Stay in Touch
WGS alumni can join the new WGS Alumni Group to stay connected.
WGS is always interested in hearing about the careers of its alumni. If you graduated
with a major, second major, or minor from WGS, or an MA or graduate certificate, please take our short alumni survey.
What our Grads Are Doing Now?
Curious about your career options with a degree in Women's and Gender Studies? Our WGS graduates have gone on to careers in a variety of fields including academia, non-profit organizations, government and teaching.
Aubrey Hall (MA 2014) is the Victim Advocate for USF – St. Petersburg campus. Working from an empowerment framework she supports survivors of crime, trauma, and abuse in their academic endeavors and path(s) to healing. As a violence preventionist, she has provided technical support and consultation to administrators of higher education on a local, state-wide, and national level. Aubrey is also an adjunct faculty member of Saint Leo University where she facilitates classes centered on wellness and social issues.
My name is Aurelie Colon Larrauri (She/they) and I graduated in 2018 with a Women and Gender Studies degree. With the help of WGS, specifically their internship class, Dr. Wendland helped me find an internship with an organization I greatly admired: Planned Parenthood. Two days after graduating, I was working my first job as an organizer for a political campaign. Never in my wildest years did I think that I would find a job so quickly after graduating. But with the tools given to me and all that I’ve learned from incredible classes, such as Careers and Professionalism in WGS, I’ve been incredibly privileged to work in my field and turn all that theory I’ve learned into practice. After working the 2018 gubernatorial cycle, I was asked to come in to interview for an organizer position. I worked there for two and a half years. After working at such an incredible organization, I am now the statewide policy advocate for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. As Dr. Golombisky put so eloquently once to our class at the time, I am a professional feminist. And you can be, too :) if you have any questions or if you’d like to connect, you can email me.
Dr. Elan Pavlinich obtained the WGS Graduate Certificate in 2015, and earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from USF in the summer of 2019, and is now Assistant Professor of English at Wabash College. Dr. Pavlinich was profiled in the WGS Newsletter.
"My principal research interests include Old English and Middle English literature, with particular interests in authority, women’s and LGBTQ+ theory and interpretation, space and place, and medievalisms.
My current research project, Queer Authority in Old and Middle English Literature, argues that select early English texts queer normative authorizing conventions to authorize Old English and Middle English literatures. During the European Middle Ages, Latin cultures and literatures were privileged with authority that extended to and subverted the cultural capital of the inhabitants of England at the edge of the known Western world. I identify four exceptional English texts that employ authorizing conventions to disrupt normative networks of power that traditionally privilege Latin and to authorize English literature instead. Analyzing the mechanisms by which cultural authority is constructed, I locate women, queer individuals, and same-sex desires early in the English literary heritage. My work recognizes inclusion already present in English literary canons while enhancing women’s and LGBTQ+ histories.
I have also published a series of film reviews and journal articles on postmedieval constructions of the Middle Ages, including two pieces in the premier journal for postmedieval representations of the Middle Ages, Studies in Medievalism. Disney films cite medieval material culture, such as manuscripts and castles, to authorize narratives located in the Middle Ages. The medieval past that is represented within recent Disney productions, including Maleficent, Sofia the First, and Elena of Avalor, direct audiences back to Disney as an authorized source for medieval narratives. I argue, generally, that contemporary Disney productions reify patriarchal forces under the veneer of feminism, continuing to limit the roles of women and people of color despite historical evidence that records a more inclusive medieval England."
Samantha Heuwagen graduated from USF with her MA in Women’s and Gender Studies in 2014 and currently works as a sex therapist in her own private practice. She does talk therapy with individuals, couples, and families and while most of her cases are within the sex therapy realm, she also does work with clients struggling with anxiety, depression, and helps them navigate healthy relationships. She is also the author of the Starlight Series of books. Samantha was profiled in the WGS Newsletter.
