Student Spotlight: Mo Spragins

What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?Portrait of WGS major, Mo Spragins

I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. Both of my parents met at NC State University and settled in Raleigh. My pronouns are She/They. Currently I am a double major! Women’s and Gender Studies (BA) is one of them and the other is Biology (BA).

What areas/aspects of women’s and gender studies (WGS) do you find most engaging/interesting/what are you most passionate about? 

I find everything under the Women’s and Gender Studies program here fascinating. If I had to pick one topic, it would be Black feminism. I am currently reading “This Bridge Called My Back” and I feel that I have learned so much about the history of the feminist movement, which has not always supported or upheld all women, specifically Black women and people of color. The feminist movement historically has focused on a lot of white women’s wants and needs without acknowledging their innate privilege of being white — without taking a step back for Black women to take the stage.

Tell us about any extracurricular work that you’re doing (ex. volunteering/local activism), or any involvement you have on campus with clubs/organizations. 

Currently on campus, I am pursuing conducting research with Dr. Arroyo over the summer and possibly another opportunity with my mentor on campus.

I am also a student worker at the Pride Center on 9 1/2 Glebe Street. At the Pride Center, I am the Q’rdinator of the Honors Engaged program that is partnered with the center and Honors College. I supervise student tasks, their volunteer hours, and events that the Pride Center hosts for the Queer community (although not exclusively if any others want to participate!). Along with that, I help Dr. Simmons with the Out To Lead program.

Outside of campus, I am a volunteer at MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and recently reached my goal of 100 volunteer hours. I am continuing my volunteer work there until I can secure a position as a patient care technician.

What impact have WGS courses had on you? and/or: Why should every CofC student take a WGS class before they graduate?

The WGST courses on campus have had such a huge impact on my life. My first class was Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies taught by Dr. Dominguez. The least I can say about that course was how eye-opening things became for me during and afterward. When I came to campus my first year, I was strictly a Biology BS major and was headed on a narrow pre-health tract. I attended a majors/minors fair that was held by the Honors College, which is when Dr. Dominguez and I first met. Dr. Dominguez understood that I want to be the kind of physician who listens to others and their needs; not excluding their past experiences and story. I want to look at things through an intersectional lens, and the field of Women’s and Gender Studies helps me to do so. I have met so many wonderful people along the way who have been so supportive of me. Lastly, Dr. Dominguez helped foster such a safe community in the classroom in which we could make mistakes and learn from one another. This gave me the confidence to come out as Queer, and I couldn’t be any more grateful. Truly. Thank you Dr. D.

What are your plans and goals after graduation?

Even though graduation is still a ways away from me, I have always had a passion for working with children, and I hope to do so as a pediatrician. More specifically as a physician assistant (PA) specializing in pediatrics.

I plan to apply to a few graduate PA programs, one at MUSC and one at UNC Chapel Hill.

Ultimately I hope to find calm in all of the chaos that is life and keep my center — my core values and defining memories — tightly against me. Hopefully, somewhere in there I get married and have a few kids of my own, but I can wait on that bit for now.

Feminism in Motion 2024 Application is LIVE!

Student applications are open for Feminism in Motion 2024

Feminism in Motion (FeMo) is an opportunity for you to share with the broader College of Charleston and city of Charleston communities all the wonderful gender-related things you are doing.

We want to feature your research, course projects, study abroad experiences, internship experiences, activism projects, community engagement activities, art, special skills, and so on. If you have more than one of these that you would like to propose for consideration, please fill out additional forms separately.

We hope to have a diverse mix of videos, posters, performances, creative work, demonstrations, and 3-5-minute micro-presentations. We welcome individual and collaborative submissions. We are open to your ideas for sharing your work or experiences!

Current College of Charleston students can apply to present at FeMo here: Feminism in Motion 2024 Interest Application.

Curious what Feminism in Motion has been about? You can view some previous years’ in photos on our blog!

2022 FeMo Recap

2019 FeMo Recap


2023 Year in Review

Women’s and Gender Studies had a packed 2023. The year was filled with events, celebrations, and community! Click on the arrows to view the slideshow of a recap of this years happenings.

Spring 2024 Course Brochure

NOTE: Download PDF for most up-to-date course offerings for Spring 2024

2023 HSS Scholar: Taylor McElwain

Taylor McElwain

WGS is excited to share our HSS Scholars! 🎉 Our other scholar is Taylor McElwain!

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Scholars Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the top two students in each of the 11 undergraduate major programs within HSS. Faculty, students, family and friends gather to celebrate our scholars – students who’ve achieved an exemplary academic performance during their time at the College of Charleston.

From Taylor:

Educational Highlights: During my time at the College, I was awarded the Outstanding First Year Writing Award for my essay on Iraqi refugees in Mosul. My most significant projects include research papers examining the differences in the use of sexual violence by militant groups, the implications of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s ruling that rape is a weapon of genocide, and how former colonial powers have enabled genocides in order to protect their economic interests. I’ve served as an intern for the nonprofits Enough Pie and the Charleston Climate Coalition as well as working as a research intern with the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre. Most recently, I worked as a refugee resettlement intern with Lutheran Services Carolinas. My poetry has been featured in the College’s literary magazine, Miscellany.

