Advanced Research Collaborative  

STUDENT FELLOWS

Below are the short bios of the 2018-2019 ARC Student Fellows:
 

Param Ajmera
Param Ajmera
is a doctoral student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is researching the early history of the transnational corporation, colonialism, South Asian diaspora, and digital humanities. His archival studies on early corporate activity links England's South Asian colonies to their other holdings in the Americas and the Caribbean. This project hopes to trace a genealogy of the South Asian diaspora in the "New World" through the global networks of colonial and corporate activity that characterized the long eighteenth-century. Drawing on his findings, Param is also developing an interactive online publication that curates images of early modern corporate correspondence, secret memoranda, public disclosures, and other early records from transnational joint-stock companies. By showcasing these images within their context of colonialism, slavery, and indenture, he intends to create an online space that sparks conversations on the foundational role of imperialism and racism in structuring corporate identity, and the ways in which the global movement of people and commodities are fundamental to capitalist modernity.

 
Laura Alonso
Lara Alonso
is a critical sociolinguist, currently studying a Ph.D. in the Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures Department, at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a member of the Grupo de Glotopolítica. She is interested in the creation of political subjects through linguistic practices, in language contact and in inequalities and its relationships with linguistic ideologies. She is an anthropologist and has worked in projects that tried to legitimate the practices of stigmatized subjects as young drug consumers and participants of informal economy. She has a Master in Anthropology, a BA in Sociocultural Anthropology and a BA in Hispanic Linguistics. 




Jorge Alvis
Jorge Alvis
is a doctoral student in the Latin-American, Iberian and Latino Cultures program, in the track of sociolinguistics. He holds and B.A. in Linguistics and an M.A. in Philosophy from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogota). His research focus on the analysis of the standardization of Spanish language under late-capitalist formations in Latin-America and it impacts in literacy practices, from a glottopolitical perspective. He is also engaged in the elaboration of theoretical connections between translanguaging theory and raciolinguistics.











Twisha Asher
Twisha Asher
is a Ph.D. student in economics at the Graduate Center, CUNY, who holds a B.A. in philosophy, political science, and economics from Denison University. She has worked as a research assistant for Professors of economics, black studies, and women’s and gender studies. Her research interests include intergenerational mobility, inequality of opportunity, and public policy. Her prior research has assessed the relationship between state-level inequality and Medicaid expansion, as well as the effects of increasing income inequality on political systems and legislation in democratic societies.





Mani Bayani
Mani Bayani
is a Ph.D. student in Economics at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He received a B. A. in Computer Science and M.S. in Economics from University of Tehran. His current research focuses on construction of a two-level spatial model to capture the impact of local labor market and economic conditions, the socio-demographic characteristics of regions, the spatial characteristics of labor markets, and the institutional factors that also affect the regional distribution of wages.





 







Tyese A Brown
Tyese Brown
, LMSW, MA has served as clinical director of the RiseBoro Community Partnership, a community based organization in Brooklyn, New York for the past 19 years. She supervises the PEAK (Prevention Education bringing Awareness and Knowledge) program, a team comprised of prevention educators, counselors, teaching artists, educational specialists and interns who provide evidence-based substance abuse prevention, mental health counseling, early intervention, leadership, service learning and after school programming for 2,500 youth annually. Ms. Brown is founding director of Sister S.A.G.E. (Strengthening Advocacy for Girls' Empowerment) a co-curricular program that provides girls of color with a safe space to experience intensive personal development through service, sisterhood, self-exploration and cultural empowerment. Since its’ inception in 2002 over 500 girls have participated in the program.  Ms. Brown is also a student in the social work doctoral program at the City University of New York, Graduate Center and Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Ms. Brown’s research interests include Evidence-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Practices, Gender Responsive Culturally Informed Prevention Interventions, Youth Racial and Gender Identity Development, Educational Policy, and Restorative and Transformative Justice Interventions.
 


