Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

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Alumni Profile: Marina G. Barcelo

Alumni Profile: Marina G. Barcelo

Marina G. Barcelo graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a dual master's degree in Social Work and Women's Studies and Gender Studies in 2012. She also earned a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management & Philanthropy.

Currently, Marina is the  Student Inclusion Coordinator at Portland State University's School of Social Work. In addition to her job, she is a board member of ACLU of Oregon, board member of Momentum Alliance, and coalition leader of We Are BRAVE. Marina spoke with WSGS about her experience in our program and life after graduation: 

I took a number of women's studies courses during college, and I knew that there was no going back! Loyola University Chicago was one of the few schools I found that offered a dual degree in Social Work and Women's and Gender Studies. I was extremely excited for the opportunity to blend feminist theory with social work practice.

I was hoping to develop and deepen my feminism, and build the skill set to apply an intersectional lens to my career in social work. I was hoping to dig deeper into the concepts of power, privilege, and oppression and how they impact our lives, individually and collectively. I also knew going in that I had a strong passion for reproductive justice, and I wanted to strengthen my analysis of body sovereignty and family security.

My WSGS education gave me the framework to ask the important questions: Who isn't at the table? Whose voices aren't being heard? What systems and structures have we created or perpetuated that keep people from being decision makers in their own lives? These questions have greatly informed my work in reproductive justice advocacy, community organizing, and non-profit management.

My advice to upcoming WSGS graduates: Center the leadership of those most impacted. Read and reread and read again White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun. And always come back to this Audre Lorde quote: "When we speak we are afraid, our words will not be heard nor welcomed. But when we are silent we are still afraid, so it is better to speak."