International Studies & Programs

Undergraduate Research Showcase

GenCen has hosted a spring Undergraduate Research Showcase biennially since 2011, featuring student research on topics of gender, women and sexuality.

The Undergraduate Research Showcase encourages cutting-edge undergraduate research on these topics, and brings together undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty who are engaged in this type of research and scholarship. Undergraduate students do not often have the same opportunities to highlight their research in professional settings as graduate students, so this Showcase rewards undergraduate research efforts and brings significance to their projects in a non-classroom setting, while also connecting them to others who are doing work in these fields.

Register to attend the 2017 Undergraduate Research Showcase on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, free and open to the public!

Friday, March 31  >  9:00am-4:00pm  >  3rd Floor International Center

The Registration Deadline to receive a free lunch with the keynote speaking event has passed, but we will still accept walk-up attendees throughout the event.

Registration is FREE, open to the public and includes lunch for all attendees who register by the deadline. To register, email gencen(at) by Tuesday, March 28 with Subject line "GenCen Undergrad Showcase Registration." Include your full name, contact email, and organization affiliation (e.g. MSU Department/Major and status—undergrad, grad, faculty, or staff) if applicable. Please also make sure to note any applicable dietary restrictions/allergies!

CLICK HERE to view the pdf list of panel presentations and the KEYNOTE abstract, presented by Dr. April Zeoli!

2017 Call for Abstract Submissions!

The Deadline for Abstract Submissions was Friday, March 3.

GenCen invites MSU undergraduate students to present research exploring issues of gender, women, and sexuality locally, nationally and globally for its fourth biennial undergraduate research conference, being held on Friday, March 31. Paper presentations and roundtables are invited from any discipline or topic, but are especially encouraged to focus on topics including:

  • Feminist Theories, Gender, Identity, and Sexuality in Diverse Cultural Contexts
  • Theories and Explorations of Men and Masculinities
  • LBGTQ Theories, Activism, and Human Rights
  • Intersections of Gender and Sexuality with Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, Religion, Class, and/or Disability
  • Gender Globalization and Development
  • Intersections of Gender with Health/Illness or STEM
  • Protest, Activism, and Public Policy Issues Related to Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Gender and Sexuality in Film, Literature, History, Popular Culture, and the Arts
  • Marriage Equality
  • Sexual/Gendered Violence
  • Reproductive Rights

Panel Presentation Details: Accepted abstracts will be grouped thematically by the Showcase committee. Presenters will have 12-15 minutes each, followed by a group Q&A/discussion led by a graduate student or faculty member.
Roundtable Presentation Details: Accepted groups of 3-5 participants will have 30-45 minutes as a whole to present on their topic; ending with a group Q&A/discussion session led by a graduate student or faculty member.

Abstract Submission Requirements:
*Research need not be complete at time of submission*
1) Email gencen(at) with Subject line "Undergrad Research Submission"
2) In the text of the email, provide Author and/or Participant Names, contact emails and phone numbers, and Research Title
3) Attach a word document with Research Title and Abstract (no more than 250 words) ONLY (do not include identifying information in the document).
4) ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: All panels will be scheduled sometime between the hours of 9am-4pm—if you have already-scheduled constraints/conflicts during this timeframe, please note these conflicts within the email text of your submission in order to facilitate panel scheduling.

Abstract Submission Results: Applicants will be notified regarding status of their submissions by Friday, March 17. Accepted panelists will need to confirm their participation by Tuesday, March 21.

Previous Showcase Programs

April 3, 2015

LGBT Activism & Human Rights
Moderator: Laura Fair, Department of History
Erin Paskus: Transforming Perceptions of Black Transgender Women

Science & Medicine
Moderator: Vashti Sawtelle, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Jamila Edwards: A Breast Cancer Screening: A Review of the Changing Screening Recommendations and Controversy
Madison Fitzgerald: Breaking into the Boys' Club: A Sociological Study Examining Gendered Experiences in Science

Gender-Based Violence in a Global Perspective
Moderator: Stephanie Nawyn, Department of Sociology
Mara Abramson: The Tourism Problem: The Dark Shadow the Red Light Casts on Amsterdam
Lauren Leslie: Gender and Disenfranchisement: Understanding Gender-Based Violence in India
Lauren McEachran: The Criminalization of Abortion in El Salvador: The Causes and Effects of Legitimized Violence Against Women

