Erin Hagen MA '15
St. Paul, MN

What prompted you to pursue a graduate degree?

I went to a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and received a BA in English, Justice and Peace Studies, and Women’s Studies. After college, I stayed in Minnesota for two years doing out-of-school-time programming at a public elementary school. I loved building relationships with the hundred-plus children I saw everyday, and it was challenging work, but I soon realized that I needed a different kind of challenge.

Why did you choose Sarah Lawrence College for your graduate studies?

I wanted an academically rigorous program that also pushed me to become a more thoughtful activist. After a few months of research, I knew that the Women’s History Program at Sarah Lawrence would be my next home.

What is the strongest attribute of Sarah Lawrence's Women’s History program?

There are two reasons the Sarah Lawrence Women’s History program produces graduates that go on to do incredible things (both inside and outside the field of Women’s History). The first is that the program attracts a cohort of bright feminists with extremely diverse research interests. The second is that each and every Sarah Lawrence faculty member who works with Women’s History students is challenging, compassionate, and completely invested in the growth of their students.

What is life like as a graduate student at Sarah Lawrence?

I lived in an apartment near the Fleetwood train station with a student in the Graduate Writing Program. I remember feeling like it was impossible to find a good living situation while living across the country, but I ended up finding a roommate on the MySLC classifieds, and we became extremely close friends.

What advice can you offer to prospective graduate students?

Sarah Lawrence has an eclectic group of graduate programs. Try to make friends with people outside of your own. Utilize the library, and be kind to the librarians. The Sarah Lawrence library is small, but well curated and filled with people who can help you find what you need even if it does not physically reside on campus. If you have a car, bring it with you and give your friends a ride in the winter. It is a wholly different responsibility to be a graduate student, so be protective of your time. When you complete your degree requirements you’ll want to look back and be proud of how much you grew intellectually and personally. That feeling of accomplishment will only come with working harder than most will have ever worked before.

What are you up to now?

I work in the grassroots department at Americans United for Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C.