Elena Diller '17

What are you up to now?

Upon graduation, I worked at UVA's School of Law's Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy in Charlottesville, VA. While there, I served as a research assistant for a statewide public health project on advance care planning for mental illness. This past summer, I was a bioethics intern at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, NC. At the NIEHS, I attended seminars in human subject research ethics, observed Duke University Hospital's Ethics Committee meetings and helped to conduct a research project on the ethics of multidisciplinary authorship. Currently, I am scribing in an emergency room in Rome, GA and have applied to medical school with hopes of matriculating this coming fall semester.

Why did you decide to minor in WGSS?

I decided to minor in WGSS because I was interested in the ways that social constructs of gender manifest as differences in quality of life as evidenced by tangible measures such as education, employment and health outcomes. Although I did not know it when I first took the WGSS introductory course, WGSS prepared me to critically think not only about gender cross-culturally and on both macro and microscopic scales, but it also has helped me better understand other concepts like race, religion and even mass incarceration.

Do you find that your preparation in WGSS helped you do what you are doing now?

Absolutely! WGSS gave me the language I needed to describe and evaluate differences in the treatment of different groups of people, which has been helpful in my previous work with mental health policy and research as well as in my bioethics internship. Moreover, I know the skills I developed through my WGSS classes and capstone project will be useful in my future work in healthcare and public policy.

Any advice for current students?

WGSS and other minors like POV are extremely useful in the STEM fields. A lot of people like to group WGSS into the "humanities" corner, but gender plays a role in literally every aspect of human life, particularly medicine. You will be well served minoring in it regardless of your intended career path. Also, take advantage of all the WGSS related luncheons and talks. Not only is there really delicious free food, but it’s a great way to learn something new!