Opened in 2009, the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) generates and applies research, develops curricula, prepares evaluation tools and conducts outreach for the purpose of supporting and inspiring initiatives to improve the lives of women and girls locally and nationally
Built on a half-century history of researching women, the RCWG provides the tools to reach out to young girls through action-oriented research, empowering women and girls at an earlier age.
Kate Masley was appointed its first Director in the fall of 2009. The RCWG sponsored a weeklong event April 7-13, 2010 to celebrate the grand opening of its new physical space which is located in Clare Hall in what was previously the Clare Hall Chapel.
This is a flyer announcing the new center.
The RCWG sponsored a weeklong event April 7-13, 2010 to celebrate the grand opening of its new physical space which is located in Clare Hall in what was previously the Clare Hall Chapel. Featured were an Opening Celebration and Reception; a workshop with Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out; and evening presentation by Sheryl WuDunn, author of Half the Sky; and an update session on the 2010 Status of Girls research.
Alverno's new weekday major and support in Women's and Gender Studies began in Fall 2010, shortly after the opening of the RCWG. Here is a flyer announcing the new program.
The back of the flyer, below, included a broad overview of the new program and a listing of its inaugural faculty: Jodi Eastberg, Donna Engelmann, Sandra Graham, Nancy Lamers, Dara Larson, Amy Shapiro, Kimberly Skerven, and Patricia Walsh.
There was also an article in the May 2010 issue of Alverno Alpha (student newspaper) on page 1 announcing the new Women's and Gender Studies program.
In Fall 2011, Rhonda Matthews Ware was appointed as the second Executive Director of the Research Center for Women and Girls. An article about her appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Alverno Magazine. She worked at Alverno until August 2015. Click here to learn more about Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls.
In 2012, Kris Vasquez was the Research Director for the RCWG. During her time in the position some of the scholarly materials she helped produce are the following:
The Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls has seen the need to conduct scholarly research related to the concerns of today’s women and girls, research that is accessible to decision makers in our community so that they have the tools to address these concerns. The Research Center team has produced and continues to produce research publications and school curricula that affect girls and women wherever they are found—in the home, in school, in the workplace, and in society at large. The intention is for this research to be used by educators, community organizations, businesses and government officials to raise awareness, identify solutions, change attitudes and practices, and develop public policy both locally and nationally. Here is a sampling of that research. Links to the full text of many of these publications can be found on the Research Center for Women and Girls website.
Advancing Girls in the Science Classroom provides an overview of the changes that happen in girls' interest and performance in science throughout middle and high school. It provides recommendations for strategies to encourage girls in the sciences. These recommendations focus on building a clearer pathway for young women to pursue science as a career.
Adolescent Girls’ College Aspirations: Precollege Expectations and Goal Setting of Adolescent Girls and Women
This paper looks at key issues about the aspirations for college held by adolescent girls. It raises issues about potential and perceived barriers to girls’ aspirations, especially as girls seek to enter nontraditional fields such as STEM.
Bullying: A Prevention Toolkit (November 2011) answers common questions about bullying; outlines action-oriented tips for parents, educators, and community members; and provides resources for learning more about the topic. Our bullying prevention research has been shared with educators, community organizations, and representatives from the business community.
Enhancing College Students' Mental Health: Contributions from the Perspective of Community Psychology seeks to understand the current status of mental health in U.S. college and university students, and to use the lens of community psychology as a way of exploring viable interventions with the potential of enhancing students’ psychological well-being and, in turn, their overall success in college.
Generational Diversity: Characteristics and Values of Millennials in the U.S. and Wisconsin
The generation known nationally as Millennials, born between 1982 and 2000, is the largest generation in American history. As with all generations, Millennials have been shaped by the events and social forces they experienced as they came of age. They share some attitudes and values with people of different ages; they also have some distinguishing features that mark them, as a group, as different from generations before. The purpose of this report is to look at Wisconsin data and national data about Millennials to provide insight into the general characteristics of this generation as it begins to become politically and economically active in our society.
Teen Dating Violence: A Resource and Prevention Toolkit (February 2013) is modeled after the highly successful Bullying: A Prevention Toolkit, which the Research Center published in November 2011. Following this model, the toolkit contains sections on frequently asked questions, current research findings, action items, and resources for parents, teachers, community members, and teens. Other topics include an examination of reporting issues related to teen dating violence, myths that may contribute to the acceptance of violence in dating relationships, and the impact of gender and culture on teen dating violence.
