Current Students

Note on Graduate Student Representatives (GSR): GSRs facilitate mechanisms and spaces by which students in the program can contribute to discussions about the program and degree. In this capacity they serve as a resource to other students and the program director.

2016 Cohort: Yvonne Anthony-Lopez
2017 Cohort: Ayva Thomas (Ali Cohen, alternate)

Read about some of our dynamic Cultural Studies students, their educational backgrounds, and research interests.

2017 Cohort

Bárbara AlexandraBárbara Alexandra

Bárbara (they/elle) is a K’iche Guatemalan hailing from the barrios of LA where their passion for community organizing first sparked. For 6 years, they participated in cultural work throughout Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and the Bay Area addressing crucial issues such as systemic racism, gender justice, and education. During their undergrad, Bárbara received the Excellence in Writing: Visual Rhetoric Award by the University of Utah and competed nationally with the John R. Park Debate Society. To transition into their creative process, Bárbara participated in QEAR, one of the nation’s first performance art residencies for young queer people of color in Oakland. Since then, Bárbara has exhibited art work at Qulture Collective, SOMArts, the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics and performed with Topsy Turvy Queer Circus. Bárbara dedicates their time outside of academia cultivating art and building intentional spaces with queer and trans youth of color.

Research Interests: Performance Studies, Settler Colonialism, Power and Oppression, Critical Cultural Studies, Youth Justice

Academic Background: University of Utah, Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and Writing & Rhetoric Studies

image of Ali CohenAli Cohen

Ali Cohen currently works for a local college, teaching classes for students over 21 that culminate in a high school diploma. She also is helping organize a similar pathway for students under 21 so they could be served beyond their local high school. A beneficiary and advocate of non-traditional education models, she's worked in various schools and non-profits in South Texas, South Carolina, the DC/MD area, and Washington. She made the decision to pursue Cultural Studies so she could elaborate on content to teach and to better contribute to and understand schools’ equity plans and activism.

Her personal hobbies include talking too long to cashiers, making music, guerrilla gardening, spending $40 on ingredients to make a meal that would have cost $7, and painting junk gold and calling it “vintage." Her personal aspiration is to have a crow that hangs out with her and sits on her shoulder.

Research Interests: Black Oppression and Resistance, Border Studies, White Cognitive Dissonance and the Erasure of Native/Indigenous Populations

Academic Background: Special Education, Coastal Carolina University (Magna Cum Laude) Bachelor of Arts in Education, Richard & Karen Spivey Academic Scholarship, Women in Philanthropy Scholarship for “Women Making a Difference”

image of Randizia CrisostomoRandizia B. Crisostomo

Randizia was born and raised on the Island of Guahan (Guam) and has lived in the U.S. with her family for over ten years. She graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle with her bachelor's degree with a major in Anthropology and minor in American Indian Studies which she completed in
2016. Her passion lies in Indigenous knowledge and learning the different ways it can be included into various areas of decolonizing educational institutions. She is very family oriented and loves to spend her free time at family bbq’s or gatherings. Her interests include drawing, trying new foods, hiking, and playing video games.

Research Interests: Indigenous Studies in Oceania with a focus on the region of Micronesia (Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, FSM, Republic of Palau (ROP), Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), etc.); Decolonizing museums through community engagement, and healing intergenerational trauma in the Marianas through storytelling

Academic Background: University of Washington, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology; minor in American Indian Studies.

Image of Ranna HarbRanna Harb

Ranna Harb is passionate about working and collaborating with others in all aspects. She majored in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior and wishes to continue her education through the Cultural Studies program at UW Bothell. Ranna is looking forward to enriching her learning through discussion and question.

In her free time, Ranna enjoys traveling, reading, biking, and spending time with family and friends. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and loves the rain and cloudy days. She is a first generation Palestinian American and is always looking for ways to learn more about her heritage as it is very important to her. Ranna hopes to apply the ideas and learnings from the Cultural Studies program and use it as a tool when it comes to discussing the complexities of Palestine and its people.

