Current Doctoral Students

Esther Ajayi-Lowo

Photo of Ph.D. Student Esther Ajayi-Lowo

Esther O. Ajayi-Lowo holds an M.A. in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies from Texas Woman’s University (TWU); a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria; and a B.A. in Philosophy (first class honors) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She was trained in ‘Human Rights’ and ‘the United Nations Systems’ at the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. Prior to commencing graduate school in the U.S., Esther worked for eleven years on health, gender, human rights, and development issues in Nigeria with both non-governmental and governmental organizations, including the U.S. Mission in Nigeria. Her dissertation, “Decolonizing Childbirth: Women, Traditional Birth Attendants, and Reproductive Justice in Nigeria”, explores the significance of indigenous birthing knowledge and women’s socio-cultural and spiritual birthing standpoints for reproductive justice. Among other several international and competitive scholarships and awards, Esther received the 2020-2021 Mellon Foundation–funded Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship and the 2020-2021 American Association of University Women International Fellowship. While pursuing her Ph.D., Esther continues to simultaneously employ research, advocacy, and pedagogy for social justice. She has led two campus-wide reproductive justice events at TWU and has had extensive college-level teaching experiences in Nigeria and the U.S. In Fall 2020, Esther co-facilitated an anti-racist pedagogy workshop for instructors in the TWU First-Year Composition program. 

Research Interests: Transnational Feminism; African Feminisms; Inter/National Birth Justice; Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice; Politics of Sexuality Education; Feminist Theory and Praxis; and Gender, Law and Human Rights.Research Interests: Transnational Feminism; African Feminisms; Inter/National Birth Justice; Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice; Politics of Sexuality Education; Feminist Theory and Praxis; and Gender, Law and Human Rights.

Kristin Alder

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Kristin Alder

Kristin Alder earned her master's in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in women's studies from the University of North Texas. She is also pursuing a master's in English at TWU. Her dissertation posits women of colors science fiction as womanist spiritual activism using the work of Nnedi Okorafor, Zainab Amadahy, Sabrina Vourvoulias, and Gloria E. Anzaldúa.

While a graduate student, Kristin served as U.N. representative and coordinator of their graduate student U.N. practicum for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Research Interests: transnational feminisms; women, peace, and security; the political economy of violence against women, international public policy; Gloria Anzaldúa; feminist, womanist and indigenous epistemologies; speculative realisms; science fiction and fantasy literature; and postcolonial literature.

Diana Álvarez

Photo of Diana Álvarez with child

Diana Álvarez earned her master’s in women, gender and sexuality studies from Florida Atlantic University. Her menstrual art can be viewed at the online exhibition gallery Widening the Cycle. Álvarez has spoken on the topics of menarche and menstrual suppressants on the "Her Turn" radio show on WORT 89.9 FM. Her dissertation will focus on the decolonization of menstruation.

Research Interests: menstruation, popular culture, fat feminisms, smartphones and new materialisms, art as activism, food studies, post-humanisms and ecofeminism.

Jessica Camp

Photo of Ph.D. student Jessica Camp

Jessica Camp holds a master’s in women's studies and a master’s in English from TWU. Her dissertation focuses on Anzaldúan theory. She is currently employed at TWU as the coordinator of academic transitions in Pioneer Center for Student Excellence.

Research Interests: Gloria E. Anzaldúa, archival research, feminist pedagogies, multimodal and online education, essential motherhood, motherhood and disability and composition studies.

Christina Cavener

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Christina Cavener

Christina Cavener earned her master’s in theological studies with a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies from Southern Methodist University. She serves as an independent diversity and inclusion consultant. While gaining her doctorate, she will explore how race and gender shape white women’s political engagements.

Research Interests: whiteness studies; history of white supremacy and politics in the U.S.; Black feminist theories and political representation; resistance histories; intersections of race and gender; women and politics; feminist qualitative research.

Marcella C. Clinard

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Marcella C. Clinard

Marcella C. Clinard earned master's degrees in women's studies and English at TWU. Her dissertation, titled "Intersections of Religion and Race in Women's and Gender Studies: Possibilities for Teaching Introductory Courses," is a qualitative case study exploring how women’s and gender studies instructors teach (or don’t teach) about religion, and the social-justice implications of these pedagogical choices, particularly related to the intersections of religion and race, ethnicity, and nationality. While at TWU, Marcella has taught lower- and upper-level women's and gender studies courses as well as first-year composition courses, and she has prior experience as a middle-school English teacher.

