Molly Burton '18

Author: Andrea Martinez Dominguez

Molly Burton

Graduation year: 2018

Majors/Minors: Gender Studies, Peace Studies, and Philosophy


I'm one of the few that came to Notre Dame wanting to major in Gender Studies. I took the intro class the first semester of freshman year, but it was my Women and Politics class that really drew me into the program. I loved being able to look at politics and society through a feminist perspective and look at how specific policies and ideas specifically affect women. This past summer, I worked with NETWORK, a social justice lobbying agency based in DC and known for its "feminist nuns." It was an incredibly interesting experience and amazing to work on Capitol Hill all summer, and it was made possible by the Boehnen Summer Internship Grant. I want to work as a human rights lawyer in international policy against sex trafficking and other gender based violence, and the Gender Studies program at Notre Dame is definitely preparing me for that future.

I received the The Genevieve D. Willis Endowment for Excellence Gender Studies Summer Research Grant to do further research on my thesis, which I'm planning on writing on something surrounding the question of what role the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution/sex work plays in combating sex trafficking. I had received a grant from Nanovic to do preliminary research in Sweden and the Netherlands, on the interesting policies on prostitution that they have there. Gender Studies allowed me to do the same research here in the United States, going to both Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas, Nevada. What I learned will prove to be incredibly useful as I work more on my thesis!