WGS Student Spotlight

Hollie Ferrer received the Best WGS 400 Paper Award from Dr. Amy Scott at the 2017 WGS Senior Celebration. (Photo Provided)

May 15, 2017

By Summer Studstill '17

Hollie Ferrer, a women’s and gender studies minor, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Originally from Orange County, California, but now living in Riverside, Illinois, Ferrer will begin working towards a dual master's degree in social work and women’s and gender studies at Loyola University Fall. Here are her reflections

Why did you choose to minor in WGS?
I took Dr. Scott's WMS 200 class my sophomore year and it was honestly one of the best classes I've ever taken. It made me realize my love for social theory and studying how groups in a society work. I declared the minor because it gave me so many opportunities to study topics and theories that I was really interested in, and to discover new methodologies, ways of thinking, and perspectives on the world that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to study.

What are some things you have learned in the WGS program?
I think I have a much more diverse understanding of how people and social dynamics work from the courses I've taken with my minor. I've also discovered new personal interests through having the opportunity to take many different kinds of courses. For instance, Dr. Hogan's class, Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Gender, made me realize my interest in learning more about how gender is performed in other world cultures. I've also discovered an interest in queer theory after beginning to learn about the topic in WGS 200.

What have you enjoyed about the program?
I love that the WGS minor encourages interdisciplinary study and individual interests. I've had the opportunity to take classes I never would have known about otherwise. I really feel like I'm a much more knowledgeable and well-rounded person for having been in this program. And I especially love that it involves individual capstone research, I've spent the entire semester studying something that I came up with myself and that I'm truly invested in. My capstone project, "King of the Nerds: The effects of Sexist Representation on Gendered Hierarchy in Geek Culture,” discusses how modern geek media (specifically science fiction and fantasy genre films) continuously perpetuates outdated stereotypes about women, and how those representations translate to fan culture dynamics, where women are typically viewed as performing fandom incorrectly in comparison to male fans. You don't get many opportunities to create such an intensive project like that at most undergraduate programs and it's a great experience.

Do you have any advice for current/future WGS students?
I'd encourage younger students to try new classes they wouldn't usually take! WGS is interdisciplinary, which makes it easy for you to explore new interests and branch out. In order to be truly well-rounded you have to go outside our comfort zone a little bit. If you can see through more perspectives you'll have a better understanding of how society works as a whole.