Gender and Women's Studies

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Alumnae and Alumni

News from Alums

Kristin Pollard


Kristin Pollard is now living as a teacher in Chongqing, China. She teaches University freshman (18-19 years old) at Chongqing University of Technology, in the University’s rigorous KAIST International program. There are about 80 or so students in this program who ultimately aspire to pass the TOEFL exam so that they can study abroad in Korea. Because her students want to study abroad in Korea, they are very motivated and are excited to learn English.

After her winter break, Kristin will start her second semester of teaching, in the KAIST program, with the same students. Kristin plans on attending Grad school in 2017-2018.

2014 Graduates


Above: Some 2014 graduates pictured with some GWS faculty members. L to R: Kaitlyn SanFilippo, Dr. Donna Hughes, Cara Mackler, Jessica Young, Victoria Lombardi, Kaitlyn Brassel, Devlin Healey, and Dr. Annie Russell. Graduates not pictured: Corlies Black Bridgette Blight, Jessica Cardosa, Clara Feliz, Katie Gallagher, Alexandra Masi, Alyssa Metivier, Madeleine Morrin, Hannah Tickle, and Tara Woodbine.

2013 Graduates


Above: 2013 GWS Graduates pictured with some faculty. L to R, back row: Jamie Russo, Alyssa Mroz, Kimberly Manchester, Gail Harvey, Rachel Heintz, Djelisa Duarte, Catherine Scott,and Anna Vaccaro (Graduate Teaching Assistant). L to R, front row: Dr.Donna Hughes, Dr. Alana Bibeau, Dr. Karen Stein, Elise Bailey, Gabriella Cortes, and Dr. Jody Lisberger. (Not pictured: Ashle Ashby, Cindy Cabrera, Katherine Day, Ashley Evangelista, Brielle Fewer, Hodaly Garcia, Laudine Koster, Mia Rocchio, and Mindy Walls.)

2012 Graduates

Screenshot 2015-10-15 14.57.27

Alumni News

Our very own Danielle Henderson (’11) has become an internet phenomenon with her “Feminist Ryan Gosling” meme! Check it out at Feminist Ryan Gosling!

RYAN GOSLING as Jacob in Warner Bros. Pictures’ comedy “CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.


Meet Some Gender and Women’s Studies Alum

Dennis Belanger, ’12

I will be working at the Community College of Rhode Island through the fall and DennisBelanger_000spring semesters helping register and transfer students. I plan to find full time employment next summer, and also hope to take some courses towards my master’s degree. My time at URI with the GWS program was a great experience for many reasons. Getting to know such wonderful students and what I consider to be the best faculty URI has to offer, I was very pleased during my years of being a GWS major. Learning from a curriculum that has students engaging further than any other class was also beneficial to me in other classes and in my personal life. I strongly recommend the GWS program to any student.

Kaitlyn Brassel, ’14

Deciding to major in Gender and Women’s Studies was one of the best decisions I KaitlynBrasselcould have made during my four year journey at the University of Rhode Island. Not only was I furthering my knowledge about the world around me, but I was learning about myself; who I was and who I ultimately want to be. I was introduced to topics that I could have never imagined interested me, and was able to work with some amazing and creative staff members at the university. My degree in Gender and Women’s Studies has prepared me for a multitude of workplace environments and situations, and I am incredibly eager to see where my future will take me!

Gabriella Cortes, ’13

I graduated with a double major in GWS and Psychology. Currently, I am working on the URI campus in the College of the Gabriella-CortesEnvironment and Life Sciences Dean’s Office. In the fall, I am beginning graduate school at URI in the HDF Marriage and Family Therapy program. I will always be grateful for the things I learned as a Gender and Women’s Studies major because the courses allowed me to truly find what I wanted to do with my life. The courses go much deeper than any other course I have taken, and they inspired my passion for working with victims and survivors of domestic violence during my career as an undergrad. I was able to find two internships in the field and really extend my studies so much further than I imagined possible. These internships, one at the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the other at the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, lead to my recognition from the University as a Big Thinker in the Spring of 2013. I owe so much of my college experience to the Gender and Women’s Studies program because of how much I learned about myself, about what I wanted to pursue in the world, and how I could ultimately inspire change and help those in need. I look forward to beginning my master’s program here at URI and see what else is in store for me!

