The Women’s Center’s Gender and Equity Research Symposium prepares for its third year with the tagline Practicing The Equity We Preach.
Fast becoming a staple in our community, the symposium has grown in content, partnerships and meaning. I asked Women’s Center Director Lisa LaBarbara-Mascote why the Gender and Equity Research Symposium is important to the work of the NC State Women’s Center, to which she responded:
“The Gender and Equity Research Symposium allows the Women’s Center to amplify the point between research and practice. This day-long event allows us to not only highlight the work that is being done on campus, but also challenge participants to ‘Think and Do’ what’s next. Knowledge lays the groundwork for activism and action. I hope that participants can find a point of research that activates and inspires them to do the work necessary towards a more equitable and just community.”
The Gender and Equity Research Symposium (GERS) does lay a foundation for activism and creating space for institutional transformations. Highlighting research and scholarship across the triangle region, it brings together scholars from various disciplines, inviting them to think together with the intention to build collaborative pathways for transformative action.
Doctoral student Kevin Singer says, “It means a lot that my institution would provide a space for me to share about something that I am really interested in, especially in front of an audience that values research on gender and equity. I’m very excited to be a participant in and contributor to this important forum.” Singer, a research associate for the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Study (IDEALS), further stated, “I thought GERS 2019 would be the perfect venue to showcase our research on worldview diversity in higher education, and particularly how diversity on campus affects the attitudes of White conservative Christian men. I hope to dispel a common concern that White conservative Christian men feel silenced or unsupported in diverse campus environments. As a White Christian man, I have personally found diverse campus environments to be catalytic toward my personal growth. I have found that I learn best when I am surrounded by viewpoints that challenge my own in productive ways. I am excited to see what kind of feedback I get.”
The Gender and Equity Research Symposium is for everyone: every single one of us who wants to see transformation within our institutions and within systems that promote inequality and inequity. For those of us who no longer want to reproduce harm. For those of us who know what needs to be done, but need comrades in arms. For those of us still searching for our place in creating just and equitable movements.
The symposium is a place of scholarship that sees everyone as having something valuable to contribute, whether you are a presenter or participant. It is a place of expanding how we think of scholarship and affirming that we all have the capacity for knowledge creation.
Senior undergraduate student Kahlia Phillips, studying accounting, was encouraged by a mentor to apply for the symposium, expanding her research from the previous year’s poster presentation. Reflecting on her engagement with GERS for a second year, Phillips noted her anxiety around presenting and also her own personal growth in scholarship and seeing herself as a leader. She states, “For me, doing a presentation of any kind gives me anxiety and makes me nervous. However, having the opportunity to showcase and take pride in a research project was not only an issue that I have a growing interest in, but was a marker of personal growth for me and is something that I’m trying to embrace and lean into courageously. I hope to take away an experience that allows me to practice how I convey my research topic to folks who may not know who I am and what I have to offer to scholarship. It’s really nerve-wracking to think about but I can’t grow in my comfort zone.”
We invite you to join us throughout the day on April 16, 2019 for the Third Annual Gender and Equity Research Symposium. For a full schedule, visit go.ncsu.edu/gers2019.
If you’re thinking about submitting next year, here are a few words of encouragement:
“For folks considering the possibility of submitting a proposal for next year, if you’re already thinking about it, you should do it. Also, make sure you have people in your corner that will encourage you and help you through the process if it’s your first time submitting a proposal.” (Kahlia Phillips)
“These opportunities are incredibly valuable, so be sure to submit a proposal. At the very least, you will benefit from the close proximity of people who care about the issues you care about. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to consider a new direction in your research and teaching.” (Kevin Singer)
To learn more about the research of Kevin Singer and Kahlia Phillips, join them at the symposium for their presentations.
Angela Gay is assistant director of the Women’s Center.