COVID-19 Response and Reopening

Jamie Bowman

What did you study while you were at COCC?

Mostly psychology, it fascinated me. I also took a lot of writing and speech courses
because I cannot and will not shut up.

What is your career now?

My main career is as an independent consultant with a local consulting group called
Allyship in Action. I conduct trainings on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for all types of
businesses and people. Right now my main focus is in the healthcare industry, teaching
physical and mental health providers about how to treat their LGBTQ+ patients with
respect and dignity. My partner and I cover Sex and Gender 101 and then go into how
LGBTQ+ folks interact with healthcare and how it could be improved for patients of all
ages.

What does a typical week in your position look like?

That depends! Some weeks I’m researching new information in the healthcare industry
that pertains to trans patients, or laws that are floating around the country aiming to
discriminate against trans folks. Sometimes it’s answering a quick question from a friend
or someone that I’ve trained before, making referrals to care for local LGBTQ+ folks,
having meetings with a local group that I helped form, Central Oregon Trans Health
Coalition, that aims to grow the awareness and care for trans folks locally, sending links
to schools about how to teach elementary aged kids about pronouns, it varies widely! My
favorite weeks are ones that include training physicians and mental health providers at
St. Charles or Mosaic Medical. It’s mind boggling that I get to go in and teach people
who’ve been to medical school about something that didn’t get covered when they were
there- even if that was recently!

If you have pursued a career that seems outside of “what English majors do,”
what do you like or find fulfilling about your job?

Connecting people to life saving resources is one of the most incredible feelings I’ve
ever had. To see someone realize that they do indeed have the resources they need to
become who’ve they’ve always been right here in Central Oregon is beyond words.
Meeting with parents like me, who have trans kiddos and didn’t know what to do or how
to support their children, before they met me and my team, makes me cry every time. It’s
way past time that this area felt safe for LGBTQ+ folks and I am in constant awe that I
get to be a part of making that happen.

What are the most valuable skills you gained while in college?

The ability to recognize where people are at and acknowledge that we all come from
different places has been invaluable. I used to be so full of rage at the world for treating
my children like they weren’t worthy of love or existence- and I still am, the motherly rage
definitely fuels me- but gaining the skills to talk to people about things that make them
uncomfortable or they don’t understand has been one of the most valuable things I
learned.

How are the skills you learned in writing, literature, film, or humanities classes
relevant to your career and life today?

A lot of what I do is writing and presentation. The skills I learned in making things clear,
concise and understandable have made a huge impact on my work. Being able to speak
clearly and handle being challenged has helped me grow as a presenter, but also as a
person. The topics I teach people about aren’t new in the history of humanity, but they
are new ideas to our modern western society and it’s hard for people to accept them.
The skills I picked up in these types of classes have helped me adjust my way of
thinking, interacting and responding to people so that my message is heard.

What is your advice for students taking writing, literature, film, or humanities
classes?
Find something you wish that people knew more about, and do your projects on that
topic. I think maybe half a dozen of my assignments in my 6 years of schooling from
COCC to OSU Cascades weren’t about transgender related topics. I wanted the world to
understand and accept my kids and what better way to start than by an audience of
peers in college? I know that I left COCC having impacted people by my family’s story
and I learned so much along the way that I am no longer just a mom with an agenda; I’m
a credible source of information for countless folks in Central Oregon and it started with
my decision to use my captive audience of classmates.

What is your advice for community college students?

Find something you’re passionate about and weave it into everything that you do. The
people at COCC want to see you do well and they want to support your dreams or they
wouldn’t be there. Take advantage of that! Use the connections, get involved in
something, and make this experience your own. We have incredible resources here and
you’ll wish that you used them more.