Abigail Perkins – Alumni Spotlight, Class of 2023

Abigail Perkins (she/her) graduated in May 2023 with a degree in English and certificates in GWS and African American Studies. She is currently taking a gap year in her hometown before returning to graduate school in the fall, where she will pursue a Master of Arts-Business in Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership at UW-Madison. She is doing a term of service through Americorps with the Boys and Girls Club’s Graduation Plus program, as a high school English tutor and College mentor and advisor. She also has ambitions to pursue a career in Arts Administration and Cultural Artistic Programming.

How does GWS matter in the day-to-day of your professional life?

GWS and my ever-growing understanding of it is a crucial part of how I show up as a professional, as a woman, and as a human. I have an appreciation and awareness for how the world works, how others are affected by our current conditions, and how gender dynamics manifest in almost any setting. I believe GWS has made me a kinder person, a well-rounded person, and a self assured person who is not afraid to advocate for herself.

Do you have advice for students who share their interests and may want to pursue a similar graduate degree and/or career?

I applaud anyone that has interest in GWS! It takes courage to actively pursue the knowledge that a lot of powerful and, frankly, oppressive people and systems would rather you not learn. Tackling all that entails GWS is a challenging journey that requires ample grace and self love, but I 100% think it is rewarding and worth every minute.

What do you remember fondly from the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies? Favorite class? Instructor?

My favorite professors from GWS would definitely be Professor Kelly Ward and Dr. Kate Phelps! Both of these women held my hand through life changing and enriching classes that I think about to this day. They both made the classroom fun, engaging, and most importantly safe. I know that I am a better person because of their care, love, and instruction.

What, if anything, do wish you could tell your undergraduate self?

Honestly, I wish I could tell my undergraduate self to major in Comm Arts as well as English. Just for the vibes, LOL. But I would also tell her that she is absolutely making the right decision in what she has decided to study, and that taking the leap to pursue a major and minors that many turn their nose up at would most definitely be worth it. My current vision for my life is one that has been developing and hibernating for a very long time, and I know that it was decisions like pursuing the course of study that I did that allowed me to arrive at the clarity I feel today.