Cat Mizzi: Womens, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Cat Mizzi: Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

One of Cat Mizzi’s favorite memories during her time at Wake Forest was the day she moved in freshman year. She can still remember the excitement she felt in the days leading up to move-in and even the 10 hour trek from her home in New York to campus is ingrained in her head. Mizzi, however, had no idea what the next four years would entail for her. 

She originally had no intention of coming to school in the south, but when Mizzi stumbled upon a promotional video about Wake Forest that focused on being who you want to be, she decided to check it out. Wake Forest’s motto, Pro Humanitate, really spoke to her as serving her community has always been something she’s passionate about. Additionally, she decided to apply to be a Presidential Scholar in theatre, ultimately becoming a finalist and was able to come visit campus for a weekend. 

“I got to come to Wake [Forest] my senior year of highschool and I just fell in love. The people I met were amazing, the theater department, staff that I met, the professors there and all of the students were so welcoming and it reminded me of the home I had built in my high school and our drama club. It made the whole college experience feel less scary. That weekend I knew this was it, this is where I was supposed to go,” Mizzi said. 

Since arriving at Wake Forest, Mizzi has continued to act in the theatre department and help with productions each semester. One of her most notable accomplishments, however, was her establishment and growth of a drama club in Paisley IB Magnet School in Winston-Salem. She meets with the club on average twice a week and grew it from around 20 students to 50. Mizzi teaches them theatre education — as the school does not offer courses on the subject — and this past semester they were able to put on their first full set play. 

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While theatre has been a huge part of Mizzi’s life, she truly found her calling in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGS) department. She always knew she wanted to take a class in the department but her professor for her introduction class, Kristina Gupta, is the reason why she stayed. Mizzi also found the utmost support from professors in that department.

“A lot of the professors in that department like Dr. Gupta and Dr. [Jeffrey] Soloman shaped who I am. I love WGS, I love what I study and I love what I learned and all the theory, but above all the professors in that department have been there to pat me on the back when I’m in tears but also been there for every big moment that I’ve had,” Mizzi said. 

During her sophomore year, Mizzi found her passion for activism, specifically activism for relationship violence survivors. During the fall of her junior year, she organized the survivor walk out on Benson-Tribble Court Yard that sparked several institutional changes and conversations with administration. Stemming from that, the Support Survivors Coalition was formed and Mizzi has been grateful for the opportunities it has brought her to have conversations with administration on how the university can better support survivors of both relationship and sexual violence. 

Mizzi will be graduating cum laude and after having successfully defended her thesis, she will also graduate with honors. Staying true to who she is, her thesis is about developing transitional art therapy that can be used for survivors of teen relationship violence. 

After graduation, she hopes to work in the nonprofit world for one or two years and during that time she’s going to decide if she wants to go to Law school or if she wants to get her Masters in Public Policy, whichever she chooses she ultimately wants to stay in Winston-Salem for a few more years. 

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