2023-2024 CRGW Award Winners

Feminist Scholars Fellowship

Dr. Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué

Dr. Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué: “I am thrilled to be a Feminist Scholars Fellow at UW-Madison’s Center for Research on Gender and Women where I will be completing two chapters of my second book project, Pan-African Lives, Racial Politics, and Belonging in Africa. Through an intersectional lens, I will analyze the intersection of race, gender, and politics in the lives of African-born and Black-American women from the 1950s to the 1970s. I argue that these women demonstrate feminist actions through maternal power, showcasing their influence in various communities across western Africa. Attending events like the CRGW conference and receiving feedback from scholars will strengthen my work, with a goal of completing a draft by 2025 and submitting a proposal to university presses in 2026.”

Short explanation of project:

Issues of gender plays a crucial role in the challenges facing global unity today. Furthest, racism, a prevalent issue, perpetuates inequality and infringes on basic human rights worldwide. Scholars and activists are looking to history for solutions, particularly focusing on racial harmony, gender equity and global unity. My second book project, Pan-African Lives, Racial Politics, and Belonging in Africa, examines the historical efforts of African, Black American, Iranian, and Indian believers in spreading the Baha’i faith in West Africa from the 1950s to the 1970s. I explore how these individuals promoted the religion’s key tenet’s of racial tranquility and global unity during decolonization and the civil rights movement, with a focus on the intersection of race, gender, and politics. African-born and Black American women played key roles in nurturing their communities and empowering themselves through maternal power (a “public motherhood”), showcasing their cultural influence and mobility in West Africa.

Kaplan Dissertation Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Studies

Erin Gill

Erin Gill is a PhD candidate, advised by Dr. Mollie McQuillan, in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. The Kaplan Dissertation Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Studies will support Erin during the writing stage of her dissertation. Her dissertation examines the spatial advantages and disadvantages that drive or reduce inequities among LGBTQ+ K-12 students’ well-being. With the support of the fellowship, Erin plans to produce four academic papers and disseminate her research findings to local policymakers and educators.

Barbara Alvarez

Deborah A. Hobbins Graduate Student Award in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Barbara Alvarez: “My project was a case study about the information needs of people who live in a community where abortion was recently banned. I plan to use the funds from the award to transcribe interviews, as well as share research about information access and abortion with professionals, practitioners, and scholars.”
Caro Cruys

Hyde Dissertation Research Award for Graduate Students

Caro Cruys: “My dissertation research aims to explore transgender and gender expansive former foster youths’ experiences of and perspectives on resilience, resistance, and gender identity development. Through this work, I hope to elevate the voices of young people with these lived experiences more in research and contribute to practice and policy changes within child welfare systems and foster care, to better support the well-being of trans and gender expansive foster youths. The Hyde Dissertation Research Award will contribute to me being able to compensate my interviewees and community advisory board participants, support a woman of color-owned transcription company for the interview transcribing process, and allow me to keep my primary focus on incorporating these young peoples’ experiences and perspectives into foster care practice and policy change recommendations.”

Kean O’Brien

Worcester/Whatley/Leavitt Award

Kean O’Brien is a Ph.D. student in Gender and Women’s Studies with a concentration in Art, Visual Culture, and Performance. They received an MA in Education and Leadership in 2022 and hold an MFA from CalArts  (2011). O’Brien  (he/they) is a disabled and transgender multidisciplinary artist, educator, and writer based between Madison and Chicago. His work is both personal and pedagogical, exploring the intersections of gender, trans-sick, and disabled embodied traumas. This grant will allow O’Brien to begin a research dialogue with other trans-sick and disabled artists, intending to publish this conversation as an online resource and, hopefully, one day, an exhibition.

Noel Barger

Ruth Bleier Scholarship in the Natural Sciences

Noel Barger: “To pay homage to the pioneering work of Dr. Ruth Bleier, I aspire to remain a fierce advocate for health equity and a practitioner of feminist science. As a research intern at the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health, I will continue exploring how gender-related phenomena intersect with the health and well-being of women and other marginalized communities. Further, I hope to educate the younger generation of women about the subjective, personalized, and sociological nature of health and wellness that is often omitted from the high school curriculum. I believe that implementing accessible approaches to education that focus on health literacy and advocacy may help to counter sexism and other forms of bigotry. I aspire to empower them to develop strong minds and challenge traditional beliefs about femininity and gender that can present a pathway for enhancing the quality of their lives as women and minorities. In 2025, I will be applying to medical school upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and certificates in gender & women’s studies and health & the humanities. I am committed to shadowing in the footsteps of Dr. Ruth Bleier by providing care and performing research underscored by feminist theory.”

