Current Fellows and their Projects




  • Over the course of the semester, I will be engaging with essays, articles, and fiction work that intersect with my topic. After reading these texts – including an anthology on Black eroticism and texts selected by my mentor – I will write a literary response to each piece. The response will either be a creative piece or an essay. The goal is to explore more topics that deal with Black Queer Woman Eroticism and help me further my own understanding and theory on the subject.

  • I will revise my summer paper by reorganizing my points. I will also add more facts to support the emotional points in my paper, which will be done by sending out surves and talking to professors.  I will also do more archival research.

  • How can queer theoretical frameworks on diaspora, race, class, kinship, family, gender, and generation analyze the lived experiences and identities of zainichi (Koreans in Japan), and trouble “home” as a fixed, physical space, and offer new ways to belong? Moreover, in what ways is zainichi itself a queer diasporic term, and how can queer theory or other queer methodologies potentially challenge or reinvent new avenues of identity? This semester, I am particularly interested in uncovering the dynamics between physical spaces of dwelling (i.e. the institution of North Korean schools and Koreatowns in Japan that are influenced by South Korean culture) and psychic spaces that hold our personal feelings of belonging (i.e. how does an ethnic Korean student feel at a Japanese school? How have zainichi children understood distinctions between “home” versus homeland?). I am also interested in exploring the ways in which feminism in South Korea and Japan could offer another avenue for exploring the dynamics of zainichi communities by magnifying and critically analyzing the various roles of zainichi women within their communities, including their roles as “home”makers.

  • The differing English translations of the Tale of Genji argue for their own authenticity in various ways, but their choices affect readers’ understanding of authenticity in the novel. Defining and navigating authenticity requires an examination of how, specifically, imperial and sexual politics have played out in the examined translated passages as well as what this means for readers picking up these English translations of the Tale of Genji. Can there be authenticity when translating classic literature into a foreign language?

  • This semester I am interested in looking at the history of black liberation, and in what circumstances has there been queer or queer affirming leadership.

  • My project is concerned with the relationship between Afro - pessimism and Afro - futurism as a Framework for understanding Black futures. The continuing goal of this project is to use science Fiction as a language to articulate research findings.

  • This project investigates the possibility of re-canonizing universalist theory with an aim of dethroning Euro-centric values from their privileged position therein.

  • My research objective is as follows characterizing and making measurements of dispersal Mechanisms to find out how Marchantia sperm are carried from one plant to another across large distances. My main goal this semester is to have a mostly confident answer to whether or not Aresolization is a feasible or likely explanation to the dispersal question This may prove to be the toughest and least-concrete aspect of my project overall so I want to make headway on both theoretical mathematical ideas and experimentation.

  • Investigating the acoustic radiation of thin film gel circular membranes as they relate to material properties.

  • This semester project entitled ”Survey of Haitian American Lit.” will be a continuation of the research that I began the Summer of 2019, where I hope to continue to find gaps and intersections between how major U.S news articles express singular and stereotypical views of Haiti and Haitian people, and how Haitians (as well as Haitian Americans) would express themselves, and their people and culture if there were no economic, social and political barriers in place.

  • Now going into my junior year here at Williams, I am extremely interested in the ways in which black women undergraduate students go about healing and building community in predominantly white spaces. More specifically, I am currently investigating humor and the way it functions as a tool for healing in these spaces. As of now, my work is heavily based in analyzing depictions of these dynamics the Netflix series Dear White People.

  • To be posted.





  • For my project, I will continue working in Prof. Cook’s lab, adding to and refining the spreadsheet of tephra samples for analysis. I would also like to continue making an annotated bibliography, possibly with figures that I find interesting as well.

  • Kingface will be an essay series that works through the personal and political dimensions of masculine responses to feelings of criminalization in the landscape of an ever-commodified hip-hop.

  • Short abstract of project (1-3 sentences): Black family television shows, specifically Good Times offer a framework to analyze the racialization of food consumption in contemporary America. The family’s navigation of food deserts and food stereotypes as a low-income black family living in a housing project in Chicago, impact their upward (im)mobility.  The food that they eat is not only a reflection of their economic and social status, but also a reverberation of past racial inequality.

