Category Archives: Conference

Feminist Camp: Seattle

Meet Katy Wong! She majors in chemical engineering and gender and sexuality studies at Tulane, and got the opportunity to go to Feminist Camp in Seattle this summer.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

I have always considered myself a feminist from a young age, but struggled with how I personally find myself interacting in the ecosystem of activism. As someone who interacts with both STEM and liberal arts, I wanted to find some way to bridge the two together in a way that could positively impact others and be readily accessible for everyone. In the field of gender and sexuality studies, feminism is often second nature if not already incorporated in the studies. In STEM, I find difficulty in finding a clear path to bring feminism in a field that does not readily have a category for it. However, I knew what I was most passionate about which was ultimately becoming a better advocate for those whom are most vulnerable in our society — those who have the least access to resources: queer trans women of color. I wanted to be able to better incorporate feminism into all aspects of my life rather than solely academia through theory. The emphasis of Feminist Camp’s incorporation of feminism in the workplace was most appealing to me as I could see how women interact in a delicate power dynamic and with each other as a support system.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part is the tight-knit community I found in the feminist cohort and the unexpected surprises along the way. The cohort was incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. Even if we were on different pages for certain issues, we came from the universal perspective of love and a desire to truly listen to each other. Something I totally did not anticipate was meeting Ijeoma Oluo and Lindy West! Carly bought us tickets to see Ijeoma Oluo and her brother Ahamefulo Oluo at Seattle’s Town Hall Thursday night. Carly had connections to get us backstage where I could speak with Ijeoma. I was a big fan of her writing prior to this camp so meeting her in person and witnessing her brilliance, wit, and humility unfold before me was an ethereal experience.

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Katy with writer Ijeoma Oluo

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

The Feminist Camp in Seattle did not talk directly about reproductive health and justice. Rather, it was an interdisciplinary discussion. I learned about the role of a doula in reproductive health as an individual who ensures women are fully represented in the ways they desire. For example, we had an abortion doula talk to us. She is an advocate for the pregnant mother and will help mothers in ways from holding their hands to ensuring physicians are accountable for the birth plan they create for the mother. In addition, I have also learned how lobbying and grass root movements, such as NARAL Pro-Choice, have significant impact for women’s health. Victories are small milestones to get us closer to equity and improving life chances for everyone. Although administrative violence may occur, there are means to ensure women who are +100 miles away from a
pharmacy may receive affordable and convenient birth control three months at a time.

Tell us something you learned that you hope to never forget:

Feminist Camp taught me to not undervalue myself as an individual and while cruising through life, having supportive friends along the way eases hardship. It is often very difficult to become the best advocate you can be for yourself, and having a strong support group with other individuals with similar experiences along the way can help you heal mentally and emotionally.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

Feminist Camp is transformative. I am humbled and inspired everyday by the dedication of both the campers and speakers.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

Feminist Camp taught me how it is perfectly okay to be uncertain. Often, we are pressured to know our career path every step of the way but being uncertain is okay. Nonlinear paths are perfectly acceptable if there is a timeline to achieve your dream because a dream without a timeline is just thoughts.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp: Seattle

Meet Cecily Montgomery! She majors in political science and international development, and just came back from Feminist Camp in Seattle.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I have considered myself a feminist for as long as I can remember but as I’ve moved through different spaces in my life, and have had opportunities to hear new perspectives my understanding of what makes a feminist has deepened. I recently returned from my semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city with a robust feminist movement. During my time there I attended two different women’s marches, both of which were massive and allowed me to see how feminist movements can be different around the world, depending on the needs of women in that place. I was eager to continue this learning and feminist camp was the perfect opportunity to do so.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

The speaker that was most interesting to me was a lobbyist who advocated for union rights at Washington State’s capitol building in Olympia. As someone who is very interested in the political world it was both sad to hear about the challenges specific to women in that field but also inspiring to learn how she navigates them with such poise and expertise.

