Alumni Profiles

See where students from the Women's and Gender Studies Department have landed post-graduation. Select from the following stories:

  • Kirsten Fedorowicz- Outreach and Marketing assistant for
  • Jenny McCullen and Katie Fahey- Voter's Not Politicians
  • Cheyna Roth- Capitol correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network
  • Emily Weber- Brand Marketing and Communication Specialist for Honda Logistics
  • Lindsey Bacigal- Studied at the National University of Ireland, Galway for a Master’s Global Women’s Studies: Gender, Globalization and Rights 
  • Kelsey Cotton- Office Administrator at a non-profit organization for economic development
  • Bridget Gibley- Graduate study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Coordinated Master’s Degree Program for Women’s and Gender Studies and Library and Information Science
  • Lena Peak- Studied at Washington University in St. Louis’ Brown School for a Master of Social Work, with a concentration in Transformative Sexuality Education and Empowerment 

I have used my Women's Studies courses in every course I have taken at Aquinas. In my English courses, I have focused on the role of gender-- whether that is in the author's context or the relationships between characters in the novels. Having this frame for analyzing texts has helped me study not only the texts, but also their contexts and settings on a deeper level.

Bridget A. Gibley - 2021, now a Teaching Assistant, pursuing a coordinated degree in Library Science and Women's and Gender Studies at University of Madison-Milwaukee.


Thanks to the liberal arts education, I have been encouraged to incorporate my [Women's Studies] knowledge into every class from theology and humanities to science. This interconnectedness and overlap has significantly affected my approach to conversations, research, teaching, and work. Now, I am always hyper aware of the gendered institutions in our society and am consciously trying to work against gender stereotypes and encourage people to pursue their true identity, even if it doesn't fit into gender expectations.

Nalana LaFramboise - 2021, Dance Instructor and author of At Center Line  (2016) and  Beyond Center Line  (2020), now pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Fiction and Poetry from San Jose State University in California


My Women's Studies courses have shown me numerous examples of advocating for social change, including advocacy as a career or demanding change within an unrelated career, such as women in sports who fight for fair treatment.    

Erin Dwan - 2020, who worked in the nonprofit sector with Adopt a Classroom after graduation.

Alumna Kelly Dittmar 05 is often a featured commentator on major national media outlets including MSNBC, NPR, PBS, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University, is an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University–Camden and scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and has published two books focusing on gender and political institutions: A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Representation Matters (Oxford University Press, 2018) (with Kira Sanbonmatsu and Susan J. Carroll) and Navigating Gendered Terrain: Stereotypes and Strategy in Political Campaigns (Temple University Press, 2015).

Kirsten Fedorowicz

Kirsten Fedorowicz

Kirsten Fedorowicz graduated from Aquinas in 2019, with an English major with a writing concentration and a minor in Women’s Studies. Life has had some unexpected twists for Kirsten, but she continues to welcome exciting new opportunities with open arms.

After graduation, Kirsten followed in the footsteps of her role models, including her Aunt Geri, to pursue a year of service with Quaker Voluntary Service in the Twin Cities, MN, where she worked at a local furniture bank called Bridging. According to Kirsten, here she learned how to sit through some tough conversations and push around some furniture. After working at Bridging, Kirsten was offered a salaried position as an Outreach and Marketing assistant for

When Kirsten reflects on her time at AQ, she fondly remembers writing the Senior Honors Project that became her poetry manuscipt “Most Nights,” inspired by institutional violence against women. She praises Dr. Amy Dunham Strand and Dr. Jennifer Dawson as her advisors on the project for their voices providing key perspectives and guidance when she fell too deep into the material. Another fond memory Kirsten recalls is her time studying Women, the Law, and the Courts with AQ alum Cheyna Roth. She says she thinks back to this class on a regular basis because, in Kirsten’s words, “I don't think I actually understood how the judicial system worked before I took that class, and though I always understood that politics affects people's daily lives, this class gave me the ability to point to a specific how.”

Kirsten’s advice to current Women's Studies Minors: “Get obsessed with something and run with it. The Women's Studies minor is so interdisciplinary and varied, you get the chance to look at it from a hundred different angles… In a world where others want you to tone down your passions, the faculty and peers in the Women's Studies department will support you with a ‘Yes! Tell me more…’” Kirsten found things she was able to write openly and passionately about within the program, and she hopes all Women’s Studies minors are able to find their passions as well.

