People

Current Students

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.

  • 2018 Cohort: Kirby Stolzoff

Student Ambassadors

Connect with current Cultural Studies students, ask questions, arrange a campus tour, and learn about the student experience from our Student Ambassadors.

Current Students by Cohort

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

2019 Cohort

Heather Marie BartelsHeather Marie Bartels

Heather was born in Iowa and spent the first years of her life in the mid-west. When she was 10 years old, her mother loaded a truck with their belongings and drove the two of them to an island in Alaska. Island life didn't suit them and they moved to Washington after one year. Heather adores lush Seattle and made it her home base, always returning here between travels.

After graduating with honors from UW Seattle's Comparative Literature: Cinema Studies department, she has immersed herself in the film screening culture of Western Washington. After several years spent in the film festival industry, she transitioned to hosting public film screenings with guided discussions so she could share her passion for her field. With a focus on accessibility, gender studies, non-US filmmaking and normalizing morbid curiosity, her film screenings have filled a niche previously unrepresented in the community.

She has enough photos of her house rabbits to fill a small library and will not hesitate to share them if prompted.

Research Interests: Film theory, Fear, Group viewing experiences, International horror, Censorship, Gender Studies, Trauma

Academic Background: BA with honors in Comparative Literature: Cinema Studies, minor in Diversity from the University of Washington


Courtney ClementsonCourtney Clementson

From a young age, Courtney knew she wanted to make the world a better place, but it wasn’t until college that she would find out what her role would be in that process. Her active campus lifestyle provided her an opportunity to find her passion in anti-racist, social justice activism. As a white woman, she has really understood her journey in healing from whiteness as one of recovery and wants to better understand how she can best support other white folks who have an interest in accessing their full humanity.

Courtney enjoys spending the free time she does have with her friends, family, and partner. She is always looking for an available weekend to get outside (at least during the summer) or enjoying the stories that role-playing games and books have to offer in the winter. Courtney knows that while she has come a long way in her growth and development, that her own story is just beginning; she is excited to see where she will be in the future and to feel the full extent of love that this journey might allow her to enjoy.

Research Interests: Interested in critically analyzing the intersection of trauma and Whiteness, observing the ways in which the unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of whiteness create traumatic experiences across cultures. Wanting to use a sort of trauma-informed and multicultural recovery model combination to better understand why and how white folks continue to support and protect systems and societal norms that explicitly and implicitly harm them. Would like to further research or develop a hypothesis that recommends a healing and recovery process for whole communities, cultures, and societies who are seeking to live in their full humanity and dissent from whiteness.

Academic Background: Western Washington University, Bachelor of Human Services; Everett Community College, Associate in Direct Transfer of Arts & Science; The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond Undoing Institutional Racism Workshop


Julie FengJulie Feng

Julie Feng is a storyteller, poet, and community advocate. Rooted by her commitment to building narrative shifts that lead to cultural transformations, she coordinates communications and supports systems-level change towards education justice for the Road Map Project, as well as freelances as a cultural consultant and editor for publishing companies. Previously, she worked with the Peace Corps in Morocco, where she managed youth development programs—including a girls’ leadership initiative in partnership with Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn. In her work, art, engagement, and scholarship, her aim is to center liberation for communities of color. Julie is from Taiwan, grew up in South King County, and is currently based in Seattle.

Research Interests: Cultural Narratives, Education Justice, Community-Based Research, Communications, Literary Arts, Language/Politics of Language, Rhetoric, Poetics, Critical/Liberatory Pedagogies, Systemic Power and Oppression, Critical Race Theory, Sociology, Creative Writing/Writing Studies

Academic Background: B.A. in English/Creative Writing, University of Washington Seattle


Drew GamboaDrew Gamboa

Drew's roots flourish throughout eastern Washington; he calls the Puget Sound region home. His current research interests travel around the institutional development of community colleges, Adult Basic Education programming, and social movements. He discovered joy in supporting students' experiences in learning. His personal commitment centers around supporting remedies in patterns of generational trauma by revisiting the history of the everyday classroom. Drew hopes the innovative teaching and dynamic curriculum that the University of Washington Bothell introduces to students will supplement drives towards developing into an educator at community college contexts.

Research Interests: Labor Studies, Political Science and Storytelling : Transformational, Liberatory Pedagogy : Psychology, Linguistics and Social Movement

Academic Background: University of Washington, BA, History and Labor Studies


Sandra J.Sandra J.

