For Students

Mother Board Writing Prize: Information

In 2008, the GCWS inaugurated our Mother Board Writing Prize, an annual award honoring graduate student research and writing in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies. 

This writing prize is dedicated to the ‘Mother Board’, the seven feminist intellectuals who together conceptualized and brought the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies into existence in 1988.  From their initial conversations around Ruth Perry’s kitchen table, founding faculty Joyce Antler (Brandeis University), Laura Frader (Northeastern University), Carol Hurd Green (Boston College), Barbara Haber (Radcliffe College), Alice Jardine (Harvard University), Ruth Perry (MIT), and Christiane Romero (Tufts University) built the Consortium to be a program that would train the next generation of feminist scholars in the interdisciplinary thinking and research that is at the heart of Women’s Studies.

Students who have taken or are currently taking GCWS courses may apply. Each year, one or two students are recognized with an award and cash prize for their unpublished written work that exemplifies the three tenets central to the GCWS mission: interdisciplinary inquiry; innovative thinking; and epistemologically self-conscious investigation.


Students currently matriculated in a Masters or Doctorate program at one of the nine GCWS member institutions and who have been or are currently enrolled in a GCWS seminar. Papers need not have been written for a GCWS course. Submissions will be reviewed by a 2-person selection committee of GCWS affiliated faculty. The award of the writing prize will be announced toward the end of the Spring semester. 

Submission requirements: sent by email to

  1. Your paper submission (PDF) (Maximum 30 single-sided, double-spaced pages)
  2. CompletedMother Board Writing Prize submission form (PDF). Please note: The comments section of the submission form must be filled out by a faculty member who is familiar with your work and can speak to the merits of the submitted paper. You may not comment on your own paper.  Good candidates are: an advisor, a faculty member from your GCWS course, another faculty member from your home institution with whom you have worked closely.
  3. Curriculum vita (PDF) (with current address)
  4. Confirmation of past or current enrollment in a GCWS course (PDF) (Scanned copy of a grade transcript, email confirmation, or letter of confirmation from the GCWS Program Manager)

Deadline: May 1st, 2016

The call for submissions is announced in the spring of each year and prize winners are announced by the beginning of the following Fall semester. Submissions for the 2015-16 academic year must be emailed to by May 1st, 2016.

Past Mother Board Writing Prize winners include:


"Morally Accounting for Sex Selection Online in Turkey"
Burcu Mutlu, PhD Candidate, History; Anthropology; Science, Technology and Society (HASTS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Prize Winner:

"Fiction as Archival Data: Building a Feminist Transatlantic Genealogy from Zora Neale Hurston to Erna Brodber"
Elizabeth Polcha, Ph.D., English and American Literature, Northeastern University

Honorable Mention:

"Expanding Our Picture of Stereotype Threat"
Stacey Goguen, Ph.D., Philosophy, Boston University


Prize Winner:

"Suit(ed) for Success? Feminism, Neoliberalism, and Gendered Self-Sufficiency"
Emily Cummins, Ph.D., Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University

Honorable Mention:

"Whose Welfare? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Harvard Business Publishing Cases"
Michelle Kweder, Ph.D., College of Management, University of Massachusetts Boston


"I'm not just a robot who does well in school": How Undergraduate Women Negotiate Achievement Identities"
Elizabeth Blair, Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University


"A Surprising Sisterhood: The Feminist Alliance of Housewives and Prostitutes, 1973 - 1983"
Amanda Strauss, Combined MA/MLS Program in History and Library Science at Simmons College

"Veiled Periphery: Rural Kurdish Women in Turkey and the Practice of Veiling"
Feyza Burak Adli, MA in Anthropology at Brandeis University

"Feminist Explorations into Shifting Analytics: Gender and Development as a Professionalized Social Movement"
Amy E. Hanes,
Dual MA in Sustainable International Development and Women's and Gender Studies, Heller School for Social Science and Policy, Brandeis University (completed Spring 2011)
PhD in Anthropology, Brandeis Universty (begun Fall 2011)

"Land, Women, and the Rule of Law in Rwanda: How Far Have We Come?"
Aparna Polavarapu, Masters student of International Affairs, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

"To Control Their Destiny: Girls' Mobility and the Stakes of Schooling in Colonial Natal"
Meghan Healy, PhD candidate in the Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

"Written in Blood: AIDS and the Subversion of Elegy"
Nino Testa, PhD candidate in the Department of English, Tufts University

"The Story of Kausar Bano: An Exploration of How Gujarati Muslims Perceived, Understood, and Reacted to the Violence Inflicted Upon Their Community During the 2002 Gujarat Carnage"
Elizabeth Mount, Masters student of Gender and Cultural Studies, Simmons College

"Breastfeeding Advocacy and the Need for a Relational Approach"
Miranda Waggoner, PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology, Brandeis University

For more information please contact Andi Sutton, GCWS Coordinator, at



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Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
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Phone: 617-324-2085