GWS Student Spotlight – Aliza Ramirez

Aliza Ramirez is a double major in Political Science and History with a certificate in Gender & Women’s Studies. Aliza will graduate in spring 2024.

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

I initially entered the university studying Political Science and History. After a few semesters, it seemed evident that both disciplines valued a select few forms of knowledge and research methodologies. I took GWS 103 in my sophomore year and felt that I finally had the vocabulary to articulate the feeling that something, or perhaps more specifically, someone was missing from these conversations. I continued to take GWS classes, and felt that they had been the most intellectually challenging, but gratifying courses I’d taken at the university!

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

Absolutely! GWS has encouraged me to venture outside of my little bubble and connect with my campus community. Most of the GWS classes I’ve taken are quite small, so it’s easy for my peers, teachers, and I to become close over the semester. Our conversations center around the readings, and what is perhaps unique to GWS, professors encourage us to discuss our lives and lived experiences. I’ve appreciated how the discipline values and calls for a wider range of knowledge, evidence, and expertise — it feels like each person’s voice and opinion, no matter ‘what the data’ or ‘scholar’ says, is important! I’ve taken these lessons with me into my work as a Writing Fellow. Each writer has a unique voice informed by their social positionality — GWS has taught me how to amplify, rather than speak over these writing voices.

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

My first year of college, I was set on taking up a quantitative research position on the Hill. While still focused on politics, I now hope to work for a research institution that critically engages with grassroots communities, works with, rather than for individuals, and is unafraid to challenge the structural inequality embedded in the political and academic world. In pursuit of these efforts, I hope to study History and Gender Studies for my Master’s or PhD.