Robyn Boudreau is the first transsexual employee at DSU. She is an adjunct professor who has taught organic chemistry here at DSU for three years.
Boudreau was living in St. George when she met Erin O’Brien, chair of the department of biological studies, through the American Association of University Women. The two hit it off and decided to meet up to discuss Boudreau possibly working for the university.
Coming to teach at DSU was not an easy decision for Boudreau because of the potential backlash she knew she might face as a faculty member of a school in a more conservative town, but she has been quite happy with the welcome she has received.
“I was pretty nervous my first day on campus, you know because this isn’t Berkeley, and I didn’t know really what to expect,” Boudreau said. “But I was very pleasantly surprised, very, very, wonderfully surprised.”
Carter Taysom, a junior biology major from St. George, said he enjoys having Boudreau as a professor because of her dedication to the students and her willingness to go the extra mile to help anyone who may be struggling academically or otherwise.
Boudreau said things on campus have changed in just the last few years, but that change has been for the better. She said a large reason for that is the administration. Boudreau said she feels support from multiple people in the administration, including the president of the university himself. She also said the students seem to be more understanding in general.
Boudreau is also a member of the LGBTQ+ resource center where she helps students struggling with gender problems and issues. Boudreau said most of the students on campus fit into the lesbian, gay or bisexual categories and there are only about five actively transitioning students on campus. However, Boudreau said she is always available to those who may still be in the closet and need someone to go to. She is completely confidential and simply wants students, who may be struggling, feel as if they have a safe place to talk openly about any struggles they may be having.
O’Brien said Boudreau has been an amazing help to the LGBTQ+ club on campus and is always willing to help with outreach.
“She clearly has gone out of her way to serve as a mentor and a role model to our transsexual youth, which is huge in a community like ours,” O’brien said. “I know that she has formed a lot of close relationships with these students to help, just support them and make sure they know they have a place here.”
It is important to Boudreau that students who are struggling with their gender identities know that they are welcome at DSU and that they have nothing to be ashamed about.
Boudreau said, “When you get down to the bottom of it, we’re people. We’re just people.”