2022 Dan Dissertation Award Winners Announced!

The Center for Research on Women and Gender is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2022 Alice J. Dan Dissertation Research Award. Themal Ellawala, Title: When Ephemera Bind: On Negative Space and Queerness in Sri Lanka and Alexandra Paget-Blanc, Title: Relationship between sleep disturbances, vasomotor symptoms, and cognitive health at menopause.

The annual Dan Dissertation award encourages original and significant research about gender and/or women by UIC doctoral students. Recipients are awarded monetary support to assist with their research. The award is open to UIC doctoral students in any field who have completed the requirements for candidacy and have an approved dissertation proposal by the application deadline.

To support the Dan Dissertation Award, visit our Support page.

CRWG Dissertation Research Award Background

The Dan Dissertation Award is named after the founding director of the CRWG and long-time faculty member in the College of Nursing, Alice J. Dan, PhD.

The award is open to UIC doctoral students in any field who have completed the requirements for candidacy and have an approved dissertation proposal.

A call for applications typically takes place each spring, with awards announced during the summer.

Help Support CRWG Dissertation Award

For more information, contact Lynda Warner or visit our support page to make a secure, tax deductible donation online.

Past Dan Award Winners

The Alice J. Dan Dissertation has been awarded annually since 2002.


Themal Ellawala, Department of Anthropology, “When Ephemera Bind: On Negative Space and Queerness in Sri Lanka”
Alexandra Paget-Blanc, Neuroscience, “Relationship between sleep disturbances, vasomotor symptoms, and cognitive health at menopause”
An Honorable Mention Awarded to:
Bani Medegan Fagla, Medical Scientist Training Program, “The Role of Apolipoprotein E (APOE) in Pregnancy-Associated Protein Misfolding and Risk for Pregnancy Complications”
Valeria Torres Irizarry, Integrative and Translational Physiology, “Estrogen Signaling in the Ventromedial Hypothanlamus Modulates Adipose Tissue Metabolic Adaptation”


Emily Hallgren, Sociology, “Surviving Cancer in Rural America: Women’s
Financial and Employment Disruptions and Rearrangement”
Haley Volpintesta, Sociology, “Title: Safe Harbor: Interagency Collaboration and the Governance of Youth Who Trade Sex”

Josephine Chaet, Department of Anthropology “Homeland’s Daughter, Everyone’s Sister’: Women’s Organizations in Jordan.”
Marla McMackin, in the History Department’s WRGUW (Work, Race,and Gender in the Urban World) Program with a concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies. “Potential Delinquents: Chicago Youth, Hull House, and the War on Poverty”.

Allison Helmuth, a PhD candidate in the UIC Department of Sociology. Ms. Helmuth’s dissertation is titled, “Renting the West Side: Women of Color Landlords in Chicago’s Low-Income Neighborhood”

Alize Arican, Department of Anthropology, “Urban Transformation in Tarlabasi: Feminist Challenges to Discourses of Securitization”
William Scarborough, Department of Sociology, “Configurations of Inequality: Material and Cultural Change Across Metropolitan Areas”
Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons, Department of Disability and Human Development, “Institutionalized Women with Dementia: Constructions of Disability, Age, Care, and Confinement”
Vida Henderson, Community Health Sciences Division, School of Public Health, “Understanding the Relationship between Psychological Well-Being and Well-Woman Visit and Preventive Care Use in Midlife African-American Women”

Paige Sweet, Department of Sociology, “Trauma, Domestic Violence, and Hybrid Medicalization”
An Honorable Mention Awarded to:
Aimee Wodda, Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice, Dissertation title: “What Did We Get When We Got Sex: Making Sense of Ulane v. Eastern Airlines”
Molly Murphy, from the School of Public Health for her research entitled, “Abortion providers’ experiences with and management of stigmatization in freestanding and hospital-based clinics”

Cindy Veldhuis, from the Department of Psychology for her research entitled, “Psychological and neighborhood factors associated with preventive care use by women in Chicago”
An honorable mention was awarded to:
Megan LaFrombois, from the Urban Planning and Policy Program for her research entitled, “Reframing the Reclaiming of Urban Space: A Feminist Exploration of Bicycle Focused Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Urbanism.”
Molly McGown, Department of Anthropology, “Making moral mothers through group care: biopower and the social production of reproductive health knowledge”

Norma Jane Mejias, Department of Disability and Human Development, “The role of support group involvement in the self-concept of women with disabilities”
Cara Smulevitz, Departments of Art History and Gender and Women’s Studies, “Girl, if you make the movie, I promise somebody will see it.”
Rachel Allison, Department of Sociology, “Gender and the organization of women’s professional soccer”
Amy Brainer, Department of Sociology, “Sexuality and family relations in Taiwan”

Camille Quinn, College of Social Work, “Exploring gender differences in juvenile offenders: understanding girls on probation”
The second place award was given to:
Smita Das, Department of English, “Coolie Empire: narratives of race, gender, and sexuality”
Laura Nussbaum-Barberena, Department of Anthropology, “Engaging the everyday politics of dispossession in south-south migration: transnational organizing among Nicaraguan women migrants and sending households”

Kelly Underman, Department of Sociology, “Gynecological educator programs in Chicago: development and current practices”
Rachel Venema, College of Social Work, “Police officer decision making in reported sexual assault cases”
An honorable Mention was awarded to:
Vanessa Grauzas, Department of Psychiatry, “Effects of drug use on cognition in women with HIV”

Theerarat Boonkuna, College of Nursing, “Job stress, coping strategies, and perceived health status among Thai female home-based workers”
Erin Sundermann, Department of Psychology, “Genetic predictors of cognition in women with HIV”

Zachary Blair, Department of Anthropology, “Boystown: the political economy and social geography of queer urban space”
Georgiann Davis, Department of Sociology, “Gender structure analysis of the intersex rights movement”
Leah Rubin, Department of Cognitive Psychology, “Effects of sex hormones on cognition in schizophrenia”

Meg King, Department of English, “Unattainable manhood: American novels and the late 20th century masculinity crisis”
Deirdre Guthrie, Department of Anthropology, “Intimate economies in a Dominican tourist town”

Catherine Jacquet, Department of History, “Responding to rape: contesting the meanings of sexual violence in the U.S., 1950-1980”

Tarini Bedi, Department of Anthropology, “Piety, violence and the politics of performance: Shiv Sena women and the feminine subject in Maharashtra, India”
Elizabeth Collins, Department of History, “Red-baiting public women: gender, loyalty, and red scare politics”

Sharon Palo, Department of English, “Domestic disturbances: the story of the public woman in Eighteenth-Century English fiction”
Yingyu Chen, Department of Criminal Justice, “Reporting Behavior of Female Victims of Violence: Sexual Assault versus Physical Assault”

Nicole Warren, Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, “The experiences of rural midwives in Mali, West Africa”

Sandra Bibiana Adames, Department of Psychology, “A critical assessment of sociocultural factors influencing intimate partner violence among Latinos”
Lilian Friedberg, Department of Germanic Studies, “A critical reception of Ingeborg Bachman”

Jan Warren-Findlow, School of Public Health, “Explanatory models of heart disease in older Black women
Leanne Brecklin, Department of Criminal Justice, “Self-defense training and women’s responses to rape attacks”

Inés Sahagún-Behena, Department of Spanish, French, Italian & Portuguese, “Space and the city in Mexican women’s novels, 1980-1990”
Paula (Lori) Watson, Department of Philosophy, “Liberal democracies, feminism and citizenship”