Alumni Spotlight: Dr. JaQuinda Jackson (she/her)

JaQuinda headshot

How did you come to be interested in WGS as an undergrad, and what memorable experiences with WGS during your time at the College can you share with us? 

I was “accidentally” enrolled in Intro. to Women’s & Gender Studies one semester, but after I got to class I fell in love with not only the discussions centered around the works of women and the roles that women play in society. I soon realized that enrolling in this class was no accident — it was purposeful in jump-starting my career in trauma reproductive work.

What have you been doing since graduation? What are your aspirations for the near future? 

After graduating from CofC, I went on to Washington, DC where I received my Masters in Community Counseling as well as my Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. I did community health work which helped me learn and understand how trauma impacts an individual’s ability to develop and utilize healthy social emotional skills.

I currently have my own private practice where I primarily work with individuals who have experienced trauma. I also have a non-profit that teaches social emotional skills to students and educators. For the future, I want to develop an organization that focuses on healthy attachments between children and caregivers utilizing a therapeutic approach.

How did your studies in WGS prepare you for your current work/activism/research project? How do you find yourself incorporating skills that you learned in WGS classes in your life/career today? 

My studies in WGS prepared me for my work in trauma support and advocating for people in many ways. I incorporate the skills I learned in WGS like researching and examining the roles women hold and have held in society to empower women who have experienced trauma. It is empowering to see women who have experienced setbacks overcome them and understand the power they hold in the world. It is a magical feeling!

READ NOW! Upcoming WGS event featuring Dr. Bettina Love – Write-Up in the College Today!

Preview image of article in the college today

WGS Research Colloquium – Thursday, February 25 at 5:00pm!

colloquium flyer featuring pictures of speakers

Please join WGS as we hear from our newest faculty affiliates about their current research projects on February 25th, 5:00-6:30pm, via Zoom:

Students, Faculty, Staff, and Community Supporters are all welcome!

READ NOW: “Late Professor’s New Book Leaves a Lasting Legacy”

Photograph of Alison Piepmeier's new book cover + text

Click the banner image above or the button below to read the write-up on the late Alison Peipmeier’s new book, Unexpected: Parenting, Prenatal Testing, and Down Syndrome, which The College Today‘s Amy Mercer writes “offers interviews with parents of children with Down syndrome as well as scholarly research, weaving a narrative that is both deeply personal and academic.”

Launch of Alison Piepmeier’s Last Book

Book cover of Alison Peipmeier's "Unexpected: Parenting, Prenatal Testing, and Down Syndrome" with a picture of Alison and young girl on tricycle

Alison Piepmeier’s last book, Unexpected: Parenting, Prenatal Testing, and Down Syndrome, will be published soon by NYU Press. Before Alison passed away, she asked George Estreich and Rachel Adams to complete her unfinished manuscript. They have done so, adding an introduction and chapters of our own. The book will be out from NYU Press on February 23rd!

There will also be a virtual book launch, sponsored by the Heyman Center at Columbia University. Estreich and Adams will be joined by Alondra Nelson and Sayantani Das Gupta for the launch.

For more information on the book, please visit: https://nyupress.org/9781479816637/unexpected/

Student Spotlight: Mariam Amireh

headshot of Mariam Amireh

What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?

My hometown is Charleston, South Carolina. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I’m a double major in Communication and Sociology and a minor in International Studies. I am also the current recipient of the Alison Piepmeier Endowed Scholarship.

What areas/aspects of gender activism and/or advocacy for women and girls you find most engaging/interesting/what you’re most passionate about? 

I am very passionate about social justice and the empowerment of women, children, and minority groups. There is so much injustice in our world, a lot of which is targeted toward women and minority populations and perpetuated through systemic inequity. One way to combat these injustices is through education, which can help empower people with the confidence and strength that they need to be a part of creating positive change.

Tell us about any extracurricular work you’re doing (ex. volunteering/local activism), or any involvement you have on campus with clubs/organizations. 

I believe that education is the beacon of a brighter future. The learning process can be challenging, especially for kids that face language barriers, and I am committed to tutoring and mentoring elementary and middle school students to help them overcome this barrier and any others they might face. I have mentored students in Charleston and during my studies abroad, but I have become even more committed to this work as the pandemic has forced students to transition from traditional to online learning formats. Helping my students adjust to this new format while working on the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their studies is extremely rewarding. It allows me to help them gain self-confidence and realize that they can succeed in the classroom and in all aspects of their lives.

I also frequently volunteer in animal shelters and enjoy fostering kittens until they’re ready to be placed for adoption. The only downside to that is that I often get too attached to them!

What impact did your WGS course have on you? and/or: Why should every CofC student take a WGS class before they graduate? 

One of the first courses I took during my college career was Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. It turned out to be one of my favorites! I truly enjoyed it because not only did it present a foundation for a solid understanding of issues relating to women and gender, but it also gave insight into the structural and cultural origins of current inequity and injustice. In Intro to WGS, a variety of topics are presented through a multitude of perspectives, which leads to a broader, more well-rounded understanding of these important issues.

Every CofC student would benefit from taking a WGS course before they graduate because understanding how to navigate issues of gender and sexuality provides historical context and perspective on past, present, and future obstacles to equality. WGS courses also create productive spaces for students to have critical discussions on relevant social issues.

What are your plans and goals post graduation?

After I graduate, I hope to pursue a career that allows me to help underprivileged and underrepresented groups overcome the structural hurdles that restrict them from equal access to opportunities and resources. I’m really interested in finding a position within the field of communication, especially one that intersects with social work. While I am not totally sure where life will take me, especially during these unprecedented times, I am hopeful that my future endeavors allow me to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

READ NOW! The WGS Spring 2021 Newsletter is HERE!

