Graduate Fellows

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Founded in 1976, the Graduate Fellows Program (GFP) provides an interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and inclusive environment for research and training at the Berkeley campus. The GFP plays an integral part in training scholars to address the pressing challenges that face California, the nation, and the world. Read more about the program here. See recent news of our alumni here.

Make a gift to the Graduate Fellows Program Fund here. 

Your gift will be used to provide training and mentorship to a new generation of scholars engaged in research on race, ethnicity, gender and class in the United States.


Angela R. Aguilar, Ethnic Studies

Angela R. Aguilar is a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies studying the effects of social movements and change affecting biomedical and public health practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her dissertation she traces the genealogy of the current cultural, ancestral, Indigenous health movement from the 1960's liberation movements through a reproductive justice framework to learn how emerging social movements can offer a re-imagining of public health and biomedical research methods, methodologies, and pedagogies when designing health regimes in the Bay Area and beyond. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies, a Masters in Public Health, and an MA in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. She has been a doula/traditional birthworker for eight years serving primarily low-income, young people, queer/trans, and people of color during their perinatal and early parenting experience. 

C.N.E. Corbin, Environmental Science, Policy and Management

C.N.E. Corbin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. Corbin studies the concept of the green city at the intersection of sustainable development and gentrification. Her dissertation focuses on how Oakland, California’s historical processes of urbanization and current urban environmental policies and practices are impacting low income residents and communities of color and their access to public green spaces and local nature. Corbin’s current project at ISSI questions if and how Lake Merritt’s green space creation, restoration, and beautification projects under Measure DD are creating, exacerbating, or mitigating urban environmental injustices. Corbin received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011, completing a double major in African American Studies and Media Studies.

Gabby Falzone, Education

Gabby Falzone is a Ph.D candidate in the Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation project uses collaborative in-depth interviews with 30 formerly-incarcerated adolescents and adults to examine the complex factors that lead to youth incarceration, as well as the factors that can both prevent future incarceration and help formerly incarcerated people heal and thrive. Her long-term goals are to work as a bridge between academia and marginalized communities by translating scientific research into accessible community formats and by prioritizing community experiential knowledge into research. She also aspires to combine her lived experience with interdisciplinary academic research to examine how exposure to structural oppression can lead to detrimental health effects for youth growing up in marginalized urban environments and how community education and youth-led interventions may help youth heal from, disrupt, and eradicate oppression.

Joseph Griffin, Public Health

Joseph Griffin is a Dr.P.H. student in the School of Public Health and a Health Policy Research Scholar funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is focused on community violence as a public health issue in urban communities of color, investigating the social determinants of health as the root causes of violence. Through this lens, he explores how changes to the built and social environment influence perceptions of violence in communities that suffer from it. A lifelong Cal Bear and native of the Bay Area, he is inspired and motivated to address this topic from his personal experience growing up in a violent neighborhood and his professional experience in violence prevention. Today, Joseph relishes the opportunity to continue this work in his hometown of Richmond, California. He hopes to leverage the expertise found in both the community and academia to help communities like his own heal from violence-related trauma.

Louise Ly, Sociology

Louise Ly is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department and a member of the Designated Emphasis Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her research focuses on race/ethnicity, immigration, gender, sexuality, family, and aging. Louise's previous ethnographic research analyzes identity and boundaries at a low-income LGBT housing facility. Based on in-depth interviews, Louise's dissertation examines how intermarried Asian and White Americans navigate gendered racial and ethnic differences, expectations, and desires in their day-to-day lives from within the couple to child rearing, extended family relations, and beyond. 

Fantasia Painter, Ethnic Studies

Fantasia Painter is a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellow, and a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.  Hailing from Arizona by way of Columbia University, Fantasia’s interdisciplinary dissertation uses ethnography and archival research to examine the Tohono O’odham (TO), an indigenous community divided by the US-Mexico border in southern Arizona.  Specifically, it takes as a starting point the TO Nation’s recent announcement that it will not allow a US-Mexico border wall to be built on reservation land. Not only has the US-Mexico border wall served as a contemporary metonym for racialized US nationalism, culminating in the Trump presidency, but also “the wall” implicates conflicting US, State, and indigenous agendas. Thus, using race, nation, and Indigeneity, Fantasia’s dissertation examines the conditions of possibility and ultimately the stakes of “the wall” on indigenous land.

