Gettysburg College students want to positively impact the world, including Camille Traczek ’22, who now serves as the executive policy specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Today, she leads statewide efforts for the It’s On Us PA grant program on Pennsylvania college campuses.
Traczek’s passion for creating a safe, supportive campus community inspired her to speak out against sexual and dating violence. Upon coming to Gettysburg, Traczek discovered a student-led organization, Students Against Sexual Assault, dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence and how to prevent it. As she got involved in its outreach activities, she developed leadership and communication skills, which served her well as the organization’s co-president in 2019 - 2021.
“It was my job to lead discussions about sexual assault,” she said, “and I tried to bring students from all different corners of campus life into these conversations.”
Her friends and fellow peers at Gettysburg soon recognized her as a leading source of information and support in matters related to sexual assault and violence. The knowledge she gained studying policy development as a political science and public policy double major and exploring aspects of culture with her minors in German studies and peace and justice studies provided additional support for her advocacy work.
“At Gettysburg, I had countless opportunities to become a stronger critical thinker, policy analyst, and ethical leader, such as through my First-Year Seminar with [Public Policy Chair] Anne S. Douds, programs with the Eisenhower Institute, and working as a leadership mentor for the Garthwait Leadership Center.”
Supported by the breadth and depth of knowledge and enduring skills she gained at Gettysburg, Traczek committed her time and talents to advance awareness of ending sexual and dating violence among college students.
In 2021 - 2022, Traczek began leading on-campus initiatives that built a culture of respect for everyone. Her work with Gettysburg College’s Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX, service to the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Task Force, and advocacy as a student ambassador for the It’s On Us sexual misconduct awareness and prevention education program enabled her to direct her passion into action.
Through her involvement on the College’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Task Force, Traczek met Gettysburg’s Title IX Director Amanda Blaugher, whom she worked with during her senior year as a student assistant for the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX.
Blaugher was impressed with Traczek’s tenacity to speak out against acts of sexual violence. After witnessing Traczek project confidence as a leader through her work with It’s On Us at Gettysburg, she invited Traczek to meet with several representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These individuals visited Gettysburg College in spring 2022 to learn how Gettysburg was using the grant it received from the department to support It’s On Us PA student engagement efforts, which launched on campus during the fall of 2021.
“During that meeting, I fully realized the value of the work I was doing on campus and the value that the Department of Education saw in my dedication to and knowledge of preventing sexual violence,” she said.
“Camille understands the importance of education and its role in raising awareness while she worked to break down barriers with groups on campus,” Blaugher said. “These experiences she had during her time on campus provided her with opportunities to engage with not only the It’s On Us PA grant but also with the role that policy plays in the work that we do.”
A passion for policy, a career for awareness and advocacy
Last spring, Traczek returned to Gettysburg, where she joined more than 55 participants from 28 institutions across the state for the It’s On Us PA Convening, organized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She shared her perspectives serving as an It’s On Us Student Ambassador at Gettysburg and her passion for creating safer college campuses.
“I genuinely believe It’s On Us shifted the campus culture at Gettysburg College for the better. I saw more willingness to talk about sexual violence, stalking, dating violence, reporting harassment and assault, and intervening when someone saw something that was just not right,” she said.
As she goes to work each day for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Traczek continually reflects on how her Gettysburg education set her up for success.
“I live out my consequential education every time I write a white paper, read legislation, or contribute to a policy decision. But I also live out my education every time I need to think critically, consider the ethics of a decision, or use empathy. Each of the classes, jobs, and programs I participated in as a student built on one another and got me to where I am today.”
By Michael Vyskocil
Photos by Abbey Frisco and Alexandra Wein ’24