Women's and Gender Studies Success Stories

Women's and Gender Studies Success Stories


Michael Success story

Get a glimpse into the lives of former Women's and Gender Studies students.

"As a Women’s Studies minor, I can undeniably say that my first WS class turned my career goals and my life around. I learned through my classes I wanted to make a social difference. As a Med student, I know WS helped develop my senses of love and compassion for others as well as the endless pursuit of knowledge and deliverance of knowledge as my life's work. I only wish more of these classes could be available to a greater number of the student body." 

Abby Volk

"I am now working at an agency called WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) which is the primary provider of domestic violence and sexual assault services (and the only rape crisis center) in Sacramento. It is a 25 year old agency that has been the model for other agencies internationally. We have a budget of $5 million and around 100 employees and 200 volunteers...my life has definitely gone down a Women's Studies oriented path."

Julia Day

"I am currently enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College for my MFA in Poetry. Given how liberal, how feminist, how forward thinking this school is (we just had a teach in to discuss issues of race and exclusion!!) I think I have needed my Women's Studies background. I was one of the first, if not the only to graduate with a WS Major, it was an Art/Women's Studies split major. I have also worked extensively in supporting women artists and musicians, poets… WS has provided me a good place to start with my own political and social awareness, and this is the best thing a liberal arts student can hope to acquire."

Alexandra Roberti

"While we [Sentinel Fair Housing] serve both men and women, I believe my Women's Studies major played an extremely large role in my desire to work in a job serving the community. Women's Studies influenced my path in several ways: First, it helped me understand my place in the world in a way that made me more comfortable in my skin as a woman. Second, learning about the experience of being a woman in a society that is mostly male-centered opened the path for a larger understanding of what it must be like to be a member of any group that is pushed to the fringes by the general values of the society. My WS major was the catalyst in the broader opening of my mind and my desire to work in a social justice-related field."

Silvia Mooney-Lopez

"I teach 1st grade. I cannot tell you how many colleagues I have told how valuable my minor is in this field. Many times girls get looked over in math/science and many times boys are more aggressive and get more attention in the classroom. Because of my training in this minor and in classes from SMC School of Ed, I feel like I have knowledge to help young girls be more confident in their abilities and get positive attention for their behavior."

Nikki Cordoni Wallingford  

"What I learned in those classes helped me in life. I am a more aware, less discriminatory, more compassionate and more educated human being because of my Women's Studies education. I recently implemented a program to all Northern California Coldwell Banker offices called "Donate-A-Phone" which is a phone recycling program. All proceeds are given to Habitat for Humanity and the phones themselves are given to different groups of individuals for emergency situations, such as victims of domestic violence, among other groups of people. Coldwell Banker does a lot of fundraising for Habitat for Humanity, which I help with. I love being involved in this fundraising largely b/c of what I learned in my Women's Studies classes. So, I think the biggest thing is that Women's Studies has opened my eyes and made me more compassionate for all people and issues, not just issues centered on women."

- Kim Sousa

"I think from my education at SMC through the Women’s Studies program, I was fortunate enough to learn from professors, speakers and students that both women and men can make significant contributions in small ways. I feel fortunate to have identified that in my current employer and feel that positive role models for women, such a women business owners, have a lot of wisdom that students can benefit from. I know that I certainly benefited from the courses I took and the professors who took the extra step to encourage students to do great things. Those experiences (in the classroom and out) impact your life course and decisions (such as employment) that you will make.

"So, in summary, the Women’s Studies program provided more than education- they provided mentors and support that has impacted choices that I have made post-graduation. I am grateful for my SMC Women’s Studies experience."

Laura Ratajczak

"I am the Youth Services Coordinator at the Shasta County Women's Refuge.  My job relates to the Women's Studies minor I received from St. Mary's because my organization helps women and children that have been affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. I am in charge of all the youth programs and am constantly dealing with violence against women issues. I would have loved to have majored in Women's Studies because right now I am thinking about applying to a Master's of Women's Studies programs. Some of the requirements would have probably already been met, had I majored in Women's Studies. Now I am going to have to make that up and show that I am still worthy. The Women's Studies program at Saint Mary’s has helped shape what I am doing now, and also prepared me for what I am doing now. I am a strong advocate for a major in Women's Studies at Saint Mary's."

Cindy Kurth Lane 

"I am currently pursuing my Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Studies. With this degree I intend to do business consulting with an emphasis in women's issues in the workplace. This will include: labor laws, discrimination, equality of pay, importance of onsite amenities (child care), culture appreciation, etc. While I was extremely grateful for the vast knowledge I received in relation to these topics with my minor in Women's Studies, had a major in Women's Studies been provided at Saint Mary's College during my schooling, I would have loved to have received a double major with my Bachelor's in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I feel I would have had an even greater opportunity to learn about the various issues that women face in their places of work and the history behind those environments."

- Alicia Allegrini

"After graduating last year (2003), I landed a job working for a solar panel company in Berkeley. PowerLight manufactures and installs solar panel systems for large corporations. Some of our projects have included UC Berkeley's Student Union and the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

First learning about sustainability and renewables through Women's Studies at Saint Mary's, I became increasingly interested in holistic healing - of the earth and its inhabitants. As Sister Joan Chittister said in her Soda Center talk in the Fall of 2002, Feminists must not only concentrate on equality for people, but equality between people and the Earth we stand on. To heal and strengthen a population, we must also heal and strengthen sustaining resources of the Earth.  Wynona LaDuke, in her talk in 2002, also discussed the health of the Earth and its relationship to human life. In April of 2003, Julia Butterfly Hill, speaking on behalf of the Circle of Life Foundation, talked about caring for and preserving the Earth much like we would each other. All three of these speakers were brought to Campus by Women's Studies.  In addition, I learned about a branch of Feminism - EcoFeminism - a philosophy which explores the interconnectedness of all life forms, which spurred my interests in renewables.

"Working at PowerLight has been an amazing experience - both on the intellectual side, and on the field experience side. Not only am I learning about the benefits of solar power, but I am also working with a group of talented and inspirational people. I love my work, and I am thankful that St. Mary's Women's Studies provided me the opportunity to learn about sustaining the earth, through curriculum and events." 

Tara Doyle

  Conducted by Heidi Bryant for the Women's Studies Alumni Assocition.