Women & the Academy
Moderator: Nancy Dejoy, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures
Tyler Berg and Lauren Gann: Conspiracy of Silence: Why Some Athletes Rape
Sariah Metcalfe: The Validity of History: Exploring Bias and Miseducation

Gender in Art and Technology
Moderator: Carolyn Loeb, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
Anna Goodson: Laurie Anderson's "Slim Beauty"
Alissa Lyon: Gamergate: A Study of Online Harassment
Alexa McCarthy: To Reflect More Than What's in the Mirror: A Study in Women Artists' Self-Portraiture

Roundtable Discussion: Sexual Assault on College Campuses: Current Initiatives and Future Challenges

Moderator: Apryl Pooley, PhD Candidate, MSU Neuroscience Program
Kyra Stephenson, Beth Ann Hamilton, Mariah Hall, Juliana Paterra, Kailie Kipfmiller

Keynote Presentation: The Intersection Between Popular Culture and Female Identity, Violence Victimization and Related Health Risks
Amy Bonomi, Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Scholars argue that problematic depictions of violence against women in popular culture—such as in film, novels, music, pornography—creates a broader social narrative that normalizes these problem risks and behaviors in women’s lives. Internet-based pornography, popular fiction such as the Fifty Shades and Twilight series, and popular music such as Rihanna and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” include problematic physical, sexual and psychological abuse against women under the guise of “romance” and “eroticism.” Despite the theoretical recognition that the larger social context influences behaviors and experiences, few studies have empirically characterized the relationship between interactions between popular fiction and music, in particular, and violence against women. This keynote presents learnings from recent empirical studies on the relationship between pop culture, the feminine ideals upheld in pop culture, and women’s risk for violence victimization and related health problems, such as eating and substance abuse-disorders. It addresses a critically important (modifiable and preventable) aspect of violence against women: the contribution of problematic messages perpetuated in the larger societal context. The keynote also addresses the goal of advancing the health care system’s response to domestic violence by targeting critical factors that influence health risks (e.g., violence victimization, disordered eating) for which women routinely interact with health care providers.

Thanks to the Program Planning Committee:
Lisa Fine, GenCen Co-Director, Conference Co-Chair
Marie Rose, GenCen Undergraduate Intern, Conference Co-Chair
Jennifer Goett, James Madison College, Assistant Professor
Carolyn Loeb, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Associate Dean
Georgina Montgomery, Lyman Briggs College/Department of History, Assistant Professor
Trixie Smith, College of Arts and Letters, Writing Center Director
Naoko Wake, Lyman Briggs College/Department of History, Assistant Professor

April 5, 2013

African American Women: Yesterday and Today
Moderator: LaShawn Harris, Department of History
Silver Moore: The Policing of Black Women's Bodies in Hip-Hop Culture
Laurie Hollinger: Sister(s) Outsider: The Impact of the Combahee River Collective Statement
Jessica Pedersen: Building a Bridge: How Johnnetta B. Cole Helped Connect "Black" to "Woman"

Violence and Resilience
Moderator: Hannah Brenner, College of Law
Amanda Freis: Recent Victimization, Mental Health, and Social Work Needs of Women in Jail
Elinor Fisher: A Feminist Critique of Mainstream Pornography
Rachel Berzack: Comprehensive Analysis of Massage Therapy Treatments for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence
Mark Doebler III: Individual Differences and Reactions to News Stories Covering Violence towards LGBT Individuals

Gender, State, and Politics
Moderator: Jennifer Goett, James Madison College
Anna Reh-Gingerich: Gender Role Shifts in Rural Communities in South Africa: A Review on Reasons and Consequences
Harrison Russell Jones: The World Post-Death of "Nirbhaya:" An Analysis of Media in the Revitalization of Transnational Anti Gender-Violence Movements Following the Rape of an Indian Woman
Varsha Koduvayur: The Body, the Soul, and the State: Women's Bodies as Sites of Inscription for Islamic States' Identities

Challenging Conventions
Moderator: Sharon Degraw, Lyman Briggs College
Allie Browe: Sylvia Plath: Her Struggle with Inescapable Gender Roles
Lorena De Frias: Feminism and Jane Austen
Sarah LoPresto: Unsung Heroes of Women in Science

