Telling Stories of Utah Women
by Maggie Regier (’20)
“I’ve always had this dream to do whatever I could to make the world a better place,” says Westminster alum Michael Ramon Aguilar (MACL ’13). In addition to his day job as marketing director at Mark Miller Subaru, Michael has dedicated years of service as a community activist in Utah, which prompted an invitation from Salt Lake-based author and storyteller Naomi Watkins to co-host the This Is Her Place podcast. Each episode features at least two women, one historical and one contemporary, who have distinct stories but whose lived experiences share a common theme.
Michael says that he has always been passionate about building community, but he was apprehensive about accepting Naomi’s invitation to co-host This Is Her Place. “I was concerned about taking space from women,” Michael explains. “But Naomi argued that it is critical to have more allied men at the table to use their inherent privilege to speak up.”
Michael knows that being a white male comes with privilege that his interviewees do not have. He learned this early on as he and his sister were raised by a single mother. Being the only male in the home meant that he often witnessed firsthand the challenges his sister and mother faced—that he did not—because of the fact that they are women. As a result, Michael is committed to confronting and using his privilege to uplift the voices of others, something he has been able to do through his participation in This is Her Place.
“There is something beautiful about sharing in the history of others,” Michael says. This Is Her Place recently wrapped its second season, which, combined with season 1, includes 12 episodes featuring interviews ranging from female athletes and restauranteurs to cattle herders. Michael adds that he looks forward to conducting the interviews for many reasons, but especially for the opportunity to elevate the unique stories and lived experiences of women—and to learn in the process of doing so. “One of the life skills I learned during my time at Westminster was to be insatiably curious—and to feed that curiosity by living life as a student who never graduates from learning,” he says. “That’s what I try and do every day, and that’s how I approach the podcast. There isn’t one episode that I didn’t learn something.”
The This is Her Place podcast team is gearing up to launch their next season in the spring of 2022. Michael especially encourages Westminster alumni to check out the podcast because of the shared connection to lifelong learning. “Folks should listen because of their own desire to feed their insatiably curious spirit,” Michael says. “After all, being a student for life is one of the best gifts that Westminster provides.”
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.