Jill Desmond was the Interim Director of the
Research Center for Women and Girls
Moving Wisconsin Forward, 2015: An Analysis of Wisconsin Women in Elected Office, authored by the Wisconsin Women's Council and the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls, covers nearly 14,000 elected offices across Wisconsin state and local governments, including the state legislature and courts, as well as county, city, village, town, and school boards. The report found mixed progress. It is third in a series benchmarking women serving in elected office across Wisconsin.
College-age Women and Relational Aggression: Prevalence and Impact, Katie S. Krueger, Meghanna Rao, Jeanna Salzer, and Jennifer C. Saucerman, describes relational aggression as a type of aggression in which harm is caused through damage to one’s relationships or social status. The Research Center presents data from a study of college women on their experiences and perceptions of relational aggression, including the form that aggressive behaviors take in a college sample.
In Psychological Barriers to STEM Participation for Women over the Course of Development Jennifer Saucerman and Kris Vasquez describe how women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), which has implications not only for individual women and their families but also for the productivity of society. This literature review examines psychological factors over the course of development that contribute to the ongoing underrepresentation of women in these fields.
“At Alverno College, we are committed to improving the lives of women and girls in our community through liberal arts education. The Research Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) is a vital extension of our mission as it provides research by and for women in our community.” -Jodi Eastberg
Jodi Eastberg, Ph.D., professor of history, was the Executive Director of Alverno College’s Research Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) from 2017 until 2021 at which time she was named dean of Professional and Graduate Studies. During her tenure as executive director of the RCWG, Eastberg oversaw the 2019 Alverno Report: The Status of Girls in Wisconsin, the most comprehensive consolidation of information about the issues facing girls in Wisconsin. She also organized the State of Wisconsin Girls Summits
The first State of Wisconsin Girls Summit was held at Alverno College on March 23, 2019. The summit, created for girls in 5th grade and older, featured a panel of girls discussing their experiences. The event held smaller break-out sessions ranging from identity formation, the power of words, forms of self-expression, healthy relationships, and how to nurture oneself physically, mentally and financially.
The featured keynote speaker for 2019 was 14-year-old Marley Dias. Dias is the founder of #1000blackgirlbooks and author of Marley Dias Gets it Done and so Can You! As a social activist and founder of the grassroots project to collect 1000 books featuring black females as lead characters, Marley Dias sought ways to provide empowered female role models of color through literature for girls and young women everywhere.
Marley Dias, keynote speaker at the first Wisconsin Girls Summit
Presenters and participants in the Girls Summit could earn digital badges for leadership, discussion facilitation, advocacy and public works shared over various platforms. Digital badges were issued via Badgr.com upon completion and approval of the participant and presenter submissions.
Above is the inaugural badge for the Wisconsin Girls Summit 2019. The badge measures 3.25” wide by 2.75” high.
This is the the front cover of the program for the first
annual Wisconsin Girls Summit.
A second Wisconsin Girls Summit was scheduled for March 28, 2020. It was to have featured, Mari Copeny, Little Miss Flint, because of her activism around the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as the keynote speaker.
This was the proposed schedule for the 2020 Wisconsin Girls Summit.
As colleges and universities were responding to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the RCWG posted the following message on their Girls Summit homepage:
"In order to ensure the health and safety of our community, the Research Center for Women and Girls in consultation with Alverno College leadership, has postponed the 2020 State of Wisconsin Girls Summit. This decision was not taken lightly as now, more than ever, we need to be focused on the physical and mental health of our young people in this uncertain time.
We are currently working with our keynote speaker, Mari Copeny, to identify a date in the fall to reschedule this event.
We will offer content via our social media channels to support girls in our community on March 28. Stay tuned."
As promised the RCWG offered a digital alternative to the second annual Wisconsin Girls Summit on March 28, 2020. In their Twitter feed post, the RCWG invited participants to join a live video conference. There were forty participants.
Finally after the WI Girls Summit Webinar in March, the entire summit including keynote speaker Mari Copeny was rescheduled and held virtually on October 10, 2020.
Lindsey Harness, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) and will assume the role on August 1, 2021. Harness, an associate professor of Communication and Technology, began teaching at Alverno in 2015 and most recently served as a co-director for the Women’s and Gender Studies program.
Her vision for the RCWG is "to continue the spirit and intention that undergirds the center's creation while expanding it to meet the needs evident today. The RCWG has a responsibility to be a voice that represents the binds many women and girls face as a result of the intersection of their identities, and it must participate in local, national and international conversations about what it means to be a marginalized human and what it means to be a human who has an equal opportunity for a life of authenticity, happiness and well-being."