If Kirsten could wave a magic wand to address an issue in our society, she says that she would tackle compulsory sexuality. Similar to compulsory heterosexuality, compulsory sexuality is the assumption that all people are sexual beings. Kirsten explains that without compulsory sexuality, there would be no rape culture in our society, and that nobody would feel that they are “owed” sex. She says, “Without compulsory sexuality, I think we could have a more nuanced view of consent; what does it mean when the sex you said yes to is harmful? What does it mean if consent was coerced? Without compulsory sexuality, we could look at sex as it is: messy, complicated, delightful, and, most importantly, part of human life, not the center of it.”

Looking forward, Kirsten's first goal is to hone her ability to tell impactful stories and to travel again. She hopes to be a tour guide for her parents in Ireland, who didn’t get a chance to visit her during her study away program there. She also plans to continue to publish poems from her manuscript “Most Nights;” one has already been published in the University of Houston’s literary journal “Glass Mountain.” Kirsten’s motivation partially stems from AQ librarian Christina Radisauskus, who, after the Top Ten Sampler Reading Kirsten’s senior year, reached out to Kirsten saying, “I hope I am someday able to purchase a book of your poetry for our library.” In five years, Kirsten hopes to be on her way to publishing that book!

Written by Hayleigh Potter, Spring ’21

Jenny McCullen and Katie Fahey

two women holding posters

When you vote in the midterm elections this year, you’ll see a proposed constitutional amendment -- Proposal 2 -- from the group Voters Not Politicians, a group founded and fueled by Aquinas alumnae. This group’s goal is to end political gerrymandering in Michigan, a process by which politicians draw district lines to favor one political party. If the proposal passes, the redistricting process will be in the hands of citizens, with maps being drawn by four Republicans, four Democrats, and five voters who self-identify as unaffiliated with either party. The process will occur in open and public meetings across Michigan.

For more information about Voters Not Politicians, visit their website here:

Aquinas connections have been carried forward Proposal 2: The Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians, Katie Fahey, is an AQ alum, and so is Jenny McCullen, her executive assistant.

Katie Fahey (‘11), a Sustainable Business and Community Leadership double major, has always cared about politics but was never directly involved in the field. After the 2016 election, she says, she saw a lot of people saying that their voices weren’t being heard, and she started to look into why this might be. As she learned more about the closed-doors process of gerrymandering, she made a Facebook post asking if anyone would be interested in working to end gerrymandering in Michigan. Two years and over 425,000 signatures later, this proposal is on the ballot.

Jenny McCullen (‘18), a Sustainable Business major and Women’s Studies minor, interned for Fahey at the Michigan Recycling Coalition during her time at Aquinas. Since they were both Sustainable Business majors, they stayed in contact. McCullen says she was following along on Facebook as Fahey’s movement got started. After graduation, Fahey reached out and asked if McCullen would want to work on the campaign. McCullen, who eventually wants a career in politics, said yes.

Both Fahey and McCullen emphasize how important it is for people to understand how the redistricting process works. Fahey says, “I had friends and family who didn’t consistently vote because they thought their votes didn’t matter. Honestly, in some ways it’s true...politicians pay people a lot of money to make some votes count less and some votes count more.”

Fahey explained that the majority of state-level races are non-competitive, and when you can’t vote someone out of office, they aren’t afraid of losing votes. For example, the people of Michigan voted to repeal the emergency manager law, but it was reinstated, leading to the Flint water crisis.

McCullen says because of this, she does not feel like her voice is being heard in her district, which covers both rural and urban areas. “How can somebody accurately represent people in such different communities?” she asks. “Having a more efficiently functioning government is my main concern.”

Voters Not Politicians has volunteers in all 83 counties of Michigan and around 12,000 small grassroots donors. McCullen said one of her favorite memories was their mini-state tour where the group was able to meet some of these volunteers and see how “fired up” they were about the initiative.

This excitement over Voters Not Politicians is not only in Michigan, however. Fahey has talked to a man in New Mexico who is running for office this year because he was inspired by their initiative. There’s also a group in Florida working against gerrymandering who have referenced Voters Not Politicians as being influential for them. These AQ grads are creating ripples all across the United States!

At this point in the campaign, there is no such thing as a typical day for McCullen and Fahey. Last week, they worked from Fahey’s house in the morning and then had interviews in the afternoon. But the week before, they traveled to talk about Voters Not Politicians with people in Detroit and Lansing. As Election Day gets closer and closer, there are many moving parts that they have to consider, but Fahey says the campaign has been nonstop for the last two years as well.

