Who Are We?


Real Life Athena: A Women’s Collective is a collective of female-identified individuals who have come together to create a safe space for women to raise our voices, share our stories and promote further dialogue. This is a multimedia space where varied voices share diverse perspectives with the goal of promoting feminism, combating misogyny, and breaking down patriarchy. We work for a society where people of all backgrounds are empowered and ready to take action.

If you have general questions, suggestions or ideas for Real Life Athena, our general email is RealLifeAthena@gmail.com


Contributing Writers: 

Anonymousrla is an account for the RLA community members to share content, that for various reasons (sensitive subject matter, employment, privacy of others, etc.), should remain anonymous. Check out some anonymous contributions here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/anonymousrla/


IMG_20120729_164002Jasmine Abraham is a Hamline University graduate who aspired to be a psychologist achieving a double B.A. in Psychology and Communications Studies during her four years there.  While going to college, she worked for a program to help high school youth stay out of gangs and teach them life skills and inspired her to volunteer with AmeriCorps.  She spent a year of service at Edison high school working with students at-risk of not graduating from high school. She also volunteered at a women’s clinic focused on closing the gap on racial health disparities that women of color face.  It was during this experience she decided to switch gears to become a doctor specializing in primary health care of women. During the summer she teaches social justice at Unity Center for Youth Leadership.  Most importantly she values relationships and the interdependence that connects us all. Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/spazzmine7/


Maxine AnwaarMaxine Anwaar- Palestinian-Israeli-American-Human(ist). I believe intellectualism is confronting our doubts, thus I strive towards intellect. Activism is action with a recognition that the first revolution is thinking, therefore I try to be an Activist. Studied Anthropology and Religious Studies in Minneapolis, MN. After graduation, started a new study in engineering. I have the imagination to charge the world and the realization I will never accomplish it. Regardless, my passions move me to work towards justice. Contact me at maxine.anwaar@me.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/maxineanwaar/

This is Alexis, she is currently in her second year of her Marketing major 
and hopes to have an emphasis on equality studies tied somewhere in there.  As a new addition to the culture of feminism she has one very important goal in mind: make her struggle as a woman, as a young adult, and as a minority known. She has a vision that all people no matter their sex, sexual preference, gender, race or creed are seen as equals in the professional and social world and is willing to express and work for this goal in any way. Please feel free to contact her at Albourgerie@gmail.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/alexisbourgerie/


sarahSarah Brammer-Shlay currently lives in Washington, D.C. in a wonderful group home. She holds many identities including a sister, daughter, friend, organizer, feminist, Jew, writer, etc… She loves her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a proud product of that community. Raised by feminists, Sarah has firsthand seen the importance of creating positive environments for women to feel empowered and confident. She dreams of a day where this is a reality for more young women and is dedicated to seeing this dream out through constant efforts of combating prejudice and sexism in our everyday lives and media. Contact Sarah with questions and comments at Sarah.brammer.shlay@gmail.com Check out her writing: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/sarahbrammershlay/


akeenaAkeena Bronson is a past student at St. Cloud State University, studying Mass Communications and Broadcasting.  She’s proud to call Minneapolis, Minnesota her hometown, where a family full of strong,beautiful women raised her. Their experiences inspired her to become more outspoken about issues surrounding women’s equality. Akeena LOVES music! She’s an aspiring DJ and writes poetry in her down time. She believes that music is something that can touch anyone, no matter who they are.  Akeena plans to use her love for music to bring people together and uplift women, especially in the music industry.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Akeena at akeena.bronson@yahoo.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/akeena34/


