Gloria Thomas, Director

Dr. Gloria D. Thomas joined the Carolina Women’s Center as director on August 1, 2016. Before then, she served as director of the Center for the Education of Women (CEW) at the University of Michigan for 7 ½ years, where she led the Center in broadening the focus of CEW’s constituency from primarily adult women to women and nontraditional students with a particular focus on students who are underserved at U-M. Under her leadership there, CEW received a grant from the Ford Foundation of more than $380,000 for the Michigan Partners Project aimed at advancing economic security and mobility for Michigan women living in poverty, particularly women of color in Detroit and Flint.

Prior to returning to CEW, Dr. Thomas served in two associate director positions at the American Council on Education (ACE) from 2000-2008, including in the Office of Women in Higher Education, and in the ACE Fellows Program, both where the foci of her professional duties were leadership development and enhancing career success for women in academe. Before ACE, from 1995 – 1999, she worked at CEW during doctoral studies, conducting research and coordinating the Women of Color in the Academy Project, a support network for women of color faculty.

After graduating from college, Dr. Thomas rose to the rank of associate dean of admissions and director of minority student recruitment at Swarthmore College, her alma mater, where she earned a B.A. in English and Black studies from Swarthmore College, an M.A. in English from Villanova University, and a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Michigan.

Gloria can be reached at gloria.thomas[at]

Cassidy Johnson, Gender Violence Services Coordinator

Cassidy Johnson serves as one of the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (GVSC). Cassidy graduated from UNC in 2007 with a BA, double-majoring in Psychology and Women’s Studies. After working with Americorps, Cassidy went on to earn an MA from the University of San Diego in Marital and Family Therapy. Cassidy has volunteered with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center since Spring of 2012, completing a 60 hour training to serve as a Companion on the 24 hour crisis line and completing a 30 hour training to serve as a Support Group Facilitator. Cassidy also has experience serving as a Marriage and Family Therapist and has conducted individual, couples, family, and group therapies. Cassidy has experience working with people who have a wide variety of mental health, intellectual, and developmental diagnoses.

Cassidy has been HAVEN, Safe Zone, Safe Zone: Gender Identity & Gender Expression, Embody, and Green Zone trained.

Please visit the Gender Violence Services page to learn more about how Cassidy can be of assistance to you! She can be reached at gvsc[at]

Holly Lovern, Gender Violence Services Coordinator

Holly Lovern serves as one of the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (GVSC). Holly graduated from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia in 2014 with a BS in Psychology and went on to earn an M.Ed. from the University of South Carolina in Higher Education and Student Affairs in 2016. At USC, Holly worked in Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention and provided advocacy for students, faculty, and staff impacted by gender-based harassment and violence. She also developed programming, outreach, and trainings on topics including healthy relationships and consent, supporting survivors of gender violence, gender violence prevention, and bystander intervention. Holly has student affairs experience in new student orientation, the first-year experience, fraternity and sorority life, and academic coaching and advising.

Holly has been HAVEN, Safe Zone, Safe Zone: Gender Identity & Gender Expression,  Mental Health First Aid, Embody, Green Zone, and UndocuCarolina Ally trained.

Please visit the Gender Violence Services page to learn more about how Holly can be of assistance to you! She can be reached at gvsc[at]

Shelley Gist Kennedy, Program Coordinator

Shelley Kennedy serves as program coordinator at the CWC, with a focus on student programming. She graduated from UNC with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing. She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration through UNC School of Government.

During her undergraduate career, Shelley served as a student intern at the CWC for three years. She has since enjoyed working here professionally and being able to serve UNC students in new ways!

Shelley has been Safe Zone, Green Zone, HAVEN, Mental Health First Aid, and One Act trained. She serves as a facilitator for both HAVEN and Safe Zone trainings.

If you are interested in volunteer, internship, or work study positions at the CWC, or would like for the CWC to collaborate with your organization or department, please contact Shelley at shelleygk[at] or 919-843-5892.

Clare Counihan, Program Coordinator for Faculty and Staff

After graduating from Duke in 1999, Clare Counihan completed a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research interests focus on experimental southern African fiction that explores the relationship between the nation and excluded subjects. As  program coordinator, she supports faculty and staff’s work by helping them access resources for gender equity in the workplace.

Clare has been HAVEN, Safe Zone, Safe Zone: Gender Identity and Gender Expression, Mental Health First Aid, and GreenZone trained.

If you are a faculty or staff member and have suggestions for programming, please contact Clare at clarecounihan[at] or 919.843.2423.