Katherine Day, ’13

After graduating with BA in both Gender and Women’s Studies and History, I now KateDay_000need to decide what I want to be when I grow up (a quest that I think is never fulfilled). I plan on looking into graduate programs to further my education in both GWS and History while continuing to do independent thought and research. I would eventually like to teach at the high school or college level in an effort to help other people realize the ways in which they can change their world. The Gender and Women’s Studies program has affected my life in a very deep and profound way, teaching us to look outside ourselves in a way which tethers us to the community and ecosystems we are all a part of. One day soon I would like to impart this knowledge on other students who, like many of us, looked at Intro to Women’s Studies as a class simply about feminism. One day I’ll write a book about the wild and crazy adventures of the URI GWS program, but for now I will look to it for inspiration.

Ashley Evangelista, ’13

Currently, I am working for a family owned business known as EJ Paving Co. Inc.
Ashleylocated in Methuen, MA. I will be creating and overseeing a new purchase order system. Along with being a Purchasing Manager I would also love to follow my holistic health coaching calling on the side. I have also had the opportunity to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island really changed my life. I find that this department is not like any other around campus. Our department was very proactive. We would listen to issues, share thoughts, and look at things in so many different dimensions, it was truly gratifying. This department helped me become more involved with the URI community and surrounding areas. I was able to speak to and interview immigrants and attend a Harvard conference. I had the opportunity to become a Peer Advocate and actually teach other students about violence prevention. There were plenty of events that this department held for students that were very rewarding to attend. I never really took the time before college to sit back and realize the issues regarding gender inequality, violence against women, and immigration. Between holistic health coaching, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and playing division one soccer, I am confident that I will be able to make a difference in this world based on the tools and opportunities that have been given to me. I plan to stay involved with the current issues in Gender and Women Studies. My degree has prepared me to have the confidence and leadership to implement change and work through all of the many challenges and obstacles that I will face along the way.

Clara Feliz, ’14

An internship at the ACI’s maximum-security facility during her senior year at URI Screenshot2015-03-0410.58.17was the hook. She was surprised to find she loved it, so when she graduated last year, she took a job at The Providence Center, which provides a variety of wraparound services and programs for people affected by psychiatric illnesses, emotional problems and substance use disorders. Now her work as a discharge planner focuses on prisoners, primarily those with substance use disorders, re-entering the community. She also runs an anger management group in the Women’s Prison.

Erin Gorman, ’11

After graduating from URI, I was offered a job at Sojourner House, a local nonprofit domestic violence agency that offers support, advocacy, and resources to survivors of domestic violence. I am the Bilingual Housing
eringormanAdvocate & Volunteer Coordinator, and my primary responsibility is to provide advocacy and case management to individuals and families in our emergency safe house and transitional housing apartment program. My secondary title of Volunteer Coordinator has allowed me to go beyond direct service work and enhance my community organizing/outreach, program development and policy work. We all know that employment is not the easiest to come by these days, but I believe my GWS degree played an integral part in my post-collegiate professional success. As a GWS student, I received an education that was challenging and intense, yet stimulating and adaptable to my own particular passions. Feminist theory and scholarship analyzed through a “real world” lens taught essential critical thinking skills that can be adapted to any profession and this knowledge will ultimately serve as a necessary foundation (a “secret weapon”, if you will) for anyone who desires to make the world a better place in some way, regardless of your cause. As for my future plans, I have begun looking into graduate programs and I’m leaning toward an MBA with a specialization in social change, community development, non-profit management, etc. My 5-year plan also includes relocating, but who knows where my destination will be. The opportunities are endless.