The friendships that I made on this program were another aspect of it that made this program amazing. Although we were only together for one week, by the end of it I felt extremely comfortable with each and every one of them. Campers of all ages and diverse backgrounds attended, and each one of them brought important perspectives and experiences. The program coordinators were truly amazing and very knowledgeable. It was clear that a lot of time and effort had gone into planning this week.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:   

During Feminist Camp we met two different women from different pro-choice organizations. The first one was NARAL pro-choice Washington that works to both get pro-choice candidates elected as well as pass pro-choice legislation. Speaking to her was very interesting to me as a political science major because it showed me major challenges associated with passing legislation geared towards reproductive health. It also allowed me to ask questions about the best way to pursue a career in policy advocacy.

The other session we had geared towards reproductive justice was with a member of the board of directors of the CAIR project. This organization is a fund that helps women get abortions who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it or have a way to access it. Seeing how one non-profit that is geared towards affecting policy works with another one that works directly with women showed me all the different effort needed to help women get the care they need.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Having the opportunity to speak with successful women from array of different fields showed me how to make myself stand out in professional settings. One thing that I frequently struggle with is standing up for myself or making sure that I am listened to. Having conversations about things such as salary negation or making your voice heard in male dominated spaces showed how I can be a better self advocate.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp: 

There are so many important things to learn from Feminist Camp, it’s hard to think of a reason not to attend! One of the best things I gained from it was an incredible new community. Some of the people I attended camp with also live in New Orleans, giving me a new community of like-minded individuals to have here now that I have returned. In a world dominated by the patriarchy, women are often not taught or encouraged to speak up or display too much confidence. Even in the course of just one week, I watched both myself and the other campers grow in our self confidence and willingness to have a voice.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

As I said above, one of the most important parts of the conference was learning how to be a good self advocate which can apply to many areas of life but definitely applies to career goals. With just one year left of college I now know how to better make myself stand out to potential employers and speak up when I need something. It also showed my how it is possible to include feminism in my career be in my advocating for policy that helps women or just being supportive towards the women that I work with and making sure their voices are heard.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp: NYC

Meet Maria Gomez! She majors in cell and molecular biology and French, and wants to be an OB-GYN. She also just came back from Feminist Camp; read about her experience below:

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

As a woman in STEM, I can often see the disparity that exists between men and women in these fields. When watching conferences or reading research papers, the pervasiveness of sexism in scientific academia is evident. When volunteering at the emergency department, I have seen patients refuse female doctors. However, despite being greatly affected, women in these fields often have neither the formal background nor the resources to combat this prejudice. I wanted to attend Feminist Camp in order to be better equipped to deal with these situations in my future career and to remove some of the obstacles that stand in the way of female scientists, primarily for women of color.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

From the moment I arrived in NYC to the moment I left, I absolutely loved every part of Feminist Camp.  I was fortunate to visit Vice’s office, to watch a live taping of Democracy Now!, to view the Dinner Party exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum and to have a mini-internship at Planned Parenthood, among many other fantastic opportunities. However, the magic of the whole experience is probably best encapsulated by the afternoon spent in Gloria Steinem’s house listening to Chanel from Ancient Song Doulas. Hearing her speak about reproductive justice, how it encompasses a wide variety of choices, and how it is often not accessible to women of color or gender non-conforming individuals was truly inspiring. As an aspiring OB-GYN, I found her mission to be in direct agreement with what I want to do with my life. She showed me how to integrate my passions in a concrete manner as I seek to advocate for the dignity of women through their healthcare and personal choices.

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Maria with fellow Tulane student, Reva.

 

Highlight any information you learned about reproductive health and reproductive justice:

During the day dedicated to reproductive justice, I was able to truly experience the entire gamut of choices that women have. I visited an adoption agency and learned how they offer support and counseling to the pregnant person so that they can best choose what to do with their future. I learned how to perform an abortion on a papaya, a fruit often used during training due to its similarity in shape to the uterus.  We dispelled myths about abortion and were taught how important, yet rare abortion training is for physicians. We also heard from full spectrum doulas, who provide emotional support during adoption, abortion, birth, etc. All these experiences helped to strengthen the beautiful definition of reproductive justice, described by SisterSong as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.”

