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Student Experiences

Hear what our students have to say about their experiences in GenCen programs!

We provide a range of academic and professional opportunities for students interested in gender and sexuality.  Learn about all the ways you can benefit from these programs at MSU.

Podcasts

WGS minor Oumie Nyassi discusses her experience with Education Abroad from the "Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Sexual Politics in Amsterdam" program. Oumie delves into the research she conducted regarding refugees and LGBTQ alliance during her trip.

Louren Escamilla is a Forestry major who added a WGS minor after learning about the resources available at GenCen. Louren discusses how she has used her minor to communicate more effectively with others in her clubs/societies and during her last two summers working in the Hiawatha National Forest.

Recent WGS minor graduate, Carlyn Arteaga, discusses the way the Amsterdam Education Abroad program pushed her out of her comfort zone for her final project on domestic violence against Muslim women in the Netherlands. Carlyn also delves into how her WGS minor and Edu Abroad experience play into her new journey as a Master's student in MSU's School of Social Work.

Recent graduate Makailyn Boughton sits down with GenCen Co-Director Stephanie Nawyn to discuss the Women's and Gender Studies minor, GenCen's Study Abroad program in Amsterdam, and how an education in WGS made her a more attractive job candidate post-graduation.

Co-Director of the GenCen, Dr. Stephanie Nawyn, sits down with Dee Church, an LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies student. Together they discuss the minor, Dee's internship with Equality Michigan, and other advocacy work with the LGBTQ community.

Sara Denbo graduated from MSU in Spring 2017 with dual degrees in Astrophysics and Women's and Gender Studies.  This unique pairing allowed her to find many of the ways gender impacts our everyday lives, and helped to inform her career goals in law and policy-making.
UpdateSara started at the University of Michigan Law School in August 2018.

Testimonials

Naomi_KenyaInternship.jpgNaomi Kamitha, Women's and Gender Studies major and GenCen intern, on her experience with the major, her peers, and her future career plans:

"I started my Women and Gender Studies degree without any idea whatsoever about what it was or what career it would lead me into. All I knew was that I wanted to work with women and girls, especially back in my home country of Kenya (and eventually the African continent) to live happier and more fulfilling lives. Two years down the line I have worked with my WGS advisor to design my degree to fit my own interests. The guidance and support of my WGS professors and classmates has helped me explore, discover and build my interests fearlessly. So far, I have worked as a peer educator with SARV, started my internship at the GenCen, am president of the African Female Students Empowerment Program and this summer (2018) am doing an internship with the Forum for African Women Educationalists Regional Secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya. Gradually, I have a clearer image of what I want to do and am aware of the inexhaustible career options ahead."


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Caitlin Dubay, Women's and Gender Studies minor, on her experience in the Gender, Sex, and Feminism in London program:

"Studying abroad in London was such a great experience and I am forever grateful. During my month in London, I was exposed to a new culture, new experiences and new educational concepts. On my study abroad, I chose to study Women’s Studies 202 as well as an independent study with a London based researcher. My professor, Lucy, was incredibly knowledgeable and taught me more about women’s studies than a textbook ever could. On the study abroad we partook in many events outside of the classroom including the Annual Psychology of Women Conference, Kinky Boots the Musical, and many tours that were fitting to our studies. I would have not been able to experience all of this without my scholarship from the Center For Gender in Global Context as well as my scholarship from Gilman. My advice to students considering studying abroad but lacking the financial means to do so, such as myself, is this: Go. Apply for the scholarships, the money is out there and it's an experience of a life time."


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Jonathan Walkotten, Women's and Gender Studies double major, on their experience with how the major provided new opportunities and perspectives and reshaped their life.

"My education in Women's and Gender Studies has been transformative and foundational not only in my intellectual pursuits, but also in my personal life. Gender Studies education has taught me how to theorize, explore, and critically analyze gender and sexuality as they function in society. It has taught me to question my presuppositions and assumptions about people, their experiences, and the human condition, opening up explorations in thought and experience that have transformed how I write, theorize, and live my life. In my personal life, it has queered my existence, with a Gender Studies education leaving me freer in my experience and expression of gender and sexuality, less constrained by labels of identification and social constraint, and willing to reexamine the things I had assumed to be true about my personhood. It has offered me opportunities like the Amsterdam Study Abroad Program, studying Sexual Politics, Gender Identity, and Sexuality, that gave me a global and transcultural examination of the social constructions of gender and sexuality, exploring political and social culture and its impacts on forming and structuring these identities across difference. It has added depth and breadth of understanding to my other studies, and a theoretical framework of queer theory that engages curiosity and frees mind and spirit."


