GWS Student Spotlight – V. Rodrigo

V. Rodrigo is double-majoring in Gender & Women’s Studies and Psychology.

1.Why did you choose GWS?

As a transfer student coming from Miami, FL, I had not been able to take any GWS courses due to the multitude of educational restrictions and state laws impacting universities and schools across the state. Fall 2023 was the first time I had the opportunity to take a specific course on anything involving Gender and Women’s Studies, I jumped at the chance to take Queer Indigenous Studies. It was the first time I saw myself in a course, the first time I learned about queerness outside of independent study (I’m a queer theory nerd) and lived experience. It was without a doubt my favorite class of the semester and a safe haven while making the abrupt transition from a Hispanic-serving institution to a PWI. I knew that come spring semester I had to declare GWS as my major.

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

Certainly. GWS has further developed my involvement philosophy concerning praxis and community. From inside the classroom, most courses are on the smaller side with a discussion-based model to build rapport and community between peers and faculty. I’ve always loved being involved in those types of classes, where learning emerges from an exchange and development of ideas, cultivating community while doing so. When leaving the classroom, I carry what I have learned with me, and that is action and praxis. The importance, essentially, putting your money where your mouth is, in practice and action, is reocurringly a theme across GWS courses which I deeply appreciate. All those living in the global north have the privilege and civic duty to show up for all marginalized peoples.

3. How has GWS shaped your future plans?

GWS has changed my future path by allowing me to further develop my academic pursuits where I’ve wanted to lead them for a long time. After graduation, I aim to further my studies in theory concerning critical cultural and queer studies in intersection with affect theory. By making GWS my major, I can direct my studies towards a path that I am passionate about.