ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (June 22, 2023) — The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program has announced the winners of the 2023 Audre Lorde Prize and department awards.
The awards are named in honor of Audre Lorde (1934-1992), an intersectional feminist writer and civil rights activist who wrote the foundational text "Sister Outsider" (1984). Awards are given annually.
The awards are designed to recognize excellence in scholarship in women, gender, and sexuality studies at the undergraduate level.
The winners were selected in three categories by outside judges.
Long analytical essay
First place: Blake Traylor, "Hosts/Saints/Witches: Women and Food Under Catholicism in Love Medicine." Traylor is a senior from Naperville, Illinois, majoring in English, creative writing, and Spanish.
Second place: Carly Davis, "Starving Magpies and Drowning Daughters: Narratives of Captivity and Consumption in Amy Tan's 'The Joy Luck Club.'" Davis is a senior from Milton, Wisconsin, majoring in English, art and creative writing.
Honorable mention: Nicole Grafon, "The Challenges of Making French Gender-Inclusive: How to Stop Leaving the Non-Binary and Genderfluid Community Out." Grafon is a junior from Wauconda, Illinois, majoring in biology and English.
Short analytical essay
First place: Gavinya Wijesekera, "Queer Sexual Enlightenment as a Gateway to Attaining Selfhood and a Means of Subversion of Heteropatriarchal Power in Alice Walker's 'The Color Purple.'" Wijesekera is a senior from Colombo, Sri Lanka, majoring in English and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Second place: Tricia Plachno, "'Yellow Fever' + Pornhub Statistics: A Sociological Sickness." Plachno is a senior from Polo, Illinois, majoring in communication sciences and disorders.
Honorable mention: Kara West, "Gender as an Environmental Stressor in Individuals Genetically Predisposed to Mood Disorders: A Preliminary Analysis." West is a senior from Grinnell, Iowa, majoring in psychology, Spanish, and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
First place: Audre Lewis, "Autistic Gold." Lewis is a sophomore from Denver, Colo., majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Second place: Elena Haffner, "Kathleen Hanna: An Investigation into Riot Grrrl." Haffner is a junior from Geneseo, Illinois, majoring in history and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Honorable mention: Janey Locander, "Anatomy: The makings of me." Locander is a sophomore from Moline, Illinois, majoring in psychology and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Nancy Huse Award for Outstanding Senior
The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program has awarded the Nancy Huse Award for Outstanding Senior to Gavinya Wijesekera.
The award was created in honor of Dr Nancy Huse, professor emerita, who was a co-founder of the Women's and Gender Studies program at Augustana.
This award is given each year to a senior WGSS major or minor who reflects the qualities and values that WGSS has embodied since its inception: the cultivation of a strong personal "voice"; active participation in the WGSS community; excellent academics and scholarly potential; and a commitment to linking personal choices with social responsibility.
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Senior Award
The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program has awarded the WGSS Outstanding Senior Award to Alison Lawrence and Briana Kunstman.
Lawrence is a senior from Roscoe, Illinois, majoring in biology and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
Kunstman is a senior from Saint Charles, Illinois, majoring in psychology and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
First-Year Major Declaration Scholarship Award
This Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies $500 scholarship is for first-year students who have taken at least one WGSS course this academic year, or have declared a WGSS major or minor, or intend to do so.
This year's winner is Maya Page, a public health and women, gender, and sexuality studies major from Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Known for sparking passionate curiosity, Augustana College is an empowering home to explore over 90 areas of study. Augustana's innovative program, Augie Choice, transforms students into global citizens, thinkers, and doers with a $2,000 grant to explore the world, complete an internship, or conduct research with a professor. Augustana students achieve a balance inside and outside of the classroom; ranking top ten in all divisions for Academic All Americans. Transformed to be different, current students and alumni include health-care heroes, Nobel Prize-winners, CEOs, college presidents, and leaders across all continents. The college enrolls 2,500 curious changemakers who get energized by four years as part of a community that reflects the diversity of the United States.