Gender and Women's Studies Alumni

Maxime Billick '10kMaxime Billick '10k
I'm currently in my first year at McGill medical school - does that seem like a world away from GWS? Far from it. Last year I worked at HIPS in Washington, DC through a Global Health Corps fellowship. HIPS is a non-profit organization that works with people of all genders, including transgender individuals, involved in sex work, drug use or at the margins of access to care. Our aim was to provide compassionate harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement that was respectful, non-judgmental, and affirms and honors individual power and agency. The ideas about power and privilege, equality, and access so often discussed in GWS classes played a direct role in my capacity as a service provider and helped me shape my current role as a medical student at McGill. I lead "Sexperts," a peer education sex education initiative in high schools, and I use many of the critical thinking skills when tasked with the goal of ensuring medicine is as accessible and gender inclusive as possible.


Leah Ferenc '09Leah Ferenc '09
I am currently the Assistant Field Hockey Coach for Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH. I work together with the head coach to plan and facilitate practices every day, coach games, and actively recruit new players for the coming seasons. I am also a volunteer mentor for The Circle Program and am mentoring an 11 year old girl in my area. The GWS classes at Bowdoin were the highlight of my college experience. I not only learned a great deal about history, religion, and government but I learned how women and gender fit into each category. I now find myself constantly questioning and analyzing everyday experiences and occurrences through a gendered lens.


Jess Walker ‘09Jess Walker ‘09
Gender and Women’s Studies Major
Career Explorations Coordinator for Hard Hatted Women
When looking for jobs in the non-profit world I focused specifically on organizations that assisted women in some way. Because I am a Gender and Women studies grad I knew that issues like poverty, health care, and even criminal rehabilitation uniquely effect women in this country. In my current job, I am able to address a range of barriers that keep women in poverty and out of high wage jobs. This gives me a chance to apply the knowledge I gained in Gender Studies classes to activism on the ground.


Alison Driver ‘08Alison Driver '08
Youth, Family, and Community Development Specialist
Peace Corps, Dominican Republic
I work with a girls group in a community founded by Haitian migrant workers brought to the DR to cut sugar cane in the 1950s. I am constantly asking questions about power: how can these girls change gender relations in their community? how can they counteract the overwhelming racism directed at Dominicans of Haitian descent? How does my race, class, and position as a facilitator enable and constrain the group's work? I don't have the answers, but GWS taught me how to ask the questions that lead to the reflecting, investigating, and acting necessary to fight for social justice.


William Donahoe ‘08William Donahoe ‘08
Copywriting Student at VCU Brandcenter
Web Developer, Projects by Chi/Donahoe/Thompson
My GWS minor has very directly affected my work life: I helped re-brand the Feminist Majority Foundation this summer with a fellow Bowdoin alum (now we’re working on Ms. Magazine!). More importantly, my GWS classes taught me how to empathize with people. Now I'm studying to work in advertising–an industry that would greatly benefit from men who understand women better. If you learn to understand what affects and motivates people’s beliefs then what can't you do well? What change can’t you affect?


Saira Toppin ‘09Saira Toppin ‘09
Fashion & Culture Editor, Women's Mafia
GWS helped me land this job! I was on an interview for another position and that was not working well, so I was able to maneuver my way out of an okay situation into a great one. At Women's Mafia, I apply my major because I write on a daily basis for a primarily female audience. At Bowdoin, I read and wrote a lot and I do the same now. I had four years of practice that is being put to the test today. Studying women's history has showed me that women are the foundation of everything, especially the household. I took the time to write a story on domestic workers, and in this space I was able to highlight the sometimes mistreatment of women and show that change must take place now. I am doing my part and having fun at the same time.


Alana M. Wooley '06Alana M. Wooley '06
ScM Candidate, 2010
Harvard School of Public Health
Department of Society, Human Development & Health
After graduating from Bowdoin, I conducted public health research investigating social factors that influence the development of childhood asthma, including family and community violence, socioeconomic stress, and environmental racism. Recognizing the connection between maternal and child health, we explored the influence of these prenatal exposures to the development of childhood asthma.


As a graduate student, my work has focused on social and economic factors influencing the health of low-income populations and communities of color across the life course. My health disparities work appreciates the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, discrimination, and social policies. The GWS program helped me to recognize the diversity and inequalities within and between communities. With a gendered lens, I consider the ways in which programs and policies perpetuate or challenge various forms of oppression and/or empower communities. After my program I hope to work with a community-based organization to implement effective strategies to eliminate health disparities among low-income populations and communities of color, likely programs addressing women’s social and sexual health.


Tanisha Love Ramirez '06Tanisha Love Ramirez '06
GWS's effect on my life: Because of Bowdoin's GWS's program I've decided to pursue my Masters in Women's History at Sarah Lawrence College, and I hope to someday earn my Ph.D so that I can become a professor of Gender and Women's Studies someday. I had such a great time while participating in the GWS program at Bowdoin ,and I plan remaining an active member of that field!.


