Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 6, Issue 1
fall 2015
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Alum Spotlight: Chamonix Adams Porter '15


In middle and high school in rural Colorado, I read second-hand gay history books and hoped that one day I might meet someone who would discuss them with me. When I came to Yale, I was astounded by the number of people in George Chauncey’s US Lesbian and Gay History class, enthralled by the lively debates in Joe Fischel’s courses, and drawn to the quiet conversations in the narrow corridor on the third floor of WLH. The WGSS major gave me something I had hardly thought possible: an engaged feminist community dedicated to using books and papers and discussions to create a more just world.

From 2012 to my graduation, I worked for WGSS Professor and Dean Melanie Boyd as a Communication and Consent Educator (CCE). The CCEs are undergraduates tasked with building a more positive sexual culture at Yale. Melanie and my other mentors in WGSS pushed me to find the links between my activist work as a CCE and my academic work. With their encouragement, I chose to write my senior essay on the CCE program and the ways that it reflects a changing relationship between educational institutions and the state. My mentors in WGSS didn’t see my undergraduate activities as a distraction from “real” work. Instead, they treated my political work as a central part of my scholarship, my personal experiences as important knowledge, and my undergraduate position as a strength.

I am now working at Yale full-time as a Student Affairs Fellow, supporting the CCE program and working to evaluate its impact on campus. Every day, I use the skills I learned in my WGSS classes: critical thinking, precise writing, and open dialogue. With the support of the incredible WGSS community, I am able to thoughtfully examine my own actions, and see working towards justice as an essential part of all that we do.  

Editor’s note: Chamonix was the 2015 recipient of the Wrexham/Heinz Prize for the best senior essay in the field of social sciences, and the
Elga Wasserman Award for a senior who has shown extraordinary commitment to the advancement of social justice and gender equality at Yale College.

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