Q&A with Megan Lease: KU’s First PhD Candidate in Women’s Studies

On the first day of the new semester, Megan Lease made history.

Megan defended her dissertation, “A Strong Woman of the Lord: Performing Gender at the Intersection of Sport and Evangelical Christianity,” making her the first student at KU to receive a PhD from the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. KU is one of only 14 programs in the United States that offer a PhD in Women’s Studies.

After her defense we were able to catch up with Megan to learn a little bit more about KU’s first Women’s Studies doctoral candidate.

Hometown: Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Undergraduate major: History

Tell us more about your dissertation: My dissertation examines how female Christian athletes negotiate various and sometimes competing gendered expectations as Christians, women, and athletes.

Finish this sentence: “”In five years, I’ll be… financially stable and able to go on a vacation that isn’t an academic conference.”

“My favorite KU memory is… sitting by the pond with someone special”

“I became a Jayhawk because… the faculty in my department were super supportive. ”

“I’m most proud of… getting my doctorate in 4 years.”

The best advice I ever got: Don’t waste time caring what other people think about you.

My guilty pleasure: pro-wrestling

My super power would be: super strength.

What was the last thing you read for fun? Disgrace by JM Coetzee

What inspires you? My partner.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Get a dog.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? A medical doctor.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Batista, Dolf Ziggler, and the Big Show (pro wrestlers)

Megan Lease (second from the left) and her dissertation defense committee.