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

This week was a transformative experience that helped me to learn about the strides we have made and the obstacles we still need to remove to influence philanthropy, the career world, reproductive justice, the media, and art as women. I met incredible individuals with powerful stories and missions. However, the most tangible lesson I learned was the strength and power that we have to create change and impact the world as women. With the current administration, it is easy to feel hopeless and defeated when seeing the advances made threatened by politicians. I hope I never forget to be inspired by our strength and the promises that our future has. This will only be possible if we fight together and advocate for our rights and those of other underprivileged communities.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp:

Feminist Camp is an invaluable opportunity for anyone interested in promoting women’s rights and serving as an ally for communities whose voices might often be ignored. I believe that spending this week with such a variety of hosts and fellow campers is an eye opening experience that brings a spotlight to our interests, privileges, and shortcomings. As a whole, Feminist Camp helps to narrow and specify our goals as activists while connecting us with organizations and individuals that can support and strengthen our missions.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

As I previously mentioned, Feminist Camp helped to motivate and guide me in navigating my future as both an aspiring medicine student and as an advocate for women’s rights. More importantly, it gave me the tools to integrate both of these aspects into a concise mission. After this week, I am more certain than ever of my future career path, and I have been connected with incredible individuals and organizations who can help me promote these goals. Personally, I’m looking forward to working with the local Planned Parenthood and the local chapter of the National Council for Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls to continue my activism. After all, it is important to take advantage of tools given throughout Feminist Camp and to actively seek the changes that we want to see in society.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

Feminist Camp: Seattle

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Meet Tina Nguyen! She’s a gender and sexuality studies major with an interest in developing a career in the OBGYN field. She also just got back from Feminist Camp in Seattle, thanks to a grant from NCI.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I have considered myself to be a feminist from a young age, and yet, in college, I found myself still struggling to define feminism. I knew that there was no hard and fast definition, but I wanted to develop my own sense of feminism and understand how it could inform my life.  I wanted to go to Feminist Camp because I believed that it would allow me to learn from other like-minded individuals about their feminism and how they use their feminism in their everyday lives. I was also intrigued that Feminist Camp placed a lot of emphasis on feminist career and professional development. I didn’t quite understand what that meant as it was advertised to me, but it sounded like the opportunity that I was searching for. I major in gender and sexuality studies here at Tulane, but my goal is to go to medical school to become a gynecologist and obstetrician. As someone heading into the medical field, I am always anxious that I won’t be able to engage in feminism in the same way as I have done in college, and I was hoping that this program would give me the proper skills necessary to carry my feminist ideals with me in my many endeavors to come.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

There was so much that I loved about this conference, but first and foremost, my favorite part about Feminist Camp is the community that I was able to be a part of. From the program director, to the site coordinators, to the campers themselves, I felt that over the course of five short days, we were able to build and sustain a close-knit community that felt comfortable. This type of instant friendship and community is rare, and I feel fortunate to have been able to contribute and learn. This small group of women were supportive and respectful, enabling every member of the group to show their vulnerability and express their strengths. I learned so much simply through the exchange of stories and life experiences with these incredible women.

Feminist Camp cannot be classified as a conference or a program, because its non-traditional approach is what makes this experience special. The speakers who shared their experiences were able to speak from a deeply personal place, and part of that is due to the small size of the group. Each talk was very tailored to the needs of the group and every speaker worked to tackle some of the biggest questions that we had. One of the most unexpected portions of this week was getting to spend a day at a major video game studio called Bungie. We started the day at the studio with a panel speaking to the women who worked there, and it was fascinating to learn about their struggles in a field where I did not even expect to find feminism at all. The work that they do to change the status quo in the gaming industry is inspiring, and it’s encouraging to know that progress is being made.

