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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gender & Women's Studies and Queer Studies were not able to honor our graduates in our usual in-person gathering, so we are doing so virtually here. We have enjoyed having each of these graduates as part of our program and we wish them all the very best in their future endeavors.

Gender & Women's Studies Graduates

Alyssa Canepa

Graduate Alyssa Canepa outside by several trees

Master of the Arts in English Literature with a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies

Thesis: Ruin Yourself Before They Do: Performative Self-Abnegation in Feminist Performance Art and Photography

Alyssa Canepa, originally from Casper, Wyoming, moved to Laramie in 2018 to pursue a Masters in English Literature. Since moving to Laramie, she has been able to read and study and travel frequently, opportunities for which she is grateful. Broadly speaking, her research interests lie in understanding female bodies, identities, and sexualities in literature and visual media. In particular, she is interested in work that pushes the boundaries of what constitutes aesthetic pleasure: the disgusting, abject, or repellant. This kind of work awakens her to her own embodied subjectivity and wants to better understand and theorize that aesthetic experience.

Future Plans:

Alyssa Canepa has been granted the wonderful opportunity to teach through the LeaRN department for the Bridge Program this Fall, so she will be remaining in Laramie while preparing for yet another round of applications to doctoral programs in literature, art history, and curatorial studies.

Olivia Cole

Graduate Olivia Cole on a bridge above train tracks

Bachelor of Science: Distributed Social Sciences; Gender & Women's Studies

Minors: African American & Diaspora Studies; Honors College

My name is Olivia Cole and I am from Cody, Wyoming. I chose my majors and minors because I really care about the unique and important experiences people in the world go through. I love to travel domestically and internationally, to be involved, and to hang out with friends. During my undergrad, I was involved with Greek Life, a couple of RSOs, the High School Summer Institute, a local theatre company, Alternative Spring Breaks through SLCE, and more. Education is something I value highly and hope to contribute to in my future. 
Graduate Olivia Cole facing black 14 mural with right fist raised


I would like to acknowledge all of the faculty, staff, my sorority sisters, my co-workers, and of course my friends and family who have helped me along my path to graduation. 

Future Plans:

My plan after graduation is to travel the world for a little bit before settling on exactly what I want to study in grad school. Because of the global pandemic, my plan has shifted slightly, but I still hope to travel in the future. 

Colleen Floyd

Graduate Collen Floyd just a close up of her face and pink hair

Bachelor of Arts: Political Science

Minors: Gender & Women's Studies; Statistics

Colleen Floyd is originally from Burbank, California but when she found the University of Wyoming, she was excited to pack her bags and start her higher education journey in a new state. At orientation, Colleen signed up for Intro to Gender and Women’s Studies on a whim and would soon learn she had a passion for feminist, queer, and disability theory. Since 2016, Colleen has pursued many different roles on the UW campus, such as Orientation Leader, Student Ambassador, President and founder of the Political Science Club and Intersectional Feminist Auxiliary, as well as an active member of EmBODY Positivity. In her free time, she likes to connect with her friends, enjoy Laramie, and the great state of Wyoming. Colleen strives to embed justice in everything she does and is actively working to make higher education a more accessible, just, and equitable place for all college students.


First, I would like to thank my parents for everything they have done to support me in this journey towards higher education. Second, when I remember my time at UW, I am reminded of three professors in the SCGSJ that I had the honor and privilege of having during my first year. I was only looking to fulfill USP requirements but was met with individuals who would not only shape me as a student and scholar, but also as an activist and individual. Michelle Jarman, Alison Harkin, and Angela Jaime have had an incredible impact on me and I could not be more grateful for having crossed paths with three amazing educators so early in my undergraduate career. I wish I had the room to thank each and every faculty and staff member who I have had the honor of working with throughout my time at UW. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for their support and guidance, I can’t wait to take everything I’ve learned from them into my future endeavors.

Future Plans:

This fall (2020), I will be pursuing a master’s degree at Miami University to study Student Affairs in Higher Education with a graduate assistantship in the Sexuality Education Studies Center where I will be working with top notch scholars, students, and practitioners in a program that centers social justice in the study of higher education.

