Cameron Coulter, Class of 2015
I actually just started a new job! I teach English at Jilin Medical University in Jilin City, China, through the Maryknoll China Teachers Program. Before this, I spent two largely lovely years living and working in a community of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities as a live-in assistant at L'Arche Heartland in the Kansas City metro area.
What is your overall impression of the WGST academic program?
The WGST academic program is amazing (: It's where I took some of my most challenging, fascinating, and humanizing courses. The WGST program is a fabulous blend of culture, ethics, theory, politics, and activism. I took most of my classes with Lodhia and Garber, and I want to say, they both do a terrific job when it comes to intersectionality. I can't recall ever analyzing gender in a vacuum; instead, we were always analyzing gender across the lines of race, class, nation, even disability and body size.
How do you believe completing a WGST minor has helped me professionally?
Oh, WGST, how have you helped me professionally? Let me count the ways. Basically, I have a few career tracks, and WGST has been useful for all of them.
1) I read and write science fiction and fantasy (SFF) and I'm generally a massive SFF nerd. My WGST studies and feminist commitments deeply inform my participation in this community. For example, I've recently started writing a short fiction review column for a SFF blog that I like. In my column, I signal boost and squee about my favorite stories by new writers and writers with marginal identities. In particular, I've spotlighted tons of great new work that centers QUILTBAG+ folks. I can safely say that without my WGST studies, my short fiction reviews would be less insightful and less worthy of anybody's time.
2) In my honors thesis, I applied a transnational feminist perspective to Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed. Four years worth of work and many revisions later, that paper is now published in a peer-reviewed journal (: I really want to go to grad school. I'd really like to teach at the college level. This paper will help me get there. Relatedly, WGST helped me to realize my own scholarly interests and to prepare for those.
3) In my WGST senior seminar, one of my deep obsessions was awakened: I'm fascinated by family structures, specifically alternatives to the heteronormative nuclear family, specifically intentional communities. After graduating, I lived in intentional community with JVC for a year, and then I worked as a live-in assistant for L'Arche Heartland for two years, where I shared life in a community of adults with disabilities. If I'm fortunate enough to have a scholarly career, I want to research family structures and intentional communities. If that doesn't work out, there's a good chance I'll end up working at a non-profit that's invested in community building, such as JVC or L'Arche.
Funnily enough, I was actually working on a minor in computer engineering before I switched to WGST. For the above reasons, I'm grateful I made the switch.