Repp photo.JPGEmma Repp, Women's and Gender Studies minor, on her experience with the minor:

"When I was in high school, I did not consider myself to be a feminist. To be honest, I thought all the feminist stereotypes were true (bra burning, man hating, etc) and did not want anything to do with it, even though I believed in gender equality. It wasn't until I got to MSU that I realized my preconceptions were very wrong. My freshman year, two of my friends were gender studies minors (which I didn't even know existed!) and they always spoke very positively about the classes they took. It didn't take much, but they convinced me to enroll in WS 201 my sophomore year and since then, I have learned so much! My gender-based classes have opened my mind to ideas such as intersectionality and environmental feminism, putting a name on things I saw but couldn't explain. The minor includes a variety of diverse topics and I ended up learning about so much more than gender, which really broadened my perspective on subjects like racism and classism. The minor has also been very practical, as I've applied what I've learned in the classroom to an internship, events I see in the news, and my own life every day. After adding the minor, I feel directed to work in the field of human rights, specifically the rights of women and girls in situations of violence. My educational and career goals are certainly not what they were when I graduated high school, but I couldn't be happier with how they've turned out!"


PPerryHolmes.jpgerry Holmes, MSU grad with a double major in Women's and Gender Studies, reflects on her college experience and how the major changed her life.

"Adding a WGS double-major to my music major was one of the best decisions for my career. College was HARD. I was going through a lot of hardships in my personal life and my academics were directly affected. Although I was incredibly busy handling the large course load of a double-major, learning about the complex topics in the WGS classes and internships helped me improve my grades, discover my understanding of the world, and most importantly, changed my life. The WGS program gave me the opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands, improve my communication skills, dabble in other interesting classes, and I was able to participate in an internship that brought my two majors together. I interned at the MSU Community Music School in East Lansing, and after graduation, I was hired as a teacher and manager at the CMS in Detroit. My advice to other students is, don’t be afraid to make a change! It seems risky, but taking a risk is better than living with remorse. Take advantage of your academic advisors!! They want the best for you and will always help you."


GenCen Helmet SQUARE AVATAR LARGE.jpgKyla Goolsby, Women's and Gender Studies minor, on her experience with the introductory WS courses:

"I initially chose the WGS Minor because I wanted to end the stigma about women's studies courses by learning the topics that interested me in greater depth. I took WS 201 and WS 202 with Dr. Sarah Prior, one of the best professors I've had the pleasure of knowing at MSU. The best thing the WGS Minor has taught me is that, "your silence will not protect you" (Audre Lorde). Prior to this minor I was hesitant to discuss the complex, intersectional issue of women's rights, however after completing the minor I have developed confidence and passion in my studies, which I may otherwise use as a catalyst to examine gender on a domestic and global scale. The knowledge I have acquired within this minor has been applicable to every arena of life. I personally believe this program should be expanded. Women's Studies 201 should be a prerequisite for graduation at MSU. This course is invaluable and the expansion of its demographic is key for its success."


ShelbyAnderson.JPGShelby Anderson, 2015 graduate from MSU's Journalism program, on how taking WS 201 changed her career path: 


"After taking WS 201 and volunteering for the SACI (Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention) Team on campus, I realized that my calling in life was no longer sitting on the sidelines writing the stories as a journalist -- my calling was actually to make a difference and be part of the story itself as a nurse. I went back to school at Indiana University South Bend, which is near my hometown, and enrolled in the nursing program. I am currently in clinical and close to obtaining my BSN. My goal is to help implement a sexual assault and crisis intervention team in St. Joseph County that provides hotline and medical advocacy, similar to the program on campus that serves East Lansing. There is only one hospital in the area that provides sexual assault/strangulation exams and most sexual assault survivors do not go to this hospital, so implementing this program at the other hospital will provide crucial resources and support for those who would normally go without. I also want to be a sexual assault nurse examiner once I graduate, too. Once I have gained experience at the bedside, my dream is to become a nurse practitioner and specialize in women's health. My time at MSU has helped me grow and develop into the passionate, driven and focused advocate for women's health. I thank WS 201 with Professor Byron for helping me get started on this journey."

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