The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Graduate Students

Ruthfirst Ayande

Ruthfirst Eva Anaale Ayande is a PhD candidate in Public Health (Nutrition concentration). She holds an MSc in Dietetics, and a BSc in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Ghana. Ruthfirst conducts interdisciplinary research in maternal and child health. Employing feminist epistemologies, she draws on the lived and intersubjective experiences of women in Ghana to understand the structures and systems that disenfranchise them and bar them from attaining optimum health. Her long-term goal is to co-formulate, through community engaged research, suitable and sustainable solutions to improve health outcomes of women and children.

Christine (Chris) Bailey

Chris is a PhD student in the Political Science Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Idaho State University (2018). Chris’ research centers on American Government, Public Law, and Law and Society scholarship that addresses a wide variety of topics including judicial decision-making and the ways in which social movements influence the judicial system. Central to her work is Feminist issues within American governement and the American judicial system, including how gender impacts judicial decision-making and how gendered court precedent is penned and promulagted throughout American society and the legal system. Chris also specializes in social science research and Feminist research methodologies and epistemologies. Her most recent work addresses the ways in which gender and gendered influences can become essentialized by social science research methodologies. She has published work on the gendered nature of State Supreme Court precedent diffusion throughout the U.S., and she is currently conducting research on LGBTQ+ media and the legal consciousness of the LGBTQ+ community, with support from the National Science Foundation.

Swati Birla

I am a doctoral candidate in Sociology and have earned my Certificate in Feminist Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2019.  I am currently completing my dissertation The Past is a Foreign Country: The Politics of Colonial Re-territorialization in 20th Century India that connects the histories of partition in the South Asian subcontinent with the violence perpetrated against Dalits (lower castes) and Muslims in contemporary India. Based on 20 months of archival and ethnographic research the dissertation focuses on the understudied histories of the merger of sovereign principalities into the Union of India between 1947 and 1975.  

As a translator and a feminist people's health activist I am engaged in anti-caste and anti-racist labour politics in India and U.S. with student labour unions, Sanhati collective and the Global Prison Abolitonist Collective. 

Swati finished the coursework for the certificate in 2019.  

Ashley Canter

Ashley is a PhD candidate concentrating on Rhetoric and Composition and a Teaching Associate in the English Department. Ashley holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Coastal Carolina University (2017) and a Master's Degree in English from University of Massachusetts Amherst (2019). Ashley research focuses on transnational feminist rhetoric, mobility, and Appalachian litracies. Ashley has published work in Peitho: Journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition and Literacy in Composition Studies. Her dissertation looks at the ways that global political economic rhetorics shape Appalachian women's literacies.

Ashley completed coursework for the certificate in 2021. 

Biko Caruthers

Biko is a PhD Candidate in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Biko holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education from Oklahoma Christian University (2011) and a Masters degree in History from the University of Central Oklahoma (2017). Biko’s research interests include 19th- and 20th-century Black literature, Black visual culture, gender studies, queer theory, childhood studies, Afropessimism, psychoanalysis, slavery and its afterlives and Black critical theory. Biko’s dissertation-in-progress is titled “Black Changeling: The Uncanny Genius of the African Child” which explores how Black cultural producers, specifically writers and visual artists, have deployed the figure of the Black child in order to critique and disregard the category of the Human.

Debadatta Chakraborty

I am a Ph.D. student at the Sociology department and completed the Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies from WGSS in Spring 2021. I hold a Masters in Sociology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and from the University of Pune, India with a concentration in Women’s Studies. My research interests include transnational authoritarianism and diasporic politics, intersections of gender, sexuality, race and social class, sociological theory, and culture and media. I have worked on diasporic community and identity formation by looking at how gender, race, ethnicity and religion interact closely in the formation of immigrant communities. I recently completed a theoretical project on gendered-racial capitalism and its implications for the global capitalist crisis, using the marxist-feminist framework and social reproduction theory. My dissertation project focuses on gendered-racial capitalism, communal politics of the Indian diaspora in the US and rise of Hindutva politics in India; the links between white supremacy and Hindu supremacy and its gendered and racial implications. My recent book chapter  “Queering Bollywood: Sexuality of the Disabled Body – A Case Study” has been published in Bollywood's New Woman: Liberalization, Liberation and Contested Bodies (2021). I am involved in anti-fascist and feminist advocacy work with multiple left-wing organizations in the US. Before moving to the US, I taught Sociology at the high school level in India and was the Director of Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) projects for my school. 

