Our Stories

Multidisciplinary Studies Graduate, 2016 - Trevor Pollom

Trevor Pollom graduated in 2016 with a B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies (Focus Areas: Anthropology and Kinesiology). He is now a Ph.D. student in UNLV’s Department of Anthropology with a focus in Biological Anthropology. He is broadly interested in health, evolution, and human development throughout the lifespan. He spent the summer of 2017 in Northern Tanzania, working with some of the last hunter-gathers on Earth. His current research focuses on body composition, energetics, and physical fitness in juvenile foragers.

He explains the value of his IDS degree in this way:

"The IDS program prepared me for graduate school by teaching me the fundamentals of performing scientific research. The IDS program has less structure and greater flexibility compared to more traditional degrees, however, its core coursework requires that students learn how to formulate and execute original research agendas. The development of these skills as an undergraduate were imperative for 1) getting me into the graduate program of my choice, and 2) my early success as a graduate student."


Major Olympian — Amanda Bingson

Our student Amanda Bingson represented the U.S. in the hammer throw at the Olympics Games in London.

Bingson is currently majoring in interdisciplinary studies with areas of study in physical education and psychology.

"My degree has given me the opportunity to prepare for what I want to do after my career in athletics," she says. She hopes to use her experience and education to help future collegiate student-athletes meet their goals and aspirations.

She completed an internship at Texas State University in the track and field program under the supervision of throws Coach Greg Watson.

Amanda Bingson.

Social Sciences Graduate, Spring 2012 — Jackson Nightshade

I am currently a graduate student studying to become a licensed MFT through UNLV’s Marriage and Family Therapy program.

I find multiple things valuable about my interdisciplinary studies degree. Being already involved in trans* and gender nonconforming issues when I transferred to UNLV in 2009, I knew I needed a flexible program that would let me pull my interests in psychology, sociology, women’s studies, and anthropology together under one degree. Having an IDS option available allowed me to tailor my classes to fit my passions and interests while still receiving the structure I needed to keep me on a timely graduation path. As an unintended boon, my social science studies focus has given me an edge when it comes to grasping interdisciplinary concepts in my graduate classes.

The most valuable aspect of my degree though is the supportive and encouraging faculty and staff that continued to push me and embrace my ideas, even when I was ready to give up and take the easy path. If not for these wonderful individuals, my IDS degree would be just a piece of paper and two and a half years of school instead of something I will forever be proud of.

Jackson Nighshade.

Social Sciences Graduate, Spring 2012 — Cheryl Johnston

I am currently pursuing a master's degree in social work from UNLV. Even in the early stages of my graduate program, it is evident that the undergraduate interdisciplinary studies program has provided me with a solid foundation with which to continue to build my education. Interdisciplinary studies gives me the the tools necessary to combine varied subjects which will culminate in a final project — it is within this process that the methods of research are better understood and a student is more prepared to move forward in a diverse culture of work or higher education. I believe that the IDS program provides an opportunity for a degree that is more functional in our multi-dimensional world.

Cheryl Johnston

Business and Anthropology Graduate, Spring 2012 — Erica VanSteenhuyse

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in comparative theology at Loyola Marymount University.

Personally, becoming an interdisciplinary studies student was one of the best decisions I made in my academic career. The IDS program allows for more flexibility in class choices; therefore, the student can pick which classes will benefit them more in the future endeavors. For example, I transferred into the IDS program after I decided where and why I wanted to go to graduate school. I made the ultimate decision that I wanted to go to LMU, get my master's degree in comparative theology and eventually become a professor. Before the transfer, I was a business student; I met all of the requirements for the graduate program except for formal classes on religion. Thus, because I became an IDS student with a focus in anthropology as well as business, I was able to take anthropology classes that had a religious base (such as sociology of religion, American Buddhism, magic, witchcraft and religion, etc.). This degree format is what allowed me to properly prepare for my unique career path.

This major is not a simple one and should not be used as an "easy way out" of classes. If the IDS program is taken seriously and completed properly, many goals, achievements and knowledge can be obtained. This degree is perfect for those whose ultimate career goals are unique and require a different type of education.

Erica VanSteenhuyse

Women’s Studies Graduate, Spring 2012 — Irina Barrera

My name is Irina Barrera and I graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) with a bachelor’s degree from the Women’s Studies department in 2012. The Women's Studies Department at UNLV prepared me with the skills necessary to work as a Youth Worker in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Specifically, I worked with documented and undocumented Latin@ youth and was able to serve and advocate for/with them in their high school. While getting my degree I learned about intersectionality and how systematic oppression appears within various institutions, including schools. Using this knowledge I was able to create programs that supported our youth socially, emotionally and academically. I was able to produce interventions that built stronger connections between the parents, community and the school. Recently, I was accepted into the Master of Social Work (MSW) program and am constantly using the critical thinking skills and my feminist consciousness to learn and question racist, sexist and hetero-normative practices that are produced in the classroom. I am learning therapy skills within my MSW program, however when I graduate I will be even more prepared to work with marginalized communities as a social worker because of the skills I learned from the Women’s Studies department at UNLV.

Irina Barrera

Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate, Spring 2011 — Travis LC Wisdom

I majored in the Gender and Sexuality Studies programme at UNLV, and graduated in 2011. This programme has given me the necessary education and analytical tools to become instrumental in protecting children and other marginalised peoples from harmful practices at local, national, and global levels. During my undergraduate studies, I interned for several international non-profit organizations, presented research at conferences in the UK, Portugal, and Canada, and published articles on harmful practices and the rights of the child. In my final year, I chaired and organized an interdisciplinary conference on children’s rights, which was featured on a national documentary film tour in the US. Since graduating at UNLV, I have completed a M.A. degree in Human Rights, Globalisation, and Justice and a LLM (Master of Laws) degree in International Law: Crime, Justice, and Human Rights in the UK. In 2013, I was awarded the Patrick Thornberry Prize for Best Dissertation in Human Rights. I will pursue my Ph.D. in Australia in March 2015, and the dissertation will investigate the status of the rights of the child in international human rights law.

Travis Wisdom

Sociology and Women's Studies Graduate, 2006 — Diana Rhodes

I got a BA in Sociology and Women's Studies in 2006 (double major). Right now, I'm living in DC and work as the Associate Director of State Policy & Partnerships at Advocates for Youth, a national reproductive and sexual health/rights organization. My degree in women's studies laid the groundwork for my entire career, which has always included and needed an intersectional analysis of gender, race, sexuality and class. I've worked in the nonprofit sector for the better part of a decade on issues that affect women, youth, queer and communities of color — from grassroots to grasstops levels. My degree in women's studies and particularly my experiences at UNLV shaped my analysis and framework to do this work.

Diana Rhodes

Women’s Studies Graduate, Spring 2009 — Krystal Jackson

I attained the Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate in 2009. I also took a few undergraduate classes in WS at UNLV (I graduated with my Ph.D. in sociology in 2013).

As a feminist pursuing a sociology Ph.D. at UNLV, the WSGC provided me the space and ability to explore feminist theories and methods in great depth, and do so from an interdisciplinary perspective. The WSGC was instrumental to my development as a gender and sexualities scholar.

I graduated with my Ph.D. in 2013. I am currently an assistant professor of sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY (City University of New York). I was hired here in August 2013.

I am so happy that I have my WSGC from UNLV. I met amazing WomynTors and friends through those feminist graduate classes. I also believe that having the WSGC shows that I am a well-rounded scholar and professor. I am still connected to the professors and peers I met through the WSGC, and I am very thankful for my Vegas feminist family!

Krystal Jackson