February 27, 2014



New women's study scholarship honors feminist activism

By Michele Janette

A new scholarship for women's studies majors seeks to recognize the long history of feminist activism in Kansas and to encourage a new generation of change-makers. Made possible by a generous donor, this scholarship is given in honor of Clarissa Howard Nichols, 19th century women’s rights activist.

Nichols moved from Vermont to Kansas in 1855. Based in Wyandotte County, she worked professionally as a journalist, contributing articles on women's rights to the Lawrence Herald of Freedom and the Topeka Kansas Tribune. She also served tirelessly as a lobbyist and public intellectual, traveling through the Kansas territory as a speaker for the Kansas Women's Rights Association. Largely due to her efforts, the Kansas state constitution was written to grant women equal rights to education, custody of their children, and vote in local school matters. After Kansas gained statehood, Nichols campaigned with Susan B. Anthony to gain full voting rights for women in the state.

This new K-State scholarship continues Nichols’ legacy by supporting a women’s studies major early in the college career of a student who demonstrates an ability to achieve change and overcome obstacles. The $850 scholarship will be awarded through an application process. Eligible applicants are women’s studies majors with freshman or sophomore standing, a GPA of 2.5 or higher and who are enrolled a minimum of 12 hours at Kansas State University. Applicants will write a short essay that discusses either an activist or community improvement goal, or a personal obstacle that has been overcome and how these relate to women’s studies.

The application deadline is March 31. For full application details, please contact the women's studies department at womst@k-state.edu or see the departmental website.

If, rather than being eligible to apply for this scholarship, you are interested in helping create further scholarship opportunities for women's studies students at Kansas State University, please contact Michele Janette, women’s studies department head, at mjanette@k-state.edu, or Sheila Walker, College of Arts and Sciences director of development, and sheilaw@found.ksu.edu.