About Us

Who We Are

The Penn Women’s Center was founded in April, 1973, after protestors occupied College Hall for four days to protest a series of rapes on campus. We moved to our current location on Locust Walk in the early 1990s, following the “Diversify Locust Walk” movement that sought to make Penn safer for minorities and female students. For over 40 years, the center has been active in promoting the rights of women on campus and beyond. We strive to include voices of gender, sexual, and racial minorities, acknowledging that feminism has historically been white and cis-centered. Come visit us to walk through a timeline of our history!

Contact Us

Address:

3643 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Hours:

  • Monday – Thursday 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
  • Friday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Evenings and weekends by special arrangement.

Our Team

Elisa Foster on Penn's campus
Elisa Foster (she/her)
Director

As Director of PWC, Elisa supports and advocates for gender equity among all areas of the campus community. Elisa focuses on PWC’s educational programming, community outreach, and on mentoring key student groups such as PAGE (Penn Association for Gender Equity). Prior to joining Penn in 2017, Elisa served as the Manager of the Women’s Leadership & Mentorship Program at Robert Morris University where she supported peer and professional mentoring relationships and developed leadership training programs for undergraduate women.

Elisa has a background in grant writing and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations throughout the Philadelphia region, as a consultant for Fairmount Ventures, and a fundraiser for the Women’s Business Development Center and Urban League of Philadelphia. She also served as a marketing coordinator and market researcher for The Melior Group where she helped colleges and nonprofit organizations meet the needs of their constituencies. In her spare time, Elisa uses these skills to support the local nonprofit community. She is currently a board member of Pathways to Housing PA in Philadelphia and a former board member of Ursuline Support Services in Pittsburgh. 

Elisa received her undergraduate degree in English and Communication with a concentration in Africana studies from Villanova University and her master’s degree in Communication (Media & Cultural Studies) from Villanova.

Jasmine Greene outdoors on Locust Walk
Jasmine Greene, J.D. (she/her)
Associate Director

As Associate Director of PWC, Jasmine leads various programming and student engagement initiatives, while also advising organizations supported by PWC. She has held various roles in K-12 and higher education settings, which include working in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging offices, along with serving as an adjunct professor of legal research and writing. 

With a passion for gender justice, Jasmine has served in a series of women’s organizations and centers where she led teams to develop programming and outreach efforts focused on feminism advocacy and education, as well as women’s professional and educational ascension. In all her roles, she has worked to confront the educational inequities and opportunity gap faced by historically marginalized groups

Jasmine earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Florida State University, a Master of Science in Education from Penn’s Graduate School of Education, and a Juris Doctor from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Jasmine believes deeply in the necessity to create positive and meaningful student educational experiences, which fuels her passion for inclusivity and equity for diverse student populations. 

Catherine Sciolla Headshot picture
Catharine Sciolla (she/her)
Associate Director

As Associate Director of PWC, Catharine’s main responsibility is providing confidential support and resources for students on campus as well as supporting student-led initiatives, such as Take Back the Night. Catharine has previously worked at non-profit organizations supporting students and women who have experienced trauma. Catharine is passionate about gender equity and focuses particularly on trauma-informed care and trauma prevention.

Catharine earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English from University of Richmond. As a student, Catharine worked with many organizations on University of Richmond’s campus to educate, prevent, and respond to sexual misconduct. Catharine is a proud advocate for all survivors and believes in holistic, compassionate care and systemic interventions that center survivors and those most vulnerable. Catharine received her Master of Social Work from Columbia University.

In her spare time, Catharine likes to play with her two dogs, cook pasta dishes, and watch the same TV shows over and over again with her family (primarily: The Office, Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99, Schitt’s Creek, and New Girl!). Catharine is always available to talk with you about whatever is on your mind – she is a confidential and supportive resource for all of Penn’s community!

Hitomi Yoshida, Penn Women's Center's Coordinator photographed at the Locust Walk
Hitomi Yoshida (she/her)
Program and Operations Coordinator

Hitomi Yoshida has worked in higher education and qualitative evaluation since she graduated with an M.S. Ed. from Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) in 1995.  Before joining Penn Women’s Center, Hitomi served as the Program Coordinator at the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH) and as the Diversity Programs Manager for the Penn Museum. Before she returned to Penn campus, she was the Associate Director for the Intergenerational Center at Temple University for many years. Hitomi is experienced in facilitating collaborative learning and community engagement and appreciates the welcoming space and dynamic programs that the Penn Women’s Center offers for the community.  

In her spare time, Hitomi likes to attend community-based art events and engage with local non-profits that serve refugee and immigrant communities.

