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Featured Feminist Archive

Featured Feminist

Kerry Marino

Department: Dean of Students Office

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am the proud mom of two BC grads, Christopher and Paige. I just celebrated my 28th wedding anniversary with my high school sweetheart. I am the administrative assistant for the Dean of Students Office, and I am the Film Club Advisor at BC.

2. What are you most passionate about?

I love that I am part of a department that supports the social, academic, spiritual, and personal lives of the Boston College students. Another passion I have discovered in recent years, is cooking! I love trying new recipes and having Sunday dinners with my family. 

3. How do you define “feminism”?

EQUALITY, EQUALITY, EQUALITY.....

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Having a daughter and a son has shaped me into identifying as a feminist. My husband and I wanted to raise our children to know they can do anything they set their minds to. We showed through our actions that we as a couple, as well as parents, were equal in all ways. We shared household responsibilities, income responsibilities, and made big family decisions together. We raised our children to love their bodies, to respect others, and to treat others how they would like to be treated. But the most important thing we have taught Christopher and Paige is to be their authentic selves. 

5. Who or what inspires you?

Working in the Dean of Students Office truly inspires me every day. The daily interaction with the students of BC has given me the opportunity to help them make good choices, be kind to one another, and to be inclusive. In the world we are living in today, I have a responsibility to help our students become the future we need. 

Featured Feminist

Anna Scheeler

School & Year: A&S 2019

Major/ Minor: Political Science Major, Computer Science and Biology Minor

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from Fargo, North Dakota. My mom is from Denmark, so I grew up speaking Danish and I go home to Denmark once a year. I am involved in GlobeMed and currently interning for the campaign to re-elect Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. After graduation I have been thinking about law school, political consulting, or campaign work. I am also a dedicated bookworm—I will read literally anything I get my hands on.

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am very passionate about women’s reproductive rights. I believe that it is every woman’s right to have the sole jurisdiction over her own body. I think that it is our duty, especially in the tense political climate we are witnessing today, to fight for women’s health. The access to birth control and safe abortion methods are a necessity in my mind and are resources every woman should be able to access.

3. How do you define “feminism”?

I would say that my definition of feminism is the pursuit for the equality between men and women, stressing the gender wage gap and reproductive rights. I believe that feminism’s definition is very fluid and always changing. I think that it represents many groups of people throughout the world today and represents many different movements throughout time. It is important to be aware of your own definition of feminism and more importantly, be respectful of other personal definitions of this word. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Coming from a very conservative state, I learned early on that feminism was still needed in today’s world. The fact that in some areas of the country there is limited access to birth control and abortion is completely unacceptable to me, and is just one small reason why I identify myself as a feminist. I stand for those who identify as women and know that we still have a long ways to go when considering the equality of women and men.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I recently read The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Every story and quote from each woman inspires me to work my hardest every single day. Realizing that there are strong, powerful women out there that have witnessed and been victims to such tragedy push me to strive towards building a brighter future. Likewise, the play has taught me about self-love in a way that I never thought about it before which is why it is such an inspiration to me. I was able to feel the pain some of these women felt yet also see the hope and determination they have for the future. 

Featured Feminist

Eilidh Currie

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in a small farm town in Connecticut but moved to Seattle after high school. I was raised alongside my older sister by my wonderful parents, who moved to the US from Scotland around 20 years ago, hence my very Gaelic name. At BC, I’m involved with Bystander Intervention and GlobeMed, and at any given moment you can find me at Bapst, the Chocolate Bar, or the Women’s Center, where I sometimes like to study or take naps! After graduating I plan to get either my JD or my Masters in Public Policy, and I hope to have a career in policymaking (a Presidential campaign is not out of the question, so look out for my name on the ticket in a couple decades)!

2. What are you most passionate about?

One of the things I care about the most is sexual assault prevention and justice. No one deserves to have their bodily autonomy and sense of agency robbed from them, and perpetrators deserve to be held responsible for their actions. I firmly believe that sexual assault cannot stopped until we deconstruct and reconstruct our current notions of both femininity and masculinity. Broadly speaking, I am passionate about equity in all respects; on a smaller scale, I really like dogs and Buzzfeed Unsolved.

3. How do you define “feminism”?

Feminism, for me, is a kind of equality that is based on the inherent differences between all of us. In other words, feminism is about understanding that women should be equal, while also understanding that the experience of being a woman is different for everyone. Feminism is about acknowledging the many identities that exist within being a woman. It’s about advocating for others to be able to use their voice, not being the voice for them. Feminism cannot be white or straight or cisgender - or any one thing for that matter. It’s about inclusivity, and it’s about intersectionality.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I’m a feminist because we’ve come a long way but the hard work is not done. As I said before, for real change to be made, we need to seriously re-think our collective ideas of femininity and masculinity, and that’s why I’m a feminist. I’m a feminist because our world is still skewed to the disadvantage of those who identify as women. Feminism does not come without its problems, but a crucial part of being a feminist and advocating for others is being able to identify problematic elements and tackle them with an attitude that says “let’s get to work.”

5. Who or what inspires you?

Hands-down, my biggest inspiration is my family. My dad has shown me that with the right energy, no goal is unachievable - if you want it, you can do it. My mom has taught me to be who I am and become who I want to be with unwavering conviction. My sister has shown all of us time and time again that she is unstoppable, which I will always admire. I consider myself so incredibly lucky to have a family that is so supportive and so full of life.

Featured Feminist

Juliana Hillis

School & Year: MCAS 2018

Major: Sociology

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a cisgender female, and my preferred pronouns are she/her. I am from Stoneham, MA and am currently trying to get my life together before (*gasp*) graduation. I enjoy reading, writing, being creative, and laughing. My favorite holiday is Halloween, my favorite food is spaghetti, my favorite color is yellow, my favorite movie is She’s the Man, and my favorite musical artist is Coldplay. My best friend is my younger sister, Kiki, who also happens to be a cat. She will be 16 years old in November, and she might be on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16,” who knows.

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about learning, expanding my knowledge, and gaining experience. I enjoy learning about the world and the people in it. I think it is very important to make the world more inclusive and accepting of all people, living things, and nature. Outside of the classroom, I participate in Italian Club, Links, SocialEyes, and I volunteer at Gifford Cat Shelter. I think that these pursuits help me to explore my passions while also enjoying my time as an undergraduate student.

3. How do you define “feminism”?

Feminism is a social movement aimed at the creation of a more equal world through the elimination of barriers, restructuring of the hegemonic and patriarchal institutions in our society, and empowerment of all people. Feminism can also be a lens through which to view the world – using one’s perception to bust through the “glass ceiling,” give voice to the voiceless, recognize one’s own biases, and engage in discussion with different types of people, among other things. I believe feminism is the fundamental idea that within each of us, there lies a beating heart, a network of veins and arteries, a sense of soul and life, that connect us all and that reminds us we are more similar than we are different.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Being a feminist doesn’t mean I hate men, being a feminist doesn’t mean I am radical, being a feminist doesn’t mean I am a “snowflake” liberal. I identify as a feminist because I am continuing to learn about my own privilege while others remain powerless, because women, LGBTQ+ individuals, the disabled, the elderly, people of color, and other minority or “deviant” groups are still considered abnormal and lesser in many ways. I will identify as a feminist as long as derogatory, stigmatizing, stereotypical labels and ideas about certain individuals or groups in our society exist. There are so many ways to put people down, but I think until we can stop this hate and cruelty, labeling myself as a feminist is one way to rise up.

5. Who or what inspires you?

My mother is a major source of inspiration for me. She has had to endure many physical, mental, and emotional challenges in life, but she continues to persevere and remind me of how lucky I am to live in the world, even as messed up and horrible as it sometimes is. My sister is another inspiration for me – growing up, she was always one step (or at least one year) ahead of me, leading the way and showing me what it means to be a mature, confident individual in a world where people will tell you “no” or challenge your intelligence or integrity. And finally,  I think that it’s inspiring to see people who are vulnerable, who aren’t afraid to bare their souls to the world, who are willing to be hurt just to be healed.

Featured Feminist

Daniela Herrera

School & Year: MCAS 2020

Major/Minor: Sociology Major, Film Studies/Latin American Studies Minors

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally, I was born in Colombia but grew up in Miami, Florida. My family recently moved to North Carolina but I’m still 305 ‘til I die (Miami’s area code)!! I’m a Sociology major with a minor in Film Studies and possibly another one in Latin American Studies. I was in the performing arts academy at my high school but no, it was not like the movies Fame or High School Musical with people singing dancing in the hallways and yes, it was really cool to be in the orchestra. I have a younger brother who keeps trying to get me into sports but he has yet to realize that’s never going to happen. Yup, that’s about it… 

2. What are you most passionate about?

Social justice, lol. I love calling my senators and actively trying to dismantle systems of power. Besides social justice, I love spending my time watching movies. My absolute favorite movie is Back to the Future and I can pretty much quote the entire movie. I’m also a sucker for almost any Wes Anderson film – those centered wide shots and color palettes just get to me… I love reading comic books (Spider-Man!!) and the Harry Potter books/movies. And I firmly believe Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the best show since The Office.

