Graduate Students


Women's and Gender Studies Master's Students

MA in Women's and Gender Studies


Jennifer Dargie

Jennifer Dargie-Evangelista received her B.A. in both History Education and Music at Salem State University. Jennifer has been working full time as a high school history teacher, while completing her research and study at Brandeis. Her multiple academic interests include: secondary education, theater, music, African American and Latino History, modern American History, American politics, Birth Control and Reproductive History, sexuality, self image issues in youth and minority rights. (And how all of those topics often intertwine.) Her focus of her research has been creating teenage leadership programs and providing birth control access for minority youth in urban districts. She hopes to someday open her own high school, and continue working with urban youth. For now, she is continuing to work with Lawrence Public Schools in their after school theater department.

Jennifer McWilliams

Derek Whitt

Derek Whitt has a BA in English from the University of Texas-P.A. (2011.)  At the root 
of Derek's interests is the influence of faith values and beliefs of evangelical Christianity on the ‘making of’ girlhood/womanhood. His research at Brandeis has focused on faith-based “sexual responsibility” literature and the connections between religiosity and violence against women. Most recently he has found himself taking a more philosophical approach to questioning social presence generally, exploring the ways in which gender and race influence a person’s ability to, in effect, achieve varied degrees of ‘qualified’ personhood.




Joint MA in Anthropology and Women's and Gender Studies

Jessica Bray

Jessica Bray received her BA in Middle East/South Asia Studies & Religious Studies with Minor in Sexuality from the University of California, Davis.  Jessica's research interests include Post-colonialism, transition, religion, queer theory, sexuality, feminist anthropology, India.  Her senior honors thesis was titled The Politics of Demystifying Identity: South Asian American Queer Women’s Education.  She will focus her masters research on transnational relationships within South Asian courtesan culture.

Jara Connell

Jara Connell graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Anthropology and a BA in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.  Her capstone paper was titled, "Capitalist Infiltration of the U.S. Prison System: How For-Profit Aspects of the PIC Interfere with Law and Justice" and her research interests include marginalized communities, intersectional feminism, the prison industrial complex, immigration, indigenous rights, human rights and social justice, and feminist anthropology.

Grace Daniels

Grace Daniels  graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Political Science, focusing on International Human Rights.She has co-authored several papers on the topics of femicide, media symbols and meaning, and representation within women's rights work. Her research interests have taken place both in the US and Southern Mexico, and include; radical and queer theory, performance theory, ritual, violence/non-violence comparative study, social movements, and representation and meaning. 

Paige Henderson

Paige Henderson received her B.A. in Anthropology/Global & International Studies from the University of Kansas.  Asan undergraduate, Paige's involvement and academic interests have been very diverse.  She conducted research in Jocotan, Guatemala on health and sanitation in indigenous communities, lived in South India and worked with Hyderabadi NGO "Voice 4 Girls" to promote education for women, and was selected to speak before congress in D.C. about diversity in higher education as a McNair Scholar.  At Brandeis, Paige's research interests include contemporary India, sexualized violence, radicalism, and agency. 

Renée Robinson has a B.A. in Anthropology with minors in Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology (University of West Florida, 2012). Renée's interests include performance, identity, feminist anthropology, cyberculture, and ethnomusicology. She is currently researching gender and sexual expression in popular music.


Joint Master of English and Women's and Gender Studies

Lily Beaumont
Audrey Cerchiara
Michael Mirer
Courtney Parker
Marnie Zoldessy

Joint Master of Near Eastern Judaic Studies and Women's and Gender Studies

Celene Lizzio

Celene Ayat Lizzio is pursuing a PhD in Arab and Islamic Civilizations at Brandies University. She has written over twenty articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries exploring Muslim family law, Muslim feminist theology and women’s religious leadership, among other topics. Ms. Lizzio is a Faculty Associate at the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College, and she also lecturers on Islam, gender, and interreligious studies at Episcopal Divinity School. Ms. Lizzio holds a Master's of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor’s from Princeton University with highest honors in Near Eastern Studies.

Leonie Wirtgen 



Joint Master of Public Policy and Women's and Gender Studies

Kaleigh Behe Kaleigh Behe has a BA in Sociology with a minor in creative writing (Vassar College, 2011). Kaleigh's previous research has focused on designing an undergraduate global masculinities seminar. She also completed a thesis on the intersection of homophobia and nation-building in Uganda. Kaleigh's recent years of fair housing advocacy work have furthered her interests in intersectionality, power and privilege, and the advancement of equitable social policy. 
Malcolm Joyles
Jessica Thiesen Jessica Thiesen has a BA in political science (Roosevelt University). Jessica’s research interests include the relationships between gender, race, and social welfare policy as well as the exploration of how trans* and other non-binary identified individuals exist within policy. Jessica’s undergraduate thesis explored the historical and theoretical relationship between poor women of color and various welfare programs. 
Nikki Tishler got her B.A. from UMass Amherst where she majored in Women Gender Sexuality Studies and a self-designed interdisciplinary major in Civic Engagement and the Politics of Representation.  She is interested in policy issues related to comprehensive sexuality education and reproductive justice.  Her work focuses on intersectionality and the role that intersectionality can play in social policy analysis and implementation, to create more equitable and just policies.













Joint MA in Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies

Stephanie Bonvissuto

Stephanie Bonvissuto has a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in Sociology (University of Massachusetts Boston, 2013). Stephanie’s focus is on the intersection of gender, body, and sexuality (especially when complicated by race, religion and class), and accesses to their socially constructed identities. Her undergraduate Women’s Studies Honors Thesis examined management of gender identity by transsexuals from within an arrested gender transition.

Sierra Schnable
Caty Taborda

Caty Taborda has a BA inSociology (Hamilton College, 2011). Caty's recent research has focused on sociological approaches to transgender studies, racial discrimination within beauty industry training procedures, and how abstinence-only curricula promote gender stereotyping. Her current research looks at the intersections between medical spaces and gender inclusivity/exclusivity. Her areas of interest include research methods, gender performance, and the gendering of spaces. 




















Joint MA in Sustainable International Development and Women's and Gender Studies

Ariel Magid