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It’s here! The Spring 2021 newsletter (also named WGS Connect, just like this blog!) is here! Use the button below to view this special digital PDF, complete with embedded links and lots of great info on WGS students, faculty, events, and courses.

 

READ NOW: “Yes! I’m a Feminist Goes Virtual” (The College Today)

 

Screenshot of College Today article titled "Yes! i'm a Feminist Goes Virtual"

Yes! I’m a Feminist: Give Your “YES!”

YES! I'm a Feminist Banner in Red

“Yes! I’m a Feminist.” is celebrating eight years as an annual event organized by the WGS Community Advisory Board in support of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at The College of Charleston. While this year has kept us at a distance, we have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to find a creative way to celebrate our “wins” with our most loyal and generous supporters and to invite our global community to the party.

This year, our annual fundraising event will be completely virtual. With COVID-19 as a deciding factor, we have instead poured our energy into creating a video that encapsulates the culmination of our hard-fought past, acknowledges our present-day reality, and looks onward to a brighter, more feminist future. We are, if nothing more, celebrating the mere fact that we’ve survived one of the most arduous years in recent memory, while preparing for the vital work ahead.

With this video, we hope you see yourself in the imagery, hear yourself in the words and feel a sense of pride in what we have accomplished, together. We also hope you are moved to deepen your resolve and to give what you can to support an unprecedented academic program in a grand institution that is committed to challenging the status-quo, getting into good trouble and bending the arc toward a more just world – for all.


Today through Thursday, January 28 – CofC Day! –
We are campaigning for feminist futures
and a more just world for all.


Our goal this year is to raise $25,000 to fund our Student Opportunities Fund, directly supporting specific programs that enhance the experience of our students, including access to revered speakers and mentors, unique opportunities for professional development and mentorship, and educational offerings that support our community at-large. With your donation, Yes! I’m a Feminist and the Women’s and Gender Studies program will continue to help students with tuition, programming, study abroad, and expanded research and internship opportunities. Your support has had an enormous impact on what we have been able to accomplish, together.

Watch our video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BS8TyLthzRQ

 

HIGHLIGHTS from Academic Year 2019-2020 include:

  • Pivoted to 100% online instruction of over 500 students in WGS classes in a matter of days due to COVID-19. Held a virtual graduation celebration for Spring 2020 graduates.
  • Successful faculty search and hiring of Elizabeth Velásquez Estrada, Assistant Professor, for the Fall 2021 semester.
  • Welcomed Mariah Parker on campus for “Cultivating Courage” lecture and hip hop event at The Royal American – named “one of the young, radical women of color rescuing the Democratic party
  • Virtually hosted esteemed women’s historian Anya Jabour (University of Montana) for Women’s Equality Day (8/26) lecture Sophonisba Breckinridge, the Suffrage Movement, and Social Justice
  • Hosted campus-community book club around Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, culminating in a virtual event with Professor Martha S. Jones, the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Hosted more than a dozen virtual events in the fall 2020 semester for students, faculty, staff, alums and community members. All events have focused on our anti-racism commitments.
  • Launched the Student Advisory Committee – a diverse group of student leaders in WGS to advise program decisions
  • Expanded the Community Advisory Board with highly respected women and advocates for feminist values in the Charleston community
  • Secured the Ketner-Crunelle LGBTQ+ Endowed Scholarship – a first ever LGBTQ+ scholarship at the College of Charleston

On behalf of the College of Charleston’s Women’s and Gender Studies Community Advisory Board, students, and faculty, we graciously THANK YOU for supporting this exceptional, ever-growing program for over eight years! Through the WGS major and minor, students are able to devote themselves to the study of identities, power, and intersectionality in different cultures, contexts, and time periods. We discuss complex cultural issues – from historical to contemporary controversies – and teach students to think on their feet to develop a range of analytical approaches. Our students are the future. And the future is now.

 

GOALS for the 2020-2021 Academic Year on behalf of the WGS Community Advisory Board include:

  • Produce the 8th Annual Yes, I Am A Feminist! event, raising a minimum of $25,000 to directly support the WGS mission and programs.
  • Deepen existing community relationships and procure new strategic partnerships across the Lowcountry, state of South Carolina and the region.
  • Expand recruiting, programming and advocacy efforts continuing to offer a leading-edge curriculum and high-impact experiential learning for students and opportunities for community engagement.
  • Increase Student Opportunities Fund to $25,000, assisting students who need financial support to participate in study abroad, unpaid internships, research and creative activities, and advocacy or activism in projects that advance social justice.

We invite you to contribute to our only fundraising event of the year by supporting all of the extraordinary programs created for and by WGS students. We invite you to celebrate the life of Alison Piepmeier, whose legacy lives on in the mission and contributions of a small and mighty academic program that reaches well beyond the classroom. We invite you to deepen your resolve and invest in your community that supports a more just world. We invite you to…

DONATE TODAY.

Yes I'm a Feminist Banner reading "Give Your YES!" (click to donate)

give.cofc.edu/WGS

Donations can also be made by check and mailed to:
Women’s & Gender Studies, College of Charleston, 66 George St, Charleston, SC 29424

 

College of Charleston’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program Community Advisory Board:

Callie Shell, Chair (‘83), Amanda Bunting Comen (‘01), Margaret Pilarski (‘07), Barbie Schreiner (‘13), Leah Suárez (‘05), Ali Titus (‘10)

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