Lindsay Buntman ‘06Lindsay Buntman ‘06
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at NYU
Masters Candidate in Higher Education Administration at NYU
I've always believed that it is not what you major in that matters, but that college is about learning to love learning, and finding mentors that teach and challenge you in order to become a thoughtful and engaged citizen. While at Bowdoin, I did an independent study on Bowdoin’s process of becoming coeducational in the 1970s. I also took courses on the LGBT movement, Gender and the Suburbs, Women in Horror Films and other interesting topics.


After having such an incredible experience at Bowdoin I decided to stay in higher education and work at a university where I have the opportunity to speak with prospective students about the college application process and assist the university in finding students who are good matches for the school. Outside of work, I mentor a 12 year old girl from Brooklyn through a non profit organization called Girls Quest. The goal of the organization is to use New York City as a resource to guide and mentor girls through different stages of adolescents. My involvement in Girls Quest is a way to draw on my gender and women studies work with self image and adolescent development in order to empower my mentee.

I also draw upon my gender and women studies major in how I think about the world and choose to live my life. I think of myself as a woman first in all situations and am constantly aware of how I am treated as a result.

Megan Wyman '06Megan Wyman '06
Currently pursuing M.Ed. in Counseling & Career Development to become a School Counselor, working part-time as the Graduate Student Coordinator at Colorado State University’s Office of Service-Learning
Career Explorations Coordinator for Hard Hatted Women
Just after finishing my undergraduate degree in Gender and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin, I moved into a summer internship in Boston for the summer of 2006. In Boston I worked with Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts as part of the Massachusetts Voter Action Project. This internship made sense for me because I was very involved as a volunteer and intern for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England while in college, and I was very interested in learning more about the political/administrative side of the organization. During that internship I spent some time making calls to gauge the number of pro-choice voters lived in out surrounding area, and I also served as a volunteer for the Willie Mae Allen legislative campaign as part of the effort to get more pro-choice people in office.

After my internship with PPLM, I moved to Fort Collins, CO, and started working for the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center (SAVA), a local non-profit, as the Development Coordinator. In my position I did direct service work, including advocacy and crisis intervention for sexual assault survivors and their loved ones, planned and executed three annual fundraisers, and I was also exposed to grant writing.

I worked at SAVA for two years, and being there really gave me a place to feel like I was a part of something greater. I found that working to change laws, etc., which was much of what I did at PPLM, was not really for me; I wanted to make an impact with individuals. My work at SAVA allowed me to do this, and it also opened up the opportunity for me to learn more about sexual violence education and prevention. I became actively involved in the Supergirls Running Empowerment Program each summer, where I was paired with a girl (ages ranged from 6-12) and trained to run a 5K race. In addition to training for the race the Supergirls met a few times a week to explore issues surrounding body image, self-esteem, stereotypes, etc. I really enjoyed my experience with Supergirls and realized how powerful working with youth can be.

After working for a couple years at SAVA, I am currently in my first semester of Graduate School at Colorado State University. I am pursuing my Master’s in Education in Counseling & Career Development, with the goal of becoming a school counselor. Before I was a GWS major at Bowdoin I was an English major with an Education minor, and I thought I wanted to become a teacher. I realized, though, that my passion was really for GWS. As a school counselor, hopefully at the junior high school level, I will have the opportunity to work with students and encourage gender equality in my work. I just finished writing a paper for one of my classes in which I touched upon gender identity formation for young adolescents and found some pretty upsetting information about how ingrained gender stereotypes already are at this age. I believe that helping individual students become healthier and feel okay with being themselves outside of gender stereotypes is a way to initiate social change. As individuals move further from the gender stereotypes and misogyny that permeate our culture and instead begin to feel more confident with their individual selves I believe we will move toward a society that values and supports the success of all genders.

Being a GWS major gave me a place to open up and talk about so many of the issues we are taught to silence. Since my first GWS class I have not stopped talking about gender issues and pointing out how they affect society. Sometimes this means I have to stand up when others do not want to, but that’s okay. Being a GWS major helped me come to a better place with myself and feel confident to spread the message to all people in an effort to make all genders reach their fullest potential.

Camilla Yamada '03Camilla Yamada '03
Disaster Medicine and Management Student at Graduate Intern Natural Hazards Center, UC Boulder
Instructor, Outward Bound Denver
Disaster Assistance Team, Red Cross Denver
I graduated from Bowdoin in 2003 with a double major in what was then Women's Studies and History and a minor in Art History. Bowdoin's GWS program taught me how to critically reflect on perceptions of women in society. I remember walking home after my Feminist Methodology class with Professor Scanlon and realizing that there is not one black and white answer for how I want to be perceived as a woman. Some day's I want to be smart. Other days I like feeling mysterious. Professor Fletcher's Modernism and the Nude class introduced me to the artistic representation of women while Professor Ghodsee's Women and World Development lectures made me want to jump out of my seat and fight my beliefs with actions. These defining classes and all the other ones that informed my abilities to speak and think confidently continue to drive my current passions and make me grateful for my liberal arts background. As I delve more into disaster research with school and work, I find myself immediately drawn into studying the unique circumstances facing women during the stages of a disaster. I feel like Bowdoin helped me uncover the power of women, my professors gave me the knowledge to form my own opinions, and my classmates inspired me to be any woman I want.