artwork about empowering women

Spotlight

2020-21 Year-in-Review

Women’s and Gender Studies

Department website

Active Students (as of August 2021)

Undergrad minors: 168
Undergrad certificates: 12
Graduate certificates: 20

2020-21 Student Credit Hours: 1,828

Young woman prepares care packages

This was a busy year of online activism and virtual presentations for Women’s and Gender Studies. M. C. Santana presented her research internationally in Russia on postcolonial voices on Latinx Acculturation and Assimilation and in Canada on Ecofeminism and Community Activism. Leandra Preston presented “Change Never Stops: Pandemic Activism” about service-learning during the era of COVID-19 and Anne Bubriski presented a keynote for the Seminole County League of Women Voters meeting about our mentoring program, Science Leadership and Mentoring.

Student recognitions include Juliet Cahow receiving the Judges’ Choice Award at the 2021 Student Scholar Symposium and the Distinguished Research Award for her honors thesis on middle school girls’ experiences of racial and gender stereotypes, chaired by Bubriski. Eight students received scholarships ranging from activism and academics to STEM and History, including the inaugural Anthony (Tony) Major Race Relations Scholarship celebrating the life of UCF’s former director of Africana Studies.

Our campus outreach included membership on dissertations, theses and honors in the major, with topics ranging from corporate responses to Black Lives Matter, trauma after Hurricane Maria, healthcare and grassroots organizations, to gender in online communities and the “manosphere.” Preston launched the national Girls Studies listserv from our UCF server after the longtime academic and activist resource threatened to shut down due to lack of resources.


Recognition of our expertise brought us visibility.


We are excited about Santana’s first-of-its-kind initiative to expand accessibility of our Women’s Studies content to Spanish speakers. Her proposal, “Engaging Students and Enhancing their Academic Experiences through Bilingual Courses across Disciplines at UCF,” was funded by The Digital Learning Course Redesign Initiative (DL CRI) Extension.

Recognition of our expertise brought us visibility, as Preston and Santana participated in Channel News 13 coverage on Elections 2020, Women & Politics, the Gender Pay Gap, and the unique struggle of working mothers during the pandemic, while Bubriski spoke to the American Association of University Women. Additionally, Santana was named Discipline Coordinator with the Florida Education Department for the Women’s Studies discipline, to provide advice and leadership for the development and maintenance of discipline taxonomy and statewide course details, renaming, course codes and code revisions.

Bubriski will serve as Co-PI with Emily Johnson from the Department of English on a funded UCF seed grant titled “emPower Through Play,” on participatory design for gaming, girls and leadership. Preston continues to help grow Ometepe Artisans, a collaboration between One Body Global and UCF students to provide a platform (including an Etsy store) for women artisans from the otherwise isolated community of Ometepe, Nicaragua.

Awards for Santana include a Fulbright Hays GPA program to Argentina titled “A Woman’s Place: Language and Culture Alive in Argentina,” $94,350 and two collaborations with the U.S. State Department and visitors from Israel and Latin America dealing with Women as Drivers of Social and Economic Change.

— Maria C. Santana, director