Jazlyne Miyazaki, Lisa Logan, Jennifer Contreras, and Penelope celebrating Denim Day
"GWSS has helped me through hurdles during my educational career at Eastern. It has taught me to be positively impactful with everyone." - Jennifer Contreras, Class of 2021
"The Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies program has provided me with a solid platform to look outside my own view on this world and my place in it." - Kayti Hilzinger, Class of 2021
"The GWSS program is really, really good about getting students to think critically, and find resources to back up their claims." - Danica Jenck, Class of 2021
"GWSS helped me learn more about myself and be more compassionate toward people." - Shilo Stewart, Class of 2021
In last year’s annual report, I wrote: “It is impossible to know what the next year will bring, and what I will write for that annual report. I do know that we will continue to find ways to support each other in our teaching, learning, community engagement, and health and wellness.” We have, in fact, found creative ways to support each other and our important work, and of that, I am very proud. I could not have imagined the devastation or have known we would still be in a pandemic in June 2021.
While some people and places are rushing back to “normal,” I’ve suggested we slow down and revisit the notion of the pandemic as a portal. This year has been incredibly traumatic and challenging for many in our communities. It has changed us in ways we are only beginning to understand. And it has significantly impacted all of our institutions, including higher education. The task of writing a note capturing this year is impossible, so I won’t pretend to do that.
In this report, you will see glimpses of the tip of the iceberg of activities GWSS faculty, staff, students and allies have organized and participated in over the past year, including: mutual aid, mask-making groups, public scholarship and art, protest, formal/informal care-giving, and lots of webinars. We have demonstrated one of the core principles to emerge from the convergence of pandemic, economic, climate and racial crises: “We keep us safe.”
Dr. Judy Rohrer
The 2020-2021 academic year brought many joys and challenges to Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies and the Women’s and Gender Education (WAGE) Center. When I wrote my update for last year’s annual report, I could not have imagined that we would spend an entire year in an online environment! My biggest goal during the pandemic has been to maintain a sense of community for our work study staff and event attendees despite the virtual nature of our gatherings throughout the year. We continue to stick together and prioritize wellness.
In addition to what you will find in the report below, I led a virtual series for EWU staff and community members on burnout, facilitated two "Quaranzine" workshops, held an open virtual space to process the events of January 6th, and maintained virtual drop-in hours each week. I was also honored to be involved in Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year. You also will not find a lot of photographs of our events. We took many screenshots of the now all too familiar "Brady Bunch" Zoom rooms, but they won't lead to a more dynamic or interesting story of our year. We've included the first one, but the rest will be left to your imagination.
In September, we publicly launched our new name and kicked off the major in Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies. Contemporary Issues in Feminist Research continued throughout the year for a virtual 35th year of the series. We hosted two successful webinar series on Critical Menstruation Studies and White Supremacy, the 2020 Election & the Pacific Northwest in the fall. In December, Dr. Elizabeth Arveda Kissling retired with emeritus status after a 27-year career at EWU.
In the winter, we were able to facilitate a successful Activist in Residence program with Jac Archer. We also launched a new Women’s and Gender Education Center website and held the “Black Lives & Movements Matter” Black History Month social media graphic design contest.
Sexual Assault Awareness month brought a few of us together in real life in the spring and we held multiple events throughout April. We were also able to purchase and mail out GWSS swag that features the artwork “Processing” by Favianna Rodriguez. In collaboration with music, we brought world renowned cellist, Angela Ahn, to speak virtually after having to cancel her live appearance last spring. We were even able to end the year with a small outdoor gathering thanks to vaccinations. Our incredible volunteer, Kady Cullen, was even able to join us at the gathering. Kady was a running start student who will be joining the Eagles as a college student in the fall. I look forward to seeing what an incredible difference she will continue to make in the world!
Two of our beloved work study students graduated this year so we had to say “farewell” to Jennifer Contreras and Frances Grace Mortel who are moving on from EWU to their undoubtedly incredible futures. We also appreciated the amazing work of Jazlyne Miyazaki and Zineera Hestley who will likely continue working with us next year.
I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring for the WAGE Center and am always happy to connect with you virtually or safely in person any time. I hope you will read below for more details of our 2020-2021 activities.
This is a screenshot from our first "gathering" of the year. We were happy to welcome our guests, work study students, faculty, and staff!
It was the 35th year of our Contemporary Issues in Feminist Research (CIFR) series! Students, faculty, staff, and community members attended these noon-time talks. CIFR talks focused on some aspect of feminist research broadly defined. These presentations illustrated how intersectional feminist theory and methods can be incorporated across different fields. 92 people were in attendance at the four presentations hosted in the 2020-2021 academic year.