Sandra (they/them) is a Han Chinese American genderqueer raised in the Bay Area, nurtured in San Diego, and currently finding roots in Olympia, WA. Throughout their undergraduate career, Sandra’s activist work centered upon queer/trans people of color community issues and fostering educational equity for marginalized, low income youth of color. Scholastically, Sandra’s undergraduate research project ‘Queer(ing) Childhood Sexual Assault’ looked at the complexities of queer/trans childhood sexual assault survivors of color. Academically, Sandra is interested in continuing their undergraduate research by examining the ways in which the U.S. has historically institutionalized childhood sexual abuse as a tactic of power and control, and how that legacy of violence continues to impact queer/trans black folk, indigenous folk, and people of color. Outside of academia, Sandra enjoys fostering mind/body connection, cultivating an ever changing art practice, creating character backstories for their outfits, and experimenting in the kitchen.

Research Interests: Trauma Studies, Queer of Color Critique, Settler Colonialism, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Academic Background: University of California San Diego, Bachelors of Arts in Literature/Writing and Critical Gender Studies


Kim JonesKim Jones

I was born in Missouri, raised in Tennessee and here I am in the Evergreen state, Washington! I have a passion for helping others find and create an identity and space that they are comfortable being in. As a multiracial individual myself, I learned how important it is to find that place of belonging. While working on my degrees on and off, I have worked for the Community and Technical College system in their Student Funded Programs office and have done several trainings and talks on power, privilege, and equity. I want to continue to inspire students to push for social justice and equality for all people.

Research Interests: Multiracial identity development, Critical Race Theory, Borderlands Theory, Chicana Feminist Theory, Latinx, Asian Americans

Academic Background: Bachelor's in Anthropology, Bachelor's in Race and Culture Studies, minors in Africana Studies, Chincanx Studies, and Native American Studies from Eastern Washington University, June 2019


Amanda KesslerAmanda Kessler

I am interested in academic research that will build upon my Global Studies degree focusing on early modern globalization. My interests revolve around my lifelong love for history and studying Spanish in my undergraduate degree which sparked my interest in Spain and colonization of Latin America. I am interested in learning more about the culture that came out of this process. I would like to apply this knowledge towards a career in the museum field and/or teaching.

Research Interests: Early modern globalization in the America’s / museum field

Academic Background: Global Studies with a minor in Policy Studies, University of Washington Bothell; Legal office assistant certificate EVCC


Ray LundquistRay Lundquist

Ray Lindquist was born and raised on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. Coming from a rural area that garnered attention from the film industry, he is eager to study how various entertainment forms influence or are influenced by the larger culture, along with what problems and solutions can be created through it. As a first-generation student with a disability, he is passionate about finding solutions to help increase inclusiveness and representation of traditionally under-represented minorities in American culture through the study of other cultures. He is also interested in cross-cultural studies between American and Japanese culture.

Outside of his graduate studies, Ray is an avid wildlife photographer and writer of his own science-fantasy series. He also loves to cook the foods found in his favorite games, films and books. In the future he hopes to return to Japan to continue to study the Japanese language and culture.

Research Interests: Cross-cultural studies of American and Japanese culture past and present; Entertainment media's role and impact on culture; Deconstructing stereotypes and stigma; Disability studies and representation, Stigmatized subcultures and populations, Gaming and internet culture.

Academic Background: Associate in Arts - Journalism emphasis, Peninsula College, Bachelor in Arts - Cultural Studies emphasis, The Evergreen State College


Alia MahdiAlia Mahdi

I have always been interested in knowing about other cultures and understanding how people see the world. I love to see things from different perspectives and studying culture is the best way to get the true knowledge about people and their heritage. I started collecting some of the popular folktales in my country with the thought of publishing them one day.

Research Interests: Folklore, folktales and languages.

Academic Background: Postgraduate Diploma in Folklore and Bachelor degree in Languages, University of Khartoum.


Mary MobarakMary Mobarak

Mary Mobarak was raised in Orlando, FL and found a passion for history, culture, and museums at a young age. These interests were further realized while studying Humanities at the University of Central Florida. Upon graduation in 2009, she took a job in insurance to make ends meet. After a few years, she realized she was not pursuing her passions, quit her job, and moved to Seattle. After nearly five years of waiting tables, she decided it was finally time to return to academia and recognize her dream of teaching at community college to share her enthusiasm for the humanities in an ever-changing culturally global community. In addition, she would like to work in museums to develop community access programs. In her spare time, she enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy short stories, reading, rollerblading, and volunteering at the Museum of Pop Culture.

Research Interests: Modern Humanities, Mythology/Folklore, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Teaching

Academic Background: Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, University of Central Florida


Vildana RamicVildana Ramic

Vildana was born in Croatia, however her family is Bosnian. They moved to Washington when she was just five-and-a-half months old. Her family was the first Bosnian family to live in Washington State. Raised by two strong, resilient parents, the importance of work ethic and education was instilled in her early on.