Lastly, I loved getting to know Seattle over the course of my week at Feminist Camp. Surprisingly, the weather was more than beautiful, and the group was able to bond outside of camp hours by exploring Seattle’s various neighborhoods and soaking in everything the city had to offer. We were able to fall in love with the city, while at the same time learning about the problems that Seattle faces. It seemed that Seattle was in on our Feminist Camp program, and I found that everything from restaurants to bauble shops embodied the feminist values that we spent all week speaking about. Seattle’s Town Hall hosts many talks, and we were lucky enough to attend a talk by Ijeoma Oluo, who wrote a viral article on Rachel Dolezal, and her brother, Ahamefule Oluo, renowned musician and comedian. This talk was completely unplanned on our part, but the themes spoken about addressed the issues that we had been discussing in our camp sessions. Later that same night, we met Lindy West, notable for her writing in Jezebel and The Guardian, and fellow feminist. It was these unplanned happenings that proved that Seattle was the perfect location for Feminist Camp.

Tell us something you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

This program was not particularly centered on reproductive health and reproductive justice; however our first day of sessions was geared towards reproductive justice. One of the first speakers that we heard from was from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and she told us a story that spoke volumes about the stigma that surrounds abortion. As a young woman, this speaker was asked to be on an MTV special that featured women who had gone through an abortion, but since she was not showing enough remorse, the show host harassed her on television in the effort to make her cry for ratings. This horrible experience enabled her to jumpstart a career in the fight for reproductive justice, and her main mode for doing so is through storytelling. What I took away from this experience was that the fight for reproductive justice is deeply personal. Women’s health and reproductive justice issues are often framed as these overly political problems, and the truth of the matter is, these issues affect people on an individual level and their voices are the most important.     

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

While the speakers that we heard from were from all different professional backgrounds, they all touched on a couple of themes that threaded their sessions together. One piece of advice was to learn how to recognize your own self-worth. Even incredible women who are experts in their field have a hard time believing in their own worth. Many of these leaders asked us to believe in ourselves and our own abilities because that will enable us to demand what is rightfully ours. One speaker particularly told us to value our time. I find myself giving away my time very willingly in an effort to feel useful, but she asked us to value the time and energy that we put into projects. Sharing your expertise, energy, or time should not be for free. This same speaker asked us to view ourselves as resources. It is so easy to look at another person and see what they can offer you, but very hard to figure out what you have to offer.

Another piece of advice that stuck with me was the concept that your input should equal the output. For every project, personal or professional, if you put in time and energy, the output should be equal to that.  So often, women will put in so much emotional and physical work and the payoff does not adequately compensate for that work. Establishing this output/input equilibrium has allowed many successful women to find a career path that is fulfilling and which enables them to do meaningful work.

After this week, I have so much more confidence in how feminism is going to play a role in my future career. One of the easiest ways to incorporate feminism into everyday life is to support other women. Women supporting women and building that network was another common thread among the many speakers that we heard from. Giving everyone the space that they need to grow and succeed is very important feminist work, and I hope that I can bring that philosophy with me to Tulane and beyond. The reason that we were able to speak to so many wise and successful women on this trip was because they have built a feminist network with each other. Many of them had come into contact with each other before regardless of the fact that their careers were drastically different due to the fact that each person we spoke to goes out of their way to support women doing good work in their city.

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Why should other students attend Feminist Camp?

I might still be in the conference afterglow, but I think that anyone who is interested even remotely should try to attend Feminist Camp because it was an impactful experience. The past year has been very rough with the recent presidential election and a news cycle that always seems to be full of negatives. Feminist Camp reminded me that there are people who think just like me and who are actively working to change the status quo. Also, at the point in my life where my future feels very up in the air, it was reassuring to hear from successful women that life is not linear, and that it’s fine to make mistakes and take unexpected turns. It might sound cheesy, but students should go to Feminist Camp to be inspired. If anything, you’ll leave camp with a brand new network and reliable friends. I feel grateful that I have a community like NCI at Tulane, but many of the other campers felt like outsiders on their campuses and in their lives. Feminist Camp gave us a chance to dig deep into feminism and learn how to embody it in our work.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

I’ve already hit on most of the professional advice that I received above, but this week has really solidified my desire to become a doctor. I believe that I can make a change in the medical field where so often women, non-binary folks, people of color, among so many others are not taken seriously. People ask me all of the time why I want to be a doctor, and my answer to that is that I want to support women. As someone who wants to be an OBGYN, I see this field as my space to embody the idea of women supporting women. Camp has made me more passionate and excited as ever to move forward in my career.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

PLEN: Women and Congress

Meet Eleanor! She is majoring in political science with a concentration in international relations, and wants to eventually work in international development and relief or public policy. Eleanor attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Congress seminar this spring.