  • This semester I am continuing my research that I began over the summer on Carrie Mae Weems’ “The Hampton Project”. How are black bodies forced to conform in institutional spaces and how is this conformity mirrored in the production of the exhibit itself? Are black bodies only legible through their collective trauma?

  • My research project investigates the change in educational achievement rates of students of colordisproportionately affected by shutdown policy in Chicago, Illinois. Moreover, I want to analyzethe economic effect it can have on the projected social capital attained by CPS graduates.

  • Over the course of the Semester, I will study the Haitian Revolution to highlight the political motivations of the revolutionaries. I will use the framework I developed over the summer in regards to Vodou and agency to understand the Haitian Revolution as engendering its own unique political ideology. 

  • In the United States, social media has served a role in addressing and raising awareness on issues such as sexual assault and police brutality, and it has led to worldwide campaigns like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter. Similarly, what roles do, and can social media campaigns play in West African society? My research this semester intends to understand whether social media campaigns should be promoted as a way of addressing social issues such as gender-based violence and gender inequality within urban cities in West Africa, such as in Dakar, Senegal and in Accra, Ghana.

  • My project is centered on the hybridization of an Afro-diasporic culture and the legacy of history. I am using the Island that I am creating to work through ideas of queerness in the Caribbean, the past, and the trauma of colonialism/imperialism. On the other side, my Dominican narrator frames my project with his modern life as queer Afro-Latinos to show the dichotomy but connection between two motherlands.

  • "Since their first major arrival in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s, Ethiopian immigrants have become the second-largest African immigrant group in the U.S. after Nigerians. Decades of adjusting to the U.S. have affected all aspects of Ethiopian immigrants’ lives, especially their health. Throughout Ethiopian diaspora communities in the U.S., there has been a recent increase in accounts of Ethiopian immigrants being diagnosed with chronic diseases to which other Ethiopian immigrants have responded with shock, fear, and confusion. This reaction has made me interested in understanding chronic illnesses and examining chronic illness experiences of Ethiopian immigrants, specifically refugees, in the U.S. I plan to investigate what chronically ill Ethiopian refugees attribute as the cause of their chronic illnesses and how these individuals make sense of their health experiences through illness narratives. I will be conducting an ethnographic project in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia metropolitan area with male and female Ethiopian refugees living with chronic illnesses.”

  • Is Chinese realism a literary movement that is anti-traditionalist from its inception? Can realism maintain or adapt its critical function after a society has moved beyond early capitalism? What would such a realism look like, especially in relation to the theory of Western realist novels proposed by Lukacs?


  • Mikhayla Armstrong, Biology, Africana

    This semester I will be working in the Lebestky lab to answer the questions of: do specific mutations in the SERT system lead to behavioral changes in startle-induced arousal? Do sleep and startle-induced arousal differ in these different mutations, if so, how? I will be measuring this through the use of the startle-induced behavioral rig and the DAMS sleep monitor.

    Arkey Barnett, Economics

    In preparation for my Senior Thesis, I plan to build an empirical model, based off of the Mincer wage model to explore the determinants of wage disparities between blacks and whites in the mid-twentieth century, specifically in 1940. I hope to explore the extent to which current residential segregation can explain the wage disparity in 1940. If both practically and statistically significant, I hope to extend the research by looking at the determinants of residential segregation, looking at the influence of historical institutions like slavery and lynching. I hope to then extend the work by connecting school quality to the fray.

    Arno Cai, Mathematics/Economics

    For the fall semester of 2018, I plan to expand on my past empirical results on the extending ragweed pollen season and ask, in a more general sense, how pollen concentrations affect human behavior.

    MarChe Daughtry, Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, American Studies

    My project is focusing on intersections of blackness, disability, and labor.

