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WGS Alumni

Van Binfa

Van Binfa

Minor in WGS, BA English, Fall 2010

Current Occupation: Founder of Soy Quien Soy, a Pilsen-based queer, trans* people of color advocacy and support group, current board member of the TransLife Center’s Trans* Advisory Board and the Transgender Rights Advisory Board for The Civil Rights Agenda. Freelance public speaker, published web comic artist and writer, and advocate for qtpoc.

The WGS minor at Roosevelt allowed me to learn about a wide range of subjects outside of my English major. It gave me flexibility, variation, and depth. The WGS professors will not only contribute to your education in the most sincere way possible while in school, but they’ll remain a part of your life after you leave. Currently, working and being in the activist community has led me to utilize a lot of my WGS knowledge. If you’re planning on being involved in social justice after graduation, the WGS program is invaluable to your future.

Michelle Marie Gilkeson

Michelle-Marie Gilkeson

MA in WGS, Spring 2011

Current occupation: Choreographer of modern feminist dance, reporter, content producer, and co-host for IMRU Radio and This Way Out, local and international LGBTIQ radio news magazines.

Engaging multiple disciplines in my coursework broadened my analytical toolset. When I combine theories and methodologies from fields traditionally regarded as disparate, my analysis is fuller and I'm able to make creative links between genres/disciplines, thus propelling my learning in new directions. I find this approach practical beyond the academy, since in work and life we come into contact with people with diverse educational and experiential backgrounds. During my time at RU, I explored the relationships between "the creative" and "the scholarly" and the assumptions often made about those supposedly separate kinds of work. I found a lot of validation for this kind of creative-intellectual work from the WGS program and I still think about the supportive, thought-provoking discussions I had with faculty and students.

Martinique Hallerduff

Martinique Hallerduff

Graduate Certificate in WGS, MA in English, Spring 2010

 Current Occupation: Head of Information Literacy and Library Instruction, and Adjunct Faculty in the Composition Program at Roosevelt University.

At its most simple the benefit of an interdisciplinary approach is a more complete understanding of women’s and gender studies. Academic disciplines are important in many ways, but they’re not naturally occurring categories by any means, so holding fast to one can be limiting. I was earning my Masters in English simultaneously with a graduate certificate in WGS, so I chose a curriculum project to pair these fields together along with my love of teaching. I developed an entire introductory level composition class using feminist pedagogy, composition theory, and critical literacy.

Sarah Hollibaugh

Sarah Hollibaugh

MA in WGS, Spring 2010

Current Occupation: Contractor at The Royal Bank of Scotland in Client Services department

Seeking career as: Diplomat or Trend Forecaster

The greatest benefit of the interdisciplinary aspect of RU's WGS program is how it prepared me for any career, through its focus on using critical and analytical thinking skills. My interests tend towards the arts, and I was able to use my BA in Theatre for my thesis, for which I wrote a play based on Judith Butler, Judith Halberstam, and Luce Irigaray dissecting and dramatizing gender performativity, female masculinity, and a feminine language. Being part of this WGS program helped develop the stories I told through my art. It continues to inform what I paint, what I chose to read, and how I live in the world. 


Linnea Kennedy

Linnea Kennedy

MA in WGS, Spring 2013

Current Research: Sexual harassment and rape culture

The interdisciplinary nature of WGS allows us as WGS academics, activists, or whatever self-identifier you choose, to make connections across disciplines and fields of study, laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive vision of justice. For instance, I am currently working on writing an article with a fellow RU alum, who graduated with her masters in training and development. We are researching corporate sexual harassment training procedures, and proposing a more comprehensive curriculum, which strives to not just address problems after they have arisen, but also seeks to alter sexist attitudes and behaviors.


Liam Lair

Liam O. Lair

MA in WGS, Spring 2009

Current occupation: PhD student in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas

 The WGS program at RU taught me how to engage disciplinary scholars from an interdisciplinary grounding. This was for my scholarship and how unique it is for professors, coming from disciplinary backgrounds, to provide space for students to explore different methodologies and disciplinary knowledges; this space allowed me to engage in my research in nuanced and provocative ways. My thesis explored the role of whiteness in the construction of transgender subject narratives in the U.S, specifically the ways that transmasculine narratives valorize white, heterosexual masculinity in ways that uphold and perpetuate hegemonic race, gender, and sexed norms. Roosevelt provided me with the tools and professionalism to succeed as an academic, as well as to know that my work must be grounded in activism for it to really be meaningful.


Kathleen Leusche

Kathleen T. Leuschen

MA in WGS, Spring 2010

 Current occupation: PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at University of North Carolina at Greensboro

 I believe the interdisciplinary approach of the RU WGS program helps students conceptualize the differences and similarities between academic disciplines. The ability to recognize the diverse methods and goals of various disciplines, to identify what counts as evidence and argument according to each, provides students with an advanced understanding of the ways that knowledge is produced, and for what ends knowledge is produced. Additionally, the interdisciplinary approach allows students finished with their WGS MA to continue their WGS work in other disciplines. 

While at Roosevelt, I had an opportunity to help with the Chicago Books to Women in Prison project, a project that provides women in prison books based on their written requests for reading materials.


Elizabeth J. Stigler

MA in WGS, Spring 2012

Current Occupation: PhD student and T.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at University of Kansas

Having such a well-rounded approach to WGS at Roosevelt gives students the opportunity to see how our field impacts many different facets of daily life.  It also offers a broad range of research areas for students to pursue even after their time at Roosevelt has ended. For instance, my thesis dealt with themes of corporeal authenticity and transformation via a close reading of two reality makeover television programs, something I am continuing to research in my doctoral program.


Mary Margaret Sweeney

Mary-Margaret Sweeney

Minor in WGS, BA Social Justice Studies, Spring 2010

Current Occupation: Masters of Social Work student at Loyola University

 In Roosevelt’s WGS program, I was encouraged to explore issues of interest to me through a feminist lens. This allowed me to see the implications of gender across disciplines and issues. I came to learn the effects of sexism, cisgenderism, and heteronormativity in places where I would not have previously thought to study. The interdisciplinary nature of WGS played a large role in my thesis, which explored television ads marketing hormonal birth control. I was exposed to more feminist thinkers, but also disciplines such as cultural studies, media studies, critical race theory, and medical sociology. In my current Master’s program, I am able to use my feminist lens to help others.


Nela Taskovska

Nela Taskovska

MA in WGS, Spring 2013

Current Research: Political diplomacy and feminism

I participated in the community internship for the program, working for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs being closely involved with the Global Women’s and Development Forum. This internship has allowed me to use valuable knowledge gained in WGS classes and ask crucial questions on women’s political and social status in the world. I combined this experience to form my thesis on the topic of feminist diplomacy, exploring the gender gap in foreign affairs while specifically focusing on the case study of former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

The rigor and value of this program has both challenged me and strengthened my skills as a scholar and has given me a professional foundation for the future.


Liz Thompson

Liz Thomson

MA in WGS, Spring 2005

Current occupation: Interim Director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center at University of Illinois, Chicago

 The Gender and Sexuality Center, where I’ve been employed for eight years, emphasizes multiple intersections of identities. With every program we organize, we are intentional about these intersections and use a social justice framework as an approach. Furthermore, this is the second year of being a Chicago Dyke March Collective Member. I definitely have used my knowledge, skills, and experiences from WGS at Roosevelt and contributed this to the Collective. I am glad that I chose to attend Roosevelt, stay in Chicago, and continue my community organizing in such a vibrant and passionate city.