Roksana Alavi

Doctoral Student, Philosophy
GTA, Philosophy and Women’s Studies
KU Distinguished Graduate Service Award, 2004
February Sisters Association Co-Chair, 2003-2004
Department of Philosophy Summer Templin Fellowship, 2003 and 2004
Recipient of the Women’s Faculty Council Award for Outstanding Thesis Written on Women’s Issues, Oklahoma State University, 2001-2001
Second place in the Robinson Essay Award, 2004

What led you to your area of study/field of interest?

Given that I had grown up in two different cultures, there were lots of questions about right and wrong. I had many questions that my two cultures (at home and outside the home) were giving me different answers to. Philosophy was a way for me to really think about my life and life options and to gain answers. Sometimes it didn’t give me answers, and it still does not, but it always gives me the methods and tools I need to search for answers.

My interest in Women’s Studies came from an ongoing interest in human rights. The obvious oppression of women in my home country only added to this interest.

What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?

The three that are the most meaningful are: the distinguished service award, which the Philosophy Department honored me with, my involvement in the February Sisters Association in 2003-2004, as well as the award that I received for my thesis from Oklahoma State University.

I learned so much from being involved with the February Sisters Association and was able to make many contributions to the university community in 2004-2005. Also, my involvement with the Philosophy department activities (Graduate Student representative serving in many committees) has also been educational. The Philosophy Department’s acknowledgement of these services has been very kind.

Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life?

I have had many people who have impacted my life in many ways. It would be unfair not to mention at least a handful of them. Among those are my parents, who have never stopped taking challenges and looking for a better life. They taught me not to be afraid of change.

At KU, Professor Ann Cudd, Women’s Studies and Philosophy, has been a great role model and a wonderful friend. I hope to someday do what she has done for me for others. What I have learned from her so far, no book could have taught me.

Last but not least my beloved who has in the past several years has, literally, taken me to the bottom of the deep caves, the top of the tallest mountains in the United States and across the New Mexico deserts. Through those challenges, I have learned to better trust my world and my abilities.

Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?

I think it is important to recognize everyone for his or her accomplishments. It is perhaps even more important for women because women have been kept out of the public realm for so many centuries and their accomplishments unrecognized. Sharing women’s accomplishments will (hopefully) encourage those who might need to be encouraged. This includes women who are being recognized in their work. We all need to remember that we can do it.

What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?

My most favorite: passionate professors who made the topic real for us, regardless of what the topic was.

Least favorite: blatantly racist professors, of which, luckily, in my last decade of university experience I have only encountered two.

What is your definition of success?

Success is knowing you have done what you set out to do regardless of whether anyone notices.



The Emily Taylor
Women's Resource Center

1301 Jayhawk Boulevard
Room 400 Kansas Union
Lawrence, KS 66045-7548

Contact Information:
Phone: 785.864.3552
Fax: 785.864.4595
Email: etwrc@ku.edu