Joanne Tosti-Vasey, PhD

Borough Council Member, Civil Rights Activist, and Volunteer in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

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Dr. Joanne Tosti-Vasey is an advocate of women’s civil rights and open, transparent governance in the United States. Having experienced firsthand discrimination and unfair pay in comparison to male counterparts, she is an active participant in the fight to secure equal wages and overall economic justice for women in the workforce.

Her areas of interest also include reproductive justice, lesbian rights, ending racism and violence against women, historic preservation, and ensuring open, transparent governance.. In January 2016, she will be sworn in to a four-year term as one of nine members of the Bellefonte, PA Borough Council.

Utilizing her experience in policy analysis, Dr. Tosti-Vasey has lobbied in Harrisburg and created one of the most inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances in Pennsylvania. She has successfully advocated for the creation of anti-discrimination ordinances in State College, Pa., and Allegheny County (where Pittsburgh, PA is located), lobbied for civil rights bills, and helped to change policies and procedures in a number of institutions in Pennsylvania and across the country. In 2014, she worked closely with Montana NOW to censure and remove a judge from the bench who used rape myths to hand down a 30 day sentence to a high school teacher/rapist.

She makes it a point to stay up-to-date with current events in her community and beyond through memberships with The National Association of Professional Women, Concerned Voters of Centre County, the Centre County Democratic Party, and the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association. She also chairs the Centre County Advisory Council to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to monitor tension, acts of bias and potential hate crimes.

Dr. Tosti-Vasey attributes her more than two decades of success to having a genuine concern for people and a desire to see that civil rights are being upheld. She is proud of her public speaking and writing skills, as well as her devotion to lobbying and accomplishing goals as a member of numerous administrative boards. As she continues advancing in her career, Dr. Tosti-Vasey plans to maintain her efforts for equal rights.

  • Work
    • National NOW Bd of Directors
  • Education
    • PhD Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University