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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Symposium provides glimpse into work of women researchers

 
 

Women from across campus came together Monday to celebrate Women’s History Month and to feature current research that will help light the path of success for others.
The first Women’s Research on Women Symposium, held by the College of Education and Human Development’s Office of Organization Development and Diversity Initiatives, hosted Texas A&M faculty whose research focuses on women and gender issues.
Beverly Irby, associate department head of the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, said she wanted the symposium to focus on women who strive to bring attention to women’s issues not often discussed.
“We wanted to have a program that would capture some of the wonderful work our researchers from campus are doing in that part, specifically the area of research on women,” Irby said. “We’re showcasing women doing research on women.”
The symposium began with a panel for researchers to discuss their work. A gallery tour followed in which attendees could speak directly with researchers and learn more about their area of study.
“It’s sort of like a smorgasbord of research,” Irby said. “They’re really great and this is just the tip of the iceberg with what is happening with research
by women.”
Gwen Webb-Hasan, educational leadership and human resource development professor, was one of the women who presented at the symposium. She said her and her partner’s research focuses on young women of color – elementary through high school – and what paths they may take to get accepted to and thrive in college.
“We’ve found there’s a lot of info about African-American males and very little research done on girls of color,” Webb-Hasan said. “Our concern was, ‘How do we get them to go to college?'”
Webb-Hasan said she hopes women who teach sciences at A&M can apply her research in their classrooms and
for recruiting.
“We want to generate that interest because people forget that to be successful in college they have to be successful in high school [and earlier],” Webb-Hasan said. “Our hope is that as people come, they’ll look at women’s issues but also issues for women of color.”
Webb-Hasan said young women on the Texas A&M campus and on campuses around the country should be able to walk around and know they are seen as scholars and not someone looking to get an “Mrs. degree.”
“We have to get beyond that and the only way to do that is to be purposeful,” Webb-Hasan said.
Melissa Ochoa, sociology graduate student, said she attended the symposium because she was familiar with the work of several researchers and it applied to her own study of gender equality. She said events that focus on women’s issues connect to greater issues that are prevalent around the world.
“I think it’s especially important because so many people think that women’s issues are completely separate from men’s issues, when in reality these are human issues and one greatly affects the other,” Ochoa said. “When one isn’t getting equal attention, whether it’s rights or opportunities, then the other one suffers, even though that’s not really what people see all the time.”
Ochoa said she found something important in every presentation and would like to implement them in her desired career as a professor.
“These are topics that I would like to have in my classroom at some point and I think these are important, especially for majors that don’t really look at gender or racism,” Ochoa said. “The real world is all gender and racism and I think we don’t prepare students enough for that real-world experience.”
Irby said the timing of the symposium meant everything, as it may draw even more attention to a month celebrating the successes of women and point out where women can go in the future.
“It’s really critical to do [the symposium] this month and bring the focus on women’s issues and the need for research on women,” Irby said. “The whole point of Women’s History Month is to bring attention to these issues and try to ensure that we don’t forget the importance that women who have gone before us, how important they are to us today. It’s because of other women who have gone before us that we are here today.”

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