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Founded in 2019, the CLASS Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality is the first university-based think tank on gender and sexuality in our region. Focused on Houston and Harris County, the IRWGS examines the many challenges around these matters now facing individuals, policy makers, business and the community.

IRWGS faculty generate data and innovative research, and dialogue with the community on the ways gender and sexuality, viewed intersectionally, affect all aspects of life, including workforce, health, family and relationships, social dynamics, leadership and equity. We aim to spark community discussion; engage current and future leaders; transform public policy; and enhance well-being. Since demographically Houston forecasts America’s future, our findings will inform national discussion as well.


Faculty Affiliates



Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.


Elizabeth Gregory, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Audrey Miller, Ph.D.


Postdocs and Graduate Assistants

Saumali Daundesekara, Ph.D.
Sandra Poblano, M.S.


Advisory Council

Sue Payne, Chair
Nina Andrews
Leah Barton
Annette Bracey
Lemar Brown
Eleanor Gilbane
MaryScott Hagle
Geordie Hrdlicka
Mandy Kao
Shannon Langrand
GinRu Lee
Susana Monteverde
Kathryn Peek, Ph.D. 
Beverly Robinson
Rebecca Rush
Yava Scott
Angela Shippy, M.D.
Carey Shuart
MaryRoss Taylor
Patricia Gardner Young