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UW-Eau Claire Women's Studies Program
to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

RELEASED: April 30, 2009

'Great Leap of Faith' by Jane Evershed
This work by Jane Evershed, titled "The Great Leap of Faith," was featured in a commemorative poster marking the 25th anniversary of UW-Eau Claire's women's studies program.

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women's studies program will celebrate years of progress and current students' achievements at the department's 25th Anniversary Celebration and Capstone Colloquium on May 6.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center with a welcome from Dr. Katherine Rhoades, interim coordinator of the women's studies program and professor and dean emerita of the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Part of the celebration will focus on an oral history project conducted by five undergraduates in Rhoades' "Feminist Analysis and Practices" course and one public history graduate student. The students recorded interviews with seven accomplished women and one man who have made significant contributions to UW-Eau Claire's women's studies program and to feminism in the Chippewa Valley.

Ellen Mahaffy, assistant professor of communication and journalism, photographed the participants for an exhibit that will be housed in McIntyre Library and possibly travel to other venues throughout the state. Colleen McFarland of McIntyre Library has served as archivist for the project, which will be on display May 6.

The oral history project includes interviews with Dr. Rose-Marie Avin, Katie Bowman, Barbara Blackdeer-Mackenzie, Carol Fairbanks, Sarah Harder, Dr. David Jones, Dr. Susan Turell and Kaying Xiong, all of whom had stories to tell about women's and diversity issues and/or their personal struggles to achieve their goals.

Projects were created by seniors Megan Cherrier, Chippewa Falls, Laura Jones, Eau Claire, and Abby Vercauteren, Green Bay; junior Marci Korb, Eagle River; sophomore Emily Wievel, Stevens Point; and graduate student Tiffany Gerber, Golden Valley, Minn.

"This project has created some big challenges, and it has definitely made us step out of our comfort zone," said Korb. "However, it's also been extremely rewarding."

Rhoades, who worked with the students on the project throughout the semester, said she enjoyed watching them grow as their work progressed.

"Seeing the students bring theory into practice, that's the most rewarding thing," Rhoades said. "This project has made that connection come alive in a most meaningful way."

The capstone colloquium portion of the event will feature six-minute Power Point presentations by 12 women's studies seniors completing their capstone projects. They include Erica Banton, Evansville, presenting "Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine: Debates and Dilemmas" (Rhoades, adviser); Elizabeth Amys, South Range, presenting "When I Grow Up" Men's and Women's Self-efficacy and Career Decisions Analyzed from a Third Wave Feminist Perspective" (Dr. Blaine Peden, adviser); Shelley Rae Hurd, Sparta, presenting "Impact of the Fight" (Dr. Nicole Schultz, adviser); Ann Vue, Eau Claire, presenting "The Inadequacy of White Feminism for Non-White Feminists in Shirley Geok-lin Lim's 'Among the White Moon Faces: An Asian -American Memoir of Homelands'"(Dr. David Shih, adviser); Sarah Nickels, Cadott, presenting "A Multicultural View of Home (Shih, adviser); Vercauteren, presenting "Hardship, Perseverance, and Hope: A Gendered Analysis of the Impact of War, Sanctions, and Occupation on the Lives of Iraqi Women" (Dr. Steven Majstorovic, adviser); Rachel Hammarberg, Burnsville, Minn., presenting "The F-Word: A Program for Peer Diversity Educators" (Schultz, adviser); Stephanie Hunt, Owatonna, Minn., presenting "Identity Matters in 'Bhaji on the Beach'" (Dr. Asha Sen, adviser); Hannah Moen, Colfax , presenting "Budget Cuts, Overcrowded Classrooms, Overworked Teachers: A Hopeless Situation or a Great Opportunity?" (Rhoades, adviser); Breanne Prothero, Neenah/St. Michael, Minn., presenting "Pornography, Condom Use and Sexisim: What Does Porn Do for YOU?" (Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, adviser); Cherrier, presenting "Women and Hunger" (Rhoades, adviser); and Amanda Moe, Glenwood City, presenting "Health Care in Women's Prison: Associations of Physical and Sexual Abuse, HIV Aids, and Incarceration" (Dr. Pam Forman, adviser).

Rhoades said there is much to celebrate at this 25th anniversary, including the 2006-07 initiation of the women's studies major.

"The anniversary technically celebrates the anniversary of approval of the women's studies minor, but its meaning goes much deeper," Rhoades said."The artwork by Jane Evershed that we used in the commemorative poster is titled 'The Great Leap of Faith,' and I think the beginning days of women's studies on campus were just that. Today, our program represents many of the goals our university is embracing as central — discipline, experimental and transformative learning, and an embrace of equity, diversity and inclusivity. We have come of age."

The limited edition 25th anniversary posters featuring Evershed's "Great Leap of Faith" will be available for purchase at the following rates: $15 for students, and $35 for faculty, staff or community members. Copies signed by the artist will be available for $100. All proceeds from the poster sales will provide support for the women's studies program.

Support for the oral history project was provided by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Women's and Gender Equity Center, and Dr. Donald Christian, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. More than 15 community partners also will be acknowledged at the Women's Studies 25th Anniversary and Capstone Colloquium.



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