Women's and Gender Studies

Our Graduates

In the last 25 years, hundreds of students have graduated from the University of Alberta with a Minor, Major, or Honours degree in Women’s & Gender Studies.

Our graduates move on to a wide variety of careers:  Some undergrad alumni choose to continue their exploration of women’s and gender studies in graduate programs across Canada, abroad, and, now, right here in our Department.  Others have applied the knowledge gained here to professional training programs in areas such as law, social work, and counselling.  Still other graduates have taken up positions in government agencies, private corporations, and the non-profit sector (i.e. Lurana House, Edmonton’s Sexual Assault Centre, and Youth Empowerment and Support Services).  Among WGS graduates, there are writers and journalists, small business owners, and professors – the possibilities really are endless!

Here's what some of our graduates have to say about Women’s & Gender Studies… 


Jenaye Lewis

Jenaye Lewis

Jenaye entered the University of Alberta in 2010 with her major undeclared. She initially wanted to major in Drama with the intention of pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts, but eventually switched her major to Psychology, then to English, and lastly, to a double major in both English and Women’s and Gender Studies. She graduated with distinction in 2014, earning a Bachelor of Arts. During the interim period between her studies, Jenaye was employed as the Studio Director of a fitness studio in Southwest Edmonton, and she continues to work there part-time. Jenaye is currently in her first year of law at the University of Alberta.

Of the entirety of her undergraduate studies, one course, “Feminism and Sexual Assault,” particularly inspired Jenaye to pursue the study of law. For the Community Service Learning component of this class, Jenaye volunteered with CEASE (the Center to End All Sexual Exploitation) and found it incredibly rewarding. She currently volunteers with the Criminal Law Project for Student Legal Services and hopes that the experience will provide her with greater insight into the study and practise of criminal law. That being said, Jenaye is thrilled to begin her studies in various fields, and if her undergraduate experience is any indication, she will likely find herself interested in a wide variety of law. What will remain constant in both study and practise, Jenaye hopes, is the opportunity to aid and positively impact others.

Jenaye is grateful to have earned an undergraduate degree which focuses on interdisciplinarity, self-reflexivity, and a respect for and understanding of different perspectives. She truly believes that her experiences in her Women's and Gender Studies classes laid the foundation which prepared her for her studies in law. In five years, Jenaye hopes to have excelled in the J.D. program and begun practising in Edmonton.


Brenna Meade-Clift

Brenna Meade-Clift

Brenna completed her Women's Studies degree at the University of Alberta in 2011, then went on to complete a Master's in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia in 2013. Her MA research focused on the role of positive and negative affect in both the queer theory and legal rights approaches to LGBT social movements.

Brenna went on to complete law school at the University of Ottawa in 2016. Throughout law school, she volunteered through Pro Bono Students Canada with the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She was also an executive member of OUTLaw, the Faculty of Law's LGBT student organization. As of 2017, she is clerking with the Alberta Court of Appeal and will complete her articles with Field Law. Her gender studies background has been an invaluable asset, and has made her very aware of the need for continued anti-oppression work within the legal system. She is determined to keep this perspective alive throughout her career.


Dawn Nickel

After completing her Women’s Studies degree, Dawn Nickel went on to complete a Masters in Women’s History and PhD in the History of Health Care – both at UofA. She has worked as a research consultant specializing in policy and practice related to mental health, addiction and intimate partner violence. As a woman in long term recovery from addiction, Dawn feels compelled to help other women in recovery and is a professionally trained recovery coach and the creator of She Recovers. She started the She Recovers Facebook Page in the summer of 2011 and it is now the largest platform supporting women in recovery in cyberspace. The page has attracted over 260,000 engaged followers – 90% are females and the majority of those are between the ages of 24 and 54. In just five short years the She Recovers Website  has also attracted a large following of women through its blog and other offerings (including an international yoga and recovery retreat program and a line of recovery mala jewelry). You can learn more about She Recovers from an article written by Alicia Cook for The Huffington Post: Mother-Daughter Team Up To Empower Women in Recovery with “She Recovers” as well as from several articles published recently by Well + Good (NY and LA): The Plus Factor: The Rise of the Sober Social Scene and How to Have a Dry January.


Sarah Russell

Sarah Russell is a graduate of the University of Alberta with a major in Women and Gender Studies and a minor in English. Her passions include engaging in cultural issues and initiatives and conceptualizing feminism in an anti-racist and intersectional framework. Since graduating, she has worked on several diverse projects which include: developing a regional response at examining honor based violence through a feminist and anti-racist approach and supporting the Centre for Race and Culture as a Board Member. Sarah's recent work includes working at non-profit organizations that provides community support for people with multiple barriers to inclusion in inner-city Edmonton. She is currently working in child welfare and assisting with Accreditation project management. Her Women and Gender Studies education has allowed her to examine projects, programming and service delivery in a unique manner that pays close attention to how gender and race impacts the way in which marginalized populations access and navigate services. In the future, Sarah hopes to continue her work in the Edmonton non-profit sector and to work closely with diverse communities.


Noreen Sibanda

After graduating from the University of Alberta in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women Studies. Noreen Sibanda went on to work as Youth Settlement Counsellor at Catholic Social services where she advocated and supported newcomer families as they settled in Edmonton. In addition, developed programs to support women such as the Young Women’s group and the Beyond Ourselves program that where funded by the Status of Women Canada. Her connections with the University and Women and Gender studies department have also opened the doors for her to work with The Faculty of Extension- Community University Partnership (CUP) working on participatory youth engagement research projects for 5 years. She is currently completing a practicum for her Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology degree. She credits her success to the guidance and continued support of the Women Studies faculty that has always answered her emails and provided references for employment and graduate school.


Tara Sliwkanich

Unlike many of the stories we hear about social science and arts degrees being impractical or unemployable, before I had even completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in Women and Gender Studies (WGS) in December 2013, I had already ensured full-time employment at a local non-profit organization that works exclusively with women and girls. After working in the non-profit sector for a year and a half, my experiences and skills helped me to obtain a position as a Policy Intern with the Government of Alberta. The following year, I was able to obtain a permanent position working in the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Education Division at Alberta Education. Currently, I am a Senior Advisor with the Alberta Status of Women ministry working in the Community Capacity and Outreach Unit. My role involves establishing collaborative and meaningful partnerships between community organizations, private sector corporations, and Ministries across government to support community actions and government initiatives towards gender equality in Alberta. I am excited about further advancing my career in the Alberta Public Service because I am able to use my knowledge of intersectional feminist theories to center lived experiences and to think critically about how those experiences are impacted by larger systems and institutions and further, how we can find solutions to social issues through programs, policy, and legislation.

As a volunteer, I have nine years of coaching and sport instruction experience, specifically for girls. I am the Provincial Director for the Girl’s and Women’s Baseball Program where I promote and advocate for the development of girl’s baseball throughout the province and work with the National Girl’s Baseball Committee to support the development of girl’s baseball at the national and international levels. I work directly with girls aged 7-18 while additionally providing education and awareness to parents, coaches, and officials to support safe, welcoming, and inclusive spaces for girls in baseball.


Derek Warwick

In late 2015, Derek proposed a project to deliver a weekly violence prevention program to male-identified youth, and in early 2017—with the support of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton—Be Your Own Man has launched in four schools. In addition to currently serving on the board of Concrete Theatre, Derek has a number of abandoned (but not regretted) initiatives, including the short-lived Fresh, a literary series designed to highlight the non-fiction stories of marginalized writers.