Pempho Chinkondenji

Pempho is a Ph.D. Student in International Education and Development at UMass Amherst. She completed a Master of Arts in Cross-cultural and International Education from Bowling Green State University. More broadly, her research examines the intersection between gender, education, and development. Her primary research focuses on school reintegration for student mothers and in-pregnancy-related policies in Southern African contexts. Pempho also has research interests in education in emergencies, representations of African women, and gender and power dynamics in higher education both on the African continent and in the diaspora. Her scholarship draws from post/de-colonial frameworks, African feminist theory, and critical education theory.

Tiarra Cooper
W406 South College

Tiarra received her B.A. in German Studies and Russian Civilization from Smith College and her M.A. in German Studies from UMass. Tiarra is a recent graduate of the WGSS certificate program, as well as a PhD candidate in German Studies. Her dissertation is entitled “A Dialogue in Affect: Women’s Experiences of Forcible Sterilization under Germany’s National Socialism.” In her spare time, Tiarra enjoys knitting, reckless napping, watching documentaries, playing with her spawn, and walking her lab with her partner.   Interests include: eugenics, reproductive politics, graphic novels, and medical interventions from the state.

Tiarra finished the coursework for the certificate in 2021.  

Virginia Correia

Virginia Correia received a B.A. in Economics from Framingham State University. In 2015, she received her M.A. in Spanish from San Diego State University. Virginia is currently a PhD student in the Spanish and Portuguese program at UMass Amherst. Her research interests include Spanish Golden Age Drama, Film, Aging Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. In addition to receiving a certificate in Feminist Studies from the WGSS department at UMass Amherst, she is also receiving a certificate in Film Studies. She has also translated Portuguese articles into English for the International Yearbook of Futurism Studies (De Gruyter, 2017).

Taylor Marie Doherty

Taylor is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. She is a feminist scholar of political theory and comparative politics. Her current project examines the politics of queer feminist archives across the US and Latin America as sites of worldmaking and protest. More broadly, her interest areas include decolonial feminisms, settler colonial studies, the nexus of Marxist, queer, and feminist theory, and the politics of desire and dissent particularly in Latin America. Taylor’s recent essay, “Reflections on Belonging and Betrayal from ‘One of those Gender Studies People’” will be featured in The Feminist Wire Books: Connecting Feminisms, Race, and Social Justice series. She is passionate about critical feminist pedagogy and community education projects. 

Rie Harding

Rie completed her BA in Sociology and double minored in Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies at Colorado State University. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Sociology department and is receiving a certificate in Feminist Studies from the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Rie’s research interest areas include gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, queer studies, trans* studies, feminist studies, and interpersonal violence.  

Rie finished the certificate in 2022.  

