#MyLASexEd’s Growth and Expansion

My name is Claire Kueffner, I am a senior studying Legal Studies at Tulane University and am currently in my second semester of interning for Lift Louisiana. Last semester I helped launch one of Lift’s newest campaigns, #MyLASexEd, which aims to collect stories about the sex ed experiences of students in Louisiana to ultimately try to change the policies to a more comprehensive sex ed system. This semester, I will be working on a few extensions of this campaign to help it grow and expand.

 

The first extension of the campaign that I am working on is expanding to other campuses all over Louisiana. Last semester I did a pilot launch of our selfie-taking campaign on Tulane’s campus, but this semester we intend to expand to other campuses throughout the state. We are currently working with students on LSU’s campus and working on building partnerships with Loyola and LSU Shreveport as well. I am so excited to watch a campaign that I helped create get all the way off the ground and spread statewide!

 

The next exciting expansion of the campaign comes from a series of small group discussions that we will be hosting and filming on Tulane’s campus. The goal here to is gather groups of students from all over the country and have small group discussions comparing and contrasting their sex ed experiences. This will both a) give us more insight and more detailed stories from students than we were collecting before and b) allow us to see what sex ed looks like nationwide, what works, what doesn’t and what we can push Louisiana to improve upon. Our first discussion will take place at the end of February, with more scheduled in both March and April. These discussions will be filmed and then edited down to use for social media, lobbying, advocacy and more.

I am so excited to watch the #MyLASexEd campaign grow and expand this semester. It is especially exciting as we will be in the legislative session and can perhaps lobby and push to make some of the changes that we want to see into realities. I am looking forward to seeing where this campaign goes!

 

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New Semester, New Look at Young Parenthood

RJ posterHello! My name is Julia Guy, and I am thrilled to be joining Newcomb College Institute’s Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health Internship program this spring! I am a sophomore studying political economy and environmental studies, and I hope to pursue a career within environmental advocacy and policy. Reproductive justice is additional passion of mine, so I am grateful that I have this opportunity outside of the classroom to advance RJ research while learning about research skills, social justice advocacy, and the intersection of grassroots activism and legislative approaches.

This semester, I am continuing a project I began as a research assistant for Dr. Clare Daniel last fall in which I am collecting and categorizing distribution materials from grassroots campaigns aiming to eliminate the stigma surrounding young parenthood as well as shame tactics utilized in teen pregnancy prevention campaigns. Additionally, I am documenting court cases concerning Title IX rights abuses of pregnant and parenting students, and I am conducting a literature review of shameful teen pregnancy prevention campaigns and support systems (or lack thereof) for pregnant and parenting youth. I am looking forward to share some of this information in the Conceiving Equity poster session later in the semester (see my poster above!). This semester, we are adding research on the discrepancy within both reproductive justice and mainstream consciousness between comprehensive sexuality education and elimination of shameful narratives for young parents. Using “teen pregnancy prevention” as a benchmark for sex education not only reinforces the narrative of young parents as irresponsible and unworthy of support despite often large socioeconomic inequalities, but also undermines the greater goal of reproductive justice to have the power, freedom, and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for ourselves, including the decision to become a parent.

While I greatly enjoy working with Dr. Daniel, developing my research skills, and building my policy knowledge, another aspect of this internship I really appreciate is the biweekly RRRH intern meetings that have allowed me to meet other students working on reproductive justice research and advocacy for a wide variety of organizations and professors. Not only is it a great way to facilitate group discussions around reproductive justice as both a framework for academics and a lens for current events, but these meetings have also helped me learn more about the advocacy and nonprofit world in New Orleans with guest speakers from organizations ranging from fair housing assurance to abortion funding. This internship is already proving to be a fantastic opportunity, and I am excited to see where the rest of the semester leads!

LIFT Louisiana Policy Internship

My name is Aliyah and I am currently a senior studying Public Health. This semester, I work at LIFT Louisiana as a policy intern.

Working at LIFT Louisiana has already been such a rewarding experience. I am so lucky that my supervisor, and LIFT’s founder, Michelle, is so passionate about reproductive health and has a strong presence in the New Orleans activist community. From day one, Michelle gave me strong, reasonable, detailed and ambitious goals for my semester as an intern. I can’t wait to see all of my progress I make with LIFT this semester!

As a policy intern, I am responsible for tracking reproductive health legislation in Louisiana, developing policy fact sheets, and monitoring current events relating to public health (specifically events that impact women, children, and families. Additionally, I am working on planning the Justice for Louisiana Women Advocacy Day that will take place on April 11 in Baton Rouge. This day of action will involve different organizations, students, and individuals from all across Louisiana working together to educate legislators about the state of women, children, and families in Louisiana.

