Past Graduate Teaching Fellows (2016-2020)

Part of a two-year fellowship program, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CUNY Humanities Alliance Graduate Teaching Fellows represented a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences. Working closely with faculty mentors, program staff, continuing Graduate Teaching Fellows, and students at LaGuardia Community College, Fellows learned pedagogical practices adapted for teaching in community colleges while contributing their own experience and scholarly expertise to the project, the institutions, and the public. 

Tanzeem Ajmiri (2018-2020) 

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Tanzeem Ajmiri is a doctoral student in the Critical Social/Personality Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Some of her research interests focus on idology and how it is developed, as well as the radicalization of Muslim youth in Western societies. She hold a Bachelors degree in Sociology, Political Science and African American History and a Masters Degree in Non Profit Management and Community Organizing from the New School. Formerly a youth worker and community organizer in the Bronx Tanz looks forward to working with the students at Laguardia Community College. 

Francine Almash (2018-2020) 

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Francine Almash is a doctoral student in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on race and disability, and the historical roots of biases in the evaluation of black students as maladjusted and emotionally disturbed. She has an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and BA in Writing and Literature from The New School. She is currently working with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools on a landscape analysis of special education services for public school students and an evaluation of the New York City Department of Education’s ASD Nest program for students on the autism spectrum.

Arita Balaram (2018-2019) 

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Arita Balaram is an activist/scholar pursuing a PhD in the Critical Social Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY.  She is interested in stories that circulate within diasporic communities, across migratory geographies, and through generations. Her current research integrates visual methodologies such as identity mapping to explore how Indo-Caribbean youth in the U.S. engage in acts of self-assertion and recovery in contexts where ideas of home, belonging, and community have been contested for generations.  More broadly, she is interested in the utility of psychological theory for doing community-building and critical consciousness-raising work.

Emily Brooks, History (2016-2018) 

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Emily Brooks is Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the Graduate Center. She studies the history of nonviolent crime in the United States in the twentieth century, and focuses particularly on the construction and policing of social deviance. Brooks looks at changes in laws and policing practices pertaining to drug and alcohol prohibition and sexual activities to consider the origins of these changes and how they reflected and reinforced inequalities delineated along lines of race, class, gender, and perceived ability. Currently, Brooks is exploring the policing of women for sexual crimes in New York City during and after the mobilization for WWII, a moment of unsettled gender norms and heightened concern about female sexuality. Through this research she hopes to examine both policing practices of the New York City Police Department, and how these practices were used to construct gender difference. 

Davide Giuseppe Colasanto (2018-2020) 

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Davide Giuseppe Colasanto is a PhD candidate in Modern European History. He studies the history of sexuality and emotions in contexts of war. His research investigates how Fascism, and World War II influenced Italian masculinities from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Previous works include an article on the American soldiers’ emotional life in allied occupied Italy, and a forthcoming research on the changing relation between sexuality and European identity within the EU student exchange  program. He is deeply in love with teaching, interactive pedagogy, and digital humanities. For the past three years he has taught courses in Early Modern and Modern European history at Queens College.

Deshonay Dozier, Environmental Psychology (2016-2018) 

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Deshonay Dozier is a doctoral candidate in Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Broadly, her research engages the cultural critique and alternative development practices of people of color in the Los Angeles region. Dozier’s dissertation research maps the contested racialized relations of property and policing between elites and the homeless in Skid Row. Her research has been supported by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, Institute for Human Geography, and USC Wallis Annenberg Research Grant. Dozier holds a Bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development with a Minor in Sociology from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s in Psychology from CUNY. She has taught and assisted courses in ethnic studies, psychology, and urban affairs.

Cory Greene, Critical Psychology (2016) 

Photo of Cory Greene with a HOLLA t-shirt on speaking into a microphone in front of a HOLLA banner

Cory Greene is a formerly Incarcerated organizer for the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions (CNUS) and The Incarceration to Education Coalition (IEC). He graduated from the Applied Psychology program at NYU’s Steinhardt school of Culture, Education, and Human Development in 2013. He is one of the co-founders of How Our Lives Link Altogether! (H.O.L.L.A!), an organization dedicated to youth leadership development, radical healing, youth organizing, and community empowerment with historically marginalized youth of color. Greene is a student in the Critical Social Personality Psychology doctoral program at the Graduate Center of CUNY where he plans to engage in/with participatory action research: an epistemology and practice that challenges inequalities, normative assumptions of “the normal,” and promotes social/human justice!