Chris Campanioni
Chris Campanioni
is a doctoral candidate in English at The Graduate Center, where he serves as a MAGNET Mentor in the CUNY Pipeline Program. How can the writing of migratory texts provide agency for immigrants? How can a literary act of resistance materialize in a literal act of resistance? Through a mix of literary analysis, archival research, and intimate ethnography, he looks at the political and social exigency of personal texts, especially irregular and non-narrative work, such as notebooks and diaries, from marginalized communities ranging from LGBTQ persons to the accounts of immigrants in different generations, what he calls the migratory (drifting, discontinuous, fragmentary) text. He also strives to investigate the Internet in its textual and performative components—a field he calls Post Internet Studies, reflecting both the implications for the future, and also the currency of self-publication—by tracing a trajectory of the personal text through technology to show how our current social norms and social media can be re-evaluated to better serve our under-represented communities outside the classroom, but also with new approaches to pedagogy and scholarship. Chris teaches Latino literature, creative writing, and journalism at Baruch College and Pace University. He edits PANK, At Large Magazine, and Tupelo Quarterly, and lives in Brooklyn, where he wrote his new book, the Internet is for real (C&R Press, 2019).
 
Merrit Corrigan
Merrit Corrigan
is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology and a Digital Videography Fellow at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She holds a B.A. (2015) in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to her studies at the Graduate Center, Merrit worked for Springboard To Opportunities, organizing with residents living in affordable housing communities in Mississippi. Her research interests include inequality, race, transit infrastructure, and social movements. Her future dissertation work will examine how institutional politics of paving and contemporary strategies of resistance centered on potholes help to re-make imaginaries about race, equity, and urban space in the southern United States.





 
Aminata Diop
Aminata Diop
is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Executive Assistant to the Dean at CCNY’s School of Education. She holds a B.S. in Information Systems, an M.A. in Culture and Communications, and an MPA from New York University. Her dissertation research focuses on the intersectionality between culture, language, and social identity of the returning American-Senegalese youth. She will specifically focus on exploring the costs, risks, and benefits that exist when these American-Senegalese from African-born parents are sent to Senegal to be raised by extended family members for more than a decade. They are born in the U.S., sent to Senegal as toddlers, only to return home to the U.S. to their birth parents as adults.
 






Scott Erich
Scott Erich
is Ph.D. student in the cultural anthropology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He researches mobility, migration, diaspora, and circulation in Oman and the Indian Ocean, with specific interests in historical and contemporary networks of empire and debt. Previously, Scott was a Fellow at the Institute of Current World Affairs, and was based in Muscat, Oman. Prior to that, he worked at the World Affairs Council and at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. He holds a B.A. from Gettysburg College, where he earned the Nicholas Prize in Religious Studies, and a certificate in Arabic language from the University of Chicago's Graham School. Currently, Scott teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Baruch College.



Amelia Fortunato
Amelia Fortunato
is a doctoral student in Sociology at the Graduate Center and holds a BA in Comparative American Studies from Oberlin College.  Inspired by her years as a union organizer in Chicago, Amelia’s research interests include historical cases of anti-black racism and racial conflict in labor struggles in the U.S., antagonism and solidarity between organized labor and racial justice movements, intersections of racial and class formation in working class communities, and the institutional role that unions play in all of the the above.  With the support ARC, Amelia will be writing her dissertation proposal to conduct qualitative research on racial tension in the contemporary American labor movement.  Through interviews, Amelia plans to investigate white union members’ responses to unions’ recent racial justice initiatives and explore unions’ strategies for navigating backlash while providing support to the growing number of immigrant, Muslim, Latinx, and black union members.  In addition to her research, Amelia teaches at John Jay College and is a member of CUNY Struggle.

