Women and Gender Studies Newsletter
Welcome to the publication dedicated to Lock Haven University's interdiscipinary program: Women and Gender Studies
Christina William is a junior majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Women and Gender Studies at LHU. She is a non-traditional student balancing motherhood and academic life. Christina chose to return to college after working at the local women’s center in Lock Haven. In recent years, she began using social media platforms to create a support community for survivors of domestic violence. The combination of social media, historical knowledge, and her own personal history as a survivor have inspired Christina to minor in Women and Gender Studies (WGS). A minor in WGS will help Christina on her future career path. “I feel this minor is very helpful especially since I would like to work as a Victim/Witness Coordinator in the courts after I graduate.”
Being a WGS minor has given Christina a deeper understanding of women’s issues. As a minor Christina has found that WMST101: Introduction to Women’s Studies “teaches the students about society and culture as well as the past and present behaviors within.” She encourages others, especially male students, to consider taking a WGS course.
Tory Smith graduated from Lock Haven University in 2016 with a major in Social Work and a minor in Women and Gender Studies (WGS). Tory spent three years employed at the Clinton County Women’s Center in Lock Haven where they developed an advocacy program for LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence. Tory currently works as the Director of Direct Services of Huntingdon House where their responsibilities include overseeing and supervising the provision of direct counseling and advocacy services to survivors of domestic violence. Additionally, they are involved with The Trevor Project, an organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth. The WGS minor has allowed Tory to bring an element of specialization into their career as a social worker. According to Tory, “I chose a professional career path that directly targets oppression. I have used the experiences of the minor in every professional role I have had since graduation.” Tory encourages others to pursue the minor for a variety of reasons: “No matter what career field you are entering, your work will be impacted by systemic oppression. This minor will give you the knowledge and skills to challenge these oppressions and work towards a better world, be it through your own work or advocating with others in your workplace or community.” Tory further notes, “The WGS program is a crucial part of identifying how we can incorporate anti-oppression work into our paid careers. There are far too many people who need to be at the center of all anti-oppression work whose voices go unheard, because they are simply struggling to survive. We need to continue to explore ways to get these folks paid for doing anti-oppression work. While many of these folks also can’t afford to attend school, the WGS program feeds this outcome by encouraging students to take our experiences into our workplaces and communities.”
This academic year has been an incredibly busy one for the Women and Gender Studies minor. In the fall we co-sponsored the annual conference held by the PASSHE Women’s Consortium on the LHU campus and held our annual fall picnic. During the spring semester we co-sponsored Let Her Voice Be Heard, an annual event that celebrates the work of women authors. Our students presented research during Celebration of Scholarship, and we cosponsored the opening for an exhibit titled “The Long Road to LGBTQ+ Equality in Central Pennsylvania.” This exhibit was displayed for most of April in Stevenson Library, and it was the first time the exhibit had shown in the area. The number of students minoring in Women and Gender Studies is consistently growing, and (for the first time) next fall we are offering two sections of WMST110: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies, both of which quickly filled. Drs. Beth McMahon and Karen Kline retired at the end of this year; they have been integral members of the Women and Gender Studies faculty committee and they will be missed by their colleagues and students alike!