GWS Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight on Dana Ahern

12/1/2013  8:00 am

  
 
What year did you graduate? Were you a Gender and Women’s Studies Major or Minor?
 
I graduated in 2012, double majoring in GWS and Anthropology.
 
 
What did you enjoy most about GWS? What was your favorite course?
 
It's really hard to pick a favorite class as there are so many amazing ones.  I would say, though, that one of my favorites and definitely the most influential class I ever took was Trans Bodies and Politics with FionaNgô.  It was the class that first got me seriously thinking about graduate school.  Professor Ngô encouraged her students to go the extra mile and she pushed my thinking and scholarship to really be better.  That class significantly improved my scholarship and I really believe I wouldn't have gotten to where I am without it.
 
I think the faculty is my favorite part about GWS.  The faculty is so supportive, helpful, and brilliant.  I feel very lucky to have gotten to take classes with these scholars and it's amazing how much I feel like I learned each semester.  The professors are passionate and thoughtful, and the department as a whole is filled with a feeling of generosity and kindness.  They want to see their students succeed and that is very clear.
 
 
Why would you recommend GWS to undergraduate or graduate students?
 
GWS is a flexible program that can help no matter what field you enter.  I double majored in Anthropology and I used to do medical research and while pursuing that, I was able to see the way my GWS major was helping me to create more thoughtful research, even if it was just in my word choices.  GWS also taught me critical thinking in new ways and it made me a better writer, speaker, and thinker.  For me, GWS became my future, but even if you do not plan to go to graduate school for gender studies, GWS is a very flexible major and compliments many different fields.
 
 
How has your background in GWS applied to your life after graduation?
 
I am currently working on an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies at Simmons College in Boston, and hopefully I will pursue a PhD afterwards.  Obviously GWS has been very directly helpful to my current situation, but specifically, GWS is a really thorough program and I feel like I've been exposed to many concepts that have really given me boost in graduate school.

 

Learn more about joining the GWS department with the Gender & Women’s Studies Major, GWS MinorLGBT/Q MinorGraduate Minor in GWS, and Graduate Minor in Queer Studies or email gws-email@illinois.edu .