Matthew Guertin, ’12

After graduating from URI I am now working as a Quantitative Reasoning Specialist MattGuertinat the Met School in Providence. For my job I am in charge of teaching mathematics classes focused on critical thinking and application to high school students, designing curriculum that is relevant to my student’s interest and future careers, creating a positive mathematics culture in my school building, and managing a team of math tutors who support student learning in the classroom. My time in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at URI has prepared me to work with my students who come from a variety of backgrounds. I find that I am well prepared to understand the difficulties they face in our society and it allows me to be a much more empathetic teacher. For the future, I plan to work toward a post-graduate degree focused around urban education.

Gail Harvey, ’13

Having just recently graduated in May 2013 with a double major in Gender and GailWomen’s Studies and History I find myself, like many others, looking for a job that can use the knowledge and skills both my majors have given me. After spending my GWS capstone semester studying immigration and attending the all-day seminar in late April 2013 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, where this year’s topic was “Crossing Borders, Immigration and Gender in the Americas” I find myself deeply involved with following the progress of the immigration bill in Congress and am reading two books on this subject by one of the speakers at the conference, Cecilia Menjivar. Right now I am trying to see if I can obtain a part-time position working for either URI as a liaison between the Providence and Kingston campus or working in some capacity for the non-profit community, with a focus on immigrant women and families. My classes at URI, the faculty and the administration at both campuses have given me so many rich experiences and opportunities that my major desire is to find a position that will enable me to give back to them and my community. Down the road a few years from now I would love to be teaching classes for adult learners that enables people to see that gender, women and history make a rich tapestry of studies that are not only intertwined but need more exposure. The role gender has played throughout the world’s history has affected every one of us and it would be the biggest joy of my life if I could play a small part in bringing this knowledge to a broader audience. The GWS faculty has given me invaluable knowledge and intellectual discipline and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. The bottom line is that I am optimistic I shall find a niche somewhere that will enable me to use the skills and knowledge I have gained to open doors for others to see new vistas and learn new ways of thinking – in short, everything that I have received from my own education.

Danielle Henderson, ’11

Danielle Henderson graduated with degrees in both English 0and Gender and Women’s Studies. She is a graduate student in the Gender and Women’s Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is also an instructor. Danielle created the popular blog Feminist Ryan Gosling, and a book of the same name was published by Running Press in 2012. She is a staff writer for Rookie Magazine, a website for teenage girls, and travels to various college campuses to speak about issues of race, class, pop culture and feminism. She is developing a book about feminist icon bell hooks for The Feminist Press, to be published in 2013. Her ultimate goal is to continue teaching, and she is looking forward to pursuing her Ph.D. You can contact her at

Kimberly Manchester, ’13

Kimberly continues to work in the field of Biology as a ParkKimberlyManchesterNaturalist at Beavertail State Park and as Tutor for the Community College of Rhode Island while seeking permanent, full-time work in the field of Communications. She plans on using her Gender and Women’s Studies degree and Writing and Rhetoric minor in conjunction with her Communications degree, and is seeking full-time work as a Communications Manager. She is the author of a popular online advice column “Ask Tazi!” Ask her a question at

Rebecca Roque, ’12

I’m currently working for the United Nations Development Programme
RebeccaRoquein conjunction with the Ministry of Education in Chile as an English teacher in Copiapo, Chile. I was craving a cross-cultural experience and my work as a teaching-assistant with the GWS department helped prepare me for the responsibility of lesson-planning and the power of education. The strong and confident mind I built with the Gender and Women’s Studies Program prepared me quite liberally for the unforeseen difficulties I have encountered navigating the complexities of a foreign government and at times a highly unfair education system. I have been viewing my city, where the arms of U.S. capitalism have completely devastated the environment with mining activities (location of 33 man mining disaster), and where the realities regarding the church, sexuality, women, self-esteem and access are ever more complicated. I plan to travel a bit more and gain a working ability with the Spanish language as well as pursue a graduate degree in the states related to gender and education in the near future.

