Marcy Quiason poses for a portrait amid fall colors on Main Hall Green.
Portrait on Main Hall Green: Marcy Quiason (Photo by Danny Damiani)

About the series: On Main Hall Green With … is an opportunity to connect with faculty on things in and out of the classroom. We’re featuring a different Lawrence faculty member each time — same questions, different answers.

Marcy Quiason has wasted no time in contributing to campus life beyond the classroom.

An Associated Colleges of the Midwest-Mellon Faculty Fellow, she joined the Lawrence University faculty a year ago as an assistant professor of gender studies. She has served on the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs—she just joined the Policy and Procedures subcommittee—and recently agreed to become a faculty advisor for the Lawrence University Thrift Store.

Quiason came to Lawrence from the University of Kansas after completing a Ph.D. in women, gender, and sexuality studies, with a concentration in political science (international relations and public policy).

She earned master’s degrees in both political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Kansas, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas in women’s studies and political science.

We caught up with Quiason to talk about her interests in and out of the classroom.

In the classroom

Inside info: What’s one thing you want every student coming into your classes to know about you?

I want students to know that my classes are both challenging and fun.

My classes are fun because we discuss a wide range of topics relevant to your daily life. Recently in Introduction to Gender Studies, we discussed the Barbie movie, labor issues, corgis, fashion, and sports. All in one week.

My classes may be challenging because you will critically analyze things that are important to you and challenge ideas that you grew up believing. That can be an uncomfortable process, but it can be revelatory and liberating. You will also sharpen your critical thinking and analytical skills. Therefore, it’s worth it in the end.

Getting energized: What work have you done or will you be doing at Lawrence that gets you the most excited?

Can I say everything? I’ve enjoyed being in the classroom, mentoring students, and participating in Lawrence’s intellectual community. Right now, I’m especially excited about being on the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs. I have always been interested in university-level diversity initiatives and polices. I’m glad that I can be on a committee that does that work. 

Going places: Is there an example of somewhere your career has taken you (either a physical space or something more intellectual, emotional, or spiritual) that took you by surprise?

Honestly, the fact that I’m a professor sometimes takes me by surprise. Finishing my undergraduate degree was very difficult for me and the last thing I wanted to do was to go back to school. Imagine my surprise when a few years later I signed up to do five or more years of coursework and research.

I spent several years working as a domestic violence survivor advocate after college. During that time, I ran educational groups about domestic violence and grew to love educating adults. I also realized that there were problems with how the nonprofit and justice system addressed gender-based violence. My passion for education and desire to change the system through research brought me to my Ph.D. program and eventually to Lawrence.

Out of the classroom

This or that: If you weren’t teaching for a living, what would you be doing?  

In an alternative universe, I’d be working as a quantitative or qualitative researcher in the private sector. I could also see myself doing program development for a nonprofit.

Right at home: Whether for work, relaxation or reflection, what’s your favorite spot on campus?

I love sitting on the benches near Main Hall. I end up chatting with folks while admiring the green space.  Shout out to the Facilities folks who take care of the Main Hall Green and the beautiful plants that are in that area.

One book, one recording, one film: Name one of each that speaks to your soul? Or you would recommend to a friend? Or both?

I like to read fun books in my free time. I just finished the first book in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mysteries book series. It’s called Arsenic and Adobo. It has a Filipina-American protagonist and it’s the first time that I’ve felt represented in something like a cozy mystery series.

I’ve been listening to the album Bothered/Unbothered by JER. They are one of the best artists in modern ska music. Their songs discuss things like identity, race, and decolonization. If you like ska, it’s worth a listen.

I’m a big fan of rom-com films. One of my favorite ones is a lesser-known film called Saving Face. It’s one of the few movies that feature an Asian-American lesbian couple and has a happily-ever-after ending. It’s an essential watch if you are a fan of queer cinema.

See more On Main Hall Green With ... faculty profiles here