Joli Ienuso, MEd,
Violence Prevention Educator, Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, Columbia University
Tell us a little about your new role:
My title is Violence Prevention Educator (VPE). I work for Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center (SVR for short) at Columbia University. My position is grant funded by the Enough is Enough grant via the Department of Health of New York State. SVR provides advocacy, prevention, and outreach for all affiliate schools of Columbia University. As the VPE I am tasked with performing all three, which is a unique position for SVR. This means I provide direct services to Columbia University students as a certified rape crisis counselor via the 24-hour/year round HelpLine; sexual violence prevention training programs in the areas of bystander intervention, healthy relationships, communication, intersectionality, microagressions, and more; and perform student and community facing outreach. A major component of my position, fueled by the requirements of the Enough is Enough grant, is to foster partnerships with administrators of other colleges and universities in New York City and host training of trainer (ToT) workshop series’ in order to prepare Title IX Coordinators and other designated administrators in the dynamics of sexual violence, and how to comply with federal and state legislation.
As part of my position, I am also a member of the OutSmart NYC Collective and Curriculum Committee. OutSmart consists of nightlife staff, community-based organizations, and higher education representatives who have come together to develop and implement a training program to promote sexual violence prevention in nightlife spaces– especially those surrounding college campuses. I am also the co-chair of the Manhattan Sexual Assault Task Force (MSATF) College Campus Subcommittee, a group of law enforcement officials, college/university administrators, and community-based organization representatives who come together to discuss and problem-solve issues involving campus sexual violence.
What is your favorite part of your new job?:
My favorite part about being the Violence Prevention Educator is every opportunity I have to teach. If I had to name a favorite population, I think my ToT’s would “take the cake.” Throughout my time in the MEd program at Widener I fell in love with education, so being able to begin conversations that evoke education theory with a room full of administrative peers is particularly rewarding.
How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:
I use what I learned in the program every day. I have a small library of books at my desk that I reference every day. It truly is all about #RationaleRationaleRationale, knowing your audience, and molding programming to meet people where they are. My workshops for graduate students at Teacher’s College are different than those for graduate students at the Medical Center, which are different than those for first-years, international students, and so on. I go back to those basic tenants all the time, and I keep the books that house them close!
What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:
If I can impart one piece of advice it is to be your own best advocate by developing good habits sooner rather than later. Read every word of the syllabus, get started on that assignment early (and save it often), use all the resources available to you (there is so much information on the CHSS Campus Cruiser page), ask informed questions, network often, assume everyone you meet in the program (including professors) will be future co-workers and that . may determine the impression you intend to leave, identify your learning edges and push them, respond to emails quickly, and of course, learn what it means for you to take care of yourself and make that a priority. All of these things which you can begin to do (or fine-tune) as a graduate student directly translate to being in a traditional workforce– especially if you are interested in working for or with higher education.