I graduated in 2019 as a Philosophy major and GSWS minor (with additional minors in History of Art and Law & Society), receiving the Charles W. Burr Book Prize, Phi Beta Kappa Humanities Essay Prize, and the Dick Wolf Best Essay Award. I deferred my enrollment at Yale Law School to spend two years at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP in New York City, which is a plaintiff-side civil rights firm focusing on combating employment discrimination. I am currently a Senior Legal Assistant at the firm and will start at Yale Law School this fall (August 2021). It is in large part thanks to my GSWS coursework that I chose to pursue a legal career fighting for women's rights and LGBTQIAP+ rights, which I do every day in my current role as well.(Click above to read more.)

I have always been interested in gender and sexuality studies, but my GSWS coursework really expanded my sense of what forms advocacy in that realm can take. Within my major, I focused on philosophy's relationship to feminism, inculding writing a junior paper on the feminist strategies of Emilie du Chatelet, which won the Phi Beta Kappa Humanities Essay Prize. In addition to courses more classically up my pre-law alley, such as "Gender, Sexuality, and the Law," courses such as "Queer Attachments in Literature" really informed my worldview. Narrative forms are more important than I might have otherwise expected in the legal field, as much of what I do every day is synthesize our clients' stories to show exactly how their gender or sexuality was at the forefront of the discriminatory treatment they experienced. 

My GSWS coursework also intersected with my extracurricular pursuits while at Penn. I was a Civic Scholar, which means I was part of my year's cohort of undergraduates who complete an intensive four-year program dedicated to social justice and civic engagement. For my Civic Scholars senior capstone, which received the Israel Goldstein award, I examined how religious charities for women complicate the question of whether religious institutions forward or hinder feminist progress. I was a research assistant for multiple different professors, but, in particular, for Philosophy Professor Karen Detlefsen, I worked on The Recovery Project, which highlights the work of otherwise under-discussed female philosophers from the 17th and 18th centuries. I was also an active debater throughout my undergraduate experience, serving two terms as President of the Penn Debate Society and also as President of the American Parliamentary Debate Association. Through the debate format, which I love, I was able to explore different methods of discourse on the topics I studied in my GSWS coursework, including rounds about the Fearless Girl statue and feminism's relationship to capitalism, transphobia on RuPaul's Drag Race, the prospect of a First Gentleman instead of a First Lady, the practice in the trans community of regendering childhood photos through Photoshop, and the representation of the protagonist as heterosexual instead of bisexual in Dallas Buyers Club. Finally, my GSWS coursework was very relevant to my various summer internships at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Legal Aid Society, and the Brookings Institution. For instance, at the EEOC, I built an application to detect statistically significant pay discrimination on the basis of race and gender.

After I graduate from law school, I am excited to pursue a career in either direct services for the female and LGBTQIAP+ populations, or impact litigation for long-term protection of their rights; I hope to be able to do some combination of the two, as I think both approaches are equally important. I know that, whichever path I take, I will carry with me so much of what I gleaned from my GSWS experience at Penn.