...about having these important conversations. My beliefs regarding identity were constantly challenged, allowing me to grow intellectually and form a critical societal lens. I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in social work, armed and ready with the feminist and queer theories - and social justice frameworks - I learned from FGSS. I am the deconstructionist, activist, and feminist I am today because of FGSS; and for that, I am incredibly appreciative.
...Everyone can find a way in which feminist studies is uniquely vital to what they do.
... were directly related to how to challenge and eradicate power inequalities. Feminist Studies, thus, allowed for me to seamlessly integrate my queer and feminist activism with my coursework. The most important aspect of the experience was writing my Honors Thesis on white supremacy and the LGBTI movement in South Africa as this allowed me to integrate theory with practice, have international research and activism experience, and grow as a scholar and activist. Feminist Studies helped me develop an analysis of power relations and an appreciation for compassion and solidarity that I will take to all new positions (professional or not) in my life.
I had found the academic language and a space where I felt seen and encouraged to grow, while simultaneously encouraged to engage in the program's own growth and development. I also greatly valued the agency, even as a first-year student, to shape my own focus/concentration, something I did not find in either of my minors, or the other majors I explored before ultimately declaring Feminist Studies. My concentration was Representation of Women of Color in Written and Visual Media, which opened me to a much broader range of classes than would have otherwise been available to me. I took classes in departments such as Film Studies, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Theater and Performance Studies, Iberian and Latin American Culture, and even International Policy Studies.
The education and community I found at the Clayman Institute continues to serve, challenge, and inspire me many years later. Just a few examples:
My friendship with Pooja Desai began in a FSGS sophomore seminar course six years ago, but I am still learning from her, most recently through emails about her research on gender disparities in female physicians. Last year I self-published Uprooted: An Anthology on Gender and Illness. The seed funding for this project came from the Francisca Lopez Prize that I received for my feminist studies honors thesis in 2013. My thesis advisor, Professor Valerie Miner, supported the concept of the anthology in its infancy, and graciously judged our winning entry. I am beyond impressed (though not surprised) that Brittany Bennett, with whom I had the privilege of workshopping our theses, is now the author of an incredible, best-selling novel "The Mothers". In May 2017 I am leading a book group about her novel for students in the UCSF School of Medicine.