Paul Hengesteg, Higher Education Administration Ph.D. student
Paul Hengesteg is attending Iowa State University as a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program and is minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. He completed his M. Ed. (Student Affairs) in 2016, as well as the Education for Social Justice Certificate.
I am originally from Northwood, IA. I did my undergraduate work at Simpson College, with double majors in Theater and German. Since graduation in 1999, I have lived and worked in Indianapolis, IN; Washington, DC; and Newark, DE; in professional theaters, non-profit advocacy organizations, and at a university. Yes, I’m a boomerang, and I am thrilled to have returned to Iowa to continue my education! My sister is a Cyclone, too!
What attracted you to your program at Iowa State?
Because I did my master’s degree here, it made sense to stay in this environment for my Ph.D. because I enjoyed the faculty I worked with and knew that I would be successful (and challenged!) in the next degree with their support. The energy and working environment of the SOE is very exciting. ISU was the clear choice for me as a master’s student because of the program’s strong theory-to-practice design, the outstanding faculty, felling welcomed and valued, and its strong reputation. They are some of the same reasons I chose to stick around for the Ph.D.
What are your research interests?
Broadly speaking, my research interest is the LGBTQ community and higher education. I like to explore how the queer community is supported (or not) by colleges and universities and how the community can be included in broader conversations about diversity and social justice. As I develop as a scholar into the future, I envision my research being expanded to include topics such as masculinities; pro-feminist thoughts; how students learn about issues of power, oppression, and social justice topics; and using the arts to advance student learning.
What do you like most about your program?
I particularly like the sense of personal support and encouragement I feel from the program leadership and faculty. I have found it helpful to build relationships with many faculty and staff within the School of Education across the university. My advisor knows how to push me to do good work, but is also personable with a sense of humor, available, and understands the concerns that doctoral students have – and there are many. I feel like I matter to the program just as much as it matters to me. Looking forward into my career, I sense that this program will prepare me for any option I consider when I’m finished.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Graduate students have such a thing as “free time”? Who knew! In all honesty, I enjoy using my free time to be with friends and family, especially now that I am geographically closer to them than I had been previously. When the time is right and the funds are available, I like to travel (I’m currently plotting a post-PhD/birthday trip to Germany). I enjoy cooking, which helps manage expenses by not buying lunch every day, and singing with the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus each Monday night. Finally, I serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors at Simpson College.