Sarah Gaydos is a senior graduating in December 2019 with a Gender and Women’s Studies major and the undergraduate certificate in Global Health. Find Sarah’s reflections below.
Why did you choose Gender and Women’s Studies?
I was a pre-nursing student during my first two years at UW-Madison and wanted to specialize in women’s health. I loved learning about ways I could help people (particularly women and girls) but hated the competitive aspects of my classes and the disengagement from social issues and their impact on health and health care. I took a gap year after my sophomore year to re-evaluate what I wanted to do. When I returned to campus, I took a risk and chose what I was most passionate about: social justice and public health. I declared Gender and Women’s Studies a little over a year ago and will graduate in December with a Gender and Women’s Studies major and the undergraduate certificate in Global Health.
Have GWS courses changed your approach to your involvement (on or off campus) during college? If yes, how?
Absolutely. Not only has the major and the department connected me to wonderful people who have shaped my learning both in and out of the classroom, I’ve been given a new lens with which to view the world. I feel empowered to speak up and I am more confident and empathetic not only in the classroom, but as a manager at my job, in my circle of friends, and to mentors in the professional fields where I am interested in working. I have been pushed to never stop learning and to understand that I need to be an active member in my communities in meaningful ways. I tell everyone I know to try and at least get a certificate in GWS; these classes have challenged me in ways I have never been challenged before.
Have your GWS courses shaped your plans for the future?
After graduation I hope to work at the intersection of public health and feminist activism for women and girls. I am interested in working for organizations that work, both through education and policy reform, to improve health and well-being for women and girls through reproductive justice and maternal health education. I also have a goal of becoming a certified doula!