Students and faculty to share research at women and gender studies conference


Taylor Hagie/Iowa State Daily

People from various colleges attend the 2019 Transforming Gender and Society Conference organized by the ISU Women’s and Gender Studies Program. This year’s conference will take place on April 15.

This April, students and staff from many Iowa universities will attend a conference to share their research, learn about women’s justice and connect with students from across the state.

Iowa State’s 2023 Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) Spring Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 15 at the Student Innovation Center.

This event is for students to share their research, learn from others and make connections with students from other Iowa universities.

The first conference was in 2016 and has been held yearly since, except for 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The purpose of the conference is to provide a space for students across Iowa to connect around their research and interest in women’s and gender studies,” stated Kelly Winfrey, the interim director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. “For students presenting at the conference, it’s a great way to get some experience sharing research in a supportive environment.”

Undergraduate and graduate students will present at the conference, and attendance is open to everyone, even those from other Iowa universities.

“We’re trying to get students, faculty and staff from institutions all over the state of Iowa, and I think it will be really cool to see it get put together, so I know the day is going to fly by,” said Olivia Garcia, a senior double majoring in women’s and gender studies and environmental studies.

Garcia is an intern for the conference, so along with presenting research for her WGS class, Feminist Research and Action, she has been learning about what needs to go into a successful conference.

The main goal of the course Garcia is taking is the final project, where undergraduate students research with the intention of presenting at the WGS conference specifically.

“Our topic in the class is food insecurity, so we’re tasked to present on a topic related to food justice, so my group specifically is talking about food insecurity within the K-12 education system through a feminist lens,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, their group chose to write about how food insecurity affects students’ academic performance, mental health and how food insecurity can change their attitude toward food.

This year’s theme for the conference is “Building Solidarity. Envisioning Justice.” because the department wants to emphasize how people will come together to learn and highlight the goal of women’s and gender studies research as a whole.

“We wanted a theme that was inclusive of many related topics and methods of research,” Winfrey stated.

A workshop will be led by Max Mowitz, the program director at One Iowa, Iowa’s statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, and the keynote will be Courtney Reyes, executive director of One Iowa.

After the workshop, there will be a variety of presentation sessions for attendees to choose from, a provided lunch, and more sessions relating to student-led research.

Anyone can attend this conference, and you do not have to be a WGS student or have taken a WGS class, but it is suggested to register on the women’s and gender studies website before attending.