On November 29th, twenty-nine Introduction to Gender Studies students presented their work on a variety of issues related to gender and diversity, in both historic and current cultural contexts. With presentations ranging from Harvey Milk to the rise of the alt right to the Stonewall Riots to the triumphs and challenges of the LGBTQIA+ community, the students and faculty members who attended the presentations had a plethora of ‘hot topics’ to learn about. During the second week of the semester, the student presenters-to-be were able to choose from a list of topics provided by Cindy LaCom, based on information covered throughout the semester. They were then given the freedom to research and explore their topics.
“I chose to present on Angela Davis because I like learning about prominent female figures throughout history and I am interested in intersectional feminism,” shared Cierra Naglowsky, a junior Gender and Diversity Studies major. “I prepared for my presentation by really getting to know her and what she’s done in her life. I did some extensive research to understand who she is and why she supports and opposes certain political issues.” Likewise, Allie Peterson, a junior Public Health major, spent a lot of time outside the classroom looking for more information on abortion, which was her topic. “It is such a controversial issue, so I thought it would be beneficial to share actual, factual information,” she said. As she was putting the final touches on her presentation and handouts about politics surrounding abortion, her topic became even ‘hotter’ when the Ohio House of Representatives passed new laws.
In addition to having one-on-one conferences with Dr. LaCom to steer them towards the most effective information for their posters and handouts, the students were able to have “mock presentations” in front of the Gender Studies Club. Both Peterson and Naglowsky were surprised by how many attendees the presentations had and by how many questions they were asked. The presentations were “much more relaxed, comfortable, and conversational” than Peterson thought they would be, and Naglowsky was “glad to be able to share her knowledge with them.”
This is the ninth time for the presentations, and Dr. LaCom looks forward to offering them again next spring. She praised her students, saying, “They worked incredibly hard on these posters, and for most, they ended up presenting on topics and figures with which they were initially unfamiliar. I’m really proud of them and think the presenters did a superb job.” Naglowsky echoed that praise, saying, “ I am grateful for my advisor really being a critic of my work because it makes me want to work harder and strive to be better. Without Dr. LaCom, this event would not have been nearly as great as it was.”