University of Florida Homepage

Celebrating Milestones and Accomplishments

Picture of graduating students
Graduate students attending the 2019 Graduation Celebration included (left to right) Marcela Murillo, Jane Stanley, Meaghan MacPherson, Hannah Tabor, and Matt Stern

Mirela Cardinal graduated with her MA in Women’s Studies in spring 2019. In March, she defended her MA project, “Queer Visibility on YouTube Videos in the Context of Brazil” with the mentorship of Dr. Tanya Saunders and Dr. Jillian Hernandez. After graduation, she will start a position as a counselor educator at Urgent, Inc, a non-profit organization in Miami dedicated to empowering young minds to transform their communities. Mirela extends her gratitude to the Center for allowing her space to grow personally and professionally as a graduate student and as a feminist activist.

Corinne Futch presented her research at the 26th Annual Lavender Linguistics Conference held in Gothenburg, Sweden. Corinne plans to finish writing her MA project paper in the summer and to graduate in August. In the fall, Corinne will continue her education at the University of Florida as she enters UF’s PhD program in Anthropology. Corinne is incredibly appreciative of Dr. Zucker, Dr. Saunders, Dr. Broad, Dr. Moradi, and Donna Tuckey for the support they provided her throughout her time at the center.

Meaghan MacPherson graduated with her MA in Women’s Studies in spring 2019. In March, she successfully defended her thesis titled “Speaking Out on Twitter: #MeToo and Hashtag Survivor Discourse.” She was also inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Meaghan will take a year off to work and will apply to Communication and Media Studies PhD programs in the fall.

Marcela Murillo successfully defended her MA project and will graduate during the summer. She will publish a paper that she wrote in one of her women’s studies seminars; the essay has been accepted as a chapter in a forthcoming book on women in comics. Marcela will be joining Santa Fe College as a professor in fall 2019. In her professional future, she will continue advocating for gender equality and women’s rights.

Karleen Schlichtmann will defend her thesis in summer 2019. Her thesis employs autoethnography of her and her mother’s experiences to discuss the broader challenges black women experience in attempting to navigate the U.S. healthcare system. At the NWSA conference in November, Karleen presented her poster titled “’Just Imagine’ A World without HIV/AIDS: Black Feminist interventions in Health Justice.” Karleen is looking forward to spending time with her family after graduation.

Jane Stanley graduated with her MA in women’s Studies in spring 2019. In April, she successfully defended her MA project “Standing Up: Women in Comedy” with a well-attended public presentation in Ustler Hall. Her project resulted in a blog and website dedicated to women in comedy.

Matt Stern graduated with his MA in Women’s Studies in spring 2019. In March, he defended his thesis on gender-based violence in the television show “Twin Peaks” under the supervision of Dr. Tace Hedrick, Dr. Maddy Coy, and Dr. Jillian Hernandez. Matt plans to take a few gap years to read, travel, and work before resuming his education in Women’s Studies or a related feminist field.

Hannah Tabor defended her MA project titled “Beyond Abortion: A Critical Analysis of Reproductive Justice and Female Genital Mutilation in Maasai Culture.”  In addition, she presented her project at The Global Status of Women and Girls Summit at Christopher Newport University.  Hannah has accepted a fellowship in The College of Education at the University of Florida for a PhD in Higher Education Administration. She is excited to incorporate a women’s studies focus in her research on inequalities in education.

News and updates from our continuing graduate students

Shyamala Engelhart continues her research on the intersection of gender and aging. Her MA project will focus on feminist perspectives on aging. Over the summer she will be taking a course in gerontology to enhance her understanding of the current research on aging. She is also excited to be a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Kelley and learn more about humanities perspectives on gender and sexuality

Andreina Fernandez will continue work on her MA thesis, which will center the art, poetry, film, and other forms of cultural production of queer migrant activists. This summer, she will be the Teaching Assistant for Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Women’s Studies with Dr. Hernandez. Andreina is excited to spend her summer reading, working with undergraduates, and spending time with loved ones.

Kaylee Kagiavas will continue her MA research. She plans to focus on feminist mentorship and advising of graduate students within academia, concentrating on power differentials. She is finishing her last year at UF to earn her MA degree in the spring.

Alexandria Wilson McDonald will be finishing her fieldwork in Central Eastern Europe, in which she examines the feminist framing of gender-based violence. This summer, she will also continue working on her MA article, in which she examines how women’s organizations in Central Eastern Europe are resisting the recent backlash against feminist NGOs in the region.

Logan Neser will continue the second year of the MA program next year. He will begin work on his MA thesis project this summer. His thesis project will focus on discourses surrounding transgender people, mental health, and the prison industrial complex. In November, he and fellow classmate Melissa Powers will present their work at their first NWSA conference in San Francisco.

Melissa Powers developed and taught a queer theory crash course lecture to students in Dr. Maddy Coy’s class during the spring semester. She continues to develop her thesis project, which will be in the area of queer and feminist utopian studies, particularly through the analysis of political-cultural production such as manifestos. Melissa plans to spend the summer working, reading, outlining her utopian theorizations, and spending time with her dog, Luna. She will continue developing the poster on Trans Afrofuturism that she will present with Logan Neser at NWSA in November.

Nik Wiles plans to defend their non-thesis project, a memoir-style book on gender neutral parenting, in fall 2019. As Nik faces personal experiences within their own life that complicate the content of the book, and beg for further reflection about the nature of the overarching topic, Nik will spend their summer not only editing, writing last-minute content additions, and preparing for publication, but also, considering bringing difficult, controversial discussions that surround gender neutral parenting more to the forefront of the book. After graduation, Nik will continue to teach at Santa Fe College and pursue further publications (including outside projects).