    Neftaly Lara, Art History, French

    The wounds left behind by the human rights violations committed during King Hassan II’s fortyyear reign run deep in those who suffered physical and psychological trauma at the hands of the makhzen, the Moroccan regime. Coined the “Years of Lead” in reference to the bullets that were shot at civilians during protests, this period in Morocco’s history (1956-1999) is plagued by chronicles of forced disappearances, mass imprisonments, torture of political prisoners, and severe censorship. Born from this period, Moroccan prison literature condemns the country’s dehumanization of its own citizens, and, in my work, I aim to explore how the words of the survivors and victims perforate the literary world and claim space in the country’s physical landscape. From the interviews that took place this summer, my thesis project has blossomed into an ode to the women who courageously stood their ground in their fight for a better tomorrow during the Years of Lead, particularly focusing on Fatna El Bouih and the late Saïda Menebhi, and the memorialization of their efforts onto the physical landscape of Morocco.

    Merudjina Normil, Comparative Literature

    How can one use the institution to point out the flaws of the institution? This semester, I am creating a documentary series of three shorts that demonstrate the ways in which Williams administration, professors, and/or faculty have harmed students of color.

    Isabel Pena, History

    This thesis titiled “The New O.C.: Race, Place, Immigration and the Building of Postsuburban California” will provide a connective history of the formation of Santa Ana’s predominantly Latinx La Cuatro district and Westminster’s predominantly Asian Little Saigon district from 1970s through the 1990s. La Cuatro and Little Saigon each present rich histories of place making and claiming which go against dominant regional narratives of racial and spatial homogenization. The daily practices of the individuals who built, worked and sustained the early growth of these multiethnic cultural centers forged into being networks of power and representation outside of city governance. Beyond representation in local affairs, these two communities engaged in regional racial formation where ties to place deeply informed the emergence of racial meanings and structures.

    Bethel Shekour, Chemistry

    This semester, my project revolves around the synthesis and characterization of candidate drugs for neglected diseases. This is a collaboration with dndi, an international non-profit organization that aims to cure neglected diseases such as Leishmaniasis, Sleeping sickness, and malaria.

    Gabriel Silva-Collins, Anthropology

    This semester I will be completing at least two chapters of my senior thesis concerning Inca road systems near Cusco, Peru. One will be a chapter describing and mapping all of the relevant sites I encountered during my research. The other chapter will be a discussion of general Inca history and background information relevant to the thesis as a whole.

    Valeria Sosa-Garnica, American Studies

    Booming Vehicle City, abandoned urban center, city of poisoned water and government failure. The definition and redefinition of Flint, MI, have played a key role in the outcome of the city. Using settler colonialism as a tool for analysis, how can we contextualize the Flint Water Crisis within larger narratives of race, space, capital, and power? What does this analysis tell us about the future of Flint, and how can we use that knowledge to push against the “Powers that be?”


  • Gabriella Carmona

    I am interested in addressing how counties shape the policies that liberal and pro-immigrant cities in the United States create to limit the enforcement of immigration. Though immigration is under the federal government's domain, local governments have been implementing immigration enforcement policies since as early as the 1870s. However, the other often overlooked actor are the counties that cities reside within, which are often entangled in ICE and immigration enforcement. I would like to focus on the relationship between cities and counties, and how the initiatives of the county have shaped the variation of policies that cities create to limit local immigration enforcement.

    Naomi Francois, Religion "Positionalilty and Faith in Politics."

    Given my summer research imploring  evangelicals who do not support the Black Lives Matter movement to turn and support the movement, I now seek to answer my questions regarding the 13% of Evangelicals who have voiced support for the movement: how and why do these Evangelicals support the movement despite the alleged differences in values, between them and the founders of the movement?

    Ayami Hatanaka, Political Science/WGSS "Carceral Feminists at Home in the U.S. of A.: Sex Work, the TVPA, and State Violence"

       By examining the institutionalization of carceral feminism through the legal discourse surrounding the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed in 2000, I aim to critique the criminalization of sex workers in the United States. I am partnering with sex workers in the California Bay Area to conduct oral history interviews to weave sex workers’ own voices through academic texts and analysis, as well as better understand how state violence manifests in their own experiences.

