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Recent Honors Theses

Writing an honors thesis gives highly motivated Women's and Gender Studies and Gender and Health majors the unique opportunity to work closely with Women’s and Gender Studies faculty to investigate a particular intellectual question through feminist, interdisciplinary scholarship. Below are the titles of recently written theses. The first Gender & Health honors class graduated in 2018.

Students can visit the Women's and Gender Studies Reading Room in 1122 Lane Hall to review hard copies of recent honors theses. 

Undergraduate Honors Theses by Year


Isabelle Fisher 
The Impact of Provider’s Gender and Race on Conception of Pain during Childbirth and Doctor-Patient Relationship
(Gender & Health Major)
First Reader: Tim Johnson | Second Reader: Diana Louis

Katherine Wiatrak 
“Zooming In”: An Examination of Mental Health and Self-Objectification Among Young Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic
(Gender & Health Major)
First Reader: Elizabeth Cole | Second Reader: L. Monique Ward

Charanya Rengarajan
Assessing the Success Rates of Trial of Labor After Cesarean in White and BIPOC Mothers
(Gender & Health Major)
First Reader: Joanne Bailey | Second Reader: Ava Purkiss

Carina Tedesco
Balancing Stress with Support: An Investigation of Pre Versus Post Covid-Era Birth Experiences
(Gender & Health Major)
First Reader: Cynthia Gabriel | Second Reader: Lee Roosevelt

Clarisa Moreno-Middleberg
Early Mobilization of Zapatista Women: Gender Equity, Dignity, and Revolutionary Tactics
(Women’s & Gender Studies Major)
First reader: David Tamayo | Second Reader: Andrea Bolivar

Natalie Rosenblatt 
When Identities Intersect: An Analysis of the Secular Jewish Experience of Coming Out    (Women’s & Gender Studies Major)
First Reader: Ruth Tsoffar | Second Reader: Elizabeth Cole

Ceciel Zhong
Playing Romance: An Exploration of Fantasy, Agency, and Imagination through Otome Games.
(Women’s & Gender Studies Major)
First Reader: Allison Alexy | Second Reader: Yvette Granata

Nadia Shebli
“When’s the Tolbeh?!” Negotiating Arab-Muslim American Identity Through Heterosexual Relationship-Making Culture in Dearborn, Michigan
(Women’s & Gender Studies Major)
First Reader: Charlotte Karem-Albrecht | Second Reader: Allison Alexy




Margaret Greer

Fear From Gay to Z: A Study of U.S. Gay Sex Panics in the Context of Epidemics, Moral Contagion, and Zombies


Cheyanne Killin:

“I Don’t Think They Can Help Me”: Exposing Abuse in Patient-Provider Interactions for Women with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Informing a Framework for Change


Tessa Magsoudi:

Bathing in Blood: An Analysis of the Maternal Body, Nonreproduction, and the Abject in Art 


Mariel Manzor:

Expecting during the Unexpected: The Emotional Experiences of Pregnant Women during the COVID-19 Pandemic


Quinn Riley:

Fleabag Feminism: Looking at Gaze Theory through Television’s Liberated 21st Century Female 


Gillian Rubenstein:

Empowering Biological Reproductive Decision-Making for Transgender Men: Evaluating the Impact of Exogenous Testosterone on Extraovarian Structures Using a Transgender Mouse Model 


Sydney Leigh Smith:

Gendered Patterns in Public Displays of State-Perpetrated Sexual Violence: A Rwandan Case Study 


Marisa Wright:

“The Pink Wave” in 2018: Democratic Women Candidates’ Motivations to Run for Congress and the Future of Women’s Political Representation 



More information about 2020 Honors Theses, including student video presentations, is available on the 2020 Digital Honors Symposium website.


Shaima Abdullah
"We're here for you. Always": Women of Color Navigating the University Through Friendships
(Advisor: Stephanie Hicks)


Sommer Albert
Mad Girl's Love Song: A Heuristic Inquiry into Queer Women's Experiences of Having a Crush
(Advisor: Allison Alexy; Second Reader: Jennifer Jones)


Logan Burley
Facial Gender Ambiguity
(Advisors: Victor Mendoza and Susan Gelman)


Sydney Moore
Opening the Letter: Lavender Woman and Writing Lesbian Identity
(Advisor: Dean Hubbs; Second Reader: Ruth Tsoffar)


Madeline Parks
Growling Bellies, Silent Mothers: Women's Childbirth Experiences as Impacted by Varying Oral Intake Policies
(Advisor: Cynthia Gabriel; Second Reader: Joanne Bailey)


Kia Schwert
"as violated by the school as by my rapist": Sexual Violence, Title IX and Purity Culture on Religious College Campuses
(Advisor: Karin Martin; Second Reader: Leela Fernandes)


Grace Slifkin
Taking Sides on Title IX: How Universities Respond to Changing Campus Sexual Misconduct Policies in the DeVos Era
(Advisor: Sandra Levitsky; Second Reader: Abby Stewart)



