Celebrating the work of our FI Fellows and Postdocs

It has been our great fortune at the Futures Initiative to work with incredible graduate fellows, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and students. Several graduate fellows and postdocs have reached the end of their appointments with us, and we are so excited to watch where their paths lead them next year and in the future, though we are also going to miss them deeply. We would like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate them.

Kitana Ananda, Postdoctoral Fellow, Humanities Alliance and Futures Initiative

Dr. Kitana Ananda (PhD, Cultural Anthropology, Columbia University) began working with us in Fall 2016, as the Humanities Alliance was just taking shape. Her research has been instrumental to the further development of the program. Kitana has been an invaluable mentor to the graduate and undergraduate students involved in both programs, and is a deeply thoughtful and kind colleague. She is currently pursuing positions that bridge her scholarly expertise and her deep commitments to community-based organizations. Read more from Kitana Ananda.
Kitana Ananda and fellow panelistsKitana ANanda speaking with a workshop participant

Allison Guess, Futures Initiative Fellow / Communications Director

Allison Guess (Doctoral Student, Earth and Environmental Sciences/Geography, The Graduate Center) joined the Futures Initiative in Fall 2015. During her three years as a Fellow, she has cultivated an active readership through the monthly newsletter that she edits and circulates. This year, she also served as a teaching assistant and co-facilitator for Black Listed, a GC course taught by Professors Cathy Davidson and Shelly Eversley. Allison has consistently pushed the program to think ever more deeply about matters of equity and social justice. Read more from Allison Guess.
Allison Guess speaking into micAllison Guess and panelists

Michelle Morales, Futures Initiative Fellow / Web Developer and Research Specialist

Dr. Michelle Morales (Ph.D, Computational Linguistics, The Graduate Center) joined the Futures Initiative in Fall 2016 as a Web Developer and Research Specialist. She has contributed to ongoing improvements to the website, including through her valuable and user-friendly tutorials and documentation. Michelle also conducted research to pilot the development of an app that would improve FI’s communication about events. She successfully defended her dissertation and has already begun a position at IBM as Senior Strategy Consultant and Data Scientist. Read more from Michelle Morales.

Michelle Morales and Jill Bargonetti at podiumMichelle Morales presenting in front of slide

Mike Rifino, Futures Initiative Fellow / Peer Mentoring Co-Director and Social Media Manager

Mike Rifino (Doctoral student, Psychology/Human Development, The Graduate Center) joined the Futures Initiative in Fall 2015 and has served as our Social Media Manager and more recently as the Co-Director of the Undergraduate Leadership and Peer Mentoring Program. Mike shared a deep knowledge of CUNY and particular affinity for LaGuardia Community College. Read more from Mike Rifino.

Mike Rifino showing poster presentation

Mike Rifino and Lauren Melendez in front of AAC&U logo

Frances Tran, Postdoctoral Fellow / Interim Associate Director

Dr. Frances Tran (PhD, English, The Graduate Center) stepped into a fast-moving stream in Fall 2017 as the Futures Initiative’s Interim Associate Director. She has expertly handled everything from public programming, to mentoring the graduate fellows, to behind-the-scenes administrative work that keeps the program running. Frances will be joining Florida State University in the fall as Assistant Professor of Multi-Ethnic U.S. Literature. Read more from Frances Tran.

Frances Tran speaking at podium Frances Tran speaking at podium

Kalle Westerling, Futures Initiative Fellow / HASTAC Scholars Director

Kalle Westerling (Doctoral Candidate, Theatre, The Graduate Center) was one of our inaugural Futures Initiative Fellows, and has been with the program since its inception in Fall 2014. Kalle served as a graphic designer for the Futures Initiative, and as Co-Director and later as Director of the HASTAC Scholars program. The program has flourished under Kalle’s direction, with over 200 current members and an active network of both current and alumni Scholars. The HASTAC Interviews Collection is just one of the incredibly successful, member-driven projects that he has cultivated. Read more from Kalle Westerling.

Kalle Westerling speaking at podiumKalle Westerling presenting at podium

Speaking personally, I have learned a tremendous amount from everyone featured here and will miss their presence in our ongoing work—though I trust that many future collaborations will unfold as they take their next steps. Thank you all for your energy, your commitment to the program and our collective goals, and your willingness to ask tough questions as we have worked together to build and strengthen the Futures Initiative.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309