Department of Women's and Gender Studies

Student Story

As a freshman nursing major, Taylor took several electives outside of her major to explore other subjects.

"I felt like I had a lot of options outside of nursing," says Taylor. "The exploratory requirements expose you to other subjects and I'm grateful for that. It gives you an opportunity to feel it out."

One of her exploratory classes in women's studies opened her mind to new ideas and helped her realize that her passion was something she could study. Not only did the Department of Women's and Gender Studies welcome her, but her adviser in the College of Nursing supported her decision to pursue something she truly enjoyed.

"I was a little panicky when I realized I was not completely certain about my major, but your freshman year you learn a lot about yourself," explains Taylor. "And that's what college is about, finding yourself."

Taylor continued to pursue her calling by attending events on campus, including a rally for survivors of sexual assault where she met faculty and students in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies. They encouraged her to become involved in advocacy.

"When I started going to events and listening to others, I felt more inclined to share my experiences," explains Taylor. "I realized I could use my voice to create a space for other women to share their experiences."

She has made a connection between the material she is learning in the classroom and how she can apply it to her advocacy work, something she feels is not only unique to the department, but to UT in general. Making that connection has helped her to be a strong advocate and led to a strong internship with a leading feminism organization in Los Angeles.

"The faculty in my department have always encouraged me to go for it," says Taylor. "Having role models who encouraged me allowed me to find my voice and create space for younger girls to come up and do the same."

Taylor Burtch, WGST major

"There has been a large connection between my classwork and my activism, which is a unique experience, not just to Women's Studies but to UT."

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Last Updated: 2/27/20