Irma Dotto, who majored in Sexuality Studies and Psychology, has taken her academic training in Sexuality Studies in impressive directions. In the fall of 2013, as part of her Sexuality Studies major, she completed an internship at Hittle House, a residential treatment center for sexually traumatized boys, under the guidance of Professor Ray Montemayor in our Psychology department. In this position, she provided clerical support and helped to run group therapy sessions. This experience helped solidify her future plans to complete an MSW program and work with sexually traumatized youth. Irma explains: “I was toying with a few ideas of grad school; I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go into. Working [at Hittle House] has really helped clarify that I want to go into Social Work and work with sexually traumatized youth. My internship really helped focus on that.”
Irma has excelled both inside and outside of the academy. She worked with Dr. Amy Bonomi (formerly of OSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Science, now at Michigan State), and three other researchers on undergraduate student attitudes on health and sexuality as connected to the popular book series 50 Shades of Gray. This research is currently in the process of being published in a scholarly journal and has been presented by the authors at a number of conferences, including by Irma at the 18th Annual Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma conference held in San Diego in September of 2013. Irma is currently a Disability Claims Adjudicator working for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities in the Social Security Division of Disability Determination.
Irma credits much of her success to a change in thinking due to her experience in Sexuality Studies. “The biggest thing that I’ve gotten out of it is a new perspective of thinking and analyzing things. I never realized how much Sexuality is a part of every aspect of our culture and the classes that I’ve taken have really changed my views on things. I’m much more open. I can’t even believe how I can process things because of these classes, they’ve really been an eye-opening experience.”
Megan Chawansky received her Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Humanities, along with a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Sexuality Studies, from Ohio State in 2008. While a graduate student at OSU, she helped to develop and taught an upper-level/graduate student course in Sport and Sexuality (now Kinesiology: Sport Industry, Sport Management 5614), which has become very popular with Sexuality Studies minors, majors, and graduate students. After serving for two years as a postdoctoral research officer at the University of Bath and for a year as a lecturer at the University of Iowa, Megan is currently a lecturer in the School of Sport and Service Management at the University of Brighton. She reports that she is “still very glad to have chosen” the GIS in Sexuality Studies and finds Brighton to be a “great place to be for research on sexualities; we have a good history of community activism around the topic.” For example, last year she was on the organizing committee for the Lesbian Lives conference at Brighton, and she is involved with the LGBT Queer Life research hub on campus.
Megan has been publishing in the field of Sexuality Studies and is especially proud of two publications that have their origins in her graduate work at OSU. One paper, “Wanting to be Anna: Examining Lesbian Sporting Celebrity on The L Word,” recently published in Journal of Lesbian Studies, got its start in Professor Jim Sanders’s Art Education 5835: Visual Representations of LGBT Subjects class. It was co-written with Jessica Francombe. The second paper, also co-written with Francombe, is entitled “Cruising for Olivia: Lesbian Celebrity and the Cultural Politics of Coming Out in Sport” and was published in 2011 in Sociology of Sport Journal.
Megan’s current research focuses on the transnational sport for development and peace movement, and she was a fellow of Women Win, a program director for PeacePlayer International-Cyprus, and a development intern at the Women’s Sports Foundation.
We are very proud of Megan and her many accomplishments; she has clearly put her GIS in Sexuality Studies to good use!
Grant Underwood, Ohio State Class of 2009, graduated with majors in English and Music and minors in French and Sexuality Studies. After graduating, he taught high school English in Maryland on behalf of Teach For America. After two years in the classroom, he joined Teach For America staff as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development, where he supported and coached English teachers to set, execute, and reach ambitious academic visions for students in Washington, D.C.
In fall 2012, Grant will pursue a Master of Divinity at Yale University; at the same time, he will serve St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Madison, Connecticut, as their church Music Director. Although Grant has not worked primarily in a field involving sexuality studies, the minor has given him important perspectives and tools that he uses to navigate his life thus far in education and religion.
Ena Brnjic double-majored in Psychology (B.S.) and Sexuality Studies (B.A.), and graduated in 2012. In her 4 years at OSU, she was involved in many organizations on and off campus, but the two areas that she focused on the most were LGBTQ rights and sexual assault awareness and support. She was a member of HRC@OSU for 3 years, and served as Social Coordinator during her sophomore year and Co-Chair in her junior year, and helped plan events such as bringing The Real World contestant Mike Manning to campus to talk about his coming-out experience on the show. She was also involved with the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO), volunteering as a hospital advocate and interning with the organization during spring quarter 2011 for her PSYCH 489: Internship in Psychology course. With these experiences and the coursework she took as a Sexuality Studies major, Ena was able to get directly involved in both LGBTQ and sexual assault awareness events and narrow her research interests.
Ena is pursuing a Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) and a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Of this path, she says, “I hope to study how jurors’ perceptions of sexual orientation affect their decision making in sexual harassment cases, and how attributions of blame in sexual assault cases change based on perceptions of sexual promiscuity and sexual orientation of the survivor. Eventually, I hope to teach at a university about these issues and other issues in psychology and the law, and also work as a consultant to the legal system about these issues.”
Of her academic experience at OSU and her future graduate work at University of Nebraska, Ena reports, “I am beyond thrilled that both of my majors blend together in such a way in my graduate studies. The unique interdisciplinary approach to the Sexuality Studies major allowed me to study many issues from differing points of view, which is an extremely valuable skill to have in studying the legal system in particular.”
We congratulate Ena on all her accomplishments as an undergraduate at OSU and within the Sexuality Studies Program, and wish her the very best in graduate school and beyond. We have no doubt she will make her mark in the world!
Jared Brayton Bollenbacher graduated with a degree in Sexuality Studies from OSU in 2007, which at that time was a Personalized Study Program built off the Sexuality Studies Minor. Since then, he returned to school and graduated with his Masters in Social Work in 2010 from the University of Washington in Seattle. During his time in school, he was able to use the knowledge gained from his Sexuality Studies Major in working with Seattle’s LifeLong AIDS Alliance Youth MPowerment Program and with the Harborview Medical Center’s Madison Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic focusing on individuals dealing with HIV/AIDS. Since graduating from Washington, Jared took a job at Harborview Medical Center in their Inpatient Social Work Department, where he often deals with difficult cases of new HIV diagnoses and Legal Next of Kin (LNOK) questions when the relationship fits outside of the definition of marriage. Along with his Social Work job, Jared is the Artistic Director of Seattle’s Diverse Harmony, the nation’s first youth GLBTQ community choir. The position allows him to serve the youth with his music background, but also by supporting them as LGBTQ youth.
Since graduating from Ohio State in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Sexuality Studies as well as in Human Development and Family Science, Lauren Brewer's professional experience has highlighted the increasing importance of sexuality studies within the medical field. As a coordinator at Lifeline of Ohio, her job includes considering the many aspects of a person’s life that will dictate whether or not they are eligible to be an organ or tissue donor. Combining current public health requirements and her sexuality studies knowledge, she reports finding herself better able to address the concerns of families and health care personnel, which is especially crucial given what she has experienced as the lack of exposure to sexuality studies in the medical field.