The USM Women and Gender Studies Program (WGS) held their” second annual “Celebration of Feminist Creativity and Community” Awards Reception in the University Events Room of the Glickman Family Library on evening of May 8, 2014.
WGS Director Lucinda Cole welcomed the assembly and began the celebration by congratulating our graduating seniors and by recognizing four of the five students graduating this year with Honors in the major. Paige Barker, Jessica Benn, Samantha Lyman and Olivia Meyer all received their purple honors stoles. Caroline O’Connor, who is graduating with a dual degree in Sociology and WGS was unfortunately omitted from the awards program but will be also graduating with Honors. Kelsea Dunham, graduating senior in Marketing and WGS was recognized as the recipient of two prestigious awards, USM Senior Husky Achievement Award and the 2014 Student Government Association Student Leader of the Year and Meaghan LaSala, was recognized as the 2014 recipient of the USM Outstanding Contribution to Campus Life Award.
Lorrayne Carroll, WGS Council member and Professor of English presented the Program’s four annual awards. The Kathleen I. MacPherson Outstanding Feminist Faculty Awardfor Excellence in Feminist Scholarship, Teaching and Service was presented to Meghan Brodie, Assistant Professor of Theatre and a faculty member in the Women and Gender Studies Program.
Meghan Brodie joined the Women and Gender Studies Council in 2012, and she has produced a truly remarkable record of feminist scholarship, teaching, and service in a very short time. Even before her tenure-track appointment in the Department of Theater in 2012, Dr. Brodie had demonstrated a strong commitment to feminist work: as an adjunct instructor and as a lecturer, she taught the groundbreaking class “Butches, Bitches, and Buggers: An Exploration of Modern Queer Drama.” She continues to offer that course, as well as a range of classes and independent projects to which she brings her knowledge of the fields of dramaturgy and theatre pedagogy, always infused by her feminist principles. Dr. Brodie’s extensive scholarship includes work on Djuna Barnes, Virginia Woolf, and several studies of Feminist Theatre. As well, she publishes and presents on feminist and queer dimensions of theatre, notably through her coedited project, Out and Allied: An Anthology of Performance Pieces Written by LGBTQ Youth and Allies, which received the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Best Anthology. Her list of directing credits suggests that Dr. Brodie has brilliantly adapted the Bechdel rule to theatre: Airswimming, Sappho or Suicide, Eurydice, [Un]Spoken Maine, Orlando, and, currently, In the Underworld: A Darkly Comic Operetta, which is, of course, receiving astonishing reviews from near and far. Dr. Brodie’s service is frankly stunning: as soon as she joined the WGS Council, she became Chair of our Programming Committee. Even as our Programming budget was cut, Dr. Brodie marshaled a diverse, extensive array of events that kept feminist issues and ideas “out and proud” at USM. A brief review of her community service, makes evident Dr. Brodie’s apparently inexhaustible dedication to scholarly-informed feminist activism, through her collaborations with Add Verb Productions, WMPG, the St. Lawrence Arts Center, Bonney Eagle HS, the Preble Street Resource Center, and the Maine Educational Theatre Conference. The WGS Program is remarkably fortunate in benefitting from the teaching, scholarship, and service that Meghan Brodie brings to USM every day. In presenting the MacPherson Award, our most longstanding award, to Dr. Brodie, one of our newest Council members, WGS honors Dr. MacPherson’s passion and commitment to feminist work. We recognize Dr. Brodie’s vital and irreplaceable role in our community.
Nancy K. Gish Award for Excellence in Feminist Social, Intellectual, Political, or Cultural Practice which recognizes recipients for their commitment to feminist social, intellectual, political or cultural practice at the University of Southern Maine was presented to Luisa Deprez, Professor of Sociology and a faculty member in the Women and Gender Studies Program.
Dr. Luisa Deprez has been on faculty at USM since 1977, first in the Department of Social Work and later in Women and Gender Studies and Sociology. She has served the institution in multiple capacities, including as Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program from 1999 to 2001. Throughout her career as a scholar, Dr. Deprez has drawn attention to the challenges facing low-income women in the United States. Among her signature policy achievements has been the "Parents as Scholars" program, which helped open the doors of higher education to Maine women. She is a widely published scholar and public intellectual, providing testimony to government committees, writing newspaper articles, and contributing to major regional and national organizations including the Scholars Strategy Network of Maine and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington D.C. Her national reputation in the field of gender and social policy has led to multiple Visiting Scholar appointments: Manoa Public Policy Center at the University of Hawai’i (2012), the McCormack School of Policy Studies and the Center for Women in Politics and Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston (2005-2006), and the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women (1998-1999). WGS honors Dr. Deprez’s distinguished career and significant contributions to feminist intellectual and political practice by presenting her with the 2014 Gish Award.
Friend of Women and Gender Studies Award is given each year to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the Women and Gender Studies Program and/or to gender equity in the Southern Maine community. The 2014 Award Recipients are Reza Jalali and Sue Lewey Hamilton, co-coordinators of the USM Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
Reza Jalali, is a writer, an educator and a Muslim scholar. He has collaborated with the Women and Gender Studies Program on many successful events and initiatives, including the 2009 Women’s History Month program, “New Mainers: Stories of Survival and Arrival,” which presented stories from women immigrants living in Maine and concluded with a book release party for “New Mainers” (©2009, Tilbury House, Publishers) for which, Jalali wrote the Foreword. His play, The Poets and the Assassin, about women in Iran and Islam, has been staged at Bates College, Bowdoin College, University of New England, and for the USM Women and Gender Studies celebration of International Women’s Day in 2012.
Sue Lewey Hamilton specializes in administration of the Native American Waiver & Educational Program. As a bi-racial Penobscot Nation tribal member, she is dedicated to increasing awareness and appreciation for diverse cultures and ethnicities on campus. Her identity fuels her passion for her work. Lewey Hamilton has collaborated with the Women and Gender Studies Program on many successful events and initiatives: the 2012 lecture by Winona LaDuke on “Environmental Justice from a Native Perspective,” a talking circle led by Mi'kmaw tribal elder Isabelle Knockwood in 2010; “The Life and Traditions of the Red Man: History as Told by Native Peoples” lecture by Annette Kolodny and Charles Shay in 2008. As Vice President of Seven Eagles Media Production, Lewey Hamilton produced videos on Native culture, including documenting the historic Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation movement; five television shows, both local and national; and numerous documentaries.
Outstanding Graduate of Women and Gender Studies Award is given each year to an alumnae/i of the Program who has done outstanding service in the area of gender equity and/or has exhibited professional or academic excellence since graduation. The 2014 Award Recipient is Julie Beaulieu, graduating class of 2000.
Julie Beaulieu graduated this spring with a PhD in English and a doctoral certificate in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She will teach in Pitt’s gender, sexuality, and women’s studies program in the fall as a Visiting Lecturer. She began working in the GSWS program in 2012 after receiving a competitive teaching fellowship. She developed a new core course “Sex and Sexualities” for the program, a course on the history of sexuality. This course was approved to fulfill the general education requirement, “historical change.” This fall, along with “Sex and Sexualities,” she’ll be teaching a writing-intensive section of feminist theory and an upper-level course in queer theory.
Congratulations to all the 2014 Women & Gender Studies award recipients!