Archive | Student Spotlights

Student Spotlight: Jasmine Tindall

We sat down with WGS and Religious Studies double-major Jasmine Tindall to talk about how she came to study WGS, and what areas of WGS she’s most passionate about.Jasmine headshot

First off, why did you choose to major in WS?

I chose to study WGS because it’s fueled my passion for social justice. It’s provided me with a foundation for understanding the root cause of different oppressions, which I think is the first step to making a better life for all.

What areas/aspects of WGS you find most engaging or interesting? Or, what WGS-related issues are most passionate about?

I’m a double major in Religious Studies so a lot of my interests are focused on women’s roles and influences in religion. I’m really fascinated by the extent to which religion has not only reflected basic cultural assumptions about gender but has in turn helped shape, reinforce, and modify those expectations in today’s society.

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

On campus I spend a lot of time with incoming freshmen working as a Peer Facilitator and I’m a member of the Pre-Law Society. Some local activism I’ve enjoyed participating in is volunteering at Planned Parenthood and attending Charleston pride, as well as the Women’s March in DC. I’m looking forward to applying my passion for WGS at my internship in Rwanda and Uganda this summer! I’ll be working with local NGOs on socio-political health issues and studying different topics like psychology from social change & negotiating resources and gender in civic spaces.

Why should every student take a WGS class before they graduate?

There’s a common misconception that women & gender is for the sole benefit of women and women’s rights. I’d encourage anyone to take a WGS course because you’re actively opposing intersectional oppression, critically reviewing and learning how to see things from a multitude of angles, the field inevitably expands into other areas where oppression is highly present such as racism, sexism, exploitation and class difference.

What are your plans post-graduation, and how do you plan to take what you’ve learned in WGS with you moving forward?

Post-graduation I see myself continuing my studies of WGS in grad school to complete my masters and doctorate. One day I hope to pursue a career in academia as a feminist scholar. My dreams include but are not limited to: teaching abroad, publishing contributive research and writings within the WGS realm, and of course hosting my own TED Talks!

WGS Student Spotlight: Raegan Whiteside

We sat down with WGS and English double-major Raegan Whiteside to talk about her experiences leading Literati (the CofC English club), how she came to study WGS, and what areas of WGS she’s most passionate about.

First off, why did you choose to major in WS?

I chose to major in WGS after my first WGS class – Feminism and Jiu-Jitsu (taught by Dr. Kristi Brian). I left that class each day feeling empowered and free. I was surrounded by unique, powerful, independent and different women and yet we all had the common goal of supporting and lifting each other up. We formed a community. That’s why I chose to major in WGS, because I loved that feeling of community and lifting up others, of empowerment and acceptance and WGS Department is the only place I have found that consistently. Raegan headshot

What areas/aspects of WGS you find most engaging or interesting? Or, what WGS-related issues are most passionate about?

I think many of us are in WGS because we are passionate about equal rights and empowering others, especially minority groups. But I think the diversity found in WGS – in the faculty and students, the courses and topics discussed or even the events – is what I find most interesting and what excites me.

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

After my WGS internship ended at skirt. magazine, they offered me two paid positions – Freelance Writer and Magazine Distributor. I’m also the Co-President of Literati (the CofC English club), and a Humanities and Social Sciences Ambassador. When I’m not in class or working on any of those activities, I work at Buxton Bookstore here downtown.

What does being a WGS student mean to you, and why do you think it’s important that we study WGS?

WGS, for me, means community and acceptance (like I mentioned before). I think, in our society today, it’s easy to get caught up in being something you’re not and losing sight of what matters. But, with WGS, I’m always able to be completely myself and WGS challenges me to do better, fight for what I’m passionate about and not shy away when things get difficult.

I think every CofC student should take a WGS class before they graduate because we are in the 21st century and it’s time to quit denying the obvious — that we need change and we need equality and we need everyone on board. WGS is for those who are ready for change, but also for those who want to learn more, for those who want to challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone and actually make a difference in our community, society and culture.