I spent a while reaching out to different organizations and individuals to garner support and ask them to participate in the day of advocacy, and the response has been great! It’s so exciting to see such a diverse group of people that are passionate about creating change and taking effective action in Louisiana.

Last week, I created a fact sheet that detailed the impact of Trump’s proposed Medicaid work requirements on Louisiana women. I focused on the facts that a) most of the Medicaid enrollees in Louisiana and nationwide are already employed, so the requirement will not induce a large amount of change, and b) the people the requirement will affect are the communities that are historically marginalized and vulnerable (those with a disability, women of color, etc.).

This week I am working on another fact sheet about pregnancies and births in Louisiana and birthing disparities between white and black women. Birth and maternal health is my area of interest, and I am really enjoying gathering the information so far.

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Picture of the community calendar inside of Propeller, the shared workspace where we have our LIFT meetings

 

 

Continuing Research With Dr. Lederer

Hello again! My name is Kelsey Williams and I am very excited to have begun my second semester interning with the NCI’s Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health program. I am a junior studying public health and I hope to go on to medical school and graduate degree in public health after Tulane. Eventually, I hope my career is centered on sexual and reproductive health promotion. I am grateful for this internship because it allows me to improve my research skills, explore a potential career path in research, and have an outlet beyond the classroom to work on the topics I am passionate about.

Through the internship, I am continuing to do research with Dr. Lederer at the graduate school of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Last semester I primarily worked on a literature review that explored the effectiveness of various types of digital sex education interventions. This semester I have moved on to analyzing Dr. Lederer’s own data on a web-based intervention that she implemented. She has already published analyses of many components of this study, and I am coding interviews on what student’s liked and disliked about the video lesson. We are hoping to produce an abstract proposal for this year’s APHA conference. It is great to be learning applied qualitative research skills, which will likely come in handy as I brainstorm ideas for a senior thesis.

Another component of the internship that I really enjoy are the bi-weekly RRRH intern meetings and monthly research team meetings with Dr. Lederer’s other two research assistants, Brittney and Andi. At these meetings we read articles, listen to speakers, and engage in discussions that broaden my understanding of reproductive justice, reproductive health, and good research practice. It is also great to have a friendship with my fellow interns to support each other’s work.

Looking forward to continuing another great semester!

Feminist Camp

Simran Jain majors in political science and social policy and practice, and minors in gender and sexuality studies. Simran recently attended Feminist Camp, where she was exposed to feminist work beyond her personal experience.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I am a sophomore who is constantly taking classes on the theory behind feminist ideology and movements, but have had limited exposure to feminist work that is being done beyond Tulane’s campus. At Tulane, I am involved in several student groups: Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ), Sexual Aggression Peer Hotline and Education (SAPHE), and Undergraduate Student Government, and I feel as though I am fairly well versed in what social activism looks like on our campus. Feminist Camp was an exciting opportunity to expand my knowledge on national and international feminist movements. Making sure that I am always being exposed to new content and having my ideas challenged is core to my activism, and I wanted to attend Feminist Camp as an opportunity to learn and grow, then bring what I learned back to the campus that I love.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite parts of the conference were, surprisingly, the times that centered around art. I often consider myself to be much more political than artistic. Most of my activism exists in a political sphere and visual art often goes right over my head. So when I found myself connecting so deeply with the A.I.R. Gallery, a feminist art gallery in Brooklyn, I was shocked. This trend of art continued as we met with the Feminist Press publishing company and Anastasia Higginbotham and learned more about feminist literature, poetry, and children’s books. Viewing all of these forms of alternative activism was the most powerful part of the conference for me, and it was these moments where feminism was brought from the intellectual to the emotional that will stick with me for life.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice: 

As an executive board member of Students United for Reproductive Justice for the last two years and an activist for reproductive health and rights, I thought I really had a handle on these topics. I can tell you where your local abortion clinic is, what the laws are in your state in regards to access, what sex education looks like in different school districts, etc., but there was one huge gap in my education. My knowledge of the actual medical procedure of an abortion was so limited. I knew all there was to know about the politics of reproductive rights, but the scientific aspect went right over my head. At Feminist Camp, that gap was filled when I performed an abortion procedure on a papaya at a family planning center in Harlem.

