Re-Envisioning Women’s Worth and Wellness
By Marcia C. Dibble
On their very first day as college freshmen, identical twins Lexie and Lindsay Kite MS’09 PhD’13, now 28, took their first steps down the road that led them to create Beauty Redefined, their recently founded nonprofit organization that works to help girls and women uproot limiting and harmful concepts of female beauty, value, and health.
Separately, in two different classes on “media smarts,” the twins were each introduced to critically evaluating the way women are represented in mass media, and the fact that much advertising is specifically engineered to make people feel “flawed” so that we will buy products in an endless (and fruitless) quest to “fix” ourselves. The Kites also began to see how profit-seeking messages aim to persuade women that they need to fit into one very limited conception of “beauty,” and to—literally—buy into the message that fitting into that concept should be a primary goal.
“I sat in that classroom and my heart pounded faster,” Lexie Kite recalls. “I had such a powerful experience. I felt, this is true, and I have been so affected by this, I need to help other people realize this truth.” At home that night, she rushed to talk to Lindsay about it and discovered that her twin had had the same eye-opening experience in her own class.
Both were Utah State University undergraduate journalism majors at the time, Lexie in broadcast, and Lindsay in print. The sisters immediately dove into more research into popular culture and mass media and their impact on female body image and self-worth, and began looking for ways to share what they were learning. “We wanted to know how the messages affect individuals and how we might be able to help in some way,” says Lexie.
Studying Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (which examines how women’s material and legal successes of the 20th century have been met with an oppressive counterweight of emphasis on and anxiety about physical appearance) and Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly (which focuses specifically on advertising imagery), Lexie recalls that the sisters thought, “It makes you mad, and then you feel like, where do I go with this, what do I do? And there wasn’t really an outlet.” So they expanded their own research “to all forms of entertainment media and profit-driven messages” and dove into “showing people how to recognize those messages, reject them, and get on to what is more important.”
At the University of Utah, the sisters delved into relevant interdisciplinary study in areas such as health promotion and education, art history, and psychology and were allowed to co-write their master’s and doctoral theses in communication.
Lexie’s research has focused on the ability to reject self-objectification. Lindsay, meanwhile, has honed in on promoting true physical health, as opposed to surface-level appearances or measures of health. The sisters’ graduate work became the basis for a one-hour visual presentation for their Beauty Redefined nonprofit. The presentation is regularly updated with recent examples and the latest research, with versions modified for different audiences, and the sisters have now shared it with thousands of people around the country.
The twins also maintain a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TakeBackBeauty), which has more than 14,000 followers, and a website, http://www.beautyredefined.net/. “People have just come in droves, worldwide,” Lindsay says. “We’ve found that people are starving for this information.”
To help spread their message, and to support the nonprofit, the Kites have created a range of “uplifting slogan” products, such as cards featuring the message “You are beautiful (now go do great things!)” and sticky notes declaring “Your reflection does not define your worth.”
The twins have recently been developing curricula for use by individuals, as well as for organizations that work with both adult women and elementary-age girls. Lexie notes that their work is all the more relevant as younger generations are ever more saturated with media messages. “We want to help people at the ground level to recognize and reject the harmful messages,” she says. “Making better choices with our viewing and our pocketbooks leads to bigger changes.”
—Marcia Dibble is managing editor of Continuum.
Carolyn B. McHugh BA’78 JD’82, a Utah appellate judge, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The appointment is subject to the approval of the U.S. Senate. McHugh was appointed in 2005 to the Utah Court of Appeals. She previously worked for 22 years at the Salt Lake City law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless until her appointment to the bench by then Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. McHugh graduated from the University’s College of Law, where she later taught as an adjunct professor. The 10th Circuit covers federal appeals for six states, including Utah and Colorado.
