2009 Women's Studies Graduates
Katie Dixon (Women's Studies/Art History): Federal Government (Justice)
After moving around for the past year between Williamsburg, Baltimore, and Washington DC I've finally settled down in Washington DC for good! I do communications for a political non-profit called the Sunlight Foundation in Dupont Circle. We're a bipartisan organization that focuses on government transparency and accountability, and it is honestly the best job I have ever had. If any majors are looking for an internship for the summer, or recent grads, please let me know if I can help! And we pay our interns :)
Update: Since leaving W&M I have been kind of all over the place in political jobs, from campaigns to advocacy to a political appointee in the Obama administration working in press for the Department of Justice, which is where I am currently. I am proud to be part of a department that is working so diligently on civil rights issues, and my background in Women's Studies definitely prepared me for this. My fondest memory of college was my sophomore year Intro. to WMST course with Jenny Putzi - I miss her dearly. In the future I think I'd like to continue doing communications advocacy work, and look forward to whatever that might be. (2012)
Stacey Eunnae (Women's Studies/Sociology): attorney for families with special-needs children
After I graduated from William & Mary in the spring of 2009 I “took a year off.” This wasn’t exactly an island beach vacation because I worked the whole time (and I was in northern Virginia) although it did offer me the opportunity to pause and consider where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing in the future. During this time I worked as a cocktail waitress, bartender, personal assistant, and an LSAT and SAT tutor. While working numerous part-time jobs I was able to take some time off to study for the LSAT as well as apply for other opportunities. I had already been accepted into Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts to pursue a degree in graphic design at their Washington D.C. campus but after I received my LSAT scores and saw that I had performed well, I decided to first apply for law school and see where that got me. Having a liberal arts degree opened up a world of opportunity for me even though I will admit it is scary to say the least to actually choose and commit to any of these paths. The path I did choose led me to enroll as a J.D. candidate at Georgetown Law in Fall, 2010.
Currently, I am in my final semester at Georgetown Law. During my three years at Georgetown I have been blessed to have had some really amazing experiences. I chose Georgetown Law’s “alternative curriculum” for first year students, the only one of its kind in the country. I self-selected into this curriculum which was geared towards those interested in public interest careers and which took a multi-faceted approach to instructing students about the law. We learned not only the black-letter legal doctrines required of all first year law students in the U.S. but our learning also included history, philosophy, and various theories of justice and the law, including feminist and critical race approaches. Without a doubt, my women's studies degree was a valuable asset in understanding and assessing what I was learning. Even though the classroom size was a lot larger than what I was accustomed to in my small women's studies and sociology seminars at William & Mary, I found my voice and felt confident in expressing my opinions and viewpoints in class—even when I was well aware that they were (frequently) the minority viewpoint in the class.
During my time at Georgetown I have interned at several non-profit organizations, including the Asian American Justice Center where I supported policy advocacy efforts in the areas of voting rights and immigration; Our Place DC where I helped provide currently and formerly incarcerated women in the D.C. area with critical legal services; and the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia where I represented indigent clients in their hearings before the U.S. Parole Commission and supported a staff attorney during a murder trial where the accused was a woman claiming self-defense against her boyfriend.
Currently I am a clinic student in Georgetown’s International Women’s Human Rights Clinic. We have just returned from a human rights fact-finding mission where we traveled to two cities in Tanzania to investigate the continued practice of female genital mutilation and female circumcision. During this trip our clinic interviewed over eighty persons ranging from high-ranking government officials, to lawyers and activists of non-governmental organizations, to lay persons who relayed to us their direct experiences of these harmful practices. Working to support the advocacy efforts of our partner in Tanzania, the Women’s Legal Aid Centre, our clinic is working to compose a human rights report and draft legislation of our findings from this trip and our supplementary research.
After graduating in May, I plan to join Advocates for Justice and Education, a non-profit organization in the District, where I will work full-time as a staff attorney providing legal assistance primarily to families who have children with special needs, to ensure they receive a free appropriate public education as required by law. I will also provide free legal assistance to students who are facing school disciplinary actions from D.C. public schools, ranging from advice and counsel to extended legal representation. The third aspect of my job, which I am really excited about, will involve conducting community workshops on legal rights, relating to various educational matters.
