Art major wins 2 WHAM Awards


Elizabeth Wood

From left, Julie Campbell , an English professor, congratulates Kristen Paape, a studio 2D art major, on winning an award for her artistic work depicting queer stories and women’s stories on Wednesday nigh in the Coleman Hall auditorium. Paape added, “I was just really excited to apply it at all. And when I heard that, like feedback, specifically when they weren’t telling me like their comments up on stage, it was just like really fun for me and made me feel really good.”

Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

The 2022 Women’s History and Awareness Month Awards Ceremony took place in the Coleman Auditorium on Wednesday night and featured a keynote address by Leslie Reagan, a professor of history at the University of Illinois.  

Before the keynote address was the awards presentation, and Kirsten Paape, a junior 2D art major, took home two awards, the Student of Artistic Vision and the Amelia Daddazio Women’s Studies award.  

The graduate winner of the essay contest was Pranita Balusu, a graduate student studying political science, for the essay “The Impact of Women’s Representation on the Gender Wage Gap Across the United States.” 

The honorable mention went to Coleen Buntin, a graduate student studying human services, for the essay “Trafficked Persons: Individuals falling between the cracks.”  

Jurnee Evans, a senior English major, won the undergraduate essay award for “Intimate Partner Violence Against LGBTQ+ People.” 

Evans was glad to win the award because of the passion they had for their topic and the good that the essay is capable of doing.  

“…I feel like that’s a topic that’s not really talked about much, and that is something I cover in my paper is that it’s not talked about as much, it’s not in the conversation around intimate partner violence very much at all,” Evans said.  

Evans said an event like the WHAM Awards is important because it provides a space for people to talk about some of the topics addressed on Wednesday, like reproductive health. 

“I feel like it’s important to be talking about these worldly sort of issues,” Evans said “This is a really currently relevant thing that is happening in our country and also applies to around the world and is a really big issue that impacts everyone. Even if people don’t think it’ll impact them, it’s going to impact someone close to them, which then will impact them.  

The 2022 Woman of Achievement Award went to Mona Davenport, the executive director of the Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement.  

Reagan said studying gender and sexuality is important work and that those in attendance embodied a dedication to their subjects.  

“It shows they have a commitment to analyzing gender and sexuality in the world, and also I think to feminism and to justice,” Reagan said. “I want to applaud all of them and to see young people moving in that direction and to see what they’re going to do next.” 

Jeannie Ludlow, a professor of English and coordinator of the women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Eastern, said she appreciates events like the WHAM Awards because it gives her a chance to see how her students grow. 

“I think sometimes we don’t acknowledge how much people grow when they’re in college,” Ludlow said. “And we kind of say, ‘well, our students are adults,’ which you are. But you’re also adults who are changing a lot over that time period, so I think it’s really good to recognize that growth and that development.” 

Reagan wanted those in attendance to know that they aren’t alone in terms of abortion and was also realistic about the future of reproductive health rights, but not without noting the impact students could have.  

“On the one hand, of course, I think they should be very worried about the current situation in terms of reproductive health and abortion specifically, but more broadly,” Reagan said. “And I hope that they think they can be active and make change in the world.”


Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].