3. How do you define “feminism”?

Feminism is only truly useful when it’s intersectional. It should include everyone’s struggles regardless of race, class, gender expression, sexuality, religion, size, ability, etc. It also means always having conversations with other women who don’t have the same experiences as me. There’s this idea that you reach this pinnacle of “woke-ness” and that’s it, the learning stops there. But intersectional feminism should mean constantly educating oneself and evolving because there’s always more to know. Intersectional feminism means realizing that each women has different walls to climb and different obstacles to overcome but making sure that you fight for destruction of all these interconnected systems of power, whether or not they affect you personally.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as an intersectional feminist because it’s important to me that if I do anything in my life it’s that try to leave this world a better place than I found it – for everyone. As a lower class Latina woman who was not born in this country, I have faced struggles that have not always made life too easy. But as a white-passing, straight, cisgendered Latina, I recognized that I’m also afforded privileges that others are not that makes their experiences of sexism harder than mine. I’m a feminist for Latinx women with similar experiences as mine but also for my Afro-Latinx and Indigenous Latinx sisters who experience racism within our very own Latinx community on top of the racism and sexism they already face outside of the Latinx community. I’m a feminist for the women on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum who experience discrimination for their sexuality and gender expression, for the women in the black community who keep having to fight against so many forms of racism, for women with disabilities both visible and invisible, for women who do not fit the Eurocentric standards of beauty and are constantly told that they are not enough, for the women who’s class prevents them from living a decent quality of life … for every single woman in this world.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I’m very inspired by the strong women I see in great positions, such as Ava DuVernay and America Ferrera, who use their platforms to raise awareness for issues that not only affect them and their communities, but issues that affect other marginalized groups which makes them great warriors for social justice. I am inspired on the daily by the amazing people all around me who do good constantly. My friends and family inspire me because they are my biggest support group and allow me to be who I am and would not be where or who I am today without them.

Featured Feminist

Peyton King

School & Year: MCAS 2020

Major/Minor: English/Creative Writing

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from White Bear Lake, MN. I am a huge fan of Netflix, people, and anything creative. I’m my happiest at concerts (been to over 50) and my little bro is my bestie.

2. What are you most passionate about?

As far as interests, I love sports (I play on the club hockey team here at BC), music, writing (for my blog peytonkingofficial.blogspot.com), hiking, talking over good food, comedy, and working out. As far as social justice, I am extremely passionate about women’s sports equality, body image, prevention of sexual assault and education of self-defense, public education, mental health, and LGBTQ+ rights.

3. How do you define “feminism”?

Feminism is defined as a noun: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality between the sexes.” Most people wouldn’t question Merriam-Webster on this one, but this definition leaves me restless. To me, feminism is a verb; it’s doing, creating, proving that women are strong and capable of success. Feminists to me are people that, when standing at the bottom of a mountain, don’t simply acknowledge the distance between themselves and the sky. Instead, they are the trailblazers who are willing to proactively pave the way to a better future – not only for women, but all those who have fallen into the crevices of society.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Along with the primary reason of standing up for women who are denied freedom in third world countries, I am a feminist who aims to empower the youth. I was on the boat with my family this summer and my little cousin, who is nine, responded to her dad, who was eagerly waiting to take a photo of her driving the boat, that she “didn’t like pictures.” I saw the damage this society does on young girls and this made me sick. That is why I am a feminist.

5. Who or what inspires you?

Some of my biggest inspirations are comedians. My favorite genre of writing is comedic audio-biography and creative non-fiction, such as Modern Romance, The Girl with the Lower-back Tattoo, and Bossy-pants. Music also keeps me sane, generates thinking, and inspires me. People are my greatest inspiration: my amazing friends, fantastic professors like Sue Roberts, and – most of all – my parents. They are incredible human beings. All of these things give me a feeling of restlessness and a NEED to create. 

Featured Feminist

Lizzy Barrett

School & Year: MCAS 2019

Major: Communications

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Ithaca, NY and an identical twin. I’m lucky to have incredibly awesome parents who managed to raise five children without major casualty - which is pretty impressive in my book. I love photography, hiking, rock climbing, and being outdoors. I also love swimming and surfing but I’m not particularly good at either. I’m a huge people person and love being around others and learning about their lives/passions/perspectives/beliefs. 

2. What are you most passionate about?

To put it broadly, I’m passionate about social justice issues. I think that it is possible to change the world and make it a better place. As far as I can see, most of the injustices in the world are largely man-made, and I think some positive human intervention is in order.

I am also incredibly passionate about photography and videography, and I am trying to figure out a way to use that desire to document through images to help people stuck in unjust situations. 

3. How do you define “feminism”?

Feminism, to me, is the belief that everyone is created equal and should be treated as such. In my view, feminism fights for the equality of males and females. It wants females to feel empowered and safe to pursue all their dreams without fear of discrimination because of their gender. It fights for male’s right to not have to subscribe to a rigid role of masculinity. Feminism is about celebrating and defending the dignity of each human being. I don’t believe you can separate the movement for gender equality from the fight for racial, social, economic, and legal equality of all peoples. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because I believe that no one should be limited by their gender. Everyone should feel absolutely free to be who they are without worry of social repercussions. Still, we have a long way to go in terms of our fight for gender equality, and equality in general. 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I could type out a laundry list of bad ass people who inspire me, but I think they overwhelming characteristic of all these people is authenticity. It has become increasingly difficult for people to know and be proud of who they really are, and I greatly admire those who do and are. My parents were the first examples in my life of this, and I’ve been lucky to encounter many individuals who live very authentic lives. These people - who say what they’re thinking, live in accordance with their principles, and fight for what they think is right and will make the world a better place - are the people I most look up to and want to be around.

Featured Feminist

Nicola Roux

School & Year: MCAS 2020

Major: Neuroscience Major and French Minor 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a sophomore from a suburb of Washington, D.C. studying Neuroscience on the premed track with a French minor! I’m a Bystander trainer this year, am involved with Project Sunshine, and am a part of the BC Club Equestrian team! In addition to that, I work in a developmental psychology lab at BC and am a HUGE dork for anything involving the brain! I can usually be found holed up in Bapst or standing in line at the Chocolate Bar, but when I’m not there I enjoy running, reading good books, watching TED talks, farmer’s markets, and petting dogs. 

2. What are you most passionate about?

I’m super passionate about a lot of things but something I will not shut up about is women in STEM! It is so important to me especially as a female undergraduate researcher that space is made for more women to take part and succeed in STEM professions without being doubted by and held to different standards than their male counterparts. I think it’s really important to call out these implicit biases and work to make the fields of STEM and all other professions more inclusive! 

3. How do you define “feminism”?

To me feminism is empowerment and equality for people of all identities. Your gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability or any other form of identity should never be a disadvantage. Feminism is not being the voice for others, but instead making sure that everyone has an opportunity for their voice to be heard.  

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because while we have come a long way, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure inclusivity and equality in all social spheres. I will keep fighting and learning and listening until everyone has a seat at the table. 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by the powerhouse women in my life who have shown me that there is no one way to be a woman (or a feminist for that matter) and by the men in my life who have taken a stand against inequality. I am inspired by the wonderful people in the Bystander program, my incredible friends and peers at Boston College who both challenge and support me, my professors who empower me through knowledge, and by the folks who I do not know who have come before me and those who continually set up to the plate to keep fighting to achieve equality.     

Featured Feminist

Maithri Harve 

School & Year: MCAS 2019

Major: Computer Science and Communications

Minor: Foundation in Education

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a sophomore from Grafton, MA, double majoring in computer science and communications. I’m super involved in Girls Who Code, an organization dedicated to bringing computer science to middle school and high school girls that may have never done it before, and it’s my favorite thing ever because I get to work with some of the best girls at BC to achieve this goal. I love watching hockey and football way too much for someone who never played sports as a kid. I also love coffee and ice cream!

2. What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about empowering all the amazing women around me and combating the strict societal expectations that are placed on all students at BC. 

3. How do you define “feminism”?

To me, feminism is equality. Everyone deserves to be treated the same way and given the same opportunities, regardless of their identity. Feminism is a way to look at society critically and examine the way different people have been oppressed and figure out an effective way to tackle the issues that face people of different identities.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

The fight for equality isn’t over, and while as a society we’ve come fairly far, there’s still a lot of issues that need to be resolved before we can say that we treat everybody equally. I identify as a feminist because these issues need to be heard, and I want to do as much as I can to help solve them.  

5. Who or what inspires you?

All the women in my life - my mom, my grandma, and all my amazing friends! They’re all so incredibly inspiring, and constantly remind me never to settle for less than I deserve. They’ve taught me so much and in the end I realize I’m not just fighting for myself, I’m fighting for every single one of them and so many other women.

Featured Feminist

Julia Barrett

School & Year: MCAS 2019

Major: International Studies (Ethics and International Social Justice)

Minor: Foundation in Education

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My identical twin, Lizzy, and I are the youngest of five kids. I’m from a small, rural town in Upstate New York.  I spent six months living in Melbourne, Australia during high school. My dog is my favorite person. I think that’s it…

2. What are you most passionate about?

I always have trouble with this question! I’m a really passionate person in general. My friends (somewhat) jokingly tease me that I’m really “extra,” which is definitely true.

In terms of what I am most passionate about, I care deeply about justice and equity, especially how those play a part of serving others. I’m also incredibly interested in most things international - which is a good thing considering my major… 

3. How do you define “feminism”?

This kind of answers both this question and the following, but being a feminist is one of, if not the most, salient identifiers I use to describe myself. For this reason, the meaning of the word has great importance to me.

I believe that the term “feminist” must inherently mean “intersectional feminist,” for to believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, is to be concerned with every instance of inequality and injustice in our world. To me, to be a feminist is to believe that equity must be extended to every human being. To me, “white feminism” is not feminism at all. To me, feminism means believing in, and fighting for the dignity of each human being with boundless persistence. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Similar to what I said above, I believe that being a feminist means believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, which means that feminists pretty much have to be concerned with every instance of inequality/inequity in our world. I believe in, and identify with feminism because I believe that people are people through other people. This has the very serious implication that each person is charged with caring for other people. At a very basic level, our liberations our bound together - one cannot be free if others are not. 

5. Who or what inspires you?

My family is a big inspiration for me. Each of my parents and siblings are really inspirational in their own ways, and I’m incredibly lucky to have them in my life.  And even though I can be kind of a pessimistic grumpy cat at times, I really believe that there is so much beauty in each person. At some basic level, each person is astonishing and intriguing in a way that I think is incredibly inspiring. 