Mari Alvarez
TRANSforming Healthcare: An Examination of Cisnormativity in Patient Provider Interactions
(Advisors: Andrea Bolivar and Rosario Ceballo)

Kate Austin
Riot Grrrl: Zines and the Exploration of Third-Wave Feminist Thought
(Advisor: Petra Kuppers)

Kalei Glozier
The Influence of Outness: Social and Sexual Experiences of Gay Men at the University of Michigan
(Advisor: Elizabeth Armstrong)

Allie Mangus
Appropriate Punishments for Perpetrators of Sexual Assault
(Advisor: Abigail Stewart)

Carly Marten
ኤፍ ጂ ኤም (“ef ji em”): A Case Study of Circumcision Narratives of Women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(Advisors: Timothy R. B. Johnson and Savithry Namboodiripad)

Vidhya Nadarajan
Who was left out?: The sex and gender disparity in pain
(Advisor: Nesha Haniff)

Miloni Shah
What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Cultural Expectations and Career Choices of South Asian American College-Aged Women
(Advisor: Donna Nagata)

Hanna Simmons
Novel Influences on National HPV Vaccination Programs: State Legitimacy and Political Freedom in Rwanda and Romania
(Advisor: Anna Kirkland)

Shriya Suresh
What do women want in postpartum specialty maternal care? A Case Study
(Advisor: Joanne Bailey)


Alison Alkire, Surviving the Stage: Navigating the Performing Arts as a Survivor of Sexual Violence

Benjamin Bugajski, Masc4masc vs. Masc4mascara: An exploration of queer male students' sexual and gender identity construction at the University of Michigan

Diana Curtis, Feminizing Fear: Investigating the Intersections of Paranoia, Empathy, and Sex

Sabrina Deutsch, On Home and Health: Mapping Perceptions of Health through Toni Morrison's Literary Works

Kayla Kingston, A Fighting Chance: Protest Letters as Resistance to Eugenic Sterilization in Mid-Twentieth-Century California

Sara Lebow, Fiery Girlhood: Revising Progressive Era History Through Children's Literature

Deirdre McGovern, "This is Sex. This is Why This is Important": Cisgender Women's Advice About Sex

Mel Neal, Gendered Spaces at the University of Michigan at the Dawn of Coeducation

G Ryan, Is Everyone Queer Now?: A Lingustic Investigation into the Reclamation of the Word Queer


Kiri Alvarado, Listening to Medieval Voices: Women, Religion, and Healing in the Paston and Lisle Letters"

E Karin Cadoux, Animating Injury: Trauma Rite as Personal Exhibition and Public Exposition"

Katrina Hamann, Catholic on the Margins: Faith, Ambivalence, and LGBQ Community in a West Michigan Lambda Catholics Group"

Anouk Versavel, Empowerment in Revolutionary Contexts: Women’s Experiences in Poland and Nicaragua"


McKenzie Campbell, Fifty Shades of Agency: The Impact of Fifty Shades of Grey on Sexual Agency in America

Katherine Irani, Violence and Voicelessness: Experiences of Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence on College Campuses

Sophia Kotov, Let's Talk About Non-Monogamy: Self-Labeling, Actual Practice, and What Happens in the Interstices

Ebere Oparaeke, "I'm a black woman, we been doin this!" How black women conceptualize and enact agency in the home birth space


Kaitlyn Diekman, "Suffragist Housekeepers”: Women’s Suffrage and the Art of Persuasion in Ann Arbor, Michigan 1910-1913

Cosette Kathawa, “They Were The Originators, But Whatever”: Doulas of Color and the Reproduction of Inequality in the Natural Birth Movement

Emma Maniere, "Abortion as Solution: A Discursive Study of Debates Surrounding" Reproductive Freedom/Control in Michigan, 1966-1975

Emily Preuss, “Fancy a Little Fun?”: Manifestations of Sexual Negotiation in both Mainstream and Feminist Pornographic Film

Haley Schreier, Communication between Jewish Mothers and Daughters about Romantic Relationships

Margaret Scribner, Navigating the Masculinist State: An Analysis of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994


Hannah Almeter, Reading Text and Image: The Use of Text in Artworks by Carrie Mae Weems and Yong Soon Min

Michael Lourie, Screening the Gay Body: Interpreting Gay Male Pornography through Compartmentalized Desire

Aubree D. Sepler, Baring the Queer Body: Restructuring the Narrative of Queer Female Presentation in Public Social Spaces


Renee Gross, Negotiated Bonds: Analyzing the Mother/Daughter Relationship Through the Lens of Disability

Alex Kulick, How Gay Stayed White: Millennial White Gay Men and the Production of and Resistance to Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism

Amy Navvab, From Fag Hags to Gay Best Friends: Understanding Millennial Straight Women’s Heterosexual Authorship, Allyhood, and Friendships with Gay Men