 
Pamela Franciotti
Pamela Franciotti
is a Ph.D. student in Linguistics and a member of the Second Language Acquisition lab at The Graduate Center, City University of New York as well as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Lehman College, CUNY. Her research interests focus on second language acquisition and bilingualism, and specifically on the acquisition of syntax within the generative framework; she is also interested in both theoretical and comparative syntax. She is currently working on a project investigating the acquisition of raising structures in L2 English by L1 Italian adult speakers, under the direction of Prof. Gita Martohardjono. Pamela holds a BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures and a MA in Linguistics, both from the University of Siena, Italy where she worked under the direction of Profs. Adriana Belletti and Luigi Rizzi. For her MA research project, she investigated the acquisition of passives in L2 Italian, in both comprehension and production. Before joining the Graduate Center, Pamela worked as a Teaching Assistant of Italian at Vassar College, NY and as a teacher of Italian for asylum seekers in several reception centers in Italy.
 
Thayer Hastings
Thayer Hastings
is a doctoral student at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he is studying anthropology of colonialism, nationalism and race with a focus on Palestine. He holds an M.A. from the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and a B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle. Between these two degrees he returned to Palestine where he spent three years carrying out research and advocacy in law and human rights working with Palestinian and international non-governmental organizations, including BADIL Resource Center and the American Friends Service Committee.
 









Yuchen hou
Yuchen Hou
is a Ph.D. candidate in Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/ Graduate Center, City University of New York. His research interests include police use of force, police body-worn cameras, and multi- and mixed-methods research design. Hou, in his doctoral dissertation, aims to identify multilevel factors that may differentially contribute to the opportunities for fatal and non-fatal police shootings in the United States, by using open sources to build a national database on police shootings. As an ARC student fellow, he plans to examine his life-saving-related hypotheses in the context of public health problems, exploring potential preventative strategies for saving more lives of the people shot by police. Hou earned in July 2015 his Master’s Degree in Procedural Law at People’s Public Security University of China, after receiving his Bachelor of Laws in Criminal Investigation at Criminal Investigation Police University of China in July 2012.






Shima Houshyar
Shima Houshyar
is a PhD student in cultural anthropology. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and French from the University of Washington and an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from New York University. Her dissertation research examines the sociopolitical effects of oil, urbanization, and large-scale infrastructural projects in 20th century Iran. Shima is primarily interested in investigating historical constructions of concepts of time, space and modernity in Iran as they are articulated at the nexus of globalized political-economic transformations and semiotic practices. 









Zehra Husain
Zehra Husain
is a Ph.D. student in the cultural anthropology program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She holds a B.A in Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and an M.A in Political Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her research interests include anthropology of media, images, icons, race and racialization, globalization, and historical anthropology. Her dissertation research examines the ways in which Lyari Town, a neighborhood in Pakistan’s commercial port city Karachi, and home to the Afro-Pakistani diaspora, is racialized by national and local media by focusing on urban strife on the one hand, and popularity of boxing, football, and rap music, on the other. It situates the cultural resonances for globally iconic practices in the history of the Indian Ocean slave trade and the development of the port in Karachi, and examines the role they play in shaping national and regional belonging for residents of the port neighborhood.



Bonnie Ip
Bonnie H. Ip
is a doctoral student in Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She holds a BA in English Literature from Binghamton University, an MA in American Studies from City College of New York, and an MA in sociology from The New School for Social Research. Her scholarly interests revolve around issues of intergenerational immigrant experiences, urban immigrant neighborhoods, ethnic group boundaries and mainstream integration. She plans to use the ARC Praxis Fellowship to interview second-generation children of post-1965 immigrants on the way they organize their family lives in adulthood. In this comparative project, she explores how Arab Americans and East Asian Americans experience degrees of racial and ethnic inclusion/exclusion to the American mainstream. She draws on their discourses about family life, such as their relationships with their immigrant parents, marriage partners, and raising the next generation of children, to discuss the state of American race relations.

Omnia Khalil
Omnia Khalil
is PhD student, City University of New York (CUNY), anthropology program. She is co-founder of 10 Tooba| Applied Research in the Built Environment. Her current research titled “Urban Geographies of Violence in Post-Revolutionary Cairo” focuses on forms of violence in a local community of Bulaq Abulella in Egypt. She is an engaged scholar and urban anthropologist and has over ten years’ experience in social mapping and participatory community urban action planning. Omnia was heading a participatory community action plan in Ramlet Bulaq and was a post MA fellow in the anthropology department at AUC, where she finished her thesis in cultural anthropology. Her MA thesis is titled “The People of The City, Space, Laboring and Power; Unraveling the How in Ramlet Bulaq”. During her MA research, Omnia participated in a one-semester exchange program with Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi, India).

