Undergraduate Student Showcase | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

Undergraduate Student Showcase

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Symposium on Masculinities - April 21, 2017

The GSWS program held the Undergraduate Symposium on Masculinities on April 21, 2017. Nineteen undergraduate students from the University of Pittsburgh – and one student from Ohio State University – showcased their work on panels and round tables throughout the day. These included “Deconstructing Global Masculinity,” “Images and Interpretations of Masculinities,” “Masculinity and Violence,” “Black Masculinities, Racism, and Whiteness,” and “Masculinity and Privilege.” Read the full story here.

Student Profiles

Kate Shindle

Kate Shindle's path to gender studies is a bit unorthodox; originally, they planned to become a biological research scientist. However, through their Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies classwork, and their activism and leadership roles with T is For, Rainbow Alliance and others, they learned the importance of integrating biology and gender studies to solve some of society’s most pervasive health inequalities. Kate is ecstatic to continue their education at Indiana University of Bloomington’s Gender Studies PhD program, and hopes to study the ways that society, scientific research and health care interact to shape our understandings of bodies, gender, race, sexuality.

Zachary Grewe

"Zachary Grewe’s bedroom is filled with boxes of old LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) ephemera from early 1970s and ’80s Pittsburgh. Workers at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh’s James Fisherkeller Library downtown were short on space and needed a place to store some of their materials. Grewe, a budding archivist, offered up his bedroom floor, and the library readily agreed. He began to sift through the old documents for hidden gems. . . .

'I realized, as a queer person, I had never really talked directly to anyone from that generation. Reading those [library] newspapers was the first time I was really "talking to" a queer person from the ’70s,' he says.

To be in conversation with the past through text was a rare privilege he felt compelled to share with others. It occurred to Grewe that people outside the Pitt community might also be interested to learn more about local queer history and social movements, so he applied for the University Honors College’s Community-Based Research Fellowship to continue the work. At his job as a student employee in Hillman Library’s special collections, he came up with ways to improve accessibility for rare documents, such as underground and radical newspapers, resulting in detailed bibliographies. . . ."

- by Micaela Fox Corn for the Pitt Chronicle.  Read the full story here.

Tamara Farrell

"Tamara Farrell never had to look very far for inspiration.

Her mother, Melekte Amhayes, was the first person in her family to leave her native Ethiopia in the late 1980s and come to America with just $500 in her wallet. She settled in Washington, D.C., pursued an education and is now a physician’s assistant with a master’s degree.

'She’s always been my key point person and role model,' says her daughter.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Farrell, 21, will graduate April 30 from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences with two degrees achieved in four years at Pitt — a dual bachelor of science in economics and statistics and a bachelor’s degree in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. The young Helen Faison Scholar made the most of her time at the University, working in leadership positions and mentoring young students from diverse backgrounds. . . . "

- by Sharon S. Blake for the Pitt Chronicle.  Read the full story here.

Kristin Portland

"I've always been interested in Women's studies, and the certificate program at Pitt only deepened that interest. I've always known that I wanted to help people, and working for an NPO seems to me like the best way to do that. I'll be getting my MA in Women's and Gender studies from DePaul University, with the hope that it will leave me well placed to take a leadership position with an NPO whose main goal relates to helping women or the LGBT population in some way."

Dana Huttlin

Dana is a junior Industrial Engineering student who became interested in Women's Studies through her involvement with "FeelGood," a group on campus that sells grilled cheese sandwiches to raise money for The Hunger Project.  Check them out from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday in the William Pitt Union.  The group aims to empower men, and especially women, to end their own hunger.  Dana chose to take an Intro course to learn more about global feminisms, though she benefitted addtionally from course assignments.  Dana won a contest to meet Metric (featured on the soundtrack of the latest film with Michael Cera, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World").  See Dana's email to WS Teaching Fellow, Sarah Krier: 

"Hi Sarah,

Alright, so I've been meaning to email you for a while. Do you remember the paper I wrote for your women's studies class last spring?  About the different female music artists? One of them was this band called Metric.  Over the summer I entered a radio contest to meet them. To enter you had to write a little blurb about why you wanted to meet them so of course I wrote how I had written that paper about them. And someone at the station thought that was really neat I guess because I ended up winning, so I got to give them a copy of the paper and have my own copy signed by them. It was a really cool experience, and I wouldn't have ever ended up there if it wasn't for your class. I just wanted to pass the story along to you.

