“We are passionate about students making a difference, engaging in community, and dedication to having a positive impact in the lives of others. Education is a powerful instrument to make our world a place where people can strive and live together, regardless of gender, nationality, race, and their beliefs.”
— Bernhard Kohlmeier & Lisa Ann Mikulencak
The Ray Wolpow Institute takes great pleasure in announcing Taylor Stuber-Proden as the recipient of the 2020-2021 Kohlmeier Mikulencak Scholarship in Honor of Arthur Poznanski (1927-2009). This scholarship is awarded to a Western student who, by refusing to give up, has overcome profound adversity, and who also comes to embrace adversity as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Taylor, a sophomore, likes skiing (both water & snow), cooking, swimming, hiking, and is a visual artist. As a community volunteer and victim advocate, Taylor utilizes the skills she has acquired over the years to continue her personal development while also helping others with theirs. When an assault against her in high school propelled her into a maze of barriers within the institutes responsible for her safety and well-being, she learned that existing laws were not properly enforced, and something needed to be done to stop the silencing of assault victims.
Survivors of sexual assault often stay silent because, in too many instances, they learn their voice does not matter. Young victims who report violent incidents are often disregarded by those people responsible for their protection, and who encourage them to remain silent. Eventually, it was Taylor’s instinct to protect another student that provided the clarity she needed to persist. Taylor found her voice and forced the necessary conversations that needed to take place, not only to protect herself, but also those students who have, or will, experience similar victimization.
Once Taylor set aside her fear, she was no longer going to be silent and she reported the assault to the police and the press. Determined to make a difference in her state’s education system, Taylor’s advocacy efforts eventually found its way to the state senate. With the guidance and support of Oregon State Senator, Floyd Prozanski, Taylor is responsible for the initiation of legislation which calls for the revision of common definitions in sexual assault laws within public and private education systems, requires and expands investigation and reporting protocol, and creates civil action damages for failure of these institutes to adequately report suspected sexual misconduct. (Senate Bill 912)
In Frances Badgett’s article, The Stories They Shared (Window Magazine, Summer 2019), Badgett describes how the Kohlmeier Mikulencak Scholarship in Honor of Arthur Poznanski came to be. Victor Poznanski, Arthur’s son, who lived with an irrational sense of shame related to his father’s experiences during the Holocaust, eventually shared this story with a work colleague, Bernhard Kohlmeier. Due to this conversation, and Bernhard’s ensuing friendship, Victor decided that continual negative attachment to his father’s story wasn’t justified. The “keys to stopping harm in our culture,” he said, “are storytelling and education.” Subsequently, Victor began to publicly share Arthur’s inspiring story of resilience with those who he hoped would benefit by hearing it. And soon after, an educational scholarship to support Western Washington University students who are doing the same was born.
Taylor wanted to make a permanent change to a broken system. Through strength and determination and accompanied by the support of her family and other allies, she found her right path. By refusing to be silent, by telling her story and doing the work that needed to be done, Taylor discovered her center.
Congratulations Taylor Stuber-Proden, the 2020-2021 recipient of the Kohlmeier Mikulencak Scholarship in Honor of Arthur Poznanski! Thank you for making a difference in our communities.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, Western’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance and CASAS Survivor Advocacy Services WWU are available to help. You deserve to feel safe and supported. You are not alone. It is not your fault. We BELIEVE you.
Western’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, 360-650-3307, Washington Relay: 711, email@example.com
Western’s Together Against Sexual Violence, http://wp.wwu.edu/sexualviolence/
WWU Counseling Center: After-Hours Support, 360-650-3164 (option 1), https://counseling.wwu.edu/emergency-services
Local and National 24-Hour Support
DVSAS/Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, 1-877-715-1563, https://www.dvsas.org
LVOC/Lummi Victims of Crime, 360-312-2015, https://www.facebook.com/Lummi-Victims-of-Crime-224037844249144
County-Specific Resources in Washington
WSCADV/Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, https://wscadv.org/washington-domestic-violence-programs/
WCSAP/Washington Coalition Sexual Assault Programs, https://www.wcsap.org/help/csap-by-city
NDVH/National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233, https://www.thehotline.org/
Love is Respect, https://www.loveisrespect.org/
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673, https://www.rainn.org/
LGBTQ+ Specific Support, 1-206-568-7777, https://www.nwnetwork.org/