Our alumni are making a big impact on their communities. Locally and internationally, their knowledge and skills are critical to shaping a brighter and more equitable future.
Meet our Alumni
Julio Capo (Women's Studies, 2011)
FIU and CWGS alumnus, Julio Capo, wrote an article featured in the Washington Post in response to the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting. His piece “Gay bars were supposed to be safe spaces. But they often weren’t,” examines the complicated history of displacement and the threat of violence towards the gay community and how that affected a gay bar’s ability to be a safe haven for its patrons. Capo notes that gentrification has shut down many notable establishments in the gay night-life scene, and remarks that this inevitability of gentrification needs to be discussed in order to truly understand what is happening to LGBTQ+ community spaces. In addition to this piece, Capo has been featured in Time, HIVplusmag, and Cuba Counterpoints. Julio Capo is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he teaches LGBTQ+, Latino, and Caribbean history.
LaToya Eaves (Ph.D. Comparative Sociology/Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies, 2014)
While pursuing her Ph.D. at Florida International University in Comparative Sociology, as well as a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies, LaToya Eaves was selected as a pre-doctoral Fellow In-Residence with the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program at the University of Connecticut (UC). It is an interdisciplinary program devoted to the critical analysis of gender and the pursuit of knowledge about women. Eaves joined three other fellows in different units on the UC campus. During the fellowship period, she will have completed her dissertation under mentorship from the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, as well as the Department of Geography. As well as a stipend, Eaves received support by having access to an office, computer, library, and professional development opportunities. She taught one course determined by WGSS in collaboration with the Department of Geography and was expected to share a portion of her work in a public forum. In spring 2011, Eaves first joined the Women’s Studies Center as a Teaching Assistant while in graduate school. Her research interests included racial identity, queerness, and life in the American South. Eaves learned recently that she had been chosen as a World’s Ahead graduate at FIU.
Jordan Guedes (B.A. in Psychology/Women's Studies, Minors in Religious Studies/Art History, Queer Studies Certificate, 2014)
Jordan Guedes was recently honored at Summer Commencement 2014 as an FIU Worlds Ahead student. In Spring 2014, he received the CAS Awards for Service Excellence and Academic Achievement. Jordan plans to pursue a Master of Social Work degree and a Ph.D. at FIU to establish a career as a therapist and practitioner in the area of sexual and relationship health. He wants to have a holistic understanding of the cultural differences that affect society and be able to make an impact promoting sex education. During his time as a student, Jordan was the first male recipient of the Elaine Gordon Scholarship in Women’s Studies. He was always very involved with student activities, joining the on-campus LGBT group, Student Government, and the Psychology Honors Society during his first semester in college. Jordan also participated in two on-campus production groups: The Vagina Monologues and One Billion Rising. Through all his activities at FIU, he continually helped to spread awareness and empower women as one of the few men involved in this field of study.
“My education in Women’s Studies and familiarity with women’s issues has armed me with the necessary knowledge to form more substantial arguments against sexism, ignorance and intolerance. Through my education and advocacy I will help educate those in our community to end violence and stop inequalities.”
Jesse Sánchez (B.A. in Women's Studies, Minor in Sociology/Anthropology, Global Media Communications Certificate, 2012)
Jesse Sánchez began his TV career at WLRN(PBS) in 204 as a high school journalist, where he reported and anchored cable show "Teens Connected." In 2006, Jesse joined Miami's FOX station WSVN, where he worked as a news writer for the morning newscast "Today in Florida." In 2007, Jesse took on a new role at WFOR, the CBS owned and operated station in Miami. He served as an associated news producer, field producer, and assignment editor. He was responsible for planning the weekend news coverage, assisting in the execution of he evening news. One of Jesse's story ideas won an Emmy Award in 2009. After 3 years at CBS, Jesse made the jump from behind the scenes to in front of the camera again, and joined RCN Television Group/NTN24 News where he currently serves as an entertainment and lifestyle news reporter. Jesse graduate Magna Cum Laude from Florida International University in spring of 2012.