One of the major challenges faced by Voters Not Politicians is the misinformation and misleading ads opposing the ballot measure. Fahey has also been personally attacked by the opposition, which she says is difficult, especially since she is not a “political insider.”

However, Fahey fondly recalls the moment she found out that Proposal 2 would be on the ballot. She says, “I feel very fortunate, because I get to be the spokesperson, but there are literally thousands of people in the state who’ve put their lives on hold to fight for a better future for the state.”

Fahey and McCullen cite their time at Aquinas as formative in their development. Early in the campaign, Fahey called Dr. Molly Patterson, Associate Professor of Political Science, to see if she thought this sort of campaign to end gerrymandering was possible. Fahey says without Dr. Patterson’s encouragement, she might not have continued.

Fahey also says in general, the professors at Aquinas were really there for the students and were invested in their success. She says, “When I was at Aquinas, I realized if you wanted to do something, you could find a way to make it happen.”

Current students, these women have some advice for you: understand that no one’s going to change the world for you, seek out opportunities with a “yes and” attitude, keep the people you know now in your corner, and always make space to listen, even when it’s difficult.

McCullen says, “As a young person, don’t underestimate yourself.”

You might even end up changing the world someday.

Written By Bridget Gibley

Cheyna Roth

Cheyna Roth

Cheyna Roth graduated from Aquinas College with an English degree in 2010. This year, she returned to AQ to teach WS200: Women, the Law, and the Courts. Now, she looks back on her time at Aquinas as a student and reflects on teaching this course.

While she was an AQ student, Cheyna won the AQ Outstanding Woman Award for outstanding student. This award still means a lot to her, as “Aquinas is filled with over the moon, outstanding women. To be named one of them was a real privilege.”

She definitely carved out a spot for herself alongside these outstanding women. As a student, Cheyna wrote and directed “The Jane Doe Project,” a performance based on interviews with Aquinas community members about their experiences with rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Looking back, Cheyna says, “It will likely always be in the top five most important things I’ll ever do.”

After graduation, Cheyna got a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and was a prosecuting attorney for a little over a year. She realized quickly, however, that this was not what she wanted to do. “There were parts that I liked,” she says. “I like the small amount of investigative work I was able to do, I liked fighting for victims, I liked working with law enforcement. But I missed telling stories, I didn’t like that I was only ever able to stand for one side of an issue, when, as I learned very quickly, crime is a lot more grey than black and white.”

So Cheyna went back to MSU to get her Master’s degree in journalism. She now works as a Capitol correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network and freelances for NPR. She covers everything from state politics to policy to education.

Throughout this time post-graduation from AQ, Cheyna always had a goal to come back to teach. She says for years, she would mention this goal to professors she knew, saying she wanted to teach anything: “I would have learned physics if it meant I could teach at Aquinas. Luckily, they found a class that was much more in my skill set.”

This class was Women, the Law, and the Courts-- a class that examines women’s rights in America through historical, legislative, and legal perspectives. On the importance of this class, Cheyna says, “To know our laws and the history of how our laws have treated women is to really see the progression of women’s freedom throughout the years. And as we’ve gone through the course we saw history very clearly repeating itself over and over… Unless we recognize those reactions in the moment and know how to respond to them, we won’t be able to progress further toward equality.”

When asked how she sees AQ differently as a professor than as a student, Cheyna responded, “The parking is easier!” She goes on to describe the unique feeling of nostalgia that comes from switching roles in a situation so radically: “I feel like I have this sort of outsider looking in perspective now. I like seeing the students run around and overhear them talking about classes and it’s interesting to see my old friends and my old self in the current students.”

Cheyna has a few pieces of advice for current Women’s Studies students. “Try everything,” she says. “If something interests you in the slightest (that isn’t harmful to yourself or others and isn’t illegal) give it a try.”

“Give everything a fair shot. Keep your chin up and VOTE. Be an intelligent citizen of the world who votes and encourages everyone she knows to vote-- because we will never make any progress if we stay home on Election Day.”

And her final piece of advice for busy women who will one day change the world? “Always carry a granola bar, extra gum to share, and a pen and paper.”

Written By Bridget Gibley

Emily Weber

Emily Weber with a medalEmily Weber (née Higham) graduated from Aquinas in the spring of 2017, minoring in Women’s Studies and majoring in Interdisciplinary Communications with a Spanish emphasis.

