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Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Seminar and Practicum in Engaged Research

The Seminar and Practicum aim to enable students to consider how concepts in feminist research methods are integral to practice and how practice informs and alters concepts.  Students take the Seminar and Practicum simultaneously in the spring of the junior or senior year.  The courses bring together theory and practice, allowing students to enhance their academic knowledge through research on issues of gender and/or sexuality in collaboration with a local non-profit organization.

Students begin conversations about their Practica in the spring of the sophomore or junior year in consultation with the SWGS staff and faculty. The fall of their junior or senior year, they take the PreSeminar, a 1-credit course that prepares them to submit an Institutional Review Board application.

The Practicum is a 3-credit course taken for a grade, and requires 6 hours of work a week at a local organization during the semester, a weekly journal entry (with a particular focus on the relationship between the Seminar readings and the on-site experience), and a formal public presentation about the research project towards the end of the semester.  Practicum placements are made through a sound match of an organization’s needs with the student's interests and skills. One distinguishing feature of the Center’s “engaged research” approach is that, while based in a student's interests, the research project arises from this deliberate and informed encounter between the student and the needs of the organization and the clients it serves.  Students may apply for funding to support their research through the Practicum Research Fund.

The weekly Seminar is also taken for a letter grade. It explores a range of perspectives on feminist theory and practice, grassroots organizing, and policy-making around issues of women, gender, and sexuality.  Some readings will focus specifically on the areas in which the students will be conducting their Practica that semester; such readings might cover domestic violence, reproductive freedom, or human trafficking, for example.  The Seminar seeks to situate the students' Practica experiences in a broader theoretical, historical, and transnational context.  Course requirements will include critical essays related to assigned texts and a final paper in which students analyze the Practicum in light of the seminar readings.

The Seminar and Practicum are also open to non-majors. Permission of the instructor is required, as is some background in the study of women, gender or sexuality.  A list of prior projects follows below:



Allyssa Abacan ’13 & Baylor Teen Clinic

    Sexual, Reproductive, and Urological Health Between Two Populations

Sayra Alanis ’15 & Baylor Teen Clinic 

    The Effects of Social Media on Young Adults

Cecilia Alvarez ’14 & Fe y Justicia Worker Center

    A Life Writing Book: Narratives of Domestic Workers in the Houston Area

Daria Anichkova, '10 & Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center

    Work-related Rights Violations and the Low-Wage Immigrant Worker Community

Darren E. Arquero, '10 & Equality Texas

    Safe Schools Initiative and LGBT Students in the Houston Independent School District

Alex Barksdale, '11 & Texas Gay/Straight Alliance Network

    Safe Spaces: Staff and LGBTQ Youth Experiences

Julia Barrow ’13 & American Civil Liberties Union of Texas

    An Exploration of Sex Education Policies in Houston Public High Schools

Kori Bertun ’13 & League of Women Voters – Houston

    Volunteer Retention at the League of Women Voters - Houston

Theresa Boyer ’11 & Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast

    Protesters at Planned Parenthood

Philomena Bradford ’13 & Voices Breaking Boundaries

    Cross, Sustain, and Incite: Bodies in Motion

Ana Builes ’14 & Tahirih Justice Center

    Establishing a System of Referrals for the Houston Pro-Bono Legal Group

Leah Cabrera-Marquez ’15 & HATCH

    Examining How Community Organizations Affect Student Achievement

Micaela Elizabeth Canales ’16 & Good Neighbor Healthcare Center

    Prenatal Care Access at Good Neighbor Healthcare Center

Catherine Chantre ’15 & AIDS Foundation Houston

    Do Housing-Assistance Programs Effectively Support PLWHA?

Quincy Christian ’14 & YMCA International

    The Cultural and Institutional Barriers to the Refugee Women's Project Experienced by Iraqi and Bhutanese Refugee Women

Joshua Cory ’13 & Bering Omega Community Services

    Housing Assistance Program Impact Assessment

Madelaine L. Delgado, '09 & Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras

    Grassroots Organizing and Women's Leadership in the Community of Blanca Navidad, Nuevo Laredo

Tori Dominguez ’15 & Rice University Well Being; Houston Area Women’s Center

    Alcohol and Consent

Jasmine Elliott ’12 & Tahirih Justice Center

    287(g)’s Impact on the Relationships among Law Enforcement Officials, Service Providers, and Immigrant Women in Houston, TX

Khadijah Erskine ’16 & Hatch Youth

    Retention of Minority Youth in the Hatch Youth Program

Erin B. Felton, '09 & Daya

    The Effect of Immigration Law on Domestic Violence in Houston's South Asian Community

Colleen Fugate ’14 & Fe y Justicia Worker Center

    Communication among Transnational Families

Taylor Gamez ’16 & Fe y Justicia Worker Center

    For Domestic Workers, By Domestic Workers: A Graphic Novel Towards a Collective Understanding of Rights

Raven Graves ’15 & Baylor Teen Clinic

    Sexual-Schemata among African-American Women – A Focus Group Approach

Cristina Halliburton, '11 & YMCA International Services of Houston

    What Factors Determine, Influence, and Encourage Immigrants to Seek Out Legal Help: An Engaged Research Project at YMCA International Services of Houston

Sophie Haase ’13 & Baylor Teen Clinic

    The Efficacy of HIV Risk Assessments for Minority Men Who Have Sex with Men

Alissa Hart ’13 & The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

    Impact of Spanish Literature at The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Monica He ’13 & Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston, Inc.

