December 2015 newsletter from Women's and Gender Studies @ ISU
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From the Director: Dr. Ann Oberhauser

This month marks the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. who was born on January 15, 1929.  The federal holiday on the third Monday of January has become a national day of service when many people engage with others in their communities to commemorate Dr. King’s commitment to social justice.    

The field of Women’s and Gender Studies also has a long record of activism, outreach, and engagement that is worth sharing during this month of community service.  Feminism and women’s studies is a great platform to not only learn about social justice, but to practice it through work with victims of human trafficking, survivors of domestic violence, people who face discrimination in the workplace, or those who lack basic needs such as housing, food, and emotional support.   

The application of academic approaches and theories to activism and action research is embodied in the term praxis that permeates much of our work in the field of women’s and gender studies.  Students respond well to this approach and WGS courses and instruction are increasingly developing creative ways of connecting with our community in Ames, as well as throughout the state, across the country, and at the international level.  

At Iowa State University, student organizations, courses, internships, and community partnerships exemplify how women’s and gender studies students and faculty are involved in activism and community engagement.   This semester, I am teaching the WS 402/502 Feminist Research in Action course where we are learning how feminist research can apply to community groups that combat violence, reduce discrimination, and empower those who are marginalized.  Students in this class are working with the Network Against Human Trafficking (NAHT), Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS), and the ISU Work-Life Balance Committee to collect and analyze data that will provide support for some of their programs and initiatives.  Other classes and students at ISU are working with women and sustainable agriculture in rural Iowa, political outreach programs for the presidential caucuses, and many other community projects that underscore our commitment to making our communities and this world a better place.   

In closing, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. raised an important question when he stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'”  Please let me know what you are doing in Women’s and Gender Studies to serve and engage with your community.  I look forward to continuing this dialogue.   

Faculty Highlight - Dr. Amy Bix
Congratulations to Dr. Bix on her book Girls Coming to Tech!’: A History of American Engineering Education for Women and for winning the 2015 Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize given by the History of Science Society. The Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) described the book as “[An analysis of] the story of how women gained entrance to the traditionally male field of engineering in American higher education, looking at both individual experiences and institutional evolution. Her book explores the history of female engineering students before and during World War II, as well as three detailed case studies of postwar engineering coeducation, at Georgia Tech, Caltech, and MIT.” 

For more information about Girls Coming to Tech!’: A History of American Engineering Education for Women, check out the following links: 
Dr. Bix has published a number of articles including Creating “Chicks Who Fix”: Women, Tool Knowledge, and Home Repair, 1920–2007. Her current research is called Engineer Barbie as Role Model?: American Childhood, Play, and Evolving Ideas about Gender and Technical Careers, 1913-2013.  

Faculty Achievements - Kristin Hopper-Losenicky 
Kristin Hopper-Losenicky recently co-authored a book, Mad Men Unzipped: Fans on Sex, Love, and the Sixties on TV, with Karen E. Dill-Shackleford, Cynthia Vinney, & Jerri Lynn Hogg.   According to the publisher, University of Iowa Press, this book examines how “four media psychologists who also just happen to be dedicated Mad Men fans explore how the show’s viewers make meaning from fictional drama. The authors also interviewed several contemporary advertising industry professionals, getting their inside view of the business in its modern guise and what they make of the show’s vision of their past. The result is cutting-edge psychological research that crunches and codes online fan commentary to understand the ways that people use the show to debate complex social issues, from sex and alcohol to gender roles, parenting, and advertising itself.” 

For more information about Mad Men Unzipped, see the link:  

Along with this work, Kristin Hopper-Loskenicky also has two co-authored Mad Men articles in the Journal of Fandom Studies, including Mad Men Fans Speak Via Social Media: What Fan Voices Reveal About the Social Construction of Reality Via Dramatic Fiction and How Fictional Characters and Stories Help Fans Understand Parenting: Mad Men Fans Grapple with What Makes a Good Parent. These publications also focus on her research interest on the impact of the media and audience perceptions.  

