National Group Honors UTEP Sociology Professor
Last Updated on February 24, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Originally published February 24, 2020
By UC Staff
Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) presented The University of Texas at El Paso's Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, with its SWS 2020 Feminist Activism Award during the group's recent winter meeting in San Diego, California.
The award recognizes SWS members who have used sociology notably and consistently to improve conditions for women in society as well as outstanding feminist advocacy efforts. The group established the award in 1995.
Leyser-Whalen said what made the recognition so special was that she received it from an incredible community of scholars and activists. She shared the award with her supportive peers in UTEP’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and her colleagues at the community organizations where she has served.
“Activism isn’t only about leadership,” Leyser-Whalen said a few days after the group’s awards banquet. “It’s also about using the available resources to help empower the amazing community activists. They are the hope of the future. I think this award celebrates them as well.”
The selection committee noted Leyser-Whalen’s willingness to share her feminist activism with her students and the greater El Paso community, especially among three area nonprofits dedicated to reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights and women’s rights: West Fund, Texas Rising and El Jardín Birth Resource Center.
“Ophra’s entire career has revealed the depth of her feminist focus and her commitment to making the world a better place for women, politically and socially,” according to her nominators.
As part of the honor, Leyser-Whalen will deliver a feminism activist talk at the group’s summer meeting in 2021 in Chicago and will participate in a campus visit during the 2020-21 academic year.
At UTEP, Leyser-Whalen involves graduate and undergraduate students in her research into reproductive health, abortion, fertility and contraception. Clinical and social science journals have published their findings. Nominators also noted her work as a faculty adviser and a responsible mentor, especially to female scholars and junior faculty.