Featured Alum: Sierra Spaulding

Sierra is a 2017 graduate who majored in Democracy and Justice Studies (emphasis in Law and Justice Studies), Political Science, and History. Sierra currently works as a Labor Organizer for the California Nurses Association – an all-RN labor union that is part of National Nurses United.

Why did you decide to major in Democracy and Justice Studies, Political Science, and History? I chose UW-Green Bay over Marquette University specifically because of the Democracy and Justice Studies (DJS) program.  I loved that it was a problem focused program that pulled from so many backgrounds.  I thought that it would give me the best chance at understanding our world and succeeding later in my career. I loved it so much, I went ahead and declared it as my major in my first semester.  The deciding factor was when I was going to meet to discuss majoring in DJS, the advisor at that time sat with me and instead of asking me what I wanted to do for a job, asked me, “How do you want to change the world?”

Soon after, I couldn’t help myself by also majoring in History. The faculty made the program come alive.  Instead of focusing on historical events and people as they happened, the program really focused on the “how” and “why” and challenged us to think critically about historical events. 

Lastly, I triple majored by adding Political Science because while DJS challenged us to think beyond the “what is” and more about how we got here and what could be, Political Science courses helped to deepen the understand of how things currently are. I was passionate about all three as a means to not only understand how our world works, but also my place within it.  

What academic experience or accomplishment are you most proud of? I am really proud of my time served as a Peer Mentor for the Gateway to Phoenix Success (GPS) program.  I served for 3 years, and I loved each one so much.  During my time as a mentor, I grew exponentially as a student.  There’s something about telling someone else how to take good notes, how to skim smartly, and how to navigate the next few years that really makes you clean up your own act as a student.  I also developed deep bonds with the faculty that I worked with. I could talk endlessly about the importance of building relationships with faculty who are invested in your future. Lastly, being a part of that program meant I was part of a team that critically examined ways to set students up for success – students who might not have felt like they even had a chance.  I still keep in touch with many of the students I mentored, and I am always so proud of how well they are doing, and that makes me really proud to have been part of their first experiences at UWGB.

What is an important goal or accomplishment you are currently working on? All I have ever wanted to do was be a part of working class empowerment.  Working with CNA, I am part of building working-class power and being effective with it.  I work specifically with Registered Nurses, but the best part about that is when nurses have power and they exert their power, they win safer working working conditions. This in turns keeps our family members safer and our community members safer.  It’s a win-win. Every day I get to work with these amazing women who, alongside teachers, have been paving the way and reigniting the labor movement.

What do you do for fun? For fun, I really like to go for day-drives.  Because I travel for work, I have the special privilege of taking an afternoon to run off somewhere and work from a mountain top, or on the beach. The drive and the views make working even more fun. Recently, I take a day to drive to the Grand Canyon and hung out there during a blizzard. I also really like hoarding books and blankets and then having to ship them home and annoy my parents.  

What else do you want people to know about you? One time, I didn’t get up to get my glasses because I wasn’t sure they were “charged enough”. (Life in the digital age, right?)

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