Women and Gender Studies Concentration

Combining research, teaching, and activism focusing on the intersections among gender, sexuality, race and class.

Kristian Spencer

Kristian Spencer

How did you decide on the MAIS with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies program?  

In my undergraduate tenure I was a triple major in Theatre, Women’s Studies and Communication Studies with minors in History and Political Science so when I was searching for a Master’s program I wanted to find one where I can integrate my many interests together. My Women’s Studies major at Randolph-Macon College was also an interdisciplinary program and I was able to be exposed to classes in many different departments such as film, sociology, religious studies, communications, and history. The MAIS with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies (WGST) given me the freedom to cater the content in such a way where I can continue to explore other disciplines while also focus on analyzing material through a feminist analytical lens. 

What have you learned that has really surprised you? 

I have developed and defined more of my research interests. It was difficult for me to translate my research into words and writing. I definitely feel that I have broken away from the feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’ since I first started the program. 

Tell us about your dream job. 

My dream job is to be a professor in communication studies and women’s studies. After I complete my master’s degree, I plan on obtaining my PhD in political communication. 

How have courses in Women and Gender Studies helped further your plans? 

Women and Gender Studies' courses have given me the tools and vocabulary that I need in order to be a feminist scholar. Feminist Theory with Dr. Rachel Lewis helped expose me to the foundational tools of feminist scholarship and Feminist Research Methods with Dr. Angela Hattery has allowed me to learn how to apply theory into practice. 

Please share any internships, jobs, or volunteer experiences that you have taken part in? 

I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people in the Women and Gender Studies department. My love of theatre and acting continued with staged readings of plays by MAIS graduate Carol Campbell. The performance of The Lesbian Wannabe and Cat Café expanded my experience in theatre beyond traditional and conveyed the power of feminist performance. 

Please share any accomplishments or opportunities that you are proud of.  

One accomplishment that I am proud of is my first publication during my time as a MAIS-WGST student. It is a book chapter in an edited collection on the future of women in the political arena. Although the book has been delayed to a Fall 2018 release, I was able to use the knowledge from my Women and Gender studies classes to put together work that is worthy enough for publication.  

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you. 

I have been commuting from Richmond, Virginia to take classes at George Mason University. The two-hour commute shows my commitment and love for the program. 

Tell us about your current research project/thesis. 

Currently, I am working on my thesis proposal, with a projected start of Summer 2018. I want to explore the different media coverage, if any, that female political candidates endure during their campaign and how that could vary due to their political affiliation (Republican or Democrat) and possibly prove the continued prevalence of sexist stereotypes. I am going to be utilizing real-time coverage and data collection during the 2018 midterm elections by analyzing different media channels (news coverage, social media, and political cartoons) and also examining self-presented imagery put out by the candidate or their campaign (political advertisements, political websites, and public appearances/speeches).  

What are you looking forward to after you graduate? 

I am looking forward to continuing to grow as a person and researcher after I graduate and hopefully continue the personal and professional connections that I have made in the program.  

You can reach out to Kristian by email: kspenc18@gmu.edu .