Alumni Detail

Detailed Information
Cayla Minaiy (2011)

Biography/Additional Information

After receiving my bachelors in Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2011 ( back then it was Women's Studies), I worked on campus as a research assistant studying children with autism and their relationships with parents. I also worked as a preschool teacher. I then moved to Oregon to go to graduate school. I received my masters in Couples and Family Therapy at the University of Oregon in 2014. I worked one year as a full time clinician in an agency in Oregon then decided to pursue a Ph.D. I now attend Texas Tech University and I am in my 2nd year of the PhD program here in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have been seeing clients since 2013 and just started supervising. My research focuses on racial minorities and gender minorities and how they cope with sexual trauma and eating disorders.

Why did you decide to major or minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies?

I decided to major in Gender and Sexuality Studies because I felt that I finally found "my people". I felt that I had different ideas and beliefs about the world from my family and friends and Gender and Sexuality Studies supported my thoughts. Gender and Sexuality Studies also expanded my thinking and made me think more critically.

What have you enjoyed learning the most?

I really enjoyed the discussions and how professors challenged us to think critically and view different perspectives. I especially enjoyed topics that covered gender and racial minorities because I did not receive any education around marginalized identities in any of my other classes.

What has been the most unexpected thing about the Major/Minor?

I did not realize it at the time, but majoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies helped me write, present, and think critically. When I entered graduate school, I felt that I had exposure to topics that others had never received education around and when it was time to write papers, I felt better prepared than others. Receiving this degree greatly helped shape my identity, my values, and gave me tools to succeed. I feel very fortunate to have this education because it also helps me with clients. I am much better able to think of larger socio-political contexts and how they impact clients and identity because of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Why should people choose to study Gender & Sexuality Studies at UC Irvine?

It greatly helps to improve critical thinking, learning, and writing. The professors are wonderful and want to help you succeed and college is the time to expand your thinking.

What advice would you give to a newly admitted student?

Do not take education for granted! I wish I had engaged in more discussions and gotten involved in communities that were different from my own circle. Don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.

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