Brandy Machado

Brandy Machado

A.B. '14 Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Independent Filmmaker
Photograph of Brandy Machado

When I first got to Harvard, I was set on being a Government concentrator, and I did end up declaring Government my sophomore year. At some point I realized that I had taken way more WGS classes than Gov classes and that I had enjoyed them so much more. Even for my non-WGS classes, I was focusing almost all of my papers and projects on WGS-related themes. It was not a hard decision to make when I officially switched my concentration to WGS.

After taking Laura Johnson’s class, "Gender and Sports," my sophomore year, I instantly knew that was what I wanted to focus my studies on. I wrote my junior paper on women’s rugby and my senior capstone paper on resources available to women in skateboarding. WGS allowed me to write papers on rugby and skateboarding, two of my favorite things. How awesome is that?

In post-college life, my WGS education has definitely played a huge role. For my first 2.5 years after college, I ran the Portland chapter of a non-profit called Skate Like a Girl that seeks to empower women and girls through skateboarding. I actually found out about the organization through my research on my capstone project. Other than getting to share my love of skateboarding with a bunch of six-year-old girls, one of my favorite parts of the job was that I had the perfect answer for all the people who snidely asked me what exactly I planned to do with my WGS degree.

In the long-term, I am working to be an independent filmmaker. My first documentary project was on the experiences of women who have done solo bicycle tours, which is very much in line with the academic focus of gender and sports that I chose in college. I'm currently developing a scripted web series that touches on the topics of queerness and mental health. WGS has had a huge impact on the way I see the world around me and I am sure that many of my future projects will also bear the influence of my time as a WGS concentrator.

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