B.A. in Women & Gender Studies and International Studies. B.S. in Political Science
In high school, Jenna Bygall took advanced classes and attended a nearby community college, earning valuable college credits. She decided to attend SUNY Brockport because her credits would transfer over and she could take advantage of the study abroad program. She joined the College with enough credits to spend a semester interning abroad in Dublin, Ireland, all while staying on track to graduate in time with three degrees in Women and Gender Studies, Political Science, and International Studies.
“I actually spent time in high school shadowing a physical therapist “I did not know what I wanted to do. I came to Brockport undecided and I’m part of the honors college, and had a peer mentor because of their program,” Bygall said. “Tambria Schroder was my peer mentor and I ended up choosing the same three majors as her, and honestly I think she played a huge part in helping me find my passion.”
Bygall balances three majors and club Volleyball through hard work and dedication. It also helps that many of her classes have been crosslisted, counting toward two or three of her degrees. She enjoys learning about the ways that the subjects she studies intertwine.
“International studies and women and gender studies actually coincide a lot. One of my favorite classes was Women in Islam.” Bygall said. “Being able to combine my majors through classes is the best part because I get to learn about all the intersecting factors within the three majors”
The intersection of her three majors are perhaps the most clear in her Honors College thesis, which she is currently working on. Her thesis discusses women in governments around the world, and how the number of women in government changes that country’s social policies for the betterment of women. While researching her topic, she has harnessed all of the skills she has learned across her majors.
Her passion for women in government extends beyond her thesis. It’s an aspiration of Bygall to go into politics one day.
“I would definitely consider running for office,” Jenna said. “It’s kind of daunting to get experience working for campaigns. I’d need to climb the ranks and get the experience I need, but I’d definitely consider running one day.”
Although, Bygall already does have some experience in politics. During the Fall 2016 semester, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Rochester office reached out to the Political Science Department looking for interns. Gillibrand’s office offered Bygall an internship where she mostly dealt with public outreach.
During the Spring 2017 semester, she interned for Jim O’Callahan at the Dáil Éireann, or the lower Irish Parliament.
“I actually got to sit on the Parliament floor and listen to talks and see them deliberate and vote,” Bygall said. “I got to meet prominent people in their government, and it was a really amazing personal experience.”
Even after graduation, Bygall will be able to get more interning experience. She is considering an internship through Brockport’s Washington DC study abroad program to establish herself in DC. Her dream is to work on a female politician’s campaign to gain more experience, then start her own career in politics.