GWS Student Spotlight – Abigail Seitz

Abigail Seitz will graduate in spring 2023. Abigail is a Psychology major and is also getting a certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies.

1. Why did you choose GWS and LGBTQ+ Studies?

I chose LGBTQ+ studies to supplement my psychology degree after recognizing the apparent lack of perspectives within the field of psychology, particularly in regard to queer and trans identities. In combining the two, I hope to work towards a decreased pathologization of LGBTQ+ existence and increase allocation of resources specific to the diverse experiences within this field. The department staff were large contributors to my decision to take many of the courses that brought me to this certificate. Given my interest in learning about sexual scripts, consent, and sexual violence prevention, I was inspired to take classes taught by Janet Hyde, Sara Chadwick, and Kate Walsh. I was also drawn to LGBTQ+ studies because of the sense of community and support that can be found within the department’s smaller class sizes. Studying queer theory and history can provide a space to explore your own identity and experiences, and to connect with others.

2. Has GWS and LGBTQ+ Studies changed your approach to your involvement (on or off campus) during college? If so, how?

GWS courses have provided a space to learn about a lot of different events going on around campus and beyond. Many campus organizations facilitate events and spaces specific to LGBTQ+ identities, social justice movements, and more and the department helped informally spread information about these opportunities to students throughout courses offered and postings around Sterling Hall. Additionally, through my LGBTQ+ studies certificate I have been able to bring this knowledge of queer perspectives and histories of systemic vulnerability to the table in my areas of involvement in which queer perspectives aren’t particularly centered. Stepping up and refocusing conversations that have been making assumptions of a strictly cisheteronormative audience has been something I have been working on throughout this semester especially. This work is vital to honoring context and culture beyond typical “safe spaces” such as campus cultural centers or courses with a specific cultural focus.

3. How has GWS and LGBTQ+ Studies shaped your future plans?

I cannot express enough the impact the GWS faculty previously mentioned have made on my academic journey; their published work, research, and courses have shaped my degree and driven me to pursue related work professionally after my time at UW. Prior to engaging with Hyde, Chadwick, and Walsh’s works, I wasn’t aware that this academic niche existed. Upon this discovery, I was thrilled to learn about future careers related to sexuality and sexual violence prevention. Through the presentation of theoretical frameworks for understanding and challenging systemic oppressions, I have gained invaluable education that I will take with me through future engagement in advocacy work. This department has really expanded my horizons for what possibilities my future could hold. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study these topics with such phenomenal faculty.