AWS Student Profile

AWS Current Students

AWS Alumni

AWS Students

After completing two Bachelor's degrees in Religious Studies and Sociology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY in June of 2004, Alexandra Bastian joined the AWS program in Spring of 2005. Alexandra is independently active with Human Rights Watch and various Animal Rights programs in the Los Angeles area serving as an advocate for a domestic violence prevention program and involving herself with events such as Take Back the Night and The Vagina Monologue. She has also interned with the Aspen Institute.   At CGU she is focused on women's and feminist religious movements and plans to work in the human rights non–profit sector and pursue a PhD in the near future.

Susan Christensen joined the AWS program in 2005. She graduated with Honors from Cal State San Bernardino with a degree in Sociology and aspires to attain her PhD in either Religion or Education upon completion of the AWS Masters Program. Susan produced and facilitated workshops supporting the development of self-awareness in women while attending Cal State San Bernardino.  She has also been instrumental in facilitating workshops on college success in conjunction with the EOPS department at Victor Valley College.  Susan has given her time to facilitate the Peer Group at a domestic violence shelter in the High Desert area. She is currently the Personal, Social and Vocational Adjustment Instructor for Goodwill of Southern California. This position provides her the opportunity to work closely with adults considered to have employment obstacles as they journey through self-awareness leading to education and/or employment. First and foremost, Susan Christensen is a poet. Chronicling her life in poetic form, Susan has been published and recognized for her expressions. She uses poetry to exercise her spirit and as a tool in motivating those she educates. "Inspirational" and "influential" have been words used to describe her teaching style. Susan is a proud grandmother of four.

Tatiana Lawler Sweeney is currently pursuing dual Master of Arts degrees in Applied Women’s Studies and Education.  A Southern California native, Tatiana graduated with honors from UCLA’s Women’s Studies Program after studying at the City University of New York Hunter College and the American University of Rome in Italy. As an undergraduate, Tatiana received an activist scholarship by Choice USA to attend the Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute and was a recipient of the Constance Coiner undergraduate award for outstanding dedication to the field of women's studies. Her most recent award, a scholarship to participate in the 2005 Emily's List conference to develop strategies for Democratic women and political candidates is a demonstration of her continued dedication to politics and feminist activism.


She continues to work for the School Based Education Program of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles where one of her special projects includes the development and implementation of a new comprehensive sexual health curriculum for middle and high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has just completed her short–term appointment as the Los Angeles-based consultant for the U.S. Committee for UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) where she successfully organized events for the Family of Woman photography exhibit, including a film exhibition and panel discussion.  Tatiana currently resides with her husband in Los Angeles and enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.



Born and raised on Capitol Hill in the heart of Washington, D.C., Tara C. Robinson earned a Bachelor's in Women’s Studies and Art History from Vassar College in 2001. With no theatre experience, Tara and her good friend Liza Henry initiated, produced and directed the Vagina Monologues at Vassar in 1999 and 2000 as part of the V-DAY college initiative, a tradition which continues annually at Vassar. After graduating, Tara spent a year in a small town in Southern Japan teaching conversational English to children and adults, discovering that you can indeed make a pumpkin pie in a toaster by using the “tempura” setting. After returning to Los Angeles and serving as a volunteer case manager for the Downtown Women’s Center while employed as an office manager in a small professional law office, Tara applied to graduate school at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working towards a dual M.A. degree in Applied Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies. With fellow AWS student Tatiana Lawler Sweeney, Tara is involved in a student-led project approved by the steering committee to restructure and enliven “Feminist Research Applications” (AWS 300), which will be implemented Fall 2005. Tara plans to use this experience as part of her Master’s Thesis for Cultural Studies, which strives to answer the question, “How do you teach feminist activism?”


AWS Alumni


Elizabeth Green   graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Saint Michael’s College. She is a recipient of the American Association of University Women Award for promoting equity and education for women at Saint Michael’s College, especially for her work as the Director of the Saint Michael’s College Women’s Center where she was responsible for establishing, overseeing and running the center while a student there. Her commitments as a college student included volunteering for the Women’s Rape Crisis Center as a rape hotline counselor and designing and maintaining a bulletin board to spread information about the Gender/Women’s Studies Minor program at Saint Michael’s. Eli is currently the Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Education and Prevention Program at My Sister's Place in New York.


