Graduation year: 2004
Majors/Minors: Political Science (Arts and Letters Honors Program), Gender Studies (2nd Major), European Studies (Minor)
Current occupation: Small Enterprise and Non-Profit Development Extension Agent, United States Peace Corps, Togo West Africa.
Favorite Gender Studies class/professor/memory from your experience at Notre Dame:
Engendering Theology with Mary Rose D’Angelo was a fantastically eye-opening class. I loved integrating the knowledge of the Catholic Church with a new understanding of the feminine divine. I have continued reading and studying books by the authors that Professor D’Angelo introduced to me in that class. It was particularly empowering to take a gendered theology class at a Catholic institution; I felt much better equipped to defend my feminism in the face of (let’s face it) often overwhelming machismo that tried to base itself in Catholic texts and traditions.
Your experience with Gender Studies/gender issues at Notre Dame:
My experience was not only as a woman, but also as a queer woman. I found Notre Dame to be a very challenging environment. But I like to credit the experience with having formed me as an outspoken advocate for women’s’ and LGBTQ rights. Thanks to the support from friends, many of whom I met in the Gender Studies classes, I found a strong community willing to face the challenge with me.
How your Gender Studies education has impacted your life:
Before my first ‘Introduction to Gender Studies’ class, I always felt a bit sheepish about calling myself a feminist. That class helped me to see the world, human interactions and social institutions with an entirely new lens. I now see gender in every aspect of academia and professional life. This has not only helped me to be more confident with my own feminism, but also equipped me with the ability to see others’ perspectives and refuse to make judgments about others’ choices. Having spent several years practicing gender-related work in the non-profit sector, I now plan to bring my gender studies education to law school.
Your hopes for the future of Gender Studies at Notre Dame:
I hope that that Gender Studies program will one day soon become a department with all the rights and benefits and responsibilities therein, enabling students to pursue an undergraduate major or graduate masters in the study. I also hope that more Notre Dame men take advantage of the fantastic breadth of the interdisciplinary study offered by the program.