The Activist in Residence (AiR) program connects students, faculty, and staff, and builds bridges between academics and activism. This collaborative program supports a local or regional activist who brings their skill and expertise in organizing, community engagement, and activism to the Eastern community. Each winter for the last eight years, the Activist in Residence has provided guest lectures, class presentations, panels, and workshops.
Jac Archer led six panels and workshops focused on various aspects of Black activism. The program included many lessons about the activist ecosystem, finding one's place in activism, our local activist environment, the basics of an activist campaign, planning an action, and the results of various activist campaigns in Spokane. Panelists included Betsy Wilkerson, Curtis Hampton, Kiantha Duncan, KJ January, Kurtis Robinson, Lacrecia Hill, Sandy Williams, and Walter Kendricks.
The program broke all attendance and certificate records this year. Students appreciated the structure of the program, learning about activism from multiple perspectives, learning from local activists about local organizations and efforts, and connecting with people during the program. A large majority of participants surveyed reported that the program helped build a sense of community, despite the virtual environment.
Jac Archer (they/them/theirs) is an activist in the Inland Northwest. Jac moved to the Spokane area in 2013 where they work as a community organizer and educator in the fields of diversity, equity, civic engagement, and sexuality. Jac has delivered lectures and training workshops throughout the community, including at Whitworth University, and has previously served on panels at Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga.
While earning their bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University, Jac served on the Multicultural Coalition from 2015-2017, where they represented the Black Student Union and Scary Feminist Club. Jac currently serves on the Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR) Steering Committee, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) board, Spokane Human Rights Commission (SHRC), and the Washington State LGBTQ Commission.
Jac has a passion for organizing, institutional policy, and making difficult concepts easily accessible. They also enjoy writing, singing, performance, and podcasts.
We were so pleased to collaborate with Sonja Durr, MFA, again this winter to host the "Black History Month: Black Lives and Movements Matter" poster contest for her Visual Communication Design 3: Design for Social Change students. The amazing results were featured on our social media and printed posters will soon hang in the WAGE Center alongside the winning posters from last year's contest! This year, we awarded first, second, and two third prizes.
Submitted social media images and posters reflected the values and principles of Black activist movements and highlighted inclusiveness and the celebration of Black life. Art featured issues related to various diverse Black communities and movements. Students were able to choose historical or contemporary issues and/or leaders. Unique submissions that considered the intersectionality of identities and oppressions were encouraged.
Mary Hoerner - Claudette Colvin
Sela Tran - Black Lives Matter
During spring quarter, Jessi Willis, PhD, and Judy Rohrer, PhD, collaborated with the Music program to bring Ahmad Sarmast on May 19th and Angella Ahn on May 21st to present virtually.
During "Rising from the Ashes: Women, Education & Culture in Post-Taliban Afghanistan," Dr. Sarmast discussed establishing the Afghanistan National Institute for Music during post-Taliban rule. Providing a full school curriculum, along with music, he purposefully includes girls previously denied education and children from the streets. Despite a 2014 suicide bomb attack during a concert, causing death and serious injuries, the school continues proudly. He described the Institute’s success in forming the inclusive National Orchestra, the Afghan Women’s Orchestra, and numerous other ethnic ensembles. The Institute is also engaged in ongoing struggles against attempts to have girls over the age of 12 denied the right to sing and facing security threats because of ANIM’s inclusion of girls.
In "How Diversity Helped Me Make Choices in My Career and Life," internationally-renowned violinist, Angella Ahn, explained how diversity awareness plays a positive and important role in her life and career choices. For Ahn, learning music is similar to learning a different language. Although music is considered the “universal” language, it still requires listening skills and an open mind to try unfamiliar sounds. She described how growing up in different cultures has made her more open-minded and flexible and helped her think creatively, all important skills for being a successful artist.
The WAGE Center team and Counseling and Wellness Services reimagined Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) for a virtual and physically distanced experience. While counseling held events throughout the month that were focused on sexual assault, we distributed the virtual event kits (pictured at right) for a kickoff "Solidarity with Survivors" Zoom gathering, held a session to explore self-care as a political act against oppressive structures, created these Solidarity with Survivors Coloring Pages, shared a Solidarity with Survivors Playlist, and took over the Dean of Students' Instagram for a day in addition to the highlights below.
Faith Ferber is the Student Organizer from Know Your IX.
