April 2016 newsletter from Women's and Gender Studies @ ISU
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From the Director: Dr. Ann Oberhauser
Graduate - Verb: to move up, change, take a degree, step.  These terms should resonate with students who plan to graduate this May.  As you look back on your time at Iowa State, you are also looking forward to big changes and new adventures. Classes, friends, campus activities, and life in Ames have been a big part of your life during the past several years.  I’m certain you are wiser and more experienced in areas that will give you the tools to handle the challenges and opportunities that come your way.
Women’s and Gender Studies is designed to help students expand their horizons and make their mark on the world in many areas.  Our classes introduce students to subjects such as ecofeminism and consumer culture, challenge stereotypes about masculinity and gender identity, and encourage us to reach out and work with groups both on and off campus. 

This has been an especially busy semester for the WGS Program.  In April, we hosted a successful Women's, Gender, and Sexuality  undergraduate student conference at ISU.  The theme, “Transforming Gender and Society,” involved students from six universities around Iowa who presented their work on topics such as Catwoman and liminal space, gender framing of First Ladies, Arab women in post-9/11 America, and rape culture in advertising.  Participants were impressed with the high quality presentations by over 40 undergraduate students.  Stay tuned, we are considering a follow-up conference next year.

Finally, I am excited to complete my first year at ISU and appreciate all the people who have made me feel welcome on campus and in Ames.  I am looking forward to some relaxation this summer and time to plant some Iowa vegetables in my garden!  Stay in touch and congratulations to our graduates!!
The Iowa State University Women's and Gender Studies Undergraduate Conference
Congratulations to Women's and Gender Studies students and faculty who participated in the 2016 undergraduate conference, “Transforming Gender and Society.” Over 75 people attended the conference which was held in the ISU Memorial Union on April 9th.  Nearly 40 students representing Iowa State University, University of Iowa, Drake University, Simpson College, and University of Northern Iowa presented their research and class work at the conference.

Thank you to the conference organizers and participants for making it such a successful event. Below are some pictures in addition to those posted on the WGS Facebook page.

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Mike Goebel
Dr. Mike Goebel came to ISU in 2011 with his partner Dr. Brianna Burke, Assistant Professor in the English Department.  He has a background in cultural studies and research expertise in gender and masculinities. He is currently a lecturer for WGS 160 (Gender Justice), WGS 450 (Gender and Consumer Culture), and ENGL 250.

One of his most recent, memorable experiences as a part of the WGS program was attending panels and interacting with students during the “Transforming Gender and Society” conference. In particular, Dr. Goebel described how proud he is to work with driven, compassionate, and intellectually capable students, who showcased their understanding of gender, race, class, and sexuality issues through their scholarly works and creative projects at the conference. 

Regarding his own research, Dr. Goebel is currently working on turning his dissertation into a monograph, Beached White Male: Imperiled Masculinity and The Great Recession, which explores the cultural myth that white, white-collar men were the group most negatively impacted by the recession of the late 2000s. According to Mike,
I examine how cultural producers harnessed and shaped anxiety stemming from the threat of declining white masculinity by strategically deploying images of, or references to, imperiled white men. Tracing the white-collar white male crisis through magazines, newspapers, discussion forums, talk radio, popular films, and paid-labor reality television programs, I show how this panic narrative was used to propel neoconservative ideology stipulating the need for a resurgence of white patriarchal authority to ‘save’ white men and return the United States to social, moral, and economic supremacy.”
The focus of the project was especially important considering how the current cultural behaviors and rhetoric by panicked white men are shaping public policy and laws to centralize elite white male power, while further marginalizing and disenfranchising immigrants, minorities, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and the working poor.

On behalf of the WGS program, we would like to congratulate Dr. Goebel on his successful dissertation defense and his continual support of WGS students!
Student Highlight: Shelby Dill 
We would like to recognize Shelby Dill for all of her work in Women’s and Gender Studies during her undergraduate program at ISU.  Shelby presented “Catwoman and Liminal Space” at the WGS Undergraduate Student Conference. Her paper was based on her senior thesis which focuses on the complex, morally ambiguous figure of Catwoman in Batman Returns, Catwoman, and The Dark Knight Rises. According to Shelby, “… while this liminal space helps create Catwoman as a complex character, it also allows for the appropriation of her agency by the moral and immoral masculinity that always surrounds her. As feminist scholars, we urge characters and identities to exist outside of a binary system and instead within a spectrum. However, Catwoman is policed by both Batman and his villains because of her liminality, ultimately allowing the liminal space to become disempowering for her as a character. The policing of Catwoman’s identity proves, once again, the oppression          inflicted by hegemonic masculinity when identities step outside a rigid binary, whether it be good or evil, masculine or feminine.”  
When asked about the WGS program, Shelby described it as a community where professors, like Dr. Goebel, encourage and support students to achieve their best. Shelby has been accepted into the University of Iowa’s American Studies MA Program where she will also be employed as a teaching assistant for the General Education Literature program. Along with future PhD work, Shelby’s “end goal is to teach at the collegiate level, while continuing to do research on media’s representations of gender, class, race, and more.”
Student Highlight: Sarah Crosby
Sarah Crosby will graduate this May with a MA in English Literature and a Graduate Minor in WGS. Sarah decided to return to school to get her Master’s degree while she was a high school teacher. Her passion focuses on gender issues, which is why she decided to include Women’s and Gender Studies as a minor. Teaching at the collegiate level has been an important experience for Sarah since she is now convinced of her true passion, teaching in higher education. She is also proud of her master thesis research: “Letting Gendered Spaces Go: Striving Toward Gender and Nature Balance Through Bonding in Disney's Frozen and Maleficent.”

