Jennifer Pagala Barnett, program coordinator for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Women’s Center, is one of nine community members recognized by Governor David Ige for “embracing their voice” to prevent sexual violence during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Hawaiʻi in April.
As a licensed social worker, Barnett is strongly grounded in student affairs, where she strives to support holistic student development and create safe and inclusive campus environments for students to grow personally and academically.
She also serves as the coordinator for the UH Systemwide PAU (Prevention, Awareness, Understanding) Violence Program, which focuses on education and crisis services for students around the issues of sexual assault, dating, domestic violence and stalking on all UH campuses.
“Jen is an amazing woman. She is always there for our students and is willing to go above and beyond to ensure that they feel safe on campus,” said a UH graduate student. “Jen is extremely personable, kindhearted and always puts the needs of students first.”
Barnett has emerged as a leader in the field of sexual violence prevention in Hawaiʻi and serves as the Higher Education Community Action Team chair for the Department of Health. In this role, she has brought together key stakeholders from community college and university campuses around the state to implement comprehensive prevention education plans on campuses.
“Jennifer is an engaging and dynamic trainer, who has the ability to introduce difficult topics like sexual assault and domestic violence to audiences on campuses and in the community,” said Christine Quemuel, UH Mānoa interim assistant vice chancellor for diversity. “She provides critically important advocacy and support for students who have personally experienced violence.”
The governor recognized the honorees at a ceremony on April 13.
For more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Hawaiʻi, download the Department of the Attorney General’s news release (PDF).