Beyond the Classroom: Dr. Gabby Serrano

ASU Professor works tirelessly for women on campus

By Aubree Bailey
On April 13, 2018

Photo by Brit Raley
Dr. Gabby Serrano poses by her “Wall of Women,” where she posts pictures of inspirational women. such as Malala Yousafzai and Angela Davis. Also displayed is the AAUW Conference poster along with a sign indicating that her office is a safe zone for people of all genders and sexualities.


Dr. Gabby Serrano, an associate professor in the Department of English and Modern Languages, is not only passionate about 19th century American literature; she is also dedicated to studying  gender and promoting female involvement and opportunities on campus.

 After receiving her undergrad at the University of Texas El Paso, Serrano continued her education at the University of North Texas, receiving a doctorate in English and discovering her interest in gender studies.

“I was a TA in a women’s biology class. I got involved with the Women’s Studies Department at UNT, and that’s how I became fascinated with gender; before, I didn’t know you could study gender.”

Serrano came to ASU in 2007 and serves as an English professor and the department chair for Gender Studies. She believes the study of gender is important “for promoting equality among the genders, acceptance for the LGBTQ community, and addressing issues women face and emphasizing that these problems aren’t limited to women; it happens to men too.”

Serrano has also been instrumental in recently reviving the ASU chapter of the American Association of University Women. Serrano says she was motivated to do this upon realizing the lack of a support system for women ASU faced.

“We had two faculty members, women, who wanted to know what support systems we had for women on campus before they came to work here, and I said none. I want to create support systems for female faculty, staff and students so that next time someone asks that I am not left without an answer.”

AAUW’s mission statement is To provide a support system and opportunities for professional opportunities for women at ASU.” 

Serrano said that she wants to create a support system for women who face adversity in all areas of life.

Currently, AAUW is working to “address issues in career development, like negotiating a salary, and promoting women of color and the challenges they face. We want to talk about issues with Title IX and let students know what rights and resources they have. And to let people know feminism isn’t a bad word.”

The group has been holding Brown Bag Luncheons monthly, where they discuss these issues host various speakers. 

This month, they are hosting the first AAUW Women’s Conference on campus April 16-20.

“We’re starting off small, but we’re trying to address as many issues as we can related to women in academia.”

This includes seminars on the difficulties women face in academia and in general on campus. 

There will also be a Me Too panel on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in the C.J. Davidson Center to address sexual assault and the resources available to students on campus.

Serrano says that in the future she’d like to take AAUW beyond the university.

“I want to do community involvement. Right now, we have three of our members that walk dogs on Wednesdays, foster dogs and support PAWs, and one of our faculty works closely with Open Arms. We have colleagues who help organize the Girl Scout STEM conference. But we’d like to do more outreach.”

The professor would like to extend thanks to all of those who have helped organize the conference.

“There are five of us who have worked really hard to put this conference together. We’re from all different departments, and it adds so much to our association. We’ve had very generous people who have funded us. Our support systems here, the multicultural center and others, have helped tremendously.” 


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