Sarah has participated in several events including a panel moderated by Dr. Schaal for English Literature students at the University of South Dakota’s Annual Women’s and Gender Conference. The conference gave her the opportunity to receive an award for her paper and was later asked to turn it into a book chapter titled, “Weaving Expectations and Binds in Women’s Work: Teaching Queenship in Brave."

Sarah encourages all students, graduate and undergraduate, to apply for the Women’s and Gender Studies minor since it can be applicable to any area of research without delaying one's graduating date. She mentioned, “WGS faculty are also really kind and helpful, so if you're looking for a conference experience or other professional development opportunity, they are great resources for questions, suggestions, etc. If you're lucky, they may even agree to sponsor you or moderate a panel for you!

Thank you Sarah for all your hard work and dedication to the program and Newsletter. We wish you the best for your future. Keep in touch!
Featured Alumnae: Laura Rhoton
Laura Rhoton is our featured alumnae for April. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a graduate minor in Women's Studies from Iowa State University. Her dissertation focused on how institutional gendered cultures, structures, and practices disadvantage women in academic STEM disciplines. One of her most memorable moments as a Women's and Gender Studies student includes her appreciation of the “feminist community of faculty and students affiliated with the women's studies program.” She believes “it is important to have these types of communities on campus...[and] admired the fact that the women's studies program (and similar affiliated programs) awarded equity awards.” Rhoton believes such awards and honors puts women and people who work on social issues and equity in the spotlight and thus bring a positive and strong message about Iowa State University. Our featured alumnae continues to work in research.  She recommends that students become familiar and active with their community of women's and gender studies since they can be a valuable support system and a good source of information and resources in school and after graduation.
Upcoming Event
Women's and Gender Studies Spring Picnic - April 29, 4-7 PM
Friday, April 29th from 4 to 7 p.m.

Brookside Park (Maple shelter)
Located on 6th Street near N. University Blvd.
Join us for our end-of-year celebration to honor accomplishments of WGS students and faculty. 
Family and friends welcome!
Barbecue food and drinks provided.  Bring a dish to pass.
Please RSVP to  by Wed., April 27th
Campus Partners: Academic Success Center and Writing & Media Help Center
Whether you need support for upcoming final papers, presentations, tests, and other projects in your WGS classes or courses outside of the program, the Academic Success Center and Writing & Media Help Center are there to help. They are also great resources for faculty/staff and have opportunities for those who are interested in teaching-based job experience.

The Academic Success Center ( is located in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center and focuses on “enhanc[ing] students' academic development and serv[ing] as a community partner [by] promoting academic success and skill development.” They are also connected to other campus resources through the Dean of Students Office such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services (LGBTSS), the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center, and the Writing & Media Help Center.
The ASC provides resources for exam preparation, time management & procrastination, general study skills, course specific assistance (supplemental instruction, tutoring, help rooms), writing skills, test anxiety, goal setting, health & stress, motivation, and more. Students can access handouts and more information about these resources through the website or contact the Center’s staff for additional information and/or appointments via email ( or phone (515-294-6624).

The Writing and Media Center ( “helps students become stronger, more confident writers and communicators [by] offer[ing] tailored, one-on-one conferences for students from all disciplines who are working on any form of written, oral, visual, or electronic communication.”  Call (515-294-5411), or stop by one of their locations: 300 Carver Hall, 1020 Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, or the Learning Connections Center at Parks Library. These appointments are about improving skills, not editing or proofreading your work for you!

Resources for students are also available through the website to help with the general writing process, context, organization, grammar, assistance for English Language Learners, citation guides, and graduate student specific information. Students that are interested in becoming a communication consultant can also access additional information about expectations and application information ( Additionally, instructors can learn more about requesting a short outreach workshop or presentation from the WMC for their classes (
Undergraduate and Graduate Resources
Summer is just around the corner, the time for fun in the sun as well as
summer internships (,
studying abroad (,
taking summer classes (, and
working to earn money (

Planning on working on your thesis/dissertation over the summer? Make sure to check out the Writing and Media Center’s summer hours and resources available through Parks Library.

For more information check out the WGS website: . Stay connected by following WGS on Social Media:  Like us on Facebook! Tweet us at @WGS_isu!

WGS 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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