Featured Feminist

Cris Zubizarreta

School & Year: MCAS 2019

Major: Sociology

Minor(s): French; Women’s and Gender Studies; Faith, Peace and Justice

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Cris! I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. I’m currently a sophomore at Boston College majoring in sociology. On campus I am an editor for SocialEyes, the undergraduate sociology journal at Boston College, and I am involved with the Student Admission Program. This fall I participated in the R.E.A.D. program (Race Education and Development), hosted through FACES. I am currently in the process of completing the Campus of Difference Certificate Program, hosted through the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center. I work as a classroom teaching assistant at the Boston College Children’s Center. I love traveling, hiking, yoga, coffee, reading, painting, and watching movies. I am a National Parks enthusiast and a lover of all marine life, especially sea turtles and whales. My favorite book at the moment is Delicious Foods and my favorite movie is American Honey. 

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about social justice activism. Currently, my attention is focused on GLBTQ rights in the United States. I am volunteering with an organization aimed at providing information and resources to individuals throughout New England regarding legal issues related to their sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression. I hope to continue to increase my involvement as an advocate for the GLBTQ community, working to create a more just society free of discrimination. 

3. How do you define “feminism”?

I define feminism as advocating for equality for all individuals – women, men, and individuals who do not identify within the gender binary. Feminism aims at creating a just society free from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, age, physical disability, or mental disorder.  

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I proudly identify as a feminist because I believe in the power of empathy and the necessity for individuals to advocate for equality for all. We have the power to work towards creating a society free from oppression, and I encourage all members of society to join in the movement. 

5. Who or what inspires you?

My grandmother Dr. Alma Flor Ada inspires me. My grandmother grew up in Camagüey, Cuba. She is a Professor Emerita at the University of San Francisco, and has devoted her life to advocacy for peace and social justice. My grandmother works to promote bilingual and multicultural education in the United States, hoping to inspire individuals to develop a greater appreciation and respect for other cultures and peoples around the world. My grandmother’s passion has inspired me to pursue a similar life path, advocating for all individuals who are suffering due to intersecting systems of oppression. 

 

Featured Feminist

Katie Lyle

School & Year: School of Social Work (Graduate)

Major/ Minor: MSW, Clinical Track, Latino Leadership Initiative 

Full-time staff in Woods College of Advancing Studies

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am currently a part-time MSW student and full-time employee in the Woods College of Advancing Studies. I also volunteer on the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center [BARCC] hotline, and am the Associate Director of Technology for the Psychology and the Other research group. I’m originally from Texas, and moved to Boston to start a graduate program in Romance Languages here at BC, where I completed an MA in Hispanic Studies.

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about fostering connections with the people around me - building communities and helping them grow. One of the ways I concentrate that passion is through working with survivors of sexual violence with BARCC. Though it’s only one of many ways in which folks around us need support, I think that facilitating survivors’ continued recovery and healing, and working to end sexual violence, is one important way to realize that work.  

3. How do you define “feminism”?

I define feminism as a movement that fights for equal access to opportunities, services and rights for all people. This includes first and foremost the people who have historically been marginalized and systemically discriminated against based on gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, physical/mental ability, sexual orientation, age or other elements of their identity. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I support the fight for equal access to opportunities, services and rights for all people. I am in support of feminism that is intersectional in its organization and advocacy. It is my responsibility, as someone who has many privileges, to uphold that intersectionality and press others to do the same.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I have been lucky enough to know and be surrounded by incredibly strong folks who have struggled through many kinds of trauma. Witnessing on a regular basis the emotional fortitude that it takes to care for oneself (and others) in the face of such trauma – whether on an individual or a systemic level – leaves me with a sense of admiration for which there aren’t really adequate words. To say that these friends, family, co-workers, fellow students, and clients inspire me is an understatement! 

 

Featured Feminist

Katie Lyle

School & Year: School of Social Work (Graduate)

Major/ Minor: MSW, Clinical Track, Latino Leadership Initiative 

Full-time staff in Woods College of Advancing Studies

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am currently a part-time MSW student and full-time employee in the Woods College of Advancing Studies. I also volunteer on the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center [BARCC] hotline, and am the Associate Director of Technology for the Psychology and the Other research group. I’m originally from Texas, and moved to Boston to start a graduate program in Romance Languages here at BC, where I completed an MA in Hispanic Studies.

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about fostering connections with the people around me - building communities and helping them grow. One of the ways I concentrate that passion is through working with survivors of sexual violence with BARCC. Though it’s only one of many ways in which folks around us need support, I think that facilitating survivors’ continued recovery and healing, and working to end sexual violence, is one important way to realize that work.  

3. How do you define “feminism”?

I define feminism as a movement that fights for equal access to opportunities, services and rights for all people. This includes first and foremost the people who have historically been marginalized and systemically discriminated against based on gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, physical/mental ability, sexual orientation, age or other elements of their identity. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I support the fight for equal access to opportunities, services and rights for all people. I am in support of feminism that is intersectional in its organization and advocacy. It is my responsibility, as someone who has many privileges, to uphold that intersectionality and press others to do the same.

5. Who or what inspires you?

I have been lucky enough to know and be surrounded by incredibly strong folks who have struggled through many kinds of trauma. Witnessing on a regular basis the emotional fortitude that it takes to care for oneself (and others) in the face of such trauma – whether on an individual or a systemic level – leaves me with a sense of admiration for which there aren’t really adequate words. To say that these friends, family, co-workers, fellow students, and clients inspire me is an understatement! 

 

Featured Feminist

Lauren Kobylski

School & Year: MCAS 2018

Major/ Minor: Biology/ Womenn & Gender Studies

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a junior studying Biology from West Point, NY, where I live with my parents, two younger sisters, and our dog (who may or may not be the main reason for me to go home).  I love iced coffee, Beyoncé, jammin’ on my planner (a la Leslie Knope), ordering Domino’s at midnight, the sight of a lit-up Gasson after a late night in the library, and bad puns.  On campus, I participate in MEDLIFE and 4Boston, as well as volunteering for Love Your Body Week and CARE Week.  If I’m not in O’Neill cramming for an exam I’m not prepared for, you can find me frequenting Hillside for hours on end, on coffee dates with my favorite BC pals.

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about making health care more accessible both in the U.S. and across the world.  With the technology and information we have today, there is no reason for so many people to be suffering from completely preventable diseases that could be easily solved by access to clean water or antibiotics.  Healthcare is something I have been blessed to have access to, and I can’t imagine living a life full of insurance problems and worrying about having to drive hundreds of miles to see a physician.  How different would our lives be if we were not afforded the opportunity to live a healthy life?

3. How do you define “feminism”?

Feminism, simply put, is equality.  It is about believing in the absolute equality between genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, socioeconomic statuses, and all other identities.  Feminism is about fighting against systems of oppression and understanding how our everyday actions might be subtly contributing to these issues.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because women still earn 77 cents to every dollar a man earns for the same work.  Because women around the world aren’t given the opportunity to receive an education.  Because campus sexual assault is still a problem. Because the media teaches girls to have unhealthy body image issues. Because we still have not had a female president.  Because we are still fighting for reproductive justice and women’s health rights.  Because men are never asked how they balance work and family.  Because I have been discouraged from following my dream because I am a woman.  

5. Who or what inspires you?

SO many people inspire me.  My parents, for encouraging me to go after my dreams, and for following their own and setting an example of what it means to be role models.  My sisters, and their endless joy for life and love.  My roommates and friends, for sharing with me their strength, authenticity, and laughter.  All of the amazing people I’ve met here at BC.

Featured Feminist

Claire Kramer 

School & Year: Lynch School of Education 2018

Major/ Minor: Applied Psychology and Human Development with an Environmental Studies minor

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Milford, CT, a small city outside of New Haven. I come from a family of five with two older brothers. I have two dogs, Cruz and Tino (Victor Cruz and Tino Martinez) so you can tell that unfortunately I am not a Patriots or a Red Sox fan. I love travelling, sports, snow, and being outside. I’ve been a vegetarian for 11 years and I hope to have my own pig and farm one day.

 

2. What are you most passionate about?

In a couple of words… kids, animals, dancing, poetry, scrapbooking, and Leslie Knope. I care a lot about climate change and protecting our planet rather than trying to run away from our problems. I also like when I am able to discuss mental health and break down common misconceptions or stereotypes about seeking help/discussing mental health issues. I hope one day to work with kids or adults that struggle with these invisible illnesses.

3. How do you define “feminism”?

I define feminism as a way to “level the playing field” between people of all genders and identities. For me, feminism does not mean putting men down, nor does it mean raising women above everyone else. Feminism is about working against a system that has traditionally placed preference on the male identity. It would be unfair to ignore the ways that this system does, in fact, allow misogynist ideas to exist in society. There are many subtle ways in which women are placed second to men. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I am a feminist because women and men both deserve to have their voices heard, but also because I know that many of those voices have been silenced. Before coming to BC and eventually choosing to pursue positions in certain organizations, I didn’t know what feminism meant to me. Now, I couldn’t be more sure of how my feminism can make real change happen.

I think a lot of my interests at Boston College speak for themselves. I am part of Bystander Intervention, and each week we aim to educate and learn about what leads to sexual assault. The issues we handle often deal with gender, race, inequality, and social capital (to name a few). It is through this program that I have learned that blame and criticism are not part of my version of feminism. Rather, being a feminist requires understanding and care, but also a backbone. Additionally, I am on the council for The Laughing Medusa, an all female poetry and prose publication. We publish women’s stories, poems, artworks, and inner thoughts. In my opinion, these organizations aim to serve people of all different backgrounds and genders. The Laughing Medusa, although we are all female, does not mean we are “against” male identities. However, women are still fighting for their voices to be heard, and I love that there are places on campus that can make that possible.

