Ollie Dipietro – Alumni Spotlight, Class of 2023

Ollie (he/they) is a 2023 grad from the GWS MA program. He is currently the co-owner of The Big Gay Market LLC, a barista, a visual artist, and a beginning taxidermist for their business, The Rat Tail.
How does GWS matter in the day-to-day of your professional life?
Every day I make choices within my personal and professional life that tie back to what I learned during my GWS degree. Operating two small businesses requires me to think critically about how to be inclusive towards my audiences and how to be an ethical consumer/creator.
Do you have advice for students who share their interests and may want to pursue a similar graduate degree and/or career?
Inevitably people will ask you what you’re going to do with your degree. While although you might not end up with a job that has “Gender Studies” in the title, the skills you develop in the program apply to everything. I’ve found applications for what I’ve learned in the market I run, the coffee shop where I’m a barista, and even the taxidermy business I’m starting.
What do you remember fondly from the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies? Favorite class? Instructor?
The best part of my degree program was making connections. I now have lifelong friends with people in my program. I specifically look back at classes with Dr. Kate and Dr. Cabell Gathman with the best memories. They’re two of the most passionate and talented professors I have ever worked with and being able to learn from them made the entire degree so much more meaningful and rewarding.
Do you have advice for students who share their interests and may want to pursue a similar graduate degree and/or career?
Something that I wish I could have told myself in my undergrad and grad programs is that it’s okay (great even!) to have many interests. I’ve changed “career paths” more times than I can count and I’m only 25! Our society puts a lot of pressure on us to choose a career, make a salary, and stick with it. But that’s boring and I’ve found that my many interests greatly benefit me and will only continue to benefit me in whatever my future holds.