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WGSS Students

WGSS students in small group discussions

WGSS iconWomen's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students represent a vast spectrum of gender identities, races, ethnicities, faiths, and socio-economic backgrounds. Together, they  have become an important presence on campus, and they continue to provide strong, feminist leadership.


 I loved [WGSS].  It made me realize how women are treated in this world and it pushed me to strive as a positive force in society.    – WGSS Graduate


Our students were responsible for the creation of two campus organizations:

  • Feminists Unite (follow them on Instagram) and
  • Iota Iota Iota (known as Triota, the WGSS Honor Society, founded in 2003-04).

Our students were also instrumental in establishing the Women's Center, now the Gender Equity Center. And, our department has a blog, where you can read some student work and see some of their experiences—WGSS at CSUSM blog.

WGSS students have been extremely active over the years, dedicating themselves to diverse organizations and programs on campus and in the community, from the LGBTQA Pride and Gender Equity Centers to public schools, social services agencies, and local governments.

The students have received campus leadership awards and made their marks beyond CSUSM, including the following examples (please note that many of the awards occurred before the department was renamed "Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies").

  • Consuelo Martinez, a PSCI and WGSS graduate, was elected to the Escondido City Council in 2018 and now serves as the city's deputy mayor, bringing the knowledge she gained at CSUSM to the city in which she grew up.
  • Graduate Sonia Gutierrez returned to teach in the department in 2017.
  • Cipriano Vargas, while minoring in WMST, served as an ASI vice president and was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the CSU Board of Trustees. In 2016, Cipriano was elected to the Vista Unifed School Board and continues to serve the community in which he was raised.
  • Graduate Kit-Bacon Gressitt returned to teach in the department in 2015.
  • Jennifer Meneray, a WMST and LTWR graduate, received  the Jonathan Poullard All People’s Award for outstanding student activist in 2011-2012.  She was named the ASI Outstanding Junior Award in 2011. And, she went on to earn her MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at George Washington University in D.C.
  • Megan Carlier was recognized on the Cougar Wall of Fame, 2012.
  • Herminia Ramirez, a WMST and SOC major, received the Jonathan Poullard Social Justice Award in 2009. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Dean of Students Leadership Award and was selected by President Haynes for the 2010 Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.
  • WGSS majors have been commencement speakers, including for Spring 2009 graduation.
  • The Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA) received "Best Student Organization" award in 2004-05 and 2007-08.
  • Between 2003-04 and 2007-08 WGSS students won three of the five ASI Cougar Wall of Fame Awards (and others were nominated).
  • Graduate Cecili Chadwick returned to teach in the department in 2007.
  • Since the department's inception in 2006, many WGSS students and faculty have been nominated to the All People's Recognition Ceremony, Multicultural Programs in Student Life and Leadership.
  • Beatriz Barron, double major in WMST and Psychology, earned  the ASI Outstanding Sophomore Award, spring 2006.
  • WGSS majors and minors received 5 of 16 ASI student leadership awards in 2003-04 and 13 significant awards on campus in 2004-05, including 7 of 17 student leadership awards from ASI.
  • Five WGSS majors won the first annual Michael Moore Freedom of Speech Scholarships for the Academic Freedom Forum in September 2004.
  • WSSA and Triota received an award for "Best Collaborative Event" in 2003-04 for Sex Trafficking Week.

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