Women’s History opener sheds light on single mother students

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UT-Dallas professor will share her research at an event Wednesday in McAllister.

By Maria Gardner

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The opening ceremony for Women’s History Month at this college will feature Dr. Jillian M. Duquaine-Watson, senior lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, who will present her research findings and latest book “Mothering Alone in a Chilly Climate.”

“Single mothers are really hidden, nontraditional students on our campus,” Lisa K. Zottarelli, Women’s History Month committee chair, said Feb. 24. “They are juggling being a mother and a student, very time- and resource-consuming.”

Duquaine-Watson earned a Ph.D. in women’s studies at the University of Iowa with a concentration in feminist socio-cultural anthropology.

The committee invited Duquaine-Watson because of the quality of her 10-year research on single mothers and the importance of bringing to light the challenges that this unrecognized portion of the student population faces, Zottarelli said.

The college does not collect data on the number of single parents enrolled, Zottarelli said.

“We know that they are in our classrooms. We have single dads at the college, too, “ she said.

Some of the challenges ZottarellIi said single mothers face are constraints in time, money and juggling “the emotional work of being a parent and student.”

“Traditionally single parents did not go to college; they went to the work force. But now they need a degree so that they can provide for their family.”

She said that it’s important for not only students but for faculty to learn about single-parent students because it “gives us a chance to create more inclusiveness.”

“This gives us insight (about single parent students) that we don’t know much about,” she continued. “They have issues that are different. One that often doesn’t get all that attention that they deserve to help with what they need … these are individuals that need support. They actually do an amazing job,” Zottarelli said.

She said that this presentation is an excellent fit to this year’s theme “women leading the way in new development” because single mothers are “vanguard in their own lives.”

“(Going to college) this is how one builds a life and provides for a family. What we can do to build their success is really important,” she said.

The presentation will be 6-8 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center and includes and open discussion with the audience.

For information, email Zottarelli at lzottarelli@alamo.edu.

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