Katie Batza graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2002, having earned a bachelor’s with Honors as well as a Master’s degree in History. She then moved to Chicago to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago to earn a Ph.D. in history and a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies, which she completed in 2011. Since her graduation, Katie has worked in both History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies departments at a number of institutions including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Macalester College, Gettysburg College, and the University of Kansas. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas and teaches a broad range of undergraduate and graduate classes. She has served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies as well as the Director of Graduate Studies in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas Her research examines the intersection of health, sexuality, and politics in the final decades of the twentieth century United States. She has published widely, including her book Before AIDS: Gay Health Politics in the 1970s. In additional to typical academic publications, Katie has done a great deal of public history working with the National Park Service to include more LGBTQ historic sites in the National Register of Historic Places, the Griot Black History Museum, and numerous oral history and public humanities-related projects. Her work has won numerous awards including a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Her current book project explores the regional response to the early AIDS epidemic in the United States Heartland, a region often overlooked and overshadowed by the coastal histories that focus on large cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. By focusing on AIDS in the Heartland, Katie hopes to uncover how people impacted with AIDS built communities, services, and support networks amidst the religiously and politically conservative backdrop of this region and how race, class, and sexuality factored into regional responses.
Starting at age 13, when Katie helped co-found the first queer youth organization in the South, Katie has been an engaged activist. She has held numerous leadership roles in queer-related organizations on every campus with which she has been affiliated. She interned at the Clinton White House and has continued to be politically engaged to this day. Katie sees both her dedication to intersectional and accessible research and her commitment to make college campuses more welcoming and supportive of students from marginalized communities as an important continuation of her activism.