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In Their Own Words

The WILL program at TCNJ was a critical part of my college experience.  It helped me gain confidence as a leader as well as provide me with innumerable networking opportunities.  WILL alumnae have been essential mentors in my life’s path, creating amazing opportunities for me.  I continue to work with WILL alumnae in my new job as an aide for one of the state’s representatives. The woman I am today is largely due to the four years spent with the WILL program.

Kari Osmond, ’07

Legislative and Constituent Aide

NJ 15th District, State Assembly

WILL was a stepping stone towards a lifelong career in feminist activism and academia. WILL helped me to marry the two concepts and recognize the  power of connecting academic feminism with the practical, everyday challenges of being a woman in today’s society. Acting as a fluid space through which to simultaneously act and    theorize, WILL has enabled me to develop the skills and confidence to comfortably negotiate the gaps, the in-between and the borderlands that is feminism today.  It is a program that allows students to connect and mobilize with one another, but it is also a place for self-reflection, support and guidance.  I continue to reflect positively upon my undergraduate experiences with WILL;  however, I have also found that the professional contacts, networks and support systems established with WILL students after  graduation that make this program so unique.  WILL is a fantastic program and I will be forever grateful for its establishment at TCNJ.

Emily Bent, ’03 PhD Candidate,

Global Women Studies, University of Ireland, Galway

I could have been at any other school until I joined WILL. It is a unique, welcoming, empowering program that not only shows bright, driven, opinionated women that there are others like them, but also gives them the opportunity to learn, share, create and feel the power of camaraderie, inspiration, service and social change. WILL has helped me embrace my womanhood, continues to present me with opportunities to attend world changing conferences, speeches and events, and makes me proud to say that I graduated from TCNJ. The WILL experience is one that I wish for every young woman who ever thought there might be something more to college than classes, cafeteria food and competition.

Honor Friburg, ’06

WILL has had an immense impact on my life. Not only did I make amazing friendships, but I have a greater sense of personal empowerment. If you ever face someone who asks, “what can you do with
Women and Gender Studies,” use the confidence you gained in WILL and say, “everything.”

Be proud of the knowledge you gained in WILL; be empowered by it and take it with you.

Amanda Merced, ’09

I have incorporated WILL in my structure of teaching as I design lessons based on cutting edge, provocative female artists.  Student’s in my digital photography course have learned about Barbara Kruger, The Guerrilla Girls and Shirin Neshat creating pieces that mirror the artist’s style. I am also always searching for deeper meaning in my lessons and world views. I have created  a CEU course which is an in-district graduate level course that I teach to other teachers that is 13 hours of material spanning contemporary visual artists to analysis of The Vagina Monologues.  The course is titled, “The Artist As Activist: Women Changing The World Through Visual and Performing Arts.” The course has run twice and I plan on re-offering it.

Jennifer Braverman, ’07

MFA Candidate Moore College of Art and Design

HS Art Teacher

The WILL program has definitely had an impact on my undergrad experience. It was a great supplement for my sociology major. WILL has also really had an effect on my post-college life. I work as a corps member for City Year Greater Philadelphia now, and learning about feminism and “the other” and feminist theory has totally helped me. I feel that it has helped me better understand and work with people.

Caryn Monta, ’09

More than anything else, I believe that WILL taught me to question. It forced me to ask why of many ideas and issues that I had never considered before because it was not acceptable to discuss them. WILL allowed me to broaden and improve my perspective more so than I think any other experience in college did. I am trying to bring this same concept to my classroom in encouraging my students to question and discover new ideas for themselves.

Trista Alstadt, ’07

English teacher, Ocean County VT Schools

WILL has had an unbelievable impact on my education, career, and life. While in the WILL program, I had numerous invaluable opportunities to impact my community as an activist. I also had opportunities to attend conferences and lectures related to my major. These experiences helped guide my career and enhance my undergraduate experience. I also met remarkable and inspirational women who have made a significant difference in the world. In addition, the theories and concepts I learned through the program have broadened my view of my community. I consider myself more knowledgeable and aware of societal and feminist issues. This knowledge ultimately empowers me to champion for change. The friendships I established in the classroom will last a lifetime. WILL is more than a program at TCNJ- it is also a sisterhood and a life-long bond.