Now, Emily is a Brand Marketing and Communication Specialist for Honda Logistics North America in Columbus, Ohio. She facilitates internal and external communication, social media and digital marketing, and oversees website development. She is recently married and an active part of a women’s running group in Columbus. As an ambassador to the Columbus Marathon and Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, Emily also went to Curitiba, Brazil this fall to run a half marathon.

There’s no slowing her down. She recently qualified for the Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group Nationals and will be competing in summer 2019. In the future, Emily wants to pursue a Master’s degree, as well as complete a half ironman triathlon in the summer of 2020.

When asked what from the Women’s Studies program is relevant to her life now, Emily replies, “Everything.” She goes on to explain, “What I learned in Women’s Studies has helped me understand myself, my stance politically, professionalism in my career, shown me my place in the world, and given me more confidence and self-worth than I thought I could have imagined.”

Two classes that stand out to Emily are “Women in American History” with Professor Elizabeth Chamberlain and “Women Writing Journals” with Professor Pamela Dail-Whiting.  Emily took “Women in American History” during the 2016 presidential election, and the historical context was helpful to her comprehension of contemporary events. “Women Writing Journals” gave Emily the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Dail-Whiting and discuss journal entries and books Emily was reading. At the end of the semester, the students came together and presented lines from each of the journals, put together in a script. This reading is one of her favorite memories from the Women’s Studies program at Aquinas.

Are you considering a Women’s Studies minor? Emily highly recommends it: “Women’s Studies can be used and recognized anywhere. It ignites passion and allows for learning that is increasingly applicable as time passes.”

Emily continues, “For me, the [Women’s Studies] program and the Center felt like home -- I still visit when I’m in town. I truly don’t believe I would be the person I am today without the guidance of my professors, the knowledge I gained from this program, and the wonderful community that Women’s Studies helps provide for students at Aquinas.”

Lindsey Bacigal

Lindsey Bacigal

Lindsey Bacigal graduated from Aquinas College in 2017 with a Communication major and a Women’s Studies minor and is now studying at National University of Ireland, Galway. She is a student in the Master’s Global Women’s Studies: Gender, Globalization and Rights program.

Lindsey says that what she learned in the Women’s Studies program at Aquinas is consistently relevant in her life and in her studies at the Master’s level. While at Aquinas, she was an intern for the Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center, and she notes that the skills she developed in that work “have been incredibly useful in [her] work with other organizations.”

When asked what makes Aquinas’ Women’s Studies program so special, Lindsey cites all the opportunities it presents for students. Not only was she able to work as an intern for the Women’s Studies Center, but she also was able to complete an externship at the University of Michigan with the director of social media. Additionally, Lindsey says that in her time in the Women’s Studies program, “I had the opportunity to meet so many inspirational individuals working for women’s rights and human rights, as a whole.”

After graduation from the Master’s program, Lindsey hopes to work for an NGO or perform a year or two of service. In the more immediate future, however, Lindsey will continue to hone the skills she gained from the Women’s Studies program, as she will be writing her dissertation on the intersection of indigenous women, environmental violence, and international human rights mechanisms.

Kelsey Cotton

Kelsey Cotton

In 2017, Kelsey Cotton graduated from Aquinas College with a major in Spanish and a minor in Women’s Studies. After graduation, she served a four-month term as an AmeriCorps service volunteer, facilitating service learning on an animal sanctuary in Southern Oregon. She currently works full time as an Office Administrator at a non-profit organization for economic development in Aurora, Illinois.

In her post-graduate life, however, Kelsey says, “There is not a Women’s Studies course that I took whose content I do not think about every day.” She speaks about the uniqueness of the Women’s Studies program at Aquinas College, saying she has never encountered two students who took the same combination of courses for their Women’s Studies minor, so each graduate has a distinct skill set.

There are three courses Kelsey credits especially with shaping her perspective on the world. “Women, Girls, and Leadership” with Dr. Haworth-Hoeppner informed her about the barriers to women obtaining leadership roles--how to identify them and how to break them. Dr. Wickering’s “Arab Women” course changed Kelsey’s view of femininity, sexuality, menstruation, covering, and polygamy from the perspective of Arab culture and her own culture. The course “Women in American History” with Professor Chamberlain gave Kelsey the opportunity to learn about the intentional marginalization of women, especially women of color.