Research Interests: Social Movements, Human Rights

Academic Background: University of Washington, Bachelor of Arts in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior

image of Shan JiangShan Jiang

Shan was born and raised in China. She has started to study abroad since she graduated from her high school in 2007. In the past 10 years, she studied in Argentina, the U.S., and Spain. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2015. After that, she worked for two non-profit organizations and helped the local community in Green Bay. She also became involved with a few international non-profit organizations and had chances to volunteer for supporting rural education in China and Mexico. She enjoys working with children.

In her free time, she loves cooking, drawing, playing piano, yoga, hiking, and volunteering. In 2016, she moved to the Seattle area from Wisconsin. She looks forward to a new journey of cultural exploration at UW Bothell.

Research Interests: The importance of self-identification in multiculturalism; youth development in the bilingual/multilingual generation; the relationship of Artificial Intelligence and humanities

Academic Background: The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Studies; minor in Human Development

image not availableBilen Million

Bilen graduated from UW Bothell with a Bachelor’s in Society, Ethics and Human Behavior and a minor in Human Rights. Since graduating, she has worked in a variety of roles at the UW furthering her passion of making higher education accessible as a first generation student. She hopes to further her education in Race, Gender & Women studies. Bilen recently co-lead a UW Study Abroad trip to Ghana which was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences she’s had in her professional career.

Research Interests: Gender-Based Violence, Black Feminism, Black-led Social Movements

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Society, Ethics and Human Behavior; minor in Human Rights

image of Brandon PearsonBrandon Pearson

Brandon is an avid reader and bibliophile who has a deep love for the Pacific Northwest. As a teen he discovered a passion for education and social justice through his local PFLAG community and left his comfort zone to speak at area high schools about his experiences as a queer youth with a panic disorder. This work led him to interact with the Diversity and Equity Center at his community college where he soon became employed. He worked for 5 years with international students while completing his undergraduate education with a concentration in cultural studies.

Research Interests: Finding strategies to interrupt and ultimately dismantle the preschool-to-prison pipeline; intersections between art, activism, and identity primarily via comics; discovering ways to break down barriers to educational equity especially in regards to students and families living in poverty.

Academic Background: The Evergreen State College, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies; South Puget Sound Community College, Associate of Arts

image of Kaytie ProffKaytie Proff

Kaytie is an academic adviser for a community college in Washington State. She graduated with her degree in Social Work from the University of Washington. In the past two years Kaytie has facilitated annual workshops around intersectionality and even led a discussion around intersectionality at the Students of Color Conference in Yakima earlier this year. Kaytie is a Korean American Adoptee who has a passion for listening to people’s experiences and stories. She is also a big Disney fan. In her down time she is the adviser for her school’s Harry Potter club and is planning her wedding for next summer.

Research Interests: Disney and its influence on the way society (mainly children) grow up and assume different identities and stereotypes, intersectionality - how intersecting identities create new barriers and opportunities for individuals

Academic Background: University of Washington Seattle, Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, Associates of Arts degree, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Professional Certificate, Mental Health First Aid USA Certificate 

Natalie-Smith.jpgNatalie Smith

Natalie Smith was born in the U.S. and moved to Israel as a young child. Being bilingual and multinational exposed her to different cultural worlds and gave her the curiosity and need to tap into different narratives and investigate them. She graduated from the Multidisciplinary Programs of the Arts at the University of Tel Aviv, Israel. Her studies combined theory with the history of art and film, giving her tools to analyze visual images across disciplines. In her research she is drawn to larger questions regarding the role of culture in society: Who defines what is considered good or bad art? Who are the cultural gatekeepers? Is art actually accessible to different publics or is it available only to a closed elite group? After graduation she has worked as head curator and manager of a private gallery in Tel Aviv and as the Assistant Curator at the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel.
Her interests include film and television, experimenting with new food in the kitchen, spending time with her two kids and exploring her new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Research Interests: Visual Culture, Contemporary Art, Film and Media Theory,  Gender, Women and Sexuality, Critical Race Theory.

