As the first in her family to attend college or university, Gwen Benaway struggled with feeling a sense of belonging in higher education.
“I didn’t have the financial or social supports to continue my education after I completed my undergraduate studies,” says Benaway. “So I worked in policy development in the public service for eight years. But I realized I had deep regrets about not pursuing my education, so I decided to return as a mature graduate student.”
Now a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Women & Gender Studies Institute, Benaway has forged an accomplished career as an award-winning poet, essayist and advocate.
Her latest success is taking home the top prize in the Personal Journalism category at the 2019 National Magazine Awards for her essay, “A Body Like A Home,” which tells the story of her gender confirmation surgery — a story about the complexity of bodies and being.