Majors: Political Science & WGSS
My experience as a WGSS major has been empowering, beautiful, and impactful for me, not just a student, but as a human. My first WGSS class opened my eyes to how much this world intersects, to the layers of oppression and suppression that affect everyone’s daily lives--and to the possibilities of change. The program has inspired me to become a local activist in Houston, working and tackling issues I am passionate about, including: reproductive rights, sexual health awareness, and political involvement--and the list does go on. With WGSS’s nurturing and encouragement, I’ve become an SGA Senator, WGSS Student President, a community activist & CLASS COOGS Event Chairwoman!
WGSS has taught me to be confident, empowered by my voice and by others’ voices, as well as the importance of working together on civic engagement and awareness in our personal and political spheres.
I began as a psychology major with no real direction--I only knew I wanted to help people. My second term, I took Intro to Women’s Studies and devoured the material: for the first time I found myself looking forward to class and really engaging with course reading material. As I wrote academic papers, my creative writing and discussions in all aspects of my life transformed. It was so exciting, I reached out to my Intro professor about her path and her research. Very helpfully, she informed me that there was a WGSS major at UH. I made an appointment the next week to switch majors.
Since that first class, I have continued to be amazed by the quality of the professors. Intersectionalities of Race, Age, Class and Gender was a turning point, as was Feminist Theory, which pushed me to think critically and write passionately. These courses have not only served as avenues of education, but as healers. I leave every semester feeling like I’ve grown in some aspect. I can’t wait to apply all the lessons I’ve learned from this department into my career.
Kyra Raine Guerrero
As a woman, WGSS has empowered me to be self-sufficient in my pursuit for knowledge. As a student, this program has provided a plethora of resources for me to be successful. As an activist, it has raised the bar for what I am truly capable of. I am thankful to be a young Houstonian with access to such rich information and dedicated educators.
I have been exposed to vast amounts of new data about diverse cultures and paradigms through this program. I have heard many stories. My classmates vary in gender, sexuality, color, & major, but we all connect through a core goal of compassion. What I have learned through WGSS transcends the identities that have worked against me for so long. For that, I am eternally grateful and eager to apply my knowledge within my community!
Current: Law Student
In Fall 2015 the WGSS Program celebrated, when Cecilia Turchetti walked across the stage as the first student to graduate from UH with a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.
This is a major for people who want to make the world a safer place.The courses give us the tools to understand inequality and from there we can move forward to do something about it.
After graduating, I continued to volunteer at the Houston Area Women's Center, while applying to law school -- and I’ve been accepted to a great one! I plan to pursue a focus in family law to help individuals in violent relationships get safe custody agreements and divorce settlements. Eventually I would like to pursue policy making in the same area of the law. I think the lasting impact WGSS has had is quite clear in my case, and it has made me capable of better grasping the variety of lived experiences people come with when they seek assistance. This grasp has, I feel, made me better at empathizing and providing viable solutions for survivors’ problems.
Majors: Public Health, 2016
Minor: Women’s Studies
Currently: Social Work Graduate Student
WGSS courses changed my life path, personally and professionally. In the Intro to Women’s Studies course, I learned about women’s history, gender stereotypes, women in various cultures and much more, walking out of each class meeting with sets of new information. Slowly, I noticed that the courses were changing my perspectives about things that I saw occurring around me every day, for instance, gender pay inequality. I discovered my inner passion for advocating for SouthAsian women and children who struggle with domestic and/or sexual abuse.
Majors: History; World Cultures & Literatures
Minor: Music History
WGSS courses have had a profound impact on my learning experience at the University of Houston. Not only have WGSS classes reframed my intellectual approach to studying the past, providing me with an in-depth understanding of the crucial roles women have played in big picture historical moments, but they’ve have also inspired me to continue mining the rich history of women in and out of the archives. I aim to one day contribute to Women’s History scholarship, and WGSS has provided me with the confidence, skills, and focus I need to pursue my academic goals.
In one semester the ways in which I saw the world changed. WGSS has taught me to think critically, not just about women’s issues, but about the world in general. These skills are truly invaluable, much more so than I could have learned from a math, science, or art class. One way in which I describe my experience in Women’s Studies to those deciding whether or not to take the course is to say “After years of learning about HIStory, we start learning about HERstory.” In one semester I learned about the courageous, and largely unknown, women who sacrificed their lives to improve the lives of every woman. I will forever be grateful for the experience and worldview that WGSS has brought to me.
Minor: Women’s Studies
For my fellow female undergrads, in the STEM world the gender barrier is not always definitive, but it is ubiquitous. Given that, I fell right into minoring in Women’s Studies after I took my first introductory course. Women’s Studies isn’t just about women. It delves deeper into the intricate layers of identity and allows us to analyze how racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc. are intertwined. We can break down and confront intersecting oppressions and identify and acknowledge the systemic problems that create them. This minor has allowed me to acknowledge and classify the interlocking systems of power in our society.
Hispanic Studies, US Hispanic Literature, PhD Candidate
WGSS Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate
Generous scholarships from WGSS and Friends of Women’s Studies, have given me incredible opportunities to expand and share my research. With WGSS support, I’ve travelled to international conferences with leading scholars in my field and conducted extensive archival research—crucial for both my dissertation and my other publications—in collections at universities across the US and in Cuba. I am forever grateful to WGSS and Friends of Women's Studies for their support!
Piña is a CLASS Dissertation Completion Fellow 2016-2017.