[Following is a report from Stephanie Andaya about her work with Planned Parenthood .]
Stephanie currently works for the Planned Parenthood Northern California affiliate as a Reproductive Health Specialist, educating clients on sexual health topics such as birth control, STD testing, and pregnancy options. She also works a trainer for the organization, giving classroom trainings and staff presentations as well as one-on-one support to new employees at the affiliate’s twenty-one clinics.
Extending her work in reproductive care, Stephanie volunteers as a talkline counselor for Exhale, a national hotline for women and their loved ones to receive nonjudgmental support around abortion experiences. Exhale operates outside of the pro-choice/pro-life divide on a “pro-voice” platform that respects and validates the complex, varied experiences that people can have around abortion. She also volunteers at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, a community center that offers meditation workshops, spiritual teachings and events steeped in social justice and action.
Stephanie cites her time as an RS major as pivotal in helping her find work and volunteer opportunities that are meaningful to her. “The skill of ‘suspending judgment’, of being able to respectfully listen to others’ ideas and opinions and try them on, so to speak, helps me to be aware of how religious beliefs influence the people I see, and to provide nonjudgmental and compassionate care in the work I do. I’m so grateful for the amazing, dedicated professors we have in the department and their commitment to a rich learning environment for their students. Thanks for such a profound learning experience.”