As a part of the Research through Inclusive Opportunities (RIO) program, liberal studies major Kathleen “Kat” Ramirez presented her research poster on Senate Bill (SB) 8, also known as the Texas abortion ban law, during the 10thAnnual Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) Conference.
The RIO program, led by the Office of Undergraduate Research, guides undergraduate students as they work on a year-long scholarly or creative project under a faculty mentor. In developing her undergraduate research project on SB 8, Ramirez worked with her faculty mentor, Liberal Studies Assistant Professor Maya Stovall.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Kat Ramirez,” said Stovall. “Her undergraduate research reflects her brilliance, her commitment to social justice, and her tremendous potential, and I am humbled to serve as Kat’s undergraduate research RIO faculty mentor in support of her undergraduate research, academic and professional goals.”
Ramirez presented on her research on March 4 at the event in the University Quad. The name of Ramirez’s project is entitled, “Senate Bill 8: An Intersectional Analysis of Reproductive Justice Consequences of the Texas Abortion Ban.”
“My research project examined the impact of reproductive rights policies affecting intersectional populations of women of color, low-income and working-class people, transgender people, and people who are immigrants,” said Ramirez. “Through theoretical frameworks such as Critical Race Theory and feminist theory, my study uncovered some of the harmful and disproportionate impacts of SB 8 upon historically marginalized people.”
While presenting at the research conference was a new challenge for her, Ramirez described the opportunity as a rewarding experience.
“Being able to share my research and bring awareness to these pressing social justice issues was an empowering moment for me,” she said. “Presenting at the RSCA gave me an opportunity to better my professional development and connect with others. It was an experience I will never forget.”
According to Stovall, the research process involved several phases, including a trip to Texas where Ramirez worked with her on a community project.
“Over the course of the academic year, Kat conducted auto-ethnographic research drawn from her lived experiences, as well as participant-observation over Zoom among college students in Southern California and the Southwest. In December, with RIO’s support, Kat traveled to Houston with me to collaborate in my artist residency and Neon Theatre research project. It continues to be a wonderful experience collaborating with Kat Ramirez, and I know her undergraduate research experience and accomplishments will lead to many exciting future opportunities!”
Ramirez credits her RIO undergraduate research faculty mentor and the liberal studies program in the College of Education and Integrative Studies (CEIS) in preparing her for this major step.
“Being a liberal studies student helped me prepare for RSCA by introducing me to the subject matter and by providing me with the tools to succeed,” said Ramirez. “In liberal studies, we use interdisciplinary approaches to understand the humanities and social sciences. In my research, I was able to analyze SB 8 by drawing from these disciplines to support my findings. Additionally, discussing difficult topics in our classes is common, and our professors show us how to approach these challenges as a scholar or professional would do. This contributed a great deal to my level of comfort and confidence in being able to discuss sensitive matters in my academic and professional career.”
Ramirez is currently a second-year student, but once she graduates, she plans to pursue a career in teaching.
“I would like my career to be in education or social justice, maybe both,” she said. “Teaching is a great opportunity to help others reach their full potential and work alongside other esteemed educators. At the same time, I would also enjoy building a career where I can advocate and help vulnerable populations. Teaching and social justice are passions that I hope to incorporate into my career.”