Student Spotlight: Meshauna Dwight

We sat down with WGS and Sociology double-major Meshauna Dwight to talk about her experiences as this year’s Alison Piepmeier Scholarship recipient, her work volunteering with Educating Girls on the Go (EGO), and why she loves studying WGS.Meshauna Headshot

What does being this year’s Alison Piepmeier Scholarship recipient mean to you?

I was happy to learn about the endeavors and achievements of Alison Piepmeier while she was alive, and it is an honor to pick up her torch in solidarity for social justice.

What aspects of WGS or WGS-related areas of interest are you most passionate about?

I decided to declare Women’s and Gender Studies as one of my majors because, to me, WGS embodies effort towards social justice. Social justice in every area is what I am passionate about because I believe that all corners of the globe should be beautiful places for everyone no matter what their differences are, and societies should work towards being as close to a meritocracy as possible.

What upcoming projects or classes in WGS are you most looking forward to?

The class that I am most looking forward to is SOCY 362: The Sociology of Social Change. I read lots of books and watch lots of movies with dystopian themes in the hopes of getting a glimpse of a roadmap to influencing positive social change. Hopefully, this class will help to answer some of my questions.

Are you currently engaged in any activism in the greater Charleston community? If so, tell us about it!

I am mostly involved with this small, up-and-coming organization called Educating Girls on the Go, or EGO. It was started by Nathalia Mateus, a former residential assistant at a group home in North Charleston, called Jenkins Institute for Children. Having first-hand experience with the foster care system opened her eyes to how broken it is and she wanted to become an advocate. We have been speaking with policy-makers, community leaders, and other organizations based in and outside of South Carolina for three years now in an effort to reform South Carolina’s foster care system. We now plan to get involved with the Department of Children’s Advocacy, which has only just been established in the beginning of July. This new organization will provide oversight for South Carolina’s Department of Social Services to make sure that all youth in foster care are actually receiving the many services that they have a right to while in DSS custody. The staggering amount of foster care youth that age out of the system only to become homeless were often never even made aware of the resources that they are entitled to.

WGS Student Spotlight: Zoë Murrie

We sat down with WGS and Communication double-major Zoë Murrie to talk about her experiences as this year’s Skirt. Magazine Endowed Scholarship recipient, her work with SafeZone and CisternYard, and why she loves studying WGS.Zoe Murrie Headshot

First off, why WGS? Why did you choose to declare your WGS major?

“I chose to major in WGS because I think the courses and faculty give an overview of the history of injustices and power imbalances from an intersectional lens that no other department does. WGS also offers tools for fixing these issues with real life applicable activist skills and helps create students who are capable of thinking out problems and developing thoughtful opinions and solutions.”

What are some topics you’ve covered in your WGS classes that you’re particularly passionate about?

“Within WGS I found myself most engaged when I get to really talk through problems. Hearing from Professors, who are often themselves gender-based activists, as well as peers really allows me to see an issue from every side and helps me develop an opinion. I truly think this is unique to WGS. While it can be discouraging to discuss modern injustices, it’s necessary for remedying them.”

Talk to us about your work with SafeZone / MSPS. You were paired with SafeZone through your WGS internship, correct?

“Yes. Last spring I was matched with Lynda Keller the assistant director of MSPS and leader of Safe Zone on campus, thanks to the WGS department. Through Safe Zone I have realized not only the importance of LGBTQ+ education on campus, but have learned so much about education, activism and open conversation as a whole. When someone is given the space and respect to learn about people who are different from them, or even get to see themselves represented in a conversation, they really do open up so much. Working with Safe Zone has encouraged more activism within my career aspirations and has shown me that on a micro level people are interested in being educated about issues they don’t face and understanding each other.”

What does it mean to you to be this year’s Skirt. Magazine Endowed Scholarship recipient?

“I am so excited and honored to be the Skirt! recipient. I remember my mom reading skirt when I was a child and I was always so interested in the idea of a complex, multifaceted magazine for women. I am currently the Managing Editor of CisternYard News, our student run publication on campus. As a writer and editor I try to create pieces that question societal norms and show women as complex beings. After college, I would love to work for a woman’s interest magazine and continue to make connections between socio-political status, women’s issues and women’s rights.”

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