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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

‘President of Women’ : Claire Satuito

The former director of the Women’s Center reflects on her time at SF State and is ready for her full-time corporate job
Natalie Metcalf
Claire Satuito (left) and MJ Parafina stand next to each other in the Women’s Center on the terrace level of Cesar Chavez Student Center on Satuito’s last day of being director, Feb. 29, 2024. (Natalie Metcalf / Golden Gate Xpress)

“President of Women” was written on a bright pink “Barbie” sash lying on Claire Satuito’s desk. According to her colleagues, this is how the former director of the Women’s Center will always be known.

The Women’s Center is a social experiment in itself. Satuito has called the center “Barbie Land” since her first day. She says that Barbie Land is the dream and the ideal for the Women’s Center and for the world.

“I mean it very seriously when I say that when we create a space that is very reminiscent of a world that is not run by men or is not bound by the rules of the patriarchy,” said Satuito. “You get to have the most fulfilling friendships and connections with other people that I think is supposed to happen.”

While at San Francisco State University, Satuito began her journey working with Associated Students from the ground floor at Gator Groceries, situated within the recreation and dining level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Over time, she worked her way up to the Women’s Center on the terrace level of the building.

“Then you fall in love with it along the way,” Satuito said. “You start to realize what you’re doing is actually very important and you start to put value and meaning behind the work because it makes a difference in someone else’s life.”

The former director originally had no idea what AS was — only seeing a flyer for the job. She expressed that the work is accessible to anyone because it simply involves helping people.

Satuito believes women can do anything they put their minds to. She knows and trusts women to think outside the box, which is why Women’s History Month is important to her.

March is Women’s History Month and her last day at the Women’s Center was a week before International Women’s Day.

According to Shanice Robinson-Blacknell, the senior director of culture and social justice at AS, the Women’s Center progressed from Satuito’s work. Robinson-Blacknell was her supervisor and loved her innovation, describing her as a true leader.

Mica Calvo (Left) and MJ Parafina talk with friends at the Women’s Center on March 11, 2023. According to Parafina, the director of the Women’s Center, the room is usually active and receives a lot of foot traffic throughout the week. (Natalie Metcalf / Golden Gate Xpress) (Natalie Metcalf)

“Claire is just a one-of-a-kind human being,” Robinson-Blacknell said. “Prior to Claire coming, there had been talks about having a lactation station for nursing mothers but it never came to fruition until Claire’s leadership.”

Robinson-Blacknell said Plan B pills and menstrual products would not be accessible to students without Satuito’s hard work at the Women’s Center.

“You could do anything that you want, you don’t have to be limited by your opportunities or your degree because my degree — women and gender studies — people would say isn’t very transferable, but I would argue that it allows me to do anything I want,” Satuito said.

Satuito also increased foot traffic in the center. Robinson-Blacknell described her as a go-getter.

“She is able to make lemonade out of lemons,” Robinson-Blacknell said. “Sometimes, we just don’t always have the resources we need to bring all of our goals and visions into fruition but Claire is so resourceful. She truly cares about the community that she serves and it shows in her work — it shows in her leadership.”

Satuito is moving on to taller buildings as she begins her new full-time job in the Financial District in San Francisco. What she calls her “big girl corporate girlboss job” is an office manager position for a private equity group. She was offered the position an hour after her interview.

“That’s my path because AS and any program within it is a stepping stone to whatever it is you decide to do with your life,” said Satuito. She also stated she gained real work experience that trained her for full-time work.

On March 5, after Satuito began her job at the Roxborough Group, a commercial real estate agency in San Francisco, she realized she’d entered a different environment.

“It’s amazing, it’s super nice,” said Satuito regarding her new job. “It’s obviously very different from the Women’s Center. It’s expensive real estate, it’s finance bros, it’s definitely a more patriarchal society in the office than what I’m used to in the women’s center.”

Starting in community college in the East Bay, Satuito wasn’t sure what she wanted to pursue in school. After transferring to San Francisco State University, Satuito wanted to put all her efforts into her education and had ambitions to study nursing. In December 2023, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in women and gender studies.

Satuito said her degree and her job don’t relate to it, but the skills are transferable. With her degree, Satuito can see inequity on a systemic level which allows her to talk with people coming from a different place.

MJ Parafina has since taken over as director of the Women’s Center. Parafina,a chemistry major and commuter student at SFSU, started as an intern for the program and rose to become an office assistant before reaching her current position.

 As the new director, Parafina has big shoes to fill. She is focused on creating and planning the center’s annual conference while also catering to regulars who use the program.

Claire Satuito, former director of the Women’s Center stands in front of the Women’s Center office on March 11, 2024. Satuito graduated from San Francisco State University in December 2023 with a degree in Women and Gender Studies. (Natalie Metcalf / Golden Gate Xpress) (Natalie Metcalf)

“It’s super exciting to go from intern to director. I’m very much looking forward to that,” Parafina said on Satuito’s last day in the office. “It is bittersweet because I have so much love for Claire and Claire is such a great director here.”

Parafina mentioned her excitement about starting her journey as a director. The chemistry major reflected on her relationship with Satuito.

“Throughout last semester up until now we’ve [Satuito and Parafina] built this friendship. We all in the center went through very emotionally taxing experiences last semester and it brought us closer,” Parafina said. “This is kinda my home on campus. This is my spot. So when I’m here, I can rely on Claire and Madeline; I can really lean on them.”

Satuito also worked closely with Madeline Cox, the internship coordinator at the Women’s Center. On Satuito’s last day in the office, Cox brought brownies, cinnamon rolls, chips and dip to have a going-away party.

“Claire is unconditional and so it doesn’t matter who comes in or for what. Claire is going to be there no matter what,” Cox said. “I can say probably the worst thing on the entire planet and Claire would be like, ‘You know what? I hear you, let’s pivot,’ but you know it is always unconditional. There’s never a time that anyone feels unsafe or unappreciated around Claire.”

Her friends and former coworkers nicknamed her the ‘president of women.’ On her last day, a sash was given to Satuito. The inside joke will always remain with the trio and Satuito will always be the ‘president of women’ in their group.

“As someone who used to be a major introvert, getting that practice, putting that time in, shaking a lot of hands and also failing, you won’t get to this place unless you put yourself out there and practice,”  Satuito said with serenity. “All I ask is that there are kids out there and I can only encourage them to be brave.”

Satuito speaks with inspiration in her voice and there is hope in her words as the 23-year-old discusses what she’s noticed in life. She wants people to take control of their own lives.

“I’ve seen a lot of people sit on the bench of their own lives and kind of watch it go by and I’m like ‘Life is too short for that,” Satuito said. “You can’t sit and watch everything else go by while you’re sitting there kinda waiting for something to happen.”

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About the Contributor
Natalie Metcalf
Natalie Metcalf, Staff Reporter
Natalie Metcalf (she/her) is a staff reporter from the Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in creative writing. She was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles. Metcalf has previously worked as The Valley Life editor at The Valley Star, the independent student newspaper at Los Angeles Valley College. During her free time, she enjoys reading, journaling, writing poetry and making themed Spotify playlists.

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