In her first year at UVM she took a women’s studies course from Annika Ljung-Baruth.
“Everything she said really spoke to me—I was just taking it all in. At the same time I was really shy—it took me a few years to be confident enough to speak out in class.”
Because the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program includes faculty from a many different departments, the major attracts a broad range of academic perspectives. Colbert believes this is a distinctive strength of the UVM program.
“I found the interdisciplinary nature of the classes amazing,” she said. “You can take a class from a historian interested in the history of race, or a political science professor interested in gender studies, or an English professor interested in feminist literature.”
Conversations in class about sexual assault and racial discrimination took on a particular immediacy and relevance when it dovetailed with her own campus activism. She became involved in the Black Lives Matter movement on campus. Colbert plans on working after graduation and then go on to graduate school. She thinks higher education may be part of her future.
“I see myself as educator—I could be a professor because I really love academics and love the research process,” she said. “I have grown to respect academy, and the professors I’ve met here are my heroes. What they do is amazing—it gets right at the intersection of activism and academics.”