We started the workshop by breaking down common misconceptions about abortions and who is getting them. One in four American women will have an abortion before age 45. 59 percent of people seeking abortions had given birth in the past. 51 percent of people seeking abortions were using a contraceptive method the month that they became pregnant. Learning about all of this was already increasing my knowledge about the state of abortion in America, but the most influential part of the workshop was when we performed an “abortion” on a papaya. After doing the procedure with my own two hands, I left Harlem knowing that I was better equipped to continue my activism.

Having this new found knowledge on the logistics of what an abortion looks like has made me a better, more informed advocate and has offered me a level of compassion and understanding that I did not have before. I hope to bring this papaya workshop to Tulane so that reproductive rights activists, and general student body alike, can experience what the procedure of an abortion looks like and dismantle some of the stigmas and myths surrounding it.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

One of the most valuable things that I learned from Feminist Camp was not something that was directly told to us, but rather a trait that was exhibited by so many of the people we met. I learned the power of passion from the coordinators, speakers, and other campers. As we spent a full week constantly engaging with people, the speakers who stuck with me and inspired me the most all had something in common; they were obviously passionate about what they did. As a young adult with many opinions and not a whole lot of life experience, it can often feel as though getting people to listen is an impossible task. But if you really care about something, really love something, those feelings show and the value of that is unparalleled to any formal skill.

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Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

I would highly recommend Feminist Camp to all Tulane students interested in social justice! This experience was therapeutic, and rejuvenated my energy and drive to commit myself to feminist work. The people that you meet during Feminist Camp are diverse and inspiring. Feminist Camp offers you the chance to expand your understanding of feminist work being done today, while also making meaningful connections and engaging in professional development for those who hope to bring feminism into their future careers.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

Feminist Camp gave us the opportunity to make meaningful personal connections, as well as necessary professional connections. This experience allowed me to network with a purpose and took a huge amount of the stress of networking out of the process. Getting the chance to be face to face with people from the organizations that I hope to someday work at allowed me to solidify my career goals and begin pursuing those goals in an informed manner. I feel much more prepared to take on my professional future thanks to Feminist Camp!

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Alex Nichols is a senior majoring in English, psychology, and gender & sexuality studies, and she’s interested in a career in civil rights law or nonprofit development. Alex also recently attended Feminist Camp.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

After interning with the National Organization for Women – NYC as well as the New Orleans Abortion Fund this past year, I was unsure if I wanted to commit my life to fundraising. I wanted to have a more direct role in fighting systematic oppression, so I began considering going into Civil Rights or Constitutional law. This uncertainty about my future is what pushed me to attend Feminist Camp.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

Some of my favorite parts of the conference was simply getting to meet so many people in various stages of their lives and careers, but who all cared about feminist issues. While I learned quite a lot from the speakers, I found that even my peers were a terrific source of information and additional perspectives. Of the speakers we met, Rye Young of the Third Wave Fund and Chanel Porchia of Ancient Song pushed me to consider aspects of my feminism that I thought I had a solid understanding of. This was particularly true for nonprofit development and for respecting the agency of marginalized communities. I now feel even more confident of my views and the way in which I want to aid others.

Highlight info you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

Because of the thoroughness of the NCI meetings I attend as part of my reproductive rights internship, I found that I didn’t learn too much in this one area. The visit to Spence-Chapin did offer another angle to approach the subject though. Since I often think of reproductive justice as access to abortion as well as the right to have and raise a child, I overlooked the significance of adoption. I was greatly impressed by the organization’s commitment to informing pregnant individuals of the many options they have outside of adoption.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Regardless of the path you end up taking in life, you can always stay true to your values. Getting the chance to meet and hear about women who worked in the government, at nonprofits dedicated to these issues, as well as those who worked in places that could be considered problematic, such as Vice or a corporate law firm. There is an infinite number of ways to be a feminist.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

Other students should attend Feminist Camp because it was the first time that I was told the skills I’ve gained and the knowledge I’ve learned over these last three years can be applied and even valued in the workforce. Previously, I struggled to see careers beyond academia or non-profit organizations. Now, I recognize there really aren’t any restrictions on my feminism.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

I came to Feminist Camp in hopes of determining which of the careers I was considering would fulfill and challenge me. However, it actually made me aware that there are countless other directions I could go in. I’m still unsure of my future, but knowing that there’s always another option has made graduating and picking one career less intimidating.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Jillian Singer majors in political science and minors in psychology and sociology. She’s interested in a career in reproductive healthcare advocacy or legislative affairs, and she recently attended Feminist Camp.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I am a current senior from Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside of D.C. I plan to enter a career in politics soon, specifically focusing on issues of women’s rights, and I knew that Feminist Camp would be an amazing opportunity to expand my view of social justice work. I wanted to meet female pioneers in the nonprofit and social justice arena, alongside other inspiring young feminists.

