Sammi Peterburs: History major
Samantha Peterburs has shown a passion for interdisciplinary research, theory, and writing that is rare among undergraduate students, writing several original research papers in her History and Women's Studies courses. The diversity of topics that she has chosen to study – from “Apprehending the Grim Sleeper: Familial DNA”; “Stop and Frisk: The Legalization of Racial Profiling in New York City”; and “Jane Fonda: From Hollywood Royalty to Activism” – speak to the breadth of her intellectual curiosity and her interest in social and cultural history. Her innovative senior research project, “Country Music and the Cultural Politics of Conservatism,” analyzed the way in which 1960s conservatives used country music to produce a mass narrative for a new cultural politics. Sammi's Women's Studies 400 paper was titled, “That’s What You Get, Folks, For Makin’ Whoopee”: Gender Stereotypes in Romantic Relationships on Gilmore Girls."
Samantha has achieved academic excellence, graduating Summa Cum Laude, while holding leadership positions in campus organizations and participating in the intellectual life of the university beyond the classroom. Samantha served as the student representative to the Women’s Studies Committee. She is a member of the Bradley University History Club, and of three honor societies: Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Alpha Theta, and Sigma Tau Delta. She has been accepted to the Graduate School of Library Information Sciences (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
This year we have chosen two students as our Bonnie Gordon Memorial Scholarship Recipients: Bailey Buxbaum and Taylor May. Both women are a dedicated, smart, and committed to women's issues. Their research projects exemplify their commitment to making the world a better place. Bailey wrote about how the increasing medicalization of women's sexualization has resulted in increasing loss of control over our bodies. We are told that are breasts are too small or too saggy and or vaginas are not pretty so we might want to resort to surgery to improve these failures. Women spend thousands of dollars they usually cannot afford to repair parts of their body that are not broken; and there is no guarantee that any of this will result in increased sexual pleasure for women. Taylor wrote about the role of women in hip hop using the Beyonce –Jay Z relationship as a sounding board for how women negotiated power and position in the industry. Taylor acknowledged that while early women in hip hop were independent and their message was empowering, more and more today women hip hop artists follow a limited script that sexualizes women and ultimately disempowers them. Both of these paper are relevant to our world and allow us to better understand how we need to challenge such trends in popular culture – by informing our friends, mothers, daughters, and the men in our life too.
Congratulations to both Taylor and Bailey; we all look forward to what you will share with us in the future.
Anne Peters: English major.
Anneis a devoted scholar and a passionate feminist. She is a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society and the Honors Program; she received a Bradley Presidential Scholarship, a UCC Scholarship, and the Carl E. Lewis Scholarship from the Psychology Department. She is a member of Bradley HEAT and served as the sexual health junior executive chair and the coordinator of the Body Image last year; she participates with The Body Project and is the membership executive chair of the Psi Chi and Psychology club. She also serves as a Body Image intern in the Wellness program.
Melissa Vogrin: English & Foreign Language majors.
Melissa is a dedicated student, a smart and active feminist, and a terrific scholar. She worked diligently with fellow student Aileen Cordero to write a chapter about Illinois women's history for a book to be published by University of Illinois Press. Melissa is a superb historical researcher capable of in-depth and on-your-toes analysis. She will change the world.
Courtney Wiersema: History major
Courtney graduated summa cum laude. She excelled in all her classes and served as the student representative on the Women's Studies Committee. Her interest in women and gender infiltrated her studies – and she will undoubtedly continue that interest throughout her graduate studies at Notre Dame. Courtney is a brilliant, dedicated, young woman.
Devon Jason: Psychology major.
Devon excelled in all her classes and graduated summa cum laude, all the while holding a part-time job. She hopes to pursue a degree related to women's studies in graduate school.
Gillian Falknor: History major
Gillian supported Women's Studies and feminist activism on campus throughout her four years at Bradley. She played on the varsity volleyball team and consistently displayed her commitment to equality as both an athlete and a scholar.
Erica Buss: Studio Art major
Erica was one of the most active feminists on campus, involved with VOX and several other student organizations. She has been an inspiration to others through her activism, but also proved that it is possible to combine scholarship and activism.
Mary Peterson: Sociology major
Mary helped to revive Students Against Sexism in Society and initiated a very successful women's health fair on campus. She has a passionate commitment to equality and education.