In her free time, Vildana enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and her dog, Leo, as well as kickboxing, hiking, reading, swimming, and cooking.

Research Interests: Equity in Education, school to prison pipeline, activism, social movements,  culturally relevant teaching

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Bachelor of Arts Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior(Magna Cum Laude) Minor in Education and Society


Brian Crisanto RamosBrian Crisanto Ramos

Brian Crisanto Ramos is a proud member of the Pipil, Lenca, and Mayan Nations of Central America. Son to Salvadorian refugees he is a byproduct of a resilient community dedicated to the advancement of the people and the preservation of our identity. As the Associate Director of Retention and Transitional Studies, Brian has served his community in a variety of capacities. From mentoring indigenous youth and creating spaces for Indigenous students to redesigning institutional systems to become more equitable, his voice has added to institutional changes.

Brian has created and collaborated to create several workshops on designing equitable systems, exploring the Latinx Identity, and Indigenous empowerment. Through his Los Angeles roots, Brian has learned to challenge systems designed by and for the dominate culture while maintaining himself rooted in the voices of the ever resilient communities of color.

Research Interests: Latin American Studies, Indigenous studies, Identity development, Critical Race Theory, Dismantling Colonialism, Development of equitable systems, Development of theories of equity in higher education, Post Capitalism, Empowerment of Black & Brown communities, Reclamation of Identity in a colonial world, Reclamation of Black & Brown Spirituality, Combating the evangelizing of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous resistance, Healing of generational trauma, Reclaiming Brown & Black Heritage.

Academic Background: Edmonds Community College and Seattle University, with a BA in Political Science, focusing on Critical Race Theory.


Sonia RodriguezSonia Rodriguez

Sonia Rodriguez is a Mexican American gamer born and raised in Seattle. She struggled with early education and it wasn’t until she attended Nova HS that she found her passion for geek culture and creative writing. Wanting to move on with her education, she decided to get her GED and (with her parents influence) to pursue her A.A. Shortly after, she attended cosmetology school and worked as a Hairstylist until 2016.

January 2018, she began her BA in Culture, Literature and the Arts and in the summer of the same year she was accepted into the Summer Institute of Arts and Humanities and was named a Mary Gates Scholar. Her research has focused on tech policy in kids’ games/apps, tech and hacker culture, storytelling through various mediums, and death culture.

Her interests include playing video games, watching video-essays about games, and testing out various artistic mediums.

Research Interests: Representations of Gender and Race in video games, Storytelling through video games, Educational video games for children and Tech Policy in relation to children's apps. Creative interests include digital art, watercolor, photography and poetry.

Academic Background: B.A. in Culture, Literature and the Arts, University of Washington Bothell 2019.


Rose SharonRose Sharon

Rose Sharon is a lifelong resident of Washington, originally from the Snoqualmie Valley. They are a student seeking to pursue work that will contribute to the liberation of all people, hopefully as a writer, activist, and teacher. In these contexts, they want to explore the revolutionary qualities of desire, the ability of disenfranchised groups to represent themselves and their histories in radical ways, and all movements in opposition to the manifold forms of injustice that haunt our world. They are also interested in the study of materialist/liberationist theologies and the role that spirituality can and has played out in revolutionary struggle. They are non-binary, trans*, and queer — all aspects of their identity that drive their pursuit of not only a survivable, but also a just and equitable, future.

Research Interests: Post-structuralist philosophy; disability studies; positionality; critical race theory; settler-colonialism, postcolonialism, and decoloniality; queer/gender studies; transgender studies; whiteness studies; post-Marxisms (particularly Autonomist Feminisms); posthumanisms; critical pedagogies; the history of transnational and national political movements; media studies; critical animal studies; political economy

Academic Background: University of Washington Bothell, Global Studies B.A.  Seattle University, University Honors Program

2018 Cohort

Abbie AltamiranoAbbie Altamirano

Abbie Altamirano is a student passionate about social justice, higher education, and research. Her hometown in Fresno, Ca and graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wa with a major in Sociology and minors in Criminal Justice and Women and Gender Studies. During her undergrad, she participated in a series of rallies, studied abroad, creates culturally diverse events, working within the center for global engagement, served as VP of the Latinz org on campus and helped start the ethnic studies minor.

Abbie's passions rely mostly in diversity and inclusion of faculty and staff on college campuses (what her undergraduate research was in) and identity formation of people of color. 

Research Interests: Identity formation, Staff and Faculty of Color in Higher Education

Academic Background: Gonzaga University, B.A. Sociology