Olga Torres (B.A. in Philosophy, Women's Studies Certificate, 2014)
Olga Torres graduated from FIU with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, specializing in Social and Political Philosophy, and a Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. While at FIU, Torres was a member of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, International. Soon after her initiation, she became the recruitment chair of the organization and was then elected Vice-President. She received the Don Hutson Outstanding Pre-Law Chapter Award for her work.
Claudia Vega (B.A. in Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology, Women's Studies Certificate, 2014)
Claudia Vega served as president for the sociology honor society, Alpha Kappa Delta, and as Public Relations Coordinator for the Global and Sociocultural Studies Club, where she engaged students in social justice and reform dialogues. Through her leadership, she transformed the clubs into vibrant organizations that have improved the experience of the undergraduate student body. Claudia was also a research assistant in the Power, Women, and Relationships (PWR) Psychology Lab, where she examined how power dynamics intersect with attitudes, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships between men and women in the United States. Her honor’s thesis focused on verbal sexual coercion among black female adolescents. Claudia received an Award for Outstanding Service and an Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Psychology for her work in the Department of Psychology. In addition, she received an Award for Outstanding Service from the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies (GSS) for her work in the GSS Club. In spring 2014, she was admitted as an Associate Fellow for the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers.
“Thanks to the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, I have had the opportunity to see how gender, power, and culture intersect, and the implications of prejudice and stigma for individuals’ intimate lives, attitudes, and behaviors. This knowledge will empower me to continue working on social justice and diversity issues as I pursue a Ph.D in Social Psychology.”
Zoila Clark (Ph.D. in Spanish/Women's Studies Certificate, 2009)
"The classes I took in WS gave me the tools to apply a gender studies approach to my research in Hispanic literature and film, and that allowed me to attend conferences and publish my articles. I created an academic journal, Hispanet Journal, in order to investigate gender issues in the Hispanic postcolonial culture. This journal is accessible to the worldwide internet community, and requires no fees for publication."
Jillian Hernandez (Art History/Women's Studies Certificate, 2006)
Jillian Hernandez graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Art History and a Certificate in Women’s Studies at FIU. She went on to earn her Master’s and Ph.D. in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University in May 2013. Hernandez sponsored many of the Girls Summit events in South Florida. In Fall 2013 she began teaching as an assistant professor in Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Hernandez was also the founder for Women on the Rise! which is a unique gender-specific outreach program that presents the work of contemporary women artists to teenage girls who are served by juvenile detention and drug rehabilitation centers. Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art educators visit these organizations and use contemporary art as a teaching tool. Recently, an article by Hernandez titled " 'Chongas' in the Media: The Ethno-Sexual Politics of Latina Girls' Hypervisibility," won Honorable Mention for the Best Article Prize from the Latina/o Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association in May 2014.
Jaclyn Heyen (Music Technology/Women's Studies Certificate, 2008)
Jaclyn Heyen had a Spring 2010 internship with the Deep Listening Institute in Kingston NY working on the Adaptive Use Musical Instruments Project for the Physically Challenged. In April 2010 Jaclyn graduated with a MM in Music Technology at FIU. She has been hired at the Deep Listening Institute for the Summer of 2010 to continue her work on the Adaptive Use Musical Instruments Project and as a technical assistant to Pauline Oliveros, (composer, performer, humanitarian and a pioneer in American Music). Jaclyn has been accepted into the Media, Arts & Science PhD at Arizona State University for Fall 2010.
Maria Lopez-Boada (Women’s Studies/Political Science, 2009)
"I knew I somehow wanted to be involved in Women’s Studies even before I graduated from high school, and as soon as I did at FIU I never looked back. The education I received was top-notch, and every professor in the department was just as passionate about their students’ success as they were about their area of knowledge. I was also fortunate enough to be involved with the department outside of the classroom as a member, Vice-President, and eventually President of The WSSA, where I worked with students and faculty on various projects to further the mission of the department. My time with the student group and the department opened my eyes to various holes in our society’s net that needed patching, inspiring me to pursue a career in Social Work. With the help and advice of my professors and fellow students I am pleased to say that I will be starting my Master’s degree in Social Service Administration at The University of Chicago. I cannot say enough good things about the Women’s Studies program at FIU, and I know it will only continue to improve and grow."
