Graduate Students

Women's and Gender Studies Master's Students

Master of  Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Amity Pauley

Amity Pauley earned her BA in Women’s Studies and Interpersonal Communication with minors in Anthropology and French and an Honors Program certificate from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her Honors Program thesis is titled “Terroir of Two Places: Exploring the Potentials and Limitations for Feminist Outcomes in French and US Food Movements.” Amity looks forward to continuing her research, refining it, and potentially expanding it to other national contexts. Her general interests include but are not limited to: feminist theory, human geography, food studies, critical theory, cultural studies, history, social movements, ecology, anarcha-feminism, empathy, and rhetoric.

Joint MA in Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Jessica Bray

Jessica Bray received her BA in Middle East/South Asia Studies & Religious Studies with a minor in Sexuality from the University of California, Davis. Jessica's research interests include queer and feminist anthropology, law, digital representations of the self and ontology, postcolonialism, transnational sexualities, linguistic anthropology, South Asia and contemporary United States. Her senior honors thesis was titled The Politics of Demystifying Identity: South Asian American Queer Women's Education. Her masters research is titled: Queer Encounters with the Law: Ontological Representations of the Self in Transnational Mumbai.

Zhiduo Cheng

Zhiduo Cheng received his BA in Law from Shantou University in China. Zhiduo sees himself as an anthropological researcher focusing on everyday practice of LGBT people in post-reform China. Zhiduo theorizes everyday practice of LGBT people as active resistance and rebelliousness of “common heroes” against the dominant discursive construction of sexuality and normativity in the post-socialist China. He wants to continue his research about “queer China”, and to expand this research to the extent that encompasses the idea of gendered world and the taken-for-granted assumptions of gender and sexuality.

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.

Steven Gonzalez

Steven Gonzalez graduated from Keene State College in 2014 with an individualized Bachelor of Arts degree of Feminist Anthropology. As an undergraduate, Steven conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the small New England City of Keene, NH, where he interviewed locals and engaged in participant observation to study the cultural scene of a community soup kitchen and the mobile world of a local public transportation system. For graduate study, Steven is interested in Science & Technology topics including, mobile phones and computing cultures in developing countries, ethnosciences, digitally-mediated postcolonial subjectivities, the ontology of data, qualitative studies of data centers, politics of indigeneity, science fiction, postcolonial feminist science studies and cyborg anthropology.

Patrick S K Harhai

Patrick S K Harhai graduated from Portland State University, where his studies centralized within Anthropology, Queer Studies, and Spanish. His honors thesis was titled, 'Traversing the United States-Mexico Border: Gender and Kinship in Migrant Families'. His interests primarily concern performance/theatricality, queer studies, linguistic hierarchies, social justice, and transnationalism; Latin America and contemporary United States. He is thrilled to be a part of both the department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the department of Anthropology at Brandeis University. In his free time he loves traveling, cycling, and being outdoors.

Claire Hautot

Claire Hautot  received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Rhodes College with minors in Anthropology and Sociology.  Claire wrote a research fellowship paper titled "A Spectrum of Appropriateness: Sex Education in Religiously Affiliated High Schools", which examined attitudes and approaches to sex education in private high schools in Memphis, TN. Some of Claire's research interests include the role of women in evangelical religious movements in the American South and faith-based medicine.

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. 

Leah Wasil

Leah Wasil holds a BA in Anthropology from Central Washington University with a minor in Pacific/East Asian Studies. At Brandeis, she hopes to explore the contemporary practice of archaeology in Japan and East Asia. She is interested in gender politics and the weight of Japanese Imperial history, and how academic and contract archaeology in East Asia may be understood as a complex political process that ideologically organizes connections among different East Asian national communities and structures internal relations of gender and ethnicity.

Joint Master of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Larissa Cvach

Larissa Cvach received her BA in English literature and sociology in 2012 from the University of Nevada Reno. Larissa's research has focused on the intersection of identity categories and cultural studies. Her academic interests are feminist and queer theory, postcolonial theory, American postmodernism, cultural studies, and representations of the body and space in literature. Her honors thesis is titled "Masculinity in Southern California-based Hardcore Punk Rock". Larissa presented a revised version of this paper at a conference in Reno. Her future research interests include examining the use of space in queer Southern (gothic) literature and examining the ways Irish and Irish American punk lyrics can be read as postcolonial texts.

usen castle

Margot Kotler

usen castle

Michael Mirer

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

Celene Lizzio

Celene Ayat Lizzio is pursuing a PhD in Arab and Islamic Civilizations at Brandeis 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.

usen castle

Isabelle Daugherty

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

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. 

Joint MA in Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality 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.

Jax Gonzalez Jax Gonzalez graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Women’s and Gender studies. Her undergraduate thesis focused on elementary health education, and how neo-liberal politics have affected educator’s ability to teach the subject successfully.  Her graduate research will explore how menstruation effects queer lives, and the role of alternative menstrual products and menstrual “outing” within them.  Together with Stephanie Robinson-Cestaro, she founded the Menstrual Activist Research Collective (M.A.R.C) and had developed a series of workshops and literature on menstrual activism for faculty, students and activists. Check out their work (and get involved) at