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Graduate Research Award

The Women and Gender Studies Graduate Research Award is given annually to a graduate student pursuing the women and gender studies certificate. The Award is meant to recognize excellence in graduate research and to support future scholarship in issues of women and gender. Recipients are expected to give a brief presentation on their research at a Women and Gender Studies event later that academic year.

Award: $500

Eligibility: Graduate students from Texas Christian University or Brite Divinity School currently pursuing the Women and Gender Studies Certificate are eligible to apply.

To Apply
Calls for applications are sent out in the Fall semesters. Applicants will submit the following:

Cover letter, outlining scholarly achievements (GPA; publications; professional presentations; and departmental, university, or professional awards, for example) and academic/career goals

  1. One-page narrative of your current research, including how you plan to use the award (i.e., to support travel to conduct research or present findings at a conference)
  2. Application form, including signatures of your director of graduate studies and department or program chair, indicating your good standing in the program
  3. Curriculum Vitae

Criteria and Judging: Applications will be evaluated by the WGST Awards Committee. The award will be granted based on the excellence of the student’s academic record, clarity of future goals, and the merit of the proposed research.

Current Winner

2017: Meta Henty

Title: “Rhetor-Moms Redefine #TeenMom” presented at the 2017 Southeastern Women’s Studies Association conference

Abstract: In the collection MTV and Teen Pregnancy, scholar May Friedman writes that “16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom show the need for an empowered message about teen motherhood in popular culture…to shift the ubiquity and taken-for-granted logic of shame, stigma, and despair surrounding young mothers…The shows of MTV, sadly, merely reinforce existing scripts rather than allow for the rewriting of young motherhood” (77). As Friedman suggests, these shows participate in a long tradition of defining the dominant teen parenting narrative through shame. However, young parents are now answering Friedman’s call and utilizing online spaces to rewrite the narrative.

While gender studies scholars have examined the representations of teen mothers in popular culture and the sociological ramifications of teen pregnancy, they have yet to tackle the complex and important rhetorical moves being made by young mothers on new media platforms. My project draws upon rhetorical, cultural, and feminist theory in order to analyze the ways in which teen mothers disrupt the dominant discourse of shame via online spaces. In 2013, seven (former) teen moms launched #NoTeenShame, “a movement illuminating the support for young families.” These and other teen moms are making sophisticated rhetorical moves, raising their previously silenced voices, advocating for other young mothers, and claiming agency.

Previous Graduate Award Winners

2016: Angela Moore

2015: Kassia Waggoner

2014: Carrie Tippen

2013: Sarah McNeely