Keynote Presentation: Health Disparities Among Same-Sex Couples
Cathy Liu, Department of Sociology
A legacy of research finds that marriage is associated with good health. Yet, same-sex cohabiters cannot marry in most states in the U.S., and therefore may not receive the health benefits associated with marriage. This study utilizes pooled data from the 1997-2009 National Health Interview Surveys to compare the self-rated health of same-sex cohabiting men (n = 1,659) and same-sex cohabiting women (n = 1,634) with that of their different-sex married, different-sex cohabiting, and unpartnered divorced, widowed, and never married counterparts. Results from logistic regression models show that same-sex cohabiters report poorer health than their different-sex married counterparts at the same levels of socioeconomic status. Additionally, same-sex cohabiters report better health than their different-sex cohabiting and single counterparts, but these differences are fully explained by socioeconomic status. Without their socioeconomic advantages, same-sex cohabiters would report similar health to those non-married groups. Analyses further reveal important racial-ethnic and gender variations.

Diagnosing and Medicalizing the Mind and Body
Moderator: Naoko Wake, Lyman Briggs College
Kathryn Stoecker: Whose Period is it Anyway? Portrayals and Representations of Menstruation in American Society
Rachel Paran: Advertisements and Pocket Books: What Homeopathic Doctors did for Female Agency in the Victorian Era
Leanna Fabian: Infant Care Practices in Rural Uttarakhand, India
Cole Davis: Prevalence of Psychological Disorders and Behaviors in Men Between the Ages of 18-21 who Identify as Liberal or Conservative

Women, Gender, and Music
Moderator: Joanna Bosse, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
Alexander Acton: The Proliferation of Women into the American Music Scene
Sarah Tomlinson: Aaron Copland: An American in Paris or the Lone Ranger?
Molly McBride: On Being a "Banjo Pickin' Girl:" Female Country Musicians and the Gendered Experiences of Musicianship
Linnea Jimison: Women, Music, and The Academy: The Experiences of Female Faculty in the MSU College of Music

Contested Terrain of Gender in 20th Century US History
Moderator: Lisa Fine, Department of History
Tiffany Dancer: Changing Definitions of Gendered Norms: How Adolescents, Homosexuals, and Prisoners Redefined Manhood and Womanhood in Early Twentieth Century America
Olivia Queenan: Tensions between Gender Expectations and Economic Conditions in Women's Work during World War II
Michael Gendernalik: Birth Control: A Catalyst in the Liberation of Sex During the Great Depression Era

Pedagogy, Practice, and Praxis
Moderator: Kristen Renn, Educational Administration
Emily Snoek: Risky Business: LGBT Youth and Michigan's Sex Education Curriculum
Abigail Heath, Grace Pappalardo, and Taylor Davis: Building Friendships and Leaders: Encouraging Agency and Self-Empowerment in Pre-Adolescent Girls
Kelly Collins, Madilyn Sherbrooke, Samantha Wright, Cortney Vandegrift, and Megan Almendinger: Implementing Feminist Methodology to Promote Positive Experiences Among Research Assistants


Thanks to the Program Planning Committee:
Lisa Fine, GenCen Co-Director, Conference Co-Chair
Ann Chrapkiewicz, GenCen Student Advisor, Conference Co-Chair
Michael Gendernalik, GenCen Undergraduate Intern, Conference Co-Chair
Jennifer Goett, James Madison College, Assistant Professor
Trixie Smith, College of Arts and Letters, Writing Center Director
Stephanie Nawyn, College of Social Science, Assistant Professor
Naoko Wake, Lyman Briggs College, Assistant Professor
Carolyn Loeb, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Associate Dean

April 1, 2011

Sexual and Relationship Violence
Moderator: Lisa Schwartzman, Department of Philosophy
Annie Norris and Chelsea Yondo: Masculinity and Sexual Violence against Women
Stephanie Eisenberg: Battered Men: An Exploration into the Hidden Side of Domestic Violence
Robert VanKirk: Clericalism, Hierarchy, and Abuse: The Trifecta of Violence Afflicting the Roman Catholic Church