Student Organizing around Title IX and Anti-Carceral Responses to Violence
In this presentation, Ferber defined Title IX, discussed why schools respond to reports of sexual violence, reviewed the Trump administration’s attack on Title IX and what’s expected under Biden. Ferber also explained how students can organize at the federal, state, and campus levels for policies that support student survivors and protect their civil right to an education free from violence. Lastly, she reviewed the school’s Title IX policy and made specific recommendations, incorporating a discussion of abolition and how it relates to Title IX work.
We invited students, staff, and faculty to share videos of themselves saying “I ask for consent” or “Consent is important to me” throughout the month. Our amazing work study student, Frances Grace Mortel, then compiled them.
Our initial goal was to create this multilingual consent video...
but more students from athletics wanted to join in on the project...
and even Interim President David May shared a video with us.
Denim Day is an annual day of activism on which people wear denim and post photos to their social media to combat victim blaming. Denim Day began in the late 90s and commemorates a legal case in Italy in which the assailant was found not guilty by the supreme court because the survivor he sexually assaulted had been wearing tight jeans. The court claimed that she would have had to assist in removing her jeans and that meant she had consented. Thankfully, the world responded and Italy has since refused to allow a “denim defense.”
We hung a Denim Day photo backdrop at the PUB and encouraged people to visit the photo backdrop for a selfie or take one anywhere and tag us using the hasthag #DenimDay2021. The results can be found in the video on the right.
We are always proud of all of our faculty, students and staff. This year, we are thrilled that so many of them have been recognized for their incredible work.
Dr. Jessi Willis won the College of Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award for their enthusiasm and innovation in the teaching and/or learning process, their ability to engage students both within and outside the classroom, the way they inspire independent and original thinking in students and stimulate them to do social, political, and professional work, and their innovations in course and curriculum design.
Dr. Judy Rohrer won the College of Social Sciences Scholarship & Creative Activities Excellence Award for her superlative professional, scholarly, and/or creative activity engagement with her discipline or field, a major or significant publication, scholarship of engagement, or formal presentation in her field, and external funding recognizing her current or potential contribution to her field as well as her contributions to conversations within and across disciplines. Dr. Rohrer's 2020-2021 contributions include: We the People are Powerful, New "Day of Infamy," Centuries Old White Supremacy, White People: Let's listen and 'not turn away', and Are We Ready to Emerge from COVID-19?: Revisiting the Pandemic as a Portal.
Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies graduating senior, Danica Jenck, won the Frances B. Huston Medallion Award for the College of Social Sciences.
Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies major, Sam Lee, was selected to receive the Jeffers Chertok Memorial Scholarship from the College of Social Sciences in the amount of $1,250.
Frances Grace Mortel won two Student Leadership Excellence Awards. Frances was selected as the Social Justice Advocate of the Year and was part of the EWU Film Society team that won the Event of the Year for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Cinema Screenings of Minari & Kapaemahu. Frances is a Women’s and Gender Education Center work study student.
Graduating senior, Shilo Stuart, won the Dean Jeffers W. Chertok Honored Student Award for the College of Social Sciences, Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies.
First and foremost, Dr. Mimi Marinucci invested a significant amount of time and energy developing materials for online teaching, and learning how to support students who are experiencing unexpected new challenges. This included spending a portion of the summer participating in EWU's online teaching workshop series for faculty.
Given the current emphasis on social justice in response to ongoing racial violence and systemic oppression, Dr. Marinucci also sought out opportunities to participate in reading and discussion groups, both on campus and in the community, on dismantling white supremacy.
Dr. Marinucci supported students in GWSS and other fields by supervising one directed study and serving on four MA thesis committees. Dr. Marinucci served the university, college, department, and program through membership on various committees. The most significant of these is the Office of Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee (from Fall 2018 to present).
In addition to serving as a manuscript reviewer for a number of academic journals, including Journal of Social Epistemology and Hypatia, Dr. Marinucci published a review of the book, Women Who Buy Sex: Converging Sexualities? by Sarah Kingston, Natalie Hammond, and Scarlett Redman (Routledge, 2020), in CHOICE Connect (Vol. 58, No. 10, June 2021).
Finally, Dr. Marinucci has been working on a manuscript about intimacy between humans and machines, particularly the emerging phenomenon of sex robots. This book project is under contract with Zed Books, which is now a subsidiary of Bloomsbury Press, with an expected publication date in early 2022.
Dr. Rohrer managed the GWSS program virtually this year. In addition to teaching, advising majors, and supporting faculty and staff, she responded to the pandemic and demands for racial justice in her service, scholarship and writing.