Academic Background: University of Tel Aviv, Bachelor of Arts Multidisciplinary Programs of the Arts major in Art History and Film Theory. Venice International University, ERASMUS Program of Law, History and Arts. Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, M.A Studies - Policy and Theory of the Arts. University of Washington, GNM Studies - Comparative Literature Cinema and Media. 



Ayva ThomasAyva Thomas

Ayva was born and raised in Lynnwood, WA, though her roots extend from the Caribbean to Canada. She has valued education since she could talk because her mom had constant conversations with her about the importance of it, she is 2/3 introvert and 1/3 extrovert, and she loves to be around people who make her laugh. Ayva started the North Star College Mentorship Program in 2014 with research that she did in one of her undergraduate courses, and the program continues to expand. She hopes to turn North Star into a non-profit organization. Ayva is passionate about equity in education, helping first generation students get to college, and being a lifelong student and educator. In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights and competing in fitness competitions. Ayva aspires to get her PhD and become a director of diversity and equity for a public school district.

Research Interests: equitable approaches in education, multicultural education, prison system/ school to prison pipeline 

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Community Psychology (Magna Cum Laude)

image of Melina TovarMelina Tovar

Roots grounded in the mossy woodlands of the Pacific Northwest, Melina finds delight in the quiet surprises of the human experience; a great story expressed by many faces, times, and landscapes. She graduated from the University of Washington – Bothell with an undergraduate degree in Society, Ethics, & Human Behavior and a minor in Consciousness Studies. She has decided to respond to the call of the times by greeting it with her own passions for social justice and cultural wisdom. Melina has thus found herself amidst an ever-emerging journey to discover the undercurrents and overtones of belief systems, histories, social relations, power dynamics, and their human expression through local, abstract, and geopolitical life.

Research Interests: LGBTQ Studies, Queer Theory, Allyship & Solidarity Practices, Social Movements, Sex Education, Multicultural Education, Pedagogy, Feminist Studies

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothel, Bachelor of Arts in Society, Ethics, & Human Behavior; minor in Consciousness Studies

image of Kristina WhippleKristina Whipple

Kristina has spent about half of her life on the east coast and half of her life on the west coast and loves them both in different ways. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2003 as a single mother to a then 5 year old son, who is currently in pursuit of his own bachelor’s degree. Highlights of Kristina’s life include: co-directing and co-producing a short documentary film; building her own house through a low income housing program where she currently lives with her human and feline family; organizing a range of diverse fundraising events varying significantly in scope from a corn maze for a rural Waldorf school, to a Fourth of July extravaganza for a city of 60,000; and coordinating programs from youth arts to social services.

Kristina looks forward to occasionally getting out of the lovely bubble that is the Olympic Peninsula to pursue her MACS at UW Bothell.

Research Interests: The cultural factors that continue to, perpetuate, and serve to sustain patterns of intrafamilial, organizational, and other forms of sexual abuse; oral history as primary source material to highlight under-represented voices; and United States public history

Academic Background: Leadership Institute of Seattle, Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

2016 Cohort

Yvonne Anthony-LopezYvonne Anthony-Lopez

Yvonne is a UW Bothell graduate, earning her degree in Global Studies in 2014. Currently she lives in a Bothell Cooperative where she serves as a board member. She acts as the liaison between community members and landlord with any concerns or requests. Her other duties include writing the community monthly newsletter, planning community events, and work parties.

Some of her passions include cooking and sharing her creations with friends and family, social justice issues, hiking, volunteering and being a host mother to international students. She may appear a bit shy and reserved at first but soon you will find she is quick witted and a comedian at heart. She is leader in her community and loves to help others.

Research Interests: Adult learners in higher education; history between Mexico and the Philippines. Portfolio Advisor: Yolanda Padilla.