Clinard received a Student Research Grant for her project titled "Intersections of Religion and Race in Women's and Gender Studies: Possibilities for Teaching Introductory Courses." She will present her research project at the annual Student Creative Arts and Research Symposium.

Research Interests: religion and social justice; critical race theory and intersections of religion, race, ethnicity, and nationality; Gloria E. Anzaldúa; new materialisms and ecofeminism; theorizing about intersectionality and epistemology; feminist qualitative research; feminist/womanist pedagogies; reproductive justice

Christine Gilfrich

Christine Gilfrich earned their Master of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, where their thesis explored the role of spirituality in healing intergenerational traumas. They also received a dual Bachelor of Arts in International Languages and Cultures: Spanish and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from St. Mary's College of Maryland, where their senior thesis examined the role of biopolitics in shaping performances of gender in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship. Alongside their PhD in Multicultural Women's and Gender Studies, Christine is pursuing a second MA in English with a focus on rhetoric and composition.

Research interests: trauma studies; critical disability studies; crip theory; spiritual activism; womanist theology; queer of color critiques; Gloria Anzaldúa; healing pedagogies

Pallavi Govindnathan

Photo of Ph.D. Student Pallavi Govindnathan

Pallavi Govindnathan earned her masters in Painting and New Genres, with minors in Drawing, Sculpture and Art History from the Savannah College of Art and Design and San Francisco Art Institute. Pallavi's tentative dissertation is titled Theorizing Acid Violence in South Asia: Causation, Elimination and Empowerment. The current dissertation work is based on a 6-year personal study on acid violence in Bangladesh and India, and has lead to collaborations with several NGOs in Bangladesh, Duke University Press and AVON Global Center for Women and Justice (Cornell Law School). Pallavi lives in Denton with her cat, Nai and her dog, Max.

Research Interests: transnational feminism, women in Bollywood cinema, Hindu mythology and culture, representations of gendered violence in art, religions and cultural veiling, commodity, culture, and menstrual taboos and cultural restrictions.

Paige Hoffmann

Paige Hoffmann holds a master’s in gender and women’s studies from University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her master’s thesis examined visual representations of disability building on Alison Kafer’s work on cyborgs and crip political action.

Research Interests: disability and chronic illness personal narratives and ethnographies, queer studies focusing on marginalization of asexuality in queer and disabled communities, accessible and feminist pedagogies and disability and the intersections of race, gender and LGBTQ+ in higher education.

Valarie A. Lambert

Photo of doctoral student Valarie A. Lambert

V Lambert did her undergrad work in WGS and earned her Masters in Human Relations at the University of Oklahoma. Lambert is an adjunct professor at OU, GA's at TWU, and has been a bartender for 15 years. She has a 20-year-old daughter, Natalee, with whom she is very close. Lambert co-founded a grassroots feminist group called Oklahoma Sisters in Solidarity (OK SIS) with the mission to make Oklahoma better for women and girls. As she pursues her education and life in Texas, she is thinking about the change a Red River Sisterhood could bring!

Research Interests: Those that are close to my heart, including, sexism, gendered violence, body image, women and leadership, women and politics, rape culture, the wage gap, intersectional feminism, as well as Native American and Queer issues

Jennifer V. Martin Emami

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Jennifer V. Martin Emami

Jennifer V. Martin Emami is a doctoral candidate in women’s studies. She obtained a master’s degree in communication studies at Northeastern State University. She is active in multiple professional organizations and presents at a number of academic conferences annually. She has served as both the social chair and professional development chair in our graduate student association. Jennifer has also been an active committee member for campus-wide events and serves as a reviewer for academic journals. Her dissertation research focuses on moving beyond oppositional classroom rhetoric through a womanist pedagogical framework.

Research Interests: feminist and womanist pedagogy, intercultural communication, classroom rhetoric and activism in the classroom.

Morgan T. May

Headshot of Morgan T. May

Morgan May earned a Master of Education degree, specializing in Second Language Acquisition, along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in World Languages (Spanish, French, Japanese, and Russian), and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Information Technology and Operations Management from Southern Methodist University (SMU). She also holds Texas Educator Certificates in Secondary French and Spanish as well as a secondary certification endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL).

In Fall 2020, Morgan accepted a faculty member position in the Sierra Canyon School’s Department of World Languages, and she will also serve as coordinator of the school's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Sierra Canyon is a private and coeducational day school located in the Los Angeles, California neighborhood of Chatsworth. 

Research interests: language and gender; intersectionality; womanist/feminist theories; reproductive and environmental justice; and womanist spiritual activism.

