We are very pleased that the directorship of the Alice Drum Women's Center is now a full-time position that includes teaching three Women's and Gender Studies classes per year. Beth Graybill is a new visiting assistant professor of WGS and will continue as the director of Franklin and Marshall's Alice Drum Women's Center. She received her PhD in American Studies, with a certificate in Women's Studies, from the University of Maryland in 2009. She has published articles on Mennonite women's dress and the popularity of Amish "bonnet fiction." Her chapter, "Social Control and Women's Bodies in Two Mennonite Communities," appeared in Religion, Dress and the Body, edited by Linda Boynton Arthur (NYU Press, 1999). She was a fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in 2006 and previously served as Director of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and the Mennonite Central Committee Women's Advocacy Desk.
Along with directing the Alice Drum Women's Center, Professor Graybill will be teaching three courses in WGS every year. For the 2011-2012 academic year, she will offer "Reel Women: Gender and Global Cinema," "America Eats," and "Gender and Violence." This is the second time she has taught "Gender and Violence," a community-based learning seminar in which students combine reading and discussion with placements in community organizations addressing violence, such as Domestic Violence Services.
The recipient of the 2011 Alice Drum Summer Research Award is Shuyun Liu, a senior Psychology major and Math minor. Shuyun has 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, Shuyun 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.
This award 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 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 of up to $2000 supports summer projects 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.
Liz Parks graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2009 with a joint major in History and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is now the Alumni Fellow in the Office of Alumni Relations at Franklin and Marshall. She works closely with the new Council for Women of Franklin & Marshall.
What impact has the Women’s and Gender Studies Department had on your career path?
I wrote my senior thesis on the campaign against prostitution in Lancaster one hundred years ago. This was the first honors thesis in Women’s and Gender Studies. It motivated me to pursue a career at other women’s centers or women’s and gender studies programs at other colleges and universities. After coming close to landing a job at another college’s women’s center, I started a job as an advisor for the National College Advising Corps. I counseled students in poverty on how to apply for college and for financial aid. Then I decided to pursue a position at Franklin and Marshall. My major in Women’s and Gender Studies taught me to view the world through a gendered lens, and manifested itself in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve come full circle now, working in the Office of Alumni Relations here at Franklin & Marshall, and was also hired to work on the Council for Women because of my background in feminist studies.
Can you describe the Council for Women of Franklin & Marshall in more detail?
The Council for Women of Franklin & Marshall is an alumnae group hoping to connect current and past students of the college with powerful and influential women. We just had a very productive meeting during the recent Homecoming celebrations, and are planning several upcoming events including a recognition luncheon of the current student leaders on campus, networking functions, and many more. One of my tasks to prepare for the meeting was to research other college’s women’s councils and enumerate their mission statements and programs as well as share their advice for our new council. Our goal is to encourage public service within the college community and beyond, and to provide the tools that are necessary to pursue successful careers. The Council is open to any interested faculty, staff, students and alumni, and if you are interested please feel free to contact for more information and to get involved!
Do you have any advice for current students seeking jobs today? What can we as F&M students do to stand out in this competitive job market?
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of networking and making meaningful connections! That’s how I secured my current position with Alumni Relations and it has transformed my career path. All you need is that first link, and chances are that one individual will be able to connect you to someone (if they themselves aren’t in your ideal field) who can help. It’s also important to always follow-up with people after that first initial meeting, and not to let the relationship stop with the first introduction.
This summer Elizabeth Murray ('13) participated in American University's Washington Semester Program in Washington, D.C. As a student in the Justice and Law program, Elizabeth attended a law seminar and worked full time at a legal internship at the World Organization for Human Rights USA.
Human Rights USA provides legal counseling for victims of grave human rights violations, which often include gendered crimes as well. In the past, Human Rights USA works with victims of forced marriage and trafficking, and recently fought corporate America in a widely publicized human rights case against Yahoo! Inc.
Elizabeth learned about a variety of international gender issues, including forced marriage, female genital cutting, and sex trafficking. During her time in D.C., Elizabeth worked on research and legal cases concerning clients seeking asylum because of these violations. She also helped write an original report from the United Nations and U.S. Department of State. This may be used by the State Department or other governmental organizations to educate politicians on the importance of human rights in the law. Elizabeth is eager to apply this new knowledge to future aspiration to attend law school after graduation and become a human rights and women's rights attorney.