 

Describe yourself and tell us why you wanted to attend the Women in Congress seminar:

I am a soon-to-be graduating senior, and am obviously looking for a job post-graduation. I have always been interested in government and public policy, especially on the international scale. I wanted to attend the PLEN conference because I wanted real exposure to what life was like in Washington, D.C. for a person working in policy, whether it be domestic or international. I also wanted to learn more about potential jobs/career paths I could have if I ever decided to live in Washington, D.C.

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What were your favorite parts of the conference?

Probably my favorite part was being able to meet all the incredible women that were learning with me on the conference and are currently working in D.C. I learned so much from everyone, and I feel like I have whole new group of friends! Another favorite part of the conference was the networking night PLEN put on. It was a great opportunity to practice our networking skills and we got to meet awesome people in the process!

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

A huge highlight for me was listening to Clare Bresnahan speak on behalf of the She Should Run campaign. She spoke about the dire need for women to run for public office. Before hearing her speak, I never thought about ever running for public office in my life, but after hearing her I feel a lot more inspired to run one day. I had never felt so motivated and inspired by a speaker in my life before her.

Tell us something you learned that you hope to never forget:

Something I learned that I hope to never forget is the feeling of complete and absolute empowerment. This conference taught me to not question my capabilities. I learned that I should not hold myself back just for the sake of other people or for the fear of failure. It was an incredible week.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Students should attend a PLEN conference because it is life-changing. You will gain real world experience in networking, life on and off the hill, and be able to meet incredible people along the way. Before this conference I was terrified of graduating and going out into the real world, but now I feel confident in my next steps after graduation all due to the things I learned from PLEN.

Eleanor Unknown

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Meet Siena Farrar!  She is a senior and is an NCI Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Intern.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

I have been a self-identified feminist from a young age, and grew up surrounded by courageous and interesting women. I continued learning about intersectional feminism throughout college. I wanted to meet other like-minded individuals and learn from professionals about what a future in a progressive field would look like.

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

I think my favorite part was the sense of security I gained for my future. As a second semester senior, I was anxious about what life after college would look like. I felt like I was in the famous scene in The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, where the main character stands before a fig tree and sees all the branches of her life. When she goes to pluck one, the rest whither away. After going to this camp and meeting people with such wildly varied careers, choices, and passions, sometimes all in one lifetime, I understand that I also have just as many opportunities and choices. A tree doesn’t die when you pick its fruit. It just makes more.

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Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

I learned about so many aspects of reproductive health and justice outside of abortion. I enjoyed speaking to a member of the Doula Project, who inspired me to get doula certification. I also enjoyed speaking to a social worker from Spence-Chaplain, an adoption agency. She enjoyed her work and helped me gain a deeper understanding of an area of reproductive justice that is often overlooked.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope to never forget that failure and success go hand in hand. It is okay to fail as long as you continue trying to succeed.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp:

It was a wonderful experience. Seeing someone I met in a documentary later that month really highlighted what an opportunity this was to meet successful professionals in varied careers.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Meet Caroline Lutkewitte!  She is a senior majoring in Public Health and Environmental Science and is interested in working for a non-profit.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

As the founder and president of the Feminist Alliance of Students at Tulane, I was excited to connect with other feminist campus leaders. I also wanted to understand how feminist values and passions can translate to the work environment.

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Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

My favorite part of the conference was exploring New York City while also getting to meet the most inspiring feminists in their fields. It gave me a very concrete understanding of what a career can look like in social justice. My favorite event was a panel discussion by the Crunk Feminist Collection, which challenged my notions of intersectional feminism.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

Reproductive health expands beyond abortion access to include contraceptive access and maternal health. Hundreds of mothers unnecessarily die in the United States due to birth complications and we could be doing much better at taking care of our women. In addition, mothers should have more choices and autonomy in the choices they make surrounding birth, including location, presence of a doula, and necessity of a caesarean.