Lynne Sebastian MA’77 has been appointed to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Sebastian has more than 30 years of experience in historic preservation and is a nationally recognized expert in regulatory and legislative issues pertaining to historic preservation. She is also a recognized scholar in the archaeology of the American Southwest and has carried out fieldwork in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Sebastian has served as director of Historic Preservation Programs at the SRI Foundation since 2001. She is also an adjunct associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She served as the state historic preservation officer for New Mexico from 1997 to 1999. Sebastian holds a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Utah and a doctorate in anthropology from the University of New Mexico.
Carlos Braceras BS’88 has been named by Utah Governor Gary Herbert to head the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). Braceras had been the department’s deputy director for 12 years. As executive director, Braceras is now responsible for the department’s 1,800 employees, as well as the design, construction, and maintenance of Utah’s 6,000-mile system of highways, and he serves as a member of the governor’s cabinet. As deputy director, he and former director John Njord BS’88 led the department through the 2002 Olympics, construction of Legacy Parkway, the rebuild of Interstate 15 in Utah County, the new Mountain View Corridor, and the introduction of several innovative interchanges intended to reduce congestion. Braceras joined UDOT in 1986. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Utah.
H. Jay Ford III BUS’82 JD’85 has been appointed by California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., to be a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Ford has served as commissioner at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2005. He was an associate and shareholder at Tyre Kamins Katz and Granof Law Corporation from 1987 to 2005 and served as a litigation associate at the Law Office of Adams Duque and Hazeltine from 1985 to 1987. Ford received a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science and a juris doctorate at the U.
Renee M. Jimenez BS’88 JD’91 has been appointed by Utah Governor Gary Herbert to fill a vacancy on the 3rd District Juvenile Court bench, which serves Salt Lake, Summit, and Tooele counties. As an attorney and an assistant Utah attorney general, Jimenez has managed hundreds of active child support, child abuse, and neglect cases. At the U, she received a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and health, and a juris doctorate.
Chell Roberts BA’82 MS’89 has been named founding dean of the University of San Diego’s new engineering school. Roberts assumed his new post in July, after stepping down as executive dean of the College of Technology and Innovation at Arizona State University. Roberts was the architect and creator of Arizona State’s general engineering program and had taught there since 1989. Roberts holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Utah and a doctorate in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.
John Youngren BA’88 received the 2013 Professional of the Year award from the American Advertising Federation of Utah. Youngren is a vice president and group account director at Love Communications, where he provides advertising, creative, and public relations expertise to accounts including the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, United Way of Salt Lake, and the Utah Department of Health’s anti-tobacco campaign. Following career stints as a sportswriter and columnist, a radio talk show host, a television critic, and even (briefly) a comedian, Youngren has now been with Love Communications for more than a decade. He also is a former member of the University of Utah Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.
Alum’s Protocols Helped Transform Emergency Medicine
By Ann Floor
Jeff Clawson MD’74 worked as a resident in emergency medicine at Charity Hospital in New Orleans after medical school at the University of Utah. Overwhelmed with the hundreds of patients in the clinics and emergency rooms, he expressed concern about their care to his senior resident, who warned him that, for the sake of speed and accuracy, he needed to use a protocol in order to avoid reinventing the clinical evaluation and treatment wheel with every new patient.
“You mean a cookbook?” Clawson asked, explaining that’s what protocols were called at the U. The senior resident handed him some five-by-eight cards and said, “Clawson, you can’t survive at the Big Free without one. You better take a good look at these.”
Clawson had spent time as an emergency medical technician and occasional dispatcher for Gold Cross Ambulance in Salt Lake City to pay his way through medical school at the U, so the suggestion from the senior resident, and his own experience as a dispatcher, led him to the realization one day that emergency medical dispatchers could be more than just clerks. With proper training and a clearly described protocol to work from, they could become professional first responders. Clawson moved back to Salt Lake City after his residency and worked in the emergency rooms at Cottonwood and LDS hospitals, and then as fire surgeon at the Salt Lake City Fire Department. And in 1978, he developed the 911 medical dispatch protocols and training. Those protocols now are used in more than 3,600 emergency dispatch centers in 43 countries.
In recognition of his pivotal contributions to emergency medical services, Clawson recently was honored with two national awards.
