What I’ve Learned So Far – GT1000 Guest Post #5

October 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

This semester, the GT Women’s Resource Center is teaching a section of GT 1000, Georgia Tech’s freshman seminar class. As part of our class, we are having each of our students contribute a blog post. The following post is the fifth one discussing what one student has learned in GT1000 so far this semester.

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The semester is half-way through. I learned a lot in GT100-WRC class. We identified the differences between high school and college life. The LASSI test and reading assignments were designed to help us improve our study strategy so that we can better adapt to new college life. The advice I got from the class was really useful. For example, I begin to do a lot of time management. Also, I try to get involved in all kinds of activities.

All the information that was presented in the class is really useful too. I made a reservation at Communication Center and had professional staff revise my English paper and the result turned out to be excellent. I could have never known this resource without GT1000. I recently had a meeting with my career counselor and I am on my way exploring my career path. I could have never thought about starting this early without all the suggestions GT1000 provided to me. In addition, the resume project is extremely useful. Now I have a basic idea about what a resume is and what companies are expecting from my resume. Skills and tactics about writing a resume are also very useful. Thanks to this class, I had my first resume in my life.

One of the highlight of the class is the gender study. I really enjoy learning what opportunities we have for women here at GT. Studying in a college where male population is dominating could be intimidating. However, I learned to live in this campus feeling comfortable about the ratio through GT1000. Now I am really looking forward to the Women In Academia Project. I hope I can find connections through this project and learn more about women in academia.

– Jing Y.

Marital Name Change

October 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

I recently stumbled across an article that caught my attention. It was called Should Women Change Their Name After Marriage? Consider the Greek Way. For many years I have met and heard of many women who have decided to change their last name and also those who have decided to keep their maiden name.  The article brings to light that many people take different sides to this argument.

Many women find that keeping their last name is better than changing it. After reading the article mentioned above, I looked for an article about women changing their last names. This past July the Huffington Post released an article that had eight women discussing why they decided to keep their last name. I find each of the women’s responses and reasons very interesting. One woman decided that as she looked at herself in the mirror and said the new name. She also practiced saying it like she was introducing herself at work. In the end she decided that she didn’t know that person. It was interesting to read that many of the women kept their maiden name because of identity. They didn’t want their identities to be lost. One woman stated that changing your last name was an “identity eraser.” If friends from high school tried to look you up after the name change they wouldn’t be able to find you.

These women made excellent points. I believe that my identity would change. When I get married I plan to change my last name to my husband’s. But for me, I believe that after marriage I would be a different person. I wouldn’t just be Erika. I would be connected to someone else. I would be making a new life and I think that it would affect both my personal and professional life. That’s why for me I would change my last name.

Speaking of professional, a few of the women didn’t change their last name because of professional reasons. Many of them had decided to keep their name because they had built up their name and didn’t want to start over with a new name. This makes complete sense. If I get to the point where my career is partially dependent on my name I would probably reconsider changing my name. For me at this point in time, I would change my last name but circumstances could change where I reconsider.

In the article Should Women Change Their Name After Marriage? Consider the Greek Way the author discusses how women in our country and other countries have the dilemma of choosing to keep their last name or to change it.  She tells of how maybe we should look at how the Greeks do it. It explains how in 1983 Greece enacted a law that all women had to keep their maiden name. To this I say that we shouldn’t consider the Greek way. I believe that whether you change your name or not is your choice. To have the government say whether or not you can choose your last name is not the way to go. Whether a woman decides to change her last name, in my opinion, is based on her individualistic views of the situation. She may or may not decide to discuss with her future partner if she should make the change but in the end it is up to them.

As I began writing this blog, I asked one of my friends if she was going to change her name when she got married. She said that she is going to hyphenate her name because she likes her last name and she believes that her future partner’s last name is a gift. She told me that she believe that it is like he is saying I am giving you everything, right down to my name. I really liked how she put it. However what I like the most is that we have the option. If we want to keep our maiden name, hyphenate it, or change it altogether, it is our right to do so. I just don’t think the Greek is the way to go. I like having the choice.