    Ekekiel King Phillips, Geosciences/Chinese  "Examining the marine C isotopic gradient through the Late Devonian using microfossils from the Kellwasser horizons"

    In order to better understand the origin of the positive carbon isotopic excursions of the late Devonian, we extracted kerogens from black shales of the Kellwasser horizons at Cameron Creek and Eighteenmile Creek in upstate New York. We measured the d13C of 150 microfossils and kerogen grains using a cryotrapping, capillary-focusing ‘nanoEA’ for trace d13C measurements. This will be combined with biodiversity and relative abundance data of the microfossils to give a fuller picture of the Late Devonian biotic crisis.

    Karen Linares, Anthropology/LATS

    "Undocumented immigrants’ access to and seeking of health care in the U.S. has been extensively covered in scholarly work. I argue that there is often a heavy focus on undocumentation as a barrier when conducting research on how, why, and when undocumented people seek care. However, I advocate for a more holistic approach that focuses on undocumentation not simply as a barrier that prevents access to medical care, but also as an identity that influences conceptualizations of practices of care. I hypothesize that undocumentation goes beyond understanding the barriers in accessing a clinic by considering how the status of being undocumented could be conceptualized as a liminal state of being that often complicates the types of care undocumented individuals decide to seek. Scholars have examined how, for instance, legal obstacles prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing health care which emphasizes a low access to health care due to policy, fear, etc. (Rhodes 2015; DeRose, Escarce, Lurie 2007; Raymond-Flesch et al. 2014). However, these studies focus on immigration status as a legal category that impacts health care seeking behavior without examining how one’s legal status may itself inform people’s interpretations of their health. How are people conceptualizing their bodies and to what extent is that image influenced by undocumentation? I will consider how the embodiment of identity categories impact views of self-care practices, healthy bodies, and experiential encounters with health in clinical settings. My intent is not to only focus on the physical and social constraints that prevent undocumented Mexicans from seeking care, but also to critically study how they are being affected as reflected in how they place meaning onto their bodies.

    Daniel Maes, Mathematics/Statistics "The Criticality of Understanding Critical Mass"

    I am working on an applied mathematics project focused on the notion of critical mass, a loosely defined term used in affirmative action policies. I would like to better define and quantify it to increase its ease of implementation. My final goal is to generate predictive models that can be used to assess contemporary racial affirmative action policies in specific undergraduate universities (i.e. University of California, Berkeley or University of Texas, Austin) in the US.

    Carlos Malache Silva, Philosophy/German "WORLD FORMATION AND WORLD COLLAPSE": A Hermeneutical Account of Symbolic Violence in Coloniality

    "Through interpreting and comparing Hegel and Fanon, and more lately Heidegger, I aim to bring to light forms of symbolic violence perpetrated by colonising processes. Beyond the physical, psychological, even political violence of colonialism, I contend that there stands, as an objective condition for the possibility of these modes of violence, a symbolic structuring of reality imposed from without, which defines the colonised as colonised.

    Anika Mitchell, WGSS

    What are the physiological implications of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on postpartum maternal health? How do the stresses (early separation, inability to breastfeed, negative affect, institutional environment) of the NICU contribute to incompetent or under-enriched infant-mother bonding? What are the long term implications of experiential adversity on infant and maternal neurobiological and physical health? How do interventions such as the Family Nurture Initiative mitigate and or regulate these processes?

    Keiana West, Psychology "Perceptions of Student Misbehavior, Punitive Discipline, and Psychological Intervention"

    My research explores the effects of student demographics on both teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the causes of and appropriate responses to misbehavior. Perceptions of misbehavior and the effectiveness of various interventions likely influence disparities in teachers’ responses to misbehavior, as well as students’ decisions to seek support from school resources. A closer look at perceived etiologies of misbehavior and of various perspectives on interventions can help inform policies regarding school discipline and accessibility of psychological resources in school.

    Noah Wright, English

    The aim of this semester’s research is to establish the theoretical foundation for my Honors Dossier. In essence, I will be tracing the evolution of black radical thought from Reconstruction to the present day. To the question of what I will be studying and who I will be treating as my interlocutors, I await the findings of my coursework, my past creative and academic writing, and conversations with my mentor.


