Doctoral Students

Esther Ajayi-Lowo

Photo of Ph.D. Student Esther Ajayi-Lowo

Esther Ajayi-Lowo holds a bachelor’s in philosophy from Obafemi Awolowo University and a master’s in international law and diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Along with the doctoral program, Esther is also pursuing a master’s in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies. She’s had professional experience in women’s rights and development issues in Nigeria with governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and she now serves on the board of trustees of Projekthope in Nigeria.

Research Interests: feminism, theory and praxis, global and transnational feminism, African feminisms, feminist/womanist theories, gender and human rights, politics of sexual and reproductive health, sexual violence in crisis and conflict situations and women’s oppression at the intersection of cultures and religions.


Kristin Adler

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Kristin Adler

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.

Research Interests: transnational feminisms, women, peace, and security, the political economy of violence against women, Gloria Anzuldúa, feminist, womanist and indigenous epistemologies, speculative realisms, post-genomic gender transgression and Latin American and Caribbean literatures.


Diana Álvarez

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.


Lindsey Bartgis

Lindsey Bartgis has a master’s in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “Male Rape Culture: Media Representations of Male-on-Male Sexual Assault and Male Survivor Experiences.” She has held board positions with Chicago’s largest LGBTQ community center the Center on Halsted and reproductive justice organization Texas Equal Access Fund.

Research Interests: sexual violence (particularly male sexual assault experiences), popular culture, legal studies, issues involving Title IX and sexual assault, reproductive justice and ecofeminism.


Sheila Bustillos-Reynolds

Sheila Bustillos has a master of education in counseling and guidance with an emphasis in higher education administration from Texas State University. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Foster Care Parenthood: Exploring Intergenerational Removal,” is a qualitative investigation of cyclical removals in the Texas foster care system focused on former foster care parenthood experiences. She is currently the vice president of Education Reach for Texans, a nonprofit organization championing post-secondary success for foster care alumni in Texas.

Research Interests: motherhood and subalternity, intergenerational removal in foster care, humor as a tool for social change and speculative realist or materialist views of ethical/moral student development theories.


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 gender and womens studies from Southern Methodist University. While gaining her doctorate, she will examine the ways in which democratic governments have implemented policies that embody feminist values.

Research Interests: feminist comparative policy theory, feminist public policy, American international relations, ecofeminism, womanist, mujerista and feminist theories, intersectionality, environmental justice and how globalization and cultural phenomena affect or contribute to policy change.


Marcella C. Clinard

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Marcella C. Clinard

Marcella C. Clinard earned her master's in women's studies at TWU. She has experience as a public school English teacher and is pursuing an additional master's degree in English.

Research Interests: intersections of race and religion, engagement with religion and spirituality within women's and gender studies, pedagogy within women's and gender studies, reproductive justice, new materialisms and ecowomanist ontology, Gloria E. Anzaldúa's writing process, whiteness in American literature


Lauren Cross

Lauren Cross holds a master of fine arts in visual arts from Lesley University. Her dissertation research focuses on curatorial practice and the application of womanist methods for art exhibitions and community arts programs featuring the works and experiences of women artists of color.

Research Interests: African-American women artists, representations of Black women in American history, Black women in film, colorism, African-American quilt traditions, womanist new media praxis, womanist film, Black feminist theory, visual sociology, women in arts, Christian spirituality among African-American women and East Texas African-American women.


Pallavi Govindnathan

Photo of Ph.D. Student Pallavi Govindnathan

Pallavi Govindnathan is an artist with a master of fine arts in painting and new genres from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her research in the past has been based on a six-year-long study on acid violence against Women in Bangladesh, which prompted the study of religions and patriarchal violence. Pallavi uses art as a tool to facilitate social awareness and feminist activism.

Research Interests: women in Bollywood cinema, Hindu mythology and culture, representations of gendered violence in art, religions and cultural veiling, commodity, culture, and ethnic stereotyping 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.


Sara Ishii

Portrait of Ph.D. Student Sara Ishii

Sara Ishii is a Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies doctoral candidate currently completing her dissertation titled “Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s ‘Art as a Mode of Research’: Applications in Feminist Research Methods and Feminist Rhetoric.” She holds an master’s in feminist, gender and women’s studies from York University in Toronto, Ontario and a master of fine arts in art and technology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Research Interests: Anzaldúan theorizing, feminist and womanist theories, feminist new materialisms, qualitative research methodology and arts-based research methods.


Angela Johnson-Fisher

Angela Johnson-Fisher holds a master’s in women's studies and a master of business administration from TWU. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Womanism, Work, and Wealth,” focuses on the business and community development history of women of color in the Americas. Angela is a serial entrepreneur, fundraising consultant and coach committed to transforming the marketplace. She works with governments, nonprofit and for-profit organizations internationally and locally.


Jennifer V. Martin

Jennifer V. Martin 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.


Reanae McNeal

Reanae McNeal holds an master’s in women’s studies and a master in English from TWU. She is completing her dissertation, which is titled “African Native American Women’s Rhetorics of Survivance: Decolonization and Social Transformation.”

Research Interests: rhetorics of survivance, ‘white’ settler colonialism, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, African Native American studies, indigenous/womanist/feminist theorizing and epistemologies, womanist and indigenous theologies and spiritualities, community literacies, decolonial research methods, and the interrelated and comparative history and literature of African Americans and Native Americans.


