WGS minor (only 1 class away from a double major with Psychology!)
Graduate Degree: Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Ball State University, 2020
Current Position: Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate
What drew you to take courses focusing on gender, women and sexuality during your time at Virginia Wesleyan?
I had a close mentorship relationship with Dr. Taryn Myers, who suggested taking what was then Women's & Gender Studies courses given my interest in issues related to gender, women, and sexuality in the field of Clinical Psychology. We conducted a lot of research on gendered violence for my honor's thesis and have continued to work together on manuscripts addressing body image in the LGBT community, so the supplemental WGS courses paired well with my work. After taking the required introductory course, a lot of things clicked… and I quickly realized how beneficial a background in WGS would continue to supplement my research and plans for graduate school.
What do you remember most about your experiences studying GWSS?
One of my favorite experiences was taking my seminar course, which that semester was "Feminism and Techno-Culture" taught by Dr. Kellie Holzer. It was also an "ah-ha" moment to see my coursework come full circle from discussion-based courses focused on theories of gender, for example, to applying what I had learned to a "real world topic" that impacted people. My research project was on the evolution of maternity uniforms in the United States Armed Forces when people who could get pregnant were fully integrated into the military and did not have access to maternity uniforms, which impacted mission readiness and military families.
What advice do you have for other students who are considering taking a course on gender, women and sexuality studies?
I will always advocate for combining your coursework in gender, women, and sexual studies with another program to make you more competitive for graduate school and/or the workforce, whichever is your next step. For example, my post-graduate work has been a combination of conducting research through the lens of applying social justice principles, theories, and public health models learned from my courses in WGS and providing direct services to people with the skills I learned from my Clinical Psychology program, and I would not have served in either of these fields to the fullest capability without both programs of study that I have completed.