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By Katie Neitz

A new honor cord made its debut at Lafayette’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday. Ten seniors proudly draped lilac cords over their gowns to represent their membership in Iota Iota Itoa, the national academic honor society for women’s and gender studies (WGS) programs.

The Class of 2018 is Lafayette’s first to have members in the society, which recognizes academic excellence and success among WGS majors.

The 10 graduating seniors are among the 21 students and two honorary faculty members who were inducted into the society, commonly known as Triota, at the annual WGS year-end dinner in April. Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology Susan Basow and Professor of English Deborah Byrd were honored for their work as founders and first coordinators of the WGS program.

Gaining membership into the society has long been a goal of Charles A. Dana Professor of WGS and English Mary Armstrong. She completed the final steps this spring, enabling the College to have its own official chapter, Epsilon Alpha.

“Membership in Triota is an important formal recognition for our program,” Armstrong says. “It represents the tremendous work of our students and faculty and advances the status and value of women’s and gender studies as an intellectual practice on campus and in society.”

In addition to the Triota inductees, Armstrong also announced the recipient of the Susan A. Basow Award at the celebratory dinner. Taylor Corsi ’18, who will graduate with an A.B. in WGS and a B.S. in neuroscience, was honored in recognition of her significant contributions and impact on the program.

It is an absolute honor and incredibly special to receive an award named for Professor Basow, the original force behind the creation of the WGS program at Lafayette,” Corsi says. “To be recognized for my academic achievements and my work as a political agent for change at Lafayette by a wonderful professor and incredible feminist figure was a great ending to my undergraduate career.”

Now that the Epsilon Alpha chapter is established, Armstrong says the new inductees who represent the Class of 2019 will work to support the mission of Triota by promoting interest in women’s and gender studies and engaging in volunteerism and advocacy.

These are the newly inducted members of Triota:

  • Fatima Akbar ’18
  • Samantha Arnold ’18
  • Professor Susan Basow
  • Alexandra Bell ’18
  • Rebecca Bender ’18
  • Professor Deborah Byrd
  • Lauren Champagne ‘’19
  • Emma Cohen ’18
  • Taylor Corsi ’18
  • Hope Gernert ’19
  • Olivia Grigaux ’19
  • Sara Hayet ’18
  • Allie Jones ’18
  • Danielle Kats ’19
  • Emily Keller-Coffey ’19
  • Reeve Lanigan ’19
  • Nicole Lauricella ’18
  • Jordan McAndrew ’19
  • Toni Michaels ’18
  • Louise Olson ’19
  • Zaki Phelan ’19
  • Jamie Taber ’19
  • Amelia Williams ’19
Categorized in: Academic News, Featured News, News and Features, Women’s and Gender Studies


  1. Freba Karimzad says:

    So proud of these dedicated students.
    I am also very grateful that our son Zaki Phelan has taken part in WGS studies.
    Best wishe

  2. Allison Berger '11 says:

    This is so wonderful! I’m proud of how much the program has developed over the years. I had the pleasure of having Professor Armstrong in 2010 and I really enjoyed her class. Then WGS was only available as a minor. Way to go Lafayette!

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