We sat down with WGS and Sociology double-major Meshauna Dwight to talk about her experiences as this year’s Alison Piepmeier Scholarship recipient, her work volunteering with Educating Girls on the Go (EGO), and why she loves studying WGS.
What does being this year’s Alison Piepmeier Scholarship recipient mean to you?
I was happy to learn about the endeavors and achievements of Alison Piepmeier while she was alive, and it is an honor to pick up her torch in solidarity for social justice.
What aspects of WGS or WGS-related areas of interest are you most passionate about?
I decided to declare Women’s and Gender Studies as one of my majors because, to me, WGS embodies effort towards social justice. Social justice in every area is what I am passionate about because I believe that all corners of the globe should be beautiful places for everyone no matter what their differences are, and societies should work towards being as close to a meritocracy as possible.
What upcoming projects or classes in WGS are you most looking forward to?
The class that I am most looking forward to is SOCY 362: The Sociology of Social Change. I read lots of books and watch lots of movies with dystopian themes in the hopes of getting a glimpse of a roadmap to influencing positive social change. Hopefully, this class will help to answer some of my questions.
Are you currently engaged in any activism in the greater Charleston community? If so, tell us about it!
I am mostly involved with this small, up-and-coming organization called Educating Girls on the Go, or EGO. It was started by Nathalia Mateus, a former residential assistant at a group home in North Charleston, called Jenkins Institute for Children. Having first-hand experience with the foster care system opened her eyes to how broken it is and she wanted to become an advocate. We have been speaking with policy-makers, community leaders, and other organizations based in and outside of South Carolina for three years now in an effort to reform South Carolina’s foster care system. We now plan to get involved with the Department of Children’s Advocacy, which has only just been established in the beginning of July. This new organization will provide oversight for South Carolina’s Department of Social Services to make sure that all youth in foster care are actually receiving the many services that they have a right to while in DSS custody. The staggering amount of foster care youth that age out of the system only to become homeless were often never even made aware of the resources that they are entitled to.