Mackenzie Deveau '19
I came to UNE originally wanting to do Clinical Psychology. I had no intention of picking up my minors. Then my advisor, Dr. Julia Peterson, introduced me to the Women’s and Gender Studies department. I ended up taking a lot of political sciences classes because they had open spots. I knew that I could always pick them up, and I ended up really liking them, so I stuck with it.
The curriculum ties together well. The professors communicate and ensure that students are getting the most out of the classes. My political science classes even tied into the women and gender studies classes. One of my professors is technically in the Political Science department, but he’s also part of Women and Gender Studies, so there is a lot of cohesion. I would be sitting in class, and it would all click together. It’s a real, true liberal arts experience.
Everything that I studied came together in a perfect funnel — that’s exactly what college should do. You go to college not really knowing what you want or who you are, and then you go through all of these different things, and you come out with a better direction of your path.
When I was in my first year, I met the women and gender studies club members, and I had absolutely no idea what women and gender studies meant. I remember thinking that they were some of the most confident people I’d ever met. It took me a couple of years until I really got into the club. But I was president last year and vice president for two years prior to that.
I worked with Dr. Peterson's research lab as well. We created a study where we were testing the effects of sexism on women's evaluations of cosmetic products. It was cool to tie that knowledge in with my psychology background. The lab is still now working on a third study on the same topic. It’s going to continue on so that they can continue to collect data. I’m proud of that legacy.
During senior year, a requirement is to do an internship. I decided to do mine at Planned Parenthood helping with political activism and awareness. It taught me a lot about the laws regarding women’s rights. I really, really loved my internship there. I had so much support from professors during that time too. It was one of the best experiences, but it was also really challenging because it was during a time when the Kavanaugh hearings were happening, and it was election season. There was a lot of pressure on Planned Parenthood. I learned so much about advocacy work and how challenging it can be. It steered me in the direction of women’s rights law, which is what I’m leaning towards now.