Reed Magazine August
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2004

Earn big money Promote social justice!

During her years at Reed, Oregon native Molly Franks worked off campus with a local domestic violence agency. Since then, she has done everything from language interpretation to coordinating the youth program. Franks helped establish Reed’s still-active Feminist Student Union. Volunteer experience and political passion merged in Franks’ psychology thesis, which examined perceptions of violence among women in abusive relationships. After graduation, Franks chose to live and work in Nicaragua. “The experience of being foreign (in all senses), the struggle to function in another language, the day-to-day differences in what people eat, talk about, and feel, all shape my thinking about social justice work.”

Back in Oregon, on a tip from Reed’s Career Services, Franks landed a job with the Pride Project. Funded by the Washington County Health Department and the Commission for Children and Families, the tasks of the position are wide-ranging. Franks advocates the kind of critical thinking she valued at Reed, with some new emphases. In her HIV prevention programs, for example, she encourages students to think critically about the messages they receive about sex. “I believe homophobia, lack of open dialogue about sex and sexuality, and adult attempts to control and repress adolescent sexuality all contribute to the spread of HIV.” Franks’ goal is to get young people to question the formal sexual education they get (or often don’t get), and give them skills tobig money pickets find information that fits their real life experiences. It’s this attitude toward her work, she says, that “transforms social service into social change.”

What does she think of her Reed education? “Probably the most important thing I did at Reed was to begin conscious and critical reflection on my own identity, and my place within larger social structures. That work happened outside the classroom, and was largely led by my own peers. We were able to examine issues of racism, sexism, and other oppression issues, and see how they played out at Reed as a microcosm of the larger society.”

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Reed Magazine August
2004