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies; Cascadia College, Associate's degree in Integrated Studies

Portia BoylePortia Boyle

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Portia loves to travel and listen to other people’s experiences, and to ask questions. Most recently, she has been to Spain to study the politics of soccer, and lived with a host family in León. As a first generation student, Portia is learning about the challenges and struggles navigating higher education, as well as the privilege and opportunities it has to provide. In her spare time she likes to read, listen to music, spend time with her family doing many activities - which includes marine sports, and roller skating. Portia is excited to add to her family, by welcoming her first child into the world in December 2016.

Research Interests: Reimagining the roles of the nonprofit sector, and philanthropy using feminist theory; U.S. and Global Social Movements, including the role and power of The Arts in Social Movements; Media Studies, Public Culture and Scholarship. Portfolio Advisor: Dan Berger.

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior and in Global Studies; Edmonds Community College, Associate of Arts

Rebecca DiamondRebecca Diamond

Rebecca Diamond began her technical dance training through Lansing, MI public schools. She became involved locally as a choreographer and performer for shows at Lansing Community College as well as local festivals. She continued her education at Western Michigan University while working as an independent contractor, dancing for clubs across the country. At the age of 21 she joined the military. After leaving active duty she moved to WA to finish her education. With a passion for arts and people she decided to major in the Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior at UW Bothell. She is currently working as a yoga instructor and performing with Seattle-based company 3rd Shift Dance. The knowledge gained from her undergraduate degree filled many gaps but left her with more questions about bodies, space, and identities. Inspiring her to continue her pursuit of understanding through the Cultural Studies program.

Research Interests: Dance within culture and its ability to create cohesion and to heal individuals and communities; art as a medium for global consciousness and challenging its exclusivity; women, space, and sexuality. Portfolio Advisor: Bruce Burgett.

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior, minor in Dance

Enrico DoanEnrico Doan

Enrico was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He came to Seattle several years ago and shortly thereafter started at the University of Washington. He is an avid writer, reader, cook, musician, martial artist, and ice hockey player. He also rescues and raises dogs. He is somewhat well traveled but is always trying to go abroad. He hopes to enter a career in national security, US foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and international relations. He would like to, eventually, settle down as a teacher once his wanderlust has calmed.

Research Interests:

a) How do people around the world tell stories, and how does that help them heal? In particular, how do countrymen of nations with a history of genocide, massacre, and other trauma tell stories, or how has their inability to tell their stories harmed them?

b) Examining the still-contentious spaces of the borders in the Middle East, particularly the Israel-Palestine and Saudi Arabia-Iran conflicts; studying the culture of Turkey and Syria which seem to have been in constant turmoil

c) Self-identification in America; whether with nationality, culture, race, color, sexual identity, religion, or other core values. Portfolio Advisor: micha cárdenas.

Academic Background: University of Washington Seattle, Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Bachelor of Arts in English

Magdalena DoneaMagdalena Donea

Magdalena is a former political refugee, a writer, artist and one-time technology pioneer who settled gratefully in the Pacific Northwest after a lengthy search for a place that feels like home. She is a 22-year veteran of the technology sector, where she has been an entrepreneur, a technology consultant, developer, and program manager, focused on everything from early online storytelling, to web operations, to – most recently – online policy and privacy. Having raised a loving, multi-cultural family, Magdalena has recently switched directions back to her first love – writing and scholarship, particularly in the Humanities – hoping to forge a new personal and professional path that allows her to contribute more directly to the multiple communities and cultures in which she belongs. She loves music, live theater and film, videogames, participating in online media fandoms and taking endless road trips. She looks forward to becoming immersed in academia, and finding ways to contribute to the body of public scholarship on the ways in which culture is formed and re-formed all around us.

Research Interests: Refugee and border studies, including refugee communities, narratives, and literature in translation; Transnational feminism and queer studies; Gentrification and urban cultural studies; Internet culture, particularly online fandoms, online activism, and privacy culture; Digital humanities. Portfolio Advisor: Lauren Berliner.

