Recent Women's Studies Graduates
Sureshi Jayawardene Anaman ’08
Graduate student and anti-racism team member
Sureshi Jayawardene Anaman chose to minor in women’s studies because she already considered herself a feminist and had a strong desire to advocate for women’s rights. As chair of the Women of Color Collaborative and the Organized Women of Color student group, she found that her minor triggered an even deeper ambition to get involved in women’s issues.
Anaman’s minor became a launching pad for further exploration in issues relating to feminism, classism, racism, ageism and sexism. She says that her experience with women’s studies has made her a better woman, mother, sister, daughter, friend and community member. Today she’s a graduate student at North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., where she also serves on the anti-racism team.
Obadiah Ballinger ’04
A 2008 graduate from Yale Divinity School, Obadiah Ballinger says the critical thinking abilities gained during his time at Concordia help him better understand the experiences of the men and women in his congregation at the Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul Park, Minn. Ballinger credits his women’s studies experience for teaching him the foundations of social analysis, skills he uses everyday.
Connie Etter ’02
Doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology
It was a semester abroad in India that sparked Connie Etter’s interest in women’s studies. There, Etter developed interest in gender inequality, a theme she studied throughout her undergraduate experience. Etter continues to pursue equality today through research in secularism, religious pluralism, women and religion in South Asia, global Christianities and political theologies.
Etter’s most recent accomplishments include completion of two years of advanced language study and a field research project in Tamil Nadu, India, supported by the American Institute of Indian Studies and Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships. She is pursuing her doctorate at Syracuse University.
Kim Jackson ’06
For Kim Jackson, a women’s studies education gave her the opportunity to travel around the country as a full-time volunteer with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and Americorps.
Her latest commitment has brought to the Big Apple – a place she visited during her time at Concordia on a Justice Journeys trip. She’s working with a group of young people through Y ACT. Youth Action Changes Things is a youth organizing and advocacy program in Brooklyn, N.Y., which seeks to equip members with the skills and knowledge they need to be positive agents of change in their community.
Jamie Ramola ’01
Youth advocate and educator
When Jamie Ramola graduated from Concordia with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and women’s studies, she brought with her a multi-disciplinary approach. It has carried her through the challenges of bringing diverse stakeholders and non-traditional systems together to break barriers and create change. Throughout her professional career, Ramola pursued social justice issues, youth empowerment and immigrant rights – passions that found her work as an advocate, youth educator, teacher and director in programs both in the U.S. and abroad.
Currently, Ramola is the associate director of the Academy for Transformation at YouthBuild USA, which provides the tools, concepts, insights, and skills needed to accelerate youth transformation.
Emily Van Kley ’02
Author and activist
As a major in humanities in women’s studies, Emily Van Kley says that her experience at Concordia laid the foundations for critical thinking about how to combat intersecting oppressions. Van Kley, a writer of fiction and poetry, has dedicated her time as a queer activist with the Soulforce Equality Ride and as a member of anti-racism and anti-oppression committees at various workplaces and organizations.
Today, Van Kley focuses her work on the voices of queer women and transgender individuals – passions that she says were largely cultivated by invaluable mentorship at Concordia. In the past year, she has received multiple awards for her short stories and poems, including the Florida Review Editor’s prize.
Kim Winnegge ’05
Graduate student and activist
Since graduation, Kim Winnegge has used her women’s studies minor to fight for social justice, a passion ignited during her time as an undergraduate where she founded a campus feminist organization. Despite constant challenges and criticism about her degree, Winnegge has pressed on – using her journalism skills to tackle issues of sexism and heterosexism, writing the first-ever article on transgender issues for a mid-sized daily newspaper.
Currently, Winnegge attends Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Mass., where she continues to work with disenfranchised populations, including the gender continuum.