Luis Henao Uribe, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages (2016-2018) 

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Luis J. Henao Uribe is a Colombian writer based in New York since 2005. He published the short-stories collection Diarios del limbo in 2006 and he collaborates often with literary magazines Los bárbaros and Vecindad. He is a P.h.D student at The Graduate Center, CUNY in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages Program and his main research interests are Mexican and Colombian novel of the 20th Century and the representations of violence and literature as part of State building processes.

Anton Kociolek, Cultural Anthropology (2016-2018) 

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Anton Kociolek is a doctoral student in the cultural anthropology program at the Graduate Center. Originally from Chicago, he earned a B.A. in anthropology at Hunter College, CUNY in 2013. His research interests encompass ethnomusicology, historical anthropology, migration/mobilities studies, semiotics, and critical race theory, with a regional focus on Puerto Rico, the wider Caribbean, and Caribbean diasporas in the U.S. His research looks at Puerto Rican musical practices in order to explore questions of race, nationalism, historical consciousness and processes of migration and cultural exchange both past and present. In this, he is informed by and draws on his years of experience as a performing musician and dancer in the Afro-Puerto Rican genres of bomba and plena. His pedagogical concerns include a keen interest in how the study of popular musical practices can help to inform student engagement with broader questions of culture and power. He is himself a product of community college, the City Colleges of Chicago, which provided him with the basic competencies required for matriculation to a 4-year institution. These experiences motivate his commitment to the value of urban public higher education.

Jonathan Kwan, Philosophy (2017-2019) 

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Jonathan Kwan is a philosophy Ph.D. candidate at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His main areas of interest include political and social philosophy, the philosophy of art, Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Jonathan’s dissertation develops an eco-political and territorial account of the concept of a democratic people in an effort to answer the boundary problem and questions about a people’s legitimacy (how can a people justify the exclusion of outsiders, if at all?). His argument has important consequences for a host of practical issues such as immigration, refugees (including environmental refugees), and the rights of indigenous peoples. In the past, Jonathan has taught at Hunter College and Brooklyn College. He currently serves as a Communication Fellow at the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute at Baruch College.

Makeba Lavan, English (2016-2017) 

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Makeba Lavan is a doctoral student in the Department of English at the Graduate Center, CUNY. There, her research focuses on (African) American Studies, Speculative Fiction and Popular Culture. In addition to her studies, she also teaches at Lehman College.

Kahdeidra Monét Martin, Urban Education (2017-2019) 

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Kahdeidra Monét Martin began her career in youth development as a tutor, youth facilitator, Assistant Director of a Beacon Program, and Afterschool Site Coordinator at community based organizations throughout NYC. A proud product of independent and public schools, she also has been a teacher and administrator at both. Kahdeidra currently is an Adjunct Professor of Developmental English at Passaic County Community College and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, contrastive analysis literacy strategies, culturally relevant curricula, participatory action research, decolonization, religion and education, the languaging practices of multilingual African-descended youth, and the places where dialects intersect. Outside of teaching and researching, Kahdeidra is the publisher and editor at Dimonet Connect Publishing, where she has authored two bilingual children’s books, I Love Myself, Do You? and Saturday is My Favorite Day, and one collection of poetry, Saltwater Rivers. As Kahdeidra explains, “My writing is divinely inspired, ancestrally edifying, and culturally conscious.” She holds a B.A. in African & African American Studies from Stanford University and an M.S.Ed. in Teaching Urban Adolescents with Disabilities from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus.

Jadele McPherson (2018-2020) 

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Jadele McPherson is a artist-scholar who studies Afro-Cuban performance, intra-Caribbean migrations  and black political resistance in Haiti & Cuba. As an arts educator in Chicago and New York she worked to develop bilingual curricula & creative pedagogies. She created DA CLOCK (2015) at Pregones Theater for Pepatian’s Creating Connections, and at JACK with support from a Brooklyn Arts Council Community Fund Grant (2015). She performed with Yosvany Terry’s Quintet at BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn tribute to Celia Cruz with Angelique Kidjo feat. Pedrito Martinez (2016) and La Sirene: Rutas de Azucar at JACK (2016).

