2007 Women's Studies Graduates

Carolyn BarbadoroCarolyn Barbadoro (Women's Studies/Sociology minor): Post-Bar Clerk, Primary Public Defender's Office, San Diego, California

After graduating from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Women's Studies, I went to law school.  In 2009, I accepted a summer position as a public defender in San Francisco, California, and now I am working at the public defender's office in San Diego while I wait for the results of my bar exam. Women's Studies helped prepare me for a career as a public defender. In order to provide an adequate defense for my clients, I need to understand people. I need to understand my client's perspective, predict what a jury would think of my client and the client's situation and persuade the jury to see a case from a certain viewpoint. Women's Studies taught me about racism, classism, and sexism as well as power dynamics. This has helped me communicate to juries about the power dynamics that exist between my clients and police officers. Understanding how those systems of inequalities intersect also helps me explain to juries problems in the legal system such as cross-cultural misidentification. As a public defender, I still consider myself a feminist activist because all of my cases are about protecting my clients' constitutional rights and protecting them from police officers who often abuse their power and authority and target minority populations. In Women's Studies, we discussed institutionalized discrimination. This knowledge made me a better trial lawyer because I know where and how to look for the information I need to show a police officer was biased in arresting a client and showing prosecutorial bias in choosing to prosecute a particular individual. My Women's Studies degree taught me to think critically and pay attention to societal inequalities. Acquiring a degree in Women's Studies greatly prepared me for my career as a criminal defense attorney.

Cosmo Fujiyama (Women's Studies/American Studies): Founder and manager, non-profit
Cosmo FujiyamaI started a nonprofit organization during my sophomore year of college. For the past five years, I have been developing and growing my organization, Students Helping Honduras, from 2 members to over 5,000; from 2 college campuses to 60; from one orphanage in Honduras to a hundred families across the northern region of the country. William & Mary made it easy for me to do this. My mentors, donor network, research opportunities, volunteers and diverse avenues for revenue were readily available during the start-up stages. The William & Mary community showed me that I didn’t have to get anyone’s permission to change the world - I gave myself permission.

I can reflect back on my experience and pinpoint exactly how a liberal arts education helped me succeed and pick the right career path. First, it taught me how to think rather than what to think. As a women’s studies and American studies major, I learned how an interdisciplinary approach to analyze complex issues can lead to the right questions and ultimately, thoughtful options to convert theory into practice. By having a general, yet deeply thoughtful background in sociology, research methodology, history, storytelling, philosophy and theory, leadership and economics, etc., I was able to analyze and frame challenges from multiple perspectives. Secondly, it gave me a love for learning. Curiosity, creativity and persistence are important for social entrepreneurs. We have to keep up with the literature, growing networks and latest trends in order to succeed. That is the only way we are going to understand human nature and thus the challenges that face our generation.

I learned early in my career that a team of people with diverse backgrounds is absolutely necessary to tackle some of the key challenges of development. Scientists develop the research statistics that empirically demonstrate the need for a sanitation system to protect the public’s safety, engineers design the structurally sound system, CFOs with finance backgrounds help allocate resources and procure funds effectively, public policy workers help articulate and shape the legislative field to ultimately help make your efforts scalable and sustainable. This is just to name of few of the key players I had to identify and forge partnerships with in order to build a sanitation system in Honduras. As founder and former president of a growing nonprofit organization, the multi-disciplinary perspective I learned in undergraduate studies provided me the foundation skills to launch a successful business.

Go broad first, then deep.

Update 2014: Two Women’s Studies grads recently found themselves reunited in the small Balkan country of Macedonia. Kaitlin Turck ’07, a foreign service officer for the State Department, and Cosmo Fujiyama ’07, a fellow at NYU Governance Lab collaborated to organize a workshop for youth NGO leaders on how to successfully run a social enterprise. After a few months as Education and Cultural Affairs Officer in Macedonia, Kaitlin realized that there was a real desire and need for information on social enterprises. Young leaders see the need for change in their community but don’t have the tools or the mentors to help formulate their ideas. And who better to lead a workshop on social enterprise than her W&M classmate Cosmo?? Cosmo, a Reynolds fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at NYU, founded a nonprofit organization in Honduras, worked at Ashoka as a senior intrapreneur and co-founded Social Impact House, an accelerator program for startup organizations. For one week, Cosmo visited Macedonia, giving workshops and inspiring many young people to put their ideas into action. It will be great to see what develops!

Virginia WaltersVirginia Walters (Women's Studies/Religious Studies): Environmental non-profit management
After graduating, Virginia and some other W&M graduates founded their own highly successful non-profit organization, the Back Porch Energy Initiative. Based in Richmond, VA, the organization works with communities around the country to cultivate local responses to the national and global issue of energy consumption.

Kaitlin Turck

Kaitlin Turck (Women's Studies/Hispanic Studies): Foreign service officer
This spring I am celebrating two years as a Foreign Service Officer. I am about to finish up my tour in Mexico, then it will be back to DC to learn Albanian and off to work in Public Affairs at the Embassy in Macedonia. My Mexican friends always want to know what I studied in order to be a diplomat. International relations? International business? I always happily explain that I studied Women's Studies! Honestly, Women's Studies has given me a unique perspective in my job, because right now I work in American Citizen Services, and I see a lot of women in trouble in Mexico. Having the right background knowledge to a wide variety of women's issues has certainly helped in many cases! (2012)

Update 2014: Two Women’s Studies grads recently found themselves reunited in the small Balkan country of Macedonia. Kaitlin Turck ’07, a foreign service officer for the State Department, and Cosmo Fujiyama ’07, a fellow at NYU Governance Lab collaborated to organize a workshop for youth NGO leaders on how to successfully run a social enterprise. After a few months as Education and Cultural Affairs Officer in Macedonia, Kaitlin realized that there was a real desire and need for information on social enterprises. Young leaders see the need for change in their community but don’t have the tools or the mentors to help formulate their ideas. And who better to lead a workshop on social
enterprise than her W&M classmate Cosmo?? Cosmo, a Reynolds fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at NYU, founded a nonprofit organization in Honduras, worked at Ashoka as a senior intrapreneur and co-founded Social Impact House, an accelerator program for startup organizations. For one week, Cosmo visited Macedonia, giving workshops and inspiring many young people to put their ideas into action. It will be great to see what develops!

Julie Price (Sociology/Women's Studies)Julie Price

I have been Development Associate for Grants at the National Women’s Law Center in DC since July 2011. NWLC recently celebrated 40 years of expanding opportunities for women and girls in the areas of family economic security, health and reproductive rights, education, and employment—with special attention given to the needs of low-income women and their families. Prior to joining NWLC, I spent four years working in development at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore. CRJ provides a rigorous college prep program with an innovative internship component to young men and women from low-income homes. (2012)