Shaunna Newton graduated from UW-Madison with majors in Gender and Women’s Studies and Spanish and a certificate in Global Health in 2017. Shaunna completed a MPH at the University of Maryland in 2019.
How does GWS matter in the day to day of your professional life?
GWS matters a lot day-to-day in my professional life. In the public health research world, we are constantly asking questions about human behavior, systems, policies and other big factors affecting health outcomes. GWS gave me the solid foundations of knowledge about systems and constructs that affect our daily lives (especially our health). I also think having a GWS degree adds some depth to my curiosities about the world in a really helpful, research-related way.
Looking back, what undergraduate experiences were most helpful?
Looking back, my involvement in programs/opportunities that fell outside of my coursework were most helpful in getting me to where I am today. During my time at UW-Madison I was lucky enough to be involved in things like the Ronald E McNair program, which introduced me to research as a career possibility and connected me with countless faculty who are still a part of my personal and professional networks. Internship opportunities were also enormously helpful in terms of building experience and learning job-based skills.
What do you remember fondly from the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies? Favorite class? Instructor?
One of my fondest memories from my time in GWS was taking my first course in the Department: GWS 103 online, co-taught by Jenny Higgins and Araceli Alonso. I had never been exposed to this content and was completely blown away by it. I also loved Keisha Lindsay’s course on Black Feminisms which was really fundamental in shaping my personal feminist identity.
What do wish you could tell your undergraduate self?
If I could tell my undergrad self anything, it would be to not sweat the small stuff. When I was in undergrad, I regularly was overwhelmed and worried about things—things that were fairly minor in the grand scheme of things. I would implore myself to let that stuff go.