Students learn about transforming activist learning into social justice careers

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On January 23, UW Bothell hosted the event “Transform Activist Learning Into A Social Justice Career,” a panel discussion, networking event, and resource fair. Co-sponsored by Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (GWSS), the Diversity Center, and Career Services, this gathering featured the voices of four professionals working in the social justice arena, three of whom are UW Bothell alumni, who discussed how they’ve translated their values and skills into meaningful careers.

In her opening remarks, lead organizer and GWSS faculty coordinator Dr. Julie Shayne explained that GWSS, the Diversity Center, and Career Services were motivated to organize the event, “because we want to support our student activists as they move closer to jobs and careers. We want to support those of you who want to figure out how to turn what you are learning in your classes into jobs. We want you to leave our classrooms and UWB empowered and energized not frustrated and jaded.”

The panelists shared their career navigations, offering practical advice and encouragement. Here are their bios:

Jessica Cole is Manager of Program Operations at UW Human Resources. Cole is a mother of three, a UW Bothell alum and the co-founder of The Parent Union at the University of Washington Bothell. Her main focus is on mothers gaining financial independence through access to higher education and affordable and high quality childcare. Cole holds a B.A. in Society, Ethics & Human Behavior (‘16), and is finishing her M.A. in Policy Studies this year. At UW Human Resources, she specializes as an information systems analyst and lead of parent resources at UW.

Salenna Green serves as the Programs Manager for the Abundance of Hope Center. Green graduated from UW Bothell in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Community Psychology. Growing up, she was inspired by her mother whom worked first as a Teacher and then as Youth Care Specialist. Green discovered her passion for nonprofit work after witnessing the impact her mother made in the lives of her clients.  Green is passionate about building up youth of color into leadership positions and Serves on the Board of African Women Business Alliance. As a woman of Nigerian decent, she is dedicated to social justice and applied equity.

Tobi Hill-Meyer is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Gender Justice League. She is an Indigenous Chicana trans woman with 15 years experience working in nonprofits, serving on boards, and consulting in nonprofit management. Hill-Meyer is editor of the anthology Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic, author of children's books A Princess of Great Daring and Super Power Baby Shower, and director of the award winning erotic documentary series Doing it Online. She earned her BA in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon.

Gracelynn Shibayama works as Member Relations Coordinator for KNKX 88.5 FM Public Radio.  She graduated from UW Bothell in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Media & Communication Studies. In her pursuits of a career in community media she found her calling while volunteering and later working for UWB’s university's radio station, UWave Radio.  Shibayama believes in the power of community and the goodness of people working together for a cause. Working for public media allows Shibayama to create safe spaces for civic conversations and new experiences where people can learn and connect with each other.

After the formal discussion, students had the opportunity to chat with panelists and visit with campus representatives to learn about resources to support their career pathways. UW Bothell offices and resources included: Career Services, Clamor: UWB's Literary & Arts Journal, Office of Community-Based Learning & Research, Diversity Center, GWSS advisor and student representatives, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences Graduate Programs, Office of Research, Campus Library, UWave RadioTremenda Diosa Radio, and The Parent Union. You can view photos from the event on the GWSS Facebook page.