Sherry Jung

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Sherry Jung


During her research, Sherry learned that law is a complex mixture of both social and legal issues, something she intends to continue studying by attending law school. Sherry's project began with her interest in the Virginia Military Institute's struggle to remain single sex and her desire to place this struggle in a historical context. By participating in research and working closely with her advisor, Sherry augmented her analytical skills and self-confidence in her academic abilities. She encourages all students interested in research to do two things: "Pick a subject that you are interested in, and try to work with someone [with whom] you enjoy working." triangle.gif (504 bytes)




A comparison between historical Southern arguments against women's education and the recent arguments by the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) against the admission of women reveals the enduring nature of Southern gender conventions. As will be demonstrated, the arguments made in the VMI case are consistent with, and at some point identical to, arguments made 150 years earlier. Specifically, both arguments portray women as inferior to and less capable than men, thereby justifying limited opportunities for women. Rather than accept the expanding role of women throughout the nation, the South continues to adhere to these historical notions regarding the appropriate types of education for men and women.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                
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Pam Kelley

School of Social Sciences

In 1990, the United States sued the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), alleging that VMI's 150-year all-male admission policy was unconstitutional. In the case, VMI argued that women's unique educational needs and interests made the VMI program unsuitable for the vast majority of female students. Sherry Jung analyzes these arguments and compares them to antebellum arguments for limiting women's educational opportunities. This analysis reveals strikingly similar views of women's supposedly unique nature, interests, and abilities being used to defend both antebellum and modern policies limiting women's educational programs. This analysis illuminates the cultural persistence of gender-based stereotypes as well as their continued viability in the legal context. I highly recommend that undergraduates seek out research opportunities. Such projects benefit faculty as well through the sharing of knowledge and the enjoyment of coming to know students and watching them grow personally and intellectually.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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