Nicole Lyn DeBlosi
Rabbi and Assistant Director for Jewish Education and Engagement at New York University
My father (may his memory be a blessing) came from a world where you went to college in order to land a specific job. My choice to concentrate in Women’s Studies—based entirely on the overwhelming number of courses that interested me in the infamous “Q Guide”—confused him, until he realized that Harvard-Radcliffe’s program on Studies in Women, Gender, and Sexuality afforded me myriad opportunities for one-on-one and small-seminar courses with some of the best and brightest thinkers in the world. My passion for the interdisciplinary approach, critical theory, and exciting objects of study motivated me throughout my undergraduate experience. WGS’s mentorships and peer relationships continue to enrich me, and each of them has shaped not only my intellectual development but my career trajectory as well.
From unique research opportunities through Radcliffe and the Schlesinger Library, to guidance in finding a job with the Feminist Majority Foundation (a Washington-DC-based reproductive and women’s rights non-profit organization), WGS enabled me to find enriching summer and post-graduation opportunities to apply my knowledge. For three years, I worked as a Campus Organizer and Web Content Editor at FMF, putting my passion for women’s equality to work in training others in leadership development and reproductive rights advocacy.
Eventually, my interest in critical theory and queer studies pushed me to apply to graduate school. I completed a PhD in Performance Studies at New York University and wrote an award-winning dissertation on the performance and politics of intimacy and belonging—a work heavily influenced by my time at WGS and the theory I had learned there, and guided by a faculty member who had previously been my thesis advisor in WGS (life comes full circle).
While pursuing my PhD, several events on campus and in my personal life led me to the then-shocking conclusion that academia, as a career, isn't for me (at least not at this point in my life). I entered an intense period of study and eventually earned rabbinic ordination in the Reform movement of Judaism.
As Assistant Director for Jewish Education and Engagement at New York University's Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life, I envision our strategy for meaningfully reaching, teaching, and building community with a diverse student population. My rabbinate owes so much to my background in women’s, gender, and queer studies and to my time at Harvard-Radcliffe. As a rabbi, my daily work is informed by my understanding of the social construction of gender; my passionate call for justice and equality with regard to gender, sex, sexual orientation, and sexuality will resonate the louder for my strong educational foundation.