Speaker event

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With so many debatable topics discussed in today’s media, there’s one thing that most people can agree on: knowledge is power. Knowledge is powerful enough to expand people’s minds and help them in a variety of ways. That was certainly the case for the 3 alumnae that spoke for the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department this past week.

On Wednesday February 3, 2021, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department held an event where the aforementioned alumnae, Angela Rozmus, Madeline Schutt and Jasmine Payne, spoke about how the minor affected their experience both during and after their time at Longwood. This was the first event of the semester in the “Wednesdays with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies” speaker series. 

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, this event was held via Zoom. Approximately 50 students and faculty members were in attendance. 

After transferring from another college, Rozmus found the minor as a way to help with her goal of becoming a legal advocate. Schutt now works at Longwood in the Office of Disability Resources and previously worked as a school counselor. Once she completed graduate school, Payne went onto work in a private practice as a therapist.

The one thing that the 3 women have in common is a desire to understand the mental health needs of others.

Towards the beginning of the discussion, they each reminisced about their days at Longwood and how the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies minor benefitted their career paths.

During the Q&A part of the discussion, Schutt said, “I am a big proponent of looking at the whole person, probably because of my background in the minor and psychology. People have so many different identities...My big thing I’ve gained is if I can help individuals advocate for themselves.”  

Much of the interactive discussion between the attendees and the alumnae emphasized the necessity of this minor.

Scott Grether, assistant professor of Sociology and co-director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, co-hosted the Zoom event with Melissa Kravetz, who is also co-director of the program. He started working at Longwood in the fall of 2018. 

When asked how the minor program affects the sense of community Longwood students feel, Grether stated, “I think because women, gender and sexuality studies is a minor, it's much easier to know people individually and get to know each other individually; as a way to sort of facilitate discussion because it’s a smaller group, you have a better chance of getting to know other people.”

As a sociology professor, Grether invests in students making connections, cares about inequality issues that involve gender and sexuality and incorporates research on important matters like this into his day-to-day teaching.  

For college students, picking up a minor usually involves taking a range of 15 to 18 credits, but the knowledge and benefits gained from it can be a major influence for some.  

When thinking of what the minor has to offer students at Longwood, Grether mentioned, "What I hope people take away [from the speaker series events] is that this is more than a field of study; this is also what students are learning about. This kind of thinking, it also helps you become a better person. The types of topics that students learn about in these courses are very applicable to your everyday life.”

While events like this often start out as simple discussion, the sense of community that Longwood takes pride in presents itself through the bond that people share when talking about the kind of important topics that the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program revolves around. 

The next event in the Wednesdays with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies speaker series will be held on March 4, 2021 at 5 p.m. via Zoom, with a featured speaker in honor of Women’s History month.

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