This month we celebrate Rosie Tran, a 2019-2020 WomenNC Scholar!
Rosie’s research project for WomenNC focused on the stigma surrounding menstruation in the K-12 sexual health curriculum in public schools and how such shaming impacts girls. She worked under the mentorship of Julia Brinton from RTI’s Global Center, herself a young public health analyst specializing in school-based research. About her experience in the program, Rosie noted her appreciation for the WomenNC network of researchers, activists and advocates. “ I learned a lot from people from different backgrounds and perspectives and the importance of engaging with those that are different from you!” She also believes that forming a close connection with an experienced researcher allowed her to better hone these skills and produce a stronger final product.
Rosie graduated in May 2020 from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with B.A. in political science and women’s and gender studies. She is currently a 4th grade teacher for Teach for America in San Antonio, Texas and plans to continue teaching for the next 2 years. Of her students Rosie says that the enthusiasm she sees in her 4th grade students makes her excited to come into the classroom every day to learn and grow with them!
Rosie’’s initial inspiration for her project came from her personal experience. Her decision to focus on how sex education programs in schools provide information to students about periods stems from the stigma she felt as a girl in middle school menstruating. She believes the shame she often felt was unfair to herself and to others in the same situation. Her project consisted in a concentrated literature review that included policy proposals from scholars in the field as well as interviews with school-based administrators. Ultimately, she was able to conclude that menstrual stigma reduction will only occur if conversations around menstruation between students and teachers, parents and their children, and school administrators and parents are made more frequent and seen as appropriate.
Rosie’s work was presented at multiple venues, including NCSU’s Gender and Equity Research Symposium, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and in front of the Durham County Women’s Commission. These kinds of presentations comprise an integral part of an advocacy strategy all scholars create as part of our Leadership Training Program in order to improve the lives of women and children with direct and forceful interactions with policy makers, academics, and community activists.
Rosie’s advocacy regarding eliminating the stigma that so often attends the topic of menstruation extends beyond her efforts as a WomenNC scholar. Currently in her spare time, she volunteers with Sync Up, an organization which aims to educate young people on menstruation and provide resources and products for those who need them. She regularly participates in virtual events which promote the use of sustainable menstrual products and engages in stigma reducing-conversations with students from a variety of backgrounds.
We are so proud of Rosie for all her hard work as a WomanNC scholar and as a teacher working with students who need her skills and talents. We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next!