Jillian Rounds, ’12

I graduated with degrees in Political Science and Gender and JillianRoundsWomen’s Studies. Currently, I am getting my master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. I am an Assistant Residence Life Coordinator for a freshmen residence hall, and am interning in the Study Abroad Office. Over the next two years I will be working towards my Masters, and hopefully once I graduate I can work on a campus in any department. I would love to focus on International Programs and Exchange, while being able to focus on women in higher education. I plan to also intern at an institution abroad to further learn about this topic, as well as satisfy my itch to travel. Ultimately, I would like to become a professor. Being a Political Science major, I am highly interested in current events and the Middle East, and women’s roles as their country’s government transitions to Democracy. I am keeping my options open, because I have so many interests, but I plan to work on a higher ed campus in a job that can (hopefully) include a little bit of everything I am interested in.

Nelli Ruotsalainen, ’11

Upon graduation, I moved back to my home country Finland where I applied, and was accepted to, the University of Helsinki Masters Program in Gender Studies. My MA in Nelligender studies provided me with an in-depth theoretical understanding of feminist theory, queer theory, and post colonial theory. My masters pro-graduate thesis, Sights Towards Colorful Asia: Discursive Neocolonial Complicity on the Recruitment of Nurses from the Philippines to Finland combined development sociology and feminist post colonial theory to examine the discourse surrounding care labor migration in a globalized market. Since I left URI, I have wiped tables at night, sold coffee in the morning, driven a pedi-cab, worked for the Finnish Union of Health and Social Care Professionals, completed a project for the International Labor Organization, gotten my hands dirty at different organic farms across the United States, and am now applying to PhD programs. I wish to encourage students to break from what is conventionally valued in patriarchal academic settings. My aim is to conduct research that combines activism with academia. I now work for the City of Boston, Department of Youth Engagement and Employment as a Communications Specialist for the “Youth Lead the Change” Participatory Budgeting Process. I cherish my time at URI as an encouraging space in which to learn of feminist consciousness that now propels me in all facets of my life. For now, I live in Boston where I organize locally with feminist and environmentalist organizations.

Jamie Russo, ’13

Since I’ve graduated in May of 2013 I have been living in Florida as an apprentice with Worden Farm, an organic-sustainable farm in Punta Gorda. When I wasn’t harvesting or planting crooked rows, I
JRgrad13made sure to explore the area paddle boarding and hiking with my dog. I’m interested in how bio intensive gardening, along with local farmer’s markets and community gardens, might offset food insecurity in families. This is an interest I stumbled upon during a study abroad trip to Oaxaca, Mexico with Professor Pisa. I was then able to develop and really dig into this issue during my last year at URI in the Gender and Women’s Studies courses – especially Thought into Action where I looked at hunger in Rhode Island. In August, I begin a MS program with the University of Montana in Environmental Studies with a focus on Organic Food and Farming! Everyone asks why I applied way out there and I’d have to say its because the program combines the humanities, social, and hard sciences into a holistic approach in solving environmental problems. And who wouldn’t want to be in the mountains? As for what I might do after, I’m thinking of applying to the Food Corp, living life to the fullest (how corny, right?), and reviving our connection with our food.

Catherine Scott, ’13

Currently I am working at the University of Rhode Island as a Gender and Women’s Studies tutor for the Talent
CatherineScottDevelopment program, as well as an administrative assistant for the Philosophy Department. In addition to working, I have begun my search for graduate programs, and hope to find one that combines my interest in Philosophy with gender issues and social justice. In the future, I would like to be a professor, a writer, a human rights activist, an artist, and a gardener. My degree in Gender and Women’s Studies has played an integral role in helping me develop interest in an area of research and study that I believe will not only be a great start to my career in academia, but will also prove to be very fulfilling in terms of my life’s work. The major helped me because it introduced me to topics that sparked my desire to research them further, as well as taught me how to think critically and write fearlessly. Many of my best instructors and classmates at the University of Rhode Island came from my Gender and Women’s Studies courses, and I truly feel grateful for finding such an excellent program to be apart of during my time here at URI.

