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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Research Revealed

Presentations range from feminists on flooding, to anti-bullying and more.

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, 4-9-2013

Who knew there could be a feminist perspective on something as universally devastating as massive flooding?

As it turns out, said col­lege student Tiffany Zilka, there is. Zilka’s presentation, “Feminist Perspectives on the Flooding Red River of the North: Students and Flood of 2009,” was part of the second Minnesota Conference of Undergraduate Scholarly and Creative Activity Monday at Minnesota State University.

Zilka looked at research on gender and social norms with regard to natural disasters, as well as conducted interviews with 14 female students at Minnesota State University-Moorhead impacted by the Red River flooding in 2009.

“Women are more likely to be impacted by natural disasters,” she said, partly due to the roles they tend to take on.

Zilka learned women are more likely to be “altruistic,” meaning taking on tasks such as sand-bag­ging and taking care of the elder­ly. “Civil virtue” is more common among men, meaning managerial positions in natural disasters.

Women also are more likely to experience a high level of stress when their social support system is negatively affected. And they are more likely to experience dis­crimination during the events.

“Like if a woman was sand-bag­ging and was asked by a male to go make sandwiches,” said Zilka, a senior.

Katherine Bullock, a sopho­more, presented on the timely subject of anti-bullying laws and suicide research related to the les­bian, gay, bisexual and transgen­der community. Using reports in scholarly journals and surveys, she found that the LGBT commu­nity are three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexu­als. Bullying has a great deal to do with these incidents, she said.

“Bullying seems to be very prominent (among) LGBT youth,” she said.

More than 80 percent of LGBT youth in grades K-12 who were studied reported being bullied. “That is a lot,” she said. “It is higher than heterosexual students.”

The transgender community is among those most victimized. Bullock’s research shows, among K-12 youth studied, 76 percent reported being verbally harassed by peers; 35 percent were physically assaulted by them; 5 percent were physically assaulted by faculty; and 31 percent were verbally assaulted by faculty.

“I knew it was different between heterosexuals and LGBT; I didn’t know the magnitude of how different it was,” Bullock said.

Bullock said in states with anti-bullying laws in place, there were fewer incidents of bullying.

The conference included students from colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at


The 15th annual Minnesota State University Undergraduate Research Symposium will be April 16.

The event is 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom and is free and open to the public.

MSU students will pres­ent research, creative and scholarly projects through poster presentations, oral papers, visual art, displays, and performance art.

A delegation from Northeastern State University in Magadan, Russia — which also partic­ipated in Monday’s MnSCU research conference — will be presenting projects. The Russian delegation includes six students who represent undergraduate and gradu­ate programs in preschool, elementary, secondary and special education. For more information, contact Alexandra Panahon, Marilyn Hart or Natasha Olson at 389-1706;; or visit­ence/.

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