While keeping busy with research and publications, Hopper-Loskenicky is also an instructor for Women’s & Gender Studies courses such as WS 301: International Perspectives on Women and Gender, and WS 325: Portrayals of Gender and Sexualities in the Media. In addition to her work with WGS, she also lectures for the Greenlee School of Journalism and is completing her doctoral work in the Media Psychology Program at Fielding Graduate University. Her dissertation continues her research interests by focusing on how women in STEM fields use media role models. 

Her Iowa State WGS adventure started as a graduate student, where she completed a graduate minor in Women’s Studies and served as a teaching assistant for WS 201 before being hired as a lecturer after graduation. When asked about a memorable teaching moment, Professor Hopper-Loskenicky spoke about her experience as a first semester lecturer, teaching a WS 201 face-to-face course with over 200 students. Much different from the class size she was used to (around 40 students), she was nervous and talked so fast a student had to ask her to slow down. She remembers this learning experience because of how valuable it was to learn how to teach in a different setting and to practice calming her nerves, skills she has honed not only for the classroom but also for presenting at conferences and other events. 

Student Highlights - Brenda Blackhawk
Brenda Blackhawk is an English major with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. She is a passionate reader and writer and plans to work in a publishing firm as an editor and writer after she graduates this spring. Brenda, with the assistance of Dr. Michèle Schaal, presented a paper in the 2014 Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities at Simpson College which examined the intersectionality and discrimination of black lesbian women in the 2011 film Pariah. She was also selected for the WGS Director's Choice Award for the Undergraduate Student Writing in 2014. Additionally, she is a Peer-Mentor for the Writing Gender Learning Community which has inspired her to be more aware of women and gender issues.  

Brenda recommends that other students take classes and be involved in organizations on campus that focus on women's issues such as Womyn of Color Network, SAGE, and Tri-Iota groups. She also encourages incoming freshmen or transfer students to take WS 201/Engl 250 Writing Gender Learning Community. Finally, Brenda stated that students should “stay hopeful, believe in your own power to create change and embrace the family that is the Women and Gender Studies Program at Iowa State University."  

Featured Alumnae - Kendra Malone
Kendra Malone graduated from Iowa State University with a Master’s Degree in cultural anthropology and women's studies in 2010. Her thesis title was Learning Stories Through Conversations: Gaining Insight into Women’s Knowledge of and Attitudes Towards Sexual Health and Its Implications for the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Trinidad. Her research helped establish the Family Planning Association of Trinidad & Tobago (FPATT) Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Training Manual for Nurse Practitioners as well as coordinated activities with the Trinidadian Youth Advocacy Movement.  

Her more memorable moments in Women's and Gender Studies include working in the Sloss House to create feminist activists. This experienced allowed her to conduct campaigns for sexual health and keeping in contact with legislators (click here for ISU Daily article). Kendra is currently working as Diversity Resources Coordinator at the University of Iowa where she also works as a trainer, consultant, facilitator, instructor, activist, and speaker in addressing issues of diversity and social justice.  She coordinates the LGBTQ Safe Zone Project that ensures inclusion and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people with a particular focus on communities of color at the University of Iowa.  

Finally, Kendra recommends that all students "surround yourselves with people and ideas that bring you to life, that fill your soul." She found it useful to be involved in organizations and causes that she wanted to work on one day. Kendra asks, "what kind of person do you want to be and what initiatives most closely align with this vision? Knowing yourself and what drives you will lead you to your calling." 

Upcoming Events

Lecture: ”Women Who Don't Wait in Line” 
Thursday Jan. 28th 8 pm @ Great Hall, Memorial Union 

This Keynote Program recognizes the 30th Anniversary for Women in Science and Engineering. Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future. 

Brown Bag Lunch Series for faculty and students to share research and teaching  

Tuesday Feb. 16th 12:10 in #208 Carver Hall  

Sarah Chase Crosby, English, “Letting Gendered Spaces Go: Striving for Gender and Nature Balance Through Bonding in Disney’s Frozen and Maleficent 

Undergraduate Resources:   

The application for the 2016 Point Foundation Scholarship is NOW OPEN and we would appreciate your help in spreading the word! Point Foundation (Point) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit. Point promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development, and community service training. Our scholarship application for 2016-17 is open from November 1, 2015 to January 19, 2016 on the Point Foundation website.  

