WGST Alumni Make a Difference
Justine Morelli ‘18
For an update, I am still living in Columbus, OH and I am working as an administrative assistant with the Division of Hospital Medicine at the Wexner Medical Center. I still work part time as a health care assistant at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio as well. In August, I am starting a graduate program at The Ohio State University! I got accepted into the Master of Social Work program and I will be focusing on mental health and substance use. My hope is to become a clinical social worker in a hospital setting one day.
Hannah Fishkin ‘19
I moved back home to the Chicago area where I, without surprise to myself or my family, went back to the circus. Before enrolling at Denison, I was a circus performer and instructor in Evanston, IL. I work for a social and emotional learning “social circus” called CircEsteem. In my role as program coordinator, I plan and facilitate circus programming for youth from ages 5 to 18. CircEsteem teaches cultural competency, leadership, community values and accountability through the practice and performance of circus arts. When I’m coaching and training, I specialize in aerials and contortion and have the great pleasure of coaching alongside a fellow Denisonian, Kelly Maryanski ’10.
The knowledge I gained during my time in WGST has helped with my current work in youth development immensely. By broadening my perspectives and teaching me how important it is to be culturally and emotionally competent, the WGST program prepared me to enter the nonprofit (and restorative justice) work I always wanted to be a part of. Continuing my social and emotional work online has been quite the challenge, but with new technology CircEsteem has been able to stay in contact with many students while providing housing, food, technology and homework assistance to all of their community. Personally, I have made many deliveries of juggling equipment (and masks) while CircEsteem has been passing out shelf stable prepackaged food to families and community members in Chicago. I am forever grateful for the encouragement of my professors especially Dr. Gill Miller, Dr. Hanne Blank and Dr. Toni King.
Jayla Johnson ‘19
After graduation, I accepted a summer internship in the Community Health department with Mercy Health in Cincinnati, Ohio. After the internship, I stayed with Mercy Health and joined AmeriCorps as an Addiction Navigator. My role is to provide patient education on the opiate epidemic in the emergency department of Clermont Hospital, screen patients for substance abuse, and counsel patients on treatment recovery options. It’s very hands-on, and fast-paced, and I absolutely love it. I also coach gymnastics to young children for fun! My manuscript, “Race, Risk and Maternal Health: Examining the Role of Racism on the Maternal Mortality Rate Among U.S. Black Women,” is set to be published this summer by an online journal of feminist scholarship called There is No Hierarchy of Journals: Intersectional Feminist Perspectives. This fall I will be applying to Master in Public Health graduate programs, where I want to specialize in women’s and reproductive health, and racial equity in public health.
Lan Vo ‘19
I have been working for Summit Education Services where I help high school students prepare for college application and undergraduate life. My experience as a WGST major has allowed me to help me approach my students from different backgrounds in order to prepare them for the application process and undergraduate life overseas. It has helped me better understand and encourage my students to write and articulate their own experiences as part of marginalized groups in Vietnam.
I am heading to the University of York for a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies in September. This is a life-long pursuit of mine ever since I declared myself a WGST major back in 2015.
The knowledge gained from being part of the WGST discipline has helped me deconstruct the many “hidden” challenges during this pandemic. I have been holding online conversations about domestic and intimate partner abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, when everyone is encouraged and/or ordered to stay home. My questions include: What does this mean for those who are experiencing abuse at home? How will being forced to stay in affect their chance of survival? How can they navigate themselves to safety when now their abusers (be it intimate partners or abusive family members) are always a few doors away? How do we be of support to those who are left in an even more vulnerable state of living amidst this pandemic?