Saron Musa graduated from USF in May, 2019 with a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies and International Studies, and a minor in Economics. She started law school at Emory University in Atlanta in fall of 2019, and plans to work as a lawyer in the public sector, specifi cally in matters related to immigration. Saron was profiled in the WGS Newsletter.
Tunisia Riley graduated with her MA in women’s and gender studies in 2009, and is currently a Digital Strategy Senior Associate with the New York Life Insurance Company. Tunisia was profiled in the WGS Newsletter.
Azure Samuels (MA 2015, BA 2013) has accepted a position with George Washington University as the Senior Education Specialist in the Office of Student Opportunities for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The OSO offers professional development, advising, programs, and resources that enrich students’ experiences beyond the classroom and exposes them to various concentrations of study, such as Global Health, Health Policy, and Community Medicine. Among Azure's first projects, she is creating a workshop series that teaches medical professionals how to identify the signs of domestic violence during patient evaluations and is collaborating with other GW departments to create a scholarly concentration focused on women's healthcare.
During Azure's interview, the director stated that Azure stood out because of her Master's in Women's and Gender Studies. The OSO was seeking someone that was knowledgeable about the issues that underrepresented and marginalized communities faced and would be able to create and implement programs focused on social justice in healthcare.
Brittany King (BA 2014) reports that she is putting her WGS degree to good use in her at Redefining Refuge. She works as an advocate for human trafficking survivors, and while the work is sometimes difficult, she finds it rewarding. Brittany also holds membership in L.I.F.T., Ladies Influencing their Future Today. Her long term plan is to return to school to pursue a Masters in clinical social work.
Layne Gregory (BA 2013) is currently working towards her master's in Public Administration here at USF. In addition to her schoolwork, Layne has accepted a position as an internal recruiter for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. She works with parents to find troop placements for their girls, recruit parents as volunteers, and assists troop leaders with recruiting. She tells us thatt she still has the "eventual goal of moving into the animal welfare field, but in the meantime, [she enjoys] promoting an organization that does so much good work in preparing young girls for success in today's society!"
Stephanie Long (BA 2014) has accepted a position as an advocate with the West Georgia Rape Crisis Center. She tells us that she "cannot wait to get started in a field [she is] so passionate about!" We're just as excited for her as she embarks on this important vocation!
Heather Kozar (MA 2014) is applying her Women's and Gender Studies degree towards a Master's program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Western Michigan University where she also works as an instructor. Heather would like to become a feminist mental health therapist with a focus on multicultural and person-centered counseling.
In March 2015, Heather received WMU's Department of Gender and Women's Studies' Gwen Raaberg Teaching Award!
Morgan Eubank (MA 2012) has entered Humboldt State University's psychology counseling program. Her research will include an examiniation of existing counseling methods from the critcal perspectives she gained during her tenure here at USF.
Brittany Taylor (MA 2011) has been accepted to Georgia State University's doctoral program in Sociology. She will be researching the perceptions of high-risk sexual behaviors among LGBT youth. Brittany enthusiastically reports, "I couldn't have done it without the support of the department and my internship committee!"
Sheila Shirvani (BA 2013) has been accepted to the Florida Coastal School of Law and is beginning her studies this Spring. We are thrilled to hear about this fantastic accomplishment and wish Sheila the best of luck as she embarks on this new journey.
Mia Lawrie (BA 2013) is working on her master's degree in Women's, Gender, and Sexualities Studies at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.
Anna Armitage (BA 2013) is working on her master's degree in Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Florida.
Rebecca "Becky" Killik (WGS MA 2013) is a Florida Organizer for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), a "Pro-Faith, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice" organization that advocates for reproductive justice. RCRC is a national community of religious and spiritual people, denominations, and organizations from all faith traditions dedicated to achieving reproductive justice through education, mobilization, and advocacy benefitting the health and well-being of women and families.
Taylor Riffey (WGS BA 2013) had been working at The Haven of RCS, a domestic violence shelter in Pinellas County, as part of the WGS internship program. She was subsequently hired on as an Adult Advocate. She enthusiastically reports, "I am having an incredible time and could not have done it without my internship and the flexibility that it provides."