Christina Mainville (Psychology/Women's Studies Certificate, 2010)
Christina Mainville is in the process of waiting for responses from graduate schools, where she plans to work on her Masters in Social Work. Thus far she has been accepted to Barry University's School of Social Work. With her Master’s degree Christina plans on becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) where she will work with women, children and family who are victims of domestic/family violence and child abuse, to provide them counseling and therapy.
Elisa Melendez (Women’s Studies, 2006)
In August 2009, Elisa began doctoral study at FIU in Global and Sociocultural Studies (sociology track). Her research centers around gender as performed in video games, specifically rock music games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Throughout the course of her study, Elisa hopes to maintain a close relationship with the Women's Studies Center and earn a graduate certificate in the process.
Christi M. Navarro (Doctoral Studies in Public Health/Women's Studies Certificate, 2008)
Christi Navarro w completed her doctoral studies in Public Health at FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work in 2013. Her dissertation, Gender Differences in the Influence of Protective Factors, Risk Factors, and Health Risk Behaviors on HIV Risk Behaviors Among Youth in South Florida, reflects her research interest in psychological, feminist, and other interdisciplinary perspectives of health behavior. Prior to that she received a Certificate in Women’s Studies (2008) and served as a Graduate Assistant for several years in the Women’s Studies office, assisting with student advising and organizing conferences. A recipient of both the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship and FIU's Dissertation Year Fellowship, Christi currently manages a $2.7 million C-PREP grant, which provides high-risk youth in Broward and Dade counties with teen pregnancy prevention and adult education.
Vanessa Reyes (English/Women’s Studies Certificate, 2010)
"Since graduation I have continued working for the Miami -Dade Public Library system and am moving to Tallahassee, where I will begin my masters at Florida State University in Library Information Science and Museum Studies. I have been volunteering at the Miami Museum of Science helping out with a special project that involves tomorrow’s leaders. The program is called Young Ambassadors and features students who have won scholarships with the Smithsonian division of Hispanic heritage in Washington D.C. I love this project it’s been amazing, we educate the youth on the importance of museums and libraries in our Nation and, how as a minority they can make the difference amongst others who have yet to experience such worlds. Also I want to add a special thank you to the Women's Studies ladies. As a fellow E-board member and former secretary to the Women's Studies Student Association, I was able to connect and share a multitude of ideas, and experiences engaging with women in our community. I want to thank also the ladies of the Women’s Studies Graduate Association for making it possible for me to be a panel presenter at the Women’s Studies Student Conference early in the spring. Overall it was a great opportunity to share my research on women and unemployment."
Brittany Robinson (Women’s Studies/Minor in Psychology, 2008)
Brittany is currently attending San Diego State University, for her M.A. in Women's Studies. She was awarded a Graduate Assistantship.
Lindsay Rosenthal (English/Women's Studies Certificate, 2007)
Lindsay Rosenthal graduated Magna Cum Laude in Fall 2007 with a B.A. in English and a Certificate in Women’s Studies. In 2010, she earned a master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago. Her graduate research focused on structural violence in the foster care system. Recently, the Ms. Foundation for Women selected Lindsay Rosenthal for its 2013-2014 fellowship. As a member of the organization’s Advocacy and Policy department, Lindsay will identify strategies for increasing access to, and eliminate practices that limit, health care services for girls currently inside the juvenile justice and foster care systems and during their transition to more independent living. Specifically, Lindsay’s research and advocacy will support the repeal of formal restrictions on access to abortion care, including the Hyde Amendment – which restricts access to abortion services for those reliant on public funding – and an end to the practice of terminating Medicaid coverage for incarcerated individuals. She previously worked at the Center for American Progress as a Research Assistant and with the White House Domestic Policy Council.
Tiffany Yeomans-Benford (Women’s Studies/Africa & African Diaspora Studies Certificate, 2010).
