Jessie Potish Taylor
Spanish and Gender Studies
Part-time artist, part-time activities director at an assisted living facility, and part-time dog trainer
Favorite Gender Studies class/professor/memory from your experience at Notre Dame:
Two of my most memorable classes were Marriage and Family (a sociology course) and Women in Early Christianity. Marriage and Family taught me to examine and redefine what the family unit is, and Women in Early Christianity had me questioning—in a good way—all of our conceptions of women and theology.
Your experience with Gender Studies/gender issues at Notre Dame:
While at Notre Dame I was struck by the dichotomy on campus. On one hand the university could be very conservative and narrow-minded about gender and a woman’s role. On the other hand, however, there was a progressive group of people that were redefining gender and sexuality at a Catholic university. My proudest moment was participating in the Vagina Monologues for three years. Every year we came up against protest and condemnation, but every year we had a venue full of students and faculty supporting us.
How your Gender Studies education has impacted your life:
While Gender Studies does not play a big role in my professional life, it has certainly defined my personal life. I apply the excellence that I learned through Gender Studies at Notre Dame to every situation. Gender Studies has challenged me to be a better person, a better woman. I am constantly questioning our society’s conceptions about gender and sexuality and redefining them for myself.
Your hopes for the future of Gender Studies at Notre Dame:
I am already so proud of how much the program has grown in the last five years, so keep it up! I would love to see a Gender Studies class become a requirement for all students to spur on even more conversation on campus.