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Women’s Studies Spotlight

Lindsey Jagoe: Evaluating Her Place in the World

Lindsey Jagoe“What originally sparked my interest in Transylvania was the high rate of students who studied abroad.”

Just a short while ago, Lindsey Jagoe ’12 would not have believed she would spend several months after her graduation from Transylvania University studying organic farming in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. As a participant in the cultural exchange program World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), she has the opportunity to live with families in her host countries and learn more about the values of independence and sustainability she embraced as a student at Transylvania.

Jagoe chose Transylvania in part because she knew she would have many opportunities to travel abroad. And she did. Her sophomore year, she spent May term in the Philippines with economics professor Alan Bartley and chemistry professor George Kaufman. The students worked side-by-side with an international non-profit on a water purifying project and a micro-venture for local women. Her experiences in a developing country awakened her interest in the role privilege plays in society. As Jagoe explains, her “views and opinions of the world completely reoriented themselves.”

The following summer she spent a month in Istanbul with philosophy professor Peter Fosl. Her junior year she studied in Pune, India, for four months through the Alliance for Global Education. The program allowed her to apply what she learned in the classroom to the real world. While in India, she interned at a sex workers cooperative, which supplied counseling, medication, and sexual protection to women and men in the sex industry. Jagoe interviewed the workers in the red light district about why they frequently refuse to send their children to residential schools.

"Sexual health and violence are issues facing the entire world. I've learned that the way we deal with issues on our own soil can greatly affect the way in which these issues are approached in foreign countries."

It was in philosophy professor Ellen Cox's Feminist Philosophy class her sophomore year that Jagoe began to think about “various forms of masked privilege and inequalities within society.” She learned tools that helped her analyze her own place in society and how she interprets her surroundings.

This interest led her to the Strong Camps program of the non-profit Full Circles Foundation. In 2012 Jagoe worked as a program leader at the summer camp in Lexington for girls aged 11–15. The camp had three themes: Strong Self, which focuses on self-awareness, exercise, nutrition, sexual health, positive body image, and communication; Strong Neighbor, which focuses on community health and civic efficacy; and Strong Home, which focuses on ecoliteracy and the camper’s interdependent place within her environment. Founded in 2011 by Transylvania alumna Marcie Hawkins Smith ‘09, Full Circles Foundation strives to “build strong girls, a fair economy, and a healthy earth throughout the southeastern United States.” 

As a philosophy major and women’s studies minor, Jagoe appreciates Transylvania’s interdisciplinary curriculum. It gave her the freedom to grow intellectually and ethically while she considered problems from a variety of perspectives. “Transylvania professors and staff never pressured me to narrow my goals or quest for knowledge, but instead fostered my desire to understand the interconnectedness of all disciplines and inquiries. The interdisciplinary nature of a liberal arts education has prepared me to face unforeseen obstacles and circumstances and create positive community-based change.”

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