Student members of Iota Iota Iota (Triota), the women and gender studies honor society, invited a group of WGST alumni to an informal lunch at the Cottage on Friday, April 8th, including Sarah McCullar, Becky Powell, Emily Morgan, Amy Johnson, and Natalie Tsantes. Current students were encouraged to meet with these former WGST students to explore post-graduate opportunities and ask questions about their experiences after college. We were glad to have these accomplished individuals back at the Cottage and asked each of them for their reflections on this event.

Triota Lunch

Alumni and Triota honor society members talking in the Gates Woodruff Cottage library

Sarah McCullar graduated in 2012 with degrees in both women and gender studies and political science, and is now a business analyst for PS Technology, a local software firm. She is only one semester away from finishing a paralegal certificate and plans to apply to law school this fall. Sarah said she “was just so proud to see that my alma mater is home to the most ambitious, intelligent, and rad students around.  I was so impressed to hear what plans the current students have and was honored to offer them a glimpse of life after graduation.  It never seems to change that the women and gender studies students are told a narrative that questions their choice to study in this field, so I hope it was encouraging for students to see that a women and gender studies degree can be very useful after graduation.”

Becky Powell was a double-major in women and gender studies and anthropology who graduated in 2013 and is now a program associate at The Denver Foundation, working with issues of equity in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and managing the Nonprofit Internship Program for undergraduate students.  She has a lot of confidence for our current students, as she remarked: “a background in women and gender studies is so valuable, and prepares students for a wide variety of careers.” She also appreciated this event as a safe space for students to express their feelings as they neared graduation, “there is a lot to be said for taking advantage of feelings of instability near the end of college in order to explore where your career might go and your own development as a person.”

Emily Morgan graduated in 2015 with minors in women and gender studies and chemistry, and a double-major in biochemistry and molecular biology. She is currently finishing data analysis as a professional research assistant in a microbial ecology lab at CU, and will depart in July for Guinea, Africa, to teach physics with the Peace Corps for the next two years. When meeting with current students, she advised them to be confident in their ability to carve out a dignified life for themselves outside of the institution of American education.

Amy Johnson completed a bachelor’s degree in women and gender studies in 2015. She is now working as a legislative aide for State Rep. Daneya Esgar, of Pueblo, and as a fellow at the State Innovation Exchange, a national hub for progressive state legislators and legislation, and is considering a return to school for a master’s in public policy or public administration. Amy expressed how impressed she was with the spectrum of futures a women and gender studies degree prepares a person for, from business to work in the hard sciences, and notes “When I was a student, I wish I had a space like this to talk through my worries about graduation and beyond.”

We were also pleased to have 2011 WGST graduate Natalie Tsantes present, who is currently the facilities services manager at Terumo BCT, a global leader in blood component and cellular technologies. The broad scope of career opportunities represented by these five alumni were truly inspiring to our current students, who appreciated the opportunity to discuss their concerns and ask questions of these accomplished graduates.

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