For the past two years, I have been working at Macalester College's Annual Fund as a student caller. The donations and support that flow into the Annual Fund are some of the most important to campus life, seeing as they make the college's budget flexible and adaptable to the community's needs. Luckily for me, the Director of the Annual Fund, Danielle Nelson, graduated from Macalester in 2005 with a B.A. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). I decided to pick her brain and ask her some questions about her post-college life, and how her gender studies education and personal feminism are still vital to her being.
I think that the work that the Annual Fund does to support the college inevitably supports individual students and their lifelong pursuits; in this way, I can identify the work that we do in the office as feminist at its core. Thanks to Danielle and everyone else for all of the hard work you put into maintaining Macalester College as a place where creativity, education, and diversity thrive - without your TLC and abundance of spirit, I would not have had the opportunity to study at Macalester and grow into my feminist identity.
How did you decide to declare a WGSS major? Was there a specific incident/class/professor that inspired you to study this?
Danielle: I declared WGSS my first year at Mac and took 4 classes my first year. I came to Mac knowing I'd be WGSS. I grew up in a feminist household and came to Macalester like so many students do--with a desire to change the world. When I was in high school, I was a mentor to young girls who were neglected or generally unappreciated and it really opened my eyes to the reality of inequality. This is not the typical path for a student though.
Did you have a favorite class at Mac (in WGSS or another department)?
Danielle: I ended up focusing a lot of studies on trans and intersex studies. I was a TA for Scott Morgensen's trans and intersex studies course, which I really enjoyed. Sonita (Sarker)'s Senior Seminar really challenged my writing and thinking and though maybe not my favorite, it was essential capstone experience. Also, Karen Warren's ecofeminist courses shook me to the core.