WGST department holds fall reception

Women’s and Gender Studies students met to connect with WGST professors, gain information on courses, and learn about community engagement opportunities in the WGST’s fall reception.

The event took place on Oct. 23 in the Lake House. About 30 people attended, including WGST faculty members, professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and some non-WGST majors/minors. The event was casual and lead by WGST department head Peter Higgins.

Higgins said he wants potential students to learn about the winter course offerings and be given chance to meet a wider variety of professors. Many students don’t often know about the people in other departments who teach classes for the WGST department.

The WGST department has four faculty members, five lecturers, and a department of twenty-five members. With the reception, he hopes students have a chance to meet all the professors to whom they might take classes with or work with on a thesis.

Alyssa Williams graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in psychology. She is now a first year graduate student at EMU in the WGST program. She came to meet new people and network since she is new to the campus.

“In this field, a lot of our work is very much community based,” she said. “When I started networking, my life opened up. Just so much information that I didn’t know existed because I wasn't talking to people.”

According to Michigan's National Public Radio’s website, the president of Career Horizons Matt Youngquist said that at least 70 percent of jobs are not published or posted online.

Higgins said that women’s and gender studies “tends to be a diffused field” and it is crucial that a student knows their way around and know who to talk to since the department is scattered around the campus.

“People think that liberal arts degrees aren’t practical when you’re going into the job market, which actually turns out not to be true.” He said. “So it’s really good for women’s and gender studies students to have the kind of networking skills.”

Brittney Bender is in her second semester of her master’s program in WGST. She is thinking of her future career in nonprofit areas or resource centers.

“A lot of our students go on to positions in the nonprofit world,” Higgins said. “And so people who are interested in community organizing and advocacy, working in social justice movements… various types of organizations ranging from immigrant rights organizations to planned parents, [and] organizations working on legislation for equal pay.”

The WGST department holds many events throughout the academic year like their annual lecture series from highly acclaimed educators, authors, and researchers in the WGST field. The department is also active in the community, recently co-sponsoring a Ypsilanti Community Schools event to empower middle-school girls.

The women’s and gender studies major requires thirty credit hours and a minor. For more information on the WGST course offerings, visit EMU’s 2017-2018 academic catalog for both undergraduate or graduate students.

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