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

My favorite day of Feminist Camp was the “Philanthropy” day. Throughout the day, we met with many women who are engaged in social justice work relating to feminism, and they shared their stories and career paths with us. We had in-depth discussions of our personal values, how our life experiences have shaped those values, and how we aim to incorporate those values into our careers. The most powerful speaker on this day, in my opinion, was Justine Moore. Justine was formerly incarcerated for 16 years and later helped to establish The National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She shared her experiences while in prison, and discussed some of the most pressing needs in criminal justice reform. We later met with Lindsey Rosenthal from the Vera Institute, who now works to end the mass incarceration of women and girls. She shared her traumatic experience as a Night Warden at a prison for pregnant teenage girls in Miami. This day, the first day of Feminist Camp, was important in getting me into a self-reflective mindset for the rest of the week.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

We had the opportunity to perform an “abortion” on a papaya with the Reproductive Health Access Project, meet with a doula from Sister Song, and visit the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. The papaya abortion was a particularly impactful moment in Feminist Camp, as we were able to see, firsthand, the simplicity of the procedure. We engaged in discussions surrounding common myths about abortion and why/how it should be de-stigmatized. With Chanel Porchia, a doula and the founder of Sister Song, we discussed the beauty of motherhood and the wide range of doula services she offers particularly to low-income immigrants and women of color.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope to never lose sight of the importance of listening intently to other peoples’ life experiences, when they choose to share. I was so moved by all of the women we met throughout Feminist Camp – each person shared their path in getting to where they are today, and their own relationship with feminism. Listening to these powerful, successful women, in addition to my peers who each had unique perspectives and experiences to share, was incredibly inspiring. Throughout my professional life, I hope to take every opportunity to listen to others share their stories. There is so much to learn from those around us.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

Feminist Camp was an unforgettably inspiring, immersive experience in intersectional feminism. I cannot believe how much I learned from my peers, from the leaders of the program (Amy Richards, Jennifer Baumgardner, and Carly Romeo), and from each of the amazing speakers with whom we had the opportunity to meet. Feminist Camp makes you deeply consider what you are passionate about, what your values are, and who you want to be. I am still in disbelief. If you have the opportunity to attend Feminist Camp, DO IT.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

I am currently searching for post-graduation jobs, and Feminist Camp put me in the right mindset to deeply consider the impact that I want to make in my career. I am still not exactly sure what I want to do with my life, but Feminist Camp helped me to expand my possibilities. I am so grateful to have had this experience.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

 

PLEN: Women in STEM Policy

Erica Fuller majors in public health, and is interested in a career in maternal and child health policy. She recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in STEM Policy seminar, thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:

I am in my final year at Tulane University. I found my love for maternal and child health early in my Tulane career, but recently found my interest in health policy. This conference gave me the opportunity to explore my interest and truly decide whether I wanted to work within the field of health. It also gave me a chance to make connections within D.C. that will help me launch my career.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part of the conference was the day we spent on Capitol Hill. I loved hearing how to incorporate scientific knowledge into politics. After hearing from panelists, I was able to meet with my congressman and advocate for an issue that I am really passionate about (reforming birth practices in the U.S.). This visit gave me insight into how to enter the field of science policy.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

Dianna Flett spoke with us early on in the conference on how to speak with confidence. Her talk really set the tone for the conference and showed us how to increase our own confidence and leverage that confidence in the workforce.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

The United States Congress only has a few elected officials that are scientists while other countries such as China have 80% of their elected officials as scientists. When it comes to incorporating science and evidence-based solutions into policy decisions, we need to get more scientists into office and have scientists work with congressmen and congresswomen to make a change.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

The PLEN conference was an amazing experience that connected me with many students and professionals in my area of interest. It is a great opportunity to explore your interests and find out how to best enter your field.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in? Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

Working & Nursing Study with Professor Katherine Johnson

I’ve now completed the first couple weeks of my new internship and I’m feeling energized! I’m Alexa, a junior from Seattle studying public health and Spanish (and I’ve just added a political science minor!). This is my first semester back at Tulane after spending the fall studying urban public health in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m incredibly excited to be working as a research assistant with Dr. Katherine Johnson, a professor and researcher in Tulane’s sociology department, on her Working & Nursing study. This is a qualitative study collecting working women’s breastfeeding experiences, victories and struggles in the New Orleans area, and using this information to evaluate workplaces and impel necessary policy change.

