The Center for Women & Gender is an academic entity at Utah State University. We strive to create a professional and social climate focused on enhancing opportunities for women and men.
CWG has a strong social justice mission, and all students, faculty, and advocates who are interested in exploring and addressing the challenges of intersectionalities (gender and ethnicity; gender and culture; gender and religion, etc.) will find an intellectual home with us.
We host nationally and internationally renown speakers to educate the public and facilitate a broader conversation about gender, culture and bias.
We help finance faculty research on campus to provide up-to-date information for and about the intersectionalities in our culture, society and our world. We assist single mothers who are in school to be able to finish their schooling and prepare to provide a better future for their children.
We recognize the women and men creating an atmosphere of openness and going beyond the boundaries placed on them by our society and our culture each year.
We at the CWG don’t shy around the awkward or tough, we face it head on.
Ann Austin - Director
I always wanted to be a UNICEF pediatrician, traveling into the most desperate parts of the globe to bring medical care to little children. I filled many of my pre-med requirements during my undergraduate years, but ended up majoring in Elementary education/early childhood development because I felt that in order to be a good UNICEF doctor I needed to know the totality of a child’s life of which schooling was an integral part. I graduated with my BS, taught elementary school for two years, had a private music studio for two more years, and then decided it was time to go to medical school. Problem was, I was so interested in children’s education and development that I really didn’t want to go to medical school; I wanted to get my PhD in child development instead. This was the most difficult decision of my life as I have a passion for medicine and biology that is still active. I went to Iowa State University, received my Ph.D., was hired by USU 34 years ago, and began what has become glorious years beyond belief. I am doing what I have always wanted to do, and I am very fortunate. Oh sure, I entertained thoughts of being a professional ski jumper, but when my father told me (circa 1966) that women couldn’t compete officially in ski jumping, I became more realistic. Growing up in the era that I did and within the culture that I did, I was frustrated by the constraints automatically put on me, simply because of my gender. I believe that many professional women have had similarly harsh experiences along their path. I hope that my involvement in the Center will make life easier for the women of Utah and for all Utahans who feel constrained because of gender stereotypes. I am especially troubled by recent statistics indicating that Utah is the worst place in the US for women. Although some have argued that the statistical interpretation is intentionally biased, I must reluctantly say, having grown up in Utah and Southern Idaho, that I feel it is accurate. I am involved with the Center because I want to do all that I can to make the state climate more positive for women.
Reni McBride - Staff Assistant
I have always believed in equality for all humans - not to be judged or judge by any means of the stereotypical human ways. I believe that the Center for Women and Gender tries to uphold those well-rounded thoughts, beliefs and processes each day. I am very humbled to hold the position I have in the Center and to work with the people that make this Center an ever moving and evolving change to the thoughts, rights and beliefs of humans, no matter who, what, when, why or how they live. Reni grew up dreaming about becoming either a teacher or a pilot. Today, she continues to dream about teaching — whilst traveling around the globe.
Stephanie Bagnell - Program Coordinator
I have always wanted to work with women who have suffered from abuse. As part of my Social Work schooling I had the opportunity of being placed within a domestic violence shelter. I discovered that it was too hard for me to work in a shelter being a survivor of domestic violence myself. My internship supervisor placed me at the Weber State Womens Center so I could still work with my desired population. I immediately fell in love with the work there and the women who entered on a daily basis. I knew that standing up for equal rights and planning events surrounding different issues was something I was passionate about and enjoyed. Stephanie grew up dreaming about becoming a roaming photographer or Supreme Court Justice.
Michelle Hixson- Program Coordinator Women's Leadership Initiative
The Women’s Leadership Initiative program coordinator position was posted just a few weeks after my family had moved to Logan from Wisconsin for my husband’s administrative position at USU. The opportunity to be part of a team to develop a program for the purpose of fostering empowerment, self-efficacy and career confidence for undergraduate women, connected well to my work experience in human resources management and education. When entering the Center for Women & Gender, visitors are greeted by a poster with the most recent statistics about Utah being the worst place in the US for women. This is daily motivation to ensure that the Women’s Leadership Initiative is a tool for help make internal and external changes that may alter these statistics in the future. As a child, I dreamed of being a teacher and an actress. Although I chose to pursue a business degree, all through my work experiences, and in my free time, I enjoyed opportunities to do both. In fact, after the 2007 economic downturn, I earned my teaching license and Master's Degree and taught business education in middle and high school. Keep stoking your childhood dreams and always be looking for ways to fulfil them.