Mia Madore and Danielle DeVantier were among the three students honored during Niagara University's Women's Studies Program Writing Contest award ceremony on March 9, 2023. Not pictured, first-prize honoree Arianna Musialowski.

Three students were honored during Niagara University’s annual Women’s Studies Program Writing Contest at a ceremony on March 9 in Dunleavy Hall on the Niagara University campus. Established in 2004, the award program recognizes students for work that examines gender, sexuality, race, and other diversity-related topics. 

“Our Women’s Studies Program Writing Contest is such an important tradition, one that forms the cornerstone of our annual Women’s History Month programming,” said Dr. Hope Russell, adjunct professor of history and women’s studies. “I am always so proud of the important research and writing our students are doing across campus at the intersections of gender, race, and other positionalities.”

Claiming the top prize was Arianna Musialowski, a senior communication and media studies major from Lancaster, N.Y. Musialowski wrote her paper, “Reclaiming the Vampire: How Sexuality and Gender Are Represented in The Vampire Lovers and the Camilla Movie,” as part of a Research Methods course. 

“The Communication and Media Studies Department is thrilled to hear that Ari has won this award,” said course professor Dr. Douglas Tewksbury, an associate professor in communication and media studies. “It’s students like Ari that bring so much to our program and to the Niagara University academic community as a whole. She is such a talented writer and thoughtful scholar, and it’s extremely well-deserved.”

Earning second place was Lewiston, N.Y., native Danielle DeVantier, a history major, with her paper, “Enslaved Women: Maternal Mammies or Seductive Servants?” written for a course on Civil War and Reconstruction.

“Danielle’s excellent paper explores representations of the enslaved ‘mammy’ figure in 20th- and 21st-century popular culture,” said Dr. Carrie Glenn, assistant professor of history. “In the process, she illuminates how these caricatures obscured the ‘emotional, physical, and sexual mistreatment’ these enslaved women endured.”

Kenmore native and senior history major Mia Madore earned third-place honors for her work, “Gender, Race, and the 19th-Century Women’s Club Movement in the United States,” written for an Introduction to Research Methods course.

“Mia focused on the club-building of African American women in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which formed a solid foundation for future civil rights action and provided a haven for minority women during a difficult time,” said Dr. Shannon Risk, associate professor of history. “This is an important and timely topic.”