Practicum Spotlight

In their Junior and Senior years, FGSS Majors embark on an intensive capstone experience through internships, research projects, or field research that brings their studies in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies into complex work environments. Two quarters of practicum workshops help students prepare for and reflect on their experiences, modeling forms of collaboration and social justice ethics. Although most of our class of 2021-22 conducted their work remotely, their work extended to India, Hollywood, grassroots Oakland, and even our own history as a Program.

Somer Khambu Bryant, Class of '22

Field Research with Dr. Soledad Artiz Prillaman (Palo Alto, USA)

"...I was asked to sift through two existing national-scale datasets for relevant violence against women (VAW)-related information and ultimately, to code and produce several figures in Stata using that information. The two datasets that I worked with were from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) Project and the Indian National Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) from 2015-2016. The process for doing this was time consuming but certainly valuable seeing as I was able to improve upon my Stata-related knowledge and skill set. By the end of the summer, I had produced around fifty figures that either informed conclusions drawn in Professor Prillaman’s book or were incorporated into the book itself " -Somer Khambu Bryant

Kiara T Dunbar, Class of '22

AMC Networks & Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Los Angeles, CA)

"By the end of the summer, I somehow created 8 films, interned with AMC Networks as a Scripted Programming Intern, and completed the Academy Gold Rising program with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I gained so much from taking a chance on myself
and pursuing the things that matter most to me..." -Kiara T Dunbar

Brionna Bolaños, Class of '22

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Summer Internship (Palo Alto, CA)

"I never realized just how embattled the program was--how hard people had to work for me to be able to study what I love today. Discovering the reality of the situation has altered the way I view my own education. If it was so easy for me, someone who is deeply invested in the program and who cares much about its success, to go through nearly all four years of my time at Stanford without knowing the significance of FGSS existing on a University campus, even in the 21st Century, then I can only imagine how many others have. And that is harmful. Not knowing, recognizing, or understanding the institutional struggle programs like FGSS have faced diminishes the program’s significance and negates a seriously important piece of feminist history." -Brionna Bolaños

Hana/Connor Yankowitz, Class of '22

Peacock Rebellion (Oakland, CA)

"[My] presentation ended up being given to some members of the California Arts Council, and could move millions of dollars toward underfunded QTBIPOC-focused organizations! I also left written-out explanations of the data analysis I’d done, so people with more experience than I can take on the task of creating more in-depth analyses of the CAC’s grantmaking patterns this year. Overall, I think that’s what I’m the proudest of from my internship: that even as someone with limited knowledge of statistics, my data analysis work could be so impactful for folks in the arts-activist sphere." Connor Yankowitz

Ethics and Experience

When undertaking activist and community-engaged work, we need to take time to clarify our intentions, positions, and goals. No project is 'finished' when the research is complete or the internship comes to an end; reflection is an essential part of understanding the value of this experience. This course uses directed writing to envision, organize, synthesize, and communicate knowledge gained from an experiential practicum. Writing towards an experiencein the form of proposals, cover letters, project statements, timelines, etc.helps both students and the communities they work with see the project clearly. Writing reflectively after a project provides insight into what students have learned, allowing them to process challenges as well as strategies. Collectively, the Junior and Senior practicums create a diverse, concrete archive of projects that helps to guide future students.

Chanté Cottman, Class of '21

Our Family Coalition (San Francisco, USA)

"Meeting Gert and Michael was not only a profound experience of queer relation, but it underscored the importance of intergenerational dynamics. I would argue that they were in fact keepers of queer lineage simply by passing on their lived experiences with us but also for creating physical sources of queer presence through the quilts. The opportunities that the internship awarded me were incredibly impactful and I was able to learn a lot about on-the-ground work being done to improve not only our education system but also our local kinship networks. Similarly, as we develop an accessible queer memory, we will tranform our ability to interact with the past, present and future." -Chanté Cottman

Christina Misaki Nikitin, Class of '21

Queer Musics Research (Cape Town, South Africa)

"With the threat of various environmental and epidemiological calamities in this time and age, as well as the digitalization of human interaction in general, conducting research and ethnography through virtual means is an inevitability. This experience has taught me that distance and separation is not also an inevitability with virtual communication. Rather, my interview with Sky was one of the most intimate, enlivening dialogues that I have ever had. The skills necessary to engage in dialogue, particularly in dialogical performance, are critical for any ethnographer wishing to use their platforms for transformative justice. I am indebted to Sky for all that she has taught me, and I hope to carry this experience with me in my pursuit of academia as a profession." -Christina Misaki Nikitin