  • Eduardo Avalos, Political Science/LATS - "Art is a Weapon": Questioning Community and Complicity in Boyle Height's Cultural Economy

    Through the study of the contestation over the existence of Chicanx art galleries in the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, my work explores the viability of community-bred alternatives to the inevitable narrative of displacement that accompanies gentrification. By mapping out the particularities of the politics of identity and its contestation in community dialogue and action, gentefication, or non-white gentrification, in Los Angeles operates as a distinct community-driven processes working in tandem with Chicanx historical nationalisms and place-making strategies, but crumbling as an alternative vision to gentrification and displacement. Understanding the racial economies of cultural production highlights the various ways art is a weapon over community and place-making, and the ways it affects the racial repackaging of histories and futures in the Eastside communities in Los Angeles.

    Ricardo Diaz, History/Economics - Agriculture: An Alternative, Sustainable Development Model for Puerto Rico?

    Kiyana Hanley, Political Science - The Philosophy of Education: A Close Look at Imprisoned Populations

    This research focuses on public education institutions and how neoliberalism has become deeply engrained in every aspect of its transformation. Through reflection of my time as a teaching fellow with Uncommon Schools, a charter school network, I will be highlighting the dangers of the neoliberal panopticon and offering suggestions for sites of resistance for incoming educators that are constantly under surveillance.

    David Jaramillo, Chemistry - Gemini Surfactant-Based Lanthanide Ion Complexes for Bioprobe Applications

    Gemini surfactant chemistry has long been utilized in various industries to create petroleum purification products, shampoos, soaps, and gene transfection agents as a result of their solvation characteristics. Similarly, lanthanide metals are a crucial part of the average citizen's arsenal of appliances and modes of transportation due to their unique spectromagnetic properties. In the Patrick S. Barber laboratory, we are exploiting both surfactant and lanthanide chemistry in the design of a gemini surfactant based ligand for complexation with an Ln(III) cation for cellular imaging purposes.

    Alejandra Mejia, Comparative Literature/LATS - Latina rebeldes: Agency and resistance within digital spaces

    This semester, I will be conducting an interpretative textual analysis of the social media platform Latina Rebels to investigate the resistance and agency exercised by self-identified U.S. Latinas within digital spaces.

    Tyrone Scafe, Political Science/Africana Studies/Africana - Decoloniality and its Limits: Student Movements and US Structures of Antagonisms

    This project proposes a comparative study of the trajectory of student-led contestations of higher education in public institutions from the 1960s to private institutions in contemporary times. Ultimately, the aim of this study of institutions of education and student movements is to build on the relatively new theory of structures of antagonism by looking at the contradictions of proposed solutions such as diversity initiatives and affirmative action as well as the formation of “radical” fields such as African-American studies. This work will help future scholars pursue conclusions and solutions that differ from the stagnation of structural antagonisms as proposed by previous scholars.

    Akhir Stewart, Art History/French/Africana - Imagined Liberation: Dismantling the Body Fiction in “Sartorial Anarchy”

    Monica Miller’s Slaves to Fashion offers dandyism as a liberatory project by framing the dandy’s tactical manipulation of ambiguity as a paradigm of freedom. Engaging Arjun Appadurai’s The Social Life of Things, Jose Muñoz’s Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, and Mignon Moore’s Lipstick or Timberlands? Meanings of Gender Presentation in Black Lesbian Community, this project explores the ways in which the dandy’s apparatus of choice, clothing, complicates the liberatory agenda of creating new social reality from ambiguity. By acknowledging clothing as an agent that actively possesses, obscures, and/or marks subjectivity, challenges to the dandy’s construction of self are revealed. Sartorial Anarchy, a self-portrait series by Nigerian artist Ike Ude, is introduced to not only identify this essential compromise to self-definition specifically as the body fiction, but also present a subversive reclaiming of the body in spite of it. By way of visual analysis, this project reimagines body fiction as a space of ambiguity, thereby expounding on the philosophical ideals of liberation represented in dandy scholarship.