Laura Arellano-Velazquez (she/her)
Laura Arellano-Velazquez (she/her) Student Program Assistant
Laura is a sophomore majoring in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics (PPE). She is originally from Austin, Texas where she attended KIPP Austin Collegiate High School. There she served on a restorative justice council, participated in the robotics program, played on the varsity volleyball team, and qualified for National Honor Society. At Penn, she serves as the External Communications Director for F-Word Magazine (a feminist literary magazine), contributes to the Festival Latinx committee, and is a Mujeres Empoderadas general body member. Laura has a deep passion for eradicating gender norms and helping low-income individuals like herself. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her loved ones, watching Netflix, shopping, and exploring Philadelphia. At Penn Women’s Center, Laura assists with marketing and the weekly newsletter, and served as a liaison for Mujeres Empoderadas .
Tryphena Zareif (she/her)
Tryphena Zareif (she/her) Student Program Assistant
Tryphena is a sophomore majoring in Cognitive Science and Health & Societies. She aspires to become a physician to care for patients and their families through their health journeys. Since arriving at Penn, her passion for healthcare has only intensified. She researches the role of physicians, medical professionals, and non-physician providers in health education, medical research, clinical protocols development, and health policy reform. Her academic interests include regenerative medicine and health policy. Tryphena’s goal is to help underrepresented groups have access to affordable, quality, and holistic healthcare. She aims to use her experience and education to help first-generation individuals (like herself) feel represented and empowered for personal and professional success. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, listening to music, and playing cards with friends. At Penn Women’s Center, Tryphena assists with marketing and social media, facilitates various initiatives, including the Game Day Program, and co-leads Gender Equity Week programming.
Amaya Madarang (she/her)
Amaya Madarang (she/her) Student Program Assistant
Amaya is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and minoring in Survey Research Data Analytics. She is originally from Pasadena, Maryland, a small, predominantly white town where in the face of division she found a passion for racial and gender equity. Having led projects like book studies, Let’s Talk Justice, and curriculum reviews and revisions, Amaya continues to strive for equity in the Women’s Center. Outside of the center, Amaya is a member of Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative, an organization that addresses problems specifically facing Asian Pacific Americans at Penn. Amaya is also involved in Check One, a multicultural organization reflecting her diverse background, and she regularly participates in ARCH events at Pan-Asian American Community House and Makuu, the Black Cultural Center. In her free time, Amaya loves to read, write, and listen to music. At Penn Women’s Center, Amaya has led student programming, including the reopening of the PWC library and book discussion.
Luke Godsey (Use my name "Luke" as my pronoun)
Luke Godsey (Use my name "Luke" as my pronoun) Student Program Assistant
At Penn Women’s Center, Luke facilitates arts and crafts programs as well as the weekly Community Tea Time program.
Nesha Subramaniam (she/her)
Nesha Subramaniam (she/her) Student Program Assistant
Nesha is a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and South Asia Studies. She is originally from Victorville, California where she enjoys the natural Mojave Desert landscape. She is a member of Penn’s Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program and participates in Penn Tea Club, PRISM, Clio Society, and the Hindu Jain Association. Nesha enjoys spending her free time drinking hot cups of tea, taking long naps, and eating cheese. At Penn Women’s Center, Nesha facilitates the weekly Community Tea Time program and has organized programs such as a Saturday movie watch party.
Nicol Paulino (she/her)
Nicol Paulino (she/her) Student Program Assistant
Nicol is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and minoring in International Relations. She was born in the Dominican Republic but was raised in New York City. Nicol serves in Penn’s Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) student group and volunteers at the Reach-A-Peer hotline. Her academic interests include developmental psychology and Brazilian-Portuguese language and culture. With the goal of practicing pediatric and forensic psychology, through research she aims to influence policymaking for at-risk youth. In her free time, she likes to bake, paint, and make playlists. At Penn Women’s Center, Nicol assists with marketing and social media, and facilitates several initiatives, including co-leading the Gender Equity Week programming.

What We Do

Sponsored Programs

We are affiliated with a number of centers and programs on campus, with the goal of centralizing women, gender, and sexuality focused resources. We encourage you to look at our support services and affiliated groups for further information. We offer programs related to: Career Development, Stress Management, ParentingSexual Violence Prevention, and Health and Wellness.

Events

We sponsor a number of events throughout the year that highlight issues of gender justice and promote women writers, activists, artists and political and professional leaders. These include conferences, trainings, and workshops, with topics ranging from restorative justice, to healthy relationships, to men and masculinities. Major sponsored events, co-produced with student groups, include the Vagina Monologues, the Women’s Leadership Summit, Penn Women’s Week and Take Back the Night. 

Advocacy

We play an advocacy role regarding issues of gender equity, health, childcare, workplace discrimination, domestic and sexual violence, and mental health.  

Our Space

Located in the heart of campus, at 3643 Locust Walk, the Penn Women’s Center offers the perfect space for women, female-identified persons and feminists of all genders to study, relax, host meetings, and workshops or team up for civic engagement projects.

More than just a building, we are also home to a fully equipped nursing room, complete with a Medela Symphony breast pump, that provides a cozy private space for breastfeeding and/or pumping. We also have an eco-kitchen (PEEK) that can be used for cooking, events or hanging out, a film and book library, a TV lounge, wireless internet access and assorted meeting rooms.