The Institute for Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is thrilled to announce that Deena Bregheith has been named our outstanding graduate student for the 2021-2022 academic year! Deena's commitment to the program, research, and fellow students makes her an ideal choice for this award. Read on to learn more about Deena and her experience with the Institute in the interview below.
My name is Deena Bregheith. I am a Fulbright scholar from Palestine. I have a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Bethlehem University. I am currently in my second and last academic year pursuing a master’s degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies (graduating May 04, 2022).
What has been your most memorable experience in the WGSS dept at GSU?
My overall experience in the WGSS department has been unparalleled. Throughout my graduate academic journey, I have acquired invaluable research tools that have altered the ways in which I seek and engage with knowledge. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the WGSS faculty who played a primary role in helping me succeed in the program. Their continuous guidance and generous support throughout my studies have pushed me to challenge myself and to spare no effort to ensure that I deliver my best work every time. I was grateful for as well as inspired by my professors’ teaching methods, and so I was determined to take what I learned from them into my own classroom working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Having the opportunity to teach for two consecutive academic semesters has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I have had so far.
The highlight of my graduate experience is receiving the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. What makes this award stand out is that I did not even know it existed before reading the announcement. Therefore, receiving the award without intentionally working for it was much-needed at the time to reassure me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I dedicate this award to Bethlehem University, particularly the faculty of the English department who helped me establish the foundations of my research skills and of my appreciation for the process of seeking knowledge. I would also like to extend my gratitude to my friends and family for always having faith in me, which is one of the biggest reasons that motivates me to keep pushing forward.
What is something useful you’ll take away from your time in the MA program in WGSS?
One of the aspects I appreciate most about WGSS classes is that all of them were centered on intersectionality. This approach allowed me to reflect on concepts I have been interested to learn more about such as solidarity and coalitional politics. More importantly, having this nuanced understanding of how interlocking systems of oppression operate has made me more aware of the fundamental significance of the work of decolonization. Particularly, it enhanced my commitment to and appreciation for Palestine and the Palestinian cause, which I did not think was possible because I was already fully dedicated to the cause, or at least I thought I was.
Any advice for prospective students considering a degree in WGSS?
I would definitely encourage anyone who is considering pursuing a degree in WGGS to join the program for two main reasons. First, you will enjoy rich class discussions that move beyond debating whether different forms of injustices are in fact injustices, to thinking about how they manifest in everyday life, in the language we use, in state laws and policies, and in the media, and then to consider ways to challenge these power structures. While participation in such processes can be any combination of being empowering, difficult, exciting and/or overwhelming, it is always necessary. In addition, because people who choose to pursue a degree in WGSS usually share similar standpoints along with an openness and willingness to learn about different perspectives, you will experience an immediate sense of community, where you will feel comfortable enough to be yourself and share your thoughts. This dynamic also helps in learning about how your peers navigate their distinct struggles according to their own lived experiences, which can offer valuable insight/s on how you lead your own life and on how to better avoid causing unintentional harm.