5. Who or what inspires you?

In their own ways, each person in my family has taught me how to speak up and take chances. They taught me that as long as I fight for what I believe in and do my best, it doesn’t matter how many times I fail. They inspire me to rise to difficult tasks—like talking about sexual assault with freshmen and standing up when I feel compelled to help. As for a public figure, Rupi Kaur is a poet that inspires me with her approach to gender and women’s rights. Her poetic style, her belief that women can be both completely vulnerable yet ferociously strong, and her reliability all draw me to her work

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Cherry Lim

School & Year: LGSOE '17

Major: Higher Education Administration

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a second-year master’s student in Higher Education Administration at LSOE. Work wise, I’m a graduate assistant in the Lynch Graduate Admissions/Student Services office, the Dialogues on Race Graduate Assistant at the Thea Bowman AHANA & Intercultural Center, and SANet advocate! I grew up in Braintree, MA, went to Tufts University, and finally came to Boston College for graduate school after four years of working at various education non-profits in Washington, DC. You can usually find me running across campus with food and ice coffee, no matter what time of year it is. 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I love arts and crafts, watching TV/sports, civic engagement, and cats. I have an uncanny ability to remember random things, so feel free to ask me who your state senator is and what I think about the starting lineup of the Boston Celtics. 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is working and building a community/movement against the systems of oppression that punish folks for not being a heterosexual, White, able-bodied, cis-gendered male, among many other things. 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

It sounds cheesy, but I really believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to pursue whatever they want to do regardless of any life circumstances. Why should you be limited to random life circumstances, like where you are born and what you look like? Additionally, it’s important to me that all the work I do serve and lift others up, like many people have done so for me in my life. There’s no point to life if it doesn’t benefit others. Feminism, to me, falls exactly in line with these principles.

5. Who or what inspires you?

My mom and dad! Not many people know this about me, but given all that’s been going on in the news lately, I feel the need to say it all the time: I am the proud daughter of refugees. Their struggles and dreams for me and my brother here in the U.S. inspire me every day to work hard and ensure that this opportunity is available to anyone who wants it. 

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Samantha Gordon

Department: Residential Life

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Sam and I am a Resident Director here at BC for the Cheverus, Kostka, and Medeiros community on upper campus. I have working with the Kostka Women’s Experience for the past two years which has been the absolute best part of my job. I am from Los Angeles, CA originally. I received my Bachelors in Theater and Sociology from Brandeis University and my Masters in Higher Education Administration from Boston College. I love female comedians, feminism, embroidery, floral patterns, and the Women’s Center at BC.

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about working with students with marginalized identities, such as gender, sexuality, race, religion, and more. The students I work with tend to teach me more than I ever expected and help me grow as a professional. There is nothing more empowering then to see a student own their identities and grow into who they want to be.

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is the ideology and belief that women-identified and transgender people are deserving of equal rights as their male-identified counterparts. It is identifying the societal structures that lead to inequities that are based on gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and/ or other identities. It is about the intersectionality of these identities as well.  It is understanding the ways in which the policing of gender and gender-based discrimination and violence are inherently linked to other systems of power and oppression such as white privilege, racism, heterosexual privilege, and queerphobia.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because it is the only way to identify. Because I have been told I cannot accomplish things because I am a woman. Because I run like a girl. Because our society makes it impossible to work full time and raise a family. Because the government thinks they have the right to control my body.

5. Who or what inspires you?

My mother, Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, Sam Killerman , and my dog Fluffy.

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Annette Heffernan

School: MCAS ‘19

Major: Environmental Studies (Sociology Concentration) // Asian Studies Minor

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from Colorado but am currently based out of San Jose, CA but have lived in several places across the country as well as China. I feel most at home situated between the ocean and the mountains. I am an avid netflix binger and city explorer. I do an electronic music radio show here at BC.

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am really passionate about exploration (of music, knowledge and the planet). I make it my mission to go into Boston a few times a month. I travel extensively with my family. I search for new music constantly. I also take my studies at BC seriously. I have really benefitted from the Jesuit education that pushes you to explore fields beyond your own.

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Equality between men and women.

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

My dad raised my brother and I the same way, it was always “you can do what he can.” I never was really aware of gender inequality until my teenage years and I thought it was absolutely absurd. As I’ve grown I have learned about the many layers to feminism which has only inspired me more. At the root of my beliefs, I think to bar any group from certain fields, successes and ways of thinking are inhumane and ultimately degrade society.

5. Who or what inspires you?

My mom has always been the breadwinner since I was a baby which was a fantastic example to have growing up. It normalized the concept of a strong, intelligent, working mother for me. It has also been inspiring to watch her to work so hard and in the past few years reach her top career goal (becoming a CFO) happen relatively early on in her life. I also really benefitted from having my dad at home. He supported my mom in all of her career choices. He helped her move us across the world and constantly cooked, cleaned and minor construction jobs throughout our house.

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Rajendra Singh

School: MCAS 2019

Major: Biology

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from a small town in New York called Syosset. Growing up on Long Island with two brothers has given me a strong passion for outdoor activities. During the summer, you’ll likely find me on the water, either fishing with my friends or exploring my passion for sailing. I am also a huge fan of poetry and aspire to be like my favorite poet Shel Silverstein. 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about equality. Everyday I see men and women treated differently, in so many different facets of life. I want is a world in which all genders are treated fairly and equally: a world without discrimination.  

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I define “feminism” to be the belief that men and women should be treated equal in all respects.ery light as equal and deserving.  

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because it is the right thing to do. All genders deserve to be treated the same, and we cannot stop until this justice is a reality.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

The person who most inspires me to take such a strong opposition to issues regarding the female oppression in today’s society would have to be my mother, Ruby Singh. As a native of India, she has experienced firsthand discrimination due to her race and gender; despite this, she has overcome all obstacles to help give me and two brothers a better life than we could ever have hoped for.  

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Riley Kinney

School: MCAS 2018

Major: Political Science

Minor: Faith, Peace, and Justice

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a small town girl from Aspen, Colorado. Growing up in the mountains has given me a passion for the outdoors and the mountains. So if its nice out, you can find me outside! 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about helping people, and that is why I have focused my studies here at Boston College around justice issues in America. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

As Everything-ism. Feminism is an encompassing term that means women should be seen in every light as equal and deserving.  

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Because I still cannot get over the fact that every time I go out to eat with my boyfriend, the waiter always hands the bill to my boyfriend. Stereotypes that still hold true today, such as “the man pays for everything” is something society needs to forget. We are living in a time where women support themselves economically and more. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

Every day inspires me because it is another day to be positively impacted. 

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Sophia Breggia

School: MCAS 2017

Major: English (Creative Writing)

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a junior studying English with a Concentration in Creative Writing. I grew up in a small suburb of Rhode Island, went to a Catholic high school, and decided BC was my top choice school when I was 14. My favorite thing to do at BC is volunteering for Love Your Body Week and CARE Week with the Women’s Center. I love to write and to work out, so you can find me in writing workshop or at the plex. I also work in the BC Office of Event Management. 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about promoting sexual education for young people. I am lucky to have been raised in a very open household by a fiercely feminist mother. But many young people miss out on the opportunity to ask questions about their sexual health. To me, nothing is more important than making sure people, particularly young girls, understand their bodies and how they should be caring for themselves. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is belief in equality. Period. Equality among all people, no matter how they identify themselves. Social, political, economic equality. Feminism is also working towards these things. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify myself as a feminist because the ideals that feminism incorporates are necessary for the success of the people I love most. My best friend, my mother, my sisters, myself. We are all feminists. We are all fighting for equality among all people, equality for each other. Oftentimes, people associate the fight of feminism with the fight against the wage gap. Although advocating for dollar-for-dollar work between the sexes important, feminism fights for so much more. The fight for rights of women around the world, not just the (comparatively privileged) women in our own lives, is one of the most important feminist battles today, and I feel a moral obligation to partake in it. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by people who battle mental health issues every day. I am inspired by people who choose their career based on their passions, regardless of money. I am inspired by other feminists, and all strong women, and all strong people. I am inspired by people who do good, selflessly. 

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Amelie Lyons

School: MCAS 2016

Major: English

Minor: Women and Gender Studies     

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am super super excited to be a featured feminist, it’s been a goal of mine to be one before I graduate and with not even two months left, good thing it happened now! I’m currently interning at empowerHER, a nonprofit dedicated to helping girls who’ve lost their mothers, working on improving mentor outreach efforts. I also interned at Girls Write Now, a nonprofit with a mentoring program that matches disadvantaged girls passionate about writing with professional women writers. Last semester I interned with Prison Arts Outreach, visiting an all women’s medium security prison and co-leading activities for the inmates. All of these experiences have been amazing and I hope to find a job at a nonprofit dedicated to helping to empower women and girls (if you have any leads, let a sister know-seriously). I also am Senior Editor for Other Americas, a newsletter on campus about events in Latin America and studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and am hoping to go back some day in the very near future. Like everyone at BC I’m involved with many other things but this is not a cover letter and so that seems sufficient. 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

Feminism and cats and dessert. Ask my roommate, these are basically all I talk about. And I get very upset if someone else has a bigger slice of cake than me. Or more ice cream. It’s a problem.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Equality between men and women, economically, socially, and politically. I guess this goes under socially but one of the things I hope for the most is an equality of respect because it is oh so frustrating to be in a conversation with someone who clearly thinks your opinion is totally irrelevant because you’re a woman. I welcome the variety of definitions different people have for it though, and I think that, unlike some people, these strengthen and do not defeat the chosen label of feminist. Increased discussion and inclusion of conceptions of feminism allow feminism to be multifaceted.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I remember having a discussion with my dad where I was trying to work out in my head whether or not I was a feminist. I struggled against the term in high school and even as I took Intro to Feminisms my sophomore year. In the conversation with my dad I explained how I felt like I agreed with everything about feminism, and always had, but I hadn’t thought about labeling those values. I just kind of assumed those as truths. Of course I was equal to men, my parents raised me without a doubt in my mind about that. I give them a lot of credit for that. My dad agreed with me, that I was a feminist just in how I lived my life. I realized how ridiculous it was to be shy to call myself something I already inherently was. From that conversation forward I was a proclaimed feminist!

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

In no particular order: Audrey Hepburn, my mom, my dad, my godmother Heidi, Beyonce (typical), Lana del Rey (who is maybe not the most feminist individual but I love her), all the amazing women in my gender studies classes (and those maybe two men too), and the professors that teach them, Pope Francis, Bell Hooks, Regine Jean Charles my amazing Rise mentor, my bamf friends who let me rant about the patriarchy, my boyfriend (d’aww I know)

...and most importantly my cat Silky. 