    Social and Financial Barriers to Preventative Health Care for Lesbian Women in Houston

K. C. Kaching Ho ’15 & Girls, Inc.

    Strong, Smart, and Bold: Optimizing Empowerment Programs for Girls

Caroline A. Holcombe, '09 & Children at Risk

    The Gender Gap in Dropout Rates in Greater Houston's High Schools

Matthew Holloway ’15 & The Heritage Society

    Law, Community, and History: A Look at Houston's Queer History

Lyahn Hwang ’13 & The Children’s Assessment Center

    Analysis of the Current Level of Cultural Competency at The Children’s Assessment Center

Gary W. Johnson II, '09 & Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

    Sexual Assault Primary Prevention Programs

Lawrence Johnson ’12 & Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center

    Conceptions of Compensation Entitlement Among HIWJC Clients

McKenzie Johnson ’16 & Houston Fire Department

    Women in the Houston Fire Department

Vineeta Kapahi, '10 & Mothers for Clean Air/Galveston Houston Association for Smog Prevention

    What Factors Impact Response to Health Hazards in Environmental Justice Communities?

Anne Kim ’14 & Baylor Teen Clinic

    Effects of Text Messaging on Sexual Health of Young Female Patients

Rachel W. Kinney, '09 & Houston Area Women’s Center

    What Factors Encourage Sexual Assault Victims to Seek Help?: An Engaged Research Project at the Houston Area Women's Center

Emily Larimer ’11 & Healthy Family Initiatives

    Following Healthy Family Initiatives’ Home Visitation Program

Tori Laxalt ’14 & Texas Obituary Project

    Contextualizing the Texas Obituary Project: An Intersection of Houston’s LGBT Community, the HIV/AIDS Crisis, and Digital Media

Zoe Matranga ’16 & Montrose Center

    "Got a pause button?": Oral Histories of LGBT Seniors at the Montrose Diner

Sara Millimet ’11 & LIVE Consortium

    LIVE Consortium’s Anti-Stigma Campaign: An Effective Instrument in Reducing HIV-Stigma?

Amanda Mills ’13 & Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston, Inc.

    LHI of Houston Oral History

Claire J. Newman, '10 & HATCH

    Best Practices for LGBT Homeless Youth Shelters in the Houston Area

Cristell Perez ’16 &  Fe y Justicia Worker Center

    Dying for Recognition: Workers’ Memorial Day Project

Maria Pickett ’13 & Women’s Storybook Project

    Developing a Center for the Women's Storybook Project

Rachel Poppers ’14 & Houston Area Women’s Center

    Sexual Violence at Rice University: A Workshop and Research Response

Kendall Post ’15 & Rice University Well Being; Houston Area Women’s Center

    Sex, Relationships, and Consent at Rice University

Leeyah Rassu ’14 & Houston Area Women’s Center

    How Age, Occupation, and Weekly Engagement Influence The Retention Rate of Volunteers in The Houston Area Women's Center Hotline

Joshua Redwine ’13 & Queer Voices on KPFT

    Community Funded Radio and the Houston LGBT Community

Anna E. Roberts, '10 & Houston Area Women’s Center

    Examining State Legislation and its Influence on the Houston Area Women's Center

Jessica Shim, '11 & Baylor Teen Clinic

    Can Family Influence Teens to Practice Safe Sex?: An Engaged Research Project with Baylor Teen Clinic

Lena Silva ’13 & Houston Area Women’s Center

    What Factors Encourage Spanish-Speaking Survivors of Domestic Violence To Seek Help?

Sabrina Toppa ’12 & Tahirih Justice Center

    Knowledge Barriers for Female Houston-Area U-Visa Holders

Saima Toppa ’12 & Tahirih Justice Center

    The Implications of the One-Year Asylum Filing Deadline on Gender-Based Violence Survivors

Anne Wei ’14 & The Children’s Assessment Center

    Barriers to Care for Spanish-speaking Clients at the CAC

Jenny Wen ’13 & Baylor Teen Clinic

    Comparing Teen Health Clinic Staff and College Students’ Attitudes toward Sexual Assault

Casie Wilson ’13 & AssistHers

    AssistHers Volunteer Evaluation and Retention

Jocelyn Wright, '11 & Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center

    Domestic Workers in the Houston Area

Alexander Wyatt ’11 & HATCH

    Researching GLBT Bullying