    Maoli Vizcaino, Geosciences - Morphology of fossils from the Tsagaan Olom Group, Mongolia-tintinnids or red algae?

    Fossils in the Tsagaan Olom Group in Mongolia may give insight towards the diversity of early eukaryotes and their continued evolution through the Cryogenian glaciations. We investigate what these fossils are (tintinnids? Red algae?), what their morphology could signify, how abundant their populations were, and the nature of the environment they existed in.

    Jaira Walker, Arabic Studies - The Aesthetics of Affluence: Is the Hyper - in Hypermodernism the Hyper - in Hypercapitalims?

    This paper will focus on Gulf art (multimedia, exhibitions, installations, film, etc.) and development of a hypermodern visual culture that centers global metropolises as transitional spaces of unaligned diasporic encounters across time, space and imagination. I intend to deconstruct and interrogate how these artists are representing complex histories and identities through technologically nascent narratives of becoming, identity formation and state/national deterritorialization. The other portion of this paper pertains to how shift towards hypermodernity has facilitated a visual culture of Gulf dromo-economics facilitated on oil capitalism, hyper-consumerism and the flourishing tourist industry where massive amounts of capital is going towards constructing cultural/art institutions (i.e. Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District).

    Rebecca Williams, Classics - American Law, Athenian Law, and Living Ancient Greek

    This semester I am studying the ancient Greeks and their use of imprisonment. My research is focused on learning about punished in Athens and its rehabilitative effects on victims and criminals. Ultimately, I hope that my research on imprisonment in the Athenian legal system will aid my understanding and conceptualization of the purpose of imprisonment in the American legal system today.



  • Kyung Nahiomy Alvarez, Political Economy/Psychology - When National and Local Antipoverty Policies Clash: How Seattle’s New Minimum Wage Could Impact EITC Eligibility

    Ahmad Greene-Hayes, History - "We Charge Genocide": African Americans and Human Rights, 1944-1955

    Todd Hall, Political Economy - Tipping and Discrimination in the Restaurant Industry: Exploring the Implications of Automatic Gratuities

    Brandon Mancilla, English/History - Ernesto Laclau and the Global South

    Angela Pastorelli-Sosa, Art/History - Religious and Sexual Imagery in Surrealist Art during theSpanish Civil War

    Susmita Paul, Chemistry/Sociology - Bengali Immigrants' Access to Primary Health Care inQueens, New York

    Megan Steele, Chemistry/Psychology - Sporulation and the whiJ gene family in Streptomyces coelicolor

    Roger Vargas, Math/Economics - A Review of Drosophila suzukii and the Implications of Cytoplasmic Incompatibilities in Host Populations

    Cinnamon Williams, American Studies - "Coming Out:" Presenting Real Women and Fabulous Men at Debutante and Drag Balls

    Chienfa Wong, Economics - Cuba: Structural Reforms in the 1990s


Class of 2013

  • Alexis Akridge, Critical Theory - Detroit, the spatialization of industrialism, or wilderness

    Gabriela Azevedo, Philosphy - What could be meant by aesthetics?: Remarks on Wittgenstein's aesthetics lectures

    Sevonna Brown,  American Studies - Caving In: Bearing Witness to Black Womanist Birthing Spaces

    Donald Kost, Comperative Literature - Magical Realism as Postcolonial Discourse in Haruki Murakami

    Tirhakah Love,  Political Science/American Studies - KIPP Culture, KIPP Capital: A Narrative on the Crushing of Cultures

    Laurel O'Connor,  Environmental Studies/Ethnic Studies - Landscapes of Climate Justice

    Alexander Pena,  English/History - Governing the Other: The Alfonsine Code of Law and Islam in Medieval Spain

    Brandon Romero,  Political Economy - Intra-Party Conflict and Induced Policy Stasis: A Modified Theory of Policy Making

    Alejandra Rosales,  Political Science - Unpacking Gendered Representations in Music Video

    Daniela Zarate,  Biology/Astronomy - Understanding the biogeography and genetic diversity of Scottish Asphodel under the impact of past glaciation and current climate change