Marty Kirchner
Marty Kirchner is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His dissertation research studies the theory and practice of “socialism” in the People’s Republic of China today. With a specific focus on the impact of advanced digital technology on spatial and industrial strategic planning, his research examines the historical and continuing influence of Chinese Marxism on the nation’s political, legal, and economic operating system for urban and regional development, the government’s capacity to steer capitalist institutions and market-based resource allocation, and the ways in which, given enduring structures of social inequality, regional disparity, and pollution-related illness, for various generations of Chinese citizens the components of this system have achieved and/or have failed to achieve greater well-being and life satisfaction, as well as affective and intellectual credibility. He holds a B.A. in Art from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has studied critical art practice at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany, and at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.




Khanh Le
Khánh Lê
is a Ph.D. student in Urban Education at the Graduate Center and a Teaching Fellow in the Bilingual Education and TESOL programs at City College. He holds a B.A in History of Việt Nam with a minor in African American Studies from Temple University and a M.A in International Education Development from New York University, Steinhardt. His work as a scholar is a continuation of his years as a youth activist in the Asian American community in Philadelphia. He intends to use his scholarship to disrupt oppressive language ideologies regarding minoritized communities, especially Southeast Asian American youth, and shift the production of knowledge through an epistemology centered on decolonization and Critical Participatory Action Research.



 
Brenna McCaffrey
Brenna McCaffrey
is a PhD student in Cultural Anthropology at CUNY Graduate Center. She received B.A. degrees in Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at SUNY New Paltz in 2014. Her research interests include medical anthropology, activism, gender, science & technology studies, and reproduction.  Her current project examines the role of the abortion pill in feminist activism in Ireland, focusing on the ways in which use of this medical technology contests forms of medicalization, inequality of citizenship and healthcare access, and the boundaries of the modern European nation-state. Brenna is also a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Lehman College, where she teaches courses in Cultural Anthropology and Women's Studies.


 
Mary Jean McNamara
Mary Jean McNamara
is a doctoral student in Classics. She is interested in the reception of Athenian democracy by modern political theorists. Her master’s thesis examined citizenship grants in ancient Athens in the late-fifth and fourth centuries. She is currently working on the ways in which Athenian identity was represented by playwrights and poets in the classical era.
 











Sheehan Moore
Sheehan Moore
is a doctoral student in cultural anthropology at the Graduate Center. His research focuses on oil and gas infrastructure and land loss in coastal Louisiana. This work is situated within a broader view for the ways that land is claimed and re-defined by protest, sovereignty movements, and other forms of political action. With land loss accelerated by climate change and extraction-related subsidence, claims to present and future territory acquire an additional urgency, mobilizing communities while also multiplying opportunities for intervention by state agencies and private capital. Sheehan approaches these dynamics through his work with ARC as well as in his position as a student researcher at the Graduate Center's New Media Lab. He is a co-coordinator at the CUNY Adjunct Project.
 





Ercio Munoz
Ercio Munoz
is a doctoral student in economics at the CUNY Graduate Center, teaching fellow at City College, and research assistant at the Stone Center on Socio-economic Inequality. His research interests are mainly on applied econometrics, labor economics, and political economy. In particular, he is currently doing research on the role of firms explaining the changes in labor earnings inequality in Chile; on how public funding of political campaign, advertisement, and corruption affect electoral competition; on how to test for unobserved cluster effects in panel data models; and studying methods to correct for unit nonresponse in survey data. He has worked at the Central Bank of Chile, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank. He received a B.A. in economics and M.A. in finance from the University of Chile, and a M.A. in economics from Georgetown University.


