Announcing the 2020-2021 Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant Winners

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Louise Lennihan Arts and Sciences grants! Each recipient will present about their work in a Fall 2021 event. Read on to learn more about each interdisciplinary project.

Thanks to a generous gift from Curtis Wong, recipient of an honorary degree from the Graduate Center in 2016, the annual competition honors Dr. Lennihan for her extraordinary service on behalf of students and faculty at the Graduate Center. Funding to the following students has been awarded for research related to scholarship at the intersections of humanities, arts, science, and technology.

Silvia Rivera Alfaro and Ernesto Cuba, LAILaC

First Spanish Feminist Linguistics Edit-a-thon organized by Indisciplinadxs

Silvia Rivera Alfaro is a second-year student in LAILaC writing a dissertation on online-offline uses of language in the Latin American feminist movement. Ernesto Cuba is a sixth-year student in LAILaC whose dissertation explores the linguistic and discursive practices of Féminas, a transgender activist organization of Peru. They are part of the Group of Glottopolitics of The Graduate Center. In June 2020, they founded Indisciplinadxs: Feminist Linguistics Circle (, a Spanish-speaking learning and research community mostly comprised by Latin American women. Its goal is co-creating a praxis-based decolonial space built from participants’ multiple local experiences about language, feminist theories, and activisms. In July 2021, Indisciplinadxs will celebrate their first feminist edit-a-thon, a five-day public event aimed to reduce the gender gap in the Spanish Wikipedia by creating, translating, and improving entries about women and LGBTQ linguists, and diverse topics on feminist linguistics. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will cover the cost of Indisciplinadxs’ domain as well as meals and gift cards for the edit-a-thon’s participants. The experience of the event will be systematized and shared in Indisciplinadxs’ blog, presented at the Digitorium: Digital Humanities Conference, and submitted to a journal on digital pedagogy.

Josephine Barnett, Sociology

Generational Trauma, Collective Memory and Family Photography 

Josephine Barnett is a Ph.D. student earning a doctorate in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). She currently holds a position as an Adjunct Lecturer, teaching Research Methods and Analysis in the Sociology Department at Queens College (CUNY). As a trained photographer and sociologist, she employed visual research methods in her piece Painting a Voice, which examined ways in which individuals living with stigmatizing illnesses (e.g., HIV/AIDS, breast cancer) use Graffiti to raise social awareness about the illness while reclaiming their body and public space through street art. Such work was awarded The Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology, sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, and continues to be showcased by the International Visual Sociology Association. Barnett is currently developing her dissertation proposal, aiming to bridge sociological theory and visual research methodologies, exploring generational and cultural trauma. She seeks to use ‘the family photo album’ and ‘home videos’ as data to identify the visual aspects that contribute to the concealment (and exposure) of a traumatic past rooted in systemic acts of violence across generations.

Sara Fresard, Biology

Our Collective Fabric: art-based practices to humanize science

Sara Fresard is a second year PhD student in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology program. In the lab of Jayne Raper at Hunter College, she researches African Trypanosomes, a parasite causing an annual $1.4 billion dollar economic loss due to their effects on cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research focuses on Trypanosome Lytic Factor, a primate immunity factor that is able to kill the parasites. Sara is also pursuing a certificate in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program, where she focuses on science accessibility and communicating to a general audience. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Sara, along with collaborators Floor Grootenhuis (artist with an MFA in Social Practice from Queens College), Jessica Das (undergraduate student at Hunter College), and Dr. Kelly Eckenrode (microbiologist fellow at CUNY School of Public Health) to create the materials for her public art-based science experiences, which she will then use the participants’ experiences to research how teaching science with art-based practices impacts the relationship and trust in science.

Hugo Genes, Anthropology

Seashore plastic collection initiatives/challenges along the Brazilian coastline

Hugo Serejo Genes is a filmmaker, and PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology. He is currently studying at the CUNY Graduate Center, holds a Masters in Nonfiction Filmmaking from the City University of New York Hunter College, and a degree in Economics from Cornell University. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will support pre-dissertation research in Bahia, Brazil. There, Genes will focus on local seashore communities, and their responses to the influx of plastics from the ocean. Genes was a Fulbright Scholar in 2016, working with the Xavante Indians of Mato Grosso Brazil on video/photo production, and the development of their first village-based audiovisual archive. Hugo is the writer and director of several films including Collegetown, a feature narrative-doc hybrid illuminating the social and financial pressures that determine choices made by debt-ridden U.S. college students. He is also a former member of the Illuminator Collective, which stages guerilla projection interventions.

Shima Houshyar, Anthropology

Fluid States: Infrastructure, Ecology, and Politics in Cold War Iran, 1954-1989 

Shima Houshyar is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology whose dissertation examines the political afterlives of large-scale infrastructural development and environmental transformations in Iran during the Cold War. This research explores the political, aesthetic, and cultural effects of natural resource extraction, technological development, and the emerging logics of spatial governance in urban and rural Iran. The Louise Lennihan Arts and Sciences Grant will allow Shima to present at interdisciplinary academic conferences and to publish original scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Kyueun Kim, Theatre and Performance

Posthuman Theatre and Performance in East Asia: Techno-Subjectivity, Techno-Spirituality, and Superintelligence

Kyueun Kim is a sixth-year PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance program. Kim’s dissertation project is an investigation into how contemporary theatre and performance artists explore the possibilities of creative and critical retoolings of science and technology to come to terms with the changing meanings of subjectivity, spirituality, and intelligence. She deploys a transnational and interdisciplinary approach and examines performing arts, visual arts, ritual practices, and cultural events in East Asian urban centers. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Kim to present her conference paper on robotics and theatre that brings specific East Asian perspectives and examples to the conversation on art, science, and technology.

Max Papadantonakis, Sociology

Meritocracy or Precarity? Multiple Inequalities in New York City’s High-Tech Industry

Max Papadantonakis is a sixth-year student in Sociology writing a dissertation on the exclusionary work conditions of New York City’s high-tech companies. His interviews with one hundred computer software engineers, before and during Covid-19, working in New York show that tech companies through their corporate culture and meritocratic ideology continually bar socially marginalized groups from the highest positions thus diminishing their chances for career advancement. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Papadantonakis to present a paper at this year’s American Sociological Association conference on the panel “Racialization and Racial Discourses in Public and Private Spheres” and also help him use qualitative methods to complete the transcriptions of his interviews for analysis.

Nga Than, Sociology

The Social World of Gab: Hate Speech, Misinformation, and Online Extremism

Nga Than is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology program at City University of New York – The Graduate Center. Her dissertation project, entitled “The Social World of Gab: Hate Speech, Misinformation, and Online Extremism,” explores processes of community formation, boundaries making, and diffusion of misinformation on Gab, an alternative social media platform that has attracted the far-right extremists for its minimal content moderation policies. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Than to present papers at International Conference on Web and Social Media. She is currently a Mellon digital publics fellow at the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, a research affiliate at University of Buffalo, and a podcast and research affiliate at Queens Podcast Lab. Her writings on Sociology & AI appear frequently at Montreal AI Ethics Institute. Her research interests are in computational social science, social media, international migration, entrepreneurship, and work & occupations. As a mixed methods scholar, she has conducted qualitative research using interviewing, and participant observation, as well as employed methodological developments in machine learning to analyze text data, and administrative data.



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