Women and Gender Studies Program

Alumni Profiles

GINA CAPRA graduated from USM's Women and Gender Studies Program in 2005.  She is currently working as a Women's Shelter Advocate at Family Crisis Services in Portland, Maine, a local non-profit that works to end domestic violence in both Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties. On the side, Gina is also coordinator of the Women and Gender Studies Alumnae Association- where graduates, faculty and staff of the program, have the opportunity to keep in touch, and stay actively involved with the department, through a series of social and educational activities and events, as well as through our Facebook Group and listserv. In her down time, Gina enjoys traveling, spending much time at the ocean, cooking, visiting with friends and being crafty!

KRISTIN ESPEY, After graduating in 2004 from the Women and Gender Studies Program, Kristin quickly found a position as an outreach case manager with Frannie Peabody Center, the largest community-based HIV/AIDS services organization in Maine. The agency works to prevent the spread of HIV and to provide support for people living with HIV/AIDS.  She reports that she has found the past six years as a case manager to be “an exploration of how to work with men; it has been most empowering, especially when working with prison inmates.  Through this work, I have learned to see issues through the perspectives of other genders/cultures, while continuing to believe that consciousness-raising for men must involve a feminist lens. A degree in Women and Gender Studies certainly has been a practical degree for me. Special thanks to Professors Chapkis, Feiner, Eagan, Wininger and Holden.  Each of you had a vibrant, personal flare when teaching; I think it's called ‘passion’.” Kristin and her partner Tina will be celebrating twelve years together this spring; they enjoy camping, snowshoeing, and sailing Casco Bay, and can be found at Portland's local dog parks and beaches with their “fur baby” London.

LIS JANES earned a BFA in 2007 with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and in 2010 she completed her MFA from SUNY New Paltz. Currently she is an adjunct faculty member at SMCC while pursuing her own body of work. She is also organizing an artist’s portfolio exchange to be exhibited at the June Fitzpatrick Gallery at 112 High Street during the last week of June. Sales of the portfolios will benefit the organization Cultivating Community. Updates for the portfolio will be posted to her blog: http://www.facebook.com/l/597bed169kwxqmoR_SLvEo5uew;slowpapermovement.b....

LISA MARIE LINDENSCHMIDT graduated from USM in 1997 with a Philosophy and Women's Studies degree. After working at USM for several years, she decided to devote her life to her passion:  food. She started " Rite Food and Company" (www.ritefoodandcompany.com) from a desire to ritualize food gathering, preparation, and consumption ("rite food") and to help abolish the shame and secrecy with which women, specifically, relate to food (being "in company"). This undertaking quickly split into three projects: Rite Chocolate (www.ritechocolate.com), Sweet Peas Podcast (http://www.ritefoodandcompany.com/Podcast), and Need To Rite (http://www.ritefoodandcompany.com/blog). Rite Chocolate is a line of spoonable chocolates created from raw, local, and organic ingredients. Each flavour is a story, telling of relationship, encouraging you to re-rite your own food stories. Sweet Peas Podcast is a weekly podcast produced by Lisa Marie, her husband, Jim, their daughter, Mo, and their miniature poodle, Edgrrr. The podcast chronicles their journey toward conscientious living through nutrition and sustainability. Guests are interviewed, recipes are shared, and the hard questions are asked. Absolutely no censors are allowed here. Need To Rite is a blog that Lisa Marie keeps as a storehouse for all her writings. Covering topics ranging from nutrition to authenticity of being, these articles hope to inspire others to question the paradigm and to step above it. Of her experience with the USM's Women's Studies program, Lisa Marie notes, "I never knew my story would be important to others. I never understood that sharing just one piece of my life could profoundly affect and alter another's. The Women's Studies program and its professors gave me license to explore those things that were kept hidden out of fear and ignorance. It was so much more than a degree: it was a license to freedom and joy."

