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Dr. Alicia Johnson

She/Her/Hers
Director of Women’s Center, UW Oshkosh

Alicia’s Story

We talk a lot about first generation students…but then we don’t follow-up and talk about first-generation professionals. My story is not that unique. There are lots of first-gen students and professionals, but we don’t talk about it. We talk a lot about supporting first-generation students, but… we then don’t think about the continued impact, like navigating a professional workplace or not having parents or family around to share our experiences.

For me in particular, I have two brothers and neither went to college. I always joke with my mom that she has three kids and I have three degrees; one for each of her kids, but I get to keep the Ph.D. I think being a first-gen professional is important too. To get students to think about how their first gen identity doesn’t stop when they stop being a student or when they graduate is important to share. It is something they will continue to navigate.

Memorable Quotes

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It is easy for folks who have multiple privileged identities along with oppressed identities to navigate towards the oppressed identities but then not hold ourselves accountable for our privileged identities. For me, I try to actively think about how my identities as cisgender, heterosexual, and white are impacting how I analyze equity issues on campus and try to actively think through an intersectional lens.

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I am someone who respects space when space is needed…if women of color don’t feel comfortable talking to me about a particular issue, I hope, at minimum, that I am someone they could see coming to as a referral source. That I could connect them to someone who might intimately know what they are going through because I don’t have the shared experiences with everyone. For me…it is important through my actions that I position myself to show that I am, hopefully, a trusted person that will be a connector.