Announcing 2016-2017 Humanities Alliance Team

The Graduate Center and LaGuardia Community College are thrilled to announce the team of graduate teaching fellows, visiting faculty, and staff members for the inaugural year of the Humanities Alliance.


Kaysi Holman, Director of Administration and ProgramsPhoto of Kaysi Holman

Kaysi Holman brings over 15 years of experience working with nonprofits and educational organizations dedicated to equity and social justice, both within higher education and achieved through access to higher education. Holman served as a political advocate and community organizer for education and welfare reform in California and at the Alameda County Bar Association in Oakland, CA, before moving to Duke University where she directed programming and administration for HASTAC  (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) and the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. She holds a law degree from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University. Holman brings a wide array of skills, all of which she will be drawing upon as Deputy Director of the Humanities Alliance: higher education administrator, community organizer and advocate, web developer, social networker, financial manager, and mentor of doctoral students.

Dr. Elizabeth Alsop, Humanities ScholarPhoto of Elizabeth Alsop

Based in the Teaching and Learning Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY, Dr. Elizabeth Alsop will help pivot the lessons of the Mellon-funded Humanities Alliance with LaGuardia Community College to a broader constituency by extending the programming, partnerships, and reach of the Teaching and Learning Center.

Dr. Alsop received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Graduate Center, where she also earned a certificate in Film Studies. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Brown University. Her research and teaching interests include Anglo-American modernism, narrative theory, film and television studies, writing pedagogy, and educational technology.  Prior to joining the GC’s Teaching and Learning Center, Dr. Alsop was an Assistant Professor of English and Film at Western Kentucky University, where she taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level courses in 20th-century British literature, world literature, composition, and film history and theory.     

Her current book project, Making Conversation: The Poetics of Talk in Modernist Fiction, examines the evolving function of dialogue in the Anglo-American modernist novel. She is also planning a second manuscript that explores the impact of art cinema aesthetics on contemporary television. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Alsop also writes about film, TV, and popular culture for general audiences, and has previously published essays on these topics in publications including The Atlantic, The LA Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine.

Photo of Kitana AnandaDr. Kitana Ananda, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Based in the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY, Dr. Kitana Ananda will help to manage the development and support of an online publishing platform to facilitate communication and collaboration among all partners in the Humanities Alliance. Dr. Ananda
will effectively be the project’s ethnographer, working to understand the communities served by the project and build tools and communications channels that meet those needs.

Dr. Ananda’s  scholarship and teaching examines the culture and politics of war, migration, and diaspora in North America and South Asia, with a focus on Tamil refugees and immigrants from Sri Lanka. She believes strongly in the mission of the public university, and has a deep interest in digital communications for scholarship, collaborative learning, and public engagement. She has served as a Contributing Editor for the open-access website of the journal, Cultural Anthropology, and as a Communications Associate intern with the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. She earned a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from Columbia University, and an honors B.A. in history and anthropology with a minor in cinema studies from the University of Toronto.


Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellows

Through a new two-year fellowship program as part of the Humanities Alliance, nine Graduate Center students will have the opportunity to learn with master faculty and as they teach at LaGuardia Community College. Representing a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences, the Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellows will bring the program to life as they work with faculty mentors, administrators, and students at LaGuardia Community College.

The following doctoral students have been selected as the inaugural
cohort of Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellows:


Emily Brooks, History
Photo of Emily Brooks

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.


Deshonay Dozier, Environmental PsychologyPhoto of Deshonay Dozier

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 PsychologyPhoto of Cory Greene

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 Languages Photo of Luis Henaoand Literatures

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 AnthropologyPhoto of Anton Kociolek

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.


Makeba Lavan, EnglishPhoto of Makeba Lavan

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.


José Alfredo Menjívar, Urban EducationPhoto of José Menjivar

José Alfredo Menjivar 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[].


Jennifer Polish, EnglishPhoto of Jennifer Polish

Jennifer 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. Her classroom and research interests deeply intersect, so she and her students spend a lot of time discussing and writing about the lived realities of critical race and dis/ability theories. She is currently focusing her academic work on the relationship between affective whiteness and dis/ability in composition classrooms while writing her first novel, a queer young adult fantasy.


Rojo Robles Mejías, Hispanic and Luso-BrazilianLanguages Photo on 2013-10-15 at 11.46 #2and Literatures

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 P.h.D student at The Graduate Center, CUNY in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages Program where he focuses in the intersection between Literature and Cinema in Latin America.


About the Humanities Alliance

Funded by a $3.15 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Humanities Alliance will broaden doctoral student training and improve humanities education for approximately 2,500 undergraduates at LaGuardia Community College. Beginning in Fall 2016, this ambitious new partnership will train Ph.D. students in innovative and effective methods to teach humanities to a predominantly immigrant, low-income, urban, undergraduate community. The goal of the alliance is to support graduate students in mastering the most successful methods for teaching undergraduate general education humanities courses to increasingly diverse students while simultaneously broadening and strengthening access to and opportunity in the humanities for those undergraduates


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