 

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Brittany Cooper of the Crunk Feminist Collection said that feminism is not a religion. We are not searching perfection in our feminism, but rather a feminism that reflects our everyday life experiences

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp:

Students should attend camp to be exposed to many different facets of a feminist career. It will expand your idea of what a traditional career path “has” to look like. Lastly, it’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals, while also challenging yourself.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Meet Chardée Bryant!  She is a senior interested in the career field of mental health counseling and policy.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

I am in my fourth year of studies at Tulane University, pursuing a dual degree is psychology and sociology and a minor in business management. I am interested in becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, focusing specifically on infant and childhood mental health. I aspire to provide clinical and community based assessment and treatment for young children and their families. I am also passionate about public policy, thus I am destined to plan initiatives that focus on improving academic and career success for racial minorities by using a social and cultural context to better understand the needs of this population. I attended the Feminist Camp in hopes of analyzing feminism through the lens of intersectionality as intersectionality is a fundamental element of the work that I do and the work that I will do in the near future. Furthermore, the every-day issues that marginalized women face can ultimately contribute to mental health issues — which is my career focus. 

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

During the conference, we focused on themes such as philanthropy, reproductive justice, professional development, media as a tool to address social issues, and women within the criminal justice system. This flexibility allowed conferences attendees the opportunity to soak in an abundance of information while also having the platform to share the many things that we do on campus and within our communities. I enjoyed being able to learn new ways to address issues relating to social justice and suggesting some of the approaches that I have learned through my involvement with Tulane’s Community Engagement Advocacy Program. Visiting The Muse was especially rewarding as I met with a professional career coach who was able to help me strength my resume and better my approach to looking for jobs as well as applying for jobs. Another highlight of my experience was visiting the Reproductive Health Access Project, which organizes more than 700 primary care clinicians in 38 states. Here, I met with the original founders of the organizations in addition to two doctors who specialize in abortions. Also, myself and other conference attendees “performed abortions on papayas” to mirror the reality that abortion is not as risky as many assume. Yes, it can be a traumatizing experience and it can come with many conflicting emotions. However, abortions do not cause breast cancer or contribute to infertility — which are a few misconceptions. 

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Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

Above all else, I especially enjoyed the many conversations regarding reproductive justice. I had the opportunity to network with professionals at organizations such a Spence-Chapin, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the National Advocated for Pregnant Women, the Choices Medical Center, and the Reproductive Health Access Project. During these conversations, we analyzed how issues relating to race, class, and sex all work together to negatively impact a women’s ability to reproduce and efficiently support a family. Considering the work that I am interested in doing within my chosen field, these conversations are essential to better understand the onset of mental health complications and the development of psychopathology. 

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

During a conversation with a panel at The Muse, it was suggested that we should not focus on what we want to be — instead, we should focus on who we want to be. Having a title is one thing, but it means so much more to actually do the very things that we set out to do. 

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp:

It is inspiring to be surrounded by so many like-minded people, it is a reminder that the work that I do is needed and valued. Also, attending this conference during my senior year allowed me exposure to an array of job possibilities and was a great networking opportunity.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Meet Sarah Levinson!  She is a senior majoring in Political Science-International Relations and English.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

I am a senior Political Science and English major interested in feminism as it relates to politics and social engagement. I wanted to attend Feminist Camp in order to make my feminism more action-oriented and intersectional. I became interested in feminism through a more political, policy-focused lens as legislating to increase sociopolitical equality between all genders. Through Feminist Camp, I was able to broaden my understanding of the definition of a feminist organization and learn more daily applications of feminism in social and cultural life as well as in employment settings through a cross-section of industries. I wanted to learn what it looks like to build broad-based, inclusive, and intersectional feminist movements and network with other like-minded leadership, and Feminist Camp provided the perfect opportunity to build those connections.

