Kayla Mahoney | Photo by Daniel Delgado | Edited by Jessica Fugett | The Wright State Guardian
Kayla Mahoney, Wright State student and member of the Army National Guard and LGBTQA community, would describe herself as hilarious, outgoing, athletic, chill, easy to talk to and not great at giving advice.
“I like making people laugh, that’s like one of my favorite things. [I like] just knowing that other people are having a good time because it makes me have a good time,” said Mahoney.
After graduating from Dover High School in 2016, Mahoney spent nine months at Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for the National Guard.
“I was the only person in our whole company to get promoted and [be] on the honors list,” said Mahoney.
In basic, she served as a platoon guide and a squad leader. She graduated with honors, received an Army Achievement Medal and was promoted. Which normally takes about a year, in less than five months. She was also an honors soldier in AIT.
Mahoney is an 88 Mike (a truck driver) but within her unit is a dispatcher. Her contract includes six years of drill followed by two years of being on call.
“Being recognized as someone who can take charge and is responsible and being put in the position I’m being put in now, is a big thing. It’s a big deal,” said Mahoney. “If I don’t do my job then the whole place doesn’t run.”
Being in the military has caused Mahoney to have to take final exams early and miss days of class, but her teachers are understanding, as being in the military is one of the most accepted reasons for missing class.
Mahoney believes her biggest non-military accomplishment to be a documentary, called Queer the Campus, that she made for a group project in a feminism activism class. It currently has over 600 views on YouTube, which she is proud of.
“[Making the documentary] was really cool because we got to interview people who were non-binary, trans, gender fluid and a bunch of professors who had a lot to say about the all-gender restrooms on campus,” said Mahoney. “That [the documentary] was probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Mahoney is a big advocate for gender equality.
A Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) major, Mahoney aims to someday work for a non-profit such as Planned Parenthood or one that works with domestic violence. She also would love to be able to organize a march; if she could, she would currently choose to march for climate change or reproductive justice.
“Choosing this major made me feel like I was actually making a change.”
“[Choosing this major] made me feel like I was actually making a change,” said Mahoney. “I have had very encouraging and inspiring professors. They have put me into contact with people who can help me reach my goals and set me up for future endeavors.”
Mahoney feels that Wright State has room for improvement when it comes to gender equality.
“I still feel like there’s a big disadvantage for people who are non-binary or trans or don’t identify as cisgender,” said Mahoney.
She has not personally experienced inequality but feels that her biggest disadvantage on campus is not being taken seriously. “When I tell people that I am a WGS major, nobody knows what it is so they assume that it is easy or unimportant,” said Mahoney.
She would love to see more acceptance of the all-gender restrooms on campus and a “realization of their usefulness and how many people they help.”
Mahoney is the Vice President of the campus organization Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA). The group is for students who want to make differences on campus with gender inequalities and climate.
“It is really good for clubs like this to exist for students who aren’t sure about how to use their voice. I am really excited to see how the work we will do on campus will shape me as an activist,” said Mahoney. “I’ve been more involved this year than ever and that’s given me a sense of completion.”
As a commuter, Mahoney struggles with finding parking and knowing about upcoming events on campus. She also struggles with finding healthy food on campus.
Changes Mahoney would like to see on campus include healthier food and Segways or hoverboards.
“Healthy food options on campus are a big deal to me because I struggled with my self-image for years. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I started treating myself right and lost 30 pounds,” said Mahoney.
If implementing healthier options is difficult, Mahoney instead suggests creating food guides for students. They would list healthy options at multiple places on campus and ways to mix up a diet so as to not eat the same meals over and over again.
As for the Segways, they would be practical in getting across campus more quickly and double as a fun way to blow off steam.
Mahoney is a member of Club Tennis, participates in intramural sports and attends campus sporting events.
One of her favorite Wright State memories so far is when she traveled to Detroit with her peers in spring 2019 to watch both basketball teams play in the Horizon League Championships. It was her first out-of-state game.
“I really liked that in between the men’s and women’s games that they took us somewhere to hang out and play games. I had never been to Detroit so it was cool getting to see some of the city too,” said Mahoney. She would love to go to the championship games again this year if the opportunity is available.
The Queer the Campus documentary can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf9ZPTCz92Q
Info on FMLA can be found on their Engage page: https://wright.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/feminist-majority-leadership-alliance