Kelsey speaks fondly about the Women’s Studies faculty at Aquinas, saying that it is clear they truly care about their students, in and out of the classroom. Looking back at her time at Aquinas, she remembers one day fondly, prefacing her memory by saying that no faculty or staff in the Women’s Studies program ever projected or enforced their personal and/or political opinions in or out of the classroom in any capacity:  On the day of the 2016 Presidential Election, all of the Women’s Studies faculty came to classes in pantsuits, ready to support the discussion of a woman president. Then, after the election, faculty created spaces for students who were feeling unsafe, unsupported, marginalized, or simply upset, to experience support. This intentional support “made all the difference to me as a Women’s Studies student,” Kelsey says.

Almost a year after her graduation, Kelsey is happy with her choice to minor in Women’s Studies. She recalls how the Women’s Studies minor affected her Aquinas experience: “Before pursuing the WS minor I definitely felt aimless as far as my degree was concerned; but...the WS minor empowered me to take courses that inspired me and choose projects that allowed me to research my areas of interest.”

And in terms of going forward? Kelsey notes, “I learned so much through this minor that it makes me excited to continue my study of women, marginalized communities, gender, and sexuality in some capacity at the graduate level.”

Bridget Gibley

Bridget GibleyBridget Gibley graduated from Aquinas in Spring 2020 with a major in English Literature and minors in Spanish, Irish Studies, and Women’s Studies. Although Gibley’s graduation was not what she expected, given the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been surprised with what life has given her since graduation.

In Fall 2020, Bridget began graduate study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Coordinated Master’s Degree Program for Women’s and Gender Studies and Library and Information Science, with an expected completion date of 2023. She received the opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant for an Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies course. Though all of her classes are online due to COVID, she has loved getting to explore a new city and school during her free time. She clearly has a very full plate and is a very motivated and passionate woman! 

With her Master’s in hand, Bridget’s goal is to become a librarian -- ideally, as she says, in youth services in a public library, “promoting representation and inclusivity in programming for children so they have a safe, welcoming space to develop and grow.” Her introductory classes at UW have addressed the changes libraries have been making to become more inclusive, raising questions such as: Who is left out when you need documentation to get a library card? What happens when different groups see uniformed security guards? Bridget finds these questions essential to ensuring that libraries become accessible to all. 

When reflecting on her time at Aquinas, especially her involvement with Women’s Studies, Bridget has a ton to say! To current and future Women’s Studies Minors, she says that you should get to know the WS faculty and staff. Not only do you learn a lot from the courses offered in the program, but also from the events that the Center hosts and the conversations that can be had with the faculty and staff talking about feminist issues and current events. Bridget particularly remembers adjunct professor and alumna Cheyna Roth, who is profiled here. Bridget was able to take Roth’s special topics class on Women, the Law, and the Courts, and she appreciated the way that the class would discuss barriers to progress for women. As Bridget recalls, Roth would ask the class what they could do about the barriers, but wouldn’t let them say, “just burn it down and start over.” Instead, Roth got them to think about what they can do to push for progress even when a revolution isn’t likely or possible. 

Bridget also wants to welcome new Minors to the Women’s Studies Center! As a WS intern during her time at Aquinas, she looks back on how fun it was to have other Minors come into the Center, just to hang out and chat in the very cozy space. 

When asked about her favorite memory from being a Women’s Studies Minor, Bridget finds it very hard to choose, but she recalls two in particular: Her first is from her first semester, right after the 2016 presidential election, when she was added to different email threads from WS students, faculty, and staff, who were all asking how they could give their support. Ultimately, they had an impromptu potluck dinner. Bridget says, “I was a freshman and didn’t really know a lot of people at that point, so going to Michelle DeRose’s house and having soup and warm conversation, especially in that week, was very significant for me” and was one of the main reasons that she ultimately declared her minor. 

Her other favorite memory is from the fall of her senior year when Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments was published. The Women’s Studies Center and the English Department co-hosted an event where they had a day-long reading marathon of The Testaments in Donnelly Center. Everyone showed up early, got their books, and took turns reading late into the night to finish the book. She says: “I worked at the Women’s Studies Center and was an English Literature major, so this event included basically all of my favorite people on campus!” 

In response to the question, “If you could wave your activist magic wand and address a feminist issue in our society, what would it be and why?” Bridget also finds this to be an impossible question, but she feels that if every WS grad answers this question, they can all divide and conquer to address all of the issues. For Bridget’s answer, she believes that “the way our current capitalistic society functions is the root of a lot of feminist issues.” As she explains, capitalism overlaps with racism and sexism, such that people and their value are linked to what they can produce, a dynamic that marginalizes many groups in our society. Bridget feels that this dynamic has been even more pronounced during the pandemic. 

