Student-Scholar Partnership (SSP) List

Fall 2020

woman sitting at desk smiling

Photo Credit: google

Groundbreaking Woman Scientist (C2) Oral History Project Research
  • Pnina Abir-Am, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • TBD, Student

This project explores the pioneering career of Carolyn Cohen (widely known as “C2”), the first woman professor of Biology at Brandeis. She created a research community which grew from three founders to 40 scientists, thus serving as a role model for generations of women and men scientists. C2 also emerged as a spokesperson for the rights of women scientists to gender equality in and out of science, while bringing our knowledge of muscle proteins to new structural milestones, by using cutting edge technologies such as X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy. The project capitalizes on C2's Personal Papers at the Brandeis University Archives.  The project will focus on oral history with C2's colleagues and mentees at and beyond Brandeis.  


woman and student looking at papers
The Heroine’s Journey and Beyond: Envisioning and Supporting Sustaining Life and Change Narratives
  • Nancer Ballard, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Savannah Jackson, Student

The Heroine’s Journeys and Beyond project identifies and articulates post-gendered life arcs that encompass features of both The Hero and The Heroine Journeys and values struggle as much as achievement and ongoing/ incomplete journeys as much as the reaching of destinations. The project includes an enduring short-form multi-media website-blog platform that has received more than 98,000 views from visitors in over ninety countries. See

The Alt Right and Contemporary Paganism
  • Helen Berger, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • TBD, Student

This project is an examination of the response of the majority of contemporary Pagans, who are politically liberal, feminists, and environmentalists, to a subset within their religion that is helping to populate and provide symbols and rituals to the alt-right. The Scholar’s research focuses on the activities of the alt right, its use of Heathen symbols and images, and the responses of contemporary Pagans. The Scholar and Student  would work together to monitor online sites, read relevant news articles and academic sources, organize the data, and think through conceptualizing this work for publication.

South Korean Feminism and Activism in the US Camptown Military Sex Industry
  • Yuri Doolan, WSRC Affiliated Faculty

  • TBD, Student 

This project uncovers, through archival Korean language documents, the hidden histories of activism and resistance among camptown women working as entertainers and prostitutes for the US military in South Korea since 1945. It distinguishes between the efforts of the sex workers themselves and those of broader South Korean nationalist and feminist movements against US militarism, which often are at odds with each other. While the broader movements utilize and appropriate camptown women's struggles as human evidence of US imperialism in South Korea, the sex workers themselves are not so interested in dismantling the US military empire, and have historically invested in action that improves their daily lives and conditions instead, such as the abolishment of venereal testing and quarantine facilities (colloquially known as the "monkey house"). This project traces how these women's own concerns have shaped the current state of politics and feminisms in camptowns, culminating to an ongoing lawsuit first filed against the South Korean government in 2014 for helping the US military to detain, test, and treat military prostitutes against their will.

On Equal Terms: Tradeswomen Voices, Rear View, & Digital Exhibit
  • Susan Eisenberg, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • TBD, Student

The On Equal Terms Project is a Research and Art Initiative of the WSRC that analyzes, and addresses—often using creative medium—equity issues facing women in historically-male occupations, with a special focus on women in construction. This longterm project is based in a grassroots movement and directly engaged with gatekeepers at the national level. Main projects this fall include: a) Tradeswomen Voices, a 3-part cultural event on Oct. 18 linked to a national conference; b) Rear View, group interviews with longtime activists reflecting on their accomplishments and errors; c) adding content to and creating an index for an interactive online exhibition

Fostering a learning and leadership mindset to shape a radically different world of medical practice: Producing "Take Charge of Your Practice" curated newsletter
  • Nance Goldstein, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • TBD, Student

The newsletter, “Take Charge of Your Practice”, fills an urgent, compelling need for physicians who are also leaders. They face radically different challenges and possibilities after COVID ravaged healthcare and in a world that expects more and better in inclusivity and equity. The newsletter curates the best articles from respected medical journals on the newly necessary leadership capacities for healthcare.  The research and stories in this newsletter offer insights into how other physicians have re-invented their practices, while also giving time-constrained physicians access to new ideas, information and opportunities. The newsletter aims to spark ideas for how to shape practices and their futures so they can thrive.

National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine: C-Change Research Project
  • Linda Pololi, Resident Scholar, Senior Scientist, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Kacy Ninteau, Student

Description: The National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine& — known as “C-Change” for culture change — is seeking an intern to help prepare and evaluate a Mentoring and Leadership program at Brandeis for medical school faculty. The student will be supporting C-Change research projects including the Mentoring and Leadership Institute.

