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Dr. Saniya Lee Ghanoui ’07 Named Program Director of ‘Our Bodies Ourselves Today’

Marymount Manhattan College is proud to share two recent accomplishments of Saniya Lee Ghanoui ’07, Ph.D., an alumna of MMC’s Communication Arts program and former adjunct professor in the Department of Communication and Media Arts. Dr. Ghanoui recently completed her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, focusing on the history of twentieth-century sex education in the U.S. and Sweden. Shortly afterward, Dr. Ghanoui was appointed as Program Director for Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) Today in the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University.

OBOS Today is a digital platform that provides up-to-date, trustworthy, and inclusive health and sexuality information for women, girls, and gender-diverse people. In her role as Program Director, Dr. Ghanoui notes that she utilizes many of the skills, lessons, and subject areas that she learned at MMC.

“My interest in women’s health, gender and sexuality studies, and media piqued during my time at MMC,” says Dr. Ghanoui. “In my classes, I remember discussing how society constructed our understandings of sexuality, gender, race, and disability—lessons that are the blueprint in my role at OBOS Today.

Results of an MMC Education

Dr. Ghanoui additionally credits the small liberal arts structure of MMC and the flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the Communication Arts program with providing her with critical analysis, writing, and presentation skills.

“The Communication and Media Arts program offered me ample room for exploration, allowing me to combine my interests in media, gender, and sexuality studies to become both a critical media consumer and media producer,” continues Dr. Ghanoui. “My entire career has been based around these interests, and my time at MMC really helped put that foundation down for my graduate studies and subsequent jobs.”

Furthermore, MMC’s faculty encouraged her to explore new avenues of research and to publish her writing, Dr. Ghanoui shares. “My final year capstone class was with Professor Laura Tropp, and I wrote about stereotypical representations of gender roles in movie trailers and advertisements. With her support, I presented that essay at my first conference.”

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Ghanoui continued to expand her interdisciplinary experiences at MMC by involving herself in leadership positions outside of her major, such as working on productions for the Department of Theatre Arts.

“By getting involved outside my studies, I developed project and people management skills and learned how to tune my interpersonal communication skills,” says Dr. Ghanoui. “These are lessons that served me well both in graduate school and in my current position with OBOS Today.”

Success Beyond Graduation

After completing her bachelor’s at MMC, Ghanoui earned her Master’s in Journalism from Emerson College (Boston), a second Master’s in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU, and most recently her Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Ghanoui did not leave MMC for long, however, returning as an adjunct professor to teach courses in Communication and Media Arts and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

“I treasured having the opportunity to connect with MMC students through different avenues—first as a student myself and then as their professor,” says Dr. Ghanoui. “I never felt that I was just another student or another adjunct while at MMC. The professors connected with me to support my own interests and offer advice on how to improve myself as an instructor, leader, and scholar.”

In addition to her experience in higher education, Dr. Ghanoui is a leader in the digital humanities, seeking to bridge academia with the greater public. Positions and accomplishments to this end include:

  • Board Member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, a nonprofit organization that researches menstrual health
  • Producer for Sexing History, a podcast that examines the history of gender and sexuality
  • Editor for Notches, an international blog where she writes on the history of global sex education, sexuality, and disability
  • Co-creator of SourceLab, a program that combines undergraduate research with digital publishing opportunities

“Even though I am an academic, it continues to be important for me to carry my interests outside the classroom and academia,” says Dr. Ghanoui. “While I started or become involved with these projects after my time at MMC, the confidence I built and the zeal I developed during my undergraduate education prepared me for these roles.”

Congratulations Dr. Ghanoui on all of your amazing accomplishments!

Published: June 28, 2021