Gary Strain '16GS on Bread & Roses

March 16, 2016

Gary Strain

Gary filled us in on the Women's and Gender Studies Department — and the Bread & Roses event!

What program are you in at Simmons?

I’m getting my MA in gender/cultural studies!

What's your favorite thing about your program?

The professors I’ve been able to work with. My program is filled with folks who have a breadth of knowledge in a wide range of fields who are always willing to share their expertise. I know I've grown as a scholar simply through my exposure to the faculty and their varied disciplines.

What's the best thing about the Women's & Gender Studies Department?

The commitment to intersectionality and interdisciplinary study. As a field of study, women’s and gender studies supports the application of feminist thought to our everyday lives in transformative ways and encourages students to look past their own experiences and interrogate systems of power — reminding us that we do not live our lives from a single axis of identity.

What's your favorite class you've taken so far? Why?

That’s a tough choice! I’d have to say Race, Culture, Identity and Achievement with Dr. Theresa Perry. This class provided me with the tools to provide marginalized students with a counter-narrative about their potential and gave me the opportunity to work with Dr. Perry, a powerhouse in her field and an educator who is deeply dedicated to the success of her students.

Tell us about the Bread & Roses event.

Bread & Roses is an annual event put on by the Women's and Gender Studies Department that showcases undergraduate research and activism. The event begins with dinner before moving on to undergraduate student presentations on a range of topics. Bread & Roses is about celebrating the various kinds of work our students engage in to produce a more just community and world through intersectional thought and action. 

In addition to our selection of undergraduate speakers, we will also be featuring a photo exhibition by undergraduate student Oliver Pover and a zine collection curated by Simmons librarian/resident zine specialist, Dawn Stahura. 

What topics will the event focus on?

We're excited to feature student presentations on topics such as activism for transgender anti-discrimination legislation, empowerment of young girls and women through self-defense workshops and the psychological effects of misgendering. We’re also excited to have alumna Becca Santos — creator of the femme fashion blog FEMMEVIOLET — talk about her experiences post-Simmons.

What's your Simmons Moment?

Participating in the silent protest for the list of 10 Demands drafted by students of color at Simmons. Being a part of that moment and seeing the coalition building on the part of students was a powerful experience. I’m also so happy to see the momentum students have maintained in moving the Simmons administration to the level of inclusion and support students of color require.