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Breaking Barriers, Breaking Chains: Women’s History Month at TLU

TLU will be observing Women’s History Month throughout March—celebrating the many contributions of women both here and now and throughout history, and raising awareness of the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

“TLU has a strong history of women's leadership across academic areas, including areas where women are historically underrepresented,” says Associate Professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Amelia Koford. “Women's History Month is a time to reflect on women's struggle for rights and for the opportunity to live up to their potential. Sometimes that's done through social movements like the suffrage movement, the women's liberation movement, and the Me Too movement. Sometimes it's done through small ways that women blaze new trails in their families and communities.”

One early trailblazer right here at TLU? Professor Evelyn Fiedler Streng (1919-2014). “She taught chemistry, biology, geography, and other sciences at TLU (then Texas Lutheran College) beginning in 1946,” says Koford, who goes on to point out that “many of TLU's accomplished and beloved faculty are women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In fact, this year, the department chairs of Math and Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are all women! (Dr. Linda Wilson, Dr. Stephanie Perez, Dr. Alison Bray, and Dr. Toni Sauncy.) When students see women in leadership roles in traditionally male-dominated fields, it expands their view of what is possible.”

And students will be able to do just that on March 2nd, when they along with the whole community are invited to Breaking Barriers: Women in STEM Conference. The day-long conference begins with registration and breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in Jackson Auditorium’s Weston Center, and will feature two keynote speakers and a panel discussion. Lunch will be served as attendees walk through a poster session featuring biographies of women within the STEM fields as well as undergraduate student research. The conference is free and all are welcome. Pre-register Here

On March 6th, Thriving Hearts Crisis Center in collaboration with TLU will host the Break the Chains, Break the Myths Human Trafficking Panel in Schuech Fine Arts Center’s Wupperman Little Theater. The event includes guest speakers from local law enforcement, healthcare professionals, advocates, legal representatives, and survivors, and aims to shed light on the pressing issue of human trafficking and explore ways to combat this modern-day slavery. It’s open to all members of the community who are interested in learning more about human trafficking and taking a stand against it. Thriving Hearts Crisis Center is dedicated to providing support and resources to survivors of trauma, including victims of human trafficking. TLU is committed to fostering education, awareness, and social responsibility among its students as well as the broader community. Advocates from the shelter will be on standby at the event. Together, we can raise awareness, foster dialogue, and empower change.

Click Here for a Full List of Events

On campus, students are encouraged to come check out the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, located upstairs in Langner Hall. “It is a welcoming space for students and staff to hold meetings, relax, study, or browse the collection of gender-related books,” Koford explains. “Its location in Langner Hall allows for collaboration with the Center for African-American Studies and the Center for Mexican-American Studies.”

“When we talk about women's history at TLU,” says Koford, “we remind students that women's struggles don't all look the same. Issues and priorities can be different for different groups of women, including women with disabilities, lesbians and queer women, transgender and gender-nonconforming women, low-income women, and women of color. Learning about the experiences of a diverse range of people is part of the beauty of education.”

For Women’s History Month 2024, we are highlighting six trailblazing women who particularly resonate with us at TLU. They are educators, activists for diversity and inclusion, and women who broke barriers in the arts and sciences.

Michelle Yeoh (1962- ) “Malaysian actress considered to be one of the greatest female action movie stars, especially known for performing her own frequently dangerous stunts” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Malala Yousafzai (1997- ) “Pakistani activist who, while a teenager, spoke out publicly against the prohibition on the education of girls that was imposed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. She gained global attention when she survived an assassination attempt at age 15. In 2014 Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of their efforts on behalf of children’s rights.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Katherine Johnson (1918-2020) “American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of many spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program. Her work helped send astronauts to the Moon.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Jovita Idár (1885-1946) “Mexican American journalist, teacher, and activist who devoted her life to fighting the racism and discrimination that she witnessed during her life in Texas. She was also a staunch advocate for women’s rights, including the right to vote.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Gloria E. Anzaldúa (1942–2004) “Queer Chicana poet, writer, and feminist theorist. She earned her BA from the University of Texas–Pan American (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and her MA in English from the University of Texas at Austin. Her poems and essays explore the anger and isolation of occupying the margins of culture and collective identity.” (

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) “American biologist well known for her writings on environmental pollution and the natural history of the sea…Carson’s prophetic Silent Spring (1962) was first serialized in The New Yorker and then became a best seller, creating worldwide awareness of the dangers of environmental pollution.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)