Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Nikki Malazarte

Nikki Malazarte (she/her/hers)

Graduation Year: 2020 

Program/Degree: B.A. in Social Work with a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies 

Current Job/Position: After School Matters Communications and Leadership Instructor 

Where have you found yourself and what career goals have you pursued since graduating from Loyola?

     When wrapping up my final semester in undergrad, I debated on whether I should pursue my Masters in Social Work or seek a full-time job. Due to the great mentorship of one of my WSGS professors and clinical supervisors, I chose to continue on to graduate school. I decided on this endeavor because I want to see more Queer Filipino/a/x diaspora both in social work academia and in the social work field. I have found through working with Cisgender and Queer Black and Brown youth that representation is important. Representation instills aspirations for one's diaspora and broadens the possibilities to pursue various avenues. So for me wanting to see more Queer Filipino/a/x diaspora both in social work academia and in the social work field, I must cast the first stone so others will have the courage to do it as well. 

Where do you see yourself heading in the next several years?

     In regard to long-term goals, I see myself interweaving my multidisciplinary skill set in developing accessible community-based and community-led equitable programs specifically with LGBTQIA+ BIPOC within the U.S. I also see myself being in higher education and a Profesora ng Bayan/Professor of my Country, the Philippines. Overall, I strive to always apply the process of unlearning and learning, and decolonization no matter where my path may lead me in the future.

How did the Women’s and Gender Studies (WSGS) program impact your career success and life overall?

     WSGS rejuvenated my fire to continue unto higher education. There was a point in my academic track where I felt lost and unmotivated to continue studying at Loyola. However, WSGS helped me come to terms with my agency within the systems, relationships, and spaces I live in.

What was your favorite course/project you took part in whilst being a part of the WSGS program?

     My favorite course I have taken part in while being part of the WSGS program was WSGS 397: Special Topics in Women's and Gender Studies-Immigration, Identity, Sexuality taught by Dr. García Chávez. Hands down, this was the best course I have ever taken in my life! Do not get me wrong, it was a lot of work but it ignited a fire within me that I thought was diminished. WSGS 397 resonated with me the most because it helped me comprehend better my narrative with being "in-between borders, spaces, and identities." This is also where I met my great mentor, who offered me the opportunity to fulfill a Teaching Assistantship in his Queer Theory course for my last semester in undergraduate.

In what ways has your WSGS education helped prepare you to be a more engaged global citizen and local neighbor?

     My WSGS education has helped me understand the impacts of privilege, systemic racism and oppression, and migration differs globally and locally. I believe it is what you do with this WSGS education that defines your engagement with social justice.

What advice would you offer to current or prospective WSGS students?

     Please give yourself some grace! As you explore theoretical concepts and navigate academia, it is okay to make mistakes and not be the "perfect" scholar or student. There will be moments where you realize you have internalized some heavy stuff that might not resonate with the mainstream, so it is important to own that part of you. Lastly, I cannot stress this enough, but own your successes and failures! As your successes open multiple doors of opportunity for you, be open to the fact you'll fail sometimes. However, it is how you bounce back from failures that counts.