Erika

Links to the above mentioned blogs:

Should Women Change Their Name After Marriage? Consider the Greek Way

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/06/women-change-name-after-marriage-greece

Last Name Change: 8 Women Reveal Why They Kept Their Surnames After Marriage

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/09/last-name-change_n_3563519.html

An Open Letter to Campus in Response to the Phi Kappa Tau Email

October 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

VOICE Initiative

For more about Georgia Tech’s sexual violence and advocacy initiative, visit voice.gatech.edu.

Dear Georgia Tech Students, Faculty and Staff,

Earlier this week, an email written by a Georgia Tech fraternity member to his chapter was widely circulated throughout our community and picked up by various news sources. The email directly encourages the use of alcohol as a coercive tool for nonconsensual sexual activity. The email and behavior described within it is reprehensible. At Georgia Tech, we define consent as an agreement that is informed, freely and actively given, and not coerced in any way. This email attempts to advance a rape culture that normalizes and even encourages sexual violence on college campuses and in society at large.

While this email came from a member of a fraternity, the issue of sexual violence is not limited to the Greek community. We take a wider community approach that advocates everyone has a role to play in sexual violence prevention. We applaud the courage of those who came forward to the administration about this email and recognize their actions as a step in challenging this inexcusable behavior.

Georgia Tech takes this issue seriously. VOICE is Georgia Tech’s sexual violence prevention and advocacy initiative that strives to create a campus culture that encourages respect, communication, and equity. VOICE believes that everyone has the right to live and learn free of violence or the threat of violence. This initiative is led by the Women’s Resource Center and Health Promotion, and is comprised of multiple campus stakeholders.

VOICE has a number of ongoing programs and events targeted at sexual violence prevention. A few upcoming programs are:

  • Safe Sister, TONIGHT, 5–9 p.m.
  • Ally Training, Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m – noon
  • Fraternity Men Against Violence (part of Man Up Week), Nov. 13, 5–9 p.m.
  • Advocate Training, Nov. 22, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Ongoing presentations to classes or student organizations by request.

These are just a few of the ways we engage students, faculty and staff on this issue. For information and to register for these and other programs, please visit voice.gatech.edu. We recognize that this student’s email has made many in our community feel unsafe, victimized, or “triggered.” VOICE will be holding open office hours on Thursday from 2:30–5 p.m. and Friday from 1–4 p.m. in the Women’s Resource Center (Suite 131, Smithgall Student Services Building) for those in need of support or advocacy. Throughout the year, an Advocate is available in the Women’s Resource Center Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. by appointment, and for emergency after hours through the Georgia Tech Police Department.

For more information on sexual violence resources on campus and in the community, or to get involved, please visit voice.gatech.edu or email voice@gatech.edu.

Please join us as we work to create a campus culture that does not tolerate sexual violence.

On behalf of the VOICE Initiative:
Melanie DeMaeyer, Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center
Lee Helmken, Violence Prevention Health Educator
Vladimir Oge, Director of Health Promotion
Colleen Riggle, Assistant Dean and Director of the Women’s Resource Center

Laverne Cox Opens the Eyes of Viewers

October 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

The cast of Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black is the Netflix original that has captivated and educated viewers with the diverse cast of characters in a women’s prison in New York. Laverne Cox’s character, Sophia, is a transgendered, black woman who was sent to prison due to credit card fraud. She struggles with the guilt of letter her son and wife down, leaving the life of being a fireman behind, and with not being supplied the proper dosage of hormones that she needs.

Sharing on her own transformation, Cox exudes confidence in finding herself and “through all things- the difficulties and what it means to be who I am, I love myself…and I am so grateful to live authentically now”.

