Last weekend the Virginia Social Science Association held its annual conference at Virginia Commonwealth University, where senior Anthropology major Phebe Meyers was awarded the Peter Wallenstein Undergraduate Paper Award. Ms. Meyer was recognized for her work with women entrepreneurs in Washington DC, resulting in the paper presented at the conference, "Dimensions of the Female Entrepreneur: A Look at How Female Entrepreneurs Inhabit, Create, and Move Within Time and Space in Washington D.C.". Her participation was sponsored by Professors Tomoko Hamada and Danielle Moretti-Langholtz of the Anthropology Department.
The VSSA is the oldest and one of the most prestigious academic associations in Virginia. It seeks to bring together primary and secondary school teachers, college faculty and undergraduate and graduate students whose teaching and research centers on the social sciences, sharing knowledge and perspectives as well as current research among scholars at all levels. The theme of this year's conference was "Symbolism, Discourse and Inclusivity."
Phebe's research used participant observation and interviews to craft an ethnography of four female entrepreneurs who are changing the landscape of business in Washington D.C. By creating a model of two dimensions - the "communiscape" and the "timescape" - she argues that the spaces the female entrepreneur inhabits are dynamic and transform over time. She concludes that finding space and creating space are necessary to the female entrepreneur's experiences and to her success in building a business.
This was Phebe's first presentation at an academic meeting such as this. As she puts it: "I enjoyed participating in an environment where people separated by different areas of study gathered to pursue knowledge and ask questions regarding "Symbolism, Discourse and Inclusivity." I was encouraged as an undergraduate student to see these different disciplines come together and to see experienced professors and scholars supporting younger researchers. It was an exciting and intellectually-stimulating conference to be a part of!"