default article image

Gender Studies Students Raise Awareness

Corey Wrenn, Ph.D., Director of Gender Studies and sociology lecturer, assigns a final project to her Gender Studies students every year, in which she asks students to bring the knowledge they have learned in class to the community in any form of their choice.

Some ideas she offers are: organizing a gender-based event, holding workshops, publishing an essay to a local paper or feminist blog, and creating a community or campus art project. Some of this year’s project included the Singing for Our Sister’s event ran by Students Advocating Girls Education (SAGE and Blue Hawk Records, collecting feminine hygiene products for the homeless, YouTube videos, and essays.

 “Eliminating the gender gap is a lofty goal in the United States, but it is such an important one. Research supports that increased diversity and parity create a more stable, productive, and harmonious workforce. They also make for more fulfilling, stable relationships. Ultimately, however, gender equality is a matter of basic social justice and collective responsibility,” said Wrenn.

“I think our project was a huge success, the concert was a fun way to promote our cause that caught the attention of a lot of people,” said Katie Piltz, a sophomore social work student who helped out at the Singing for Our Sisters event. “Events like this are important for the empowerment of women because it proves anyone can make a change if they put their mind to it, just like we did.”

For her project, sophomore health studies student Cameron Oakley rallied up a group of about ten classmates to collect feminine hygiene products for a non-profit organization she works with called the Blessing Bag Brigade NJ. The organization collects everyday items, like socks, toothbrushes, and snacks, to create Blessing Bags for the homeless. They hand these bags out to the homeless on a regular basis, giving them out in New York up to five nights a week. They have recently brought their efforts here to New Jersey, working in Newark, Asbury Park, and other areas at the Jersey Shore.

Another one of Wrenn’s students, sophomore chemistry student, Sonny Timpani, is organizing an information booth in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m., as his praxis. Timpani specifically will be analyzing women’s issues in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Careers in STEM are still heavily dominated by males. While some may just accept the difference because it’s just what society has dictated others are striving to close this gap. “It’s important to me because there are plenty of women across the world who have potential, but do not reach it because of cultural norms,” said Timpani.With the assistance of a couple of classmates from his Gender Studies class, Timpani’s info booth will consist of posters and brochures that will present information on gender differences in stem, stereotypes, and what can be done to make way toward change. In discussing some ways that we can progressively make way toward eliminating the gap, Timpani discussed, “having a growth mindset, instead of a fixed mindset,” as well as encouraging girls to reach for these dreams at a younger age.

As for the overall effectiveness of this project? “Students gain experience in designing projects, implementing projects, working with classmates, faculty, staff, community members, nonprofits, and more. More importantly, they sharpen their skills at actually measuring how impactful their efforts are and how to promote their work effectively. This is a useful skill in many occupations,” said Wrenn.