Undergraduate Awards

Alyssa Anzalone-Newman Award for Social Justice

Alyssa Anzalone-Newman lost her courageous 2.5-year battle with breast cancer in June 2022 at age 32. She was an extraordinary young woman, who passionately dedicated her brief life to social justice with a focus on women’s rights. In 2011, Alyssa graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Arts with College Honors and a Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies major. And in 2016, she received her JD as a Dean’s Scholar from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Certificate in Management from The Wharton School. Alyssa most recently worked as a Title IX Investigator at Columbia University in New York City, assisting student sexual violence victims. She previously worked as an Assistant Attorney General and Litigation Fellow for the Office of the New York State Attorney General. After law school, she became an Associate at the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York City, after being a Summer Associate there, and a Legal Intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton, NJ. Following Washington University, Alyssa worked as a Project Assistant in Sanctuary for Families’ Courtroom Advocates Project in New York City, assisting domestic violence victims. While in St. Louis, she volunteered as Fundraising Chair for the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Relay for Life of Washington University; as a member of ACS’ High Plains Relay for Life Emerging Markets Taskforce; as a tutor at Lydia’s House, which supports domestic violence victims; as a Program Leader for Natural Ties, where students spend time with adults with special needs; and, as a Domestic Violence Courtroom Advocate in the St. Louis County Courthouse. While attending Washington University, she was a Teaching Associate for the “Law & Society” freshman political science seminar, a Peer Health Exchange Program Intern in New York City, and a Legal Services Intern for the Rachel Coalition, serving domestic violence victims in northern New Jersey. During her education and work, Alyssa repeatedly received special recognition, including: The Legal Aid Society’s 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award; the New York State Bar Association’s Empire State Counsel recognition of 50+ hours pro bono work; and, as a Penn Carey Law School’s Equal Justice Foundation Summer Fellow and the Toll Public Interest Center’s Excellence in Leadership Award. She was kind, considerate, generous, smart, and witty, and she enjoyed good conversation and debating about her passions, which often included social justice. She made a remarkable impression on everyone who met her by being a loving and caring person.

The Alyssa Anzalone-Newman Award for Social Justice honors a WGSS senior with a record of  activism in exposing inequality, empowering disadvantaged communities, and fostering social change.

Amount of award: $250

Past Recipients of the Alyssa Anzalone-Newman Award

2018 - Jaime Swank and Mohammed Alshamsi

2019 - Nathaniel Bernstein and Jaime Swank

2020 - Emily Getzoff, Alia Nahra, and Jeri Wright

2021 - Siddhi Vora

2022 - Julia Birnbach and Gracie Kaul

2023 - Allison Ryan

2024 - Bristol Hough


Helen Power Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Award for Scholarship and Service

Helen Power graduated from the University of Chicago (1955) and earned a master's (1964) and doctoral degree (1966) in English from Washington University. She was a lecturer in the English department at Washington University and served as the Women and Gender Studies program's Coordinator for ten years. Helen's insight and passion for women's studies ensured that the program flourished and continues to do so. She played an important role in initiating the Stiritz Endowed Chair in Women and Gender Studies and assisted in raising funds for the matching grant to provide continued support and development of the program. As Coordinator, she negotiated with the administration for expanded resources, additional faculty, and recognition of the program's contributions to the university and to its students and faculty.  Her work as a teacher has benefited students in the United States and abroad, where she taught courses in Iran and Afghanistan and with the University of Pittsburgh's Semester-at-Sea program.  Helen Power has made critically important contributions to the Women and Gender Studies Program, to the lives of the students and faculty who have known her, and to Washington University. She has been an exemplary citizen of the University in her teaching, her collegiality, and her service.

This award is made annually to a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major. Candidates are nominated, on the basis of scholarly record and service, by program advisors.  Selection is made by a committee within the Program. The award is presented annually at the graduating seniors' luncheon in May.

