2024 Feminist Practice Award

Presented annually the Feminist Practice Award recognizes department majors or minors whose work in community service or social action best exemplifies the application of feminist though to practice.

Winner:  Amber Wei

Amber is a Gender and Health graduating senior, who is also finishing an undergraduate degree in Public Health focusing on Community and Global Health. Throughout her time at the University of Michigan, she has served as a leader in efforts to enrich various communities on campus, foster inclusivity, and amplify marginalized voices, especially within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AA&PI) community. Using knowledge generated in her coursework, she created a feminist K-12 zine to highlight the rich histories of Asian American activism, allyship, and solidarity. This dovetailed with her work to bring awareness to the contributions of the AA&PI community through programming for AA&PI Heritage Month. As a way to grow and sustain this campus community, she was instrumental in planning an Asian American High School Conference that featured numerous workshops, discussions, and performances to create in participants a vision of belonging at the University of Michigan. Beyond the University of Michigan, Amber has worked with Brilliant Detroit, a K-8 literacy nonprofit that serves Black communities in the city, helping to secure critical program funding. Amber is a stellar community leader whose work on behalf of underrepresented and marginalized groups showcases feminist principles in action. 

2024 Dorothy McGuigan Prizes

Each year, the Dorothy McGuigan Prizes are awarded to the best essays on women and gender written at the University of Michigan. The prizes honor the memory of Dorothy Gies McGuigan, a distinguished alumna of the University of Michigan who taught in the School of Business Administration and the Residential College.

Graduate Prize: Catherine Brist

The Dorothy McGuigan Prize for 2024 has been awarded to English and Women's & Gender Studies Doctoral Candidate Catherine Brist for her essay, "Sexual Violence and the 'Politics of Voice': Learning from the Backlash to Kate Elizabeth Russell's My Dark Vanessa." Brist closely attends to public reception of the 2020 novel My Dark Vanessa in order to critique the idea that speaking out about sexual violence always yields positive results for survivors. Building from professional and digital reviews of the novel, interviews with the author, and her own close readings, Brist creates a rich conversation about public visions of what a healing narrative should and could look like. My Dark Vanessa centered on a (fictional) abusive and emotionally complex relationship between a student and her teacher; many readers were disturbed both by the vivid depictions of violence as well as the novel's departure from expected scripts of sexual violence. Brist centers her own readerly experience and ambivalence to My Dark Vanessa, both as a point of disclosure/ positionality and as a methodological wellspring from which to fully engage with the novel. Beautifully written and cogently argued, the committee was deeply impressed by the range of sources, incisiveness of analysis and the care with which Brist writes about the fictional characters, Russell and the varied communities that responded to the work.

Undergraduate Prize: Haley Paskvan

In “Pregnancy: A Male Experience,” Gender and Health graduating senior Haley Paskvan offers a critical investigation of transgender men’s reproductive health and the barriers they face as they navigate pregnancy, as well as prenatal and postnatal care. Haley writes, “There are significant gaps in the knowledge and standards of care for transgender men’s reproductive health.  […] In order to combat this inequality, we must increase resources for transgender men concerning hormones during birth, chest feeding, and overall mental and physical wellbeing.” Through a comprehensive examination of medical research, clinician training, and social support services related to reproductive health for transgender men, Haley compellingly demonstrates how social stigma and discrimination affect every aspect of transgender men’s pregnancy experiences and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. Haley completed this paper in WGS 400 Women's Reproductive Health