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Danielle Bellantonio

School: MCAS 2016

Major: Psychology

Minor: Managment & Leadership

Danielle Bellantonio         

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a coffee drinking, dark chocolate eating, sassy, driven, outgoing Italian chica who either has a determined look on her face or just a huge, goofy smile. I live for long, scenic runs immediately cancelled out by giant, delicious meals. I never say no to dessert. I see God in nature. I am mesmerized by art. I jam to all genres of music. I will laugh at all your jokes. I seek adventure, new experiences and don’t believe in “comfort zones”. I want to be Leslie Knope’s best friend.

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about my relationships. I truly care about fostering genuine relationships with others. I strive to create an accepting environment that accommodates all types of people across any "border". This mindset inspires me to participate in extracurricular activities and has allowed me to create and develop diverse relationships. My friendship has transcended developmental boundaries with friends I met through Best Buddies and socioeconomic borders with my younger mentee through Big Sister of Greater Boston. I intend to make genuine friendships across geographical borders as our Global Medical Brigades group travels to Nicaragua this summer. Everyday I work to deepen my relationships with others: I make it a goal to put other’s needs before my own and to love those closest to me little bit more every day.

3. How do you define "feminism"?

It is a shame that the term “feminism” needs to exist because feminism is the awareness and recognition that women are people too, deserving of equal treatment, and respect. Feminism is the female pumping out 50 pushups in the Plex, while I watch in awe. Feminism is the female with the half-shaved head rocking clothes that I wish I was cool enough to wear. Feminism is the female in charge of the event that brings campus 500 students together. Feminism is the realization that women can cook, clean, and be your company’s damn CEO. I am a strong believer in acceptance. Who is to say a certain person does not belong in a given environment? Or to say that one person does not deserve the same treatment as another?  Accept all. Including women. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify myself as a feminist because I have witnessed amazing female achievements. The most effective and efficient work is completed by groups consisting of all different personalities, genders, opinions, races, thoughts, perspectives, backgrounds, where members can utilize these differences to accomplish something great. Females are integral members to these successful groups and deserve fair treatment, whether that be equal pay, equal representation, or just respect in general. I identify as a feminist because I do not see a progressing world without the awareness that women are equal in society.   

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

My mom inspires me. She is compassionate, generous, and hilarious. And she is brilliant. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the one and only Boston College and then went on to achieve a Master’s degree in Public Health. She worked a fancy job in Boston’s John Hancock center until having the first of four children. She inspires me because she put my three siblings and I before her success at work by putting aside everything she had accomplished in order to become a full-time mom. She gives the best advice. She loves Bruce Springsteen and The Black Eyed Peas. She makes BOMB chicken Parmesan. And she is secretly a yoga-master. Not only is she a full-time mother and my full-time best friend, but she is also a full-time inspiration.  

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Mackenzie Savel 

School: MCAS 2016

Major: Psychology B.S., Pre-Med Track 

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m probably the palest person you’ll ever meet who is from Florida. I really love corgis - seriously I cry everytime I see one in person, actual tears. I don’t have any siblings, so that’s probably why I don’t like to share. I’m 1 of 5 female coxswains on the BC Men’s Rowing team. I hope that one day I’ll be on the medical staff of a professional sports team as their orthopedic surgeon. 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about the BC Men’s Rowing Team. It’s been a huge part of my life over the past 4 years at BC, and even though the early morning wake-ups are tough, the feeling of a boat speeding up and passing another crew because of my words is the best high there is. Every morning I am completely in my element in the coxswain seat.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Fair equality between men and women, especially supporting extra women’s rights dealing with equal pay and women’s health stuff.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

Because it’s only right for both sexes to be equal - simple as that. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

My best friend, Tracy, inspires me. She graduated last year, but she taught me more about coxing, work, and life in two years than she’ll ever know. I look up to her as the sister I never had, and someone who totally gets me and always has my back. 

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Cecilia Milano

School: MCAS 2018

Major: Political Science

Minor: General Education

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a sophomore in MCAS studying Political Science. I grew up in Wellesley, MA (about 15 min away, its on my BC bucket list to run home one day for fun) and always loved coming to BC and going to BC sporting events, so my dreams came true when I was accepted! At school, I volunteer with 4Boston at Samaritans, a crisis hotline, and I am a Jumpstart CorpsMember where I teach at a pre-school three days a week. I absolutely love working with kids and feel most myself when I’m in the classroom. I also love baking (but mostly eating), crafting, and am obsessed with Beyoncé.  

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

There is a fire in my heart for education, and particularly providing equal education opportunities for children of all socio-economic backgrounds. Early education and kindergarten readiness plays an enormous role in later success: keeping kids performing at grade level in elementary and middle school, graduating high school, and continuing onto higher education. A quality early education (followed by quality primary and secondary schooling) can truly set someone up for a successful and fulfilling life, and plays an integral role in breaking the cycle of poverty. Every child deserves to receive a quality public school education, and since they cannot speak up for themselves, I feel very passionately that it is our job to ensure they receive a quality education. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is the advocacy of equal social, political, and economic rights for both genders. Women and men are different in many ways biologically, but our mental capacities are the same. No one gender should be paid more for equal work, be afforded more opportunities in the workplace, or be consistently in a position of power over the other gender. Right now, that higher-ranked gender is male, so feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights to equal that of men. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because I believe women and girls should be treated equally, and being a woman should be a source of empowerment, not a reason to always feel like you must prove yourself equal to men. I think gender inequality is taught, and that if we empower girls from the start, we will live in a more equal world. I love the Always commercial #LikeAGirl, where the narrator asks adults to run, fight, and throw “like a girl.” They pretend to be incredibly un-athletic, get in a catfight, to drop the ball. They then ask young girls to do the same; they sprint, throw the ball as far as they can, and throw some punches. Somewhere in life, doing something “like a girl” became an insult, and I am a feminist because I believe that when someone says run like a girl, everyone should think, as one girl said “it means to run as fast as you can.” 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired every day by many strong women, particularly my friends, my mother, and Beyoncé. I am surrounded by a group of the most loving, caring, and authentic group of friends I could ask for, and they inspire me to love others and myself more deeply. My mom has always gone after what she believed she was capable of, whether that was challenging herself academically at BC, going to law school, or continuing to practice law while my sister and I were growing up. It showed me that I could do anything I set my mind to, and that it’s possible to be a successful woman and an amazing mother at the same time. Also, Beyoncé because she has inspired women and girls around the world to be unapologetically strong and #FLAWLESS. 

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Kiernan Pagnani

School: MCAS 2018

Majors: International Studies (Political Science Concentration) 

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Kiernan Pagnani. I am a sophomore here at BC and am an International Studies major. I grew up in Rye NY, right outside New York City. For high school, I attended the School of the Holy Child, an all girls school, with about 60 girls in each grade. It was the greatest high school experience I could have asked for. I made some of my best friends in the world there and learned lessons that are invaluable to my everyday life. Family is very important to me; I have 3 younger siblings, 2 brothers and 1 sister that mean the world to me and come from a very large extended family on both sides. I played lacrosse and field hockey in high school and am currently on the squash team here. I love the communities that I have built in all of these 3 areas and could not be more thankful for having the opportunities to do so. 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about authenticity. In our society, it is so easy to submit to something you are not and, on an even less extreme note, to let one part of yourself define who you are. People are made up of a culmination of interests and passions, it is what makes us, us. It is important to not hide any of these parts and treat each one with equal value. Personally, I have dipped my toes in a lot of different pools; sports, service, dance, faith life, and many more. They have shaped my life in very important ways yet, each calls for a different mentality. I am truly a product of my experiences and the communities I have been apart of. I am passionate about letting your true self, shine regardless of who you are or what setting you are in. Being you is a gift and you should be able to live it everyday. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is equality for both sexes. This of course means equal pay, the right to vote, and many other structural equalities. But, what people often forget is it also means social equality. Women are entitled to equal respect and control of situations. As previously mentioned, authenticity is extremely important to me and unfortunately, people are often not their authentic selves because they are not given the freedom, through respect, to do so. Feminism is a strong belief in this idea and living it out to the fullest extent. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

As a feminist, I recognize this issue of inequality and want to see it solved. Because of this, I actively seek ways to bring this issue to light so that others may be inspired to share in this mission. Feminism is not a complicated matter, it is simply ensuring equal rights for all persons. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by community. I have been so blessed as to be involved in so many different ones here at BC. I am fortunate to have made best friends who make every day more fun, my Arrupe group, who has shown me the true meaning of love, and my PULSE group who has confirmed my commitment to service. Each of the people in these groups is devoted to the cause at hand and of course, to each other, in the most inspiring of ways. I am so lucky to be around those who inspire me everyday and who make being my authentic self all the more possible. 

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Alexi Nikolopoulos

School: MCAS 2018

Majors: Political Science and Economics

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am currently a sophomore political science and economics double major at Boston College. I am originally from Stamford, Connecticut. I am very passionate about my Greek heritage and I am the secretary of the Hellenic Society at BC. I enjoy playing volleyball, spending time with family, taking photos, and traveling, and I plan to study abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland next spring. I love volunteering with the Women’s Center, especially during C.A.R.E. Week and Love Your Body Week.

