Meet one of our Minor students, Natalie Wolf, who is a Sociology Major with a concentration in Inequality and Social Change, and a Double Minor in Nonprofit Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Natalie will be graduating this week as part of Class of 2018.
How did you decide on minoring in Women and Gender Studies?
During my freshmen year, I was signed up for a course that required an extensive internship with access to a car, and I found myself to be in a class full of mostly seniors. I decided this class was too much for me to handle at the time and switched it to Representation of Women (WMST 100) with Melissa Bruce. This ended up being one of my favorite classes at Mason! I felt that each class had important discussions and I loved evaluating what can be done for problems faced today in regards to gender and sexuality. At the time it was one of my more challenging classes as I wrote a small paper almost every class, but it was the easiest work to get done. I realized that I loved this subject and work and I enjoyed putting hard work into my research. After this class, I kept taking WMST courses, declared the minor, and never looked back!
What have you learned that has really surprised you/changed your perspective?
The biggest thing I’ve learned from taking this minor is that there are so many stories and perspectives from others to be aware of. These courses have been some of the most open/collaborative spaces I’ve been exposed to at Mason and it showed me that listening to others teach you the most. I can read wonderful recommended texts from my professors that open my mind to so many different theories and problems within society, but what each of my classmates brought to class discussions was priceless. The experience taught me to live a more absorbent life of listening to other’s experiences.
Tell us about your dream job. How has courses in Women and Gender Studies helped further your plans?
My dream job is to run my own nonprofit tackling an important inequality or problem within my community to better the lives around me. I have done many different workshops within my courses that I would love to one day transform them to a nonprofit program. There has been a lot of community building activities that I have done within courses that focused on uplifting and understanding equality for all and I would love to share that with others. I have taken a job with Teach For America in the fall which targets education inequity. In many of my courses, I have researched and written papers about the inequalities within education. I think one of the main ways I got the job was how I discussed my writings on LGBTQ representation within coursework in K-12, something I did within my LGBTQ Mental Health class with Ric Chollar. I am so grateful I have that knowledge!
Please share any internships, jobs, or volunteer experiences that you have taken part in?
In addition to my part-time job that pays the bills, I had two wonderful opportunities to work with nonprofits within Northern VA.
The first internship I had during my college experience was with Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS). I worked on the development team during the fall semester helping with their holiday drives that fed families for Thanksgiving and gifted families during the holidays. I loved this opportunity because it gave me groundwork on behind the scenes within nonprofits and I had a chance to work with social workers aiding families. NVFS is ALWAYS looking for volunteers/interns and have a wide range of programs that contribute to families throughout the area focusing on housing, food drives, education opportunities and even programs geared towards employment.
I also interned with The Women’s Center in Vienna, a nonprofit that focuses on mental health counseling, support, and education to people of all ages. Again, this nonprofit is also always in need of support and has a wide range of programs to get involved in.
Please share any accomplishments or opportunities that you are proud of.
I have been on the Dean’s List for three semesters now! Once I started my junior year I told myself I wanted to excel more academically and my hard work has paid off! I have also been apart of a sorority on campus, Chi Omega, and served for 2017 as Chapter Treasurer. I never thought I would be doing financial management on such a large scale, but I loved every learning opportunity it brought me. Finally, one of the most incredible opportunities I’ve had at Mason is being a part of some of the first American Sign Language courses. Sadly, the minor will not be approved until after I graduate, but it was one of the most fun and rewarding languages I have learned. I encourage others to take a course!!!
Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.
I LOVE hiking. I could do 30 minutes of cardio and be worn out, but I can hike for hours and hours and love every moment of it. When I get stressed or overwhelmed I love taking a trip out to the mountains to hike. One of the most incredible trips I’ve ever been on is to Glacier National Park in Montana. The Rocky Mountains were incredible to see after growing up around the Appalachian Mountains. Nothing has ever left me as speechless as the nature that I witnessed during that trip.
Women and Gender Studies would like to congratulate Natalie on graduating this week!
Oh the places you will go and the wonderful things you will do! CONGRATULATIONS!
You can reach out to Natalie by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the WGST minor click here.
You can also email our Associate Director and Undergraduate Advisor, Nancy Xiong, at email@example.com