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The Women’s History Month Committee presents VANGUARD, a look at single mothers, chainsaw mommas, and the first female action-adventure heroine. Read more.
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The Women's History Month Committee presents VANGUARD, a look at single mothers, chainsaw mommas, and the first female action-adventure heroine!

Various events and film screenings, presented in association with the Office of Student Life, will take place throughout the month of March. 

All events are free and open to the public. 


Opening Ceremony  I  Wednesday, March 1  I  6 to 8 p.m.  I  McAllister Auditorium

Hear from Dr. Jillian M. Duquaine-Watson, program head and professor of interdisciplinary studies at UT-Dallas, as she discusses Mothering Alone in the “Chilly Climate”: Single Mothers pursuing Postsecondary Education. A Q&A session will immediately follow the presentation. 


Film Series in Loftin I Thursday, March 9  I  LSC Fiesta Room 

8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.: Some Real Heat 

9:25 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.: Girl from God’s Country: The History of Women in Film and Other War Stories

10:50 a.m. and 3:05 p.m.: Great Unsung Women of Computing: The Computers, The Coders and The Future Makers 


Film Screening and Q&A  I  Tuesday, March 21  I  12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  I  VAC 120     

Film screening of Las Tesoros and Q&A with Director Jorge Sandoval. Sponsored by the Mexican-American Studies program. 


Film Series in Loftin I Wednesday, March 22   LSC Fiesta Room 

8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.: Great Unsung Women of Computing: The Computers, The Coders and The Future Makers

9:25 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.: Girl from God’s Country: The History of Women in Film and Other War Stories

10:50 a.m. and 3:05 p.m.: Some Real Heat 


Lecure: Women Thriving in Non-Traditional Fields  I  Thursday, March 23  I  9:25 to 10:40 a.m.  I  NAHC 218 

Madeline Slay, owner of Slay Architecture, presents: Women Thriving in Non-Traditional Fields. Sponsored by the Empowerment Center.    


Pamper Me Day  I  Monday, March 27  I  10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  I  LSC Fiesta Room  

Relax with a free massage, nail polish, and more! 


Women Helping Women Succeed  I Wednesday, March 29  I  12 to 1 p.m.  I  LSC Fiesta Room 

An empowering fashion show presented by the Magic Closet in association with the Office of Student Life.   


For additional info, please contact the Women’s History Month Committee Chairperson, Dr. Lisa Zottarelli at



About the Opening Ceremony

Although there has been a good deal of attention to the marginalization of single mothers in American society, there has been relatively little attention to the experiences of single mothers who attend college. These women tend to regard pursuit of a college degree as an extension of their mothering work, something they do to set a good example for their children and also to help move their families toward a middle-class lifestyle. They also pursue postsecondary education as a means of demonstrating to themselves and to others that they are “good” mothers. Yet within the context of postsecondary institutions, single mothers face a challenge that is unique: a “chilly climate” that stigmatizes them and treats them as outsiders, thereby threatening their ability to successfully complete a college degree.   

Drawing on data collected during an 8-year ethnographic study that included the experiences of nearly 100 women, this presentation details the “chilly climate” facing single mothers who are college students. It attends to both the obvious and the subtle aspects of the “chilly climate,” including the actions and attitudes of faculty, staff, and students as well as formal and informal institutional policies. Yet it also demonstrates that single mothers do not bear the “chilly climate” or its effects passively. On the contrary, they employ a variety of strategies in an attempt to avoid stigmatization. They also actively challenge the stereotypes they encounter in classrooms and across campus. And in doing so, they help shape knowledge, counter stigma, and take important steps to help adjust the thermostat and make institutions of higher education a bit less “chilly” for themselves and other single mothers.


About the Films

SOME REAL HEAT: A film by Stefanie Jordan, 2001, 54 minutes  

SOME REAL HEAT explores the small and relatively new world of female firefighters in San Francisco and their upward climb to gain access to a male-dominated field. Armed with axes, chainsaws, muscle, heart and determination, six daring women demonstrate how they single-handedly turn gender roles upside down by putting their lives on the line everyday in one of the riskiest jobs around. As they passionately talk about the tools of the trade, overcoming their fears and helping others, they reveal the fascinating history of women fire fighters and the gender bias that barred them from officially entering the U.S. Fire Department until 1974. They also explain the important role women paramedics play in fire departments and the surprising number of medical emergencies that they attend to on a weekly basis – a number that far outweighs actually putting out fires. Uncovering the myth and reality of this dangerous profession, this inspiring piece intimately delves into the strength and character that distinguishes these women as true modern-day heroes. 


GREAT UNSUNG WOMEN OF COMPUTING: THE COMPUTERS, THE CODERS AND THE FUTURE MAKERS: A 3-part series by Kathy Kleiman, Jon Palfreman and Kate McMahon, 2016, 48 min. 

In the United States, women are vastly underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields, holding under 25% of STEM jobs and a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees. Great Unsung Women of Computing is a series of three remarkable documentary films that show how women revolutionized the computing and Internet technology we use today, inspiring female students to believe that programming careers lie within their grasp.  

The Computers features the extraordinary story of the ENIAC Programmers, six young women who programmed the world’s first modern, programmable computer, ENIAC, as part of a secret WWII project. They programmed ENIAC without programming language (for none existed), and harnessed its power to perform advanced military calculations at lighting speeds. However, when the ENIAC was unveiled in 1946, the Programmers were never introduced and they became invisible. This stunning documentary features rare footage and never-before-seen interviews with the ENIAC Programmers. 70 years later, this is their story.  

The Coders tells the story of two extraordinary women, Sarah Allen and Pavni Diwanji whose technologies revolutionized the Internet: Sarah co-invented Flash, the first multimedia platform supporting video, graphics, games and animation for the internet, while Pavni invented the Java servlet to allow web applications to respond quickly to requests from users everywhere.  

In The Future Makers, Andrea Colaço, a young MIT PhD, shares her dream of a world in which we interact with our smart devices using natural hand gestures, not static keyboards or touchpads. She invented 3D “gestural recognition technology” and co-founded 3dim to develop and market it. In 2013, 3dim won MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Prize and launched Andrea towards her dream of innovation and changing the world. 


GIRL FROM GOD’S COUNTRY: A film by Karen Day, 2016, 66 mins 

GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY is the untold story of the first female independent filmmaker and action-adventure heroine, Nell Shipman (1892-1970), who left Hollywood to make her films in Idaho. An unadulterated, undiscovered adventure tale of a pioneering woman who rewrote the rules of filmmaking, and, in so doing, paved the way for independent voices–especially prominent female voices in today’s film industry. Her storylines of self-reliant women overcoming physical challenges in the wilderness and often, rescuing the male lead, shattered the predictable cinematic formulas of large studio productions. Featuring rare archival footage by early pioneers, including minority filmmakers, Zora Neale Hurston and Miriam Wong, the first Chinese-American filmmaker in 1914 and present day interviews with Geena Davis and the Director of Women in Film, GIRL FROM GOD’S COUNTRY discuss how gender-inequities that Shipman and her counterparts faced perpetuate in today's film industry. Emblematic of an entire lost generation of female producers and directors in silent film, Nell Shipman’s legacy has remained a buried treasure in film history for nearly 100 years. Required viewing for Women’s and Cinema Studies.