Alum Spotlight: Aishwarya Krishna Iyer graduated with the MA in Women’s Studies and SJD in Taxation from the Levin College of Law in 2018. She is currently an International Tax Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Gurur Saakshaat Para Brahma Tasmai Shree Gurave Namaha
Guru (Teacher) is verily Brahma – the creator, Vishnu – the protector, and Maheshwara – the destroyer. Guru is the embodiment of the Supreme Principle. I worship the most powerful Guru and bow my head in front of you
From when I can remember, my parents have taught me the ‘sholka’ (above), a Hindu verse, which has been deeply ingrained in me. I came to know its true value after I came to the United States and met such wonderful teachers at the Center. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Mallory Szymanski, Dr. Tace Hedrick, Dr. Kendal Broad, Dr. Bonnie Moradi, Dr. Alyssa Zucker, Dr. Trysh Travis, Dr. Kristin Joys, and lastly Dr. Angel Kwolek-Folland.
Dr. Kwolek-Folland has not only been an amazing mentor, but she is like family to me, she has showered me with love, warmth, and care, and has made Gainesville home to me. Importantly, she has taught me to stand up for myself and to say no. Also, a special shout-out to Donna Tuckey for being the superwoman of our department. Thank you for not only teaching me to be curious but also teaching me to be a better person.
I have always been interested in Women’s studies and issues that affect women. To pursue this interest, I wanted to solidify my theoretical base. With that motive, I applied to the Center’s MA program in early 2016. What happened in the next two years has been life-changing. My time at the Center has left a profound impact on both my professional and personal life.
All the classes I took at the Center not only helped to shape my thoughts but also encouraged me to think, to leave my comfort zone and widen my horizons. I learned to identify and understand issues not only through a lens of gender analysis, but also to think about issues like class, race, and sexuality. Most importantly, these classes helped me to connect theory to practice. The best part about being a student in the Center was all the amazing talks that were organized. It was so interesting to meet and hear from various people across the nation, with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Following these examples, I find myself being vocal and able to identify and analyze patriarchal systems. My learning from the Center helps me to confront and work to transform these systems more fiercely and confidently.
Professionally, I am now working as an International Tax Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). My job is to help private equity and hedge funds structure their investments in a tax efficient manner. In addition, I help and engage my firm to support women both as employees within the firm and as clients of the firm. PwC focuses on making the work environment inclusive and I am participating in various initiatives undertaken by the firm. Some of these initiatives include the ‘he for she initiative’, ‘Women Upfront’, the ‘Women’s Advisory Network’ and the ‘NYM Finance Women’s Network’. Most recently, we sadly lost one of our colleagues. Botham “Bo” Jean, who was tragically killed in Dallas. I participated in the various discussions we had in the firm about race, and implicit bias and its impact on our day to day lives. I could understand and contribute meaningfully to all of these issues as a result of my Women’s Studies education and training at the Center.
Continuing my gender and fiscal interests, this year I presented a paper at the National Women’s Studies Association’s (NWSA) annual conference that discussed the gender and class consequences of the carbon tax. I want to continue to think and learn about gender and fiscal issues and develop my interests further. I was excited to see Center faculty and students at NWSA and participate in the graduate recruitment reception event.
Lastly, I take this opportunity to thank Indra, my partner, and my family who encouraged me to apply to the Center and supported me through my hectic schedule. Thank you for standing up with me.