Alumni


Melinda McKew

Melinda McKew

Graduated: May 2011
Major: English Literature

Why did you choose to pursue a Women’s Studies or Women’s and Gender Studies minor ?

The easiest way I have been able to articulate why I pursued Women’s Studies is that Women’s Studies offered me a language to express things I had once thought unspeakable. In other words, Women’s Studies gave me a way to talk about and speak out against all the various injustices (e.g., sexism, heterosexism, racism, classism, imperialism, etc.) I had experienced and witnessed, but previously lacked a framework for understanding or articulating.

What have you been doing since you graduated?

After I graduated, I pursued a Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies at Georgia State University. As a graduate student, I interned with Planned Parenthood Southeast and the Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions, an anti-nuclear, peace, and environmental justice organization. Later, I became a board member with the Georgia Reproductive Justice Access Network, a local abortion fund in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia. In August 2013, I accepted a position as a legal assistant in Dallas, Texas with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to advancing the civil rights of LGBT people and people living with HIV. In my spare time, I volunteer with a Dallas-based abortion fund, and I take studio art classes at a local community college since I am considering applying to MFA Studio Art programs in a few years.

How has your Women's Studies course work been of use to you in your career field?

[The] coursework has been immensely useful in my work in nonprofit organizations dedicated to social justice. The courses I took provided me with the historical and theoretical knowledge of systems of oppression and the issues impacting marginalized communities, which I apply daily in my work. Most, if not all, of the people involved in social justice work have a background in Women’s Studies or another critical interdisciplinary field of study, like Ethnic Studies or LGBT Studies. In truth, I doubt I would be pursuing the work I am if it had not been for my background in Women’s Studies.

Any other information that you’d like prospective minors to know about the Women’s  and Gender Studies at Augusta University? 

I found a wonderful community [at Augusta University]. My closest and dearest friends were all [WGST] minors, and my professors have been amazing mentors to me, even after I left. [The program] radically transformed me, my life, and my work, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. 


Julianna Johnston

Julianna Johnston

Graduated: May 2014
Major: Communication

Why did you choose to pursue a Women’s Studies or Women’s and Gender Studies minor?

My interest in pursuing a film degree was to affect change in the way different groups are portrayed in the media. Much of that focus was on the way gender roles were perpetuated within the fictional narratives of film and television.

What have you been doing since you graduated?

After graduating, I spent a year working two jobs in fields related to my major and my minor. I worked at Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services of Augusta as the Volunteer Coordinator, as well as working at WAGT NBC 26 as an Associate Producer. Currently, I work as a bookkeeper for a hotel management company to give me the time and flexibility to pursue independent film and local theatre projects.

How has your WGST course work been of use to you in your career field?

The most obvious answer is that my education of women’s and gender studies certainly prepared me for my work at Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services, where I still volunteer to this day. However, my coursework in the women’s studies program was probably the most useful part of my entire education. I learned art theory, I learned about the structure of political systems all over the world, I learned about the criminal justice system--many subjects I would not necessarily have been drawn to otherwise. I received a very well-rounded education in all of these subjects while seeing how these constructs not only affected women, but people of varied intersecting backgrounds. 

Any other information that you’d like prospective minors to know about the Women’s  and Gender Studies at Augusta University?

My Women’s Studies minor complemented my Communication major very well. On many occasions, the lessons were going hand in hand with each other throughout my semester. I have used the concepts I learned in my women’s studies classes time and time again in real world application, more so than any of the other classes I took during my time at [Augusta University]. My job at Rape Crisis came directly from connections I made during my time as an undergrad in the Women’s Studies minor program. My involvement in the program also led directly to an opportunity to be the president of two different student organizations. Upon graduation, my work in the program was recognized with a departmental service award. My resume is now padded with impressive accomplishments, most of which came from my time in the Women’s Studies program, and all of which help me in any competitive work field. I had a rich and memorable experience in the program, and I am so glad I chose to be involved in it.