The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Graduate Students

Sarah Ahmad

Sarah Ahmad was born in Delhi and grew up across the Indian subcontinent. She has been a graduate student in the women’s history and writing programs at Sarah Lawrence College, taught in the CUNY Start, Thrive Scholars, and Juniper Young Writers programs, and was the 2018-19 Editorial Fellow at Poets & Writers. Currently a PhD student in literature at the UMass–Amherst working on feminist-queer architextures in contemporary queer-diasporic literature, she is also associate poetry editor at Guernica and assistant editor at Conjunctions, a reader at Poetry, and writes in-between poem-prose beings. Her work can be found in Plume, the minnesota review, Margins, among other places.

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.

Debadatta Chakraborty

Debadatta is a Ph.D. student at the Sociology department and completed the Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies from WGSS in Spring 2021. She holds a Masters in Sociology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and from the University of Pune, India with a concentration in Women’s Studies.

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).

Sharonee Dasgupta

Sharonee Dasgupta is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. She holds a BA in English, Psychology, and Journalism, MA in English, and an MPhil in Comparative Indian Literature from India. She has over 8 years of work experience with civil society organizations and prior to attending UMass, she was with the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. Her personal experiences and field insights have shaped the focus of her current research interests that include topics such as state-citizen relations, cities, governance, bureaucracy, and gender.

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.

Ashley Meredith

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. 

Larrisa Miller

Larrisa (Larri) Miller is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She completed her B.A. in Cognitive Science and Psychology at Lehigh University, and her M.S. in Data Analytics & Computational Social Science at UMass Amherst. Her research broadly lies at the intersection of media, technology, and society, with specific interests in mis/disinformation flow, social media, algorithmic impact, political communication, computational social science, and feminist studies.

Esther Moraes

Esther is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology. She holds a BA in History and an MA in Sociology from the University of Delhi and Manipal University respectively. She is interested in studying development, philanthropy, and sexual and reproductive health from a feminist perspective. Another set of research interests include transnational feminist movements and academic collaboration across borders. Her research is geographically focused on India and its connections to the United States. Esther has previously worked in the development sector in India on education and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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

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.

Jia Zhang

Jia Zhang is a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Jia’s research project examines the gender politics of the Black Arts Movement with its connections to Maoist China. Through feminist methodologies, her project centers gender politics on the family structures in Maoist China and the BAM and runs its analysis into the gendered elements that constitute a family and a society.