Lastly, Bridget’s book recommendations for us! Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid are two that stand out to her when thinking about this question. 

We miss Bridget in the Women’s Studies Center and wish her well in her graduate study!

Lena Peak

Lean Peak

For our November 2020 Alumni Profile, we are so grateful to be able to catch up with Lena Peak! Lena graduated from Aquinas in 2018 with a Psychology major and Women’s Studies minor and is now attending Washington University in St. Louis’ Brown School. She expects to graduate in 2022 with a Master of Social Work, with a concentration in Transformative Sexuality Education and Empowerment.

When we asked Lena what her life has been like since graduating from Aquinas, she gives a great one-word answer: non-linear. She had a clear path leaving Aquinas, but after three unsuccessful graduate school application cycles, she began to explore new opportunities, such as being a live-in nanny in Italy and Puerto Rico, and then returning to her family home during the pandemic, before ultimately landing at Wash U’s Brown School. She explains: “I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up, but before this year I struggled with feelings of failure for falling short of my own narrow expectations and not conforming to society’s linear timeline.” She sees this as a great reminder that life may not always take you the route that you want to go, but you will end up in the right place eventually.

Now that Lena has had these circuitous experiences before finding the right grad program, her five-year plan is more flexible than she had originally planned. She says her biggest goal for the next five years is that she is prioritizing herself and living a life she is proud of. Her frequent mantra is “It matters less what I’m doing, and matters more that I’m the one doing it” -- empowering words for all of us, considering how turbulent the world has been recently.

At the same time, Lena also has some ideas for the future, such as pursuing a PhD program or becoming a sex educator in her local community -- but ultimately, only time will tell where her journey will take her.

Reflecting back on her time as a Women’s Studies minor at Aquinas, Lena says that her favorite memory was of Susan Haworth-Hoeppner acting out a turkey mating call in class and that the quote that has stuck with her and that she keeps coming back to is one from Amy Dunham Strand, who said “Be gentle with yourself,” something we all need to remind ourselves to do sometimes.

For current students minoring in Women’s Studies, she shares that the concepts that you are learning in your Women’s Studies courses may feel like an awakening, sometimes validating and affirming, but it also can feel that everything is being turned on its head. She wants you to remember that this is normal and to remain curious. However, she also advises that “it’s also important to recognize that the same academic spaces that have expanded our worldview can also be spaces that produce and perpetuate systems of oppression.” Women’s Studies will offer you a framework to approach the world critically, but you can also explore new frameworks as you find them.

Relevant to these ideas about the importance of multiple theoretical frameworks are Lena’s thoughts about economic systems of oppression. When Lena was asked, “If you could wave your activist magic wand and address a feminist issue in our society, what would it be and why?” she replied:

Abracadabra, hocus-pocus, banish capitalism from our locus! I’m writing this on Halloween, so thank you for letting me indulge in that tomfoolery. In all seriousness, we can trace much of this nation’s systemic oppression (racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, etc.) to our roots in capitalism and colonialism. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a devastating illustration of just how badly capitalism works in this country. Billionaires have gotten enormously richer, while average Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Capitalism is the thread that weaves all forms of oppression together.

Lastly, Lena left us with a couple book recommendations, so make sure to check them out!

Modern Mothering: What Daughters Say They Need from Their Mothers Regarding Sexual Development and Its Impact on Their Self Worth by Joyce T. McFadden & Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, PhD.

Thank you again to Lena for sharing her post-Aquinas life - we miss you greatly and wish you the best in your future endeavors!


After taking my Women's Studies courses, I feel as if many facets of my mind have been opened, and I have become much more understanding and empathetic to other groups and beliefs. As a dual sociology and psychology major, my women’s studies courses have greatly impacted my ability to learn and understand these subjects from many different viewpoints and will also impact my future abilities when working with other individuals.

Jayme Brizzolara - 2018, now a full-time youth development specialist in the residential program at D.A. Blodgett St. John's


Before I knew I had the beliefs of a feminist but now I have the knowledge of the history behind those beliefs. Not all women are the same, but as women we must stick together to create a better outcome for us all.

Adrianna Triche - 2018, now pursuing her master’s degree in library science at Wayne State University


My Women’s Studies minor has influenced my worldview dramatically. I see the world in a much more intersectional light. Nothing is isolated; our identities are intertwined. I have also applied the critical thinking skills that I've learned through Women’s Studies to my communication and business classes to take my analysis a step further.

Ellyse Hall (VanderKamp) - 2017, now a full-time marketing specialist at Priority Health