Jennifer S. Hansen

Bachelor of Arts: Gender & Women's Studies

Jennifer Hansen is a Wyoming native who has spent the last 9 years traveling as a military spouse while raising her two children.  Jennifer has always had a passion for community service and her role as a military spouse provides her with vast opportunities to serve.  She is very involved in her local military community at Offutt Air Force Base and currently serves on the Executive Board of a local nonprofit, the Offutt Enlisted Spouses Club.  She is a key spouse for the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) unit at Offutt Air Force Base, providing and organizing various forms of support to military spouses of all branches.  Her plans after graduation are to continue serving and supporting military families through the current pandemic before pursuing graduate school for Mental Health Counseling.
Graduate Jennifer Sue Hansen outside in a yellow dress


I'd like to thank my family and friends for their constant love and support.  I'd also like to thank Dr. Connolly for all of her encouragement and for believing in me when even I didn't.

Future Plans:

To continue in current support roles that serve military families through the current pandemic before pursuing graduate school for Mental Health Counseling.

Sydney Marie McKim

Bachelor of Science: Psychology

Minors: Gender & Women's Studies and Family Science Human Development

I am originally from Laramie Wyoming! I started my educational career at LCCC and then moved to UW for my second year of college. Throughout college I have participated in a lot of cool things. I taught a relationship education class through the HDFS department, which I absolutely loved! I was also able to do a 9 month internship at SAFE Project! UW also gave me the opportunity to study abroad, where I lived in Denmark for about four months and had such an amazing time. Overall, my three years at UW have been some of the greatest of my life and I am excited to have graduated from here!


I would like to thank my psych lab professor Matt Gray for always being supportive and allowing me to get a start in the field of sexual violence advocacy and education. I would also love to thank all advocates at SAFE project for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to intern there for so long

Future Plans:

Currently, I am working at Crossroads Safehouse in Fort Collins as a family advocate working with the youth team. I am a case manger for the families who enter our shelter and also do quite a bit of outreach and education in the community.
Picture of graduate Sydney McKim outside in a green field in a mountain valley

Caroline Miller

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies

Caroline Miller is an essayist and poet who writes about art, landscapes, and femininity. Her non-writing interests include tap dancing, hiking, and drinking far too much coffee. Her work has appeared in Quail Bell Magazine.
Picture of Graduate Caroline Hope Miller in a room in her home


I have to express endless gratitude to my thesis committee, Kate Northrop, Andy Fitch, and Arielle Zibrak; my nonfiction cohort, Sally Leaf, Christina Wheeler, and Alejandro Alonso Galva; and to all of my friends and family who have supported me through the crazy endeavor of grad school.

Future Plans:

As with many folks graduating right now, my future plans are somewhat up in the air, but I'll be sticking around Laramie for a couple of months to teach a summer course at UW and a class in the Upward Bound program. After that, who knows, but I hope to find work in editing and publishing.

Steph Skinner

Graduate Steph Skinner in a red dress graduation cap and stole outside before the SCGSJ sign

Bachelor of Arts: Political Science

Minor: Gender & Women's Studies

I was born and raised in Ogallala, Nebraska, until I came to Wyoming to attend the University. During my first year, I discovered a love for politics and switched my major to Political Science and added a minor in Gender and Women's Studies. Between then and now, I have had incredible opportunities through the University, from planning a gubernatorial debate to meeting a former Prime Minister of Denmark. I am incredibly thankful for the time I've spent at the University, and would not trade it for anything. I look forward to joining the professional world after graduation, and am happy to have spent my time in Laramie. 


I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering support, as well as all of the faculty members that have offered me constant guidance throughout my undergraduate career. I would not have had the opportunities that I have been given without the help of so many people. 

Future Plans:

I plan to find a job of some kind. That's really all I have planned thus far.

Queer Studies Graduates

Amanda Byzewski

Bachelor of Arts: Anhropology

Minors: Museum Studies, Queer Studies

Amanda Byzewski is from Colorado Springs, Colorado and came to Wyoming to study Anthropology and Museum Studies at the University of Wyoming. Along the way she started taking Queer Studies classes and found a passion learning about LGBT history and applying Queer Studies to her Anthropology major.
Graduate Amanda Byzewski standing outside in front of a tiered mountainside


I would like to thank my professors at the university and my advisors at the UW Art Museum for helping me receive hands on learning and skills that I can use after graduation.

Future Plans:

After graduation, I plan to work in the museum field and educate others through artifacts and dialogs.

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