Tag Archives | student spotlight

Student Spotlight: Patrick Meyer

One of our very favorite things to do is highlight students and their accomplishments! Be sure to check WGS’ Instagram and blog, WGS Connect throughout the semester for more “spotlights.

Below you can read more about Patrick Meyer, who received funding through the WGS Student Opportunities Fund to pursue a summer undergraduate research opportunity with Duke University in 2021!

Patrick Meyer

Patrick Meyer (He/They)

Psychology/WGS ’22

Q. Tell us about the opportunity you had last summer.

I was a 2021 summer research assistant in the Identity and Diversity Lab at Duke University. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the experience was entirely virtual. My primary project over the summer involved developing a theoretical framework to deconstruct harmful masculine norms while fostering authentic identity development in boys and men. This project will hopefully result in a published article in a prominent psychology or gender studies journal!

Q. How did the project influence your understandings of what you had been learning through your coursework in WGS?

This experience deepened so much of the knowledge base I was already cultivating in my WGS classes. Throughout the summer I was able to learn about how systems and individuals uphold and police gender norms, and how this can be particularly distressing for individuals who may not conform to these rigid norms. Sacrificing authenticity for the comfort of conformity demonstrates how patriarchal structures actually end up harming men as well! With the intersectional lens the WGS program has provided me, I also examined how gendered pressure interacts with other axes of power and inequity.

Q. What was the best aspect of this experience?

The most beneficial aspect of this experience was that I was able to foster a connection between my major discipline, psychology, and WGS. The interdisciplinary nature of WGS is one of the things that drew me to the minor and this project showed me how feminist activism and gender equity movements are enhanced by the presence of individuals from diverse backgrounds. In order to deconstruct harmful masculinity norms, it will require the work of educators, mental health professionals, policymakers, and more!

Q. How did the ability to engage in this opportunity influence your next steps and future career goals?

This opportunity allowed me to gain substantial research experience that solidified and expanded my interests in psychology and WGS. I am currently in the process of applying to doctoral programs in counseling psychology, and I am confident that this summer experience will shape so much of my approach to research and practice! The dual-level approach of our framework, deconstructing norms while fostering authenticity, really resonated with me and I hope to become a social change agent that promotes wellness among individuals and across systems.

 

 

Student Spotlight: Lauren Graham

We asked Lauren to answer the following questions:

  • What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?
  • What areas/aspects of activism (gender, women, children, etc.) and/or social justice do you find most engaging/interesting, and why?
  • Tell us about any extracurricular work you’re doing (ex. volunteering/local activism), or any involvement you have on campus with clubs/organizations.
  • What impact have your WGS courses had on you? and/or: Why should every CofC student take a WGS class before they graduate?
  • What does being an Alison Piepmeier scholar mean to you?
  • What are your plans and goals after graduation?

Lauren’s Answers:

Lauren Kendall Graham (she/her/hers)
● Honors College Class of 2023
● Major: Biochemistry
● Minor: Women and Gender Studies
● Hometown: Citronelle, Alabama

Lauren Graham
This summer, I received a SURF grant to co-author and help conduct the “Do You Want a Period?” campaign. This project was created to gather data concerning women’s knowledge concerning contraceptives. So many women are unaware that the withdrawal bleeding that happens at the end of the birth control pill cycle is unnecessary. Contraceptives can change a woman’s period or can sometimes prevent her from having one at all. This study consisted of an interview that determined the extent of the interviewee’s familiarity with contraceptives as well as what would appeal best to them in a campaign. My main role was to recruit and interview participants, as well as co-author sections of the manuscript. This research is important to me as I plan on pursuing a career in women’s health. I am currently majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. I hope to attend medical school and, after my residency, practice within the field of women’s health. I am extremely interested in the current issues that are relevant to women’s health in the United States and further globally. I feel that my research with the Women’s Health Research Team is helping me to prepare for issues and phenomena that I will definitely encounter throughout my career. I feel that there is a stigma surrounding women’s health issues. People my age feel uncomfortable when I bring up issues or current legislation that concern women’s health or reproductive rights. I feel that my work on these projects helps me to communicate better with my peers, most of whom are women, that our health issues and complications are normal topics and that we should not be embarrassed to discuss them. The more I study women’s health, the more work I find that needs to be done. Most women do not understand contraceptives or know about the multitude of options that are available regarding their reproductive health. I want my generation to become informed and empowered about their freedom and options concerning their sexual health. I am most interested in reproductive justice because when I was in high school in Alabama, I watched my state supreme court take away my reproductive rights to my own body. I was an active member of the Women’s Health Research Team from Fall 2020-Fall 2021. In the Fall of 2021, I left Charleston to do an exchange semester in Aalen, Germany where I conducted research. I am a proud member of Alpha Delta Pi ,and I currently serve as the Vice President of Administration for the Panhellenic Council. WGS has allowed me to take courses that discuss issues in our society regarding women’s health. I have also learned so much about families in my current sociology class. Being an Alison Piepmeier is such an honor. Alison Piepmeier was an active feminist who is so inspirational to me. I hope I am honoring her legacy with the work I am doing.

