The Alice Drum Award in Women's and Gender Studies celebrates Alice Drum, who served as Vice President of the College; was instrumental in the founding of the Women’s Center, now named in her honor; directed the Women’s and Gender Studies Program; and taught legendary classes on women writers. The “Athena Citation” honoring her at Commencement in 2008 reads, “An intellectual connection with women’s literature and her own life experience made her a fervent advocate for women’s rights in the academy and beyond. She served as a role model for those seeking to balance a demanding career with love of family.”
The award is given every other year to support a student summer project related to research, creative arts, or community and public service. Proposed projects must further knowledge of the roles of women and/or gender in society. Recipients must also show quality of character, personal and intellectual promise, and an enthusiasm for learning from the proposed experience.
The 2011 Alice Drum Summer Research Award was given to Shuyun Liu '12, a Psychology major and Math minor. During her career at F&M, she served on the Executive Board of the Alice Drum Women’s Center for several years. With the help of the Alice Drum award, Shuyun worked at the Beijing Cultural Development Center for Rural Women, where she focused on the NGO’s “Against Sexual Violence to Rural Left-Behind Girls” program. During her internship, she worked closely with Zhiping Wu, the executive director of the organization, and participated in an in-depth training program for rural teachers. Shuyun gained insight into the realities of running a nonprofit organization as the assistant to the director, and also performed valuable research on the current services provided to rural Chinese women to prevent sexual assault. Armed with this information, she helped the Beijing Cultural Development Center for Rural Women write a textbook on sexual assault prevention.
Gabby Jiayin She '11, an Art major, received the Alice Drum Award in 2009 to support a research trip to Japan. She studied young women's street fashion in Tokyo, where young women march down the street in heavy lace pettiskirts, extravagant make-up and curly blonde wigs. Her paper, "From Rebel Heroines of New York to Living Dolls of Tokyo: The Power of Visual Culture," focuses on how Western visual culture has shaped Japanese youth culture. This transnational interest shaped her summer in other ways, as she ended it working as an intern with Anna Sui in New York City. Her research thus captured both the rock-and-roll coolness of downtown New York and the Japanese obsession with living Victorian dolls on the streets.