Kimberly C. Merenda

Kimberly C. Merenda holds a masters degree in womens studies from TWU and is currently pursuing a second masters degree in English along with her doctoral degree.

Research Interests: post-oppositionality as personal and political consciousness, canine-human “interrelationality”, Anzaldúean autohistoria-teoría, digital literacy and contemporary dystopian fiction.


April Michels

April Michels holds a master’s in English literature from Duquesne University where she also earned a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies.

Research Interests: feminist reconstructions of biblical and cultural archetypes of femininity, the historical pathologization of female sexuality, the literary works of 19th-20th century British and American women writers, comparative literature, Chicana feminism and re-interpretations of La Malinche, La Virgen de Guadalupe and La Llorona, immigration, racialization, and citizenship and ecofeminism and environmental justice.


Kathy Nguyen

Kathy Nguyen earned her master of social work at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Research Interests: cyborgian theory, Harawayian theories, anime and manga studies, posthumanism, network theory and technology studies, quantum time in Japanese film and literature, quantum fiction, philosophy of time and consciousness studies.


Foluso Oluade

Foluso Oluade has a master’s in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in womens and gender studies from the University of North Texas. She aspires to be a professor and a prominent activist.

Research Interests: the policing of female sexuality, African American female expression and sexuality and the bolstering of widespread proper education about both womanism and feminism.


Jennifer Roland

Jennifer Roland earned her master’s in social work from Indiana University. She is passionate about using a transdisciplinary approach to transform social work practice and pedagogy. Her research agenda combines women’s studies with the substantive areas of overrepresentation of African American children in the child welfare system; restorative justice in K-12 public schools; and spiritual and sacred activism among social work professionals.

Research Interests: use of womanist theory in social work practice, womanist theory in social work pedagogy, Black feminist thought to engage African American mothers in social work practice and global perspectives on mothering.


Jessica Spain Sadr

Jessica Spain Sadr is a doctoral candidate in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies. She holds a master’s in women’s studies from San Diego State University and a master’s in sociology from TWU. Her dissertation research examines the unique potential that Chicana queer-feminist Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s post-Borderlands and La Frontera theories possess for furthering positive self and social transformation.

Research Interests: multicultural womanist and feminist theories, indigenous epistemologies, global spiritual activism, decolonial food praxis and transdisciplinary research methods.


Sam R. Schmitt

Sam R. Schmitt holds a master’s in criminal justice from Washington State University.

Research Interests: the prison industrial complex and trans women’s prison activism, sex worker activism, trans and queer spiritualities, trans and intersex subjectivities in the field of women’s studies, trans autobiography genres, trans women of colors’ literary works, disability/chronic illness and intersex/transgender subjectivities in the work of Gloria E. Anzaldúa, LGBTQIA U.S. politics, LGBT legal movements, womanist self-recovery, epistemologies of whiteness and feminist-womanist pedagogies.


Michelle Slaughter

Michelle Slaughter holds a master’s in Instruction from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Her dissertation research focuses on the intersections of resilience and resistance in the lives of Black girls.

Research Interests: girls' studies; representations of Black females in U.S. culture, education, commercial sexual exploitation of girls in the U.S., Black feminist thought,  social justice pedagogy, social media activism and politics of beauty.


Pat Spencer

Pat Spencer earned her master’s in journalism with a concentration in media ethics from the University of North Texas Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism in 2009. She is a Mayborn scholar and a 18-year veteran of the El Paso Police Department.

Research Interests: transnationalism, diaspora theory and intersectionality tensions and power struggles within government, the criminal justice system and higher education.


E.S. Tamplin

E.S. Tamplin earned a bachelor’s of science in sociology and a master of education in educational leadership and policy analysis with an emphasis in higher education administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia. E.’s dissertation topic is yet to be determined but hopes to delve deeper into one of the further mentioned research interests with a critical combination of an “afrogenderqueer” perspective and feminist/womanist thought. E’s work applies an integrated approach utilizing women-of-color theories, sociological perspectives and educational scholarship to E.’s interests in minority women and queer people of color’s body, mind and spirit experiences in college athletics and classrooms.

Research Interests: social justice issues, intersections of coming out narratives, the construction of self-identity and concept and mental health, alternative/non-traditional family and intimate relationship structures and the intersection of sexualities, identities and spirituality


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.


Pamela White Wolsey

Photo of Ph.D. Student Pamela White Wolsey

Pamela White Wolsey’s master’s in government from TWU and 10 years in the energy industry inspired her research on the connections between spiritual activism, new materialism and natural gas exploration. After completing the Appalachian Trail in 2013, changing careers and relocating to North Carolina, Pamela continues to explore the relationships between living and nonliving things, but with an emphasis on ecotourism, invasive species management, environmental racism and eco-therapy.


Carla Wilson

Photo of Ph.D. Student Carla Wilson

Carla Wilson holds a master’s in women’s, gender and sexuality studies from Georgia State University.

Research Interests: compassionate listening as a form of spiritual activism, Gloria Anzaldúan thought, feminist, womanist and Indigenous epistemologies, pedagogies and praxis and contemplative pedagogies and praxis in higher education, specifically in learning and research environments.


Todd Winkler

Todd Winkler holds a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a master of education in education administration from Lamar University. His dissertation research focuses on the experiences of the WASP attachment located at the largest pilot navigational school during WWII.

Research Interests: disruptive epistemologies, social histories, educational theory and consecrating pedagogies.


Page last updated 11:37 AM, May 5, 2017