Meet Susan McLoughlin!

Susan McLouglin is a Spring 2020 Gender and Global Security Program Assistant at WIIS. Susan is pursuing her Bachelor’s in International Studies at American University (AU) with concentrations in Identity, Race, Gender and Culture, and International Development, with a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. 

Originally from New Jersey, Susan is a firm believer in the superiority of New Jersey bagels and pizza.  In high school, Susan was initially interested in teaching, but, influenced by her cousin’s passion for women’s rights and her own interest in travel, Susan’s interests shifted to women’s issues in an international context. 

In order to pursue those interests, Susan was drawn to Washington, DC and AU because the city provides her with an urban experience at the center of political action in the United States, without being as large, suffocating or anonymizing as a larger city like New York, which would have been closer to home. Susan, an avid runner, enjoys running in the many parks and green spaces of DC. 

At AU, Susan’s focus within her international relations studies is South Asia.  While in her junior year at AU, Susan had the opportunity to study abroad in India at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. During her study abroad, Susan interned at a local women’s liberation organization, Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS), an organization that works on women’s empowerment with a community based focus. Her tasks at this internship included helping the organization with existing programs such as the database of instances of violence in the area as well as educating school children on recognizing signs of abuse. She also pursued her own research in domestic violence: with the help of local residents, Susan created a survey for community members and discovered that many did not know how to define domestic violence or violence against women. This led her to the conclusion that there is a lack of understanding of what domestic violence is. Consequently, she hopes to someday complete a project that focuses on the importance of defining and teaching about violence in the context of combatting domestic violence and violence against women more generally. Susan loved living in India, and hopes to go back soon.

Going forward, Susan hopes to pursue a career where she can advocate for issues around violence against women, and enjoys that her position at WIIS gives her the freedom to conduct research in her interest areas. Currently, Susan is working on a project researching gender identities and masculinity. She is also spearheading WIIS’s Mentorship Program and contributing to the upcoming WIIS Leadership Conference (held in Fall 2020).