News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2014
Media Contact:
Edith Torres
[email protected]

The Women's Park and FIU's Center for Women's and Gender Studies announce 2014 High School Essay Writing Competition winners

Recipients to Receive Over $1,000 in Cash Awards at Reception on May 22, 2014, 6-7 p.m. at the Women’s Park

(MIAMI, May 16, 2014) – Seven high school students are the proud winners of a 500-word essay writing contest on women and gender, organized through a joint effort between the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, the Women’s Park, and Florida International University’s (FIU) Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, beating out over 50 other entries. The students will receive over $1,000 in cash awards at a reception in their honor on Saturday, May 22, from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Women’s Park, 10251 W. Flagler Street, in Miami.

Winners and their awards are as follows:  one $400 first place winner – Michelle Rodriguez; two $250 second place winners – Asha Bartholomew and Jacqueline Torres; and four $150 third place winners – Natalia Gonzalez, Daniela Vega, Gabrielle Bailey, and Cassi Johnson.  Proceeds from the 26th Annual In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony and Reception, an annual event that recognizes outstanding South Florida women leaders hosted by Miami-Dade Parks, Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, in partnership with the non-profit Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, and the FIU Women’s and Gender Studies Department together funded the cash awards for these aspiring young scholars.

In March, a call went out to junior and senior high school students to submit a 500-word essay expressing their views on different topics related to women and gender, including reproductive health, gender and media, and violence against women. Essays were graded using a variety of factors, including content, supporting details, style, organization and grammar, and were reviewed by a panel of professors and professionals from FIU and The Women’s Park.

Women’s Park, a Miami-Dade County park founded June 16, 1992, was the first park dedicated to women in the United States. It was created to honor all women past, present, and future for their contributions to the betterment of the quality of life in Miami-Dade County. Members of the Women’s Park Founder’s Committee include Roxcy O’Neal Bolton (“Mother of the Park”), Bonnie Lano Rippingille, Molly Turner, Teresa Zorilla Clark, Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Leona H. Cooper, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Elaine Gordon, Monna Lighte, and Helen Miller.

About the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award, winner of the 2013 Florida Governor’s Sustained Excellence Award and the 2009 Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade County Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,825 acres of land.  It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world.  Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more.  For information about Miami-Dade County Parks call 3-1-1, or visit

About The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade
The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization supporting the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County’s world-class parks system for residents and visitors.  Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable Miami community by ensuring the implementation of the Parks Open Space Master Plan and the development of year-round park and recreation programs for local children, adults and people with disabilities.  For more information on the Parks Foundation, please visit

About FIU’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies:
The FIU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies provides tools for analyzing the construction of women and gender, the relationship between gender and power, and the intersection of gender with sexuality, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, class, age and ability.

The center sponsors and administers academic degrees, courses, and community programming pertaining to the study of women of different ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, and economic backgrounds. This includes the study of gender expression across time and place, the conventions of femininity and masculinity, and the experiences of transgender persons.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies aren’t just bystanders, but agents in a rapidly changing society. They become participants in rediscovering history, correcting the omissions that are sometimes part of traditional education, and challenging the status quo. They discover and ask questions in order to reclaim the complete story of humanity. Students develop critical thinking skills and intellectual worldliness, leading to careers that effect change. Graduates are working in politics, law, medicine, journalism, public health, science, business, media, the arts, education and other careers.

Courses for the B.A. degree in Women’s and Gender Studies are offered onsite and online. Students can also pursue the degree as a dual degree or second major and will then be better prepared to enter a competitive job market and complex world. FIU students in psychology, political science, religious studies, sociology, and history, as well as other majors, can double major in Women’s and Gender Studies just by taking a few extra courses.

WST 3015 – Intro to Global Gender and Women’s Studies. Introduction to gender and its intersection with issues of race, class, and ethnicity from a global perspective. The focus will be on the diverse experiences of women and men across the globe.

WST 3641 – LGBT and Beyond: Non-Normative Sexualities in Global Perspectives. This is a global learning foundations course which will introduce you to the study of non-normative sexualities around the world.

WST 4504 – Feminist Theory. This course explores how women are viewed theoretically across the social sciences and humanities. Topics such as multiculturalism, cross-nationalism and post-modernism are addressed.

WST 4931 – Women in Leadership. Examines the foundation for theoretical leadership models and provides a forum for students to examine their own leadership style.

SOP 4774 – Female Sexuality. Psychological and behavioral aspects of women’s sexuality will be explored, including: anatomy, sexual functioning, pregnancy/childbirth. Sexual orientation, sexual variations, sexual assault/abuse, and relationships.