Interview

A view of the student dormitories and some landscaping at the University of Miami Coral Gables campus. A view of the student dormitories and some landscaping at the University of Miami Coral Gables campus.
The Gender and Sexuality Studies program would like to share some of the great experiences our alumni have while enrolled in this degree program.

Christopher Galarza - C/O 2016

  • What inspired you to take a Women’s and Gender Studies class?

    I was admitted into the Music School when I first came to UM and I needed People and Society electives. I was looking at the course offerings and I came across WGS and I thought why not, seemed interesting enough, and the rest was history.

  • What has been one of the most significant take-aways you've gained from your experience with Women’s and Gender Studies?

    The biggest gain that I have experienced has definitely been my epistemological shift. I would not say that I was a critical thinker or researcher before I engaged with the coursework of WGS.

  • What particular course or professor, if any, has particularly inspired or positively impacted you?

    The two professors and courses that have inspired me, and both courses are ones that I’m currently taking as a senior. Dr. Geller’s Interpreting Bodies class is a really great class that has challenged a lot of the things that I have taken for granted especially when it comes to my body and its place within society. I also have to thank Dr. Geller for being my thesis advisor and helping me along the way and also being excited for the research that I am doing with my thesis. And the other course and professor is Gender and Sexuality in the MENA with Dr. Oueslati-Porter, this class has showed me so much about ethnographic research and has really inspired me to want to go into this type of research when I go on to get my graduate degrees.

  • How has Women’s and Gender Studies fit with any other courses of study you may be pursuing?

    I am also studying Latin American Studies and believe it or not, many of the courses actually are cross-listed, which really helped me get both of my majors completed on time even though I switched into Latin American Studies my sophomore year and Women’s and Gender Studies my senior year.

  • How do you see Women’s and Gender Studies fitting into your post-college experiences?

    I will be going to the Peace Corps this coming August and will be working at the Let Girls Learn post, which is a post to help promote women’s empowerment and education so there is a direct correlation with my future volunteer position for the next 2 or 3 years. After that, I am looking to get my master’s in WGS and Anthropology from a higher education institution.

Morgan Owens - C/O 2017

  • What inspired you to take a Women’s and Gender Studies class?

    My first WGS class was Introduction to LGBTQ Studies, and I was inspired to take it because I was curious what an "LGBTQ Studies" minor could possibly be about. I myself am queer, and figured it could be a good way to learn a bit about the larger LGBTQ community.

  • What has been one of the most significant take-aways you've gained from your experience with Women’s and Gender Studies?

    The best thing my WGS courses have given me would be the tools to think about my own identity and who I really want to be relative to the rest of my peers and the world at-large. Examining my own gender and sexuality are things that many people never have to do, and that's a shame. You end up learning a lot about what is important to you and to stop taking things people tell you about yourself for granted.

  • What particular course or professor, if any, has particularly inspired or positively impacted you?

    My favorite WGS course was Queer Studies, which took the information I learned in Introduction to LGBTQ Studies and applied queer theory to it. It turned my entire world on its head, and showed me how to find empowerment in situations where I felt ignored or dismissed.

  • How has Women’s and Gender Studies fit with any other courses of study you may be pursuing?

    I have a Political Science major in addition to WGS, and there have been lots of opportunities for the two to intersect. Political understandings of what populations of people are most able to advocate for themselves and use the government to their advantage, for example, rely heavily on being able to understand how gender and sexuality impact people's lives. The entire realm of LGBTQ advocacy also involves essentially taking WGS ideas and educating people about them in order to bring about political change.

  • How do you see Women’s and Gender Studies fitting into your post-college experiences?

    I hope to go to graduate school for International Relations or Public Administration, and the writing skills I have developed in my WGS courses will be invaluable for that. More directly, I have seen how issues of gender and sexuality cannot be ignored in almost any field, and so whether I am doing political science research, working for the State Department, or anything else, I will be sure to incorporate the language and outlook of my WGS courses to add to my ability to create meaningful knowledge.

Laura Vargas

  • Why did you decide to major in WGS and/or minor in LGBTQ studies?

    I majored in Pre-Physical Therapy and minored in psychology. Unfortunately by the time LGBTQ Studies was approved as a minor, I was within two semesters of finishing college. I would have loved to have minored in LGBTQ studies because it’s so queer – unique!

  • What did you gain from the major/minor?

    I gained a whole new appreciation for what it is to be gay and/or an ally. This class had so much to offer in various topics that compose the LGBTQ community. I gained knowledge on the past, present, and hopeful future of the LGBTQ community.

  • What do you plan to do after graduation (short term, long range)?

    I graduated in May 2013 and thus far have used these few months to get my life in order. I am currently completing graduate school applications to further my dream of earning my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I am also interning at an Orthopedic Surgeons office in hopes of learning the vital partnership between physical therapy and orthopedics. I hope to be successful in my graduate program and then hope to acquire a job where I can learn from the best. My long range goal would be to establish my own rehabilitation clinic where I can truly experience ecstasy doing what I love – helping others.

  • What do you like most about the classes you've taken in WGS?

    This question seems difficult to answer considering I loved everything about my WGS class. Professor Butterman was the main instructor of my course and he truly knew how to direct the class. He implemented different professors specialized on different topics that tied in perfectly with exploring LGBTQ studies. He assigned us interesting books that had me up reading late on a school night.

  • What surprised you the most about your classes in the program?

    I was most surprised by my classmate diversity. I must be honest and admit that I expected my classmates to take the WGS class as a form of finding potential weekend dates and never fully engaging in the depth of the material. I was proven wrong by the end of the first week. My classmates always had interesting points of views and often more than not, I found myself intrigued by discussions going on within my peers.

  • What’s the most important thing you learned in your classes in WGS/LGBTQ studies?

    I would have to say about the LGBTQ community in Native American tribes. Learning about two-spirits and the importance that LGBTQ members played in tribes, was life changing.

  • How do your studies in the program relate to your goals?

    My studies in this program helped me become more knowledgeable and educated on LGBTQ studies, which plays a significant role in my life.  One of my goals in life is to fully embrace my homosexuality in all possible aspects. Aspects including the history of homosexuality, the impact it has on other cultures and how the LGBTQ community has evolved since the early times of Native Americans. It is important to be informed on what is important to me because I want to be able to teach my kids one day of where I come from and how I’ve become who I am today.