By Alyson Schoenung
NKU Marketing + Communications Intern
Gabby Maxedon is not new to advocacy and preventive activism against sexual assault.
Her passion for the cause emerged when she was an undergraduate student at the University of Louisville where she was highly involved in that university’s violence prevention center called the Peace Center.
Now she is NKU’s new Norse Violence Prevention Center Coordinator. In the grant-funded position, she will work with social work and counseling faculty and staff, the dean of students staff, University Police, and other NKU departments and external agencies to provide education and advocacy to the NKU campus community related to sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Maxedon cites the effects sexual violence has had on those close to her as fuel for her passion in the cause.
“There were people that I loved and cared about that had been impacted by sexual assault, partner violence, and stalking,” Maxedon said. “That kind of started the kind of fire in my belly to do something about it.”
Maxedon has participated in all three Green Dot trainings, a program dedicated to peer awareness and education for intervention and prevention of sexual violence, the longest of which lasted six hours. With this type of dedication and passion, it is clear that Maxedon is right where she belongs here at NKU.
Maxedon, who is working toward her Master of social work degree here at NKU, worked as the social work coordinator before applying for the Norse Violence Prevention Center Coordinator position. She helped NKU faculty and police write the grant that was awarded to NKU this past October 2013 for the position.
“I gave it some thought and realized this was a passion of mine,” she said. “It’s always been a passion of mine; I was a part of the grant team and I just went for it.
The grant will continue to finance her position and some other needs of the new office for about three years, according to Maxedon. She is also hoping to use her prior fundraising talents to help the new center to thrive and grow with the help of the Dean of Students office and the rest of the NKU community.
Maxedon has been working in her new position for about a month.
“It was a very smooth transition because I’d already worked with many key players that are involved in this center which is very, very nice,” she said.
She is diligently working to have policies and protocols set in place for the start of the Fall 2014 semester and has been working closely with Ann James, Title IX Coordinator and Associate Dean of Students, to ensure the success of this new center.
Maxedon says she wants to find a way to engage everyone on NKU’s campus, but also realizes that this could be one of her biggest difficulties of her position as well.
“Prevention is the most exciting but it’s also the most challenging,” she said. “Finding a way to show people that they have a part to play in these statistics that we all face.”
Although Maxedon is the only full time staff member of the center, she is planning to have a number of social work and other student interns to help with office responsibilities and advocacy and prevention efforts with the center.
“Our passion is to ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she said.
Maxedon plans to make sure she has a presence to students, starting by talking to Orientation Leaders and planning to talk with Resident Assistants for the Fall 2014 semester.
“This is really a dream job for me,” she said.
Maxedon’s office can be found on the third floor of the Student Union room 326.