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Bringing Intersectionality to Public Policy: A Conversation with Karen King and Karolina Kulicka

Episode 3
January 29, 2020
Produced by Hilary Vandenbark
Special production assistance from Omar Brown and Chris Cheung, Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries.

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Karolina Kulicka (Far left) with interns.

Karolina Kulicka (Far left) with interns presenting their policy briefs.

“They (the interns) became immersed in the process as well as understanding the theoretical underpinnings of intersectionality.”
Karen King, Executive Director
Erie County Commission on the Status of Women

On this episode, host Hilary Vandenbark speaks with Dr. Karen King, Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy, and Karolina Kulicka, doctoral candidate in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. 

King and Kulicka discuss their collaboration on a Women's Studies Internship between the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. The internship provides students the opportunity to develop public policy briefs related to women and gender in Erie County. We talk about the challenges of bringing theory to public policy, transitioning between public service and academia, and making positive change through policy. Our conversation also covers the skills and character traits interns develop through the internship. 

The internship is available for advanced undergraduate and Master's students through GGS 496/GGS 560 and is open to non-GGSS majors who are interested in gender and public policy. Interns will present their policy briefs to community members and local policy makers. To learn more, click here.

Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy Karen King.

Guest Biographies

Karen King is the Commissioner of Public Advocacy for Erie County and the Executive Director of the Erie County Commission the Status of Women. The Commission works to provide resources to the women and girls of Erie County, to ensure that they participate fully in matters that have an impact on their lives, and toward the elimination of all gender based discrimination as well as the promotion of women’s economic, societal and political empowerment.

Dr. King has served as an adjunct graduate faculty member in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration Program at Buffalo State College and in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. Additionally, she has developed and taught courses and conducted numerous workshops on popular media culture, social justice advocacy, multicultural competency, privilege, gender, race and class. Dr. King’s research interests include examining the role gender, race, class, and popular culture play in informing women’s and girl’s identity development and access to opportunity.

She serves on the New York State Council for Women and Girls, the Board of the Family Justice Center, the Executive Committee of the University at Buffalo Gender Institute, The Minority, Women Business Enterprise Utilization Advisory Board Members, and the County of Erie and City of Buffalo Joint Certification Committee.

GGSS Women's Studies Internship Director Karolina Kulicka.

Karolina Kulicka is an instructor in Women's Studies Internship Course, a recipient of the International Peace Scholarship, and a doctoral candidate in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her research focuses on gendered organizations, institutional mechanisms of sustaining inequality as well as public service institutions. Building on her joint experience in academia and public policy-making, she engages in projects that bring together feminist theory, government organizations, and civil society.

Leading a Feminist Life from a Conservative Christian Background: A Conversation with Mackenzie Junjulas

Episode 2
November 6, 2019
Produced by Hilary Vandenbark, with assistance from Chris Cheung, Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries.

This week, host Hilary Vandenbark speaks with Mackenzie Junjulas, a 21-year-old Senior, studying English and Psychology with a concentration in Legal Studies here at UB. After she graduates, Junjulas hopes to pursue a career in Law and will be applying to law schools soon. 

In this episode, we discuss our similar upbringings in conservative non-denominational Christian households and our journeys to become feminists. We tackle some of the difficulties of managing these ostensibly contradictory identities and discuss how our understanding of religion, politics, feminism, and family have evolved. 

The Unpredictability of Memory: A Conversation with Artist Tricia Butski

Episode 1
October 8, 2019
Edited and produced by Chris Cheung and Omar Brown, Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries.


This week, on the inaugural Gender Matters podcast, Graduate Assistant Hilary Vandenbark speaks with local artist and UB alumnus Tricia Butski (MFA, 2015). Butski's charcoal on paper works, "Errant" and "Tenuous," are on display at the Gender Institute. 

Butski is a fine artist and educator living and working in Buffalo, NY. Butski studied traditional drawing and oil painting, receiving her BFA from SUNY at Fredonia in 2013 and her MFA from the University at Buffalo in 2015. She is currently an Artist in Residence at the Buffalo Arts Studio. She also works as an adjunct professor at Erie Community College and SUNY Fredonia, where she teaches drawing, painting and digital design courses.

Butski’s work has been included in several group exhibitions, most recently in shows at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo (‘19), Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, NY (‘18), the Trimain Center in Buffalo (‘18) and the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls (‘17). Some of her most recent solo exhibitions include shows at the Nichols School Gallery in Buffalo (‘19), Revolution Gallery in Buffalo (‘18), the Roz Steiner Art Gallery in Batavia (‘17) and the Buffalo Arts Studio (‘16). Butski has also participated in public arts collaborations, working on murals on Niagara Street, Clinton Street, and Ash Street in Buffalo, NY, and on 3rd Street in Niagara Falls, NY.

Butski’s recent works have primarily been portraiture, and her exploration into the blurred lines between realistic representation of her subjects and abstractionism. To learn more about Butski and her work, please visit her website,