I received my B.S. in Gender & Women's Studies in 2008. Since November of 2008, I have had the privilege to serve as the Director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success at Iowa State University. My degree provided opportunities to unpack and enhance my understanding of, and intersections within, systems of oppression, particularly around race, gender, class, ability, and sexuality. My educational experience provided spaces to practice social justice through internships and volunteer opportunities in the LGBT Center, Women's Center, South Central Minnesota Pride, and the Sexual Violence Resource Center of Blue Earth County.
The mentorship opportunities with the faculty and staff at MSUM continue well into my career and have assisted in my personal and professional growth. I developed a solid foundation of skills (theory, research/methodology, practice, interviewing, etc.) and continue to expand and build upon those skills in my professional work. I am so grateful to the faculty in the GWS department and the staff at MSUM. Their passion, dedication, brilliance, laughter, insight, mentorship, leadership, and guidance helped me find myself, community, leadership, and how I may be able to critically examine power, privilege, and history to foster change.
After graduation from MSU, I worked in Sexual assault and Domestic Violence, both direct service, and national coalition work. For the past ten years, I’ve been in healthcare IT, as a Project Manager, and builder for electronic health records.
My GWS education prepped me for success in my current work. The research and analysis I did at Mankato prepared me for gathering business requirements and designing systems, as well as workflows. The Community projects prepared me for assessing current states, identifying opportunities, and building coalition to increase ownership and adoption of solutions. And finally my thesis work developed my ability to document and communicate data effectively.
My GWS education and experience gave me the tools I needed that have made me very successful in what likely seems a wildly unrelated field of work to GWS. My experience with the MSUM GWS program gave me the community, and resources to fully come out as Trans. A vital part of my current job is the ability to recognize and create space for intersectionality. I wouldn't have that skill without the GWS department at MSU.
“I graduated from the Gender and Women’s Studies Masters program in 2013. Currently, I am a Psychotherapist in a private practice and also in behavioral health. Upon graduating from the program I became an academic and financial aid advisor, and then I moved back to Wisconsin and completed a second Masters degree in Counseling. My degree in GWS has been in integral part of my success. As a clinician I use the skills and knowledge from my GWS degree everyday. I take a trauma informed approach and social justice oriented perspective. Having a feminist and equality lens has made all the difference in how I work with patients. My thesis and particularly the skills I learned from that entire process have carried over and assisted me in my clinical techniques. I know personally and professionally I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not pursued my passion in gender and women’s studies. I would encourage anyone who truly wants to make a difference and have an impact on society to explore this field.”
"I’m from Ghana, in West Africa and currently live in the State of New Jersey. I work as a Social Worker for the Special Treatment Unit, under the Department of Health. As part of my job, I offer treatment/rehabilitation for Sex offenders, by ensuring their safe transition into the community, while ensuring the safety of the community as a whole.
The GWS program at MNSU has helped me to utilize critical thinking in my career. Also, it helped broaden my view on the culture of sexual violence against women. Especially, how rape is often used as the weapon of violence against women, and how this method/weapon cuts across cultural and international boundaries.
Feminist theory, and feminist pedagogy, and the graduate assistantship work I received through GWS program gave me practical tools on how to prepare syllabus, lesson plans and teaching. As part of my job, I teach various modules in sex offender specific treatment/theories. The GWS department enhanced my writing and speaking skills and also gave me a strong voice to confront oppression at all levels."
“I graduated with my MA in Gender and Women’s Studies in 2012. While at MSU I also earned my Nonprofit Leadership Graduate Certificate. I work at Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) and was in advocacy positions for six years before transitioning to my current role as Development and Volunteer Manager. For the last year, I’ve been working with CADA’s volunteers and interns, as well as assisting with our fundraising efforts. Recently, my position expanded to include CADA’s communications work.
My background in Gender and Women’s Studies has been so valuable in my professional and personal life. My time in the GWS department instilled in me an intersectional feminist perspective and a commitment to social justice. I also met some of my favorite people through the department!”