Academic Background: Excelsior College, Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, concentration in Cultural Studies

Emily FullerEmily Fuller

Emily recently moved to Washington from a tiny town in Connecticut, and is ready to learn to love the West Coast (while harboring some unavoidable homesickness.) She is a Cancer sun/Libra rising and rarely meets a dog or a child that she doesn’t love. She fiercely loves her mom and dad, her queer family, her dog Grrl, and all the other humans in her life that don’t fit into one of those categories. She enjoys working and hanging out with youth, particularly queer youth and young girls, and spends a lot of time thinking about media representation, identity construction, queer sexualities and bodies, intersections of race and sexuality, emotionality and vulnerability, creative expression, the Internet as a performative space, and the confluence of all these topics and many more. She is excited to be part of an academic setting where she can work with others to generate new ideas and work on creative projects.

Research Interests: Queer community and culture, young adult media, pornography and representations of sexualities. Portfolio Advisor: Kari Lerum.

Academic Background: Smith College, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, minor in Logic

Daniel KissingerDanny Kissinger

Born in Seattle, and raised in Snohomish County, Danny has spent most of their life in the Pacific Northwest. They attended school in Maine, where they studied anthropology and cinema studies with a focus in queer theory. Since graduation Danny has been working for a local youth-serving non-profit.

Research Interests: Horror genres as post-humanism, psychospatial terrain of queer politics, resistance and power in public cultures. Portfolio Advisor: Bruce Burgett.

Academic Background: Colby College, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, minor in Cinema Studies

Frances LeeFrances Lee

Frances is an artist, writer, and technologist. They are a native Texan, and moved to Seattle from Austin in the fall of 2014. They are a second generation Asian American (Taiwanese and Cantonese), and proudly identifies as queer and gender non-binary. Frances has most recently been employed in the tech industry, and they have observed from both ends the rising antagonism between transplant tech workers and the queer and communities of color they continue to displace. They are interested in building empathy between these actors, fighting against white male supremacy, and finding sustainable ways to redistribute capital through skills and cultural education. They also hope to gain through this program a broader, more nuanced understanding of the origins of our current sociopolitical landscape, and how to compassionately engage with anyone on the complex topics of power and oppression.

In their free time, Frances enjoys lounging on the shores of Lake Washington, reading women of color writers, learning how to cook Chinese food, drawing comics, and venturing into new art mediums.

Research Interests: Technology Culture, Queer Theory, Post-Capitalism. Portfolio Advisor: Jed Murr.

Academic Background: University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, minor in Psychology; Bloc, Inc; Certificate in UX/UI Design

Maisha MansonMaisha Manson

Maisha is a San Diego born writer and artist. They use their relationship with the border and migrational communities to guide their studies of power and oppression on intersectional identities. Maisha has presented at universities and conferences on decolonizing gender, sex, and race for the last two years. These ideals and perspectives are what Maisha hopes to bring and expand upon at UW Bothell.

Research Interests: Relationship between power and oppression on intersectional identities, social construction of disabilities and audism, construction and history of racial divide. Portfolio Advisor: S. Charusheela.

Academic Background: California State University Northridge, Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies - Deaf Education

Jacob MorefieldJacob Morefield

Jacob Morefield was born December 10, 1982 in Seattle Washington, the youngest of three brothers. He grew up along the Seattle I-5 Corridor attending public school and graduating from Decatur High School in Federal Way in 2002. He attended South Seattle Community College for Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant management but didn't complete his AAS before starting work in the culinary industry. After five years working as a cook he left the culinary world behind and moved on to become a CNC machinist. He returned to school in 2013 at Bellevue College where he revived his AAS before transferring to the University of Washington Bothell campus where he finished work on a Bachelors in Global Studies in spring 2016. An avid camper and outdoor enthusiast he works with the Boy Scouts of America troop 455 as a merit badge counselor and adult volunteer teaching outdoor skills to youth.

