Tambria currently works as a Program Specialist for the U.S. Department of State.
What made you want to pursue your major?
“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to find a career that would allow me to travel and help people. I came to Brockport thinking that majoring in Social Work and minoring in International Studies would lead me to that. During my second semester, I took Comparative Politics and International Relations, and quickly realized that I was pursuing the wrong major. Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Women and Gender changed my life by revealing to me that I also had a passion for feminist issues. Over the course of the next three years, I changed and added majors a number of times until I settled on triple majoring in Political Science, International Studies, and Women & Gender Studies with a Certificate in French Language Studies. I was able to combine all of my interests to craft a challenging, but incredibly rewarding undergraduate career.”
How did SUNY Brockport influence you to take the path you’re on now?
“When I came to Brockport in 2013, the campus was in the middle of its “Pursue Something Greater” campaign. It may sound cliché, but I took this on as a personal mantra of sorts – that in everything I do, I will always pursue something greater. At the time, I had also just joined the Leadership Development Program, with Monique Rew-Bigelow as my mentor, and she encouraged me to consider the Washington, D.C. Internship Program. I decided that, if I was going to do the program, I was going to reach as high as I could. For me, that meant reaching for an internship at the US Department of State. Nearly four years later, I can proudly say that I not only completed an internship in my junior year, but also went on to be hired as a contractor after graduation.”
What kind of special experiences have you had at Brockport?
“Given where I am today, I would have to say that my internship was by far the most life-changing thing to happen to me during my time at Brockport. However, a number of other experiences also come to mind that were just as important to me. Studying abroad in Russia, speaking at Convocation, being awarded a $5,000 Campus Action Project grant by the American Association of University Women, and receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award are some that stand out.”
What did you think of your Study Abroad opportunities? What did you take away from them?
“During the summer after my sophomore year, I studied in Russia for a month and loved every second of it. We lived on Vasilievsky Island in St. Petersburg and crossed the Neva River every day to go to class. I took two incredible courses – Islam, Women, and the West and Bodies, Labor, and Reproduction – and had plenty of time to explore the city, as well. I’ve always found Russian history, architecture, and culture fascinating, so it was so cool to experience it in person. I learned a lot about myself and about a society that we, as Americans, are often taught to fear and be skeptical of. I think that no matter what happens between our two countries (or any country for that matter), it’s important to take time to get to know the people and see beyond our politics.”
How has your life changed since leaving Brockport?
“It’s been quite a whirlwind – but definitely a good one! I’m fortunate enough to have the job of my dreams in the capital of our country. I get to support programs that have a significant impact on people’s lives around the world. In less than one year, I’ve been able to work on three different portfolios, travel to six countries, and meet countless inspiring individuals. I learn something new everyday – it keeps life interesting and exciting. I can’t wait to see where life takes me next. Through it all, I will always remember and be thankful for the role that Brockport had in setting me on the path that I’m on now.”
What is the best part about your job?
“The best part of my job is exactly that – I get to leave work feeling like I’ve helped to make a difference in the life of at least one person each day. Sometimes it’s just delivering good news to my co-workers, while other times it’s finding out that our partners have accomplished incredible things in the field to help promote human rights and democracy in their countries.”
What are your future goals?
“This is actually something that I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. Working at the Department of State was always an end goal for me, but then I was fortunate enough to start my career there. Deciding where to go from here is tough. I would like to stay in my current position for a couple of years, but I would also like to work on getting my masters degree in that time. Then I’ll be weighing a couple different options – going to work for an NGO, trying to move up within the Department, or applying for the Foreign Service. I’m not in too big of a rush and I’m excited to see where life takes me.
Why Women? Gender Mainstreaming in Undergraduate International Relations Discourse
Abstract: Over the last 30 years, feminist international relations (IR) and gendered approaches to foreign policy and security have been gaining attention in both the academy and in government. However, the systems and institutions that exist in our country are strategically designed to maintain patriarchy and privilege masculinity, so this work isn’t necessarily permeating into what is taught to students in undergraduate classrooms. Using a feminist lens, I analyze if and how women, gender, and feminism are being integrated into undergraduate IR courses at various public higher education institutions upstate New York. I consider the various arguments cited by professors for not teaching feminist IR and the potential consequences of continuing to exclude feminism and gender from undergraduate international relations courses. I conclude that the only way to subvert the patriarchal dominance of both knowledge and practice is to become more curious about what we’re teaching and learning in international relations.
Make America Curious Again: Integrating Feminism into Undergraduate International Relations Studies
Abstract: The systems and institutions that exist in our country are strategically designed to maintain patriarchy and privileged masculinity. Complacency of the majority ensures that these structures remain intact. In this paper, I consider the exclusion of feminism and discussions of gender from undergraduate political science and international studies courses, and why it is critical for us to be paying attention to it now perhaps more than ever before. I suggest that this exclusion only helps to ensure that patriarchal dominance continues into the future. We have the potential to change by adopting a more curious mindset.
Disrupting the Lean: Performing a 2016 Declaration of Sentiments
Abstract: Memory. Disruption. Presidential. Underrepresented. History. Empowerment. Sustaining. Intersectionality. Transfeminism. These words capture the breadth and scope of essays in volume 2 and bring us back to the 2016 Biennial Seneca Falls Dialogues conference. Photojournalist, activist, and 2016 Seneca Falls Dialogues keynote Brenda Ann Kenneally uses her artistic work to explore the how and why of class inequity in America. Her project, Upstate Girls, set in Troy, NY, followed seven women for five years as their escape routes out of generational poverty led to further entrapment. Pictured on the journal cover, one of seven upstate girls, is Kayla and mom before their morning ride to work in Troy NY in 2007. This image and the essays that follow ask us to recognize the large spaces of inequality in which we live and work and to reconcile the gendered and racial dimensions to these inequalities. Written into the goals of The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal is the importance of creatively engaging diverse tools for feminist activism, particularly those that support dialogues across difference. Inspired by Brenda Ann Kenneally’s Upstate Girls, and drawing on the Lean Out, Gender, Economics and Enterprise theme, The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal honors the work of those who came before us as we build an accessible and inclusive publication in our continued pursuit of enlightenment and equality.