As a student in Taiwan, May Hwang  earned one of the country’s top academic awards as well as scholarship and proceeded to finish her B.A. in Political Science at National Chenghi University in the 1970s. May was the only woman in her class when she was accepted for graduate study in political science at National Taiwan University. She published her master’s thesis  “Women’s Political Participation in Taiwan–An Interview Research” in 1979. She hopes to earn a PhD in Political Science and believes that the Applied Women’s Studies program would help her focus on the participation of women in the political structure and to compare their situations in China and the U.S. She graduated from the AWS program in January 2002.


Natasha Kachirski Maxwell graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business Marketing. Her life would have continued down that path had she not spent half of her senior year studying in Oxford, England. The lessons learned in 0xford regarding the value of education for the sake of learning forced Natasha to take a year off after graduation and reassess her role in education. A family person to the core, Natasha could not imagine leaving again to study so she found the closest thing to Oxford in California, the Claremont Colleges. One of Natasha’s other interests is snowboarding; it is a sport she has participated in for ten years. Since the Applied Women’s Studies program calls for an internship, Natasha knew she found her calling when she met the director of Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC), an alternative sports breast cancer foundation. Natasha lives in a mountain community and was asked to coordinate and run a ski and snowboard event that raised money for B4BC. The event consisted of participants getting sponsors to ride and join the mountain for a day of fun for a good cause. Natasha coordinated bands that played all day, catered food for the day, provided educational booths, ski and snowboard demos, and much more. The event was a success, raising thousands of dollars for B4BC, and Natasha has committed to running the event again this year. Without the Applied Women’s Studies program, the opportunity to take part in such a great foundation would never have surfaced. Natasha is grateful to Claremont Graduate University and the AWS program for all they have provided her with. She could not have had this experience elsewhere. 


Kathryn Sarah Reuter came to the program with several thinking caps to use with her Bachelor's degree in Psychology/Religion and Theological Studies from the University of San Diego as well as an MA in Religion from the Claremont School of Theology, and has participated in campus leadership around queer, cultural, and justice issues for eight years.  Kathryn is passionate about feminist, queer, and global politics, labor rights, and economic justice, and advocates sweat-free sustainability in Los Angeles.  Faithfully committed to social justice, she is deeply influenced by engaged buddhism and views the personal as political. During her tenure in Applied Women’s Studies, Kathryn studied radical feminism, feminist jurisprudence, sexual difference and the state, U.S. immigration policy, africana studies, and (queer) diaspora.   Kat currently works for the Children’s Collective Inc. where she assists in a grant writing team and does community outreach.  She strives to expand her political horizons as a feminist and global activist and may be contacted at  Her publications include an in brief of States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance, Eds. Susie Jacobs, Ruth Jacobson, and Jennifer Marchbank, Journal of Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies (New York, London: Zed Boks, 2000). Claremont Graduate University. She was also a featured article writer for the Theolog (Claremont School of Theology) and Outspoken (Claremont Colleges).

Janice Jadedeah Sugguiyao Shiu holds a BS in Community Development cum laude from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. As a development worker, she has interacted with various sector groups in the Philippines but had the most intense experience with a fishing community in Anda, Pangasinan when she helped in the participatory rural appraisal and community organizing efforts of the University of the Philippines Community – Based Coastal Resource Management. Her initial reaction to moving to California and living in the United States is captured in her essay that came 2nd place in the 2000 I-Student City Essay Writing Contest. After finishing her MA in Applied Women’s Studies in 2001, Janice started work as the Student Coordinator for the Applied Women’s Studies Program while pursuing her PhD degree in Political Science at Claremont Graduate University. She was awarded the 9th Margaret Regan Memorial Award for exceptional graduate woman student during the 2004 International Women’s Day celebration of the International Place of the Claremont Colleges. She is inspired by the example of her pioneering grandfather, a Kalinga (an indigenous group in the Philippines) who was one of the first few educated people of his tribe. Janice dreams of establishing a Girl Activity Center in her province to provide empowerment programs for young adults.

Michelle Wester came to the program with a Bachelor's in English and Spanish from the University of Utah and an MA in American Studies from Utah State University. She is currently a PhD student in English at CGU  and earned her MA in Applied Women’s Studies as a dual degree student.

The Winter 2003 edition of The Flame (magazine of the Claremont Graduate University) features Nora Vargas in the article: Knowledge Beyond Disciplines.

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