Elaine Taylor (WGS MA 2012) is living and working in Sierra Vista, Arizona. She is facilitating classes for women through the Cochise Community College Life Long Learning Department (LLC). The LLC has created a heading for these classes called "The Women's Forum," and the classes cover the spectrum of mind, body, and spirit from a feminist perspective.
She is also pursuing her own interests in the topics of Feminist Spirituality and had recently delivered her first message to a Unitarian Universalist congregation titled "Language: A Cornerstone of Patriarchy."
Elaine is also working as a substitute teacher for the Fort Huachuca Accommodation School System on Fort Huachuca, for the Small Business Development Center facilitating workshops on topics like Goal Setting and Time Management and for the Adult Education Department at Cochise Community College facilitating life skill classes to adults who are currently in process of earning their GED.
Cheryl DeFlavis (WGS MA 2011) has been working as an Adjunct Instructor in Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology courses at USF, Hillsborough Community College, and Pasco-Hernando Community College. She has enjoyed teaching sections of Female Experience, Classics in Feminist Theory, Introduction to Sociology, and Social Problems in both online and face to face environments.
She is also completing Birth and Postpartum Doula certifications from Childbirth International and volunteering doula services for low income women.
For more information on Cheryl's journey, she invites you to visit her web page.
Jessica Collard (WGS MA 2012) is currently working as the Volunteer Services Coordinator at Southeastern Guide Dogs, a nonprofit organization which breeds, trains, and matches service animals for the visually impaired and veterans. Her job consists of working with over 250 volunteers, writing and editing newsletters, and developing service projects for corporate volunteer groups. She also gets to see puppies everyday, which is always a perk! Jessica is also working as Marketing Director and Vocational Evaluator at Form 1.945 Damages, a legal consulting firm that assesses the vocational and economic damages of individuals with disabilities. Jessica tells us that she often thinks of her time in the WGS program and enjoys spending time with her old cohort!
Amanda Markiwicz (WGS BA 2013) interned at Sunrise of Pasco County as part of her
coursework. We are thrilled to hear that she has been offered a full-time position
as a Primary Prevention Educator! Her work will include going into the schools and
teaching educating young people about healthy relationships, how to be a good bystander,
sexual violence prevention and education, bullying etc. Additionally, she will be
running a Community Action Team that will go into the community and train employees
at gyms, churches, medical facilities on the same social issues as the schools.
Amanda tells us, “I am very excited to get started and change working environments. I know that this opportunity was presented to me because of my work during my internship. The two semesters of internship really was a great move for me, and I thank you for opening them up to students.”
Kim Feeney (WGS MA 2003) worked for for CASA in St. Petersburg as their State Attorney Liaison until September 2007. She then moved back to Columbia, SC and started working at the South Carolina Department of Social Services. She is the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act Grant Administrator and Domestic Violence Domestic Violence Shelter Coordinator for SC.
Leisa Clark (WGS MA 2008 and Adjunct Instructor) offers an update on her life.
In addition to her graduate degree in Women's Studies, Leisa Clark (WST M.A. 2008) also earned an M.L.A. in Humanities, and now works as an Adjunct Instructor in the English, Fine Arts, and Humanities Department at Saint Leo University. In 2012, Leisa co-edited the book Of Bread, Blood and the Hunger Games: Critical Essays on the Suzanne Collins Trilogy, published by McFarland & Co. Additionally, she is co-owner/contributing artist of a small arts and crafts business "Mystical Hodge-Podge", and she is a Box Office Manager/Performer/Organizer for "Hellview Cemetery", a charity Haunted House in St. Petersburg, FL.
Mara Sansolo (WGS BA 2010)
I completed my Master's in Library and Information Science in 2012 (also from USF), and I am currently working in Public Services at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, on the USF St. Petersburg campus. I am currently working in the reference department, and providing support for our digital archive. In addition, I will be presenting a poster session at an upcoming library conference, and I am in the beginning stages of publishing my first article.