Castriela E. Hernandez-Reyes

Castriela Esther Hernández-Reyes is a Black/Palenquera woman who was born in Barranquilla. She is an intellectual, scholar, activist, and co-founder and President of the Asociación Colombiana de Investigadoras e Investigadores Afros – ACIAFRO.. As an activist, she engages with the Black women activism as a member of “Trenzado de Mujeres Cimarronas” (Black women collective in Colombia). Castriela is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology and earned a master's degree in Anthropology and three graduate certificates in Advanced Feminist Studies, African Diaspora Studies, and Latin American, Caribbean and Latin Studies at UMASS Amherst. Her dissertation examines how the lived experiences and voices of Black women, officials and ex-combatants co-construct the notions of race, gende, body, and class to show how interlocking systems of power, oppression, and exclusion operate and intersect in the Colombian armed conflict and how they are tied to unbroken colonial patterns of Racism. Her research interests include Intersectionality of race, gender, and class; armed conflict and racism in Colombia; race and gender in the political economy of war; extractivism and racial capitalism in Latin America; Black /Decolonial feminism theories; whiteness and whitening. She has published in the Latin American Perspectives and Latin American Research Review -LARR Journals. She is co-author of the book Demando mi Libertad: Mujeres Negras y sus estrategias de resistencia en la Nueva Granada, Venezuela y Cuba, awarded by the LASA Colombian Section as the best feminist book 2020 in Colombia and co-author of the Lenguajes Incluyentes: Alternativas Democráticas book.

Castriela finished coursework for the certificate in 2017.

Niyanthini Kadirgamar

Niyanthini is a PhD student in International Education. Her broad research interest is on the political economy of education with a geographical focus in the South Asian region. Her PhD research focuses on the global and local influences on the free public education policies in Sri Lanka. She taught at the Open University of Sri Lanka and as a researcher, worked extensively in the war-torn Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri lanka. Niyanthini obtained her Master's degree in Labour Studies from McMaster University, Canada and a BA (hons) in Management from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.

Nicole Le Roux
W406 South College

Nicole le Roux is a PhD student concentrating in International Education in the Educational Policy and Research Administration Department at UMass. She received her M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in 2018 and completed a WGSS Certificate at UMass in 2021. le Roux’s research engages the use of storying as an epistemological intervention in queer African scholarship and post-Apartheid South African activism in the NGO sector. Her work is in conversation with South African scholarship that challenges pathologizing, racialized narratives about interpersonal violence, and is shaped by her experiences as the co-founding director of an NGO in Cape Town. 

Eunbi Lee

Eunbi Lee, is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication. Her research interests pertain to lived-experiences and stories of migrant women of color throughout the history of colonialism, imperialism, militarism, and globalization. In particular, she is interested in embodied performance, storytelling, and activism for Asian and migrant women in intimate, care, and sex work through critical feminism and queer studies. She is also interested in critical pedagogy and media literacy for community-based learning and activism.

Eunbi finished the coursework for the certificiate in 2021.

Anamary Maqueira Linares

Anamary is a Doctoral student in Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She earned a master’s degree in Development Economics from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Ecuador and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Havana, Cuba. Her research interests lie in the intersection of feminist political economy, labor, and distribution in developing countries, particularly in Latin America and Cuba. She is currently working on her dissertation project, which orbits around the contributions that the renewed contemporary emergence of Social Reproduction Theory (SRT) provides to understand better the intertwines between production and re-production. From a Marxist Feminist lens, her project sketches three essays that use SRT theoretical insights to analyze the Cuban economic reform periods after the 90s, emphasizing distributional aspects- and paid and unpaid work in contemporary Latin America Ecuador as a case of study.

Siobhan Mei

Siobhan Meï  is an interdisciplinary literary scholar and digital humanist. Siobhan's research explores the intersections of fashion, narrative, and identity in Caribbean historical fiction. Siobhan is the co-editor of the interview series Haiti in Translation and the co-founder of the digital humanities project Rendering Revolution: Sartorial Approaches to Haitian History. Her writing and research have appeared in Mutatis Mutandis, SX Salon: Small Axe Project, Callaloo, Caribbean Quarterly, and The Routledge Handbook on Translation, Feminism, and Gender, among other places. Siobhan's dissertation project "Refashioning History: Women as Sartorial Storytellers" is supported by a 2020-2021 Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship in Women's Studies (now the Institute for Citizens & Scholars) and a 2020-2021 Research Associateship at the Five College Women's Studies Research Center. Siobhan is currently a lecturer in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst.

Siobhan finished her coursework for the certificate in 2021.  

