Stephanie Helms Pickett was announced as director of Duke’s Women’s Center.

Helms Pickett has served as interim director of the center since last Fall, when former director Ada Gregory stepped down in order to become executive director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Program Management. Currently in her eighth year at Duke, Helms Pickett will assume her permanent position immediately.

“I hope to inspire a deepened sense of community so that women’s issues overall are not only heard, but responded to,” Helms Pickett said in a Duke News release.

The first black woman to hold the position, Helms Pickett served the University in a number of roles before becoming interim director of the center—including directing Assessment and Professional Development within Student Affairs, chairing Duke’s Bias Analysis Task Force and serving on the Task Force on Gender and the Undergraduate Experience.

The Women’s Center advocates for individuals and groups experiencing gender-related issues, carries out educational programming, works to advance social justice and offers support to members of the Duke community.

“I hope to continue the legacy of ensuring that women’s voices are heard, and that that their voices are reflected in policy and the life of the University,” Helms Pickett said in an interview with the Student Affairs Blog. “I will make myself available to women, to hear what gives them joy at Duke, what gives them pause and what they need to be successful here and post Duke.”