Alumni Spotlights

Amanda Vaughan '10

Pursuing a Master's program at Northeastern University in Counseling Psychology

I have always had an interest in gender studies, but by being able to learn about this interest in the wonderful classes offered at Saint Michael's, I had the opportunity to integrate my interest into my planned career goals as a mental health counselor. At St. Mike's I also had a chance to take classes from many different disciplines with professors I never would have had taken from otherwise. Now that I am in graduate school, I am planning on a concentration in cultural, gender, and political psychology in my master's program. 

My advice to current and future gender studies students: Gender issues are all around us, don't be afraid to declare that major or minor -- it will come in handy.  Also, educate those around you about what you learn.

Julia Berberan '09

I want to continue working for social justice, and my background in gender studies from St. Mike's makes me particularly qualified to do that. Through various service-learning opportunities I was able to work with different marginalized populations, and I got to apply classroom knowledge to life outside the college campus. Being a gender studies major helped prepare me for working at a hunger relief agency, and I was grateful to have had those classes and experiences to think back on during my term as an AmeriCorps Volunteer.

The interdisciplinary nature of St. Mike's gender studies program is beneficial in numerous ways. It touches on different issues, theories and ideas ranging across various subject areas, giving students well-rounded perspectives. The program offers many service-learning opportunities that both benefit the community and provide unique hands-on experiences. Students learn to think critically and are inspired to affect positive changes regarding justice and equality.

My advice to current and future gender studies students: 1. Stick with it. Many people don't understand what being a gender studies major means, and have false preconceptions of what the major entails. Educate them! Gender studies is an important area of study. 2. Look at the course descriptions of any classes that pique your fancy -- if they touch on social justice issues you can probably get them to count towards your major/minor. 3. Most importantly: Go to the Center for Women and Gender! There are wonderful people at the Center and it's a great place to hang out, do homework, have interesting conversations, make art, drink tea, etc.

Nicole Leslie '07

High School Counselor at U-32 School in Montpelier, VT

I think my work as a gender studies minor at St. Mike's influences my job every day. It opened my eyes to many issues of inequality and social justice. I think a lot about how my office, my school, and the district are all systems in which it is important to constantly look at how they are educating our students and how to make the standards as fair as possible so that regardless of a student's gender, race, sexual orientation, social class, etc. all students are receiving a quality education. I am also the QSA (Queer Straight Advisor) at my school. My learning about sexual orientation, sexual identity, queer theory, etc. at St. Mike's was my introduction to these issues and I continue to learn each day and do my best to support the students who are in this group.

Robyn Bratica '06

Pursuing a Ph.D. program at the University of Rhode Island in School Psychology

I've gone on from St. Mike's to earn a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies at URI and am now enrolled in the Ph.D. program. While at URI I was lucky enough to tutor a women's studies course - something that I would have been unable to do if I didn't have the gender studies minor from St. Mike's.

As a graduate student I noticed that often when people talk about issues of "diversity" they are often only talking about race and/or ethnicity. My advice to students to current gender studies students: It's important to recognize gender as an issue of diversity, and to also work to inform others of gender discrepancy.

Erin McDonnell '06

Recent graduate from Saint Michael's College, M.Ed

Volunteer Coordinator for the Women's Rape Crisis Center, Burlington, VT

The gender studies minor at St. Mike's encouraged me to become involved in women's issues, and it gave me the experience and knowledge to be successful in my current employment. I think almost every day I pull from the content that I learned about, most often the historical context of where we've been, how far we've come and what it will take to move forward as a movement.

The St. Mike's program does a very good job of focusing on gender studies in equal light. It's much more beneficial to look at the equality of men and women from a societal perspective that analyzes norms and structures. The program also does a good job at representing the issues and struggles that men face in our society.

Patricia Connolly '04

Pursuing a Ph.D program at the University of Minnesota in Feminist Studies

I identify as a feminist literary scholar, and I couldn't do the work I'm doing without the interdisciplinary theoretical lens that the gender studies program at Saint Michael's provides me with.  My current work is very conscious of the socio-historical conditions that create/enable women's writings and gender studies training has been essential in helping me to expand my focus on women's literature to issues of production(publishing)/consumption(reading) rather than just the texts themselves. As a result, even though I'm technically a "feminist studies" scholar, I still predominantly identify as a "feminist literary scholar" due to my experience at St. Mike's and I hope to get a teaching appointment that is 50 percent literature, 50 percent gender/women's studies. 

Amanda Pooler '04

In-home Family Counselor in Southern New Hampshire

The gender studies program at Saint Michael's is beneficial in many ways. The academic curriculum is comprehensive in educating the students about the learned gender roles and the many ways that they are reinforced in the self, the family, and in society. For myself, the professors blew me away with their ability to engage me in critical thinking regarding the many ways that gender is marketed to people. I was always hungry to learn more, and the professors were equally as passionate about teaching the material.

My advice to current and future gender studies students: Pursue what you love and do what you are passionate about. I pursued many opportunities on and off campus in the gender studies program while at Saint Michael's, and have found many educational and employment opportunities after graduating in this field. For me, doing what I love and helping others is a fulfilling life purpose.

Kate Ernst McGivern '00

Nurse Working in Women's Health at a Major Urban Hospital

I think studying gender can be beneficial to any and all college students.  You can truly take the information that you learn and the values that you develop from these classes with you throughout life. In my current position, I've developed an appreciation for the role that each individual woman’s background plays out in her current situation. So many of my patients have been victims of abuse, violence, and rape. Many of them have not been raised to value themselves as women.  Even though I only spend a short time with them, I am there at a particularly vulnerable and important time in their lives.  I try to build their confidence and help them recognize their strengths.

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