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Elaine Gordon Scholarship in Women's Studies' Recipients



Alyssa Pepio

Alyssa Pepio, a Women’s and Gender Studies major, has set herself apart from her peers by applying her studies to empowering others. Even before entering FIU as an undergraduate, Alyssa demonstrated her exceptional commitment to activism as a board member of GLSEN, a leading educational organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools, and as a team leader with City Year Orlando. Since arriving at FIU, Alyssa has served as an Ambassador for the LGBTQ Association, an LGBTQ facilitator, and president of the Southern Poverty Law Center at FIU. She is president of the Student Alliance Fighting Exploitation and cofounded the HEART Initiative that provides training and resources to educators and healthcare providers on the identification and support of human trafficking survivors.


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Wendy Ruiz

A Mexican-American daughter of farmworkers, and first generation college student, Wendy is completing a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies and a bachelor’s in Political Science. She is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in Educational Policy Studies with a focus on an effective education reform that narrows the gap between underachievement and educational attainment for underprivileged minority students. While keeping up with her academic demands, Wendy has been involved as a member, mentor, and tutor with Student Support Services (SSS) at FIU. In addition, she has organized community service projects with Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), as well as leadership programs which provide educational opportunities for other students. She has also been active as a youth leader in We Count, a nonprofit organization that addresses social justice and immigration issues, and as a member of their board of directors. In addition, she has completed internships with several organizations such as the Highlander’s Seeds of Fire Program and the Harvard Latino Leadership Initiative Program. Wendy hopes to not only help provide an education to future students, but to inspire them to view their own possibilities for leadership and professional accomplishments as limitless.

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Sergio Andrade

Sergio Andrade is a junior completing a double bachelor's in Psychology and Women's & Gender studies. He is currently a Research Assistant for Dr. Erica Musser's ABC-ERICA Lab housed in the Center for Children and Families. He is also completing an internship at the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and is expected to continue his internship with Dr. Musser in the fall. Upon graduating with his two bachelor’s degrees, Sergio plans to attend graduate school to further extend his studies in aiding victims of domestic violence. In addition, he is currently president of the Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA).


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Natalia Gutierrez 

Natalia Gutierrez is a senior completing a double major in Psychology and Women's & Gender studies. She is currently a Research Assistant and Public Relations manager/ meeting coordinator for Dr. Asia Eaton's Power, Women and Relationships (PWR) lab. She has also just completed an internship in the Center for Women and Gender Studies and is expected to complete an internship at the FIU Women's Center in the fall. Upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Natalia plans to attend graduate school to become Mental Health Counselor in order to assist Women and Sexual minority youth.

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Michael Powell

Michael Powell is completing a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies & Psychology. He is currently the laboratory manager for Dr. Asia Eaton’s Power, Women, and Relationships Lab. In conjunction with FIU and the University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Women’s Studies and Psychology departments, Michael will be presenting his research on GBQ Hispanic and Latino men’s intersecting identities at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood’s biennial conference this October. After graduating, Michael will be applying to PhD programs in feminist psychology.


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Laura Hernández

Laura Hernández is completing a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies & Political Science. She is currently the president of College Democrats at FIU and also serves as the vice president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) at FIU. Laura interns at the Women's Fund of Miami-Dade, and is a Young People For fellow. Laura hopes to pursue a career in policy-making where she can help achieve gender parity through legislation.

In February 2017 we heard from Laura. She is working as the Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida, and was doing volunteer workshops at FIU, and carrying on her great work.