauley as an undergraduate in class and as a graduate student who has served as a teaching assistant in one of his own courses. "Jaimie was clearly one of the brightest and most engaged students I had encountered at UC," he said. "She was never content merely to learn the information; Jaime always focused on the bigger issues."
McCauley's master's thesis examines the experiences of her own cohorts across campus -- women undergraduates at UC. To complete her research, she developed a five-page survey, which she pre-tested and sent to a random sampling obtained through the university registrar's office. The results showed overwhelming support for more undergraduate mentoring from the 200 female respondents.
Outside of her studies, McCauley has long been active at UC's Women's Center as a volunteer and a worker. This year she has served as the graduate assistant for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) programming. She has coordinated several special events, including a Drag Show in October 2001 that raised money for the American Red Cross and brought hundreds of people of different sexual orientations together in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedies.
McCauley, who does not hesitate to point out her own lesbianism, also gives educational programs across campus to raise awareness of the misperceptions, stereotypes and prejudices about homosexuality. Twice monthly, she leads a social support group that brings LGBT members of the campus community together to play board games and talk. On campus, she also is involved in the Feminist Coalition, the LGBTQ Alliance and White Women Against Racism.
Asked why she devotes so much of her time and energy to women's issues and the UC Women's Center, she shares a very personal explanation: "I'm a survivor of rape and domestic violence. Having experiences like that is what pushes you to say, 'Something really needs to be done about this,' and you do it."
"I think it's important to let people know that I'm not ashamed to talk about that, because it's not my fault. I am here because I am a survivor."
Outside of campus, McCauley serves on the board of Stonewall Cincinnati and does volunteer work with the Cincinnati Youth Group, a Gay and Lesbian Community Center program for LGBTQ teens.
After commencement, she hopes to find a job that allows her to continue the work she has begun while studying at UC. She hopes to find a job in the social justice arena.