Leveling up in women's Studies

With such a diverse campus, variety of athletics, clubs and centers for students to participate in, it's no surprise Santa Monica College offers students over 40 degrees to explore and choose from-including the recent addition of an Associate of Arts degree in Women's Studies.

If studying the history of women and social change is where you see your future career, then an A.A. in Women's Studies is the way you want to go.

Women's Studies, for those who are unfamiliar with the concept, is an inter-disciplinary academic program focusing on gender specifically through the lens of women, women scholars, and women who lived through significant experiences.

"The development of Women's Studies is a collaborative team effort between the Women's College and the Women's Advisory Council," said Christina Preciado, assistant professor of the Social Science Department and faculty leader of the Women's College. Guido L. Davis Del Piccolo, sociology instructor, is helping with the program as an active member of the Women's College Advisory Council.

With the help of the Women's College and Women's College Advisory Council, together they achieved success with the authorization of an A.A. degree.

"We've wanted this for many years. It's been a long, long, long process," said Preciado.

Surprisingly though, the deciding factor was not up to various board members, but to the high demand of student requests.

Though the degree may be a new fixture in the SMC college catalog, Women's Studies is not new to the estimated 400 students that take courses or partake in activities within the Women's Center and Women's College on campus.

Though both organizations are helpful to the student body, there is a slight difference between the two.

The Women's College offers academic support to the students, whereas the Women's Center is geared towards providing students with assistance in services such as counseling and tutoring.

For socially inclined students there is also a very active Women's College Student Association (WCSA). Malena Traverso is the president of WCSA.

If your goal is to pursue this A.A. degree, it requires the completion of 37.5 units of SMC's General Education and 22.5 units required for major.

Some of the courses required are: Women's Studies 10, Intro to Women's Studies; Music 35, Women in Music, and English 39, Images of Women in Literature. And for those who prefer to transfer, the courses meet both the UC and CSU transfer articulation requirements.

Although the degree was just recently approved, it doesn't mean students have to wait months to reap the benefits.

"The degree has been approved and will be available as an Associate of Arts degree beginning Spring 2005," said Cassandra Patillo, Transfer Center counselor.

Because of the recent approval, several students, even those within the Women's College, didn't know the A.A. degree was established, but were more than willing to voice their opinions.

"It's great, it expands what students are capable of studying and it's great for some students who aren't looking for a B.A., just an A.A. for their careers," said Monica Hunt, 20.

"I think it's awesome. We've been fighting for this for so long!" said Carla Garcia, 21.

With more students entering Women's College, planners hope the program will continue to grow profusely throughout the following years.

"The history of Women's Studies is the history of activism. Now with the A.A. degree the Women's Studies program will be stronger," said Preciado

The new added A.A. degree comes just as March arrives to celebrate Woman's History Month. SMC and co-sponsors UCLA will also show a screening of "Precious Stones" on March 8..

"Even though Women's History Month is in March we must understand that diversity based on race and gender shouldn't be recognized in a particular month, but it should be apart of our collective minds daily," said Preciado.