On Thursday August 22, 2013 Jessica and Erin finally made a trip to Seneca Falls: a trip in the works for over a year. As Women and Gender Studies majors, they understood the importance of this historical location and it’s place in Women’s history. Seneca Falls is credited to the birth of the Women’s Movement in America. Many historical figures including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott created the Declaration of Sentiments which stated that women should be recognized as equal citizens. Seneca Falls was later the meeting spot of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who tirelessly worked for women’s rights–ultimately culminating in women’s suffrage. Visiting this important site and experiencing the history of this location through a physical medium was more eye opening and rewarding than either of us had expected. This day was made even more historically pertinent by the unexpected visit of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. The chance meeting and fortuitous timing yielded a moment neither of us will ever forget. As their day at Seneca Falls came to an end, President Barack Obama, on a tour of Upstate New York to discuss college affordability, made an unannounced stop at Seneca Falls to a deliver a gift to the National Women’s Rights Museum. President Obama gave the museum a copy of his remarks on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the first bill he signed into law as President of the United States. This bill promotes equal pay for equal work despite gendered differences. This gift is more significant than has been recognized by the media so far as it shows that he has continued to acknowledge the fight for women’s equality. Being privy to this event was an incredible opportunity as it was only granted to 21 people and the employees of the National Park and Museum. Hearing President Obama’s remarks and seeing the Lilly Ledbetter Act provided him a continuing opportunity to establish his role in women’s equality, but it was after the official presentation and press that one could truly see his passion for the cause. Obama showed peaked interest in the artifacts and information contained in the museum proving his genuine passion for the cause. It was these moments that resonated the most for us and unequivocally made it a day we will never forget!
Freshman year of college at Rutgers University, Jessica and Erin moved in across the hall from one another. Both Douglass Residential College students, they developed a lasting friendship. Their friendship never dwindled and they became roommates for Junior and Senior year while they completed their degrees in Women’s and Gender Studies. Erin focuses on global politics, while Jessica focuses on body politics. While they were able to take a few classes together, their differing knowledge has provided easy collaboration and the ability to inform one another’s work.
Jessica graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences Honors college at Rutgers University where she majored in Women and Gender Studies with minors in Art History and Comparative Literature. She was a student athlete doing gymnastics for the first two years of college and continues to coach and choreograph on the side. Jessica is currently a master’s candidate at Syracuse University in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and concentrates in identity performance- specifically gender, sexuality and disability. She is interested in continuing in academia.
Erin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, triple majoring in Political Science, Public Policy, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She has focused her work on how non-profit organizations can create social change within the United States and abroad. Erin was the Director of Education for an emerging non-profit in Ghana, West Africa, where she lead an employment initiate for local entrepreneurs and tradesmen to continue sustainable development in the rural areas. Erin is currently applying to graduate programs in Public Policy.
Erin and Jess graduating from Rutgers