Mia Lillis

Graduation year:

2014

Majors/Minors:

Political Science & Philosophy, Gender Studies Minor

Story:

While I had been weighing whether or not to add Gender Studies to my academic repertoire for a good year prior, it was not until my spring semester of my junior year that I finally made the commitment.  The same day that I signed up for the Gender Studies minor, the department informed me of the internship opportunities available to Gender Studies students.  One internship in particular spoke to me: due to my previous involvement with peers who were survivors of sexual assault, I felt that the experience gained while working at the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County - which serves victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault - would be invaluable.  I applied for an internship position there, and was lucky to receive the chance to work at the FJC for eight weeks during the summer before my senior year.  I learned a great deal through working at the internship - such as the inner workings of the non-profit world, statistics regarding domestic abuse and methods of prevention of escalation, and more broadly, the significance of childhood education (especially in regards to gendered behavior) and the effect this education can have on our society.  The prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault is indubitably linked to gender schooling, as theorists in the Gender Studies field have indicated, but experiencing these consequences second hand, by hearing the stories of the victims, was truly impactful.  I am happy to have added such a significant field of study to my Notre Dame experience, and I believe that it will inform my work in the future, whether this is continued involvement with victims of sexual assault, involvement in the queer community, or any number of broad possibilities.