2023 Scholar's Lecture with Dr. Akila'Ka Ma'at

2023 Scholar's Lecture with Dr. Akila'Ka Ma'at
Dr. Akila'Ka Ma'at presenting to the audience

by Lindsay Lowry

On April 20th, Women and Gender Studies hosted our annual Scholar’s Lecture, featuring a talk by Dr. Akila’Ka Ma’at, Assistant Professor in Women and Gender Studies, African and African American Studies, and Communications. She is also the Director of the Communicating Equity and Healing Justice Research Lab. Dr. Ma’at’s talk was on: Critical Reflections on Intersectional Racisms and Cumulative Threats to Black Women Being, and Becoming in America Before her talk, three awards were presented to WGST students for their outstanding scholarship.  

The Suzanne Scott Constantine Award for Academic Excellence in Social Justice and the Arts was presented to Sophia E Abbott. She currently works as a graduate assistant on the Anti-Racist and Inclusive Teaching (ARIT) team in the Stearns Center for Teaching & Learning. Her primary responsibilities include developing inclusive teaching resources for faculty and carrying out assessments of ARIT programming to determine the impacts on instructors' inclusive teaching practices and overall learning 

The second award, the MAIS Outstanding Project award, was presented to Casey Klemmer. His project is a rewrite of United States Citizenship and Immigration Serivces's 2011 training manual on asylum and refugee claims for LGBTI and HIV/AIDS positive people. He felt the original manual was both outdated and attempted to address too many groups, a nuanced understanding of the experiences of transgender applicants was missing. For this project, Klemmer rewrote the manual to focus exclusively on transgender applicants, centering their experiences and including a more thorough explanation of how gender can influence the experiences of asylum and refuge seekers.

Lastly, Meaghan Rachal received the Outstanding Thesis Award for her research titled "(Dys)Functional Academies: Social Accessibility in Higher Education". It was a two-part study juxtaposing interviews with students with disabilities at George Mason University and an attitudinal survey of undergraduate students to explore the concept of social accessibility for students with disabilities in higher education settings. Social accessibility was loosely defined as ways to engage with the community of a university campus, be it with professors or peers, as a student with a disability, and the potential barriers to that engagement being barriers to accessibility.