What made Cox want to take the role? “When it came along, I thought, what a wonderful opportunity to talk about and highlight issues of trans women in prison. Certainly, Sophia has been one of the most complicated characters I’ve gotten to play as an actress, and I’m really grateful she’s come into my life”. Also, Cox speaks of some of the misconceptions of transgendered individuals. “When folks want to write a trans character, the first thing they think of is sex work”.

How is Cox’s role a stepping stone in the right direction and what is it like acting while black and transgender?  “It’s hard. The issue of not just being trans, but also being a woman, and it’s being black. And the industry historically doesn’t think that we are marketable, or they want to cast us in very limited ways. But I think that the wonderful lessons that Orange is the New Black is teaching us is that it shows our industry that you can cast women of different races, you can cast different ages and body types, and folks will tune in and be interested. And the public is craving that”.

Many have commented that Sophia’s role have liberated their misconceptions about trans people.  However, Sophia remains humble in an interview by thanking other transgender women who have make it possible for her to be where she is today.

In an interview by Huffington Post Live, Cox stated that although she has had many very supportive people of color, mostly those that harass her on the streets are of color. There is still yet a long road to travel to thwart the misconceptions and discrimination of transgendered individuals.

– Brandi S.

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/07/209843353/orange-is-the-new-black-actress-calls-role-complicated

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU-d_RvIvIQ

Women in India – GT1000 Guest Post #4

October 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

This semester, the GT Women’s Resource Center is teaching a section of GT 1000, Georgia Tech’s freshman seminar class. As part of our class, we are having each of our students contribute a blog post. The following post is the fourth one and discusses one student’s perception of the differences in cultures and women around the world.

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For anyone who has been to India, the gender contrast is staggering and to a very large extent surprising. The difference I experienced when I came here was expected, but nonetheless striking. Incidentally I also applied for a class at Tech and in many ways it brings out the contrast between the culture differences here and back in India.

According to me, the difference in the mindset of people is the most important difference at different places of world. At some places like Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to show even their face and cannot go out without wearing a “burkha”, while in Europe and United States, people are not really concerned about the attire of women. India, however, takes a moderate view upon it. Indian culture, especially in North India, doesn’t allow women, and in some parts even young girls to wear what are called “western clothes”. This is related to freedom, because any such restrictions are not enforced upon men in India.

The restrictions are placed not only on the attire, but almost everything in general – In most of the places women are not expected to drive, work for a company rather work back at home. Anything different is seen with a sort of a slight contempt, and this has led to the creation of a male-dominated society, where women have almost no rights and lots of duties. This was evident in the earlier (some still prevalent) practices in the society of “Sati” (Killing of a women after her husband’s death), “Purdah” (requiring women to cover their bodies so as to conceal their skin and form), Polygamy, etc.  Although these practices have been mostly abolished, women are now being troubled in different ways by actions of domestic and sexual violence, acid throwing, and the rampant dowry system. The earlier culture has been the main reason why the women are so restricted there, and most of the elderly people still find it difficult to adjust with the ever changing world. My grandfather still finds the idea of a co-ed school/college not enterprising, because that is his mindset. This explains why the practices that were prevalent earlier but the new ones are still unacceptable.

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the Indian culture sitting elsewhere, it being so different from other places. However, all is not lost as people of a newer generation have accepted the need for change. The need for women empowerment has been seen and women are being offered new freedom as never before. Most of the restrictions are being taken down and they are being seen in novel places. The change has begun, but it remains to be seen that if people just leave the negativities of their culture or their culture as a whole.

– Uddhav B.