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

Throughout high school, I was involved in a club called the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council (MYLC). MYLC’s mission is to raise awareness and reduce the tolerance of dating violence, sexual harassment, and bullying. These are three issues I am most passionate about and a specific experience I had while participating in a MYLC activity strengthened my passion. While holding a sign that said, “Real men don’t abuse their girlfriends,” a female student came up to me and said something along the lines of “But if the girl upsets the boyfriend then it’s okay for him to hit her.” The fact that this girl genuinely believed this has haunted me ever since. I am dedicated to social change because I feel an intense need to teach people like this girl that it is never okay for men to abuse women or vice versa. Standing by and watching as people continue to share this student’s belief, or similar unacceptable notions, is not an option for me. I refuse to ignore the horrible things that go on before my eyes and I intend to do everything in my power to prevent them.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is the joint commitment of men and women to the proactive pursuit of a world in which both sexes share equal rights and opportunities. It is the belief that women must have the freedom to make their own choices and pursue their dreams free from social pressures and expectations.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify myself as a feminist because I have a vision of a world in which women are paid salaries equal to those of men completing the same jobs, unquestionably have the right to decide what to do with their own bodies, are not expected to sacrifice their careers to stay at home, and are not shamed or blamed if they are harassed­—a world in which women’s equality is realized not only in theory, but in practice. I identify myself as a feminist because I have joined the battle to make this vision a reality. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

Shonda Rhimes inspires me. She has challenged traditional ideas of what television characters should look like, encouraged her viewers to accept that love is love, and cracked the glass ceiling for women in the entertainment industry. She has inspired me to stop dreaming and talking about what I want to happen, and work hard to actually DO it, to take pride in who I am, and to recognize how incredibly blessed I am to have the life I have.

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Erin McCarthy    

School: CSOM '18

Major: Marketing

Minor: Women and Gender Studies

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a sophomore from Mansfield, MA studying Marketing and Women and Gender Studies. On campus, I am a DUO Mentor, a Bystander Trainer and the Vice President of Lean In. I love skiing, eating ice cream, and spending time with family. A fun fact about me is that I have a twin brother!

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about combatting gender inequality, specifically gender inequality at BC. The confidence gap between men and women is something that is especially relevant here. I am passionate about starting conversation surrounding the harmful effects of gendered expectations and strict gender roles at BC in order to foster a more welcoming and equal community. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I define feminism as believing in the importance of achieving total gender equality- not just on paper, but in practice. Though we have made great progress, we aren’t there yet. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because the fight for gender equality is not over. So many people believe that once women gained the right to vote, equality was reached. However, we are far from gender equality in our country. Additionally, there are so many women around the world who have been silenced because of their gender. Until all women have the ability to celebrate their womanhood instead of being discriminated against because of their gender, I will continue to loudly (and proudly!) identify myself as a feminist. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

All of the incredible women in my life! My grandmothers, my mother, my sister and my friends have all inspired me to never take no for an answer, and to believe in my own abilities. I am so grateful to have so many amazing role models in my life that constantly inspire me to face challenges head on. 

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Thomasina Deering        

School: MCAS, 2018

Major: Economics and Theology

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a sophomore from Lake Forest, Illinois and still in the process of figuring out what I want to do! I am most involved with Bystander Intervention, CURA and 4Boston at BC but am looking forward to getting even more involved in the coming years as a continue to generate curiosity about the great ways to make a difference here. Some of my favorite things include running, knitting and eating way too many sour skittles. 

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about questioning norms and empowering women to be confident and love themselves. I love being a part of any and all discussions that provoke thought or challenge my beliefs, and I am a firm believer that it is important to always be passionate about something, regardless of how often my perspective changes. I specifically love discussing women’s and gender issues and always feel like I have more to learn. I am particularly passionate about sexual violence and the importance of women feeling comfortable, in control of, and in love with their bodies. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

To me, feminism means a discussion about equality. The role gender and sex play in our lives should not define our opportunities, and although the feminist movement has come a long way, it still has much farther to go! Feminism is strong, empowering and respectable, despite negative connotations that are often associated with the word. Feminism is a way to bring social oppressions into conversation, discussing the intersections of race, class, sexuality and gender. I think many people believe the feminist movement is restricted to women with narrow views, however I feel feminism is simply a way to talk about equality for all different women. I hope in the future our culture will more openly adapt feminism to be a human issue, not just a women’s issue.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I didn’t really identify as a feminist until coming to Boston College and engaging in conversations about gender while also experiencing college through a Jesuit education. In my experience with service as well as my interest in studying religion, I became increasingly interested in what role women play in different societies. I began to see and learn about oppressions women faced, not solely because of the sex they were assigned at birth, but also due to other factors such as their wealth, race, and sexual identity. I began to realize that although I may not feel limited as a woman now, there are still many women who are restricted from equal rights and generally feel inferior to men. Through these realizations, I have become very interested in continuing to learn about feminism through literature, blogs, the news and even listening to people’s personal experiences.  I am so proud to be a feminist and to be a part of communities at Boston College that advocate for women’s equality. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am most inspired by my interactions. Through conversations I have on a daily basis I am constantly inspired to continue learning new perspectives and sharing my own. I generally learn best from experience, and I love to be a part of any discussion or event that inspires me to do more for others. 

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Daniel Lundberg         

School: MCAS, 2016

Major: Biochemistry

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a senior at BC, who spent my junior year and much of the last two and a half years, living with and researching the experiences of people with disabilities across southern Ghana. A big project I’ve been involved with is called Portraits of Ability (www.portraitsofability.org), which is a photo-interview project researching the abilities of people with disabilities, who are members of a local advocacy NGO called the Disability Needs Foundation. I’ve also worked on a few small social enterprise projects at The Epicentre, which is a center for special education and physical therapy on the western side of Accra, the capital of Ghana. My favorite experiences at BC have been Kairos and running with the Campus School Marathon team freshman year.

 

2.What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about the inclusion and integration of people with diverse abilities in developing countries and seeing that their voices are heard in shaping development practices and policies. I am also passionate about physical accessibility for people with disabilities and its role as a basic contributor to systems of inclusion and integration. (Shout-out to the Disability Awareness Committee at BC for all its tireless work trying to bring awareness to the physical and attitudinal barriers that exist on our own campus!)

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I think feminism is foremost about pursuing equality for all people – women, men, and also people who don’t identify within our society’s gender binary. It involves looking critically at systems and institutions, which each of us participates in and contributes to through both our actions and inactions, and proactively asking some pretty basic questions like “Do women have access to the same opportunities as men?” and “Is the climate of this system or institution designed in such a way that everyone will reach their full potential?” We shouldn’t wait until inequality develops. We should be proactive from the start in shaping systems so that they are inclusive and beneficial to all people. I believe very strongly that the first step in this process is listening.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because I think it’s really important for guys in particular to identify as feminists – especially at an institution like BC. Whether we’re talking about the institutional role of women in leadership, issues of sexual assault on campus, or the research findings that women on average leave BC less confident than when they start freshman year, there are so many conversations which need to take place surrounding equality on campus. Identifying as a feminist is a key first step to asserting the importance of these conversations and starting them – among men and women alike.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

Student groups like Eradicate Racism inspire me because they are standing up and demanding that the systems around us start listening to their voices and experiences on their own terms, even when the system doesn’t appear to like doing that very much. 

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Catherine Coffey          

School: MCAS, 2016

Major: Theology

Minors: Management & Leadership

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a senior (yikes!) living the dream in the Mods with the best roommates I could ask for. I am from Upstate New York, and have fallen in love with a lot of things here at BC, most prominently the Arrupe program, Kairos (shout out to K143!), and the Theology department. I studied abroad in Bath, England last year, and interned this past summer both in Trenton, NJ and Washington D.C. I really love knitting, Jodi Picoult novels, and playing Banagrams (ask my Appa group from freshmen year, the obsession is still alive and well). 

 

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about the intersection of faith, community, and social justice. I think any of these alone are important, but when all three are put together, the result can change lives. That is why the Arrupe program has been so important to me – it has given me incredible people to explore my faith with while understanding it in light of the reality of the poor and marginalized in our world. I truly would not be who I am today without that program, and I hope to pay that change forward someday. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I understand feminism to be the idea that all people should be treated equally, which has many implications for gender and how men and women are treated in society. It means that every human, regardless of gender, should feel comfortable talking about their emotions, feel safe going out on a Friday night, and feel confident offering an opinion during class. Unfortunately, from personal experience, BC and society in general has a lot of room for growth and improvement. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because I simply can’t see any reason not to – equality for everyone is an idea that is not difficult to get behind. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

SO many people inspire me. My parents, and their incredible faith, strength, and unconditional love. My best friends who have been through so much and still love and laugh so much every day. The incredible people I traveled to Nicaragua and El Salvador with. The people of El Salvador and Nicaragua. And so many more who are too numerous to name but have influenced me more than they probably know. 

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Abby MacLean            

School: LSOE 2016

Major: Applied Psychology and Human Development

Minors: Special Education and Women and Gender Studies

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from Braintree MA, so yes, I can take the Redline home.  My whole life I knew I was destined to go to BC because I really wanted to sit in the Superfan section at football games.  Happy to report that it is not the best thing BC has to offer.  I am currently trying to figure out what is next once May 2016 rolls around and how best to kill time in the real world before grad school.  

 

2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about my work with FACES, the anti-racist education organization here at BC.  I found FACES my sophomore year and it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me here.  Through FACES, I have been educated by some of the brightest students on campus and have found my identity through the understanding of systemic oppression.  I am now focusing on how I can bring what I learned in FACES with me after graduation, and how I can best use this knowledge to begin to educate a community outside of my peers at BC.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I define feminism in different ways.  I believe that feminism is a term of intersectionality: it crosses over with more than just gender oppression, but also intersects with race, class, sexuality, ability, etc. Therefore, I think feminism is the pursuit for human kind with no oppression. It is social, political, economic equality and equity for all.  If you have gotten to know me at all, you may have figured out that intersectionality is one of my all time favorite words. So of course I would drop it in here.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify myself as a feminist because I need feminism.  As a woman, I see where my limitations lie and feel the need to embrace those limitations while actively fighting against them.  I am also a feminist for human kind; I just want to do my best to make this world better for people who live in it.  Feminism is a great place to start.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I have trouble answering this because there are so many people who do inspire me.  I find women at BC everyday who inspire me to be a feminist.  This ranges from my freshmen in my 48 Hours group to women in my classes, as well as from my freshmen year roommates to my roommates today.  Everyone has a quality or a story that’s inspiring, it’s just a matter of finding it.  I find this through the authenticity and vulnerability that exists in the conversations with empowering people.

