For our first Special Staff Spotlight, I’d like to introduce Kim Muñoz who is the Multicultural Outreach Coordinator and Program Coordinator for First Step Summer Institute. Kim is described by students as welcoming, a warm presence and wonderful resource. Kim is central to a student’s experience and interaction with the MIPS (Multicultural and International Programs and Services) office.
Q: What do you do at St. Kate’s?
Kim: I create programs and provide services that provide leadership opportunities and create an inclusive environment for all students, especially students of color. For example, Cornbread and Chili Nights (CB&CN), which is an event series that brings together members of the St. Kate’s community to share a warm meal and discuss pertinent multicultural and social justice issues that impact our lives. I also lead the planning committee for Women of Color Full Circle Gathering, which is an opportunity to create a space for students of color to connect and network with professional alumna of color. I also create and publish our monthly MIPS Gazette E-newsletter that features upcoming events, scholarship & internship resources, various alumna, student & staff/faculty spotlight. During the summer I plan and coordinate the First Step Summer Institute which is a residential summer college immersion program encourages high school junior and senior girls’ exploration of higher education options and pathways to college, open to multicultural and indigenous students.
Q: What is/are your favorite part(s) about the St. Kate’s community?
Kim: The MIPS team, made of faculty and staff come to work closely with, and most importantly the students. The students are the center of the community and I’ve met many inspirational women that came through St.Kate’s.
Q: What are you passionate about?
Kim: I am a proud queer mujerista and passionate about social justice! I apply social justice in the way I work with students promoting the importance of leading, influencing and loving neighbor without distinction. Social justice means to me showing up, speaking up and advocating for equality among all races, classes, genders, sexual orientations and identities. Social justice starts with knowing and then proceeds to action. Even though decolonizing our minds is the hardest, yet it is the most foundational work of social justice. It means educating myself and others against ignorance or bias and recognizing my own prejudicial tendencies. There is no single way of doing social justice, but all ways must involve learning and reflection.
Q: Do you have a piece of advice you’d have given to your younger self while she was attending St. Kate’s?
Kim: I spent my young adulthood trying to run away from my reality. I would tell myself to try to live in the present and to love my Latina and queer self. Spend it being who you are, not running away from it. You’ve been running away for too long. Be aware of your beauty and brilliance now, and recognize how that beauty grows and changes as you continue to develop as whole, and accept the complexity of it. Know you are not alone. There is strength and comfort in unity and community so don’t be afraid to reach out. Remember that there will be people who will spread messages of hate but be compassionate, always be a kind and thoughtful human being to others. Love yourself so you can make a positive impact on your immediate, as well as the larger community.
I’d like to thank Kim for being our first Special Staff Spotlight! Thank you for being a spectacular and strong woman. You inspire everyone that gets to cross paths with you.
Photo credit: Photography by bfreshproductions, courtesy of the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women.