This semester is slowly coming to a bitter sweat end, and this will be my last blog post as the Women’s Health intern in our wonderful Women’s Studies Center community. This year, my third, has so far been my best year at Colgate. In all honesty, I was extremely unhappy at Colgate for my first two years, but the Center became my second home and the ties created through the Center helped foster a sense of belonging to the greater Colgate community. I am extremely fortunate to have an active role in the Center as the Women’s Health intern, which is one of the main reasons for my current, more positive outlooks of Colgate. I’m sure many of you feel similarly, even if you only come to the Center for our weekly brown bags!
A form of feminist methodology includes and values the lived experiences of women, so I will share some of my personal experiences with you all. If you do not know or remember who I am, my name is Valerie Garcia. I am Latina of Puerto Rican decent; I am from the Bronx, NYC; I come from a working class family; I am a cisgender woman with she/her as my preferred gender pronouns; I am a biologist; a feminist; a social justice seeker. Come talk to me if you want to learn more.
I am a Molecular Biology major with a Women’s Studies minor (shameless plug: become a Women’s Studies concentrator! Especially those of you who are 2015). Usually, the response I get from people is “oh, that’s cool,” although their faces are saying, “oh, that’s random.” And it kind of is! I am still searching for a way to incorporate the two things I enjoy, biological research and social justice, into some sort of cohesive career. I do not want to, nor should I have to, favor or choose one over the other. So if you have any ideas, I am open to your suggestions! No, seriously, I can use all the help and ideas I can get.
Well, this upcoming summer I will begin my journey with an internship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, which I will continue with the Colgate off-campus group in the fall. At the NIH, I will be working in a laboratory with some top researchers, so it is pretty legit. Yes, I’m a little sad I will miss my last Colgate fall, but I am very excited for this journey, because it a very prestigious opportunity. I will also gain insight into something I have always been interested in becoming, a biological researcher (a.k.a. lab dweeb) at an institution that focuses on this work.
While planning to work in a lab, one of the things that always cross my mind is, how can I do feminism in that type of environment. Although I practice small acts of feminism on a daily basis, I want more. I am constantly asking myself how can I take my WMST knowledge and combine it with biology? Does this combination exist? In what line of work can I fuse my interests and passions? Where does social justice meet biology?
Don’t get me wrong, there are several options: working in women’s health center, a reproductive health center or policy change. But these routes do not fully meet my needs and interests. Some days I want to just work in my own laboratory. Other days I want to teach science to youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Some mornings I wake up wanting to be a professor at an institution like Colgate. Other mornings I want to make really radical artwork and tell the world the truth about feminism, fight the stereotypes and stigma that surrounds the “F-word.”
I still don’t know. And it’s okay, because I have some time to figure it out. At least that’s what I am trying to convince myself of. Come have a conversation with us at the Center, and lets figure it out together. One way I have tried to reconcile my passions is through my involvement with the Center as the Women’s Health intern. This has been a great experience. I am so proud to be an intern at Colgate’s Center for Women’s Studies.
- Valerie Garcia