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GDFs: The Future of Gender Scholarship

photo of 3 GDFsphoto of 3 GDFs

photo of 3 fellows

photo of 3 fellows

Jan 9 2019

Each year, the Graduate Dissertation Fellowship is awarded to one to three outstanding Stanford doctoral students who are engaged in research on women or gender. Fellowships provide financial support for top gender scholars as they complete their dissertations, while encouraging interdisciplinary connections for their research. Clayman GDFs teach or TA a course in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, have offices at the Clayman Institute and participate in the intellectual life of the Clayman Institute. They also take part in the Graduate Voice and Influence Program.

Current Clayman Institute GDFs are (pictured  above) Emily Carian, sociology; Mariana Castrellon, law; and Taylor Orth, sociology. GDFs often tell us their fellowship enhanced their time at Stanford. Former GDF Fiona Lee wrote:

“I rarely had opportunities to collaborate with researchers outside of my own discipline.  The Clayman Institute was a hub for enthusiastic gender scholars from diverse fields. As a Graduate Dissertation Fellow, I attended faculty research talks and meetings and interacted with researchers affiliated with the [Institute]. From these experiences, I gained perspectives and connections that I could not get from elsewhere.”

Recent GDF graduates have followed diverse professional paths. Following are examples of where a few former GDFs are today:

  • Annelise Heinz (GDF 2014-15), assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon, does research on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in American and transpacific history.
  • Susan Fisk (GDF 2014-15), assistant professor of sociology at Kent State University, works to “deepen our knowledge of the mechanisms that create gendered inequalities in the economy and to create interventions to disrupt them.”
  • Ed King (GDF 2015-16), a computational linguist at Google, applies his expertise on how an individual’s gender affects listeners’ processing of their speech.
  • Mana Nakagawa (GDF 2014-15) is the diversity and inclusion strategy and operations lead at Facebook. She also worked closely with Sheryl Sandberg on her bestseller Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, focusing on the international research efforts for the book’s release in nearly 50 countries.
  • Sandra Nakagawa (GDF 2015-16), science and technology policy legislative aide for the California Council on Science and Technology, worked to craft language for California laws on such issues as a new requirement that corporate boards of directors include at least one woman.
  • The Clayman Institute's director, Shelley Correll, was a GDF herself in 2000-2001.

The GDF program has supported these and so many other scholars. They expand their gender knowledge, and their professional skills and networks, to go on to succeed and be agents of change in their careers. The fellows are central to our mission of educating the next generation of gender scholars and feminist leaders.

  • As the translation of gender research is a core principle of our work at the Institute,  the program also trains fellows to speak to broad audiences. For example, former GDF Priya Fielding-Singh published an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Dads should take more active role in families’ healthy eating.” Priya and collaborators also published an article in the Harvard  Business Review on another research project, “Why Women Stay Out of the Spotlight at Work.” 

During their time as Clayman Institute GDFs, fellows not only deepen their gender research skills, but also find their public voices. 

Applications currently are being accepted for the next Graduate Dissertation Fellows, and are due Feb. 7, 2019. Learn more about applying to become a GDF. 

A gender lens
exposes gaps in knowledge,
identifies root causes of barriers,
and proposes workable solutions.