Samantha Carter is currently the Digital Director for House Budget Committee (Majority Staff)
- Why did you choose WGST at UMW?
I initially enrolled in the Women’s & Gender Studies intro course because I thought it would provide an interesting perspective on my English courses as an English Major. I felt confident saying that I was a feminist, but I wanted to understand how that perspective could inform my studies. It only took a few weeks in Dr. Marsh’s class for me to realize that gender and sexuality were at the root of all the things that I loved about my English classes. Whether it was symbolism in Virginia Woolf or the power of language in my Linguistics and Gender course, WGST was woven through all of it. Choosing the WGST major finally gave me an academic way to critically examine what I was learning and gave me the words to explain it.
- What was your favorite part of the major/minor?
Without a doubt, the opportunity to take courses in a variety of disciplines was my favorite part of the major. I would find myself referencing what I had learned in my Sociology of Health course in my Disability in Literature course, and so on. My WGST courses would even pop up in courses I didn’t expect, like my Tolkien seminar class. The ability to identify and explain how gender informed everything in our society was a tipping point in my studies and my career plans after college. Also the mentorship that I received from my thesis advisor, Dr. Scanlon, is a relationship that I still hold in high regard to this day.
- 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 participated in a variety of clubs during my time at UMW, including Mock Trial and Feminist United. While I didn’t study abroad, I did have a few unique opportunities because of my WGST major. That includes attending the United Nations Women’s conference and receiving a grant to attend a Feminist Immersion program in New York City. The latter allowed me to see that feminist activism wasn’t just limited to my time at UMW, but something that could inform my career choices after I graduated. I saw how feminism wasn’t just informing the way people thought but was a tool they were using to better their communities.
- What have you been doing in post-grad and how did WGST at UMW guide you to where you are today?
My post-grad opportunities have covered a wide spectrum, from working at a small magazine to consulting and nonprofit communications. But it’s my current work as the Digital Director for the House Budget Committee Majority for which I’m most proud. While some might view the federal budget as a sterile document, it’s truly a reflection of our nations’ values. In my role I try to humanize the budget and remind people of the way it impacts their lives every day, especially for people of color and women. Using my WGST degree I can critically examine the language and images we use in our digital content to ensure that it is inclusive.
- What is something you want incoming students to know about these programs?
I think it’s understandable that as students are thinking about their major, they are asking themselves “what am I going to do with this degree.” If you are considering majoring in WGST there are endless possibilities to how you can use your degree. Even if my work as a Digital Director might seem far-removed from my WGST major, I can see the tangible way that my undergraduate studies shapes the way I think about my job and my role as a communications professional. Ultimately if you’re passionate about feminism and the interconnections of gender, law and public policy, you can use that passion to shape your future career endeavors.