Contact information: Alex Karas,  

“Transforming Gender and Society” Iowa Women’s and Gender Studies Conference - Iowa State University, Sat., April 9th, 2016.   

Join participants from Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Programs around the state of Iowa to present topics that include original research, creative work, pedagogy, activism, and thematic discussions. Presentations may take the form of papers, readings, displays, or dramatic readings.  We especially welcome scholarship utilizing cross-disciplinary approaches and/or employing issues in diversity. Deadline for abstract submissions March 22, 2016.  

For more details, contact  or visit . 

Graduate Resources:    

For the fourth consecutive year, the Diane Brandt Fellowship is available to women admitted into a PhD program in science, mathematics, agriculture, and engineering.  Diane Brandt, a 1961 ISU alumna, established an endowed fund in 2010 to serve many generations of ISU women in science, engineering, math and other fields in which women have traditionally been underrepresented. The fellowship honors her academic achievement, community leadership, state service, and life achievements.  The fellowship is $5000 for one year.  Please nominate newly admitted graduate students for the Brandt fellowships by submitting the form available at 

PAG - Professional Development Grant 

Professional Advancement Grants (PAG) are provided to graduate and professional students by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) to help defray expenses related to professional meeting and conference travel. The deadline for an application is 5:00 pm on the 15th of the month prior to the month of the conference.  

Undergraduate and Graduate Resources

Campus Partners: Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support (ACCESS)

ACCESS serves multiple counties, including Story County, providing a much needed service for individuals in need. Their mission is “to address the roots and impact of domestic and sexual violence through services that enhance safety, empower survivors, and promote understanding and social justice within our community.” Emphasizing the need for compassion, positive role models, community, and best practice and future growth, the staff at ACCESS “believe[s] that systemic change begins with education, advocacy, and crisis care focused on the needs of the individual.” Based on these values, members of ACCESS strive to create a safe environment by advocating, partnering with other agencies, and seeking resources for all people who have experienced domestic and sexual violence, regardless of race, national origin, gender, sexual identity, religion, immigration status, age or ability. 

ACCESS is known as a shelter or temporary housing, but their services also include crisis lines, crisis response services, SART (Story County Sexual Assault Response Team), individual counseling, support groups, advocacy, community education, and children’s programs. The Story County Coalition Against Domestic Violence also works with law enforcement, attorneys, medical professionals, victim service providers, substance abuse services, probation and corrections, and youth and human services to assist survivors as well as help the community aid these survivors.  

 ACCESS partners with Iowa State campus groups and programs, including the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center, to increase visibility and support for these vital issues. For example, ACCESS staff members are often present at specific events such as Take Back the Night and are available for those with questions and/or counseling needs at the Women’s Center. The Women’s Center describes how their annual production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, as a part of the global V-day campaign, works to raise awareness and donations for local anti-violence groups: “Benefits from the production will benefit ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support). In 2015, over $4,000 went to ACCESS.” For more about this beneficial project and ticket information, visit  

Students, staff, and faculty can also be involved by donating or volunteering for ACCESS. For safety purposes, ACCESS shelter locations are not disclosed on their website; however, volunteers are always appreciated and welcome. Information about upcoming volunteer trainings are available by going to and contacting or 515-292-0500 ext. 118. Along with these experiences, internships and permanent job opportunities may be available.  

If you or someone you know needs assistance, the following crisis lines are available:  

Sexual Abuse: 1-800-203-3488 

Domestic Violence: 1-855-983-4641 

Shelter Services: 1-855-696-2980 

ACCESS: 515-292-5378 

Newsletter edited by Elisa Cardenas and Sarah Chase Crosby

Copyright © 2016 Iowa State Women's and Gender Studies, All rights reserved.

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