Margaret Sloss Women’s Center fills vacancy at director position

Mariah Anderson

After being vacant for nearly two years, the position of director at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center has been filled by Lorraine Acker.

Acker has been a resident of Ames for four years. She is currently a doctoral student at Iowa State in the School of Education, with her research focusing on the experiences of women of color. Acker also holds assistantships in the Graduate College and Multicultural Student Affairs on campus. She expects to finish her dissertation in 2016.

Prior to her doctorate work at Iowa State, Acker earned a Bachelor of Science in African and Afro-American studies and political science from the State University of New York College at Brockport and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University.

In the past, she served as adjunct faculty in Women and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and as assistant dean of students for Minority Student Support Services and Women’s Programs. She has more than 12 years of experience working in higher education.

Som Mongtin served as interim director for the two years the director position was vacant. Now that the position has been filled, she will return to her previous role as assistant director. She said she looks forward to once again having a full staff at the Sloss House.

Looking back on her time as interim director, Mongtin said she hopes she helped make the programs at the Sloss House more inclusive. One such initiative is starting The Gender Monologues, which was new this year. While The Vagina Monologues focus on the stories of women, the Gender Monologues opened up an opportunity to people who do not identify as cisgender women to share their stories as they relate to gender.

“That’s the impact that I hope that I’ve made … that the campus understands that the Women’s Center isn’t just [about] women’s issues. It is a social justice issue that affects all identities,” Mongtin said.

The Dean of Students Office was primarily involved with the search for a new director, but the Sloss House staff was able to meet the candidates while the hiring process was underway. 

Mongtin said Acker’s ability to connect with students, her strong vision for the Women’s Center and her ability to collaborate with administrators sets her apart.

“I’ve seen her relationship with students and she’s very approachable,” Mongtin said. “She understands the way students may think, and what would help them grow at Iowa State.”

The Sloss House is most well-known for work centering on The Vagina Monologues and power-based violence such as sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking. In the future, Mongtin said she hopes to see the student body recognize the lesser-known efforts of the Women’s Center, such as their events for International Women’s Day and Equal Pay Day.

Mongtin encourages the student body to stop by the Sloss House to say hello to Acker and welcome her to the Women’s Center community.

Acker will assume the position of director on May 1. She was not available for comment at the time of publishing.