Women's Movements, Feminisms, and the State
Moderator: Jennifer Goett, James Madison College
Jessica Hix: About That: Pornography, Prostitution and Organized Feminism in Transitional Russia
Kate Leong: Media, Youth, and Gender in International Contexts: Comparisons in Gendered Media between Germany, Brazil and the United States
Courtney Swisher: One in a Million: How the Million Signatures Campaign Exemplifies the Changing Roles of Moroccan Women
Valerie McIntosh: Muslim Egyptian Women: Agency, Activism, and Change

Gendering State and Wartime Violence
Moderator: Yael Aronoff, James Madison College
Sarah Lanczy: At the Frontline: The Women of Bosnia
Samantha Ramos: Women Taking Back Their Bodies and Their Power: Response to Gender Based Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Queer Politics, Identities, and Movements
Moderator: Naoko Wake, Lyman Briggs College
Michael Carman: "Not Everything Happens in San Francisco": Creating Sociopolitical Space in Identity-Politics Era Lansing
Ian Morrison: I am Abomination: Masculine Construction of the Heteronormative Imaginary and the Traumatic Exclusion of the Queer Other
Layna Anderson: Being Middlesexed in the Dominican Republic: Cultural Responses to 5-alpha-reductase Deficiency
Ryan Bowes: A Matter of Perspective: Biology versus Sociology in Gaining Acceptance of Sexual Minorities

Keynote Presentation: "Sexual Orientation and the Law"
Dean Joan Howarth, MSU College of Law

Challenging Paradigms of Gender and Labor
Moderator: Michelle Kaminski, Labor & Industrial Relations
Brandon Vigliarolo: The Role of Masculinities and "Machismo" in Developing World Sex Work
Cha'Ris Lee and Lena Pantely: The Marginalization of Women in the U.S. Army
Monika Johnson, Samantha Meyer, Gabriela Alcazar, Kellie Clock: "Tenemos Tripas y Tenemos Chispa" [We Have Guts and We Have Spirit]: Feminist Applications to Chicana Labor Organizing in the United States
Katelyn Charbeneau: Young Women & the Work of Waitressing: The Balancing Act of Serving within a Gendered Service Industry

Sexuality & Parenting in Diverse Cultural Contexts
Moderator: Allison Berg, James Madison College
Theresa Koenigsknecht: Dating Dynamics: Courtship in the 1940's and 1950's
Rachel Kollin: Analysis of Birth Control Methods and the Relationship to Women's Social Status
Mingxue Du: Surrogate Mothering: Women's Experiences in Chinese SOS Villages

Global Economics and Its Impact on Women
Moderator: Lisa Cook, Economics and James Madison College
Elizabeth Petoskey: Political Participation of Women Borrowers in Microfinance Institutions in Africa: Implications and Needs
Carolyne Amiani: From Informal to Formal: An Analysis of Labor Transition among Kenyan Women
Emily Jaffe: Transnational Corporations: Women's Experiences in Factories

Representations, Theories, & Intersectionalities in the Lives of Minority Women
Moderator: Sheila Contreras, Chicano/Latino Studies and English
Marielena Mendoza King: Neither Virgin or Whore: The Effects of the Madonna/Whore Complex on Women within Latin American Societies in When Women Love Men by Rosario Ferré
Patrice Johnson: Set it Off: The Black Woman's Arrival to Social Contract Theory
Misra Ahmed: Secular Feminism & Islamic Feminism Must Coexist
Rebecca Farnum: Feminists in Fundamentalism: Orthodox Jewish Women and Empowerment

Just Because I Am
Film Premiere
with Filmmaking Team
Gabrielle Pescador, Filmmaker
Kiki Meloche, Youth Programmer, Windsor Pride
Siobhan Casey, Educator, Windsor Pride
Chris Rabideau, Drama Educator and Activist

Thanks to the Program Planning Committee:
Julia Grant, GenCen Co-Director, Conference Co-Chair
Rebecca Farnum, GenCen Undergraduate Intern, Conference Co-Chair
Andrea Freidus, Anthropology, Instructor
Jennifer Goett, James Madison College, Assistant Professor
Kaavya Ramesh, International Relations, Undergraduate
Pacita Rudder, Comparative Cultures & Politics, Undergraduate
Lisa Schwartzman, Philosophy, Associate Professor
Cameron Whitley, Sociology, Doctoral Student

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