2021-2022 CRGW Award Recipients

Award Winner Collage - Top row (l-r) Royalty Higgins, Magen Polzin, Natalia Iding, Kimberly Stathas. Bottom (l-r) Lindsay Cannon, Valeriia Umanets, Isobel Ashby, Shahana Munazir

Dr. Ruth Bleier Scholarship in the Natural Sciences

Kimberly StathasKimberly Stathas (she/her). Kimberly is an undergraduate student with a planned graduation date of Spring 2023 with degrees in Biology, and Gender & Women’s Studies. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and apply feminist theory to providing quality care, as Dr. Ruth Bleier (her inspiration, and the namesake of this award) did.

When she is not studying or spending time with her friends in Badgers for Special Olympics, Kimberly enjoys exploring new places around Madison, spending time with family and friends, and dancing.


LGBTQ+ Studies Scholarship Winners

This scholarship, generously provided by David A. Kaplan and Glenn A. Ostergaard, and the Brautigam/Kaplan Foundation, was created with the intention of encouraging outstanding students in the LGBTQ+ Studies Certificate program. Read on for more information on this year’s winners, their areas of study, what led them to LGBTQ+ studies, and their hopes for the future.

Macy Booth (she/her/hers) — I am a Social Work Major getting GWS & LGBTQ+ Studies Certificate. I hope to get my Master’s of Social Work and then become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and become a clinical therapist.

I started taking GWS classes my freshmen year and seemed to naturally gravitate towards LGBTQ+ studies courses so I kept taking them and then decided to get a certificate in both GWS and LGBTQ+ studies instead of a double major in Social Work and GWS. I really loved the material I got to learn about and all the professors/advisors within the department.

Royalty Higgins
Royalty Higgins

Royalty Higgins (he/him/his)– I am concluding my undergraduate at UW-Madison’s School of Human Ecology in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies. I’ve undergone the great majority of my undergraduate with an interest in retailing, creativity, and technology. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I became invested in self-care rituals, wellbeing, and protecting mental health. I began the LGBTQ+ Studies track invested into learning ways I could best help eradicate the oppression and stigma experienced by LGBTQ+ youth, people of color, and people with disabilities. I recall taking GWS539: Framing Fatness, and I would say that course itself sparked a sense of purpose drawing me closer and closer into the field of mental health. After graduation, I plan to obtain licensure to provide safe, supportive, authentic, and welcoming spaces (online or in-person) for these communities in hopes to help as many people as I can in protecting their mental health.


Natalia Iding
Natalia Iding

Natalia Iding (she/her/hers) is a third-year undergraduate student, studying Gender Women’s Studies, Human Development and Family Studies, and pursuing the LGBTQ+ studies certificate. Natalia chose to partake in the certificate because she wanted to learn more about the history of the LGBTQ+ community and its evolution today; she knew that this program would answer her burning questions. With this certificate, Natalia hopes to become a counselor, helping LGTBQ+ folks navigate their own journey and interactions within society.


Magen Polzin
Magen Polzin

Magen Polzin — I am a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Finance and Marketing through the Wisconsin School of Business. I decided to pursue a certificate in LGBTQ+ Studies because as a future business leader, I want to create an environment that is inclusive of members of the LGBTQ+ community. Having diverse voices within a business is especially important to me. My courses in LGBTQ+ Studies have been very meaningful to me because they have helped me have a deeper understanding of the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in the workplace. I want to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and make a difference in the professional setting as I continue on to a career in business.


The scholarship was also granted to Anthony Cattani, who received the award in 2021 as well.

Lindsay Cannon

The Deborah A. Hobbins Graduate Student Award in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice has been awarded to Lindsay Cannon. Lindsay is a PhD candidate in UW-Madison’s Department of Sociology. For more on Lindsay and her research, click here…

Shahana Munazir

Shahana received the Hyde Dissertation Research Award for Graduate Students. Shahana is a PhD candidate in UW-Madison’s Department of Anthropology. For more information on Shahana and her research, click here…

Isobel Ashby

This year’s Worcester/Whatley/Leavitt Award recipient is Isobel Ashby. Isobel is working on her PhD on US History at UW-Madison. To learn more about her research interests, click here…

Valeriia Umanets

Valeriia received the Mary Washburn Willets Award for Excellence in the Social Sciences. She is pursuing her PhD from the Department of Political Science at UW-Madison. To read more about Valeriia and her research click here…

Simon D. Elin Fisher

Photo of Simon FisherThe Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, and the Center for Research on Gender & Women are excited to announce our first ever Dissertation Fellow in LGBTQ+ Studies, Simon D. Elin Fisher!

Simon is a PhD candidate in the Gender & Women’s History Program in the Department of History with a minor in African American Studies and works closely with Dr. Finn Enke and Dr. Brenda Gayle Plummer. The title of his dissertation is “Queer Intimacies and Nonviolence in Pauli Murray’s Early Civil Rights Movement.” For more on Simon, his research, and the Dissertation Fellowship, click here.