press kit
for the M.A. in Catholic Women’s and Gender Studies

Gain a deeply Catholic understanding of human flourishing and wholeness through engaging with the Church’s rich understanding of anthropology and human identity.

Virgin-Mary 500x330Gender is today’s hottest issue, causing division and widespread confusion about one of the most fundamental aspects of human life – what it means to be man or woman. The University of St. Thomas’s Nesti Center for Faith & Culture believes the path forward is found in the truths of the Catholic faith. UST will launch the only Master of Arts in Catholic Women’s and Gender Studies in the world that offers the riches of Church tradition and an authentically Catholic philosophy and theology of the human person. The program brings together top contemporary thinkers such as internationally recognized Catholic speaker and theologian Dr. Pia de Solenni, Erika Bachiochi, Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Arina Grossu Agnew, bioethicist and Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. The program will welcome students for the first time in the Fall of 2024.

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UST will hold a live virtual press conference on Tuesday, May 21 at Noon EDT to celebrate the official launch of the Master of Arts degree in Catholic Women’s and Gender Studies. It will feature Leah Jacobson, Program Coordinator for the Nesti Center for Faith & Culture, Dr. Kevin Stuart, Director of the Nesti Center for Faith & Culture, and select program faculty. Registration is required.

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Meet The Spokespersons

Leah A. JacobsonLeah A. Jacobson has been working with young people and mothers since 2000. She is a board-certified lactation consultant and founded the non-profit, The Guiding Star Project, in 2010.  She published her first book in 2021: Wholistic Feminism: Healing the Identity Crisis Caused by the Women's Movement (Lumen Press). She joined the University of St. Thomas (TX) in 2023 as the Program Manager for its Graduate Certificate in Sexuality and Gender program and currently oversees the first ever Master of Arts in Catholic Women's and Gender Studies degree as the Program Coordinator for the Nesti Center for Faith & Culture. Leah lives in Minnesota with her husband, Josh, and their seven children.

Dr. Kevin E. StuartDr. Kevin E. Stuart is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, Director of the Nesti Center for Faith & Culture, Director of the Master in Public Policy & Administration program, and Director of Catholic Studies. Previously, he served as president of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family & Culture, a social science research institute in Austin, Texas. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied public law and political philosophy, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. He earned a Master of Sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science after receiving undergraduate degrees in history and English literature from Louisiana State University. He is the past chairman of the Diocesan School Advisory Board for the Diocese of Austin, editor of the Catholicism & Society book series for the Society for Catholic Social Scientists (Franciscan University Press), a former headmaster at St. Mary's Catholic High School (Taylor, Tex.) and the owner of an award-winning political consulting and media firm. He and his wife have three children and are constantly working on their 100-year-old house.

Suggested Interview Questions
  1. UST will launch a new Master’s program in Catholic Women’s and Gender Studies. Why did the Nesti Center choose to add this new program?
  2. What is unique about the way this program was built?
  3. What are the subjects covered within the program, and how do you imagine they will be applied in the real world?
  4. You have an impressive lineup of instructors and guest lecturers.  Can you introduce our audience to some of them?
  5. The Master’s program is made up of three certificates that can be earned on their own. Are these open to nontraditional students, and how can busy professionals benefit from the structure of the program?
  6. Where can people go to learn more?
Media Requests

Dr. Kevin Stuart and Leah Jacobson are available for comment. Contact Carrie Kline at for interview requests.

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