I’m Emma Lynn. I am a sociology major with a minor in women’s and gender studies (WGS). I am currently serving as the marketing chair for ISU Feminist Led Activist Movement to Empower (F.L.A.M.E.). Outside of the WGS world, I am heavily involved with University Housing Services.
My involvement here on campus allows me to bring in my perspective as an activist into spaces where changes that can heavily influence students happen, and that’s why it is so important to me to make my voice heard.
What career plans or academic goals are you currently pursuing?
I am working toward a goal of teaching and researching at a university in the future. I have absolutely fallen in love with the pursuit of knowledge about how humans interact with and affect a society. Learning about sociological research endlessly interests me. I look forward to working in a field that is such a huge proponent and instigator for social change.
In the spring 2017 semester, I plan to be a teaching assistant for an introductory general education course on the American family. This course covers many “controversial” topics that will allow me to learn much more about the perspectives of other students and how they interact with topics they might be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with.
Why did you choose women’s and gender studies as a minor?
I am endlessly passionate about the field of women’s and gender studies. It is the area of activism that I feel most connected to as an individual, and I feel like the WGS program here at Illinois State does such an amazing job of teaching about the intersections of activism, as well as empowering activists within our campus community. The WGS program allows me to go deeper into gender from a sociological perspective, and I love that about the program.
What do you do outside of class? Are you involved with WGS affiliated organizations?
Outside of class, I am involved with F.L.A.M.E. Feminist Led Activist Movement to Empower allows me to put my activist goals into action right here on campus. Over the past year, F.L.A.M.E. gave me so many opportunities: I participated in Take Back the Night, as well as F.L.A.M.E.’s annual production of the Vagina Monologues. I also participated in monthly general assembly meetings where we discussed a multitude of topics about WGS, but in our everyday experiences. If you are considering any WGS involvement, absolutely try it. I have never left any F.L.A.M.E. experience without feeling empowered. Being in a space with so many amazing and passionate people has allowed me to learn so much more about activism, and even myself. General assembly meetings are a great opportunity to get involved with F.L.A.M.E., and a great place to have an open discussion and learn with us about WGS related topics.
What has been your favorite class in WGS and why?
So far, my favorite WGS class has been an elective class. Sociology 112 focusses on the diversity of the American family in ways from immigration to adoption rights. This class has opened up the world of sociology of the family for me, and really let me open up my mind to different values and family structures. It is also considered a general education course by the university, making the class size about 300 students. My instructor encouraged open discussion in the classroom, and with such a large class size it was extremely interesting and valuable to hear so many different experiences. This class also looked at gender from a different view than I had seen before, addressing issues in a way that allowed us to see how they worked in family dynamics.
Who was your favorite faculty member to work with?
So far, Dr. Rhonda Nicol has been my favorite member of the department as my WGS 120 instructor. She has such extensive knowledge of WGS topics and provided me with so many ideas in such a small amount of time. After the third day of her class, I had already decided to apply to the WGS program! I also loved her passion and attitude toward women and gender studies.
What advice do you have for those thinking about the WGS minor?
Take WGS 120. You will absolutely find a topic in this class to spark your interest. From there, the WGS program offers so many specialized classes focusing on specific areas of women, gender, and marginalized groups. There is undoubtedly something that will catch your eye or that you will personally connect to. The WGS minor is applicable and beneficial to so many careers out there, and also offers so much personal development along the way.