Students, faculty, staff, alumni present research at 4W Summit

4W Summit group

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville had a strong presence at the fourth annual 4W Summit on Women, Gender, and Well-Being and the 42nd annual Wisconsin Women’s and Gender Studies Conference held April 11-13 at UW-Madison, with four students and 10 faculty, staff and alumni showcasing their research on women, gender and well-being in a variety of panels and other formats. 

The purpose of the conference, held at the Pyle Center, was to collectively discuss and consider how gender informs culture, society, environment, economy and social justice. The theme of the conference was “Transformative Education: Then. When? Now!”

“Faculty, staff and students at UW-Platteville demonstrated enthusiasm for high impact educational practices and research dissemination in varying forms at the conference,” said Dr. Dong Isbister, assistant professor and coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies at UW-Platteville and co-chair of the University of Wisconsin Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium. “The impressive visibility of the UW-Platteville community and the quality work shared with the other conference participants once again exemplified the type of education we truly care about.”

“I was so grateful for the opportunity to present at this year’s 4W Summit,” said Vontique Jackson, a senior media studies major, English minor and president of the Black Student Union at UW-Platteville. “Being the president of Black Student Union and having classes like Black Women and Feminism in the U.S., taught by Dr. Isbister, really inspired me to research the thoughts I have always had, being a black woman. My research proposals on black women and their experience with physical trauma and cultural appropriation helped me gain new insight on the type of work I plan on continuing throughout my career.”

UW-Platteville student presenters included:

Vontique Jackson

  • “The Trauma and Neglect of the Black Woman’s Body” (paper). Jackson discussed how white America has misused the black woman’s body to continue to uphold white privilege and its related power structure.
  • “The Appropriation of Black Women’s Culture” (poster). Jackson examined notions of racism and the construction of identity that affects African American women.

Abbey Pignatari, senior English major, professional writing emphasis, political science minor

  • “Banning books: The impact censorship has on youth education” (poster). Pignatari examined young adult novels that have been challenged for topics of gender and sexuality and how they have impacted the educational system in the United States.

Margaret Baumgardt, senior fine arts major, double minor in women’s and gender studies and art history

  • “The Feminine Reality” (poster). Baumgardt created an artistic representation of the beautiful nature of the female anatomy. Her poster emphasized that being a woman is a powerful thing and women should not be ashamed of any part of their bodies.

Susan Jordan, senior civil engineering major; Dr. Kristina Fields, professor of civil and environmental engineering; Katie Rash, UW-Platteville alumna, civil engineering; Alex Goff, UW-Platteville alumna, civil engineering; Katie Heitman, mechanical engineering major, UW-Madison

  • “Cycling in The Netherlands: Using High Impact Practices of Study Abroad and Service Learning to Empower Women in Civil Engineering.” Jordan, Fields, Rash, Goff and Heitman discussed Fields’ international, short-term study abroad course that included service learning as its guiding philosophy.

Ashley Owens, a senior biology major, attended a few sessions of the conference while also supporting her peers who were presenting. Owens was one of five recipients of an Undergraduate Research Presentation Award at the Second Annual 4W Summit on Women, Gender and Well-Being and 40th Wisconsin Women and Gender Studies Conference in 2017.

In addition to Fields, the following UW-Platteville faculty and staff presented at the summit:

  • Mary Bartling, assistant professor of business, and Margaret F. Karsten, professor of business: “Transformative Conversations on Sexual Harassment”
  • Isbister and Dr. Mary Lenzi, associate professor of philosophy: “Teaching to Reach Students: Feminist Pedagogy in Learning and Professional Development” (panel)
  • Isbister: “Toward Social Justice Pedagogies in Rural Spaces” (panel)
  • Regina Pauly, curriculum librarian, Josephine Gurira, reference librarian, Dr. Rea Kirk, professor of education, and Dr. Julie Phillips, former UW-Platteville faculty member: “Books and Movies: Change the Person; Change the World”

The College of Liberal Arts and Education presentations at the fourth annual 4W Summit on Women, Gender, and Well-Being were made possible with the support of funds from the UW-WGS Consortium, UW-Platteville’s College of Liberal Arts and Education and UW-Platteville’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program.