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Brian Koussai

School: MCAS 2017

Major: Political Science

Minors: Faith, Peace, and Justice

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in New York City; now I currently live in Northern New Jersey. I’m extremely involved on campus, serving as one of the Co-President of FACES; I’m a bystander trainer, and also a Eucharistic Minister on Sunday. Social Justice is my passion! All the clubs that I’m involved in on campus represent my passion for social justice and this is why I’m going to dedicate my life and career to fighting for justice and equal rights for everyone. 

 

2. What are you most passionate about?

I think I answer this question in the first question haha. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I define feminism as people who agrees with the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I don’t understand why many people don’t identify themselves as a feminist. A feminist is someone who wants equal rights for everyone across the board for everyone and that’s why I call myself a feminist! I want people to know that feminist don’t want to put women over men but feminist truly want every sex to be equal and to end all of the systems of oppression that women face in the world.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I think what inspires me the most is my drive, to make sure that in my lifetime I can have a part to end all systems of oppression based on race, gender, sexually, and socio-economic. I want to fight for everyone who faces injustice in this world. My hope and dream is that I will be part of the movement and cause that will help oppression against individuals in the world. 

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Erin Barry

School: MCAS 2016

Major: History

Minors: Women and Gender Studies, Islamic Civilizations

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Nashua, New Hampshire, which is essentially the closest thing New Hampshire has to a bustling metropolis. I have a younger severely autistic brother and a dog that occasionally decides he hates me. At BC, I spend my time writing about masculinity and various old white men in my thesis, hosting “Fallopian Grooves” on WZBC, and campaigning for sexual health resources and information on campus.  

 

2. What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about reproductive justice, which works for the rights of all people to have children, not have children, and/or parent children in healthy and safe environments. This is important for me because it not only encapsulates the need for access to information about our bodies and our sexuality, as well as the tools necessary to live happily and healthily within our own bodies, but also acknowledges the structural oppression that prevents marginalized communities from access to choice. I am also passionate about the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.  

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Personally, I try to live by Roxanne Gay’s analysis of the term: “Feminist, a word that has, as of late, become a catchall term for ‘woman who does not tolerate bullshit.’’ However, on a broader scale, feminism is not just limited to women, and works to provide all people with the ability to live authentically. Feminism acknowledges and works to dismantle structural systems of oppression, including the gender binary. It is inherently intersectional and is primarily about awareness of, and action against, injustice. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I am a feminist mostly because I can’t imagine not being one. I cannot imagine being content in this society where people are consistently oppressed based on things outside their control. I am a feminist because I want to help people feel more comfortable and able to live fully and without judgment. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

It’s a cliché, but my mother inspires me. She was orphaned before age 18, and has dedicated so much of herself to her family and my brother and I. I am consistently reminded of how lucky I am to have a mother who supports my activist work. I am so proud that she constantly educates herself and always keeps an open mind. I am also inspired by a number of other student activists, particularly those with whom I work on issues of sexual education and reproductive justice. 

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Alison Quandt

Department: Athletics

Position: Assistant Athletic Director, Student-Athlete Development

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Boston as the only female in my family other than my mom – 1 brother and all male cousins.  I am a 2006 grad of BC with an economics degree and a 2011 grad of the MBA program.  I was a student-athlete on the ice hockey team and got my start in hockey at the age of 4 thanks to my brother and his friends.  If I wanted to be included in the neighborhood games, I had to do what they were doing.  After a stint in consulting, I came back to work in athletics at BC in order to work with student-athletes to help prepare them for life after sport.


2. What are you most passionate about?

Being a former student-athlete, I am very passionate about athletics, fitness and how athletics plays a role in our culture.  Our student-athletes have a natural platform with which to effect change in the community – I am passionate about helping our student-athletes realize this great opportunity and take advantage of everything that comes with it.  It’s a privilege to be a student-athlete and we expect our student-athletes to handle themselves with class, dignity and respect.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is the recognition that opportunities should be afforded to anyone and everyone regardless of their gender identity.  I come from athletics where the best player should play, you win or you lose – if the best candidate for a job identifies as a male that’s great, they earned it; and if the best performer on a team identifies as a female, she should be treated the same way you would anybody else.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I have been a direct recipient of the efforts of women who came before who fought for opportunities.  My mom or my grandmother would have never had the opportunity to earn an athletic scholarship to Boston College.  Someone else did the work for that opportunity to exist so it is my duty to make sure I push the needle forward for the young women coming up behind me.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by smart people who use their gifts, regardless of the type of gift or skill, to be the best that they can be in their field while at the same time ensuring that they are having a greater impact on the world.  I also really like quotes; in a world crowded with social media and people being worried about what other people are doing or thinking I think authenticity is a lost art – ‘Be who you are when no one is watching.’

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Ben Egan

School & Year: MCAS 2017

Major: International Studies

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

So yeah, my name is Ben. I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. I went to boarding school in Delaware and their are two sets of Twins in my family (I’m a twin with my brother and I have younger twin sisters). Historically I’ve been a camp counselor in Wyoming for the summer months. I love the outdoors (Biking, Fishing, Hiking). I love wearing short-sleeve button-downs and sandals so I am often times equated as “Dad-looking” but it’s comfy so whatever. 

 


2. What are you most passionate about?

People who know me would say biking. I ride and think about cycling a lot. I’m the vice president of club cycling team and that consumes a lot of my time. However I might classify cycling as an addiction over a passion. I don’t think I have a particular one passion that I am most passionate about. I love discussing politics and issues surrounding masculinity at BC and the world. I love music, listening to and playing. I hate being bored and I think that pushes me to find new passions all the time.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I define feminism really as equality, safety and freedom. Feminism is the belief that all men and women have an equal right to follow their passions and their desires in life. Feminism is a common belief in the elimination of gender barriers. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I didn’t I woke up one day and say “You know what, I want to be a feminist.” I think my value system and beliefs were already feminist in nature, I just didn’t call myself one until someone said I was. I believe that everyone should have the innate freedoms that the person next to them has regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or gender and I guess that makes me a feminist. I don’t have a story or an explanation, I just do.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I’m kind of a self motivator. I could point to my parents, my teachers, my friends and my mentors over the years, but I wouldn’t say I have a single person or thing that inspires me the most. I strive to be my best self and I don’t role model it off a movement or individual because I know I’m unique. Because I’m passionate about so many things and because those passions vary quite often, I have many different inspirations. However, at the end of the day I think the goal is to be able to inspire yourself, because that means you’re doing something meaningful and good in the world.

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Maire Claire Diemer

School & Year: MCAS 2016

Major: Psychology

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a senior at BC, and I’m pretty much terrified to leave.  BC has become such a home for me that this year is bittersweet.  Right now I’m exploring post-grad options – but no question brings me more anxiety! At BC, some of my favorite things I’ve done have been my comedy group, Hello…Shovelhead!, my work with the FYE office and my time as a Big Sister. 

 


2. What are you most passionate about?

I’m really passionate about friendship and mentoring.  The best thing I’ve gotten out of BC has been learning how to be a friend and a mentor.  Learning to listen and care for the other, how to be present, be authentic and be genuine are all characteristics that a Jesuit education has taught me and fostered in me. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism is a movement that fights for equality between the genders.  It has a strong historical precedent, but it’s also a living and current movement. Feminism is a force all over the world--and it’s not just a movement for women. Men have just as much to benefit from more flexible, less rigid gender norms.  Actually, the best thing that can happen to most economies is for women to enter the workforce. 

The different activities I’ve been involved with on campus have really helped me develop what it means to be a feminist in real life.  In Hello….Shovelhead! a lot of the comedy we do can play up different gender stereotypes and make social commentary, especially because comedy has been a largely male-dominated area, even today.  The FYE office has provided me with opportunities to mentor and be mentored by really amazing women at BC.  Meanwhile, Big Sister is one volunteer area that made me understand why it is so important for women to have female role models. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because when strong women in my life identified as feminists, it empowered me as a woman.  I want to be the same force in other people’s lives.  We can lift each other up as a support system and a network; women (and men) should be building each other up. I hope my friends feel they can turn to me for strength, and I certainly feel I can turn to them. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

My mother and all the strong women in my family have really been my biggest inspiration. My mother has a law degree and has dedicated her entire life to creating educational curriculum around democracy and human rights.  My aunt has also dedicated her life to non-profit work focused on literacy and access to books.  I’m so lucky to say that women in my life have been strong, educated, and infinitely generous in how they dedicate their lives.  

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Tate Krasner

School & Year: MCAS 2016

Major: International Studies (Concentration: Chinese and Russian)

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a senior hailing from the beautiful Queen City, Charlotte. I love travel and playing the piano, and I bleed profuse amounts of teal and purple for my hometown Charlotte Hornets (I really should get that checked out at Health Services...). During my time at Boston College, I've been heavily involved in research, and I currently serve as Editor-in-Chief for Al-Noor and as an intern for Asylum Access, an NGO focused on providing legal access to refugees. 

 


2. What are you most passionate about?

I am incredibly passionate about conflict resolution, ethics, and peacekeeping. These issues have always fascinated me, and I believe that they exist at a unique intersection of so many disciplines. To me, stopping wartime violence is absolutely critical in order to promote a positive peace throughout the world. Side note: I'm also passionate about Southern hospitality and sweet tea. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

 I think the comedian Aziz Ansari summed it up best with this quote: "If you believe that men and women have equal rights, and then someone asks you if you're a feminist, you have to say yes. Because that's how words work. You can't be like, 'Yeah, I'm a doctor who primarily does diseases of the skin.' 'Oh, so you're a dermatologist?' 'Oh, that's way too aggressive of a word, not at all, not at all." 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I've always had a really difficult time answering this question. To me, the concept of equality between men and women is so logical, so commonsensical, that I honestly can't comprehend why anyone wouldn't support it. I've got no better way to put it, unfortunately...

5. Who or what inspires you?

The most influential figure in my life has been, and still is, my grandmother. As an ethicist, therapist, civil rights activist, mother, and grandmother, she taught me by example from a young age what it means to truly fight for equality and fairness. I owe so much of my worldview and passions to the values that she instilled in me, and I carry those in everything I do. 

