The Year of the Woman at UNA

Did you know that UNA is the first state-supported co-educational institution south of the Ohio River and the oldest co-educational teacher’s college in the U.S.? I only recently learned of this history as the University was planning for the Year of the Woman, which is a celebration of 150 years of women at the University. UNA first admitted women in 1872 when the University was known as the State Normal School at Florence. This academic year we will honor the many women who laid the foundation for this University and the women who will lead us into the future. I encourage you to check out the Year of the Woman webpage for more UNA history and the many events to celebrate this momentous occasion.


We will have several events throughout the year to honor women and you can keep up with these on our webpage. We will kick off the semester with the Women of Action series. The series was launched in August 2020 as a collaboration between Community Service and Outreach, the Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion, and the Center for Women’s Studies. Our first three speakers in the series for the fall 2020 semester were Dr. Rachel Winston, Kaytrina Simmons, and Jancye B. Fadden. The three speakers for the spring 2021 semester in the series were Tori Bailey, Chelsea Kauchik, and Andrea Holt. The series was designed to highlight the achievements of women in the Shoals community in the areas of civic engagement, education, business, and leadership. We had such success with this series and are continuing it this academic year. We are excited to announce our fall 2021 speakers – Gabriela Snell, Randa Hovater, and Trinda Owens.  


women of action

Gabriela Snell (she/her) is a graduate of the University of North Alabama with a bachelor’s in sociology and psychology, and a minor in family studies. While a student, she was active in undergraduate research and served as President of the university chapter of AAUW. She is now the President of Equality Shoals and currently serves on the advisory council for Project Say Something. She is a proud community activist, speaking out against racial injustice.


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Randa Hovater (she/her) graduated from the University of West Alabama with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in integrated marketing communications. She has taken part in Leadership Shoals and was named the Young Professional of the Year in 2019 by the North Alabama Mountain Lakes Association. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of West Alabama teaching writing for the mass media and advanced media writing. She is a city council member in Sheffield, Alabama - and is the youngest member in Sheffield history to serve in that role. She currently works in corporate marketing at Yelda Hotels.


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Trinda L. Owens (she/her) is a youth advocate, entrepreneur, speaker, and licensed and ordained minister. She is the founder and CEO of iSTAND CAMPAIGN, an organization that inspires, encourages, and empowers young people to take a stand for right. She tackles suicide, bullying, choices, self-esteem, purpose, success, resilience, and more. Trinda is employed locally as a Family Engagement Specialist. She graduated from the University of North Alabama with a bachelor's and master's degree in social work and a certificate in leadership. Trinda has reached hundreds of youth with her passionate engagement, creative style, and purpose-driven messages from a heartfelt desire to see young people fulfill their purpose. Her life's mantra is, "I'm not just here just to be here. Trinda is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and social issues, particularly among young people. She has been involved in volunteering and giving back to her community since she was a teenager. Throughout the years, Trinda has received several awards and recognition for her humanitarian and community service endeavors.

We also want to take this time to welcome the new Coordinator at the Center for Women’s Studies – Kirsten Wood (she/her). Kirsten recently graduated from Nova Southeastern University where she served as the graduate assistant for Title IX Prevention Initiatives. She did her practicum in the Women’s Center at Florida International University. Please stop by and welcome Kirsten to UNA during their open hours (8:00 am-4:00 pm) and plan to attend some of their upcoming events. You can learn more about the history of the Center for Women’s Studies in one our previous blogs