Awards

Genevieve D. Willis Senior Thesis Award

The Genevieve D. Willis Senior Thesis Award recognizes the best thesis written by an undergraduate at Notre Dame on a topic related to gender and/or sexuality studies, and includes a cash award of $200. This prize is named in honor of Genevieve D. Willis, whose family has provided an endowment for the Gender Studies Program.

The winning submission will be an academic thesis of at least a 25 pages in length that addresses issues pertaining to gender and/or sexuality studies and was completed during the current academic year. The winning thesis will demonstrate advanced, original academic research in this field. Stylistically, the winning thesis will conform to the expectations of academic research and writing at the advanced undergraduate level.

Submissions must be completed before noon on the second Friday in April. (if deadline falls on a holiday, submissions will be due Thursday before deadline)

Students are also encouraged to submit their work for publication in Through Gendered Lenses, the journal of undergraduate research in Gender Studies.

Previous award winners

Submit your work to the thesis award competition

Philip L. Quinn Essay Award

The Philip L. Quinn Essay Award recognizes the best academic essay written by an undergraduate at Notre Dame on a topic related to gender and/or sexuality studies, and includes a cash award of $150. This prize is named in honor of Professor Philip L. Quinn (1940-2004), who taught in the Notre Dame Philosophy Department for many years and was a generous supporter of the Gender Studies Program.

The winning submission will be an academic essay written by an undergraduate for a course taken at the University of Notre Dame or a Gender Studies senior capstone essay. The essay may take the form of a research paper but cannot be a senior thesis. It must address issues pertaining to gender and/or sexuality studies. Gender studies analyzes the significance of gender—and cognate subjects such as sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion, and nation—in all areas of life, especially in the social formation of human identities, practices, and institutions. The winning essay will demonstrate advanced work in this field. It will also have a logical structure, clear language, and a well-supported argument.

Submissions must be completed before noon on the second Friday in April. (if deadline falls on a holiday, submissions will be due Thursday before deadline)

Students are also encouraged to submit their work for publication in Through Gendered Lenses, the journal of undergraduate research in Gender Studies.

Previous award winners

Submit your work to the essay award competition.

The Joan Aldous Praxis Award

This annual award recognizes Gender Studies undergraduate majors or minors whose work in community-engaged service or activism outside the classroom best exemplifies gender-justice praxis. The winner will have a strong record of leadership, activism, and/or service that is clearly grounded in their Gender Studies education. The award includes a prize of $150 and is conferred on a student or group of students each spring at the Gender Studies graduation brunch. Winners are selected by the Gender Studies leadership staff.

Praxis is the integration of learning with social justice that lies at the heart of Gender Studies. It is the synthesis of theory and practice, reflection and action, at the root of transformative social change.

“The University seeks to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice, and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”
(University of Notre Dame Mission Statement)

2019 Recipient Amy Mansfield

 

The 2019 Joan Aldous Praxis Award was given to Amy Mansfield '19, in recognition of her work at the intersections of gender and disability justice as the project manager for the Gender Studies Bathroom Map. Amy's work was central to the successful completion and launch of the map in Spring 2019.

The inaugural award was given in 2018 to Emily Garrett '18 in recognition of her work on issues related to reproductive justice at Notre Dame and beyond.

About Dr. Aldous

Joan Aldous Headshot Square

Joan Aldous (1926-2014) was the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology emerita at the University of Notre Dame. A renowned feminist sociologist, Dr. Aldous was the first woman to hold an endowed professorship at Notre Dame and a key player in establishing the Gender Studies Program in 1988.

Dr. Aldous came to Notre Dame faculty at a time when there were few women on the faculty. From 1976 until her retirement in 2012, she taught, studied, and wrote about family sociology, family policy, gender, work and families, and intergenerational relationships.

In addition to teaching popular and heavily subscribed courses in her field, Aldous was author of more than 50 published articles and was author and editor of several books. Insisting that “you can’t talk about families without talking about gender,” Aldous said, “I was concerned with families from the very beginning, so I automatically became interested and became the first sociologist here concerned with gender.”