Women and Gender Studies Concentration

Combining research, teaching, and activism focusing on the intersections among gender, sexuality, race and class.

Sara Haq, 2012

Sara Haq

What work are you doing now?

I'm a Women's Studies doctoral student at the University of Maryland. My research interests are Sufism (Islamic mysticism), South Asia, and Islamic feminism. I'm currently teaching a course titled Women, Art, and Culture and I absolutely love teaching!

What do you like about it?

I came back for my Ph.D. because I wanted to teach and I have a strong faith in women’s studies, as a discipline, to be transformative. In my classroom, students learn how various forms of oppression intersect to shape their lives and shape the world. I love working with undergraduates because they give me energy! I also especially enjoy working with student athletes at a Big Ten school.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work? 

My master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies, helped me to get a job right after my master's program. I was a grants manager for a nonprofit that worked on countering human trafficking in South and Southeast Asia. The courses I took at Mason helped me to both get the job as well as to be accepted to my PhD program. For example, the course on Feminist Research Methods is something I still use in my interdisciplinary work today, and the course on the Art of Resistance helps me to teach my Women, Art, and Culture course. The feminist theory course and the classes I took on mysticism and gender and Islam in the religious studies department laid the foundation for the work I continue to do in my doctoral program.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

When I started the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in Women and Gender Studies, many friends asked "what are you going to do with that?!" connoting that there are no jobs. I was hired within two weeks of graduation. There is a dire need for people who study and understand structural oppression and can think relationally. There is a need for radical listeners and proactive rather than reactive work, in every area of the job market.