Amount of award: $500

Past Recipients of the Helen Power Award

2007 - Kristi Nigh

2008 - Shaina Goodman and Rachel Gartner

2009 - Paige Sweet

2010 - Lauren Weiss

2011 - Dan Woznica

2012 - Ashley Brosius

2013 - Trish Yeh and Laura Dietrich

2014 - Vinita Chaudhry and Louisa Kornblatt

2015 - Mackenzie Findlay and Lily Jacobi

2016 - Kara Skjoldager

2017 - Katie Chew

2018 - Olivia Beres and Carly Wolfer

2019 - Alyssa Hunt

2020 - Theaivin Yousef

2021 - Dahlia Lehman

2022 - Dani Sarraf

2023 - Ranen Miao and Emily Tack

2024 - Lily Coll and Sarah Rosen

Andrea Biggs Undergraduate Research Award

Andrea Biggs (1960-1981) was an independent spirit who advocated tirelessly for women's rights, whether creating the first anti-prom at her high school or enthusiastically fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment later in life. In that spirit, this prize is for the promotion of undergraduate research that focuses on issues relating to gender, dedicated in loving memory to Andrea's spirit, in the hopes of further nurturing that same spirit in others.

The Andrea Biggs Undergraduate Research Award is available to all undergraduate students who are interested in conducting original research projects in the area of gender studies.

Amount of award: $4000

We request that summer award recipients not participate in any summer employment or summer school. If you are awarded funding from other sources (e.g. Pfizer, HHMI, Mellon Mays) you may accept the funding of only one source. Exceptions to this rule are subject to the approval of the WGSS Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Undergraduate Research Office.


We also request that each student receiving an award apply to present their work at the fall Undergraduate Research Symposium and submit a 300-word abstract in WUURD, the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest. As an alternative to the summary, you are invited to submit your work for one of WUURD’s feature articles. 


The complete application should include the information sheet, mentor nomination form, current transcript, and a 2–3-page proposal which outlines the central question or issue to be investigated during work on the project, including a discussion of the methods to be used, a short review of the literature, a brief bibliography, and whether or not IRB approval is necessary. A committee in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies makes the selection.


Download application and nomination form.


Email all materials to Cynthia Barounis at cbarounis@wustl.edu.


The faculty mentor needs to write a short recommendation that includes the details of the proposed research and the justification for this award. This letter should be emailed directly to Professor Barounis. 


Applications are due by March 18.


Questions regarding this award should be directed to the office at research@wustl.edu


Recipients of the Andrea Biggs Award

2006 - Kristi Nigh, "What Would Sex Education from the Left Look Like?"

2007 - Rachel Gartner, "A Comprehensive Sexual Education, Health, Empowerment Program to Be Instituted at the Women's Institute of Secondary Education and Research (WISER) in Muhuru Bay, Kenya"

2008 - Paige Sweet, "Lessons from the Delegacia: Brazil's All Female Police Stations and their Applications to Culturally Competent Services in the United States"

2009 - Bobby Harvey, "The Involvement of Men in Service Provision for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: A Survey of Contemporary Thought"

2010  - Dan Woznica, "Reading Robert R.: The Production of Knowledge About America's First AIDS Patient"

2011  - Ashley Brosius, "Understanding the Impact of Sex and Gender on Legal Proceedings and Outcomes: A Case Study at the St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court"

2012  - Elizabeth Handschy, "Lesbians with Eating Disorders: Reworking Heteronormative Understandings to Include Alternative Sexualitites"

2013 - Louisa Kornblatt, "Court Literacy:  How Petitioners Weave Their Narratives of Abuse Through the Domestic Violence Court"

2014 - Christy Marx, "Barriers to Access: An Analysis of Obstacles to Obtaining Services for Bosnian Immigrant Victims/Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in St. Louis"

2015  -  Emily Alves, "There's Just Something Missing:  Barriers to Immigrant Afro-Latinas in Domestic Violence Shelters and the Court System"

2016  - Bianca Jahnavi, "Racialized Systems: "South Asian Battered Women and Accessing Support"

2017 - Sally Rifkin, "Cultivating Identity: Black Women and Alternative Food in St. Louis "

2018 - Elise Hu

2019 - Monica Unzueta

2020 - Award not given due to Covid19 constraints

2021 - Emma Kelly, "Multi-Level Mayhem:  A Research Proposal on the Gendered Nature of Multi-level Marketing" and Dani Saraf, "Prioritizing the Care of Those Missing and Exploited:  An Evaluation of the Intersection of Sex Trafficking and Health in St. Louis"

2022 - Brigid Hosmer

2023 - Reilly Brady, Kamala Madireddi, and Sarah Rosen

2024 - Jeffrey Camille