Dr. Johnson’s study is intriguing to me because it is a question of reproductive rights for women who choose to resume work after having a child, while recognizing breastfeeding as the best option for them and their child. I want to learn about these mothers’ undoubtedly varied experiences and how they are able, or struggle, to exercise their rights and achieve a work-feeding balance. The study also represents an intersection between public health, sociology and reproductive justice that allows me to explore research approaches common in each field. Moreover, I’m eager to gain specific qualitative research skills such as reviewing academic literature, conducting interviews, and learning how data is interpreted and conclusions are drawn from a qualitative project. I ultimately want to work in legal advocacy for women and families, and will always be thinking how I can apply this learning to my future.

During my first meeting with Dr. Johnson, she described how she conducts the interviews and how she likes to make it as convenient as possible for the mother to meet. She’s met mothers on and off campus, at their homes or coffee shops nearby, in whatever space is most comfortable for them to share their experiences. She also explained that the current recruiting methods she has been using to interview mothers have resulted in large numbers of mostly white, middle or upper middle-class working women reaching out. Actively recruiting women from a greater variety of socioeconomic and ethnic/racial demographics is a big goal for her currently. I then received my first main task in Dr. Johnson’s project, which is to compile a literature review surrounding the role of factors like race and socioeconomic status in breastfeeding, and what disparities or specific issues might exist.

This has been going pretty well, and I’m almost ready to consult with Dr. Johnson over my major findings. Literature reviews can be tricky because you never really know when you’re ‘done’ per se, but there are always new perspectives and nuances I’m discovering as I tap my sources. Amidst all this, last week I visited the newly renovated lactation room – the Mothers’ Room – in the LBC to evaluate it for particular traits and personal feelings I had from visiting it. I recorded information for Dr. Johnson like its location, the foot traffic surrounding it, certain amenities it did or didn’t have, and words and feelings that came to mind when I saw it. I took some photos as well and made sure I recorded every detail as to paint a vivid picture for her, as she wasn’t there. I repeated this process at two more lactation centers on the Uptown campus the next day: I journeyed to the Reily Student Recreation Center and Tulane Law School to visit these lactation spaces. Next week, I’ll be visiting Tulane’s downtown campus to investigate the spaces there. This information will add to similar documentation of other workplace lactation rooms across New Orleans.

After orienting myself with the literature and some terminology and key concepts surrounding breastfeeding, I will move on to conducting quality checks on interview transcripts, which involves listening over recordings and matching it to the transcription to ensure accuracy, and even assist in conducting interviews myself. I’m very excited to interview mothers or assist at one point. For now, the goal is to always be on the hunt for new information!Lactation room LBC

Research Internship with Dr. Lederer

Hi! My name is Andi Goodall. I am a senior at Tulane majoring in Public Health and minoring in Management. As my last semester as an undergraduate student begins, I am starting to look for jobs in the Chicagoland area. I hope to work in health administration for a few years, then pursue a master’s degree in health administration. Though I am preparing for life after college, I am still thankful to be involved in campus activities such as Tulane University Peer Health Educators (TUPHEs) and Sexual Aggression Hotline and Education (SAPHE).

I am excited to start my semester as a reproductive rights and reproductive health intern. Previously, I worked with Dr. Lederer on a self-care research study. The study looked at how college students define self-care for themselves. As Dr. Lederer’s intern, I reviewed and coded the qualitative data to find themes. With the information collected, Dr. Lederer and I drafted an executive summary to the inform interested parties. This semester I will be doing a couple of projects with Dr. Lederer. The first project I am working on is a short literature review of college sexual violence prevention strategies. So far, I have found various articles discussion male-centered interventions, bystander interventions, and first-year focused interventions. With the Climate Survey data release, this information is especially intriguing, and I am looking forward to learning about the best practices for sexual violence reduction. Another project I will be starting soon is a follow-up study to an intervention provided around New Orleans. The original study was a focused attempt to reduce chlamydia rates around New Orleans. The study focused on African American males under the age of twenty-five. A free chlamydia test was offered to these men in places they often went such as barber shops. If the man tested positive, he was given a free prescription and later contacted by an official to gather the names of his previous partner. The official then contacted the previous partners and reported that someone they had sexual contact with tested positive for chlamydia and recommended getting tested. The original study hit a bump in the road when the men were not picking up their prescription or offering the names of their previous partners. This is where I come in. I will be transcribing interviews with these men to see what their barriers were to picking up the prescription or offering the names of their previous partners. I am excited to see what the interviews reveal, and I hope to find a way to reduce the barriers to treatment.Research Team