I am so proud to be a Women's Studies alum and thankful for all of the opportunities my experience at Mary & William has opened up for me. I am excited to be able to continue pursuing my career in social justice and know that there are many opportunities that still await me. (2013)
Freddie Gonzalez (Women's Studies/History):
Currently I am a graduate student at Tulane’s School of Social Work and Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. I will be graduating from Social Work in December of 2012 and getting my MPH in Global Health Systems and Development May of 2013. I am an intern at the Louisiana Public Health Institute with the Louisiana Community AIDS Partnership. As an organization, we fund different projects and initiatives around the state of Louisiana as a way to better assist those people living with HIV/AIDS. My work has and will continue to revolve around issues of HIV /AIDS; focusing in advocacy work for those affected by and infected by the disease. My focus is more of a macro level approach and I hope to some day work for a global organization dealing with issues of HIV program development, prevention and implementation and health access for PLWHIV in countries of the Global South. I am thinking of applying for a post-graduate fellowship for 2013-2014 and hopefully starting a PhD program focusing on Health Policy and Sustainable Development—or something along those lines. (2012)
Jamie Hood (Women's Studies/English): PhD student in English, Brandeis University
In Fall 2009, Jamie Hood enrolled in graduate school at Brandeis University, pursuing a PhD in English Literature and a Joint MA in Gender Studies.
Wendy Jenkins (Women's Studies): Residential Supervisor, YWCA, Richmond, VA
When I left W&M I was aggressively pursuing a job with the Department of Defense at Fort Lee as a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for soldiers. I had never worked in a military setting before so I knew this would be a challenge and unfortunately it turned out to be a setting where immediate changes and/or decisions could not be made. I was used to the non-profit sector of victim services where if you had a need for change that could improve your program, that change could be made rather quickly. I realized after six months that the military style of victim services was not for me so I returned to a non-profit organization.
I began working as a victim advocate for the YWCA residential program. Quickly I was promoted to run one of the Domestic Violence Shelters in Richmond. I love what I do. I love my team of advocates, case managers and counselors. Their motto is "Empowering Women, Ending Racism" and I am proud to be a part of that everyday.
I am currently on a temporary work from home basis because I have a big bundle of joy, my son, to take care of now. Luckily, being in the Social Services field, my employers were understanding of me wanting to be home more and at work less so we worked something out.
Caroline Mullis (Women's Studies/Neuroscience): Research technologist
Post-graduation I am researching in an International HIV lab at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. One of the major projects I was hired to work involves the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). We perform tests that are capable of determining the percentage of newly infected individuals (incidence) in a community. We are ultimately establishing the role of current HIV education programs on transmission. In addition to this major project, we work with samples from around the world. I hope to further explore some of the questions I began asking about gender and HIV transmission through my work in this lab. My understanding of gender issues serves as a continual influence in my scientific work.
Jessica O'Brien (Women's Studies): Life and health insurance agent
After graduating in Women's Studies, I continue to work as an independent life and health insurance agent, as I did while attending classes. Being self-employed allows me to determine when and how I want to work. I have always focussed on helping people understand what was out there and on finding the best protection they could afford, which has always felt like worthwhile work to me because people's health and life--and the future of their families--are at stake. So I continue....
Ann Rainey (Women's Studies/Psychology): Case Manager for the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare
Since I graduated in January '09 I hit the ground running looking for a job. I was a Psychology and Women Studies double major and I was looking for work in human services. I looked for about two months when I got my job as a Case Manager for the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare (www.brbh.org). Blue Ridge is a community service board that provides mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disorder services to the Roanoke Valley. However, PACT is a special program. It serves adult clients with serious mental illness, who are at high risk of being hospitalized or arrested. I deliver medications, sometimes twice daily, to ensure medication compliance. I connect the clients to community resources such as medical care, Social Services, Social Security, the housing authority, etc. I teach independent living skills such as budgeting, cleaning house, personal hygiene etc. Many of the clients deal with co-occurring substance abuse issues so I also do a lot of education about the affects of substance abuse. All PACT services are provided in the home or in the community. It's a very dynamic and challenging job and you never know what to expect when you go in in the morning. It's the type of job that makes you feel very grateful to have the basics like food, shelter, and education, not to mention mental competency.
Other than work, I've concentrated on getting settled into my new town. I've started a garden and am working on exploring the mountains with some hiking. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of feminist activity going on in Roanoke so once I'm settled, getting something stirring will be my next step!
Avina I. Ross, M.S. (Sociology/Women's Studies): Operations & Community Response Specialist
Since graduating from W&M, I have worked as the Criminal Justice Planner for the Colonial Community Criminal Justice Board in James City County and as Virginia's state coordinator for local domestic violence fatality review teams. I am currently finishing my term as the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Coordinator and transitioning into the nonprofit movement to combat gender violence. I have recently started working for a local and familiar nonprofit, Avalon: A Center for Women & Children as their Operations and Community Response Specialist. I am responsible for developing and designing a rapid re-housing program for women in crisis. Additionally, I will develop a community needs assessment for the Greater Williamsburg area, manage agency accreditation and outcomes, as well as grant writing and reporting.
On a lighter note, I've graduated from VCU this Spring with a M.S. in Sociology, where I focused on domestic violence against black women. In the future, I plan to continue working as an advocate and positioning myself to be a mentor and motivator for future sociological and feminist thinkers. (May 2012)