Undergraduate Research in Gender and Women's Studies

Research is an important component of a Pomona College education, across all disciplines and majors. Here are recent summer undergraduate research projects conducted by students in Gender and Women's Studies.

Preferences for and Barriers to Gender Affirming Surgeries in Transgender and Non-binary Individuals

Bita Tristani-Firouzi ’21; Advisor: Kyla Tompkins

The trans/non-binary community continues to be an underserved population in medicine, and our understanding of their interests, disinterests, and barriers to transition-related healthcare is quite limited, especially among the diverse gender identities within the trans/non-binary umbrella. An anonymous, online survey was applied across all 50 states and advertised through social media, healthcare organization websites and flyers. Transgender and non-binary identifying persons 18 years and older were analyzed. 887 trans/non-binary respondents, averaging age 34 and predominantly Caucasian (84%) completed the survey. Interest in gender affirming procedures varied significantly across gender identities, with trans men and non-binary people assigned female at birth reporting much higher interest in top surgery, and trans women and non-binary people assigned male at birth reporting higher interest in bottom surgery and facial surgery. Barriers differed by procedure, with the greatest barriers to top surgery being the cost and lack of resources for recovery, and the greatest barriers to bottom surgery being fear of complications and cost. The principal barrier to facial procedures was cost. Of the participants who indicated no interest in top and bottom surgery, 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 respectively stated not needing it for their transition. Non-binary individuals, on average, listed not needing the procedure for their transition at a higher frequency than trans men or trans women.

Institutional Memory Activist Archive: Race, Class, and Gender Activism at Pomona College

Gray Butler ’20; Advisor: Valorie Thomas

The work of marginalized students on campus surrounding activism remains unrecognized throughout Pomona College’s history. The failure to keep institutional memory not only erases the labor produced by marginalized students (POC, women, first-generation low income etc.) but largely proves to be a significant challenge in ongoing student activism. This project seeks to track the lineage of activism of marginalized students along axes of race, class and gender to document and highlight student work, bring attention to the systematic ways in which Pomona (and the academy) perpetuates inequity, and to theorize alternative ways of organizing around an ethos of activist durability, and radical acceptance of the limitations of the academy.

An alumni activist survey was issued out to collect information about previous student activist experiences from the past 30 years. From these surveys alumni interviews were conducted. The researcher also primarily went through the Claremont College Archives and a feminist student paper: The Review (1988-2004).

Research found recurring themes in activist work including: previous student documents  compiling instances of Pomona’s treatment of marginalized students with themes of lack of cultural sensitivity, insufficient support for faculty and students of color, an culture of misogyny and lack of safety regarding sexual assault, and the founding of multiple programs as a direct result of student activism.