Castleton University alumna Karsen Woods learned that change is possible during her time on campus.
Since the beginning of her time as a Spartan, Woods — a Vermont native who graduated in 2017 with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies — knew she wanted to create something meaningful and lasting on campus. During her senior year, she helped found Castleton’s Generation Action: the Student Voice of Planned Parenthood chapter, working closely with representatives from campus and Planned Parenthood Generation Action to establish the club. After graduating, Woods volunteered as a leadership coordinator for all of Vermont’s Generation Action chapters, including Middlebury College, University of Vermont, Bennington College, and Castleton.
“I was, and still am, a Planned Parenthood patient first,” she said. “I had a humiliating and traumatizing experience with my pediatric care doctor and didn’t think I would ever see a doctor again. I do have a primary care physician outside of Planned Parenthood, but Planned Parenthood is my number one trusted source for contraceptive care and sexual health. They are the sexual health experts, after all."
In October 2017, Woods was recognized for her advocacy work on a state-wide level, being named as one of Planned Parenthood Vermont Choice Champions for her commitment and contributions to advance reproductive and sexual health rights and freedoms. The Choice Champion award honors individuals who have helped to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care throughout the state.
“My interest in women’s and gender issues comes naturally. I am a product of my generation. It was impossible for me to walk through life with blinders on and be ignorant to the social justice reform we need in our everyday lives. I am extremely privileged and it has been my goal to help elevate disenfranchised communities,” she said, adding that former Women’s and Gender Studies Professor Sanjukta Ghosh was the first person to help apply vocabulary, rhetoric, and education to the feelings in her heart.
Woods was named to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England's Board in January. As a board member, she works alongside 16 others from across Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire to review goals, establish new health initiatives, develop a budget, and meet PPNE care providers.
Woods now works as the senior creative and marketing manager for Superplastic, a Burlington-based character product and entertainment company. Her responsibilities include character and brand identity development, content creation, copywriting, community integration, brand stewardship, and more.