Dr. Shannon Risk, Adam Kiedrowski, Madison Carroll, and Dr. Paula Kot

The American Female Gothic and Somali American Women post 9/11 were the topics of research papers selected as the winners in Niagara University’s annual Women’s Studies Program Writing Contest. The winners, Madison Carroll, an education major with a minor in literacy from Oneida, N.Y., and Adam Kiedrowski, a double major in history and political science from North Tonawanda, N.Y., were honored during a ceremony March 9, 2022.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the contest, which recognizes and awards students for their work that examines gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, disability, and other diversity-related topics.

Carroll’s paper, “Critiques of the Patriarchal Home within the American Female Gothic: Analyzing Alice Cary’s ‘Uncle Christopher’s’,” won the first-year student award. Dr. Paula Kot, associate professor of English, noted that Carroll’s paper was selected for its insightful and outstanding analysis. “Madison uses the scholarship on the American Female Gothic and an 1847 lecture by Dr. Charles Meigs, a medical school professor, to build a sophisticated argument about women’s entrapment in Alice Cary’s 1853 story,” Kot said.

Carroll said that she feels it is important to look for those in the background of any story because their experience, while seemingly overlooked, is crucial to better understanding humanity, especially for women and girls.

Kiedrowski, a senior who is a member of Niagara University’s Honors Program, won the top prize in the upper-level student category for his paper “The Dilemma of Somali American Women Post 9/11: Origins, Life, and Dichotomy of Identity in the Diaspora.” This is the second time that Kiedrowski has won an award in this contest.

“Adam wanted to write about issues faced by modern-day Black women in the U.S. and felt that the immigration story of Somali American women was compelling. He wrote an incredibly complex paper, highlighting the strength and ingenuity of this group of U.S. American women,” said Dr. Shannon Risk, chair of the history department and director of the women’s studies minor.

The ceremony began with a welcome from Dr. Risk, followed by remarks by Dr. Peter Butera, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Hope Russell, professor in the women’s studies program, who noted that the program has grown over the years since it was established in the 1990s to average 25 majors each semester.

For more information about the women’s studies program at Niagara University, please email Dr. Shannon Risk at or visit our website: https://www.niagara.edu/womensstudies.

Your Thoughts