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Why Consider Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies?

Class registration is in full swing. For those who have their majors declared, this is an exciting time. But for those students who are still undecided, class registration can be stressful!  Whether or not your mind is made up or not, you should consider enrolling in a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) class next semester. 

If you don’t have any experience in WGSS it can be intimidating enrolling yourself in them. So, I asked Dana Colarocco what tips she has for students looking to take a WGSS course. Dana is a junior WGSS and Political Science student and she is also the Co-President of WGSS honor society, Iota Iota Iota. 

What has been your favorite WGSS class at AU this far?

“Feminist theory with Tanja Aho. It showed me how to expand my thinking and consider perspectives outside of Western understandings of knowledge. It was intense but worth every minute of work, she is understanding yet pushes you, and you will leave the class with a greater perspective of various feminist traditions.”

Are there any WGSS Professors you would suggest taking a course with? 

“Tanja Aho is a genius. but also incredibly understanding and accommodating. She pushes students to think critically and work hard, in a way that is not overwhelming but empowering.”

Why would you encourage someone to take a WGSS course?

“They are different than any other course at AU. It’s an environment of people who all want to understand the world and others’ lived experiences. The classes themselves will change your perspective and make you challenge your own beliefs in a constructive way.”

Dana also suggests that, if you can, you should take WGSS 400: Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Theory; however, WGSS 400 requires some pre-requisites. Here is the entire list of approved courses published by the WGSS Department at AU for the Spring 2020 semester. WGSS is a very interdisciplinary department, so you may be taking WGSS courses without even knowing it. This semester, consider trying something new and sign up for a WGSS approved course!

Additionally, if you don’t have time in your schedule to take a WGSS course, you should check out events by Iota Iota Iota! Iota Iota Iota hosts events that provide an accessible medium for anyone and everyone at American University to learn about and discuss feminist issues outside of the classroom. This upcoming Tuesday, November 19th at 6:00 PM in the Batelle Atrium, they are hosting an event called Be Thankful for your Body! At this event, several art mediums will be provided for you to create self-portraits while reflecting on and giving thanks to our bodies. Dr. Sarah Marsh, the current director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department will be leading a discussion at the event as well. 


If you want to get further involved in Iota Iota Iota, you can apply to be a member next semester. To be an introductory member, you must have (and maintain) a minimum GPA of 3.0 and have completed 3 credits in WGSS. To be a full member, you must have (and maintain) a minimum GPA of 3.0 and either have declared WGSS as a major or minor or have completed 9 credits in WGSS. For more information, email Iota Iota Iota at [email protected]

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

Abby Henry, the President of Her Campus at American, uses she/her pronouns. She is a junior at American University studying Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Sociology. Her hometown is Canton, Ohio and she previously attended Syracuse University in New York. Her passions include but are not limited to transnational feminism, vegan chicken nuggets, and queer reproductive justice.
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