Fostering Young Women's Leadership: Promoting and Practicing Initiative
  • Phoebe Schnitzer, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • TBD, Student


The act of “Taking initiative”, a central component of leadership skills, is one that may present particular challenges for young women. By way of outreach and creating bonds between the WSRC Scholars and Brandeis undergraduate organizations, this project plans to develop and offer individual and group interventions designed to strengthen this crucial component of young women’s leadership capacity. In the initial phases of the project, the Student will serve as Ambassador to various campus groups addressing issues of importance to young women. The Student will interview campus organization leaders to ascertain concerns and help structure a variety of activities designed to foster initiative. With the close collaboration of WSRC Scholar Edith Coleman Chears Ph.D., a recognized professional in Organizational Leadership , the project will put in place a program of group and individual mentoring, which can be implemented remotely by way of teleconferencing techniques. Self-evaluation, description of leadership initiatives, and ratings of the supportive activities will provide assessments of the project. 

Documenting Transgender Activist Biography in India
  • Gowri Vijayakumar, WSRC Affiliated Faculty

  • Inaara Gilani, Student

Through this project, we are working with Akkai Padmashali, a transgender activist based in Bangalore, India, to support her as she documents her life as an activist. Compiling her journeys through NGOs, activist organizations, and transnational feminist networks, as well as through her personal experiences of family, motherhood, and citizenship, makes clear how the personal is deeply intertwined with the political.


Women and Children First: The Remarkable Life of Dr. Susan Dimock
  • Susan Wilson, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Megan Catalano, Student

Though her name lives on in Roxbury's Dimock Street and in the Dimock Center that still straddles that road, Susan Dimock's (1847-75) important story has been essentially unknown in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. To her contemporaries in Boston of the 1870s, however, she was known as a strong, selfless pioneer in American medicine — among the first group of physicians to provide professional health care by, and for, women, and one of the finest, most respected surgeons (male or female) in Massachusetts. I am working on the first full-length biography of her life.
Cascading Research Group: Graduate SSP's
Building on the success of the interdisciplinary Cascading Workshop last year, the WSRC is sponsoring
the Cascading Research Group, 2019-2020. The CRG acts as a forum to present work-in-progress and
exchange ideas about empirical projects. Brandeis faculty and WSRC Scholars work with graduate
student SSPs to explore the literature, research design, and findings.
Cascading Research Group: Cascading and Resilience through the Prism of Intersectionality
  • Karen V. Hansen,  Director of the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and Professor of Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

  • Samantha Leonard, Graduate Student


Defining cascading as the process of falling from a particular social location in ways that precipitate additional declines, the project asks: what are the social, structural, and familial conditions that accelerate or minimize this widespread and poorly understood phenomenon? How do kinship, social networks, race and gender, employment status, and access to public resources, for example, act as mediating forces in the onset, duration, or prevention of cascades? This project maps the networks and processes that can either turn a triggering event into a plunging spiral or activate a set of economic and social responses that foster resistance and resilience.

Cascading Research Group: The Relationship to Wealth and Health Inequities: Addressing the Needs of Women of Color and Their Children
  •  Tatjana Meschede, Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer, Heller School for Social Policy and Management
  • Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Visiting Associate Professor UMass Boston; Visiting Scholar, Heller School  for Social Policy and Management
  • Gabrielle Hibbert, Graduate Student

Description:   This study will examine the reciprocal relationship between wealth and health for women of color and impacts on the well-being of their children. Central to this research will be the exploration of the role of gendered racism on the relationship between maternal health disparities and wealth disparities among women of color in their reproductive age group, and their impacts on the well-being of their children ages 0-18. We propose gendered racism as an intervening variable, explicitly underscoring the role of a specific type of racism that partially drives inequality in America, and may exacerbate the relationship between health and wealth inequities. 

Cascading Research Group: Gender and Agrarian Distress in India: Cascading in Rural India
  •  Smriti Rao, Associate Professor of Economics and Global Studies, Assumption College; WSRC Scholar
  • Cynthia Kipkorir, Graduate Student
Description:   This project seeks to evaluate i) the extent and nature of agrarian distress in India in the last decade; ii) The gendered impact of this agrarian distress; iii) the most useful empirical measures of agrarian distress that could be used in future research. India's liberalization process involved changes in the extent of government support for agriculture from price controls and input subsidies, to trade protection. Combined with larger shifts in global markets, this shift in policy led to a slowdown in agricultural output, yield, and employment growth. Numerous field studies pointed to rising indebtedness and losses in income for marginal farmers with un-irrigated farmland in particular. The tragic phenomenon of farmer's suicides did bring some public attention to agrarian distress, at least in part contributing to the development of India's rural employment guarantee scheme, which was designed to provide a safety net to rural agricultural workers. Since the mid 2000s there has been an increase in overall agricultural growth, measured in terms of agricultural output. However, there are sharp regional differences in the extent of recovery, and a continuing, perhaps even accelerating, decline in agricultural employment.