Encouraging Girls to Pursue STEM Fields

October 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

For as long as I can remember, my parents always encouraged me to pursue any degree that I wanted. At home, I always had the support that I needed to keep me interested in engineering–which I knew is what I wanted to study in college. The one thing that could have possibly stopped me from following my dream however, was the little encouragement that I received in school. Because of the strong support that I had at home, joining robotics clubs or coding clubs where I was the only girl was never a big issue for me. For my other friends however, it was. I remember taking engineering courses in high school while my best friends were in Early Childhood and Development courses, or joining clubs like the Academic Team while others were in dance. Don’t get me wrong, the Academic Team or engineering courses were just as great as theater and education courses! My only problem was that they weren’t advertised to girls as they were to guys! The only reason why I was still interested in engineering throughout high school was because I stuck through it despite knowing that it was a male dominated field.

According to a recent article on Womens enews, women only take up about 20 percent of bachelor degrees and only about twenty five percent of jobs in STEM fields. This is due in part to girls’ interest in these subjects being “squashed” after middle school. The author, Justina Nixon- Saintil, goes on to suggest that this situation can be reversed with the help of technology.

With constant discoveries and innovations in technology happening every day, it becomes easier for younger generations to get more involved in mobile technology use. Doing so will also encourage young girls to stay interested in STEM by the time they reach college. Verizon developed an “App Challenge” to encourage just that. In this challenge, boys and girls were encouraged to design their own apps for mobile devices. Studies of the challenge showed that over half of the winners of the challenge were girls. These girls came up with apps that could do a variety of things from helping with time management skills to improving study skills.

Providing opportunities such as the App Challenge  encourages girls to stay interested in STEM subjects–enough to have them want to pursue careers in STEM fields. It does away with the intimidation that some girls may feel about the science, technology, engineering and math fields and empowers women to keep striving for these careers despite what the social norm portrays. By having these technology based teaching methods and challenges, not only are we encouraging girls to join STEM fields, but we are also encouraging those girls that have already decided to do so to continue on their track to have a career in these subjects. Had these types of opportunities been presented throughout my grade school career, I am sure that more girls would have been more open to joining these courses. Essentially, more and more women will be making a difference in these fields.

– Jennifer C.

The Importance of Time Management – GT1000 Guest Post #3

October 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

This semester, the GT Women’s Resource Center is teaching a section of GT 1000, Georgia Tech’s freshman seminar class. As part of our class, we are having each of our students contribute a blog post. The following post is the third post surrounding time management.

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Time management is critical in college. It is important for getting all your homework done, arriving to class on time, but most importantly it is important in getting enough sleep. Many college students do not receive a good night’s sleep. Often, students go many days in a row with only a few hours of sleep. Sleep is a vital aspect of doing well in school. Getting enough sleep is not just important for your health, but it will also make you become a better student.

Sleep helps improve energy, focus, motivation, memory, and one’s overall health. All of these factors are beneficial to being a good student. It is proven, that most people age 18-20 need almost ten hours of sleep a night to stay fully rested. I can assure you that not many people here at Georgia Tech are getting ten hours of sleep a night. But why is there no time to sleep? Lack of time management! Students put off their homework or studying for their tests til the last minute. As a result, they are required to stay up into the late hours of the night in order to complete all of their assignments. Sleep is usually the first thing that students relinquish in dire situations. Yet, if one’s time is managed better, there will be more time to sleep.

Instead of waiting to the last minute to write that lab report, or study for that calculus test the next day, one should split up their studying into smaller chunks throughout the week prior to when the assignment is due. This will make more time available for sleep. Also, students should turn off the Xbox, computers, cell phones, and other distracting electronics at night and get some rest. No one likes waking up feeling tired and terrible. Smart study habits will help open up more free time during the day, and will allow for more activities and time for leisure.

It is not always easy to find time for sleep, especially during the first few months of college, but it is necessary that sleep not be discarded. Sleep will help you become a better student. An extra hour of sleep will help you feel more rested, awake, and focused the next day for an exam. Don’t spend your time staying up all night trying to cram. Learn what is important and then get some rest. Sleep will help your memory work at a faster rate.  Make an extra effort to try and get some extra shuteye. It may not always be easy, but your body, mind, and grade will improve if you do.

– Christopher H.

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