Rima Tejwani (BA 2012) is in graduate school attending the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at USF. She will be a marriage and family therapist and hoping to get into private practice by 2016.
"I am so grateful for my experiences in WGS because it has proven to be a great asset. I seem to have a better grasp of so many issues that are difficult for many of the psychology majors in my classes. I am the only WGS major in my grad program. I wish there was some way that I could encourage students to take some WST classes prior to getting into this program because I know it would help them tremendously."
Ciera Young (BA 2010) I currently work as the Case Manager for Tampa Crossroads Athena House, a transitional house for Women Veterans. I obtain referrals to the program, help them recognize individual goals through individualized treatment plans and connect residents to resources to obtain food, employment, and clothing.
Thomas Brommage (WGS Grad certificate 2005, PhD in Philosophy 2008) I'm currently teaching philosophy at the University of West Georgia, in Carrollton, GA (about an hour west of Atlanta). I teach mostly service courses here (Intro to Philosophy and Critical Thinking), but I'm always thinking about issues in gender. I hope in the near future to be able to contribute to the Gender Studies minor we have here.
Teresa (Fehling) Wymore (Women's Studies Minor, 1994) is now a certified personal
trainer with the goal of guiding others toward healthier and more active lives. In
addition, she writes and illustrates the LGBT adventure webcomic, Darklaw. You can
find her online.
"My experience in the USF Women’s Studies Department was an experience that has informed so much of my personal and professional life. It helped me see the world and the roles we assume with more discerning eyes. It helped free me. I’m so glad to see all the new faces, new professors, and the department thriving!"
Brittany Taylor (MA 2012) is an Outreach Specialist in HIV Services for DACCO (Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office) in Hillsborough County, FL. Based out of the Ybor DACCO office cooperating with USF Health’s new clinic there, Brittany’s responsibilities include HIV testing, counseling, and referrals, as well as developing outreach and prevention strategies, and providing community education about HIV prevention and transmission.
Morgan Eubank (MA 2013) (pictured right, second from left), is a Communications Intern for the New York office of the Committee on the Status of Women for the United Nations. Her tasks include updating the CSW Handbook along with the Committee website, and facilitating and attending events such as a recent panel with Charlotte Bunch. Her academic interest in and knowledge about refugees and Truth Commissions from her thesis research was a significant benefit during her multi-stage interview process. Her supervisor, Susan O'Malley, is a UN Representative for the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, as well as the Corresponding Secretary for the Working Group on Girls. Moe says of her time here at WGS: “The WGS program has seriously been incredible - it has been awesome knowing what people are talking about and being able to educate women on feminist methods, theory.”
Dr. Laura Ellingson (Phd in Communication with a WGS Graduate Certificate, 2001) is a full professor and the Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA. She has published several books including the forthcoming Where the Aunts Are: Family, Feminism, and Kinship in Popular Culture with Patty Sotirin on the representation of aunts in popular culture.
Kelly Wagner (MA 2011) is employed as a match support specialist for the Big Brothers Big Sisters that serves Pinellas, Hernando, and Citrus Counties in West Central Florida. Her job is to provide all kinds of support services that enrich and strengthen Big Brother Big Sister relationships. That includes working with client children and their volunteer big brothers and big sisters on everything from policy training to safety issues.
MC Whitlock (MA 2012) completed a doctoral degree in Sociology at the University of South Florida and is now Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Georgia.
Suzie Siegel (MA, 2001) I had been a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades before I got my master's in December 2001. I got my master's because I wanted to study feminist issues, not because I thought it would help me get a better job. But it served me well as a contributor to a feminist blog 2008-2012. It's also useful when I do peer-to-peer counseling with other women with sarcoma. I've been advocating for other sarcoma patients since 2003 and am on the board of the Sarcoma Alliance.