Student Spotlight: Denver Tanner

What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?Denver Tanner

My home town is Inman, South Carolina, a small mountain town on the outskirts of Spartanburg, SC. My major is political science with a concentration in Philosophy, Politics, and the law. My minors are Women’s and Gender Studies and Studio Art. 

What areas/aspects of gender activism and/or social justice do you find most engaging/interesting, and why?

I find LGBTQIA+ issues most engaging to me when it comes to gender activism and social justice due to my identity as a non-binary lesbian. This aspect of my identity is very important to me because I spent the first twenty-one years of my life in the closet. Now that I have a supportive community, a self-love mentality that enabled me to be out, I want to support those who continue to struggle with this aspect of their lives. 

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

I am involved in many extra circular activities. I currently work for the REACH department at the College of Charleston as their student assistant and academic tutor. I’ve worked in these roles for approximately four years. I also work part-time at Cru Catering as a banquet server. I am involved in multiple scholarship programs including HSS LEAP, Ketner-Crunelle Scholar, and the Phi Eta Sigma honor society. Last semester I was the vice president for the pre-law society at CofC.  I am also starting my Master’s degree in Public Administration this semester. In fall 2019, I traveled to Trujillo, Spain for a faculty-led study abroad trip. 

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

My first experience with a WGS course was as a tutor for the REACH program in spring 2020. I was tutoring a student in an introduction to WGS course. I actually took the same course last semester for a minor requirement and my professor used the same textbook. This introduction to the program was one of my first college experiences in intersectionality, equity, and greatly aided in my pathway to accepting myself as a member of the LGBT community. My second experience with a WGS course was in Trujillo, Spain with Dr. Kendra Stewart. She taught a comparison course about the lives of women in America and Spain. This class is what inspired me to make WGS one of my minors. 

What does being a Ketner-Crunelle scholar mean to you?

Being a Ketner-Crunelle scholar means I get to fulfill one of my childhood dreams – being supported by, while simultaneously, uplifting the local LGBTQIA+ community. It means so much to me to be out and proud and to help those in my CofC community, and the greater Charleston community, celebrate their identities in a safe space. 

What are your plans and goals after graduation?

After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree in Political Science, I will continue my education at the College of Charleston by getting my Master’s in Public Administration. I will continue volunteering with a local LGBTQIA+ activism organization. I am currently looking for full-time, salary-based employment at the College of Charleston. 

Student Spotlight: Marissa Haynes

What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?Marissa Haynes

My name is Marissa Haynes, and my pronouns are she/her. I grew up in a suburb outside of Philadelphia called Newtown, Pennsylvania. At The College, I am a Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies double major and a Spanish minor.

What areas/aspects of gender activism and/or advocacy for women and girls you find most engaging/interesting/what you’re most passionate about?

Sexual assault awareness is an area of gender activism that I have found myself engaging with most in recent years. The empowerment of women and queer peoples has become a part of my calling. Self defense, for example, is about way more than just learning how to defend yourself physically. It is about challenging a culture that has normalized the constant violation and antagonism of the bodies of women and LGBTQIA+ folx. Another area of advocacy that I am passionate about is the protection and education of children, specifically children from families of a low socioeconomic status and/or who experience marginalization. Children are arguably the most vulnerable members of our society, and as such deserve better than to have decisions made on their behalf that do not prioritize their safety and well-being.

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

One of my favorite things that I get to do is being the teaching assistant for the Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense class at the College. In this class, we teach students how to defend themselves using the art of Brazilian jiu jitsu, which is a martial art that emphasizes the use of leverage and physics to overcome an opponent instead of brute force or striking. As the teacher’s assistant, I am able to incorporate Feminist theory into each lesson in order to combat rape culture and empower our students emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. I am also currently interning with an organization called Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) to help them upstart a national podcast called “Feminist Intersections.” As another part of this internship, I am currently working to launch a Women’s and Gender Studies podcast here at The College through which we hope generate important feminist conversations by highlighting the members of our WGS community here in Charleston who are doing important activist work and encouraging those in our community who want to know what they could do to help.

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

My academic career in WGS has pushed me to ask and begin to answer difficult questions about the functionality of society as we know it and my role in it. I truly believe in the power of a WGS education to make students not only productive members of society but constructive ones: instilling in students the tools to approach the real world issues that they will inevitably face post-grad and to make effective change in the world around them.

What does being a Ketner scholar mean to you?

It has been an absolute honor to be named a Ketner scholar. This scholarship has simultaneously fostered my passion for activism and provided me with the space and resources to step outside of my comfort zone to advance my potential for changemaking. It has meant the world to me to receive the support that this scholarship has offered me, and it will act as a jumping off point for all of my future activism and professional endeavors.

What are your plans and goals after graduation?

After graduation, I have goals to use my majors and minor to enter the social services and fight for those too often forgotten in the heightened political, economic, and social discussions throughout our country and the world: children. Specifically, I want to put my efforts into improving the child welfare system in ways that will provide better support and more effective systems that prioritize keeping families together in order to proactively and sustainably assist children in need. I’d like to someday earn a PhD in Sociology, and later in life, I hope to return to academia as a professor and mentor.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes