Melting Gender Roles: Stirring Up Awareness

Mar 20, 2015 | Kristi Lynch

A team of University of Dubuque students, faculty, and staff were recently awarded a $4300 grant from American Association of University Women (AAUW), sponsored by Pantene. This grant, focused on supporting student projects to address gender stereotypes and biases on college campuses, will fund an event entitled Melting Gender Roles: Stirring Up Awareness.  The event, scheduled for Wednesday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Peters Commons Dining Hall on the UD campus, is being held in conjunction with UD’s Healthy Relationship Week; it is free and open to the public.

Designed primarily for an undergraduate student audience but also open to the public (ages 17+), the event will include a panel discussion with leaders in career fields non-traditional for their genders, a short performance by the Courage and Social Action (CASA) theater troupe, and hands-on activities at booths hosted by the grant team, student organizations, and academic as well as co-curricular departments, including athletics. Participating groups from the Dubuque community include Hillcrest Family Services, Riverview Center, Women’s Leadership Network, and the Dubuque Bomb Squad Roller Derby team, among others. Booth topics include genderized toys, sexism in marketing, women in aviation, gender & Jesus, women in college sports, and more.  Refreshments and prizes will be available.

Speakers participating in the panel discussion include: Bobbi Alpers (C’73), chief judge, retired – Iowa 7th Judicial Dictrict; Nolan Funke, stay-at-home dad and current UD LIFE Program student; Bob Wethal, nurse and director of Critical & Cardiac Care at Mercy Hospital; and Kelly Francois, parole officer and UD Criminal Justice instructor.

The AAUW grants were awarded to 11 student-led teams nation-wide to fight stereotypes and biases on college campuses.  The Campus Action Project Grant team is led by Dr. Tabitha Bartelme, mental health counselor, and includes Anne Marie Gruber, assistant director for library instruction and public services; and Liza Johnson, director of personal empowerment; as well as student-leaders Shauna Schmitt (Knoxville, IA), Melissa Gilstrap (Dubuque, IA), and Zach Pickel (Bernard, IA).

AAUW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with more than 170,000 members across the U.S., as well as 1,000 local branches and over 800 college/university partners.  The association was founded in 1881 by Ellen Richards, the first U.S. woman awarded a chemistry degree, and a student she mentored, Marion Talbot.  For more information about AAUW and the goals of the grant program, see .

This project is made possible through the support provided by American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Pantene Shine Strong Campaign.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of AAUW.  Support has also been provided by the University of Dubuque Wendt Character Initiative for grant team participation in the upcoming National Conference of College Women Student Leaders.