Gwyneth Forsythe

Gwyneth Forsythe, Undergraduate student, Theatre Arts, History

Uncovers untold stories


What is your degree program and expected graduation date? I’ll be graduating in the Spring of 2019 with a BA degree, double-majoring in Theatre Arts and History

Please describe your research: My research is focused on the messenger work that Girl Guides did for British Intelligence agency MI5 during the First World War. I tell their story by writing a play and an honors thesis.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? It matters because it brings to light a part of the history of young women that has been overlooked for a century now. I believe that by telling their story, young women of today can feel empowered and inspired to make a difference in the tumultuous world they live in today.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started my research with the History Department’s Honors Program in the spring of my junior year. In theatre, I’ve written several plays since freshman year.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? This research has helped me build relationships with professors and theatre artists both at the University of Iowa and beyond. I have spoken with the foremost scholars on my topic of spies and Girl Guides. I was also able to go to London for my research and went to museums and archives that opened up new avenues of scholarship that I wouldn’t have been able to find otherwise. I have been able to work on and produce my play about Girl Guides during the First World War, Messenger: The MI5 Girl, at the University. These research experiences have helped deepen and broaden my work, as I pursue my career goal of writing plays and screenplays based on historical research.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I plan to continue as a playwright and screenwriter. I’m currently looking into internships and grad schools that will help me become a better writer and will let me use my background in history to inform my writing, and to tell stories from history that have been forgotten or overlooked.

Faculty mentor/advisor: Jeffrey Cox (History), Lisa Schlesinger (Theatre Arts)

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa



Banner location: Downtown—Dubuque Street, between Washington Street and Iowa Avenue