Sarah Montoya: First graduate from UTSA Women's Studies program

Sarah Montoya

Sarah Montoya

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(Dec. 16, 2009)--In 2008, the UTSA College of Liberal Arts began offering a bachelor's degree in Women's Studies and this weekend the college will mark a milestone with the first graduate from the program.

Sarah Montoya, a 22-year-old Corpus Christi native, is graduating Cum Laude with a grade point average of 3.5, and will participate in the Friday, Dec. 18 ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and the College of Public Policy.

In 2008, Montoya was majoring in English and minoring in Women's Studies as her original graduation date drew closer. With the new major in Women's Studies now being offered, Montoya decided to stay an extra semester to complete the course requirements and earn two bachelor's degrees, one in English, the other in Women's Studies.

"I think that was really important for me to do because I think that's where my future is, and Women's Studies is kind of a vocation," said Montoya. "A commitment to feminism is a political and activist commitment that is going to take up a huge part of your life."

As a Women's Studies major, Montoya spent much of her time away from school working with social justice organizations and events in San Antonio such as the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, the San Antonio Free Speech Coalition and the International Women's Day March.

While pursuing her double major, Montoya was fortunate to take classes, then later serve as an intern and undergraduate research assistant for Women's Studies Institute Executive Director Sonia Saldivar-Hull.

"Sarah was one of the best undergraduates I have had the privilege of teaching at UTSA," said Saldivar-Hull. "I have no doubt that she will continue her exceptional academic career and earn her PhD in Women's Studies. I look forward to someday working with her as a colleague."

Additionally, as an Honors College graduate, Montoya wrote a thesis on Latina children's literature and focused on social scripts and behavioral models. Two of the experts she consulted were Hull and Ben Olguin, UTSA Associate Professor of English.

"Sarah is a theoretically sophisticated student scholar who is engaged with her historical moment as an activist, said Olguin. "She's an organic intellectual who dialectically draws upon her community's needs to shape her academic work, and uses her academic work to impact her community and society at large."

The first in her family to graduate from a university, Montoya looks to pursue a master's degree at UTSA, then travel outside San Antonio to pursue a doctoral degree in Women's Studies at one of the 14 universities in the country that offers a doctoral in the discipline.