HILARY MANUEL, BA Media Studies, Women & Gender Studies, 2008, has been busy and hard at work in Boston. She hit the ground running for her Master’s degree in Political Science at Suffolk University in September 2009, and defended her thesis a year later on the role of Iraqi media in the process of democratizing Iraq. This summer, Hilary put her studies to the test by running a field office for Rosa Scarcelli’s gubernatorial Democratic primary campaign. She is currently utilizing one of her hobbies, playing with computers and code, as a Data Integration Analyst for an online retailer. Hilary plans on attending law school in September 2012. 

JENNA MEHNERT graduated with a degree in Women’s Studies in 1993.  She went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995 and a certificate in Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr College.  In the 15 years since finishing school, she has worked for the Mayor’s Offices in NYC and DC, and Governor Rendell’s Administration in PA.  She is currently serving as the Executive Director of the PA Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.  In this capacity, she oversees all association operations and serves as the association’s primary lobbyist.  Jenna is married to Andrew and has three children, two dogs and a bunny.

STEFFAN MORIN moved to San Francisco in 2007 after graduating from WGS. In 2009, he received his MA in Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University and has taught Sociology of Sex and Gender at SF State. His current projects include radical homemaking and working with Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco to promote local, sustainable food systems. A committed disciple of all dairy products, Steffan spends his free time cooking and thinking about what to cook next!

APRILL NEWMAN graduated in 2006 with a Women’s Studies degree from USM. She has worked in reproductive health care for the past five years, where theory and activist practice intersect. She is also raising healthy, strong, feminist daughters and making art. She continually strives to maintain the evolving delicate balance that allows for family life, work in women’s health, and creative life to happily coexist. Of her years in the Women and Gender Studies program she observes, “I knew the major would be reading and writing intensive, which was exactly what I wanted from college. I also felt as though without an emphasis on feminist theory, I would simply be going through the motions; studying gender and feminist theory made academic work meaningful and important in ways that nothing else would have for me. The department and degree have informed so much of my life by providing a solid foundation of critical thought.  I am so much richer for the knowledge I gained.”

In 2004 ASHLEY NEWTON graduated with a major in Women and Gender Studies. During her time at USM she completed an internship with Literacy Volunteers of America teaching English to immigrant women from various cultures and served as a writing tutor at the Multicultural Center.  Since graduation she has been working in the workforce development field where she works with individuals with various disabilities to help them develop the skills necessary to enter competitive employment positions.   She is also in graduate school getting a Masters in Social Work. She says of her WGS degree, “The department provided me with a postmodern, feminist framework which I use to navigate my life, which in itself led me to choose a career path where I get to work with individuals who are marginalized and help them overcome their barriers and change their lives.”

MAX PROBST graduated from the USM Women and Gender Studies Program in 2001. Since graduation he has taught part-time as a Sociology and Women's Studies instructor at William Paterson University, Berkeley College, Warren County Community College, and Sussex County Community College in New Jersey from 2004-2009. He also worked at a peace organization part-time during this time period. Currently, he is teaching Sociology and Women’s Studies full-time at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania.  About his degree in WGS, he says, “I can't even tell you how many ways this degree enriched my life. Everything I do, everything I teach, comes from the feminist and conflict perspective that was developed in Women and Gender Studies classrooms.”

MICHAELA STONE is a 2003 graduate of Women and Gender Studies. During her senior year, she did an internship experience at the Family Violence Project and continued to work on their crisis line for a while after college. She then became a Licensed Social Worker and worked for a local child abuse and neglect council for years - supporting, advocating and teaching families. She currently works with low-income families as a Case Manager at Head Start.  She is also a mom and recently completed a sprint triathlon with an amazing group of women.

LAUREN WEBSTER graduated from the Women and Gender Studies Program in 2002 and completed her American and New England Studies MA in 2007. In her capacity as Assistant to the Director of Women and Gender Studies she revamped the program’s website (http://www.usm.maine.edu/wgs) this summer and managed the office as usual. In her creative double life, she launched an online jewelry store for her designs and spent beautiful summer weekends camping, hiking and sailing.