The #Kent State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center has just hired a new staff member, Katie Mattise. Mattise works as the center’s program coordinator.
The #LGBTQ center has been on campus since 2010. It was started by Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Dr. Alfreda Brown and committee member Greg Jarvie. Roxie Patton served as the center’s first program coordinator.
Ken Ditlevson was hired as the Center’s first director in November 2014. Since then, he was the only full time staff member until this semester. The center has hired student interns and graduate assistants, but Katie Mattise is the first program coordinator since Roxie Patton left in July 2014.
Mattise grew up just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania and went to college at the University of Pittsburgh. They graduated with a major in English literature with a minor in studio arts and a certificate in women, gender, and sexuality studies.
They then went on to work as a Residence Hall Director at Hiram College. Mattise received a master’s degree in cultural foundations in education from Syracuse University, which is a social justice oriented course. In addition to LGBTQ related issues, Mattise is passionate about other social justice issues and they stressed the importance of intersectionality.
“Intersectionality is that folks are made up of all these different identities, I’m not just one thing I am all these different things,” Mattise said. Some examples of different identities Mattise has worked with and advocated for include race, religion, gender and sexuality.
While at Syracuse, Mattise facilitated a dialogue circle called Conversations About Race and Ethnicity (CARE) and they were tagged to start and further facilitate other one-time dialogue circles.
Mattise is the program coordinator for the LGBTQ Student Center, which means they oversee all the special events, and programs the center offers.
Seeing as they only started on September 16, Mattise has not yet had a big hand in planning many programs. However, they said they will be responsible for planning events such as That Gay 5K and help to plan the Homecoming events for the center.
Mattise said their big hope and dream is that everyone knows where the center is and knows that they are here for every student, faculty and staff member.
“I really want the center to be a place where a student, faculty or staff member can come up and be their whole self and have their whole self validated and feel like they are welcomed and celebrated here.”
The LGBTQ Student Center is located on the lower level of the Kent Student Center next to the post office. The office is almost always open for drop-ins and anyone can come just to say hi or for support.