Hope everything is going well!

Dana Huttlin"

Tamar Toledano

Tamar has been an undergraduate representative on the Women’s Studies Program Steering Committee since fall of 2008, and was recently asked to serve as the undergraduate representative on the teaching fellows selection subcommittee.

Currently working towards a Certificate in the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality, Tamar is a senior sociology major and public service minor. She is especially interested in the intersections of theater, stage performance, queer and feminist theory, and social justice. She is presently working on a research proposal that will fuse these elements of study and praxis together.

A nominee for the Iris Marion Young Award in 2010, Tamar has served as a peer educator for the sexual assault services at the University for the past three years and is especially excited about having launched a project at the University of Pittsburgh called Tunnel of Oppression. This project is an interactive, multimedia three day long event that highlights contemporary issues of oppression, privilege, and power through the intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, age, environment, etc. (to find out more about this project send an e-mail to tunnelatpitt@gmail.com)

Tamar’s first publication, a study entitled “Social Smoking: The College Student’s Response to Conflicting Media Messages” will be printed in the Sociology Student Association’s journal Social Concepts this spring.

Brendin Rogers

The Women’s Studies Program Steering Committee eagerly welcomed Brendin Rogers this year as a new undergraduate representative for the group.

Brendin is a junior anthropology major with a minor in Africana studies; he is pursuing certificates in women’s studies, global studies, and Africana studies.  Brendin is interested in sexuality in various cultures and how it is defined, practiced and manipulated, as well as queer and feminist theory.  He recently wrote a research paper on power and control in male gay strip clubs. 

At the University, Brendin holds the position of political action chair in the Rainbow Alliance.  He is a former president of Pittsburgh Kajukenbo, a martial arts group that is derived from karate, judo/jiu-jitsu, kenpo, and Chinese boxing.

Brendin likes to experience foreign cultures through their food, music, and language.  He enjoys cooking a variety of foreign foods also. 

Ryan Ricarte

Pursuing the certificate in the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality, Ryan is a senior Psychology student and Theatre Arts minor. He is particularly interested in theories of masculinity in the context of rape and sexual assault, men's involvement and conceptualization of queer and feminist theory, and the history of AIDS activism. He is an officer of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force Student Ambassadors, as well as a peer educator for the University's Sexual Assault Services. Ryan's most recent activities include a zine entitled "I'm Not Manly, You're Not Manly, and Feminism Thinks That's Okay" as a final project for Intro to Women's Studies. He also created "I Could Say No to Myself," a zine discussing the generational and institutional hurdles of reducing HIV/AIDS stigma. Since June 2013, Ryan has been working with Robert Coulter, MPH, on a systematic review discussing resiliencies of sexual minority youth at the Graduate School of Public Health. They hope to complete their work in April 2014.

Congratulations to Madi Scull on the defense of their BPhil, "Barriers, Boundaries, and Borders: An Investigation into Transgender Experiences within Medical Institutions"

Congratulations to Madi Scull, who successfully defended their Bachelor of Philosophy thesis, "Barriers, Boundaries, and Borders: An Investigation into Transgender Experiences within Medical Institutions" on April 5, 2019. Graduating this spring from Communication; Sociology; and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies; Madi is the second Communication major to earn the Bachelor of Philosophy honors degree at Pitt.  

Announcing the First Annual Undergraduate Sexuality Studies Symposium


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