Assistant Professor of Women's Studies
College of Liberal Arts
"I hope that my students learn from me to open their eyes, minds, and hearts to the joys and problems the world presents."
Deeply invigorated. Continuously creative. A true mentor. A rare professor. These are just a few of the descriptions students give for Carol Conaway, an assistant professor of women’s studies and affiliate assistant professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts.
Conaway’s passion for teaching and hunger for learning permeates her classrooms. “She never speaks to us, she speaks with us, and she speaks for us, which forces us to articulate and develop our thoughts. I feel like a participant and a peer, rather than a nameless student,” says Emily Lusenhop ’09.
It is through teaching that Conaway hopes to make a difference in society, a calling she recognized well before she became a professor.
One of her most poignant experiences occurred while working for a Boston think tank to investigate how racial segregation affected the ability of minorities to find decent housing. “In Florida, I interviewed an illiterate African American woman. While we were talking, we had to keep the kitchen door open so that the rats could get out. When I left her apartment, I swore that I would do everything in my power to right the wrongs done to people who had never had any schooling and were unable to fend for themselves,” she says.
It wasn’t until Conaway, as a graduate student at MIT, received the school’s most prestigious award for graduate teaching that her path in academia was set.
A professor at UNH since 2003, Conaway teaches and researches feminist studies, race studies and African American women, gender and queer studies, nineteenth century African American women, and political rhetoric in media, particularly newspapers of the nineteenth century.
“I hope that my students learn from me to open their eyes, minds, and hearts to the joys and problems the world presents,” she says. “They realize that I have very high expectations that they will solve some of the most intractable problems. I tell them that my generation is winding down, and that now the world is in their hands. When they leave my classes, I hope that they understand that, no matter what their race, creed, class, gender, or sexuality, they each have an important role to play.”