Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Keisa Reynolds

What have you been up to since you graduated from Loyola?

Currently, I work as the Assistant Program Director of the Women’s Leadership & Resource Center at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I received this promotion after working with the center for two and a half years. Occasionally, I work at the domestic violence hotline where I completed a graduate research assistantship. Thanks to colleagues at local anti-violence organizations, I’ve also had the opportunity to incorporate my research on the history of women of color’s anti-rape organizing in sexual assault trainings for future advocates.

 

What impact did WSGS have on your career/life trajectory?

WSGS restored my confidence in research and writing. I completed a rigorous undergraduate program and felt completely burnt out for a couple of years. I was convinced I didn’t want to stay in academia or work as a researcher. WSGS helped me recognize different avenues for applying my knowledge. Ultimately, I decided I can be a scholar and invest in making our discipline more accessible through public programs.

 

What is a favorite memory/project that you worked on while in the WSGS program?

I absolutely loved working on my capstone project. I spent my time here either researching or writing. It was both exhausting and rewarding. The best part of the process was my visit to the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College to find archival materials. It hit me that I was an actual graduate student and that my research had potential to be more valuable than I anticipated.


Where is your career now and where do you see it headed?

I love working in higher education, especially for a public institution, and I would like to continue curating educational programs. I also want to teach at a community college because I want feminist theories and history to be more accessible to nontraditional students. I plan to apply for joint MSW/PhD programs to continue my research on interpersonal violence, carceral feminisms, and social policies.

 

What advice do you have for current and future WSGS students?

Don’t put pressure on yourself to know exactly what you plan to accomplish throughout the okay! The WSGS program doesn’t aim to train every student to become a world-renowned feminist scholar. You should focus on figuring out how to transfer your newfound knowledge and skills into different fields. Don’t be afraid to explore different opportunities even if they aren’t explicitly feminist or social justice-oriented.