Bennett Shoop

Bennett Shoop

Bennett Shoop

Women and Gender Studies major student, Bennett Shoop has been chosen as a recipient of the Dean’s Challenge Award for the 2018/2019 academic year. The Dean’s Challenge Award is given to select undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement. Those who are chosen for the award are also given a stipend to support them in covering academic expenses.

How did you decide on majoring in Women and Gender Studies?

I decided on majoring in Women and Gender Studies after taking Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies and Intro to Women and Gender Studies. I fell in love with Judith Butler, queer theory and realized that the study of gender and sexuality was my greatest passion. As soon as the major for Women and Gender Studies was established, I signed up right away. 

What have you learned that has really surprised you/changed your perspective?

I have learned the ways in which social inequality persists throughout every aspect of human interaction. I’ve learned to think critically about the world around me and the way it functions, and that’s a skill that’s more important for me to learn than any other. 

Tell us about your dream job. How has courses in Women and Gender Studies helped further your plans?

My dream job is to be a college professor, ideally teaching Women and Gender Studies classes. I love the academy and the environment of college classes and Women and Gender Studies classes have provided me an outlet to study my favorite subjects and learn how the academy works and how to pursue that passion.

Please share any internships, jobs, or volunteer experiences that you have taken part in.

I have interned with the organization, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL) in high school. I was also heavily involved with LGBTQ+ activism in Fairfax County, specifically with the school board and the recent discussions of trans and queer inclusion.

Please share any accomplishments or opportunities that you are proud of.

I was given various awards for my leadership and community activism for the queer and trans community in Fairfax County including the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward scholarship, a Fairfax County Peace Award, and a SMYAL scholarship for LGBTQ+ activism. 

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

I am obsessed with Queer as Folk and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I watch both in their entirety every year.


Congratulations Bennet!

You can contact Bennett by email at:


More about the Women and Gender Studies Major:

The major is a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies which provides students with the academic training and co-curricular opportunities to define, understand, analyze and propose solutions to gender inequalities both in the US and globally. Students will be able to take courses with both faculty of Women and Gender Studies and the School of Integrative Studies whose background include feminist research methods, gender-based violence, social justice and human rights, childhood studies, and sustainability.

Students will also complete experiential credits which will expose them to gender and sexuality issues in the wider community. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in human services, non-profit work, law, public health, teaching or graduate studies.

You can learn more about the major here or email undergraduate advisors: Misty Krell ( and Nancy Xiong (