Women as Changemakers Course Takes Students to Washington, DC

Changemakers in DC_

As the world celebrates and recognizes the vital role that women have played throughout history this month, students at GU-Q were inspired to become future changemakers themselves through a week-long experiential learning trip to Washington, DC, where they met and engaged with women who are making a difference in politics, peace and security, global education, social justice, and sports.

The trip was the conclusion to a course titled Women as Changemakers, designed to foster academic learning, intercultural knowledge and personal growth for students. The program also connects students to the university’s Washington, DC, campus networks and to leaders of major organizations in DC to learn about their current global initiatives and projects.  

Through discussions and meetings with female scholars, entrepreneurs, athletes, and professionals, students learned about their experiences, professional backgrounds, and their mindsets for problem-solving, leadership, motivation, and more. Students then incorporated the knowledge they gained into a final academic, reflective student e-portfolio.

International Politics major Alaa Elrayah (SFS’23), who is also pursuing a Certificate in Media and Politics, said: “We often discuss these topics in the classroom and write papers on them, but engaging with these changemakers and advocates is significant because it challenges our ideas and perceptions and offers new and diverse perspectives.”

Zain Fanik (SFS’25), a Culture and Politics major minoring in Arabic, enrolled in the course because of her academic interest in the history of women’s rights, but found that the course had a personal impact as well. “Understanding women’s accomplishments and qualities also strengthens my self-esteem and fosters self-respect because it gives me confidence in my own abilities,” she said.

The course was developed by instructor Dr. Christine Schiwietz in collaboration with Sarah Holt, the GU-Q Student Wellness and Counseling Program manager. Both led the trip accompanied by several members of GU-Q faculty and staff who helped students gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and lessons learned.  

“A curriculum that offers students unique and transformative learning opportunities is fundamental to the Georgetown Experience and supports the university’s commitment to cura personalis, or educating the whole person, and community in diversity” said Schiwietz. “On this trip, our students gained a deeper understanding of the importance of ongoing contributions of women to all aspects of society, an education that equips  students with the skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue their passions and make a positive impact on the world.”