Since 1998, the Women's Resource Center has provided a gathering place for women at Georgia Tech, offering programming, advocacy and resource information.
The Women's Resource Center was formed in 1998 out of the vision and persistence of many Georgia Tech women - students, faculty and staff. Jennifer Orr and Vicky Pickens, two Tech students, pursued the idea of giving Georgia Tech a unified voice for the women on campus. The first invention of this pursuit was the Women's Student Union, an organization that could create a community of, and represent the women at, Georgia Tech. Soon after the Union formed, the group decided that there were some political issues they wanted to address that might not represent all women on campus.
From this decision came the idea of the Women's Resource Center. In 1997, after several years of discussion with the Tech administration, the idea caught the attention and support of Dean Stephanie Ray, the then newly appointed Associate Dean of Students, Gail DiSabatino, Dean of Students, and Student Affairs Vice President Lee Wilcox. The proposal for the Center was approved and funded by Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough. The Center officially opened Spring Quarter 1998 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 23.
The first two years the Center was run by a graduate student under the supervision of Dean Ray and the first full-time person, Yvette Upton, was hired as Program Coordinator in January 2000. In recognition of the focus and importance of the Center's efforts at Georgia Tech, she was named Director and Assistant Dean of Students in 2002. Since then, the Women's Resource Center has continued to grow. In June 2004, the Center moved from a small former meeting room to our current suite where students can work, study, plan activities or relax. We are located on the first floor of the Charles A. Smithgall Student Services Building, affectionately know as the "Flag Building."
In June 2006, the WRC hired Colleen (Petterson) Riggle to join the staff as Program Coordinator. While Colleen served as the program coordinator she helped build new programs, provided trainings through a Violence Against Women grant, and advised the Women's Awareness Month planning committee.
Yvette Upton, Director of the Women’s Resource Center from January 2000 until December 2009, left after 10 years to take a promotion at Georgia Tech Savannah as Director of Outreach and Students Affairs. Georgia Tech named Colleen Riggle as the new Assistant Dean and Director of Women’s Resource Center after a national search during the spring semester.
In October 2010, Melanie DeMaeyer started as the Program Coordinator. While developing new programming and advising student organizations, she also provided advocacy for survivors of sexual violence and helped to revitalize the VOICE initiative.
In Summer of 2018, after eight years of dedicated service as the Assistant Dean and Director of the WRC, Colleen Riggle became the Associate Dean of Students for the Division of Student Life. Melanie DeMaeyer is currently serving at the Assistant Dean and Director of the Women's Resource Center and Dani Lechner is serving as our Program Coordinator.
The Women's Resource Center continues to actively pursue the goals and aims of our founders and to support and maintain the community of Georgia Tech women.