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Social Action Advocate Finds Inspiration in Unexpected Courses

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College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

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“Take as many classes as your life allows!” advises Skye Goodman, a political science and gender and women’s studies double major who will be graduating this June.

Goodman found some of her truest passions later in her academic career, but she’s made the most of her time. From law and politics to gender, race, poverty, and social action, to children in the foster care system and issues of incarceration, Goodman has used her time at DU to explore a huge range of interests both in and out of the classroom.

A recipient of the Daniels Scholarship, Goodman embodies the ideas of leadership and commitment to community that this foundation upholds. She works as a Social Action intern with Hillel connecting Jewish community organizations to non-profits in the greater Denver area. She also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate representing the wants and needs of children in abuse and neglect cases.

Back in the classroom, Goodman conducts research on Title IX and sexual assault on college campuses as part of her work with the gender and women’s studies program. For her thesis, she’s currently doing research on Black women in the prison industrial complex.

Goodman explains what allowed her to discover this topic, saying, “Don’t be afraid to stray from your declared major classes if you see classes in other fields that call to you. Without those courses, I would never have found a passion for studying incarceration.”

Exploring a range of course offerings is also how Goodman met two life-long mentors. Lisa Pasko, professor of sociology and criminology at DU, “is incredible and being able to learn from her was amazing; she might be my idol,” Goodman said, “and, Dr. Kara Taczak, my FSEM professor, has been a constant support and cheerleader throughout my college career. She is truly inspiring.”

Goodman’s other role models include Angela Davis, whose activism in fighting for de-incarceration and prison reform has been a major influence on Goodman’s work. And Michelle Obama, “whose experience with poverty, the law, and her unwavering kindness, has always impressed me.”

Goodman’s philosophy is that “you should love what you are studying, not simply tolerate it.” She encourages all students to explore new options at DU, a home to “some of the best professors and guest lecturers in the social sciences. It is a privilege to learn from them.”