Connect Theory to Practice

Gender Studies students present policy recommendations to empower women in Erie County

Dr. Karen King and student presenters at the Buffalo History Museum.

Dr. Karen King of Erie County introduces the student presenters at the Buffalo History Museum (Left to right: Isabell Van Patten, Georgeann Kenney, Claudia Buligai, Ebehitale Imobhio, Karen King (standing), Jessica Mason, Tora Rodriguez)

After a semester of connecting theory to practice, GGS students presented recommendations to Erie County policy makers at the Buffalo History Museum.

This fall was the pilot program of a new Women’s Studies Internship Course, an experiential learning program developed by the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies and Dr. Karen King, Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women. Gender studies students engaged in studying economic trends, analyzing public policy, and conducting research and qualitative interviews. As a final assignment, students wrote policy briefs focused on women’s economic empowerment in Erie Country. The program culminated with a celebration and networking event at the Buffalo History Museum where students presented their ideas to Erie County legislators, community activists, and government officials.

The projects addressed a variety of vital issues such as the economic challenges faced by transgender women and women working in the service industry, and the gig economy. Ebehitale Imobhio's research focused on the challenges faced by home health care workers. In total, the students developed nine policy briefs that were published by Erie County and can be made available upon request. 

In spring 2020, there will be a second cohort of interns working with the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women. The program is open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students across all majors at UB. It is a great opportunity for interdisciplinary work with a focus on gender studies. Please contact us with any questions or recommendations of other potential collaborators focused on advancing gender policies in Western New York. 

Gender Matters Podcast

Listen to a podcast interview about the creation of this internship program.