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Experts can discuss topics for Women's Month

by Hannah Lynn Robinson


Media Advisory

With the observation of Women’s Month in March, the JMU media team has compiled a list of faculty experts from a variety of disciplines who can discuss the various issues that affect women. Below are the faculty members that would happy to speak with you about their given topics.

JMU’s Faculty Experts:

Expert can discuss the history of Women’s Month

Since 1987, the U.S. government has officially recognized March as “Women’s History Month,” encouraging the public to commemorate and study the roles women have played in American history, says Emily Westkaemper, an associate professor of history at James Madison University. Westkaemper is an expert on U.S. women’s history and the history of diverse ways that Americans have acknowledged women’s past contributions.

“Before this official recognition was attained, educators, activists, and businesswomen had spent decades using mass media to encourage public recognition that women’s history was a valid subject for study. Although women’s history was rarely included in school and university curricula until the 1970s, pioneering female historians and advertising women had long used popular culture to publicize histories that were ignored elsewhere. From the 1900s through the present, women’s magazines, radio broadcasts, comic books, television series, and films have featured historical biographies of famous and of previously uncelebrated women, including entrepreneurs, activists, educators, wives of notable men, and women who acted in times of national crisis. Today, popular television series and films set in the past, such as “Mad Men”, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and “Hidden Figures”, continue to encourage awareness about women’s historical experiences; and scholars’ attention to women’s history has expanded, resulting in greater inclusion of women’s history in schools.”

If you are interested in interviewing Emily Westkaemper, please contact me— I would happy to connect you.

Media contact: Hannah Robinson,, 520-222-2808.

Expert can discuss gender in the workplace

It’s important for people of all gender identities to understand their role in identifying and confronting structural sexism in the workplace, says Jennifer PeeksMease, a professor of communication studies at James Madison University. PeeksMease is an expert on intersections of identity and work, changing organizations for social change and can discuss the subtle micro-aggressions women experience in the workplace.

“We all have the ability to call out and challenge norms that put women at a disadvantage: Anyone can acknowledge women’s verbal contributions in meetings, to ensure that they are given credit for their ideas.  Anyone can advocate for high-potential women to be considered for promotions.  Anyone can suggest that women on a work team should be invited on “informal outings” with co-workers and leadership. The most insidious aspect of structural sexism is that it is generally invisible to those it doesn’t hurt. Being a good ally requires education and partnership. One requires an open mind, the other requires a fiercely committed heart.”

If you are interested in interviewing Jennifer PeeksMease, please contact me— I would happy to connect you.

Media contact: Hannah Robinson,, 520-222-2808.

Expert can discuss gender and politics

… says Kristin Wylie, an assistant professor of political science at James Madison University. Wylie is an expert on gender and politics, political parties, and elections, with an emphasis on Brazilian politics.

“Women remain underrepresented in elected office, averaging just 24% of legislative seats in representative bodies worldwide. There are several obstacles to women’s political participation, including social norms that frame politics as a masculine endeavor, gender and race-based resource inequities, change-resistant political parties, and electoral rules and informal networks privileging incumbents and other insiders. The combined effects of such barriers disincentivize and discourage women from seeking office. Recent developments in the US, Brazil, and beyond, however, suggest we may have reached a tipping point, with record numbers of women – especially women of color – running for and winning electoral office, and thereby challenging the status quo of white male overrepresentation. The increased political presence of diverse women bodes well for the quality of democracy, as democratic governance entails extending voice to all people, and more inclusive decision-making bodies enhance both effectiveness and legitimacy.”

 If you are interested in interviewing Kristin Wylie, please contact me— I would happy to connect you.

 Media contact: Hannah Robinson,, 520-222-2808.

 Expert can discuss women in STEM

Louise Temple, a professor of integrated science and technology, has more than 23 years experience teaching and doing research with undergraduates. A main focus of her research is studying Bordetella avium, the causative agent of bordetellosis in turkeys. Her goal is to understand the upper respiratory disease and develop a vaccine.

Dr. Temple has always been closely involved with her students while at the same time building collaborative projects with faculty colleagues. In JMU’s Viral Discovery Program, she facilitates early research experiences for college students using bacteriophage discovery and genomics as the study model.

Dr. Temple also teaches a course called, "Gender Issues in Science." Part of the Women's and Gender Studies minor at JMU, the interdisciplinary course looks at the scientific process, science practitioners and science students through the lens of gender analysis. Students read literature, lead discussions, perform experiments and analyze both data and processes to address the effects of educational systems on the preparation and careers of scientists, the influence of politics and culture on scientific inquiry, and the effects of critiques grounded in gender analyses on understanding the scientific process.

If you are interested in interviewing Dr. Temple, please contact me. I would be happy to connect you.

Media contact: Eric Gorton,, 540-908-1760

Expert can discuss women in the military

Since 2010, Amelia F. Underwood has served an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Military Science (Army ROTC) and in the JMU Honors College. Amelia teaches courses on Leadership, American Military History, and American Women at War, which examines the experiences and contributions of women in the U.S. during times of war to include the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War(s). Included in the scope of this course is an examination of how women in military service are an instrument for societal change in America, specifically in promoting the cause of women’s rights and racial equality.

Amelia is available to discuss women in the military and the impact they’ve had on its structure.  If you are interested in interviewing Amelia Underwood, please contact me— I would be happy to connect you.

Media contact: Hannah Robinson,, 520-222-2808

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Published: Friday, March 1, 2019

Last Updated: Monday, March 11, 2019

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