I am very grateful to be a part of this WGSS program, which impacts women's lives and showcases female influence and the diversity in our community. It has also helped me discover my passion for women's studies, which I will focus on in my graduate and future career.
Taking Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies courses has really affected me in two main ways. Firstly, my minor has provided a history course of strong women who have asserted ideas that were extremely ahead of their time. These were stories that were never taught in schools and have been forgotten by many. These courses have provided me with access to information and feminist ideas that I previously did not know how to find. My WGSS courses have equipped me with tools to analyze different levels of society and understand its messages, which are often harmful to those who do not fit regular "norms." I am thankful for these lessons, which will be used throughout my life.
The second I walked into the WGSS program I immediately felt at home and I knew that I would do anything I could to be a part of their work. As a minor, the classes I’ve taken thus far have instilled an inclusive point of view and taught me more than I expected. The teachers have pushed me to discover my own thoughts and ideas and defend them.
I graduate in May and I would not have gotten to where I am without this wonderful, special program.
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.
My WGSS classes have opened up my eyes to the long history of the LGBTQ community. My course with Dr. Pegoda was easily the best class I have taken here. I learned so much from my classmates and all the projects we did. Every day that I learned more, I saw things so much differently and noticed so many other things. These classes are very important and I suggest everyone to take at least one class while they are in college to truly understand the LGBTQ community.
I'm Lauren Erickson. I'm a Houston native who's been doing school for a long time. I worked my way, slow and steady, through Lone Star College and then University of Houston where I finally earned my Bachelor of Science in Anthropology in May of 2017. During my undergrad, I took several classes with Dr. Quinn of the WGSS department and my life was changed. I gained an invaluable understanding of power structures and the way they permeate the past as well as the ways they work today. It is because of these classes and Dr. Quinn that I decided to pursue as Master of Public Policy from the University of Houston. This fall I received a scholarship from HEB for which I am so grateful. I feel so privileged to live in a city so diverse as Houston and attend a school which is just as diverse. This city and the people of the University of Houston teach me so much everyday. Thank you HEB for being the most Texas business I know and for supporting the absolutely wonderful WGSS department at UH.
Taking courses with the WGSS program has made a huge impact in my academic, professional and personal life. I have been able to work in more interdisciplinary ways, incorporating feminist pedagogical and methodological approaches into my research and teaching. As a first-generation Latina native from the border … the mentorship and support that I have received from the WGSS community have helped me. I am more than thankful for being part of the WGSS Program at the University of Houston!
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.
I remember visiting the UH library archives for an Issues in Feminist Research class with Dr. Zarnow, and my fellow students and I were enthralled by the various women’s and LGBTQ collections we saw. After years of education that mostly glossed over the contributions of these communities in history, the others and I felt so joyous knowing that our communities did have histories – they were just waiting to be made known. [Now, after internships with the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Smithsonian and the Hispanic collections at UH, I aim to become an archivist], in order to create better access and preservation of materials for these communities so that they will have the ability to explore their history and promulgate it within mainstream society.
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!
As a WGSS major, I’ve learned about the theories that have helped to guide and shape various activisms that empower the marginalized. And it's not just about learning the theory, it is simultaneously about how you engage with it and put it into practice within our social/political reality! The WGSS faculty at UH and the scholarships provided by the Friends have encouraged me to pursue this growing field. It inspires me to expand my knowledge on the subject and utilize it within my activism, art, education, and career.
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.
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.
I believe the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies program to be an incredibly necessary focus in the advancement of humanitarian studies -- ultimately, what unites us together as human beings and provides a bit of insight as well as connection and understanding of each other in our limited time here on this earth. This field of study encapsulates all perspectives of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and so many other aspects that affect our lives, and how we relate to the people around us. [After the recent death of my grandfather, even my grandmother could] relate to my an essay I’d written on non-binary experience, and to navigating (sometimes) ever-changing identities. That gives me hope for the future.
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.
My Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies classes have had an incredible impact on my higher education. I was able to learn something beyond what other classes offer -- how to think critically about culture and socialization in a way that makes you understand yourself and others in a more nuanced way. Validating my own concerns and experiences, and also learning about those of others, helped me empathize and understand the realities behind marginalized identities. As the world changes and grows, our attitudes about gender need to as well.
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 am currently studying English Creative Writing Poetry at the University of Houston. A woman of color, a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan and a mother of three, I got to resume my education after a gap of nineteen years. Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is my minor and also my inspiration in my creative work. WGSS has not only strengthened my confidence in my voice, views and personality but also enabled me to embrace my identity. I was able to break the taboos and stereotypes attached to women of the third world. My determination is to pass on the support to women like me and help them find their voices just the way I received the support from my mentors at WGSS.
Their belief and their constant guardianship enabled me to receive the H.E.B Grant, and it is because of that grant I could get more time to focus on my studies, my creative work and my professional internship at Gulf Coast Literary Magazine. I am also able to spend more time with my family as well and I don’t have to work for extended hours to pay for my tuition.
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.
I am a senior in the University of Houston Honors College pursuing a B.B.A in Marketing and a B.A in Liberal Studies. October 2017 marked the one year anniversary of my consulting business, Achievement Consulting by Nnenna Umelloh, and non-profit, Empower! My background in WGSS has become the foundation of my non-profit, which is designed to empower young women and girls to become independent young women.The scholarship has been monumental in providing financial support in my academic career. I can pour myself into my classes and focus on academia. I have the freedom of exploring my interests fully because I don't have to worry about how to pay for class. Thank you so much for investing in my education! It means the world to me!
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.