Martino Mangano

Kaplan Award in LGBTQ+ Studies

Martino Mangano: “My name is Martino Mangano and I am a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Linguistics and Gender and Women’s Studies with a certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies. I sit at these intersections because of my passion and love for language and for social justice, which I feel that these disciplines both nurture. In my journey through my undergraduate program, I discovered the field of LGBTQ+ linguistics which brings queer and feminist theories into the field of language science. I have had the wonderful opportunity to explore this field by working with Dr. Rebecca Shields to develop an independent research project which explores the frequency of Irish language LGBTQ+ identity terms in Irish language corpus and Google Trend data, visibilizing interactions between Irish LGBTQ+ language and identity and their historical and social contexts. Additionally, I have accepted a place in the University of Colorado’s Department of Linguistics as an M.A. student, a program that will allow me to continue my passion in queer sociolinguistics after graduating from UW-Madison this spring. This award will contribute towards supporting remaining educational expenses from my undergraduate program and towards future educational expenses in my graduate program.”



Rowan Seffens

Rowan Seffens: “I’m a 4th year student with majors in Sociology and German and certificates in LGBTQ+ Studies and European Studies. I will be studying abroad next academic year on the Academic Year in Freiburg Program and will graduate at the end of the program. LGBTQ+ Studies has been such an important component throughout my college experience. I love taking courses where I see my identities represented in the material and applying what I learn in these courses to other aspects of my life and courses. I have been able to integrate aspects of LGBTQ+ Studies into my German major in the past by writing my German capstone project on Trans experiences in Germany, but I’m excited to learn more about how LGBTQ+ topics fit into the culture in Germany as well as connecting with other queer folks while I am there! After graduation, I plan on getting my master’s in Social Work and hope to work with LGBTQ+ folks and communities in my career.”

Emily Roemer

John Clarence De Cleene Scholarship

Emily Roemer: “My studies and advocacy are grounded in Gender & Women’s Studies and Social Work principles, which greatly inform my approach to implementing greater gender and sexuality diversity. In the current politically contentious climate, the topic of gender and sexuality diversity is often consumed by the complexities of politics and power dynamics, which have the tendency to sideline human rights, community welfare, and bodily autonomy. Through the lenses of Gender Studies and Social Work, though, these essential factors are centered in social change initiatives.

Throughout my time at UW Madison, I have employed this perspective in different social justice community organizing and direct-action efforts, such as a project to abolish solitary confinement in Wisconsin. Through these initiatives, I have had the privilege of forming relationships with UW-Madison students and local organizations, to center human rights and community while dealing with politicized issues.

With this award, I will be able to further my initiatives to advance gender and sexuality diversity in our Madison community and beyond. I am aiming to establish a coalition of sexual assault survivors on campus, to implement restorative justice policies and practices in Wisconsin.”

Irene L. De Cleene Scholarship

Jasmine Robinson

Jasmine Robinson: “My project addresses the alarming rise in infant and maternal mortality rates in Wisconsin, particularly among Black women who face disproportionate risks compared to white women. The root of the problem lies in barriers to accessing quality healthcare, exacerbating existing disparities. To combat this issue, I proposed revisiting the Wisconsin Finance Committee in expanding Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum. While previous efforts such as the American Rescue Plan Act and community organizations have provided temporary relief, they have not resulted in sustained improvement. The Governor’s budget allocates funds to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage, benefiting thousands of women and addressing racial disparities. However, these provisions were removed before the budget was signed. I advocate for revisiting the budget to prioritize Medicaid expansion, recognizing the need for sustained change and support for maternal health. Wisconsin’s failure to expand Medicaid exacerbates gendered health inequalities and overlooks racial disparities. By focusing on Medicaid expansion and women’s health, we can challenge systemic injustices and work towards a more equitable healthcare system.”