Undergraduate Awards


IRWGS honors undergraduates with two annual prizes recognizing outstanding intellectual achievement.  The Queer Studies award, inaugurated in 1994, honors an undergraduate for excellence in research and writing in Queer Studies.  The Women’s and Gender Studies award, inaugurated in [insert DATE], honors an undergraduate for excellence in research and writing in the fields of women and gender studies.

In keeping with the open spirit of investigation that characterizes Queer Studies and also Women’s and Gender Studies, the committee sets no topical, ideological, or methodological requirements for submissions, and generally looks for work that exhibit clarity, originality, ambition, and those that are informed by, and engage in, large critical issues.

The Selection Committee for each award is composed of IRWGS faculty and staff who organize and coordinate the awards, and an interdisciplinary group of Columbia University and Barnard College faculty. The committee encourages undergraduates from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to submit an essay of 25 pages or less for consideration.

Undergraduates are invited to compete for both awards, but may not submit the same essay twice.

Download an application packet for the Queer Studies Award here.

Download an application packet for the Women’s and Gender Studies Award here.

Additional questions?  Contact us at 212.854.3277 or by email at irwgs@columbia.edu

Queer Studies Award Winners


Sona Armenouhi Quigley, “Quelle Surprise!”


Thando Mlambo, “Destabilizing Nation and Culture: How Zanele Muholi and Queer South African Women are Creating Discursive Space through Visual Culture”


Harris Mercer, “Out Of The Shadows Of Plague: Transmission, Protection, and Tony Kushner’s Queer Tomorrow”


Jessica Shollenberger, “‘Nothing Pleases Me Except Dinner: Eating Sex and Queering Eating in Gertrude Stein’s ‘Lifting Belly.’”


Lauren Herold, “RuPaul’s Drag Race is Burning: Performances of Femininity and Neoliberalism in ‘Post-Racial’ America”


Erin Meyer, “Gay Fathers: Disrupting Sex Stereotyping and Challenging the Father-Promotion Crusade”


Anna Steffens, “‘Another Androgynous Freak Show’: The ‘Pregnant Man’ and Transgender Politics in American Pop Culture”


Shira Burton, “Out in the In Crowd: ‘Thinking Sex’ and Today’s Movement for Gay Rights”


Daniel Altabef, “Private Sex – Public Performance”


Jonah Hassenfeld, “Methodological Critique: An Archeology of Narrative”
Chad Miller, “The Queering of St. Sebastian: Collective Memory and the Emergence of Gay Spirituality” (Honorable Mention)


Kat Lewis, “Multi-Issue Organizing in the New York Gay Liberation Front, 1969-1971”

Women's and Gender Studies Award Winners


Rebecca Claire Fisher, “The Separate Spheres Argument Against Women’s Jury Service: A Review of the Literature


Sarah Faith Thompson, “Sexual Violence in Civil Wars: Strength, Organizational Control, and Rebel Groups”


Caitlin Lowell, “Justice Is Not An Institution: The University of Michigan and the Alternate Responses to Sexual Violence on Campus”


Taylor Clarke, “My Career As A Machine: Siri and Human Bodies in Servitude”


Callie Strickland, “Policing Strategies of Prostitution in the US: A Closer Look at Street Prostitution in New York City”


Joseph Daly, “An Exception to Prove the Rule: The Publishing Career of Louisa McCord and the Applicability of Separate Spheres in Antebellum South Carolina”


SaraEllen Strongman, “The New ‘Magic Negroes’: Non-White Women as Transformational Agents in Disney Animated Films”


Chloe Smith, “Ladies and Females: Women’s Missionary and Educational Work in Nineteenth-Century India”