Heema Tambakuwala, ’08

RN Morristown Memorial Hospital

It was my involvement in WILL that opened my eyes to the world of gender studies and allowed me to view biological research in a new light. With my background in biology, psychology, and women and gender studies, I became interested in sex differences in the brain.  In the past, most biomedical research was conducted solely in males but the information gained from these studies was generalized to the whole population.  In recent years, more focus has been placed on the importance of sex differences in biomedical research. Because of the insight I gained through the WILL program, I chose to focus my thesis work on sex differences within the drug addiction field. As a newly minted PhD scientist, I continue to bring my passion for women’s studies to my research. WILL also fostered my interest in the challenges faced by women scientists throughout their careers.  As a member of the Association for Women in Science I work closely with my local chapter in Philadelphia to enlighten younger generations with an interest in science, promote awareness about the challenges still faced by women in science and provide a forum that cultivates mentorship, communication and networking among our members.

Lisa M. Ambrose-Lanci PhD ’04 Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

WILL has instilled within me an intense consciousness of the complex, interlocking issues we face today, driving me as a young scientist to develop an integrative research focus which addresses a deep question aimed at enhancing the health and wellness of both humanity and our Earth.

Brittany Graf, ’08

Ph.D. student in Plant Biology

Rutgers University

The WILL  program had a profound impact on who I am and who I hope to become. When I entered college, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted out of life;  WILL challenged my expectations of myself and the world around me. The  WILL program grounded me in the realities of social justice and provided me with the tools to pave the way for future generations. Aside from its academic role in my decision to become a Women’s and Gender Studies major, the program  afforded me a community of like-minded individuals and Allies for the cause.  As for my focus/career after  college, the  WILL program simply provided me with the necessary support to realize that this is my life and I need to live it.  With this support, I have been able to pursue the career that I want, rather than the one encouraged by my family, my social background or my gender. There will never be enough or adequate words to express WILL ‘s impact on my past, present and future.

Ashley Reichelmann, ’07

MA Soc., University of Bristol ’09

WILL continues to make a tremendous impact on my post-graduate life. I carry a high standard for my performance and development in the workplace because WILL immersed me in a culture of accomplished, curious, young feminists. Through visiting speakers and internships, WILL gave me tangible examples of female success and allowed me to evaluate the many paths and sacrifices of each one. I ask questions, offer my opinions on business decisions and enjoy problem solving. Because WILL      informed my awareness on issues of pay inequity and the glass ceiling, I know that I cannot get “stuck” in any one job and obtaining a graduate degree is an important component of moving up. WILL also encouraged my sense of duty to other women at the local level. After graduation I joined my local NOW chapter, one of the most active in NJ. NOW members have been incredibly welcoming and always willing to share their wisdom from decades of tireless activism. In 2009 I took an elected position as a representative for the NOW PAC and was able to interview state candidates on issues most pressing to NOW. It was a thrill to spend some time on my passion for public policy.

Jessica Van Liere, ’07

Proposal Manager, Xeremis, Inc.

I smile when I think that my joining this organization was a matter of circumstances, fortuitous timing and chance. I was unaware of the full value of what I had absorbed as a member of WILL until I graduated and made my way out into the great big post college world. I have made my life’s work inspiring others, especially young women, to be their very best. Since graduating from college and WILL life has been an adventure; I studied at Penn for my MSW and at the University of Lapland in Finland, started my own business, I am a writer, a counselor, a coach, a speaker and  mentor and have found that there are ways to do good and work for positive changes in the world around every corner. The achievement of which I am most proud of is to be teaching a WILL track course at my alma mater. WILL has given me so much, I am now focused on giving back to WILL and its current members. This opportunity is a great privilege. I see the students in my class, WILL freshmen, with such energy and ambition and I feel that the future is bright.

Jill Appleheimer Enever, ’05


I ended up in the WILL program almost by accident. And I couldn’t be more grateful that I did, because this has become both my work and my passion. I have now worked the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault for the past four years, and I couldn’t be happier. I also made some of the best connections through the WILL program, and still stay in touch with many of the women who I met who continue to inspire and challenge me. This program has been an invaluable resource to me and has shaped my life. As I continue to read about how the program has grown and the work that is being done I am in awe of the women who join every year.  I am proud to be a part of this group of women.

Caitlin Stinneford, ’05

MA, Ed. Community Counseling TCNJ ’08