Research Interests: Post-colonial cultural development, Impacts of Globalization on international cultures, the impact of globalization on cultural groups within the Global North VS the Global South. Portfolio Advisor: Ben Gardner.

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies; Bellevue College, Associate of Arts and Sciences

Miranda RileyMiranda Riley

Miranda resides in the Bothell area with her wife and their four children. She recently wrapped up her undergraduate work at the University of Washington Bothell after transferring from North Seattle College. Miranda attributes her research and educational interests to her insights from parenting and family building. She hopes to continue her pursuit of advanced degrees in order to become a university professor. 

Research Interests: Queer family formation and how it connects to nation and citizenship, heteronormative family structure, queer parenting, education and pedagogical strategies; considering ways that primary education can be changed to utilize critical theories of race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. Portfolio Advisor: Jade Power-Sotomayor.

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in American and Ethnic Studies and in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior, minor in Education and Society

Khairat SalumKhairat Salum

Khairat Salum is an aspiring video artist. As an undergraduate she majored in Interdisciplinary Arts with a minor in Visual Media and the Arts. Aside from her interest in art, Khairat is an active film watcher, a reader, and a cook. Her artwork responds to her own cultural upbringing as an African American Muslim woman but also current and past social events around the world.

Research Interests: Artwork responding to social events; Global Cinema and Videography; Human Rights focusing on women. Portfolio Advisor: Susan Harewood.

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts, minor in Visual Media and the Arts

Haliehana StepetinHaliehana Stepetin

Haliehana is Unangax, Alaska Native from the Aleutian Islands, and was born and raised on the island of Akutan. She served four years in the U.S. Navy as a Fire Controlman onboard the USS Chosin CG 65 stationed in Pearl Harbor, HI. She was raised in a traditional manner in the remote Aleutians, learning to hunt, fish, and gather for subsistence all her life. Her rich roots in the Aleutian Islands have affected every aspect of her life, personally, professionally and especially academically. Haliehana is an Unangax dancer, teacher, choreographer, and composer. She has danced her whole life and recently started mixing traditional styles of dance with contemporary performance arts. Haliehana is very passionate about learning and teaching the endangered Unangax language as well as other Unangax art forms and cultural practices. When Haliehana is not immersed in her culture, you can find her fishing, hiking, exercising, or cooking.

Research Interests: Unangax culture, Unangax materials in Russian repositories, revitalizing Alaska Native cultures from foreign sources, the impact of culturally relevant services for Alaska Native/American Indian youth, and the Russian language and Indigenous Far-Eastern Russian cultures. Portfolio Advisor: Ben Gardner.

Academic Background: University of Alaska Anchorage, Bachelor of Arts in International Studies – Russia Track with minors in Russian and Anthropology

Angie WinkleAngie Winkle

Born in San Diego, California, Angie formed a love for diversity and social justice at a young age. After taking a Comparative Ethnic Studies course her freshman year, she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of academia that produced research on the social construction of race in America and its consequences on youth living in urban areas. Fueled by present day injustices, she found herself heavily involved in social justice and the multicultural community at her university. She needs poetry for her soul, yoga to de-stress, and coffee to function.

Research Interests: Urban education, resistance, Critical Race Theory. Portfolio Advisor: Miriam Bartha.

Academic Background: Washington State University, Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Ethnic Studies and in Criminal Justice

Leah ZajacLeah Zajac

Leah arrived at the Cultural Studies program by way of their obsessive appreciation of the problems of inequity and violence in the human experience. Leah is committed to the political work of engaging with the darkness and brilliance of common life. They have a soft spot for teenagers, public libraries and cars in disrepair. In their personal time, Leah is usually rock climbing or fixing one of their cars so they can go rock climbing.

Research Interests: Feminist geography, subcultures of poverty, theories of political resistance. Portfolio Advisor: Dan Berger.

Academic Background: University of Washington Seattle, Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, minor in Geography

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