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TCU Experience Taught WGST Graduating Senior to Learn From Everything and Everyone

By Rachel Master

Noelle Flores

Noelle Flores, WGST department senior scholar

Transferring in as a sophomore, Noelle Flores of Burleson, Texas, appreciated the breadth of majors as well as the time TCU afforded her to choose just the right one. She found the perfect match in Women and Gender Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is graduating with a BS in women and gender studies with a minor in creative writing.

Among her honors, she was awarded the Priscilla W. Tate Scholarship in the spring, served as a WGST intern in the fall and was named the 2020 WGST Department Senior Scholar, an honor that goes to a WGST major with at least at 3.5 GPA who best exemplifies academic excellence and a commitment to critical inquiry and feminist praxis in women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

I actually transferred to TCU my sophomore year. I grew up about 20 minutes away from campus and decided that it would be better for me to be at a school close to home. TCU also had a wide variety of majors — I’ve been notoriously indecisive about what I wanted to major in and changed majors seven times I think before I ended up in WGST. I transferred undeclared and I knew it would probably take me a minute to find my place on campus, so I wanted to go somewhere where I had lots of options.

I loved serving as a WGST intern this semester. I had a lot of control over the projects I got to work on, so everything was super tailored to my interests. My favorite project was contributing to the TCU Diverse History Project, which is an ongoing project sponsored by WGST and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. I did a lot of archival research and put together a few timelines tracing specific topics of TCU’s history — like LGBTQ+ milestones on campus and the 50-year effort to get child care on campus. The timelines will be going up on the WGST website early next semester, which is super exciting.

I submitted a paper I wrote in fall 2019 for Dr. Hogg’s Women’s Rhetoric class. It was called “Hannah Montana and Girlhood: A Rhetorical Analysis of Early-2000s Disney Channel.” The paper focused on how young female protagonists were portrayed on the Disney Channel, using Hannah Montana as a specific example. Basically, I analyzed what gendered messages were being sent to young audiences through these characters.

I think the people — especially once I changed my major to WGST. Every single person I’ve interacted with, whether it be a professor or classmate, has been so kind. TCU can feel pretty competitive at times, but everyone in the WGST department was always so willing to help each other. It was really impactful to be in an environment where everyone really just wanted the best for one another.

I’ve definitely learned how to learn from my peers. I think coming into college, school/education had always felt one-sided to me. Like, you go in, take notes from a book/lecture and that’s it. But there is so much to learn from each other, and everyone has something unique to offer from their own perspective and life experiences — including myself. So, I guess my time at TCU has really opened me up to learning from everything and everyone around me.

As of now, the plan is to go to grad school next fall. I’m still trying to decide exactly where I want to go and what I want to do, but now that the semester is over, I’ll be focusing all my energy on figuring that out.