Signe Predmore
W410 South College

Signe is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science. She is a feminist scholar of global political economy, with interest in the ways that systems of race, gender and class are integral to the reproduction of and resistance to economic systems. Her interdisciplinary work draws also from development studies as well as economic anthropology.  Her dissertation project, Fearless Girls and Winning Women: The Politics of Inclusion in Finance after 2008, uses ethnographic and qualitative methods to examine gender diversity programs in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis.  This work has been supported by funding from the Social Science Research Council. Her chapter on “Feminist and Gender Studies Approaches to Financialization” appears in the Routledge International Handbook of Financialization (2020).

Signe finished coursework for the certificate in 2020.  

Chanel Prince

Chanel completed her BA in Sociology at Buffalo State College, and her MA in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. She is currently in the Sociology PhD program at UMass Amherst, focusing on the experiences, identities, and empowerment of members of the African diaspora. Her research interests include cultural studies, social movements, black feminism, race, and qualitative methods

Tannuja Rozario

Tannuja Devi Rozario is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology and earned her Advanced Certificate in Feminist Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2019. Currently, she is working on her dissertation that focuses on the reproductive health experiences of Indo-Caribbean women. During the past two years she conducted interviews with Indo-Caribbean women who journey from Trinidad and Guyana to obtain reproductive health services in New York. She is also conducting participant observations at various events and workshops hosted by community-based organizations in New York that fight against reproductive injustice and gender-based violence. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She has published her work in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science and Medicine, and has a forthcoming article in Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. As an activist, she became a Founding Board Member of South Queen’s Women’s March—a gender justice organization in South Queens, New York empowering women and gender expansive people. She is also a Board Member for the New York Birth Control Access Project.  Tannuja’s passion for advocacy and research stems from her background as a Guyanese immigrant. At a young age, Tannuja witnessed the impact of gendered violence and reproductive injustice firsthand in Guyana, and such realizations have guided her work and advocacy, and this continues to be the driving force behind her work.

Dhardon Sharling

Dhardon Sharling is an educator, author, gender advocate, activist-leader and a former politician and bureaucrat at the Tibetan government in exile, India. She is a co-author of The Power of the Feminine:  Facing Shadow Evoking Light  (2021), and has been published as a contributing author for A Force Such as the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change, (2013). As a Phd candidate at the department of Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dhardon is currently working on her doctoral dissertation Promotion of Human Values Online: The Dalai Lama in the Digital Age. She is using her extensive experience in digital advocacy to study how the new digital media can be harnessed in promoting human values especially in a COVID-19 world, and in the face of a looming climate crisis. Her disciplinary specialization include communication theory and methods, interdisciplinarity, and critical feminist theory. She teaches Public Speaking  and Writing as Communication to undergraduates at Umass. Dhardon is working on her first book A female Dalai Lama: Intersecting gender, race, religion, and national identity.

Derek Siegel

I am a sociologist and feminist scholar who examines how inequalities manifest at every stage of human reproduction, including family formation, parenting, and abortion. My dissertation examines how race, class, and gender shape trans women's ability to 1) become parents, and 2) sustain families. Using semi-structured interviews with 60 transgender women of diverse racial and class backgrounds, I explore how interpersonal relationships (i.e., with partners and communities) and institutional contexts (i.e., employment, health care, and the law) produce and reinforce these disparities. This project is funded by the American Sociological Association and the UMass Center for Research on Families. 

Derek finished coursework for the certificate in 2019.

Porntip Israsena Twishime

สวัสดีค่ะ My name is Porntip (Ploy) Israsena Twishime. I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I am interested in narrative storytelling as a mode of relation. My work considers the relationship between U.S. empire in Southeast Asia and the racialization of Thai Americans. I use performative and embodied storytelling methods to examine, reimagine, and critique the worlds in which Thai Americans find ourselves. This work draws upon the political and theoretical traditions of Asian American cultural production, queer and feminist of color critique, and performance studies.

Ploy finished coursework for the certificate in 2020.