May 1, 2020

BLOG: Reflection by Hoyasforshe Fellow Natalie Gomez

This past semester I have had the opportunity to work with the Gender+ Justice Initiative as a HoyasForShe Fellow. As I approached my final year of college, my desire to make the most of my time at Georgetown was my priority, and I decided to do so by taking advantage of all the resources Georgetown has to offer.

Hoyasforshe fellow Natalie Gomez (C'20)
Hoyasforshe fellow Natalie Gomez (C'20)

During my  first three years at Georgetown, I had done work in education, immigration, and in labor rights, but I had yet to work in furthering gender equity which is something I am really passionate about. I was interested in an opportunity that would help me develop my professional skills, and meet more Georgetown faculty, staff, and other like minded individuals who wanted to further gender related issues. When I came across the HoyasForShe fellowship, I knew I had to apply. 

As a HoyasForShe fellow, I specifically applied for the Gender+ Justice Initiative because its mission most closely aligned with my own personal interests. The focus that the G+JI has on intersectionality is very important to me, as I believe that women’s rights need to take into consideration the differences in each woman’s experience in order to properly advocate for each individual’s needs. 

My role as a fellow has been to support the mission of the G+JI and to bring a fresh perspective to the organization. As a member of the undergraduate student body, I am aware of events, movements, and coalitions that other members of the greater Georgetown community might not  know about. Being able to bring this knowledge to G+JI and suggest programming for the G+JI, helps to effect change and to maximize the organization's impact. Additionally, I have been consistently working on updating our website and developing communication material. I have worked on making the content on the website more digestible, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. 

While the work I do has been quite rewarding and it has been exciting supporting a mission that I value, it has been the people I have come across that have made this experience memorable. From my first conversation with Melyssa Haffaf, the program director of the Gender+ Justice Initiative, I knew that I had come across a phenomenal opportunity being led by an even more phenomenal person. Our interview, which was scheduled to last 30 minutes on a late Wednesday afternoon, turned into an over an hour long conversation where we exchanged our interests and passions. We quickly discovered that though we came from very different worlds, we had a lot in common. Months later we still make the scheduling mistake of not putting at least an hour and a half minimum for our chats and check-ins. Since our first conversation in September, our relationship has grown and I have been very fortunate to have found a friend and mentor in my boss. Beyond our work check-ins about advancing the mission of the G+JI, I know I can always talk to Melyssa about personal matters. Creating these kinds of relationships with faculty emphasizes just how important the Georgetown community has been to my experience as a student and to my wellbeing. 

Natalie zooming with her boss and mentor, Melyssa Haffaf, program director of the  Gender+ Justice Initiative.
Natalie zooming with her boss and mentor, Melyssa Haffaf, program director of the Gender+ Justice Initiative.

While the work I do has been quite rewarding and it has been exciting supporting a mission that I value, it has been the people I have come across that have made this experience memorable. From my first conversation with Melyssa Haffaf, the program director of the Gender+ Justice Initiative, I knew that I had come across a phenomenal opportunity being led by an even more phenomenal person. Our interview, which was scheduled to last 30 minutes on a late Wednesday afternoon, turned into an over an hour long conversation where we exchanged our interests and passions. We quickly discovered that though we came from very different worlds, we had a lot in common. Months later we still make the scheduling mistake of not putting at least an hour and a half minimum for our chats and check-ins. Since our first conversation in September, our relationship has grown and I have been very fortunate to have found a friend and mentor in my boss. Beyond our work check-ins about advancing the mission of the G+JI, I know I can always talk to Melyssa about personal matters. Creating these kinds of relationships with faculty emphasizes just how important the Georgetown community has been to my experience as a student and to my wellbeing. 

When people ask me what the best part about Georgetown is, I always answer “the people.” My time at the G+JI through HoyasForShe has been another part of my Georgetown experience that contributes to that sentiment. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to end my Georgetown experience as a HoyasForShe fellow. I will leave Georgetown knowing that I did my best to embody the Jesuit values of being a Hoya for others.  

This post was prepared by Natalie Gomez (C'20) as part of the Hoyasforshe Student Fellowship.