By: Angela Hernandez Veloza
Originally from a small rural town in New Jersey, Krysten Ella Lobisch is a graduate student pursuing an M.Ed. in Social Justice Education and a certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She serves as the Graduate Assistant of Student Development and the Coordinator of Mentoring Programs at the Center for Multicultural Affairs and Student Success (CMASS), where she matches first-year, first-generation and transfer students with current college students who serve as support and as a resources at the university, as well as matching upper-class students with graduate student mentors in the Each One, Reach One program.
Krysten graduated in 2007 with a major in Women and Gender Studies from Montclair State University, where there were only twelve students in her major. Later on, she was accepted into the AmeriCorps Program working with the organization Citizen Schools at Duggan Middle School in Springfield, MA. As a Teaching Fellow, she also served at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in the summer where she worked to empower young women and provide interactive after-school programming. She believes that these experiences, before pursuing a Master's degree, made her a stronger candidate with a better consciousness on social issues.
Krysten currently volunteers for the Western Massachusetts AIDS Foundation, educating communities about HIV/AIDS prevention and supporting those affected by the disease. She also volunteers with the UMass Amherst Stonewall Speakers' Bureau where she speaks to students and community members about her experiences growing up as a queer feminist.
On top of all this, Krysten teaches a class at Hampshire College on Law, Medicalization and Deviance where she discusses social justice issues like immigration, eugenics, and the LGBTQ movement for equality. In the past she has taught courses on heterosexism and social research methods, and presented her academic work at conferences from California to Chicago and Connecticut. In the Master’s program at UMass, Krysten takes classes on race, gender, sexuality, and intersectionality, among other things, and has co-taught an Intergroup Dialogue course on gender. Krysten enlightened me on issues going on around Amherst, such as racism, classism, and rape culture on campus.
In her (rare) free time, Krysten enjoys reading, rock climbing, and hanging out with her awesome cats.
Once discouraged from pursuing work in Women's Studies because "the only thing you can do with that is become a lesbian," she encourages students to follow their passions regardless of what others may think. She believes that it is important to find a job where you can work towards something you care about. Krysten is an embodied example of determination and passion for social justice issues.
Throughout her life, despite personal challenges, she was able to always seek to expand her mind and discover new opportunities to make social change and grow as a self-reflective ally for groups different from herself. She feels privileged to be able to work with so many amazing students and be part of academic, career, and social programs that make a direct impact on society. At the end, just like Krysten, we all want to fight for something bigger than ourselves.