Women’s Studies – Outstanding Senior 2021

Samantha King-Shaw

Sparks, NV

Degrees and Majors:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies


  • Queer Studies
  • Economics

Summa cum laude

Clubs, Organizations, Leadership, and Service

  • Honors College
  • Student Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Women’s Cross-Country and Track Student-Athlete
  • Mental Health Training Facilitator
  • University Hazing Policy Review Board
  • Cougar Inclusivity Panelist
  • CougPals
  • Queer Intersections Association, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Youth Development Professional, Northern Nevada Sports and Recreation

Internships and Employment

  • Social Justice Peer Educator, Office of Outreach and Education
  • Outreach and Programs Coordinator, Period@WSU

Undergraduate Research

  • Inqueery Research Symposium: “LGBTQ+ Life Chances and a Queer Approach to Prison Abolition” paper
  • Honors Thesis: “Refusing Erasure: Nugent, Fire!!, and the Legacies of Queer Harlem” – Investigation of the evolution of U.S. Black queer cultural production in the 20th century
  • UCLA Photovoice Research Study, Principal Co-Investigator: Highlight the diversity of the experiences of Black college students navigating predominantly white spaces through photography and facilitated group discussion.

Awards and Recognition

  • Celia Forrest Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Student Award, 2020
  • WSU Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Scholarly Achievement Award 2020, 2021
  • WSU Alumni Association 2021 Top Ten Senior: Academics

Faculty Comments

Samantha King-Shaw is an honor’s student with a major in women’s studies and two minors: one in queer studies and one in economic science. Sam carefully crafted this combination to deeply engage the interdisciplinary study of gender, and that is precisely what Sam demonstrated. Pam Thoma

Samantha King-Shaw is an accomplished student-athlete of color whose performance in the classroom, on the track, and in service to the community is truly impressive. Sam King-Shaw’s academic success and record of community service demonstrate her extraordinary ability apply what she has learned as a WS Major, and it is a pleasure for the WGSS faculty to recognize her as Outstanding Senior of the Class of 2021. Faculty

Personal Statement

When I first began my journey at WSU in the fall of 2017, I would never have guessed that I would eventually find a home in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. I started my undergraduate career studying Zoology on the pre-veterinary track, but, out of curiosity, I enrolled in an introductory WGSS course in the fall of my second year. It was as though my love for learning had been reignited, more powerful than it had ever felt before. With the encouragement of my family, I changed my major to Women’s Studies and I’m happy to say that I never looked back! The WGSS program has been an amazing and supportive intellectual home for the past few years, and I am very grateful to all of the faculty and staff who have educated and mentored me during my time here, as well as my family for supporting me through it all. Go Cougs!

Honored Faculty and Mentors

  • Linda Heidenreich, History
  • Pamela Thoma, WGSS
  • Nishant Shahani, WGSS
  • Marian Sciachitano, WGSS
  • Paulina Abustan, WGSS
  • Leah Wilson, WGSS
  • Dion Crommarty, Outreach & Education

Future Plans

Graduate school in the fall at University at Buffalo, leading to a PhD in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Long term: Professor, teach, research, keep learning forever.