Kinga Gabrielson

Kinga graduated with her BS in Social Sciences from Portland State University last spring. Excited to begin life in the real world, she is equally excited as overwhelmed.  As a late bloomer when it came to embracing Feminism (as well as about everything else in life) she believes strongly that communication is key to any change. There’s always someone to listen to and learn from.  Kinga wants to make people laugh more than anything in the world and use that to remain hopeful, despite the hurdles, that there’s hope for the world and Feminism.  To contact me feel free to email me @kinga.gabrielson@yahoo.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/kpgabrie/


anna hAnna Hovland is a recent graduate from St. Olaf College (’13), where she studied English and Political Science with an emphasis in gender studies. She is a native of South Minneapolis and fondly misses summer bike rides around the lakes. Anna currently resides in Washington, DC where she works on advocacy and research with Restaurant Opportunities Center DC and at 826DC, a writing center for kids. She is a travel enthusiast and can often be found daydreaming of future adventures. Anna is currently looking for work in communications, with a strong interest in liberal/progressive advocacy, legislative research, and policy. Email her at: annayhovland@gmail.com, and check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/hov1a/


magdalenaMagdalena Kaluza is a Minnesotan biker, writer, and live music lover. As an Urban Studies undergrad at Stanford University (’13), she focused on urban design, social justice, food growth, and Chinese. On campus, she also taught English with Habla, was a member of the labor rights organization, and a talent booker and RA for her 55-person housing co-op, EBF.  Magdalena is a summer staff with Youth Farm  and a poet with Minnesota’sLatin@ spoken word collective, Palabristas. Currently, she is in Guatemala visiting family, teaching herself videography/editing, and working with DESGUA. Reach her at: magualena@gmail.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/michiganbudget2011/ 



Maddy Kluesner loves to write, debate, and annotate. Her biggest cause is the prevention of violence against women, gender violence, and how they coincide with mental health. She’s a senior of the University of Minnesota majoring in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and French. She volunteers as a sexual assault advocate with The Aurora Center and plans to pursue her masters in Social Work with an international focus. Overall, she believes that storytelling is the best way to promote social change and harmonious living and wants to incorporate that into her work. She hopes to return to France next year as an English teacher for the French government and see where that brings her. She also loves writing in third person. Contact her at klue0050@umn.edu. Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/maddymaddyohmy


sonyaSonya Kuznetsov is an Education Assistant in Minneapolis, MN working with children to foster their academic achievement and/or their social-emotional growth. She immigrated to the Silver City as a religious refugee from Moscow, Russia. 
Sonya’s experiences as a refugee and a woman influenced her strong passion for advocacy and social justice work. She seeks to explore the intersections of feminism and special education and is always trying to catch up on the latest research. Sonya makes sure to keep her family, friends, boyfriend, and teapot close in order to keep her grounded. Contact Sonya at sonya.kuznetsov@gmail.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/sakuznetsov/


lexisLexis recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a major in psychology and minors in Spanish and public health. Since then, she has worked in the wonderful world of unpaid internships. However, jokes aside, it was because this work was motivated by a genuine desire for change, instead of a paycheck, that she was able to connect academics and activism. Lexis is currently writing web content that addresses teen dating violence in Spanish-speaking communities. She strongly values the role of research in the fight for social change and is in the beginning stages of a study examining the relationship between a university and the community. She is an advocate for the elimination of domestic abuse and mental health stigma, but her overarching interest is in gender roles and their insidious connection to all aspects of out lives. Her plan is to study this connection in graduate school when the time is right. Send any questions or comments to Lexismanzara@gmail.com, she would be happy to hear from you! Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/lexismanzara/


Megan Leys is currently a student in the Youth Studies program at the University of Minnesota, in her hometown of Minneapolis. She is an intern for the non-profit Casa de Esperanza, and is passionate about working with youth.  She also works as a senior advocate at a group home for four males with autism.  Through her work, Megan is curious on how we can make a change in education when it comes to equality.  She is a curious learner, and wants to promote community building and involvement, because she believes that we learn best when we are listening and truly learning together, despite all of our differences.  Please contact Megan at: leysx002@umn.edu Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/meganleys/ 


amyAmy Miles currently fills her time with music, art, and friends in Minneapolis, MN. Amy, also known as “Mystic Roots” is an aspiring   female rapper, producer, artist, trumpet player, and percussionist who works to be a big part of the Hip Hop scene. Not only does she wish to grow and learn about local music and art, Mystic Roots wants to reach out in a way she can impact, uplift, and communicate powerful stories of women all over the world.  Contact Mystic with questions or comments at: mysticrootsmatter@gmail.com Check out Mystic’s music at: http://mysticroots.bandcamp.com/ Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/mysticrootsmatter/ 


