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Students and teacher in classroom


Your Success Story is Waiting. Our alumni often write to us about how they have found their degree useful in the real world and how the very experience of being in a feminist classroom proved to be life-changing. In fact, they transfer their intellectual skills into new work spaces and environments in order to make them more inclusive and diverse. According to one graduate, “to employers, my having a women’s studies background meant that I had a proficient awareness of diversity issues, a key perspective when developing new services.”

Graduate Alumni Stories

Anne Margaret Castro ’16

Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University

Ph.D. 2016, in English. Advisors, co-chairs Vera Kutzinski and Ifeoma Nwankwo. Dissertation, ‘The Sacred Act of Reading: Spirituality, Performance, and Power in the Afro-Diasporic Americas.’  

“I am grateful to have completed Vanderbilt’s gender and sexuality studies graduate certificate because doing so allowed me to work across disciplines to develop a set of feminist critical and pedagogical practices. As a teacher and scholar, I focus on identity, politics, spirituality, and performance in postcolonial media. Throughout all my endeavors, I am guided by the ethical and intellectual principles that I learned from scholars and activists in gender, race, and sexuality. I have professionally benefitted from the interdisciplinary program that the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies provides. I am especially grateful for the connections I made with students and professors outside my fields of study.”


Farhana Loonat ’14

Ph.D. 2014, Political Science. Advisor, Brooke Ackerly.

“As a woman of color who grew up under apartheid, my highest aspiration was to answer the telephone in an Indian male doctor’s practice. Feminist theory empowered me to make sense of my adaptive preferences under white supremacy and patriarchy in South Africa and the US. Furthermore, the program helped me to produce scholarship that heralds a more just world. The gender studies certificate adds value to my M.A. in philosophy and Ph.D. in political science and makes me more valuable to employers. My contributions to campus initiatives around equity and inclusion and my support for marginalized students are impactful because they have deep theoretical roots. I enrich students’ learning by infusing gender into my political science and philosophy classes, and they in turn support my success.”