 
Sejin Oh
Sejin Oh
is a Ph.D. student in linguistics at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research interests are in second language acquisition, phonetics, laboratory phonology and prosody. Her current research is investigating how knowledge of a second language affects the phonetic realization of two different phonological processes in the speech of Bulgarian(L1)–English(L2) bilinguals. In particular, she will examine the extent to which vowel reduction and final devoicing are phonetically complete in L1 Bulgarian speech as a function of (a) age-of-arrival to the US, (b) age of acquisition of L2 English, and (c) measures of relative L1-L2 dominance in daily usage. 
 











Rafael Davis Portela
Rafael Davis Portela
is a Ph.D. student in the History department, where he researches the role of transnational capital in the urban development in Latin America. He is also a member of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies–CLACLS, and Adjunct Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he teaches courses on Latin American History. He is also into digital tools, and interested in anything related to teaching.
 












Luis Bernardo Quesada
Luis Bernardo Quesada
is a Ph.D. student in the Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures Program, the Graduate Center, CUNY. My doctoral research focuses on the discursive construction of citizenship in 19th century Mexico. I approach this problem through the analysis of etiquette and politeness manuals that circulated since then, and examines how representations of language and language use, shown through different settings, speakers, and registers in these materials, are aligned or can be read as part of broader social and economic processes of the epoch, such as the consolidation of the Mexican nation after the Independance, through both intrastate and interstate policies that were carried out by a dominant elite. The sets of ideas on language and language use found in etiquette and politeness manuals can be seen, thus, as part of a normative discourse that works not only to create citizens needed for the new independent State, but also as stratification devices which legitimate the participatory right of the elite groups in the administration and exertion of the State power.


Christie Sillo
Christie Sillo
is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology program at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She holds a B.A. in American Studies with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Connecticut. Her research interests revolve around intersections of race, class, gender, and family.












Joseph van der Naald
Joseph van der Naald
is a doctoral student in the program in sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His general research interest is on the political economy of the American welfare state. His current research project focuses on the relationship between the industrial geography of the logistics industry in the United States and the spatial demography of welfare recipiency. Joseph is also a teaching assistant at Queens College, as well as a research analyst for the Joseph S. Murphy Institute at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College. He holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Portland State University and a master’s degree in sociology and social anthropology from Central European University.




Hilary Wilson
Hilary Wilson
is a Ph.D. student in Geography at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research broadly examines the historical role of urban governance in (re)producing racial and gender inequality. Her dissertation will trace the material and discursive dimensions of the financialization of urban governance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the life chances of the city’s Black community have reversed alongside a ballooning municipal debt since the 1970s. Employing a mixed methods approach, she will document how particular economic development agendas are legitimated, whose interests those agendas ultimately serve, and the alternative ways in which poor and working-class Milwaukee residents are attempting to secure economic stability through and against the local state. Before pursuing her PhD, Hilary worked and volunteered in various capacities in the Milwaukee community, and is a founding board member of the Milwaukee Community Land Trust, the city’s first land trust devoted to providing permanently affordable housing for low-income Milwaukee residents. She holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.


Kasey Zapatka
Kasey Zapatka
is a doctoral student in sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He holds a BA in Spanish Literature and Language and an MA in sociology. At CUNY’s Center for Urban Research, he works as a Research Associate and conducts labor market research for various CUNY colleges/universities, governmental agencies, and non-profits throughout the city. He is also a Digital Publics Fellow at the Center for Humanities, where he is developing a website that clarifies and further explains the important aspects of New York City’s rent regulation system. Kasey is primarily interested in spatial and urban inequality, specifically the role that urban processes play in shaping neighborhoods and influencing housing affordability. As an ARC Research Praxis Student Fellow, Kasey will be researching the relationship between supply- and demand-side mechanisms in the gentrification debate. Using tax assessment and Census data from New York City, he will test whether one mechanism predicts the other. Specifically, he will arbitrate the supply- versus demand-side debate by testing whether demographic shifts (demand-side) precede rising housing prices (supply-side) or if rising housing prices lead demographic shifts.


Read about past student fellows.