Maria McLeod '13

Author: Andrea Martinez Dominguez

Graduation year: 2013

Majors/Minors: Psychology and Gender Studies majors


Though I have always been interested in gender-related issues, it wasn't until I saw the film "Sin by Silence" during my sophomore year that I knew I wanted to formally study gender during my time at Notre Dame. Originally wanting to pursue a Clinical Ph.D. in Psychology, I hoped to help battered women and adolescent girls.  I became an SOS advocate through The Family Justice Center in South Bend and spent the summer before my junior year working at a hotline for troubled teens.  However, wanting to explore all of my options before entering my senior year, I applied for the Boehnen Internship Grant and was afforded the opportunity to explore a side of gender studies I was not familiar with.  I was lucky enough to work with Bridget Brennan at The Female Factor, where I saw the gendered side of the business world.  After my summer with Bridget and the Female Factor team, I reoriented my career path and, entering my senior year, sought out job opportunities in the business world where I would be able to use both my psychology and gender studies background.  Though I will always be passionate about putting an end to domestic violence and sexual assault and helping survivors of these atrocities, I will be working for Coyote Logistics in Chicago after I graduate.  I am confident that my coursework and experiences I have received as a result of being a gender studies major will make me all the more successful after I leave Notre Dame.


Current occupation: Customer operations representative at Coyote Logistics


Favorite Gender Studies class/professor/memory from your experience at Notre Dame:

Though I absolutely adored all of my Gender Studies professors at Notre Dame, my favorite would have to be Professor Abigail Palko.  Similarly, while all of my classes were exceptional, I enjoyed Professor Gail Bederman's US Sex, Sexuality, and Gender courses the most.


Your experience with Gender Studies/gender issues at Notre Dame:

I have nothing but positive and pleasant things to say about my experience with the Gender Studies program during my time at Notre Dame.  The diverse subject matter presented in the classes and the passion with which the professors conveyed the material was amazing and only furthered my love of gender studies throughout my Notre Dame career.


How your Gender Studies education has impacted your life:

Even though my job does not include gender studies directly, I use what I learned throughout my time in the Gender Studies program every day.  On a more macro level, my personal opinions and the ways in which I navigate through my everyday life have been influenced by the education I received through the Gender Studies program.  Also, the ways in which I communicate and interact with people have been greatly influenced by my gender studies education.


Your hopes for the future of Gender Studies at Notre Dame:

My hopes for the future of Gender Studies at Notre Dame is for it to become a department, rather than a program, and to reap all of the benefits that come along with that.  Also, I would love to see more students become involved in the program, whether that be just taking one class or declaring gender studies as their major or minor.