Research Focus: My research focuses include the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon during times of conflict and genocide, as well as a focus on the field of genocide studies, with emphasis on the Biafran genocide, the Rwandan genocide, and the Holocaust.

Future Plans: I plan to work in victim advocacy and women’s empowerment. I’ve been looking at jobs in Ukraine that would allow me to use both my Russian and my expertise on issues of gendered violence.

2023 HSS Scholar: Sarai Vazquez

Sarai Vazquez

WGS is excited to share our HSS Scholars! 🎉 Our first scholar is Sarai Vazquez!

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Scholars Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the top two students in each of the 11 undergraduate major programs within HSS. Faculty, students, family and friends gather to celebrate our scholars – students who’ve achieved an exemplary academic performance during their time at the College of Charleston.

From Sarai:
Educational Highlights: When starting at the College of Charleston, I had no idea I would end up majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies. Though I didn’t declare my major until my junior year, it has since allowed me to understand my identity as well as the wisdom I will bring to the table as I navigate the world after graduation. At CofC, I have volunteered at the “”Yes! I’m a Feminist”” event and been a member of the Hispanic Latino Club. The wonderful community of WGS has both challenged me and encouraged me to view the world with an interdisciplinary perspective.

Research Focus: I have had the opportunity to complete an internship through Tri-County SPEAKS, a sexual assault advocacy and resource center. As an outreach intern, I was part of the team leading the Bar Outreach Project. Our mission was to educate and introduce training to the personnel of many Charleston bars on sexual assault and its prominence within the bar atmosphere. I have also served as a volunteer advocate accompanying survivors at MUSC for exams and working the 24HR hotline.
This internship has confirmed my passion to advocate for intersectional healthcare and to serve the disadvantaged.

Future Plans: My goal after graduating from the College of Charleston is to continue pursuing outreach and nonprofit work that will cultivate change around me and prioritize those in need. As an educated Latina, I have the purpose to disrupt and inspire, and I intend to do just that after graduation.”

What IFF?: Queering Trauma Recovery

Queering Trauma Recovery

A new episode of What IFF? is out! We are joined by two trauma-informed experts to break down the misconceptions about sexual assault, trauma recovery, and patterns of serial perpetration. Katie Mai, LMSW, is a therapist with the Sexual Assault Services program at MUSC Lyn Maples is an outreach coordinator and victim advocate with Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S.

Together, we analyze data on victimization to better understand what’s happening in our culture. Then, we use that knowledge to create supportive practices for survivor healing and improve educational tools to change social attitudes about gender-based violence.

To speak with a victim advocate, call the Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. 24-hour hotline at 843-745-0144 or the National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Music by Clean Mind Sounds
Podcast Producer: WGS student, Bria Ferguson

Alison Piepmeier Outstanding Student Award: Maddy Landa

Maddy Landa

Please join WGS in congratulating and celebrating Maddy Landa (she/her), who has been named the 2023 WGS South Alison Piepmeier Outstanding Student! Maddy is double majoring in Political Science and International Studies with minors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Spanish.

WGS South is a regional feminist organization that actively supports and promotes all aspects of women’s studies at every level of involvement (formerly SEWSA, the Southeastern Women’s Studies Assoc.). The Alison Piepmeier Outstanding student award is named after CofC’s beloved Alison, who was director of WGS for many years until her untimely death in 2016. Alison was “a fierce feminist, promoter of the field, and public intellectual; and a dedicated mentor. This award was created in gratitude and in honor of her memory.” (WGS South).

This award is intended to support the research and professional development or activism of undergraduate students. As a fearless activist and superb scholar herself, Maddy wrote a STELLA research proposal that earned her the award. She is working on a research project with Dr. Jordan Ragusa (Political Science) titled Gender, Race and Violent State Intervention. The project aims to apply an intersectional lens to the documented gender gap in support for violent state intervention on an international scale.

In nomination materials, WGS director, Dr. Kris De Welde, wrote, “Maddy is emblematic of the kind of student that honors Alison’s legacy. Maddy is a fierce activist, a generous colleague, and a whip smart scholar. All of her endeavors are squarely focused on identifying and resisting oppressions – from her on and off campus activism with Planned Parenthood Generation Action to her internship with our Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, her off-campus support of refugee resettlement and her diverse areas of research in and across WGS, Political Science, International Studies and Spanish. Maddy is truly a remarkable scholar-activist that is deserving of this recognition.”

Congratulations, Maddy! You have made us so proud!

What IFF?: Creating Communities for Change with Mika Gadsden

The new episode of What IFF? features the Women’s & Gender Studies’ Community Leader-In-Residence, Tamika Gadsden. As a well-traveled activist and grassroots mayoral candidate, Mika calls attention to current issues impacting CofC students and the Lowcountry. Learn how to be more active in your democracy through the support of local organizations, historical archives, and community relationships as catalysts for change!

Also learn more about What IFF? on Wednesday at Feminism in Motion! Bria, this season’s podcast creator and producer, will be presenting about the podcast. And hear more from Mika who will be saying a few words as well!

Feminism in Motion is being held in Stern Center Ballroom on Wednesday, April 19th from 3PM-7PM. Drop-in or stay the whole time; we hope to see y’all there!

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