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Emily Van Houweling

Degree, Program, and date of graduation: Planning, Policy and Globalization - expected May 2013

Dates of working with the WGD Program: Spring 2009 - present

What work did you do with the WGD program?

"I have been involved with the WID program in a number of different capacitates. My first introduction to the program was an independent study I completed with Dr. Christie. The objective of the independent study was to design focus groups activities for rural Mali. In the Spring of 2010 I co-taught a class with Dr. Christie called, 'Women, the Environment and Development.' Dr. Christie and Dr. Moore also currently serve on my dissertation committee.

"I have twice presented at the WID seminars. The first presentation was related to my thesis research on men's and women's livelihood strategies in rural Mali. The second presentation focused on the disjuncture between the theory and practice of empowerment and participatory planning in the water sector."

Most exciting experience, interesting discovery, or connections made:

"For me the WID program has filled a real gap in classes offered at VT, by connecting real life experiences to gender theory and research methodology. The WID program has also provided me with the opportunity to get feedback on study designs, research proposals, and emerging findings from experts in these fields."

After-graduation plans:

"I am currently writing my dissertation about research I conducted in rural Mozambique. With the support of a Fulbright grant I conducted fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in five rural communities in Northern Mozambique to understand the social, livelihood and gender related impacts of a large water project. When I defend my dissertation I will be looking for a teaching and research job in academia that allows me to continue to work on gender and development issues in Africa."

How has the WGD program influenced your future?

"My work with the WID program provided me with a theoretical lens and set of methodological tools for investigating gender issues. The WID program also put me in contact with other students and development practitioners who were also interested in similar issues. This community proved to be very valuable when I was conducting research in situations where I would have otherwise had very little support."