Kathy Nguyen

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Kathy Nguyen

Kathy Nguyen earned her MSW at the University of Arkansas. Her articles have been published in ejcjs: electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies and Ekphrasis. Her first short story, “The Veteran,” was published by Kartika Review.

Her dissertation is ALWAYS [IN]FORMATION: Re/Wiring to Dis/Re/Assemble the Network as a Living Womb/Tomb explores the metaphorical and regenerative forms of the network and its accelerated archival significance in the future.

Research Interests: Asian (American)/diasporic literature, digital cultures, electronic literature, informatics, network studies, philosophies of technology, and SF.

Foluso Oluade

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Foluso Oluade

Foluso Oluade earned a Bachelor’s in English from Alabama State University and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of North Texas. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies. She aspires to be a professor and activist for sexual education. She is currently a part of the Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Program (CSAPP).

Research Interests: sexuality education, campus sexuality education and sexual safety, the use of stories for sexuality education, storytelling and activism, sexual assault prevention

Gabriella V. Sanchez

Gabriella V. Sanchez headshot

Gabriella V. Sanchez has a BA in English with a minor in Women’s Studies and an MA in Education with a Bicultural-Bilingual studies concentration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Using Josie Méndez-Negrete’s conocimiento philosophy, Gabriella’s master’s thesis examined the ways Chicana identity is informed by family and ancestral legacies, trauma, and spirituality and how we, as viewers, we can look to Chicana artists as models for creative ways to heal. Gabriella is now interested in engaging conocimiento as a self and community archival method and a decolonial, liberatory, healing tool that, through the power of memory and recovery, critically and creatively reclaims and re-tells her family and cultural histories positively and accurately. In her dissertation, Gabriella will argue that, by telling and documenting our own stories, we can disrupt a colonial imaginary that renders us invisible and unworthy, thus, challenging the justification of our marginalized status and (mis)treatment.

Research interests: Chicana feminist archival methods; living archives/archives of the flesh; conocimiento as a self + community excavating method; platica methodology

Pam Tise

Pam Tise earned a master’s in political science with a concentration in legal studies and a master’s in public administration from Texas State University.

Research Interests: institutional discrimination, women in history, political violence against women, women’s movements and social justice, feminist pedagogy, sacred ecology and the role of spiritual activism in changing governance.

Shamethia Webb

Shamethia Webb headshot

Shamethia Webb is a PhD student in the Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Texas Woman’s University. She has a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Baylor University and a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Texas Woman’s University.

Shamethia has a particular interest in literature and social justice, and her master’s thesis examined this intersection by deconstructing the myth of the Strong Black Woman and proffering Jewelle Gomez’s vampire novel, The Gilda Stories, as a guide for healing. Her interests in science fiction and game studies has pushed her to think more deeply about the potential collaborations between black feminist thought and science fictional imagination, i.e., Afro-feminism(s).

Research interests: The utility of science-fictional imagination and magical thinking in social change work; anti-racism as best practice in social service agencies; the role of creative writing and storytelling in liberation movements.

Rikki Willingham

Rikki Willingham headshot

Rikki received her master's in 2019 from the MWGS program in 2019 and my BA from UNT in Integrative Studies. She spent many of my professional years working in social media marketing. During this time she had the opportunity to work with several Fortune 500 companies and top universities. After years of working she felt called back to academia. Her true passion is teaching and writing literature.

Her research focus revolve around a the media specifically focusing on African American women representation in the media and how this impacts the stereotypes and schemas that African Americans women face in society today. This includes teaching others about the importance of media literacy. She also has a passion for bridging academia and activism. This inspired her to co-host a podcast/blog. This project has really taught her so much about herself and developed her pedagogical views. "Through evolution of thought and mind we can truly find our passions and purpose."

Research Interest: Representations of African American women in media and media literacy.

Carla Wilson

Photo of Ph.D. student Carla Wilson

Carla Wilson is a Doctoral Candidate in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies. Carla earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and a Master’s degree in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Georgia State University. In Fall 2020, she co-facilitated an anti-racist pedagogy workshop for instructors in the TWU First-Year Composition program. 

Research Interests: Compassionate listening, spiritual activism, Gloria Anzaldúan thought, feminist and womanist epistemologies, pedagogies, and praxis, and contemplative practices in higher education, specifically in teaching and research. Carla’s dissertation is titled Light in the Classroom: Contemplative Practices in Women’s and Gender Studies

Page last updated 7:50 PM, August 27, 2021