The University of Southern Maine Women and Gender Studies Program announced the winners of their annual awards at a reception held earlier this month.
The first award presented was the Kathleen I. MacPherson Outstanding Feminist Faculty Award. The winner of this award was Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies Rebecca Lockridge of Windham, a member of the Women and Gender Studies faculty council since 1990. She served on many committees and panels, and her scholarship is in the area of gender studies. Professor Lockridge co-edited the anthology, “Mothers and Daughters: Complicated Connections Across Cultures,” published by University Press of America. She and Sarah Lockridge co-authored the essay, “Mother Daughter Care: the Bridge that is my Back,” appearing in that book. Lockridge serves on the executive board of the Organization for the Study of Language, Communication, and Gender and was instrumental in bringing that organization's annual conference to Maine in 1998.
The Nancy K. Gish Award recipient is Gabriel Demaine of Portland. Demaine has held many positions at USM, most recently as the USM coordinator for diversity and inclusivity programming. Through her outreach, USM has co-sponsored feminist political and cultural events with Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, Peace Action Maine, AddVerb Productions, Southern Maine Community College, University of New England, Bates College, Bangor Theological Seminary, Maine College of Art, Space Gallery, and the Portland Museum of Art.
The Friend of Women and Gender Studies Award was given to Hardy Girls Healthy Women President Megan Williams of Falmouth. Hardy Girls Healthy Women is a national, research-based non-profit organization empowering girls with knowledge, critical thinking skills, and a platform to drive social change. Williams is a graduate of Colby College with a B.A. in sociology and women and gender studies. She created the Girls Advisory Board and launched the Hardy Girls Healthy Women Training Institute. She also established the Girls Rock Awards to recognize girls and young women who are demonstrating leadership in their communities and advocating for a better Maine for all people. Williams has received consistent accolades for her leadership including inclusion in Maine Today Media’s 2011 “40 Under 40 List” and selection for the Frances Perkins Center 2010 “Open Door Award,” honoring a woman under 30 who has demonstrated exceptional leadership.
The Outstanding Graduate of Women and Gender Studies Award was presented to alumna Julia Davidson of Portland, who graduated from USM with a social work major and women and gender studies minor. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in social welfare public policy, community organizing and social work administration at Rhode Island College. She then worked for several years in HIV services, and also volunteered on the Crisis and Support Line for Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, where she is now an advocate. Duties there include weekly outreach in jails and the women’s shelter and participating in the steering committee for Take Back the Night 2013.