Dear Alumni. . .
The Women’s Studies Program is anxious to hear from our graduates. What are your new passions? What life changes have you faced since graduation? What advice can you give to the next cohort of Women’s Studies graduates? Please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and reconnect with us so that we may continue to foster and enrich our relationships with one another. We encourage you all to attend program events, call on us when you need support, and share with us your triumphs and challenges.
News from recent graduates. . .
After I graduated in 2009, I was thrown into the unkind world of job-hunting during a major recession. I began substitute teaching and eventually entered the credential program at Fresno State. In 2011 I was offered a position with the Marjaree Mason Center as the Training Coordinator and it is still part of my position with the agency today. I am active in the community, especially during election seasons, and spend a lot of time helping the younger generation (i.e. my son) stay open minded, respectfully question everything, and push for equality in all aspects of life. The Women's Studies program and its faculty helped me in so many ways. They made me more confident in my abilities as a person, and gave me some of the tools necessary to succeed in the fields I wanted to pursue. They taught me that activism isn't and option, it's a necessity - and it's fun!
I graduated in May of 2012 as a double major in Political Science and Women's Studies, with a minor in Middle East Studies and a certificate in Legal Studies. I was also a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College. I was very active on campus, as an officer in the Women's Alliance and a key organizer of Take Back the Night 2011. I also held an officer position in the Muslim Student Association, and helped organize various rallys and events. As a feminist activist, I quickly grew fond of our Free Speech Area, and utilized it for many events. The Women's Studies Program also provided me with lots of opportunities to do various types of research ranging from Muslim American feminists, to pregnant and parenting students on our campus, to how sexual harassment complaints are dealt with in the workplace.
Not only did my degree in Women's Studies help strengthen my own identity, but more importantly, it taught me how to recognize the social contexts in which we are all placed. To the current Women's Studies majors-- I would recommend that you use this time to build your arsenal of vocabulary and critical thinking skills before you graduate. You will have to go back into a world that does not believe intersectionalities of race, class and gender are significant... or that they even exist. A degree in Women's Studies will provide you with unique skills to analyze and interpret the world through a lens which is very valuable, and often silenced.
I am currently in my first year of law school at San Joaquin College of Law, and I hope to someday be a voice of information for my marginalized communities of women, Muslim Americans, and people of color.
Mary Ann Dawkins
My name is Mary Ann Dawkins and I graduated from Fresno State in spring of 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Women's Studies. After I graduated, I landed a job at Behavioral Interventions: Merced Day Reporting Center as a Client Service Specialist. The Day Reporting Center is a program funded through Merced County Probation. Felony probationers are referred through their probation officers to attend classes such as substance abuse, parenting and life skills, work/employment workshops, submit to random drug testing and attend one-on-one counseling. I facilitated our women's group for all the female probationers once a week, as well as a few of the other groups the DRP offered. To me it was such a wonderful feeling to talk to these women about various female issues as well as introduce them to new thoughts about themselves and the world. Through the DRP I discovered what I really wanted to be in life, a probation officer. Fast forward a year later, I am now a Deputy Probation Officer for Madera County Probation. I am currently working in the adult division and I currently carry the Madera Day Reporting Program Caseload: High risk offenders 18-25 years old. Right now is an exciting time to be a probation officer because the law enforcement culture in California is truly changing due to the passage of Assembly Bill 109. As a probation officer, my goal is not only to make sure that public safety is maintained but that I am also helping my defendants change their lives for the better, whether that be giving them referrals to other substance abuse programs, work programs, educational services, community service, counseling or self-help groups. I definitely enjoy what I do every day, and I look forward to growing in my career!
Karina Renee Lopez
On May 2012, I graduated as a double major in Women Studies and Social Work and minored in Deaf Studies. I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Hong Kong for winter break 2012. I also participated in the BASW Title IV-E Child Welfare Program through the Department of Social Work.I was a peer counselor through the Women's Resource Center, an active member and President of Women's Alliance. I also participated in P.O.W.E.R, AASSWA and SWSA. I had the privilege of organizing Take Back the Night and performing in the Vagina Monologues.
Since graduation, the majority of my time has been spent searching for employment near and far. As of August 23rd 2012, I have been working at Marjaree Mason Center as a Client Service Advocate in the city of Fresno, CA. My heart is set on, pursuing a Masters degree in Social Work and fulfill the necessary requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Eventually, I see myself traveling around the world and practicing Child Welfare through a Feminist perspective.
My advice to the next cohort of Women's Studies graduates is if you do not have the answer never assume, simply ask. Someone will have your answer or guide you to the appropriate source. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion, you are your own advocate and any change begins with you first.
"Since I graduated from Fresno State, I went into the Police Academy in Fresno. I graduated in December 2009 and was hired by Kerman Police Department on August 2010. I am working as a police officer at Kerman police department and I'm on patrol right now so I'm not able to narrow down my passion for the job, but I like to pay special attention to domestic violence calls and calls involving children. When I'm not working, im catching up on sleep, working out ( it relieves the stress) and reading. I love this job even though its hard and Im around high stress situations daily."
"Since I completed my Women's Studies degree I have held a wide range of organizing jobs. I have worked as a union labor organizer in different parts of the United states. I was a grant writer for a non-profit that focused on housing and infrastructure issues in low-income, rural areas of California. Now I am in graduate school in San Francisco studying public health. After completing my M.A., I plan to pursue my Ph.D."
"New passions: I have finally become serious about learning and documenting traditional food practices and how to make traditional food from both my parents. Just recently my father taught me how to make cuv (similar to sake) and my mother taught me how to make tofu. These are traditions that I believe are so valuable in keeping me close to my heritage. Life Changes: It took traveling the world to realize how much I really love the Central Valley and the richness right here. So it's settled. I'm staying and making it home!"