Skip to main content
  • Home
  • About
  • Mohindar Singh Seehra Lecture Series

Mohindar Singh Seehra Lecture Series

The Mohindar Singh Seehra Endowment was created to benefit the Women’s and Gender Studies in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and provides funds to host a guest speaker to explore topics related to the challenges involved in combining and balancing a professional career with a family life for the modern woman in the workplace.

2023 Lecturer announced

The WVU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies is delighted to announce that Dr. Sharla Alegria has been named the 2023 Seehra Lecturer.

sharla alegria
Dr. Alegria’s lecture entitled, “Lessons from the Tech Industry on Gender, Racialization, and Work/Family Conflict,” will be on April 10, 2023, 2-3 pm in the Greenbrier Room (Mountainlair). Dr. Alegria is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her research examines inequalities that persist when individuals and organizations embrace principles of equity. She has received funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the United States National Science Foundation. Her work has appeared in journals including the American Journal of Sociology, Gender & Society, and Ethnic & Racial Studies. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Toronto in 2019, Dr. Alegria held a faculty appointment at the University of California, Merced. She earned her PhD from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst in 2016. Dr. Alegria’s fields of study include colonialism, racialization and indigeneity; computational and quantitative research methods; gender; and work, stratification, and markets

Public Talk

“Lessons from the Tech Industry on Gender, Racialization, and Work/Family Conflict”

 Monday, April 10 at 2:00 pm

Greenbrier Room, Mountainlair        

 In this presentation Dr. Alegria will discuss emerging challenges to equity and inclusion in tech work, particularly as they emerge through gendered and racialized family care commitments. Applying an intersectional lens to understand how gender and race together shape women’s career paths in tech work, Alegria finds that white women, but not women of color, are promoted into mid-level management positions that do not provide pathways to executive leadership positions.  These promotions are paradoxically a step down in terms of status relative to engineering work. At the same time, the tech industry is the most extensive employer of temporary immigrant workers on H-1B visas, and most of these workers are men from Indian. The terms of H-1B visas ensure these workers have very little opportunity to make the kinds of job moves that would increase their ability to balance work and family demands. They are successful as masculine breadwinners, but, in a field that seems to value progressive, involved fatherhood they appear to hold to very traditional gender norms due to their working conditions, regardless of how involved they might like to be in providing care for their children.  Dr. Alegria will discuss the challenges and conflicts these issues present for workers and for equity and inclusion policies, and in turn, their consequences for emerging technologies and the tech industry

2018 Lecturer

Erika Kirby headshot
Erika L. Kirby will present the second Mohindar Singh Seehra Lecture on April 18.  Dr.  Kirby is the A.F. Jacobson Endowed Chair in Communication and a Professor of Communication Studies at Creighton University where she has been a teacher-scholar for 20 years. Erika received her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000 in organizational communication. Her area of expertise is to study the everyday intersections of working and personal life—often called “work-life balance.” In her scholarly work, she emphasizes how differing social identities (especially gender) assimilate into and collide with organizational structures as people strive for work-life integration and wellness. She co-edited the book Gender Actualized: Cases in Communicatively Constructing Realities , and her research on work-life has been published in numerous outlets in her discipline, including chapters in the  Handbook of Conflict Communication  and the  Handbook of Organizational Communication . In 2015, Erika received the National Communication Association’s Charles Woolbert award. Her teaching interests are courses in organizational communication and courses related to communication and social justice. She is Past-President of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender and a trained facilitator for the Great Plains Region of the Anti-Defamation League on issues of prejudice and discrimination. On a more personal note, she is also a Jazzercise instructor, the life partner of Bob and the mother of Meredith (20) and Sam (18)…both daughters are students at Creighton. 

Public Talk
Leading an “Integrated” Life: Relational and Reflective Communication Practices
In this presentation, Dr. Kirby will discuss how communicative practices can help (or hurt) work-life “balance”. She will discuss the communicative implications of how relationships—whether in the workplace, in the “homespace” or beyond—can be supportive and encourage work-life integration or non-supportive and create situations of overwork and stress. She will also discuss findings on “intrapersonal” communication and the utility of self-talk practices for finding balance, especially related to reflection and discernment. For both areas, academic findings will be combined with practical tips for leading a more integrated life.
Wednesday, April 18 at 4:00 p.m.
Shenandoah Room, Mountainlair        

2017 Lecturer

Karen Cardozo

Karen Cardozo is assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), where she coordinates Women’s Studies and Leadership Studies programs.  A s a scholar, she has published on diverse topics in ethnic, gender, literary, trauma and feminist science studies as well as on pedagogy and the academic profession. With a record of exemplary teaching at six institutions (the Five College Consortium of Western MA and MCLA), her inve n tive new courses include  Leading Women (integrates intersectional women's studies and leadership studies), World of Work (introduces life design as a response to the rapidly changing work landscape) and East Meets West (suggests how practicing mindfulness can disrupt the “mindlessness” of Orientalism to enable more genuine cross-cultural engagements).

A former dean at Mount Holyoke and career counselor at Harvard University and Williams College, she analyzes present configurations to hypothesize about the future of work, so that individuals and institutions can make ethical and informed decisions. Her relevant articles in this vein include “Academic Labor: Who Cares?” in Critical Sociology (2016) and “Contemplating Contingency: Toward a Posttenure Politics” in Modern Language Studies (2012) . The founder of Leap Here Consulting (specializing in PhD career coaching and higher education reform), Cardozo has served hundreds of clients across disciplines and sectors as an alt/out-ac coach, including in affiliation with The Professor Is In. She is writing a forthcoming book for that audience: "Careering Toward Authenticity: A Guide For Academics Who Need to Get a Life." She lives in Amherst, Mass. with her family and, in her own balancing act, performs regularly as a singer-songwriter in the indie rock band, Show of Cards.

Public Talk

Behaving Badly, Balancing Gladly: Women, Work and Life in the Wild New World 
Thursday, March 23 at 7 p.m. 
Rhododendron Room, Mountainlair

In this presentation, Karen Cardozo revisited the perennial question of whether women can “have it all,” through recent feminist scholarship and the burgeoning literature on the changing world of work. Looking at the rise of entrepreneurship, design thinking, and interdisciplinarity, as well as the renewed threats and activism of the Trump era, she explained why this “wild new world” Beck) is the ideal time to reclaim authenticity and engage in genuine life design rather than lifeless strategic planning. In this rapidly changing landscape, it isn’t the capacity to plan but the ability to “pivot”  that determines success and resilience. The dawn of a more fluid Conceptual Age is particularly good news for “scanners”, polymath types often dismissed as dilettantes in eras of hyper-specialization: today, such multifaceted and integrative thinkers are essential to disrupting the ubiquitous “silo effect” that fragments contemporary knowledge and experience. Reminding us that “well behaved women seldom make history," Cardozo suggested that we quit pursuing the elusive outcome of work-life balance and instead practice balancing authentically and gladly (which may or may not involve behaving badly).