TESTIMONIALS FROM WOMEN’S STUDIES ALUMNI:
Leah Feldman, Psychology major, Women’s Studies minor, Class of 2009
The Women’s Studies minor prepared me for my current job as a project co-ordinator of the Universal Response to Domestic Violence for a district attorney’s office. The panel that interviewed me for this job was extremely impressed that my Women’s Studies courses had taught me about gender-based issues, and that I had focused many of my projects on the topic domestic violence, using my passion about the issue to help educate others and raise awareness while I was still an undergraduate. Learning about gender-issues in a classroom full of eager students was very motivating, helped me build lasting friendships, and gave me a network of peers to call on for social-justice projects outside of the classroom. In my career today, I use my knowledge of gender-based violence to work with communities on a systems level.
Amanda Posson, Political Science major, Women’s Studies minor, Class of 2006
Today, I am a program manager at a non-profit agency that resettles refugees from diverse places such as Iraq, Bhutan, Burma, Cuba, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I manage an employment program that assists refugees in obtaining work and self-sufficiency. Due to my Women’s Studies training, I was able to see that the gendered structure of this program created barriers for female refugees. I have changed the program so that it better serves the particular needs of women refugees, thus improving our overall services for refugee populations.
Carla Borelli-Gleason, Psychology major, Women’s Studies minor, Class of 2006
I recommend this minor to anyone interested in the female perspective, which isn’t always included in other courses. In Women’s Studies courses, we covered psychological issues that affect women, which augmented my major in Psychology. I loved the open discussion in class, and I learned a lot from fellow students as well as from the professors. I am currently an adjunct college instructor in Psychology and Career Planning, and I incorporate what I learned from this minor into the classes that I teach.
Larri Fish, English major, Women’s Studies minor, Class of 2006
As a man, taking Women’s Studies classes was truly an experience in diversity. Participating in Women’s Studies changed how I think about others, and offered me a new lens through which I understand the world. Because of my course work in Women’s Studies, I was hired to be the Director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Albany while I was in graduate school, and I also used my training in gender issues during my Masters Degree in Public Administration. I now draw upon my understanding of gender in my work at the federal Government Accountability Office in Washington, DC, since public policies must be examined from the point of view of all people to avoid discriminating against those who have been marginalized—a lesson I learned again and again in my Women’s Studies courses.
Sarah Brinski, Political Science major, Women’s Studies minor, Class of 2003
The Women’s Studies minor added to my Political Science major by making me much more aware of issues faced by women and other minority groups. The minor had a huge impact on my life—it made me want to help people, especially women. After graduating from Siena, I worked with the Girl Scouts and I also volunteered as a sexual assault advocate at a women’s domestic violence shelter. I am now pursuing my law degree and I plan to work with women who have experienced domestic violence.
Katie Benway, English major, Women’s Studies minor, Class of 2001
After graduating, I became a journalist, and I drew upon skills I had learned in Women’s Studies—flexibility, resilience, and an unwavering ability to analyze in a thoughtful, open-minded way. I convinced my editor to let me write a cover story on the prevalence of domestic violence. This story won awards and brought attention to the plight of women, children—and men—experiencing family violence. I joined the board of directors at the YWCA and served 5 years, including 2 as president. We served women and children fleeing domestic violence, provided rape and domestic violence hotlines and empowerment programs for young girls and teens. I grew into leadership roles, stayed grounded, and always listened more often than I spoke. Today, I own my own business—something I’d always dreamed of and that I ultimately had the courage to do, thanks to my time at Siena.