2019-20 Graduate Fellows

Grace Alvino is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. Her work emerges from the intersection of literary scholarship, American and cultural studies, and the digital humanities, and looks at how marginalized populations have seized on emerging media technologies to express--and to frame as political--their lived experiences. Her dissertation project takes up the interplay between 1960s radicalism, television and newspaper media, and New Journalism; second and then third wave feminists' penchant for forms like personal narratives and zines; and social media as a space of radicalization.

Hyeonjin Bak is a fourth year PhD student in the Psychology Department. She is broadly interested in using social psychology to understand and identify factors that contribute to confronting prejudice and discrimination. Specifically, her study aims to understand how racial minorities perceive whites' confrontation of racism and to subsequently inform white allies how best to confront racism. By focusing on targets' perspectives rather than the dominant group's perspectives, she reconceptualizes the role and meaning of ally confrontation from one that reduces prejudice (perpetrator-focused) to one that repairs the harm (target-focused). In this current project, she is interested in investigating how perceiving different goals of confrontation shapes whites' confronting behavior.

Diane-Jo Bart-Plange is a fourth year PhD student in social psychology. Her research focuses on the maintenance and reproduction of racism on the individual, institutional, and structural levels of society. She currently studies how the perceived non-prototypicality of Black women of their race and gender influence how others attend to race-stereotypic features when categorizing and evaluating them. In her research, she finds that colorism is most pronounced for Black women, particularly when gender is salient. With her PVI fellowship, she is examining gendered colorism in pain perception and management.

Elizabeth Cable is a fifth year PhD Candidate in the Department of Religious Studies. She is interested in broadly liberationist theologies, including Latin American, feminist, Womanist, black, queer, and disability theologies. She is also interested in the interrelation of theology, ethics, and aesthetics, as well as the theological doctrines of the Church, pneumatology, Christology, and Trinity. Her current project, titled “The Courage to Be Otherwise: A Neurodivergent Theology of Liberation and Survival,” explores the relationship between the lived experience of neurodivergence (that is, mental difference or disability) and traditional loci of systematic theology.

Simone Jaeckl, RN, MSN, is a third year PhD student in the School of Nursing at University of Virginia. Her research is situated at the intersection of health, law and gender-based violence with a special interest in human trafficking prevention and intervention, both domestically and abroad. She holds a law degree from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and was engaged in the prosecution of sex trafficking and related crimes.

Her dissertation explores laws, protocols and processes in place for addressing sex trafficking of children in the educational setting in Virginia, and aims to make recommendations for a robust protocol for school systems to implement.

Amy Laboe is a third year doctoral student in Social Foundations of Education.  Previously, she taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Minneapolis, Minnesota and abroad in Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico for 15 years.  Her research interests are focused primarily in the field of anthropology of education on topics such as, teacher identity, transnational migration, and the culture of schools and classrooms.  As a PVI fellow, Amy will be exploring the experience of return for transnational Mexican students who have previously spent their formative years in preK-12 schools in the U.S., and now suddenly find themselves in the Mexican education system, straddling two worlds, and balancing two identities.

Jessica Mazen is a fifth year PhD student in social and quantitative psychology. Broadly, her research focuses on better understanding speciesism, or a set of socially shared beliefs that legitimates discrimination against and exploitation of other animals by human animals, and its relationship to other forms of oppression. Currently, she is exploring the economic exploitation of humans and non-human animals as the nexus of multiple forms of oppression by priming economic goals and examining changes in attitudes and decisions. Additionally, she is developing a scale that better measures the speciesism construct using item response theory.

Dana Moyer is a fourth year PhD candidate in the Politics Department. Her research agenda centers on political violence in developing countries, particularly Latin America, in both authoritarian and democratic regimes. Her dissertation focuses on the political legacy of civil war. Specifically, under what conditions does violence against and governance of civilians during civil war affect civilians’ future political behavior? The working hypothesis is that actors engaged in conflict, i.e., rebel groups and the incumbent state, can either generate trust or generate trauma though their actions in different subnational areas during conflict, affecting how and how much communities engage with and behave in politics. She employs a mixed-method approach that uses observational, experimental and within case study research designs to answer this and related research questions.

Meredith Powers is a second year doctoral student in Clinical-School Psychology at the Curry School of Education and Human Development. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Meredith worked as a special education teacher and was named a Teacher of Promise by the Maryland State Department of Education. Her research explores how teachers’ cultural responsivity can address power-based differences between students and teachers to promote equitable instruction and enhance the classroom experience of racially minoritized students. In line with the Power, Violence and Inequality Collective’s mission, her work aims to make a positive impact on critical societal issues including reducing educational disparities and improving equity and fairness in K-12 classrooms.

Patrice Wright is a third year PhD Student in the Department of Sociology. Broadly, she is interested in cultural and intersectional examinations of motherhood and reproduction. She is particularly interested in stratified reproduction—where some women are encouraged to reproduce while others are discouraged and disadvantaged—and how women interpret their reproductive lives using dominant cultural ideologies. Her current work compares how African-American women across class interpret their reproductive healthcare experiences and their resulting strategies to navigate power imbalances embedded in the healthcare encounter.