Rebecca Klugiewicz: Journalism major
A committed, engaged, and dedicated student, Becky became increasingly active in feminist groups on campus over the course of her four years at Bradley. She devoted endless hours to the Women's Studies voter registration drive in the fall of 2004 and her leadership of VOX and other feminist organizations on campus helped make Bradley a better place for everyone.
Ben Cudia: History & Spanish majors
Ben is one of the most active students to attend Bradley, and he did it all with grace, intelligence, and gentleness. He was a joy to have in class – talkative, diligent and inspiring to other students. He pursued excellence in each of his activities as well as all of his courses. His experience working with Student Services and serving in a variety of elected student body positions, including vice president, made him decide to pursue a career in this field.
Kristina Althoff: Political Science major
One Word: ACTIVIST! After returning from a semester in Washington, D.C. Kristina became even more committed than ever. She threw herself into feminist activism on campus, spurring many feminist groups back into action. Kristina (along with fellow WMS major Kate Morrison) spearheaded three important events on campus: the amazing speech of abortion rights activist Sherry Matulis on campus; the condom campaign; and the stunningly successful bus trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the historical March for Women’s Lives. Kristina also excelled as a student.
Julie Mierwa: Sociology major
Julie was involved with nearly every progressive organization on campus over the course of her four years at Bradley. She was a leader in the Bradley Feminist Alliance and also Common Ground. She initiated a new group on campus: Code Pink, a feminist peace group. She was also the student representative for the WMS committee for a year and a half. Julie managed to maintain a perfect GPA amidst all of this activism. She is a compassionate, intellectually curious, warm and generous young woman.
Elizabeth Kinder: Journalism major
Elizabeth also maintained a high GPA amidst much intellectual and social activity. She excelled in many challenging courses throughout her four years at Bradley and also spent an exciting and fascinating semester in Washington, D.C. She has engendered much respect among her colleagues and readership for her well-written and insightful news pieces in the school newspaper. A committed activist, a diligent student and a talented journalist, Elizabeth is a perfect recipient for this award.
Wade Meyer: International Studies major
Wade was involved with numerous progressive organizations on campus including the Bradley Feminist Alliance and Common Ground. His leadership style is naturally cooperative and respectful. He studied feminism in Ghana – a courageous thing to do for a while male. Intellectually curious, hard-working and dedicated, kind and generous, Wade is one of those rare people who we all seem to know instinctively will change the world.
Erika Larsen: Social Work major, Women's Studies minor
We chose Erika because of her strong academic performance during her career at Bradley and because of her generous commitment to women both on campus and in the community. Erika was one of the founders and the former director of WomenSpace, one of the most successful women's organizations on campus. Erika has also been involved locally with Planned Parenthood and the Center for Prevention of Abuse--in fact, she completed an internship at the Center. She plans to pursue employment at a rape crisis center in the Chicago area and then return to school to pursue a master's degree in social work.
Vanessa Brocato: Women's Studies major
The first student to create a major in women's studies through the liberal arts program, Vanessa was the founder of Womenspace – an organization dedicated to offering a safe and comfortable location for women students on campus. WomenSpace has been incredibly successful at raising awareness about women's issues, building an impressive women's studies library and raising money for worthy causes. Vanessa also participated in innumerable student organizations, including the Friedan Society and Common round. She developed a reputation as one of the most important and influential student leaders on campus. She was a brilliant voice for progressive causes.
Kate Stubblefield: Bio-Technology major, Women's Studies minor
In addition to writing an excellent Women's Studies 400 research paper on feminist cyberspace magazines, Kate performed in the Bradley production of The Vagina Monologues. She has been accepted to medical school at Southern Illinois University.
Huong Vu: Political Science major
While at Bradley, Huong was active in the Friedan Society, RHA, and participated in the Washington, D.C. Women's Leadership Program. With hopes of pursuing a career in women's legal services she is attending law school at Drake University in Iowa.
Tracy Malave: Environmental Biology major, Women's Studies minor
Tracy received this award because of her excellent scholarship and her commitment to humanity. She wrote a brilliant paper for her WMS research course on the representation of lesbians in the media. She is wholly committed to the world around her and hopes to develop a career in environmental biology, possibly with the Student Conservation Program.
Linda Sattler: Psychology major, Women's Studies minor
Linda was able to maintain a very high grade point average even as she developed a position as a leading activist on Bradley's campus. She organized the Take Back the Night vigil and poetry reading and was a leader in the Feminist Alliance. She hopes to continue her activism after attending law school in Southern California, focusing on public policy and women's rights.