Ashley Chavez-White, WGSS-Anthropology ’15

Having worked closely with my local church doing community outreach throughout my high school career, I was awarded the Pardee Full Scholarship from Bethany Presbyterian Church to attend the College of Wooster in Fall of 2011. I registered and entered my first year of college as a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. I was navigating in uncharted territories being a first generation college student. After medical issues arose my first semester, I found myself in over my head. I was unaware of the resources I could seek for help and fell behind in my academic work, which led to my academic probation.

Ironically, academic probation actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it put me in direct contact with Deans and advisors who were able to guide me toward an alternative way of working to achieve my goals. Mentors suggested that I take Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies (WGSS) and Introduction to Anthropology. After taking the courses for two weeks, I declared my WGSS major and shortly after my double major to include Anthropology. I had finally found a field—in fact, two fields – that I was truly passionate about! I found that I loved doing all the readings and research projects, which ultimately made me want to continue in higher education. I excelled and maintained a 3.5 GPA in my majors. I became more active during my last three years as an undergraduate student: I volunteered at a local women’s shelter and an AIDS Health Foundation, studied abroad in Amsterdam, Netherlands, became a teacher’s assistant in Introduction to WGSS, and was asked by the WGSS faculty to become a student WGSS Curriculum Committee representative in 2014-2015. In addition, I became a member of the National Women’s Studies Association and President of the College of Wooster’s National Women’s Studies Honor Society (Iota, Iota, Iota).