By: Angela Hernandez Veloza
Originally from a small rural town in the state of New Jersey, Krysten Lobisch, is a graduate student pursuing a Masters 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 at the Center for Multicultural Affairs and Student Success and the Coordinator for the Peer Mentor Program of this function area, where she matches freshmen and transfer students with a current college student who serves as support and as a resource at the university.
Krysten majored in Women and Gender studies at MontClair State University where there were only twelve students in the major. She then attended Rutgers University to pursue a PhD in Sociology, but left after one year of being at the university because it was not the environment she desired. Later on, she was accepted into the AmeriCorps Program through the Citizen Schools in the Springfield city middle school where she was the only white person. She also served at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in the summer as a teaching fellow, where she counseled families’ of color and special education students. She believes that these experiences, before pursuing a Masters’ degree, made her a stronger candidate with a better consciousness on social issues.
Krysten currently volunteers for the West Massachusetts AIDS Foundation and Speakers Bureau where she deals with queer issues and the kNOw MORE Program which is composed of middle school, high school, and college students who educate communities regarding HIV/AIDS and support those infected by the disease. The area of Springfield and Holyoke have high rate of AIDS. Those infected by HIV/AIDS have to take ten to twelve pills a day and are easily prone to catching a cold. Krysten also participates in an annual Christmas drive that has raised over 800 dollars in pet supplies for the local animal shelter.
On top of all this, Krysten teaches a class at Hampshire College on Law, Medicalization and Deviance. Through the master’s program at UMass, Krysten says that students will be able to learn about the homosexual view in the United States, where it used to be believed and diagnosed as a mental disorder. She takes classes on race, how race applies to gender, immigration, and eugenics. Krysten is looking to pursue a doctorate’s degree at the University of California-Santa Cruz in her chosen field of discipline.. Krysten enlightened me on issues going on around our area, such as racism and classism issues, and the rape issue in the Amherst area.
She encourages students to follow their passion regardless of what others may think, because in the end you will want a job where you work towards something you care about. Krysten Lobisch is an example of determination and passion for social justice issues.
Throughout her life she faced adversity and was able to explore and seek out opportunities. She has been able to obtain amazing job opportunities and be part of highly-selective programs that make a direct impact on society. At the end, just like Krysten, we all want to fight for something bigger than ourselves.