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Women’s Center director empowers others


Mary Krueger provides insight on social issues to her students.

For Mary Krueger, director of the Women’s Center and a Women’s Studies instructor, being a leader means making sure others’ voices are heard.

As director, Krueger said, “The buck stops with me [at The Center] in terms of decision-making regarding programing initiatives and things like that.”

Yet it’s not Krueger’s position that makes Senior Secretary for the Women’s Center Jean Greene view her as a leader.

“Everyone in the Women’s Center plays an active role in decision-making,” Green said in email. “Dr. Krueger encourages each one of us to use our voice even when that voice is in dissent.”

Despite her administrative role and being the only full-time staff member at the Center, Krueger said she wants to keep her focus on others.

“I would like to think that I show leadership by not allowing that to give me a big head,” she said. “Because it’s not for me. I may be the director but the Women’s Center is not for me. It’s for faculty, staff, students [and] community.”

Part of making the center about the people who use it is listening to them.

“My responsibility is to listen to what people say they want and need and then figure out in my role as director how to make that happen,” Krueger said.

Green said that Krueger is very involved and hands-on at the Women’s Center and that the Center does not function in a hierarchical way.

“Dr. Krueger leads not by telling people what they have to do, rather she inspires you go above and beyond to complete tasks,” Greene said. “You want to make her proud to be part of her team.”

Outside the University, Krueger is also a co-founder of the Cocoon Shelter, which provides resources and support to victims of domestic violence.

Though Krueger is no longer a board member, Executive Director Michelle Clossick said Krueger exemplifies leadership in the other things she does for the shelter.

Clossick said Krueger aids the shelter by “the education and advocacy work she does in the community.”

Also, Krueger “has helped to raise funds and support us financially in many ways.”

Another way Krueger has helped is organizing student volunteers to raise money for the shelter, Clossick said.

Volunteering is only one way Krueger gets students involved, as she said students often come to the Women’s Center seeking opportunities to be leaders and help others.

“We always highlight opportunities for students to be advocates, to find something about which they have strong feelings . . . and then avenues for expressing that,” she said.

One such avenue is service, which Krueger emphasizes in her classes.

Krueger said one class she teaches during fall semester is a service-learning class, where part of the class is participating in service-learning projects.

“Whenever I can, I make it [service] part of the curriculum,” said Krueger.

Greene feels that Krueger has a way of building others up so they recognize their own talent.

“I think it’s one thing to believe that you can do it, but to have someone such as Dr. Krueger say, ‘I believe in you’ is extremely encouraging,” Greene said.

Krueger said that to encourage students to become leaders, she tells them, “Use your power as a citizen in service of things that matter to you.”

Greene has seen Krueger’s impact on students at the University.

“Several past and current students have commented to me on how knowing Dr. Krueger has been transformative for them,” Greene said. “This legacy she’s creating is so inspiring.”

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