Hope Tyson, Class of 2012, graduated with majors in Women’s Studies and Latin American Studies. Learn more about the work Hope is doing today.
Describe your work. How did you get to this point in your professional life?
When I graduated from UW, I knew I wanted a career focused on gender equity and health. It took a few months, but I got an entry level position at Ipas, a global nonprofit that works to ensure people have access to abortion care. I was in an administrative support role with our global community engagement team, and I got to listen in on a lot of fascinating projects and help document and manage the work. My thoughts were welcomed as I learned more and more, and I eventually moved into a programmatic role doing community engagement and then eventually into leading our human centered design initiative. Now, I focus on supporting our country office staff as they learn about human centered design and use it and other tools to design responsive and effective programs to help people around the world access abortion care.
During my years at Ipas, I also got to see graphic facilitation for the first time and was determined to learn it. I started practicing at work and in my free time and eventually started a business making live visual recordings of events in lots of different sectors. With A Visual Approach, I work with banks, tech companies, engineers, designers, and universities – to name a few! I love getting to visit other sectors, listen deeply to important conversations, and help people move their industries and organizations forward.
How does GWS matter in the day to day of your professional life?
GWS is part of how I think and plays a huge role in my professional life. I work in the field of reproductive health and rights, specifically on increasing access to abortion in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. GWS helps me see and make sense of the role of gender and power in everyday life, and those understandings inform my approach to my work every day. Gender inequity is one of the root causes of unsafe abortion and lack of reproductive self-determination, and I think about that every day.
Looking back, what undergraduate experiences were most helpful?
I worked in the violence prevention program at University Health Services as an undergrad, and finding ways to merge my classroom learning about gender and my on-campus job was a powerful source of learning for me. I found opportunities to make my learning real and got a preview of the challenges I would face later on in my field.
What do you remember fondly from the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies?
I loved so many of my GWS classes, but what I remember most fondly was having a group of instructors I admired so much. I was really inspired by my professors and found their writing, intellect, dedication to the subject matter, and excellent teaching motivated me to find the things that I really cared about investigating and exploring and dedicate myself to those particular topics. Chris Garlough’s thoughtful editing of my writing and Keisha Lindsay’s class on Black Feminisms are particular standouts for me, although I quip learnings from my class on “Gender and Language” on a very regular basis and Araceli Alonso’s work on women’s health is obviously a deep inspiration for my work now.
What do wish you could tell your undergraduate self?
That the people who joked I wouldn’t find a job in my field had no idea what they were talking about – when you care about gender inequity, everything is your field. I can’t imagine having a job where I couldn’t craft a way to push on social norms or gender inequality.
In what ways does your work match your expectations?
I didn’t imagine that I would get to do work every day that so closely aligns with both my values and interest in the health of women and trans people globally, but I feel very lucky that I get to use my GWS education so directly. Equity, and especially gender equity, is a motivating vision for me and working to help realize it is meaningful even when I feel like I’m working on a small slice of a small slice of the big picture I want to achieve.
For more information on Hope’s graphic facilitation work, please visit avisualapproach.com