She published “’Where Life is Precious’: Intersectional Feminism in a Time of COVID-19” in a COVID issue of Feminist Studies and presented it virtually at the Race, Ethnicity, and Place conference. She ran three commentaries in local media, one of which was co-authored with community activists. On January 9, she ran an essay in Common Dreams analyzing the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. capitol. And, in early June, she published, “Are we ready to Emerge from Covid-19?: Revisiting the Pandemic as Portal.”
All of this earned her the 2020-2021 College of Social Sciences Scholarship & Creative Activities Excellence Award.
During the academic year 2020-2021 Dr. Jessi Willis focused energy on teaching, building community, and working with students. They were nominated as faculty member of the year and presented with the College of Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award.
Jessi’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and learning was highlighted in an online virtual event in collaboration with the Music department and Dr. Shelia Woodward in a discussion about women, education, and music in post-Taliban Afghanistan with Dr. Ahmad Sarmast.
Another major focus for the year included the facilitation of the GWSS senior capstone course focused on an examination of historical and contemporary feminist manifestos. Throughout this course, Jessi worked to support graduating majors in the writing of their own feminist manifestos addressing contemporary and generationally pressing intersectional feminist issues. A recording of the reading of these amazing manifestos written by our majors will soon be available for viewing on the GWSS website.
Our Affiliated Faculty are professors who express a commitment to the advancement of Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies at EWU. If you are interested in joining our affiliated faculty, contact Dr. Judy Roher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deirdre Almeida, American Indian Studies
Kerryn Bell, Sociology and Criminal Justice
Bipasha Biswas, Social Work
Justin Bucciferro, Economics
Patty Chantrill, Communication Studies
Catherine Girard, Art History
Kayleen Islam-Zwart, Psychology
Ryan Parrey, Disability Studies
LaVona Reeves, English
Liz Rognes, English
Natalia Ruiz-Rubio, Spanish
Julia Smith, Anthropology
Deb Svoboda, Social Work
Beth Torgerson, English
Christina Torres García, McNair Scholars
The GWSS program and WAGE Center have a combined budget which we judiciously stretch to fund the bulk of our curricular and co-curricular work. We are grateful for the strong support from the College of Social Science Dean's office over the years that we were a part of the college, and from the EWU Foundation office. In order to supplement those funds, we also apply for grants and solicit donations. With support from the EWU Foundation, we applied for and received a $4607.50 Washington Equity Fund grant for the Activist in Residence program.
Sally Winkle, PhD, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and German, Emerita, has been the central figure in the establishment of a thriving Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies program at Eastern Washington University. In her role as the Director of the Women's and Gender Studies program (1999-2018), Sally A. Winkle not only taught, but also mentored many students in their educational, personal, and professional pursuits. Sally has also advised countless students, staff, and faculty, not only at EWU but in Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies programs across the Northwest. Sally received both the EWU Trustee's Medal and the Timm Ormsby Faculty Citizenship Award in 2014. Under her leadership, the program hired its first tenure-track faculty member, created a Gender Studies certificate, developed an undergraduate major, expanded course offerings, worked with many affiliated faculty, and created the Activist in Residence program. Sally has been generous with her support and encouragement of students, junior faculty, and staff members, celebrating their achievements and helping them to overcome setbacks. She is a mentor, a role model, and a friend.
This endowed scholarship is intended to be part of Sally Winkle's legacy at EWU. Our motivation in establishing this endowment is to continue to honor her and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies scholars for years to come. The scholarship will support GWSS students at EWU.
Activist in Residence (AiR) is a program of GWSS and the WAGE Center. AiR connects students, faculty, and staff and builds bridges between academics and activism. AiR supports a local or regional activist who works with numerous student groups, programs, and units throughout the university and the community. During fall and winter quarters, the Activist in Residence scholar facilitates activities such as guest lectures, class presentations, panels, and workshops, to educate and inspire students and community members to participate in civic activism. AiR engages students in learning about and practicing activism through class presentations, panels, workshops, and other events focused on social, political, environmental, and economic justice.
Established by an initial $5000 gift, this endowment is intended to ensure that the program continues in perpetuity.
Your donation to this fund will support our important co-curricular programs. GWSS is known for doing a lot with a little. We would like to be able to go above and beyond what the state budget allows with our programs in the future.
Judy Rohrer, PhD, Director, Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies, email@example.com, (509) 359-2409
Candace Martin, Program Coordinator, Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org, (509) 359-2847
Lisa Logan, MA Women's and Gender Education Center Manager, email@example.com, (509) 359-2898
We are located in Monroe Hall 207.
207 Monroe Hall
532 Study Ln
Cheney, WA 99004