The Kalamazoo College Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS) Program established a major three years ago now and on May 7 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., they will hold this year’s Symposium. Andrew Horton K’16, the Department Student Advisor for WGS, with the help of Dr. Taylor Petrey, the Director of the WGS program, organized the upcoming event.
Since the WGS Program is relatively small there weren’t any SIPs that were solely within WGS. Instead this program encourages more interdisciplinary work for their major and concentration. Thus, the Symposium is composed of presenters who did their SIPs within other departments but that are related to WGS.
“Every year [we] do a SIP symposium. Many people write about a topic within another department [so we have an] open door policy where anyone who wrote about a topic relating to WGS can present,” Petrey explained, giving Horton praise for “doing their best to invite whomever might fit underneath the umbrella of WGS.”
Currently there are 12 majors and 21 concentrators within the WGS program. “I wrote a SIP that could count for WGS…[but] everyone is interdisciplinary right now…[so I] gathered studies from other departments [for the Symposium],” Horton explained. “There are four from the English Department, one from the Psychology Department, and one from the East Asian Studies Department.”
Claire McCarthy K’16 is a Psychology major with a concentration in Neuroscience who was invited to present at the Symposium. “My SIP is titled, ‘The Effects of Expressive Writing Workshops on Sexual Assault Survivors’ Sense of Empowerment & Connectedness: A Proposed Study’… My SIP is about women’s empowerment through written reflection and community building, “McCarthy said.
Dr. Petrey explained that the program had three goals from over the years. They hoped to grow the program itself, develop a major, and get a full-time professor hired. These goals have been successful so far except for the third one that has fallen a little behind, however “administration has approved a half-position in terms of a visiting professor who will be splitting their time between WGS and International Areas Studies,” Dr. Petrey described.
Both Dr. Petrey and Horton agreed that WGS covers topics that are very relevant and important with what is going on in today’s world. “One of the exciting things about the program and why so many students have been taking the courses is because these are topic people are thinking about today. They are directly relevant to things going on today,” Dr. Petrey said. He hopes to see increased student and administration interest in this Program.