"I'm a junior at the University of Akron. I took an interest in the Women's Studies Program after taking Introduction to Women Studies last semester, required for my major. The interest went further when I learned what women have gone through to get us to where we are now with the rights we possess, and I feel that as a woman I should exercise every right I have and continue fighting for more, not just in the business field but in our daily lives, the work place, the school environment and even at home."
"Obtaining the undergraduate minor in Women's Studies at the University of Akron not only complemented my more traditional majors by providing an interdisciplinary perspective, but it also assisted in preparing me for being a Ph.D. candidate in Women & Gender Studies at Arizona State University. Engaging with women's and gender studies classes promotes complex thinking and the development of a theoretical orientation that encourages an intersectional perspective as well as the deconstructing and challenging of social inequalities, hierarchies as well as many normative academic discourses and ideologies. If you are interested in expanding your mind, engaging with challenging but interesting and relevant material as well as improving your career and graduate school opportunities then the minor in Women's Studies at UA is for you."
Meredith Clark is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Women & Gender Studies, Arizona State University
Pursuing this certificate was one of the most beneficial decisions I made throughout all of my professional training and I would encourage anyone who is interested in feminism, gender and sexuality, diversity, "women's issues," or social justice to think about how Women's Studies coursework might complement your own education.
The benefits I have experienced from the Graduate Certificate began with my first Women's Studies class and have continued ever since. All of the classes that I chose to take for the certificate were outside of my doctoral program and included topics as diverse as history, human sexuality, criminology, and sociology. This offered me opportunities that I would not have otherwise had during my graduate training, allowing me to interact (and collaborate) with scholars outside of my own discipline, acquire an interdisciplinary perspective on my professional training, and develop a more comprehensive perspective on the way gender affects our lives.
The experience of pursuing the Graduate Certificate was also powerful in ways that extended beyond my time as a student. I credit my education in Women's Studies with improving me, both personally and professionally. These courses provided space for learning about issues of privilege and oppression that allowed me to grow in my own self-awareness and positioned me to serve as a more effective advocate for social justice. More concretely, the knowledge and skills I developed as a result of this coursework have direct bearing on my work as a therapist in a college counseling center. As a Student Affairs professional, I bring a social justice perspective to every aspect of my involvement and leadership at my university with the goal of helping to create a campus climate that is more just, accepting, diverse, and affirming. As a mental health care provider, my work is based on feminist philosophies that make me a more effective clinician. Unlike traditional approaches to psychological practice, I have a wider understanding of what shapes people's mental health and I am able to understand how individuals' difficulties are situated in their unique context. The result is that I am focused on the person instead of their diagnosis, I am more equipped to address the many mental health concerns that arise as a result of oppression and discrimination, and I am less likely to inadvertently perpetuate discriminatory practices in the way I provide treatment.
Earning the Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies at UA was a transformational experience. Regardless of your field of study, pursuing this supplementary coursework provides a tremendous opportunity to augment your professional and personal development.