Liberal Arts in Action
Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Barbara Cady ’14 (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Barbara CadyCandidate for Florida House of Representatives

I am currently running for an elected office at the state level representing a diverse district of people from many different cultures. My studies at New Paltz prepared me for this candidacy. I studied cultures and lifestyles from the feminist perspective of various Caribbean populations. Today I am working directly with individuals from these Caribbean populations in an effort to craft legislation that will meet the needs of the community.

My liberal arts degree has benefitted me immensely in my everyday life since I graduated. The WGSS degree drew from many academic disciplines that are directly related to the population of people I work with. I minored in cultural anthropology, and my anthropology classes gave me the skills to be an unbiased participant when evaluating the needs of my constituents. Critical thinking skills and compassion combined make for better policy making in the legislative process. I gained valuable insight from my Liberal Arts experiences

Dr. Ben Junge, Dr. Meg O’Sullivan and Professor Peri Rainbow inspired me most. 

Dr. Junge taught “Gender and Anthropology” and oversaw my independent study.  He directed my writing in a way that allowed me to fully explore the possibilities of our research subject. I took an independent study class with Dr. Junge. He, my research partner, and I went to Chicago to present our research during the American Anthropological Associations annual conference. It was a thrilling experience to be in the presence of so many respected scholars.

Dr. O’Sullivan taught “Women’s History,” “Reproductive Justice,” and the Senior Semniar.  She was an insightful and creative instructor. I enjoyed every class. She inspired her students to really unpack the information and get to the core of the subject matter. We were always digging just a little deeper. Great professor!

Prof. Rainbow taught “Introduction to Lesbian Studies.” She was a tough instructor but I got so much from her style of teaching that may have been a little intimidating to the younger students. I appreciated Prof. Rainbow’s life experience stories along with the projects she gave us during the semester. She was an excellent professor.

I received value from each and every one of my women’s studies professors and classes.

May 2018

 Kathleen O’Keefe ’90 (Women’s Studies)

Kathleen O'KeefeCounsel to the New York State Board of Elections

I studied to be an engineer before I changed my plan, decided to pursue a career in the law, and changed my major to Women’s Studies. The robust interdisciplinary nature of my coursework at New Paltz gave me a great foundation for my law school studies at Rutgers, where many of my peers attended Ivy League colleges.

I am currently Counsel to the New York State Board of Elections, a bipartisan state agency. I am the Democratic counsel and I have a Republican counterpart. The skills I learned while studying various coursework and while interacting with a wide spectrum of individuals at New Paltz prepared me for the day-to-day interactions that I deal with in my current position. Specifically, I am required to reach consensus with my counterpart in order to get anything done. Given our different public policy priorities, particularly in the area of election law, this presents a significant challenge. My experience at New Paltz exposed me to many people and many viewpoints, and I was required to hone my analytical and writing skills in reaching and defending my own conclusions. That is what a lawyer does every day when practicing law.

 April 2016

Crystal Vuole ‘08 (Women’s Studies, Political Science), ‘09g (Humanistic and Multicultural Education)

Crystal VuoleAcademic Program Manager of the Human Services and Sociology programs at Post University in Waterbury

The Women’s Studies program first opened my eyes to women's issues within our society. From my very first women’s studies course, I knew that I wanted to know more about women’s realities, issues, challenges, and about the structures of sexism in society. Inspired by my professors, I, too, wanted to inspire others and educate students on important social justice issues. After receiving my master's in Humanistic and Multicultural Education, I earned a master's in Women's Studies from SUNY Albany and then a master's in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton. I am currently finishing my doctorate in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton. My research, stemming from coursework in my women's studies classes, has focused on gender, women's representations in horror movies, violence against women and more recently social movements.

Responsibilities of my current position include running the Human Services and Sociology programs (both online and at main campus at Post University in Waterbury), developing/revising curriculum, and teaching various sociology courses. Within the university, I am also an associate editor of the John P. Burke's School of Public Service Journal "Digital Life & Learning" and serve as the Chapter Advisor of Tau Upsilon Alpha, National Organization for Human Services Honor Society.

New Paltz and my professors assisted in my development as a student, researcher, and now professor. During my time at New Paltz, I was able to develop my skills in critical thinking, writing, and researching. These skills have been vital tools in both graduate school and as a professional in academia. I also carry the passion and inspiration that I found at New Paltz into my classes and hope that I can pass the same on to my students.

  April 2016