Sarah Ward '11
Since graduating from The University of New Hampshire in 2011, I have completed a year of AmeriCorps Service (an experience I highly recommenced to any graduating student!), aligned myself with nonprofit organizations that share my values in various volunteer, part time or internship roles -- MA Commission on the Status of Women, ACLU, Lawers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, started a global NGO thanks to "World Merit," a United Nations affiliated fellowship for young adults across the world, and returned to the Granite State for a Vice President of Community Engagement for a nonpartisan nonprofit organization working to improve the health and wellness of all Granite Staters.
What did your major mean to you and in what ways you have found it useful and/or valuable?
There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't use my women's studies degree. The education I received was tremendously valuable in helping shape the lens in which I look at the world.
Our professors and the warm and inclusive community of the department helped me unpack and own the strengths I always had to step into my power, and into my feminist identity. I didn't just gain an intellectual understanding of our patriarchal society, but was mentored by faculty who provided the space to share our truths, and respect others. As a New Englander who, at the time, had been exposed to virtually no diversity, I really appreciated the efforts the department made to include the teachings of authors, scholars and activists of various races, classes and privileges into the curriculum. I never knew how vital this education would be until I decided to use my women's studies background for advocacy, which employers have seen as an asset to skill set.
I have taken it to state commissions and encouraged leadership to consider the gender/race of those represented around the table, it helped me make healthier choices for myself in my relationships, and it has given me a roadmap to figure out where I fit into the continuum of women who strive for equality.
Because in spite of the achievements we have made, we still have a long way to go towards equality. My degree helped my passion take shape.