José Alfredo Menjívar, Urban Education (2016-2017) 

José Alfredo Menjívar standing in front of a chalkboard

José Alfredo Menjívar is a poet, writer, educator, activist, doctoral student in the Urban Education program at The Graduate Center, CUNY and instructor across NYC universities. His scholarship centers on how race, class, gender, sexuality, language and citizenship fundamentally shape and mark the ways folks of color exist, participate, negotiate and navigate the word and the world. He is the organizer of Affirmations: Honoring Self & Community Care for & with Educators of Color ( and his writing can be found on[].

Chaya R. Nove, Linguistics (2017-2019) 

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Chaya R. Nove is a Ph.D. student in the linguistics program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on variation and change in contemporary Hasidic Yiddish, an understudied Yiddish variety that is also her native language. Chaya’s academic journey began at SUNY Rockland Community College, where she was inspired by the pedagogical practices of her professors. After earning her Master’s in applied linguistics from Teachers College Columbia University, she returned to Rockland Community College as an adjunct instructor in the speech department. Although her primary focus is currently on linguistic research, she remains passionate about public higher education. Chaya teaches linguistics courses as a teaching fellow at Hunter College.

Hansol Oh, Theatre (2017-2020) 

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Hansol Oh is a doctoral student in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She joined the program after completing her bachelor’s degree in English and French from Korea University. Her research interests include: theories of national identity and citizenship, post World War I US American theatre, theatres of hyphenated identities, and inter-Asian theatre and performance exchange.

Alex Polish, English (2016-2018) 

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Alex Polish, a writer and educator with a healthy dose of Queens pride, has taught writing at CUNY Queens College and is a Ph.D. student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Their classroom and research interests deeply intersect, so they and their students spend a lot of time discussing and writing about the lived realities of critical race and dis/ability theories. They are currently focusing their academic work on the relationship between affective whiteness and dis/ability in composition classrooms. Their debut novel, LUNAV, a YA fantasy, was published with NineStar Press in April 2018.

Mike Rifino (2018-2020) 

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Mike Rifino is a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His interest in pursuing an academic career started when he was a LaGuardia student and participated in the Peer Activist Learning Community (PALC), a transformative activist research project organized with and for LaGCC students. Through reading critical theories and building solidarity with fellow PALC students, Mike cultivated a newfound relation toward learning, which ignited his quest to pursue an academic career studying the intersection of emotional development and learning. He is currently interested in the processes of emotional development and learning among community college students to better understand how transformations in both processes play a role in promoting student agency. Mike’s most recent presentation was accepted by the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO) titled, “Mobilizing emotions to critically engage resistance and passivity within a peer-based learning community”. Mike Rifino is a former Futures Initiative fellow in which he Co-Directed their Undergraduate Leadership program, which serves as a site for CUNY undergraduate students to become leaders within their colleges and communities. Mike Rifino has taught General Psychology and facilitated the e-Portfolio lab for First Year Seminar in LaGuardia Community College.  

Rojo Robles Mejías, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages (2016-2018) 

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Rojo Robles is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Puerto Rico. He recently published the novel Los desajustados and the English version The Maladjusted, and is currently finishing his first feature film The Sound of ILL Days. He is a Ph.D. student at The Graduate Center, CUNY in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages Program where he focuses on the intersection between literature and cinema in Latin America.

Micheal Angelo Rumore, English (2017-2019) 

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Micheal Angelo Rumore is a writer, educator, and semi-retired musician, as well as a doctoral student in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He works broadly in the field of postcolonial studies and his current project focuses on writing that employs the Indian Ocean as a site for narrating globalization and the emergence of modern racialization. His writing has appeared in venues such as Social Text Online, Studies in the Fantastic, and Guernica. In addition, he has taught courses in literature and composition at Lehman College and Queens College, CUNY.

Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie, Music (2017-2020) 

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Originally from Utica, NY, Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie is a Brooklyn-based composer, songwriter, electronic musician, drummer, and teacher. His recent research and musical projects use ideas about recording and sampling, recursion, and generative composition. This work has taken shape in many forms, including concert pieces juxtaposing acoustic and artificial sounds, a stop motion music video released by Newlywed Records, minimal pop songs, and performance pieces like “Counterpoint for Two Isolated Drumsets” and “Piece for Eight Microcassette Recorders.” Jacob is currently a PhD candidate in music composition at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where he studies with Jason Eckardt and Jeff Nichols. He received a BM in composition from SUNY Purchase in 2013, where he studied with Suzanne Farrin, Du Yun, and Huang Ruo. As a teaching fellow, he teaches courses in music technology and music theory at Brooklyn College. 