Dinorah Sánchez Loza, Education

Dinorah Sánchez Loza is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education. A veteran educator, Dinorah’s work is guided by one central question: What relationship exists between schools and how youth come to think and act politically?  Her research agenda has three broad areas of focus: (1) theories of settler colonialism and its resultant structuring of race, gender, and political/economic relations; (2) democracy and its limits within a racialized/colonial public sphere; and (3) the teaching and learning of politics and civic engagement. A political ethnography, her dissertation examines US Government classrooms in three racially and economically different high schools in the swing-state of Ohio and interrogates the everyday lived experiences within them to analyze how schooling intersects with race and class to (re)produce political ideologies and practices.  It investigates how issues of citizenship, democracy, and politics are taught and learned and how schooling experiences foster differential levels of understanding, power, and engagement in the public sphere.


René Espinoza Kissell, Education

René Espinoza Kissell is a Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy specializing in the political economy of urban education, community engagement in school district reform, and the racial politics of educational privatization. Her dissertation is a comparative case study on the evolution of district governance in two Bay Area cities, exploring the race and class politics of community and elite advocacy in district-charter school partnerships. René received her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.A. in Education Policy from UC Berkeley.

Eunice Lee, Anthropology

Eunice Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology; her research focuses on citizenship, migration, urban social movements, and law. During her ISSI fellowship, she will examine policies governing asylum seekers in "border regions" of the United States as well as in cities in the "interior." Her interdisciplinary research draws upon training in anthropology and law to explore how refugees raise citizenship claims within federal, state, and local legal regimes, often mediated by attorneys and non-governmental workers. Eunice also helps direct the legal program at the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law. She previously worked as a litigator at the Immigrants' Rights Project of the national American Civil Liberties Union and practiced and taught refugee law as the Albert M. Sacks Clinical Teaching and Advocacy Fellow at Harvard Law School. Eunice received her B.A. from Stanford University with honors and distinction and her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Renee Mack, Social Welfare

Renee Mack is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Welfare specializing in the provision of mental health services within the criminal justice system. Her dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach to understand how legal requirements shape clinical care for individuals with serious mental illness.  Specifically, Renee will analyze the ethical commitments, institutional constraints, and differences in treatment that are perceived and encountered by clinical staff and patients at a state psychiatric hospital. Renee holds a B.A. in Economics-Philosophy from Columbia University, an M.A. in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and an M.S.W from U.C. Berkeley. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Renee worked as a research assistant at the New York State Psychiatric Institute; she is currently working on her state licensure in clinical social work while she completes her doctorate.

Ryan Rhadigan, Rhetoric

Ryan Rhadigan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Rhetoric with a concentration in Critical Theory. He has a Master’s degree in American Indian Studies from UCLA. Ryan’s dissertation research historicizes and contextualizes ongoing Native American rhetorical engagements with legal and technoscientific discourses by examining how archival technics have shaped the conditions of legibility for Native American ontological and epistemological claims and impacted indigenous communities’ collective efforts to challenge, transform, and democratize scientific practices.

Michael V. Singh, Education

Michael V. Singh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education and a member of the Designated Emphasis program in Women, Gender, & Sexuality. His dissertation explores the ways neoliberal framings of urban education dictate how boy of color programming approaches the perceived “deficits” of boys of color, and the imagined productive masculinities to be created. His research is structured as a year-long, ethnographic case study of a Latino male mentorship program in an urban school district in California. Drawing from rich ethnographic data in Latino male educational spaces, Michael’s work provides a timely addition to the growing research on boys of color and calls for a conscientious and intersectional engagement with the cultural politics of Latino masculinity. An article based on his dissertation pilot study, titled “Role models without guarantees: Corrective representations and the cultural politics of a Latino male teacher in the borderlands,” was recently published in Race Ethnicity and Education.

Anthony Wright, Medical Anthropology

Anthony Wright is a Ph.D. candidate in Medical Anthropology at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. His research interests include biomedical practice (particularly the fields of oncology and psychiatry); childhood and adolescence; the family and kinship; education and learning; and homelessness and mental illness. His regional interests are the United States and Mexico. His dissertation research focuses on pediatric and adolescent cancer treatment in Oakland, California. He is investigating how various forms of violence impinge upon the treatment process, as well as how morally charged discourses of parenthood, childhood, and adolescence structure the experience of treatment. He explores these issues through ethnographic research at Children’s Hospital Oakland and at cancer-related events throughout the Bay Area. 

Make a gift to the Graduate Fellows Program Fund here. 

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