Kinsey Tarbell, ’11

I completed my first year of graduate school at UNH, I’m working towards my Master’s of Social Work degree and have one year left. I interned at a homeless shelter for pregnant women and new moms,
KinseyTarbell where we work to empower women and their children to live richer, more rewarding and meaningful lives. We give them the tools and skill-sets to independently provide for their children and continue to better their lives. I created an Aftercare Program for the shelter as a school project, in which I stay in contact with former shelter residents and continue to offer them support through home-visits and providing them with tangible goods and connections to community resources. I am currently working with over 15 former clients. Additionally, I work at a day program for developmentally disabled adults as a Direct Service Professional. I’m completely in love with my two jobs and all the clients I work with. As I head into my last year of graduate school, I will be interning in a community mental health center, and will have approximately 8 clients of my own. I intend to graduate in May and begin working towards becoming a licensed social worker.

-2_000Zuleika Toribio, ’11

I am currently a graduate student at Boston University pursuing my Masters in Social Work. I also plan on pursuing a Masters in Education Administration. I’m passionate about youth development, community organizing, higher education, academic advising, and personal growth.
My aim is to advise and support individuals in their current and future academic and professional endeavors. In the past, I have enjoyed working as a Senior Resident Assistant for Training and Development for Resident Life at Boston University.

Anna Vaccaro, ’12

I have undergraduate degrees in Gender and Women’s Studies and Communication Studies.P1040248E My involvement with the GWS Program challenged me to claim my own education and inspired my confidence, which has powerfully impacted me both as a student and an individual.  For this reason, I hope to eventually be a professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, as well as work with survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. I want to challenge, inspire, and empower students and women in the same way I have been challenged, inspired, and empowered. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island. My research focuses on the intersection of trauma, resilience, and social justice. I am particularly interested in studying the ways in which access to resources and social support is influenced by issues such as privilege, sexism, and racism. I now teach GWS 150: Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies at URI.

Mindy Walls, ’12

I graduated with a double-major in Gender & Women’s Studies and Psychology. My experience as a GWS student was transformative for me personally, academically and Mindyprofessionally. The supportive faculty helped me to develop my ability to think critically, to become a better writer and reader and ultimately, to grow as a person who is better able to serve the world. Understanding the variability and nuances of the human experience through the lens of a GWS student led me away from a clinical psychology path to instead pursuing a Masters in Social Work at Smith College, one of the best social work programs in the country. I am currently attending Smith in their intensive residential program and in September I will be placed at the Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls, RI. My research and professional interests include the effects of capitalism and globalization, trauma, mental illness, maternal health and Buddhist psychology.

2010-2011 Alumnae


Graduates 2010-2011 L to R: (Front) Melanie Carrazzo, Kristen Chamberlain, Danielle Oliva, Erin Gargurevich-Gorman, Erika Brondsky, Nelli Ruotsalainen, Heather Wright. (Middle) Jessica Williams, Courtney Needham, Annie Hoagland, Ashley Coviello, Alexandria Bio, Carlene Fiorito. (Back) Joyce Fennell, Kinsey Tarbell, Jenna Berube, Danielle Henderson.

More Alumnae and Friends



Kade Langston Aris


Misty Cranston Bates


Bridget Druken


Janet Foster


Emily Hall

IMG_0444_000Kara Lafferty


Vicky Paulino


Melanie Shapiro


Kinsey Tarbell


We want to hear from you! Email us at:

NEMLA Jenn Brandt (left), Jody Lisberger (middle), and Anna Vaccaro (right) spoke at a conference in Boston about feminist models of co-mentoring. JodyandGail Jody Lisberger (left), Director of GWS, with Gail Harvey (right), our 2013 academic excellence award winner.


Jenn and Danielle at the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) annual meeting in Oakland, CA.


NWSA: take two!  


Writer of Feminist Theory, Wendy K. Kolmar, with Jenn Brandt and Jody Lisberger at NWSA  



JodyandKateDay IMG_4831 IMG_4833 IMG_4837 IMG_4852IMG_4832 IMG_4830 109-1 IMG_4851 IMG_4853

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