Krista Millay (STH’11): Director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Arizona
Krista Millay is Director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Arizona. She earned her Doctor of Theology in Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics from Boston University in 2011, with a dissertation focused on women’s negotiation of patriarchal structures, comparing first century religious women and their modern day contemporaries through the framework of ritual using soteriological themes. She is widely published in national outlets, such as Huffington Post and Ms. Magazine, on the intersectional topics of parenting, sexual violence prevention, and feminism. Krista’s undergraduate work in student development, graduate work in feminist theory, and her professional experience in social justice work make her an expert as well as passionate advocate for issues of gender equity, feminism, healthy masculinity and sexual assault prevention. Of all her work, however, Krista is most passionate about being a mother.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment since graduating from STH?
I am so deeply grateful for the mindful, feminist, critical inquiry skills that I developed during my time at STH, for the many professors who gave extra time to have long conversations that developed my mind and thinking. These skills have not only helped me to find my way into a really fun feminist job where I use those skills daily, but they have also helped me in my writing – with ten op-ed pieces published over the last year. But, honestly, my greatest accomplishment – and the best use of my STH skills! – has come with being a mom. Helping my kids make their start in a world that is so often binary, sexist, and racist has put my skills to use like never before!
What advice would you give a current STH student?
I would encourage current STH students to keep other passions and interests alive, even when they don’t seem to have an obvious or current intersection with your theological work. For me, those other interests ended up being my main career focus. But the skills, experiences, and connections you develop at STH will inform whatever path(s) you take. Be open to however the winding path may lead you. Follow what sparks your interest.
Why did you choose to work at the University of Arizona’s Women’s Resource Center?
I always thought I would teach theology, but when I felt like that was no longer the right path, I knew that leading a Women’s Center would be my dream job. It preserved my strong passion for working with students, while allowing me to bring in my feminist knowledge. When the position came open, I was already at UA, working in Judicial Affairs, so the campus connections, knowledge of current issues, and student relationships that I had developed over the previous year or so really served my preparation as a competitive candidate.
What skills or experiences would benefit someone wanting to work on raising awareness of sex, gender, equity, feminism, and masculinity on a college campus?
Get involved in the work being done on campus right now! Being a part of the STH group CAUSE: Justice and Partakers really transformed my social justice activism, and ignited passions that changed my path. Whatever sparks your passion, find out how or where you can put energy toward it. Those experiences, knowledge, and connections can be even more important than the credential you are earning.
Can you give us an example of a mistake you have learned from during your career?
I am constantly learning about my privilege as a white hetero cis person, particularly when I make mistakes or mis-speak. Like when I misgender a student by not using their pronouns or fail to notice microaggressions that make students feel unwelcome. The practical application of intersectional feminism demands that we make space where marginalized voices can be heard and prioritized. But this can be challenging in an undergraduate feminist space (like the Women’s Resource Center), when everyone who is here has sought out the space for safety and community. Creating a brave space and community where we can recognize our privileges in the midst of our shared oppressions is the work.
What was the most important experience you’ve had that has helped you in your career?
Studying with Dr. Shelly Rambo – having her push me more than any other professor in my feminist thinking – was an absolute shift in my life’s path. I am really grateful for the time I spent learning from and talking with her. Also, the feminist friends I had at STH, especially Nicole Long, helped me to link my feminism to other critically important issues, like racism, classism, health, and the environment. STH was simply an amazing place to be. I am really grateful to have spent time there.