WGS students credit minor with opening eyes to issues




Giulia Pink has a new understanding of classism and politics.

Stephanie Turk finds she has become more empathetic.

Imari Smith has a greater appreciation for how change takes place.

All three UDM students credit their minor in Women’s and Gender (WGS) Studies.

The minor offers a unique experience regarding hot-button issues related to women’s rights and gender inequality, according to program director Dr. Rosemary Weatherston.

The program has two primary aims.

“First, to provide UDM students an expertise in gender and diversity issues and prepare them to be socially active in their professions, communities and social-justice issues,” said Weatherston. “Second, to provide UDM and our surrounding communities with opportunities to engage with women’s and gender issues from many different academic and cultural perspectives.”

WGS minors take a wide range of classes.

All must enroll in “WSG 2000 Gender, Sex and Justice.”

Students then choose WGS credits from a variety of English, history, psychology, religious studies, music, philosophy, criminal justice, business, political science and other course.

 “The nice thing about many WGS minor courses is that they also fulfill core curriculum requirements,” said Weatherston. “So students with tight schedules or demanding majors can complete a WGS minor without taking a lot of extra courses. All our courses are open to all undergraduate students, though. You don’t have to be a minor to take a great WGS class.”

Giula Pink, a senior, appreciates her WGS courses.

“I have gained several different perspectives, especially regarding classism and politics,” she said. “Many of the courses are diverse and fall into the core curriculum. We also participate in events with other on-campus organizations, such as Spectrum and African American Studies.”

Stephanie Turk especially enjoys her WGS faculty.

“After taking the classes, it’s hard not to write about the things I’ve learned in other courses,” she said. “I didn’t realize what is relevant, especially when watching commercials. I’ve become a better person and empathize with others more after becoming a WGS minor.”

Imari Smith, a Biology major, appreciates that WSG looks at gender identity, as well as women’s, issues.

“We also look at how change can happen,” she said. “One event the WGS program participated in involved an African American speaker who’s book traced back the diaries of an average everyday slave that had never been discovered before, which opened up new perspectives.”

Weatherston added that a WGS minor also has benefits related to career and job opportunities.

“There is a really high demand in many professions for employees with training and expertise in diversity issues,” she said. “Completing a WGS minor is a way to make yourself a more attractive candidate for just about any job.”

She said WGS minors often work in politics, law, public advocacy, the arts, education, international relations, journalism, health professions and human resources.

“The minor is also excellent preparation for further study in graduate schools,” she noted. “Beyond getting a great job or getting into graduate school, though, gender is something that impacts every person, profession, and academic discipline so WGS minors are guaranteed to learn things they can apply to their own lives during and after college.”

Students interested in the program may contact Weatherston at weatherr@udmercy.edu.