Interview with Rebecca Jacobi ’20

Rebecca Jacobi currently has an internship with the Feminist Majority Foundation as a Digital Organizer.

  1. Why did you choose WGST/PSIA at UMW?

I always knew I wanted to study International Affairs in college because I wanted a career in development work and believed that would be the best major for me. I also looked over the major requirements online, and since I was already planning on continuing Chinese and beginning French in college, the language requirement did not deter me. With WGST, I took an Intro to Women and Gender Studies class the second semester of freshmen year with Dr. Poska and absolutely loved it. Because WGST is so interdisciplinary and it is suggested that you double major with WGST, I figured it would complement PSIA well.

2. What was your favorite part of the major/minor?

My favorite part of the International Affairs major is absolutely the professors. I have never met more passionate, attentive, and helpful individuals before, and every professor that I had a class with within the major wholeheartedly wanted me to succeed. My favorite part of the WGST major is that it is incredibly close-knit, and you have a lot of the same people in the WGST-designated classes which makes it easy to form friendships and share like-minded ideas.

3. Were you a part of any clubs and/or did you do study abroad? How were those experiences and how did it aid your education? 

I was a member of the Campus Programming Board (Chair of Big Events junior year, Vice President senior year), as well as Young Democrats, Alpha Mu Sigma, WGST Association, and a TeleAmbassador in the admissions office. Being a part of each of these organizations provided me with leadership experience, allowed me to practice and hone my communications and interpersonal skills, and led me to meet incredible people who provided me with support over the last four years. I studied abroad in Guatemala over spring break in Spring 2019 with my “Grassroots Development in Guatemala” class, and that was an incredible experience that allowed me to look at development work from an intersectional approach, wherein identities such as gender needs to be taken into account when creating development programs.

4. What have you been doing in post-grad and how did WGST/PSIA at UMW guide you to where you are today?

Because of COVID-19, all of my internship prospects were unfortunately cancelled or deferred into the fall. However, I recently got a part-time internship with the Feminist Majority Foundation as a Digital Organizer from June-September to help mobilize the vote in November, and WGST definitely helped me land that internship. I worked with this non-profit in fall 2019 as a Campus Political Organizer to get out the vote, and it was thanks to Dr. Gupta and the WGST department that I heard about the opportunity. Because of my experience in that role, I was able to hear about this internship program. Overall, both PSIA and WGST have shaped my career goals immensely and my love of academia. I want to pursue my masters degree in the fall of 2021 in gender and development because I love learning and writing my thesis senior year was one of my proudest moments of my academic career.

5. What is something you want incoming students to know about these programs?

The professors within the PSIA department are an absolute asset, and it is in your best interest to build a relationship and rapport with them by going to office hours and taking classes with the same professors if you can. Odds are they know someone in the field that you want to pursue and they can help you get your foot in the door and even land internships and jobs! I believe that the WGST major is becoming more and more important and marketable as the term “gender” becomes more mainstream. Think about it: fifteen years ago, a WGST major was rare. Nowadays, most universities offer WGST as a major/minor because having that knowledge about how gender affects the world is necessary. If you want to set yourself apart from others when you apply for jobs after college, I would recommend double-majoring with WGST.