The National Association of EMS Physicians in January presented him with its Dr. Ronald D. Stewart Award, for making a lasting, major contribution to the EMS community nationally.
Clawson also was presented the J. Walter Schaefer Memorial Award of Excellence from the American Ambulance Association in November 2012, for excellence in leadership and dedication to the betterment of emergency medical services nationwide.
“These are two of the most significant groups in emergency medical services, and to receive their highest awards is very humbling and fulfilling,” says Clawson.
The protocols include using a script during the initial 911 call to determine what is happening at the emergency scene. The dispatcher then utilizes a coded triage system to determine the level of emergency response needed. The caller is coached on what to do and what not to do and is given instructions for other lifesaving and safety actions. According to Clawson, the goal of the protocols is “to send the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, in the right way, and do the right things for the caller and patient until the troops arrive.”
In 1988, he co-founded the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, which uses the protocols he developed and sets emergency response standards that are used internationally. Currently, about 55,000 dispatchers hold that group’s certification.
Clawson continues to oversee the group’s research, standards, and educational efforts. He also serves as chief executive officer and medical director of Priority Dispatch Corporation in Salt Lake City. Established in 1987, the corporation creates training materials to support emergency dispatch systems throughout the world.
—Ann Floor is an associate editor of Continuum.
Jon Pierpont BS’91 has been named the new executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Pierpont was appointed acting director by Governor Gary Herbert in August 2012, when caseloads were high, budgets were tight, and employee morale was low. In May, state senators voted unanimously to keep him on the job. Pierpont has spent half his life working in various capacities in the agency he now leads. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in sociology and an emphasis in criminology, he was hired as an eligibility case manager in 1992. By late 1993, he had been named to head the state’s central region.
Cecilia Romero BA’98 JD’02 has received the Utah State Bar’s Raymond S. Uno Award for the Advancement of Minorities in the Legal Profession. Romero is a partner with Holland & Hart, where she specializes in commercial litigation and labor and employment, in proceedings before the federal and state courts. Romero was instrumental in creating the Utah Minority Bar Association Diversity Pipeline Initiative, which pairs attorneys from the law firm of Holland & Hart with students from the law schools at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.
Jason Mathis BS’96 MPA’02 was honored in March by the White House as a Cesar Chavez Champion of Change, along with 10 other immigration-reform activists. Mathis received the recognition for his help in promoting the Utah Compact, a declaration of five compassionate principles to guide the immigration discussions in Utah. Mathis noted that the Utah Compact was developed in response to Arizona’s tough immigration enforcement bill. More than 100 Utah businesses, law enforcement officials, political groups, and faith organizations signed the compact. Mathis currently serves as director of the Downtown Alliance and executive vice president of the Salt Lake Chamber.
Alex Jensen BS’05, who was part of the University of Utah’s starting lineup during the 1997-98 basketball season, has been named the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year, as voted by his fellow NBA Development League head coaches. Jensen was head coach of the Canton, Ohio-based Canton Charge, whose NBA affiliate is the Cleveland Cavaliers, until this past July, when he was hired by the NBA’s Utah Jazz to be a player development assistant. He guided Canton to a franchise-best 30 victories during the 2012-13 regular season, en route to an East Division title and the 2013 NBA D-League Playoffs, where the team was defeated by the Tulsa 66ers in the first round. Jensen played for Coach Rick Majerus during his time with the Utes and was named to the All-West Regional team during the NCAA Tournament in 1998, as Utah went 30-4 and played for the national championship. He was named the 1999 Western Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Jason Taylor MBA’10 recently was presented with the Chief Technology Officer of the Year award by the Utah Technology Council, an organization that works to foster growth among the state’s 7,000-plus technology companies. Taylor is executive vice president of development and technology at Allegiance. He has been an engineer for almost two decades, with companies including Novell and Omniture. Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brigham Young University and a master’s in business administration from the U.
We want to hear from you! Please submit entries to Ann Floor. To read more alumni news, check out the “Honor Roll” column in the Alumni Association’s online newsletter here.