Ethnic, Gender, and Labor Studies graduate Mercedi Benien has decided to stay in the world of academia, accepting a position as the Budget and Administrative Specialist for Pacific Lutheran University’s Music Department. “My major supported by personal growth, and has prepared me to work in diverse communities, and has made me more passionate about working in an education setting,” says Benien. For now, Benien is focusing on her new position, but one day she hopes to return to UW Tacoma and enroll in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies Community and Social Change program.
Deciding to major in EGL was a no-brainer for Benien as it encompassed everything she aspires to be and helped prepare her for her new job. “Inclusivity, intersectionality, feminism, history, compassion, etch. are all frameworks of how I already viewed the world before my undergrad, and getting to expand on that understanding was invaluable,” she says, adding that education is an opportunity for career advancement, as well as personal growth.
Benien reports that her favorite classes at UW were taught by Associate Professor Dr. Luther Adams, specifically African American History and African American Religious History. “He has a unique teaching style that is based on in class dialogue and really helps us understand history from the perspectives of the people the history was about. He brought to life so many stories, and I loved learning in those courses,” she elaborated.
More than anything else, Benien will miss her friends and the experiences they had together at UW Tacoma. Although she wasn’t expecting to form such close bonds, she says she will “most remember the strong women that became my school community, helped me be successful, supported me through difficult times, and made me laugh every day.”
We wish her the best of luck in her new position and hope to see her in the MAIS program soon!