Oliver Sage (2018-2020) 

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Oliver Sage is a doctoral student in the French program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. They joined the program after receiving their bachelor’s degree in French and Art History at Hunter College, where they now teach introductory French courses. Their primary interest is in twentieth century French literature, focusing on Jean Genet. However, their work is inherently multi-disciplinary and covers everything from 1970s science fiction to contemporary queer, feminist, critical race and dis/ability theory. Outside of the university, they’re involved in an ongoing series at Anthology Film Archive, The Cinema of Gender Transgression.

Patryk Tomaszewski, Art History (2017-2019, 2020-2021) 

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Patryk Tomaszewski is a Ph.D. student in Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His research focuses on twentieth-century art, with a specific interest in modern art from Eastern and Central Europe. Currently, Patryk is working on a project that explores ways in which Polish artists negotiated their national identity through artist-run collaborations and exhibitions in the immediate aftermath of World War II. In addition to teaching art history at Borough of Manhattan Community College, he has also completed internship programs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Born and raised in Warsaw, Poland, Patryk holds a B.A. with Honors in Art History and German from Fordham University and an M.A. in History of Art and Archaeology from The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Lynne Turner (2018-2020) 

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Lynne Turner is a doctoral student in Sociology with interests in Labor Movements, Social Movements and the American Class System.  Lynne was raised in a working poor family in Newark, NJ, and worked for many years as an organizing director, researcher and educator within labor unions and labor-community coalitions organizing low-wage workers and building labor, community and global partnerships for economic justice.  Her research on the SEIU’s “Fight for a Fair Economy” campaign constitutes a chapter of “New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement” edited by Ruth Milkman and Ed Ott. Lynne has taught Labor Studies at the CUNY Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies and Sociology at Hunter College, and serves as an instructor with the United Association for Labor Education’s Northeast Regional Summer School for Union Women.  Lynne is completing the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate to weave digital techniques into a toolkit of student-centered, participatory teaching practices. She is also a coordinator for the CUNY Adjunct Project and on the executive committee of the Graduate Center Chapter of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY. Lynne holds a M.A. in Labor Studies from the CUNY Murphy Institute.

Mara Valderrama (2018-2020) 

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Mara Valderrama is a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY and she teaches in the Communication Department at Baruch College in New York. Her research focuses on representations of gender in Spanish contemporary theatre. She is the managing editor for Spain at The Theatre Times and the 2018 recipient of the IFTR New Scholars Prize. She studied Spanish Language and Literature as well as Comparative Literature and she holds an MA in Theatre and Performance Arts at the Complutense University in Madrid. In addition to her current ventures as a scholar, she has wide experience as a performer. Valderrama graduated from the Music Conservatory of Ferraz in Madrid and has been a Language and Literature teacher in public high schools in Spain and the US.   

Inés Vañó García, Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages (2017-2019) 

Photo of Inés Vañó García against an orange, red and yellow painted wall

Inés Vañó García is a Ph.D. student of Hispanic Linguistics at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She came to the U.S. after receiving her “Licenciatura” from the University of Alicante (Spain) with a Fulbright Spanish Teaching Assistantship at Agnes Scott College (GA), and decided to continue her studies in the United States. Her research focuses on the institutionalization of the Spanish language in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century. She is interested in language ideologies and the political history of the Spanish language. She has teaching experience in Spain and in the U.S. In addition, Inés is also completing the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate in order to be up to date on technology-based educational resources. Currently, she is teaching at Brooklyn College and Lehman College (heritage speakers).

Alison Walls, Theatre (2017-2019) 

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Alison Walls is Ph.D. student in the Theatre program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. An actor and director from Wellington, New Zealand, she also holds an MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in French Literature from Victoria University of Wellington. Her publications include The Sentiment of Spending(Peter Lang, 2008), a new-historicist discussion of consumerism and the nineteenth century French novel, and articles on the department store novels of Zola and Rachilde, French language in Henry V, and vampire imagery in Showboat. Alison’s current research explores the intertwined relationship of archetype, stereotype, and iconic performers in popular US culture from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Alison has recently joined the Upstart Creatures, a non-profit theatre company creating “metaphysical feasts”—offering free play readings and gourmet food to the community.