A Career? Have No Fear.

By Guy Spriggs

On January 27, 2014, the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies (GWS) will host “What You Can Do With a GWS Major,” a virtual panel of GWS degree-holders demonstrating the wide range of futures made possible by a degree in GWS. The event will be held from 2-4pm at Hardymon Theatre in the Marksbury Building (329 Rose Street).

The goal of the event is to show students the applicability of the interdisciplinary training that is the cornerstone of the GWS Department at UK.

“GWS is deeply interdisciplinary, and we have historically been that way as a field,” explained Karen Tice, chair of GWS at UK. “Students come from a lot of various backgrounds and have a lot of different career aspirations. Across fields – from English to biology – coursework in gender is integral. We offer students the opportunity to make that a major component of their area of study.”

Gender & Women’s Studies has affiliate departments and professors all across UK, and for years was represented by its minor and certificate programs. Today the landscape for GWS looks a bit different: after launching their major in 2009, GWS followed up this year by starting a doctoral program.

Through “What You Can Do With a GWS Major,” the department hopes to show its broad curriculum and – with its students pursuing careers in law, medicine, service, media, business, and more – its value after graduation.

“People often think gender & women’s studies just looks at women’s issues. They think what we do is pretty narrow,” Tice said. “But we think about gender as it affects women and men, we consider processes like ethnicity, race, class and region. We are one of the only departments where all of our coursework focuses on issues about gender, citizenship, inequality and social justice.”

All interested parties are encouraged to learn more by attending “What You Can Do With a GWS Major” on January 27 at the Hardymon Theatre.

Participants in “What You Can Do With a GWS Major” include:

Sandra Criswell, Director, Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice and former liaison at Trust Women Foundation.

Bio:  Sandra Criswell is a reproductive justice consultant based out of Oklahoma City, OK.  After majoring in English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma and co-founding a feminist organizing group on campus, Sandra has worked in the reproductive rights, health, and justice movement in various capacities since graduation, including Director at Oklahomans for Reproductive Justice (OK4RJ), Oklahoma Hotline Coordinator at Provide and Director of Communications at Trust Women. Currently, Sandra serves as an editor, board member, and organizer at OK4RJ. In addition to her role as social media consultant at the Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Conference, she also volunteers on several committees for the conference. At CoreAlign, Sandra is a Regional Organizer and Generative Fellow. In her role as organizer, she serves the Oklahoma/North Texas area.  Her fellowship project is focused on grassroots organizing in red states.  Sandra also recently joined the board of directors at Backline. 

Judi Brown, Director of Mission Advancement, Zawadisha, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower, entrust and expand opportunities for women through micro-lending, savings, preventative healthcare, and education in Kenya. 

Bio: Judi Brown is a recent graduate in sustainable public administration and policy from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. Her expertise includes nonprofit management; fund development; research/analysis; strategic planning; project management; and marketing/communications across a diverse portfolio of public, private and nonprofit organizations. Judi’s passion for human impact translates into working with organizations that prioritize a triple bottom line approach to tackling issues related to international sustainable development, poverty alleviation, gender equality and women’s empowerment. She currently works as Director of Mission Advancement for Zawadisha, a microlending organization providing education, healthcare and savings incentives to women entrepreneurs in Kenya. Judi also manages a corporate foundation and works part-time as an impact investing analyst in downtown San Francisco. In addition to her MPA, Judi holds a Dual BA in Political Science and Women's Studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Gary Schiff, politician representing Ward 9 in the Minneapolis City Council.  

Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes, State Strategies Manager, Advocates for Youth. 

Bio: Diana has been working on social justice issues for nearly a decade, primarily around issues that affect women, young people, people of color and the LGTBQ community. She currently works as the State Strategies Manager at Advocates for Youth, a national reproductive and sexual health/rights organization, based out of Washington, DC. In this capacity, she manages state policy and mobilization strategies and efforts, that affect sex education and young people's access to a full range of reproductive and sexual health services, including abortion. She holds an M.A. from George Washington University in Public Policy with a concentration in Women 's Studies, as well as a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Sociology and Women s Studies. Her passion lies in facilitating and creating intentional spaces for not only social justice, but for creativity and self-expression. When she's not working in the field, you can often find her wandering through new cities, enjoying the outdoors, exploring artistic endeavors, or getting down on the dance-floor. 

Michele Tracy Berger, co-author of Transforming Scholarship: Why Women's and Gender Studies Students are Changing Themselves and the World and professor of women's studies at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and vice-president of the National Women's Studies Association. 

Bio: Michele Tracy Berger is associate professor in the Department of Women's Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and adjunct professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her books include Workable Sisterhood: The Political Journey of Stigmatized Women with HIV/AIDS (Princeton University Press, 2004) and the co-edited collections Gaining Access: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (Altamira Press, 2003) and The Intersectional Approach:  Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class and Gender (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Transforming Scholarship: Why Women's and Gender Studies Students Are Changing Themselves and The World is her most recent co-authored book (Routledge, 2011).  Her teaching and research interests include multiracial feminisms, qualitative methods, and HIV/AIDS activism. She is also a creative writer and conducts seminars on women, leadership and creativity.  She maintains a blog about the everyday practice of creativity: http://www.creativetickle.com/

Carol Mason, DUS, Gender and Women's Studies at UK will serve moderator:  

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