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Samantha Costanza

School & Year: MCAS 2016

Major: Communications

Minor: Theatre

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a senior from Pleasantville, NY studying Communication and Theatre. I’m the editor of the Authentic Eagles column for The Gavel. I am a Bystander Trainer for the Women’s Center, as well as the proud director of The Vagina Monologues at BC. My favorite thing to do is go to any sort of live performance event, like a concert or Broadway show, where I can completely immerse myself in the artistic atmosphere for a few hours.

 


2. What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about finding the little joys in each day and helping others to discover their joy. I love to listen to others and help them to discover what motivates them. I am also extremely passionate about inspiring other women to feel confident and empowered, since this has been one of the most important transformations and lessons I’ve personally learned during my time at BC (shout-out to the Vagina Monologues).

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

To me, feminism means believing in the fundamental equality of all genders in all aspects of life. I think a lot of people are afraid of the label because it might sound “radical,” but feminism is really all about respect, equality, and the opinion that people of all genders deserve love and fair treatment.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I first began to identify myself as a feminist when I realized the social issues I was most passionate about all revolved around women’s right and gender equality. I believe that every person deserves an equal opportunity to achieve all the goals they set their mind to, and gender should never be a barrier to that or something that could make a person feel undervalued or unable to live their happiest life.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

Strong women inspire me to be confident and secure in myself, and that no goal is ever too ambitious. My two biggest role models in life are my amazing mother and Tina Fey. 

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Natana DeLong-bas

Department: Theology and Islamic Civilizations & Societies

(Classes Taught): The Religious Quest: Christianity and Islam, Women and Gender in Islam, Contemporary Islamic Thought and Practice, Islam and History in the Middle East, Intro to Islamic Civilization

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been teaching at BC for 10 years. I enjoy teaching, research and writing, as well as international travel and meeting new people. Academics would not have been an obvious choice for me growing up, in part because I am dyslexic, so I really struggled with reading comprehension and writing through the first half of my undergraduate experience, and in part because I’m very shy by nature, so public speaking was a real challenge. My experiences have taught me not to allow my weaknesses to set my limits, but to push myself to work through them.


2. What are you most passionate about?

Women and gender issues, the environment, music, and the positive and constructive role religion can play not only at the personal, spiritual level, but also in inspiring the best of human behaviors – kindness, love, mercy, and compassion, encouraging each of us to think beyond ourselves to our broader connections to community, society, and the natural world.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I define “feminism” as “egalitarianism” in every sense of the word. Gender is often used as a construct to set limitations on one group of people while giving power to another  - a structure that clearly promotes injustice and suggests that gender roles have far more to do with power claims than they do with “inherent” qualities specific to a given sex. Promoting justice requires recognizing those structures and working to change them with the goal of achieving equality, not preference for one group over another. “Feminism” isn’t just a “women’s issue.” It is everyone’s issue. We all have female family members and men are often as oppressed by gender roles and expectations as women are. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

My parents taught me that people should be judged on the basis of their merit and their character, not their sex, skin color, ethnic background, etc.  I think that society encourages us to spend too much time cutting ourselves off from other people through constant labeling and pushing us to differentiate ourselves by thinking about what we are as compared to what other people are not. We are constantly asked to box ourselves in with respect to race, ethnicity, citizenship status, gender, etc. I encourage people to liberate their own minds of divisions and learn to look at people as people, rather than labels or categories. It’s who we are inside and what we choose to do with our lives that matters, not outward appearances. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

My children inspire me to work hard to make this world a better place for them to live in. My husband inspires me with his humor, gentle nature, and reminders to remain connected to my family and home, lest I be tempted to spend all of my time working! My father inspires me to pursue excellence in scholarship. My mother inspired me to have a heart and arms big enough to reach out and embrace all people. My mentors, John Esposito and John Voll, continue to inspire me through their examples of academic and personal excellence. The natural world inspires me to remember our responsibility to the earth, as well as to people. I love listening to the wind blow through the leaves of the trees and the birds chirping as a reminder of the beauty, yet fragility, of life and the world. It is a treasure to be passed down from generation to generation. And, last but not least, my students really do inspire me and keep me going – their sense of curiosity, desire to explore the world, enthusiasm for embracing new experiences, and willingness to take on challenging and even uncomfortable topics as they think about their relationship to the world and what contributions they have to make – they bring my work to life. 

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Owie Agbontaen

School/Class: MCAS 2016

Major: Communications and Marketing

Minor: African American and African Diaspora Studies

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from Brooklyn, New York and am one of the Bystander Trainers for the Women's Center. I am currently the Captain of BC's All-male Step Team Sexual Chocolate, a Freshmen League Captain, and a TA for Courage to Know. Keeping myself busy and involved in many activities is a challenge but it also keeps me focused and driven. 


2. What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about making long term relationships with the people around me and surrounding myself with positive activities and influences.

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

Feminism to me is equal respect and equality for all genders as well as an open mind for those who are still questioning their genders and sexuality.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I identify as a feminist because of the way I define feminism. There are a lot of misconceptions about feminism and I look at it very simply. If you support equal rights among genders you are a feminist.

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I inspire myself to be a better person today then I was yesterday. This mentality comes from everyone that surrounds me; their influences shape who I am. In the end, I want to create my own path and would rather inspire other people than the other way around.

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Bill Lavelle

School/Class: MCAS 2017

Major: History and Political Science

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Westfield, NJ and am the oldest child of three, including the dog. I am a Bystander Trainer for the Women’s Center but am also a member of the Army ROTC program and a volunteer for the football team. Some of my favorite things to do are sleep, exercise, sleep, drink coffee, and sleep.


2. What are you most passionate about?

I would say that I am most passionate about discovering the limits of the human body and mind. I believe that if you don’t routinely push your boundaries both physically and mentally then you can never discover what you are truly capable of. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

I would define feminism as equality. It means that there should be no such thing as “the pay-gap” because all that matters is the work being done and the quality at which it was completed regardless of who did the labor. It means that political candidates should be evaluated on their policies and personalities and not on a whether or not their gender means that they have an ingrained weakness. I feel that until issues as basic as these are fixed, then this country cannot actually be seen as a role model for the world. 

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?

I would identify myself as a quasi-feminist, but some people would probably go so far as to call me a bad one. I am a feminist in the sense that I fully believe that everyone deserves the same opportunities and that no barriers should be constructed based on anything other than individual merit. That being said, I am a staunch traditionalist in how men should treat women. In my eyes, things like holding the door open for women, paying for dates, and simply treating women with greater respect are just basic manners to have. I recognize that there are feminists out there that disagree with this, but that’s why I would classify myself as a quasi-feminist. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by my mother. She’s the one who taught me how to never be happy with where you are because you can always be better, or even the best, at what you are trying to do. She also taught me how to master the art of sarcasm so that’s huge too. 

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Sarah Bradley

School/Class: LSOE '17

Major: Secondary Education & English

Concentration: Teaching English Language Learners

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an RA in Kostka and a research assistant in Lynch. I also play on the women’s rugby team (so much feminism in one sport), and I’m on the education committee for Students for Sexual Health. I like books and people and ice cream.


2. What are you most passionate about?

 

I am passionate about equal opportunity education! I came to BC because I fell in love with the Lynch School’s mission statement. I love learning from my students just as much as I love teaching. I’m excited to work in a classroom after graduation, and I want to be a principal and go into education policy someday.  

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

 

The dictionary definition of feminism is the right for women to have the same equal opportunity as men. I think this also extends to equal opportunity for all people, regardless of background or situation or any other identifying factors. It’s not just a “women’s issue”.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?
 

I considered myself a feminist in high school, but I never felt the need to become an activist in any way until I came to college and experienced sexism on campus. The statistic about BC women graduating with less confidence than when they enter college is unacceptable. BC is full of intelligent and ambitious young women who deserve to know that they are capable of following their passion and doing what makes them happy in life, regardless of what that may be. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

 

My mother inspires me. She followed her career dreams even though, at the time, she was the only one of two women in her workplace (the other woman is still her best friend to this day, over twenty years later). When I was growing up, she always encouraged me to question things and to keep talking and having conversations about what I noticed or what bothered me. And she continues to support me, even if we don’t always agree. 

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Emi Omick

School/Class: CSOM 2017

Major: Marketing and Finance

Minor: International Studies

 

Questions

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.


I am a native of Tucson, Arizona but have adopted the East Coast and Boston College as my home. My favorite things to do are yoga, read, and spend quality time with my roommates. My involvement on campus ranges from assisting in the Student Admission program to coordinating the Own It Summit with Women in Business.

 

2. What are you most passionate about?
 

I am passionate about several issues, including women’s empowerment as well as education for everyone. These are two issues that have been informed by my involvement on campus. They are really very connected issues, because they both relate to the idea of equality. I whole-heartedly believe that education can create opportunities and enable people to break the cycle of poverty. Additionally, it is important to empower women so that they break out of the constraints that society and they themselves have imposed. 

 

3. How do you define "feminism"?

 

Feminism is about acknowledging that there is a gap between men and women’s achievement, and trying to determine why this occurs, and then educating others about it. Girls consistently outperform boys in the classroom, but hold less leadership positions on the boards of companies, in Congress, and in STEM fields. Clearly, there is a persistent force holding women back from realizing their true potential. This, in my opinion, is a combination of societal pressures as well as women’s own tendency to hold themselves back.

 

4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?
 

I identify as a feminist because if I didn’t I would be a traitor to my own gender. There is no excuse for anyone not to be a feminist, because it really just comes down to equality. I want to give feminism a good name, because there is definitely a stigma that has been attached to it. 

 

5. Who or what inspires you?

 

I am inspired by powerful women who hold important positions in business, but who do not apologize for having outside priorities. I think a big part of feminism is empowering women to balance work and family, without feeling like they have to choose one or the other. Work and career cannot be someone’s entire life, and women like Sheryl Sandberg and others who have owned their decisions to commit to both their job and their loved ones inspire me everyday that my future is not a zero sum equation.