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Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

The most rewarding parts of the conference were definitely meeting some of the incredible leadership the organizers of Feminist Camp connected to. I particularly loved meeting influential intersectional feminist authors like Jamia Wilson and the authors of the Crunk Feminist Collection. I appreciated the balance between engaging and fun activities such as feminist films and lecture-style visits to employer’s offices. Feminist Camp perfectly balanced the types of organizations we visited from fancy for-profit office buildings in Midtown to casual comfy converted warehouse spaces at a magazine office in Brooklyn. The absolute highlights of the conference for me were meeting Gloria Steinem at a prison reform event, performing an abortion on a papaya, and visiting a live taping of Democracy Now!

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

Everything we learned at Feminist Camp was pleasantly intentional and intersectional, so I learned about reproductive health and reproductive justice through the perspective of a very wide range of organizations and organizers. One of the days of Feminist Camp was dedicated to learning about reproductive justice.  On that day, we visited the National Advocates for Pregnant Women where we learned about how pregnancy discrimination in addition to abortion restriction poses risks for women’s reproductive health and freedom overall. We also visited the Reproductive Health Access Project where we learned about reproductive health education practices in medical settings and performed abortions on papayas to learn how easy and safe abortion operations are. We also visited the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health where we learned about intersectional organizing and how reproductive health and racial justice impact the Latina community and how people are organizing around these issues.  Lastly, we visited art exhibits charting current trends in reproductive health.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope to never forget the incredible passion and hard work of the people that we met at Feminist Camp. The program organizers as well as the participants put so much heart and energy into these causes and built incredible networks for themselves and the camp in general. I hope to bring that level of passion to the work that I do in the future and remember the important lessons that I learned about how feminist organizations function and how to be intentional and intersectional in all of the activism that I do and to never forget that there is a critical place for that thought in my future workplace.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp:

Feminist Camp is a uniquely valuable window into translating a passion for intersectional feminism and activist organizing into a career. The conference allows you access to the brilliant minds of incredible leaders in the world of progressive employment and creates a huge network of well-connected program leaders, alumni, and employers. Feminist Camp is energizing in a political and economic employment where working for a feminist-minded organization or doing social activism work may seem exhausting or frustrating. The camp absolutely changed my understanding of what my future career might look like in the best possible way.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

PLEN: Women in STEM Policy

Annie File_000

Meet Annelise Blanchard! She’s a psychology and gender and sexuality studies major, with a minor in French.

Tell us about yourself and why you wanted to attend this Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) conference:

I’m a senior graduating in May, and I’m still trying to nail down exactly what type of job I want to pursue next year. I want to eventually work in psychology, and hopefully help women and LGBTQ individuals. I’ve been considering a future as a psychologist or social worker, but I was interested in learning of other potential career paths, such as with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) policy, that would lead to the same outcomes.

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

I enjoyed hearing how our speakers all came to STEM policy from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many had PhDs in biology or chemistry, and later went on to work in health care policy, or at different governmental agencies, such as the NSF or FDA. Others studied policy in college, and later went into STEM policy fields. I also really enjoyed speakers who gave us concrete advice and techniques for scenarios all students will be facing in the future, such as networking or negotiating a raise.

Highlight a speaker you enjoyed or a job site you visited:

My favorite panel spoke on “Minority Health Research and Health Disparities.” We had three different speakers, one who worked in the Office of Minority Health, another who worked with a clinic specializing in LGBTQ health, and a speaker from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. They spoke about using research and data to identify health disparities, and then working to address the health disparities. I’ve always wanted to work in psychology helping women and LGBTQ individuals, and it’s so heartening to see that there are also ways to affect minority health through policy work.

What did you learn that you hope to never forget?

Be open to new opportunities and career paths. Many of the women we spoke to started out with a different career in mind, but stumbled across an opportunity to start working in STEM policy. Also, always send thank you notes (or emails).

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

At PLEN, you meet so many driven and influential women, who are doing their best to affect STEM policy in important ways. We heard so much helpful advice about applying to grad school, and then pursuing jobs and careers after grad school. Equally as important, students who attend PLEN meet fifty other students from schools across the country who are equally as passionate about science and STEM policy.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.