Research Projects

Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) is held each spring to celebrate the exemplary scholarship and creativity of Willamette University students. Students work directly with faculty members or design and conduct their own research throughout the year.

Featured Projects

Here are a few projects that exemplify the wonderful research students from the Women's and Gender Studies department have done over the years.

Abstract: This thesis examines how queer men talk about their "preferences" and experiences using dating apps such as Tinder or Grindr through seven semi-structured interviews. Participants discussed enforced norms on dating apps, an awareness (or lack thereof) of their racial identity, and their discriminatory desires. White participants were not aware of their white identity when using dating apps, and most of my participants discussed certain body preferences as affecting their desires. These findings demonstrate the necessity of users to acknowledge how sociocultural messages about who is perceived as desirable affect their choice of partner(s) on these apps.

Joshua Bolle (2019)

Abstract: This project examines and provides an understanding of the embodiment and function of the masculine social norms reinforced within hierarchical institutions of considerable power, specifically focusing on historically white, social fraternities in the United States. I strategically utilize the film Goat (2016) as a case study of the reproduction of white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and bodily ownership under the guise of brotherhood. I reveal the panoptic nature of fraternities through disciplinary control techniques to dominate members, including internalized problematization and correction of thoughts and actions via self-surveillance.

Marleigh Williams (2019)

Abstract: Historically, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons developed gay and lesbian districts—or ‘gayborhoods’— that served as the core of LGBTQ community by centralizing in dense, urban neighborhoods. Portland, Oregon’s LGBTQ community developed comparably to other communities without such a district. This project explores how the use of temporary community sites complemented by a few, more permanent sites scattered throughout Portland has provided a replacement for the concentrated gayborhood. In doing so, this research reveals complexities in LGBTQ community organization that may categorize development in future communities.

Daniel Whitney (2016)

Additional Research Projects

These are all the projects the Women's and Gender Studies department has presented at SSRD in the last few years.


  • Tweeting Up A Storm: Effects of Masculinity Through Media on International Relations - Mariam Baig (Thesis)
  • Dysphoric Scrying and Other Ritual Abjections for the TransHexual Transsexual - Illia Forkin (Thesis)
  • Swiping Left on Discriminatory Behavior: Norms, Whiteness and Discrimination on Dating Apps - Joshua Bolle (Thesis)
  • An Implied Threat: Precarious Black Life, Lynching, and Eugenics IN Memoir - Maddie Cleaver (Thesis)
  • Time and Trauma in Memoir - Paige Yeakle (Thesis)
  • Hamburgers and Heroes: What Gendered Media Means to You and Me - Tess Panetta (Thesis)
  • There’s a Comfort in Failure: Paradoxical Potentials of Non-binary Experience(s) - J. Kushinka (Thesis)
  • Your Pain Isn’t Real: A History of Depersonalization in Gynecology - Elizabeth Habicht (Thesis)
  • I’ll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours: The Reproduction and Maintenance of White Supremacy and Toxic Masculinity in White Greek-letter Organizations - Marleigh Williams (Thesis)
  • Non-Cis AFAB Not AFAD - Zahra Erickson (Thesis)
  • Congratulations, It’s a Baby! Making Space in Imagined Futures for Intersex and Non-Binary Realities - Greth Lyon (Thesis)


  • Is there Room for God on the Couch? An Argument for Faith-Competency in Psychotherapy Education - Allison Whitby (Thesis)
  • Enter the KZR: Supreme Mathematics and Hip-Hop - McKelvey Mandigo-Stoba (Learning by Creating)
  • Does it Get Better? Oregon College Experiences from LGBTQ+ Student Perspectives - Alika Masei (Learning by Creating)
  • Blood Brothers: A DIY Indie Album Experience - Katy Ohsiek (Learning by Creating)
  • From Russia with No Love: Making Sense of Russian-USE Relations under Putin - Aleksey Shimberg (Thesis)
  • Why is Putin Popular? What keeps the Russian Federation Believing - Ted Thenell (Thesis)


  • (de)Constructing the ‘Gayborhood’: How LGBTQ Portlanders Imagine Community Outside the Gayborhood - Daniel Whitney (Presidential Scholarship)
  • Lesbians in Japan: Identity, Language, and Community - Rachel Bedolla (Independent Research)
  • Caitlyn Jenner as an Oxymoronic Persona - Hannah Nord (Independent Research)
  • Washed Out: Water Resources, Environmental Racism, and Queer Policing in the Greater Palm Springs, CA Region - Jesse Sanchez (Independent Research)


  • The Problematic Use of Stereotypes in Popular Television - Connor Winnie (Independent Research)
  • Consumer Culture in the U.S. and Japan Seen Through TV Commercials - Kurumi Kohashiguchi (Independent Research)
  • Default Settings: Whiteness in Games - Jennifer Allaway (Independent Research)
  • SKI LIKE A GIRL: Media Constructions of Femininity in Skiing - Shannon Sollitt (Independent Research)
  • Male Body Image and Consumerism in the 21st Century - Jack Schreiber (Independent Research)
  • Women and Tanzanian Nation Building: power and identity in postcolonial marriage laws" - Kellie Standish (Independent Research)
  • The Chilling Truth: Understanding the High Rates of Rape Perpetrated Against Indigenous Women in Alaska - Elizabeth Kubitz (Independent Research)
  • Muteness and Mutilation in Titus Andronicus - Caroline McFarland (Independent Research)
  • Looks Can Kill: Conceptions of Female Agency in Cases of Genocidal and Domestic Violence - Madeline Chadwick (Independent Research)
  • Sexual Violence in Egypt’s 2011 Uprisings: The Military as both Fireman and Arsonist - Amr Noor (Independent Research)
  • “An Ugly Intervention: Ugly and the Women’s Health Movement” - Courtney Neubauer (Independent Research)
  • Our Bodies, Our [Sex] Lives: Sex Education as a Social System - Jordan (Alex) de Man (Independent Research)
  • Sex Wars: A Defense of Feminist Pornography - Samantha Martinez (Independent Research)
  • Building Bridges: The Inclusion of Latino Parents in a College Access Program - Grecia E. Garcia Perez, Thalia Vargas (Independent Research)
  • Property or Problem? Regulating the Captive Black Female Body - Taylor Wells (Independent Research)
  • Black Liberation & Modes of Resistance - Jameka Townsend (Independent Research)
  • "i loved you on purpose": Subversive Homosocialism in Ntozake Shange's "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf" - Elizabeth Smith (Independent Research)
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Women's and Gender Studies

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