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Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Student Spotlight – June 2020

Posted in: Student Feature of the Month

Collage of GSWS Senior Seminar Projects

Featured here in our Student Spotlight are some amazing projects from Dr. Monica Taylor’s upper level seminar class in SP 20. The GSWS “Senior Seminar” and its culminating Inquiry/Research projects invite upper level majors to explore a burning authentic question that is framed by feminist and queer theories and intersects with other research and disciplines. They design a research study using feminist and queer research methodologies (such as autoethnography, participatory action research, life history, qualitative research) that fit their topic and spend most of the semester conducting research in order to develop a deeper understanding rather than discover a “complete” answer. Students select creative and sometimes public genres to present their research and potentially have a greater sphere of influence. These include: videos, autoethnographic memoirs, PowerPoints, websites, twitter feeds, and Facebook pages.

Nikki Trumble, a recently graduated student from the GSWS program, created a website for their senior seminar dedicated to bringing awareness to ending child marriage in the United States. They used resources such as personal stories and extensive research, and explained the importance of advocacy groups such as Unchained At Last. This website gives insight on how to tackle the issue of child marriage both domestically and globally.
Nikki Trumble GSWS Senior Seminar Project

Project description from Karen Sonnenwald: “My name is Karen Sonnenwald. I am a recent graduate of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program. My project for my senior seminar class was an autoenthography. In this project, I studied the effects of intergenerational trauma and its effects on my parenting style. My hope in sharing this project is not to focus on the trauma but to realize the importance of taking care of oneself, especially from a mental health stand point. Also, it is possible to break intergenerational patterns. Awareness is key to this process as is professional help in the forms of eastern and western medicine.”
Karen Sonnenwald GSWS Senior Seminar Project

Anne Marie Venezia, for her senior seminar, wrote an auto-ethnography to explore construction of identity through her own unique lens and lived experience.  Using journals she had complied for over a decade of her childhood and adolescence as artifactual evidence, she reflected on her past in the hopes of offering insight into what her journals and experiences had to say about how we construct our identities in the face of trauma, stigma, and shame.  She incorporated images and text from the journals to imbue the work with a sense of the emotional and temporal tone of her youth, as an homage to who she was, and to show how that has both shifted and shaped the person she is now.
Anne Marie Venezia GSWS Senior Seminar Project

Kendra Franke has just graduated with honors from the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program with a GLBTQ+ studies minor. They transferred to Montclair State University from Raritan Valley Community College in Fall of 2018 after receiving an A.A. in Liberal Arts with a Gender and Women’s Studies focus. They hope to continue their education at the University of Wisconsin, getting their master’s degree and eventually their PhD.
Kendra Franke GSWS Senior Seminar Project

Past Student Spotlights

Student Spotlight – May 2020