Benjamin Seebaugh was recognized as the Outstanding Senior in Women’s & Gender Studies at the Honors and Awards Ceremony held on Saturday, April 12. He spoke about his experiences growing up in West Virginia, coming to WVU and his hopes for the future. Here is a summary of those remarks.Growing up in Parkersburg, WV, Benjamin did not have a happy experience in high school. His interests were not the same as the majority of his peers and he was frustrated by his inability to make a difference in a conservative environment. He never wanted to come to WVU but a Promise Scholarship beckoned and he reluctantly made the move to Morgantown for his freshman year.
Once at WVU, Benjamin found that he was no longer a lone voice and that there were people who shared his outlook on life and listened to his opinions. He also became aware of Women’s & Gender Studies. First a meeting with Brian Jara, Senior Lecturer in Women’s & Gender Studies, persuaded him to add a minor in that discipline to his double major in Political Science and International Studies. “He pointed out that I already had some of the prerequisites for the minor and that I could easily handle it in a semester,” said Benjamin. “After that it was ‘Only a couple more classes and you’ll have a major,’ and gradually I became more and more involved.”
Benjamin has found his work in Women’s & Gender Studies to be empowering. “This is an outstanding group of scholars, leaders, and changemakers,” he said. “I have had the honor and privilege to work with the WGST faculty and to help with the creation of the LGBTQ minor.”
“As I look to graduation, I’ve begun considering how to implement WGST. I’ve learned that you should speak your mind and be involved. Change takes time and participation.”
It should be added that in addition to his work with the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies, Benjamin also served as President of the Student Government Association for the 2013-14 academic year.