Amy Neguse is a proud Eritrean-American, Alpha Kappa Alpha woman and soon-to-be graduate of the University of Minnesota. Amy strives to make a difference in her community as a mentor and advocate for women, youth, and families. Her dream is to encourage healthy familial relationships among underrepresented populations, and with her motivation and passion for education and families, she plans to develop intervention and prevention programs to empower women and youth. Her ideal world would be for all women to be educated, love the skin they are in, and for all to pay it forward. “She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future” Proverbs 31:25. Contact Amy Neguse with questions and comments atnegus013@umn.edu. Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/negus013/


sarah mSarah Mintz is a recent graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota with a degree in creative writing and concentration in human rights & humanitarianism. Passionate about the intersection of social justice and the Arts, she currently works for a book club for incarcerated youth in Washington DC. A proud feminist, Sarah believes there is still much work to be done to ensure safety, opportunity, and equality for women. She is excited to be a part of this blog because she believes dialogue is a crucial tool for social change. Contact her with any questions or comments at samintz@gmail.com. Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/sarah1290/



beauBeau Sinchai was born and grew up in Thailand. Even though she was raised in a traditional and conservative family, she sees the world differently. Beau recognizes the large number of population that is still unaware of their entitled human rights and she is working toward raising the awareness of their rights. Trained in architecture and design, she hopes to merge design with public services and use design for social change. Contact Beau at beausinchai@gmail.com or visit http://cargocollective.com/beausinchai Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/beausinchai/ 


jennaJenna Vagts, recent graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, currently works with at risk 1st and 2nd graders in New Orleans at Success Preparatory Academy. She is proud to call Minneapolis, Minnesota home and credits much of her personal development and inspiration to her community there. Jenna strongly believes in the power of art as a form of advocacy and takes a particular interest in creating and performing poetry. Two women who have particularly inspired Jenna are her grandmother Mary Watters and her mother Lora Vagts for their strength and wisdom. Determined to make our world a more inclusive and equitable environment, she hopes to encourage others to think critically and act consciously.  Contact Jenna with questions and comments at jenna.vagts@gmail.com Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/jennavagts/


alyssa toast woodard studies Family Social Science, Youth Studies, and [unofficially] community organizing at the University of Minnesota. Growing up in a working-class family in North Seattle, and later Lynnwood, Washington, she was always faced with issues of inequality but never allowed a safe space to talk about such issues. Upon moving to Minneapolis for college, her eyes and heart were opened to a completely different world view – partially due to meeting the ladies of South High and some of the other writers for Real Life Athena. Besides HECUA, her loves in life include cats, plants, live music and the color rainbow. Through her work in the community and on campus she hopes to address the need for more equitable access to housing and education. Check out her writing here: https://reallifeathena.wordpress.com/author/toastie072/




2 thoughts on “Who Are We?

  1. Mandy says:

    He Called Me Fat.

    He called me fat. Just like many people have.
    Rejected. Because I’m a big girl.
    This is not new. I’ve heard it a thousand times.
    He called me fat.
    The truth is out. Everyone knows my body sets me apart from him.
    Hushed tones, cautioned to tell me the real reason for the reject.
    “I don’t want to hurt you.”
    “Its really mean.”
    “He’s just a superficial asshole.”
    “…but you have such a pretty face.”
    He called me fat.
    He called me fat cause he doesn’t like fat.
    But fat is what I like.
    Manly, bearded, hairy fat.
    Personal preference is what it’s about.
    He called me fat.
    15 year old me would of curled up and cried herself to sleep.
    But today I’m overjoyed.
    But today I stand proud.
    Today I can feel comfortable in this big body.
    Today I have embraced these legging ready thighs, these killer tits, these strong tattooed arms.
    My body. The only one I get.

    He called me fat.
    And I am.


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