"Upon graduating, I decided to take a summer break to work and travel. One of my traveling sites was the U.S. Social Forum held in Detroit. During this week long forum hundreds of progressive organizations and great minds came together to start sharing ideas on how to continue a social movement in the U.S. that pushes for transformation politically, economically and morally. This trip has been a highlight in my life and if it were not for my extensive education on social and political movements, gained through the courses and professors at FIU, I would probably not have been there. In the fall of 2010, I will be attending Barry University to further my studies by pursuing a Master’s in Social Work. I currently sit on the Women and Youth Committee for the Miami Workers Center and continue to volunteer with many other organizations."
Chaundra Whitehead (MS Adult Education/ Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate, 2010)
Chaundra is continuing her education as a doctoral student in the Adult Education and Human Resource Development program. Her collegiate activities include participation in the College of Education Research Conference and Women’s Studies Student Research Conference, as well as e-board positions in Golden Key International Honor Society, WSGSA, College of Education Graduate Student Network, and Phi Delta Kappa. She has over 10 years teaching experience in literacy, vocational and corrections education. Her research interests are women, adult education advocacy, adult basic education and the working poor. She is currently a graduate assistant in the College of Education, as the Managing Editor for New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development.
Ivette Duarte (B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology/Minor in Religious Studies/Women's Studies Certificate, 2004)
Ivette Duarte is currently pursuing a Masters in Higher Education Administration and expects to earn her degree in April 2011. Since graduating in 2004, Ivette has received three promotions; from Program Assistant to Coordinator to Assistant Director and now Associate Director of Career Services. Once Ivette retires from FIU (within the next 5 years) she plans to go into consulting.
Guadalupe Garcia (Women's Studies, 2001)
Guadalupe “Lupe” Garcia earned a Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies from FIU in 2001. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling with the College of Education at FIU. Her dedication and commitment to raising awareness commenced as an undergraduate, and continues to this day. Lupe actively promotes the movement for equality and justice, a passion she is very proud to have acquired through the Women’s and Gender Studies program.
“As a high school student, a degree in Women’s Studies never crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I arrived at FIU and took an elective in Women’s Studies that I felt a great sense of pride for being the first generation Hispanic woman in my family to go to college. My involvement with the Women’s Studies Student Association, and Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues, also convinced me to pursue a degree in Women’s Studies. This overall experience helped me to improve my self-confidence, leadership and social skills, and make lifelong friends. Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this journey is knowing that I not only earned a degree that I truly love but that I was able to make a difference along the way.”
Easmanie Michel (English and Women's Studies/Certificate in African & African Diaspora Studies, 2004)
Easmanie is the writer/director/producer of the film adaptation of Edwidge Danticat’s “Caroline’s Wedding.” In 2008, Michel approached Ms. Danticat about adapting this story from her novel Krik?Krak! to the screen and was granted the rights to adapt it into a feature film. “While receiving my certificate in African New World Studies, I was introduced to the writings of Edwidge Danticat and I was instantly captivated with her authentic portrayal of the life I was living - her stories reflected so vividly my Haitian-American experience. It is my belief that we have to tell our stories in order to reflect our reality.” Michel has also worked on the feature films Transporter II (2005), Hoot (2006) and Miami Vice (2006). She has produced, written and directed several short films including Harlem Echoes, which was shown at the New York Insight Meditation’s Arts Salon. She came to love film while studying abroad at the University of Westminster in London during her last semester at FIU. Currently, Michel lives in Brooklyn and is in her final semester at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she is completing a Master’s program in Cinema Studies.
Ian Morris (History/Women’s Studies, 2004)
After graduating Cum Laude from FIU in 2004, Ian received two Letters of Academic Achievement from Women's Studies, one from History, and a Letter of Outstanding Service from Women's Studies. He is currently pursuing an MA in History at FGCU.This spring he began giving a series of lectures on Women Scientists involved in the Manhattan Project for the Renaissance Academy of Florida Gulf Coast University. It was a pleasant experience with nice audiences, and they want him to continue the lectures in the fall semester.
Ayesha Quirke (International Relations/Women's Studies Certificate, 2005)
Ayesha Quirke is the Program Director at the Miami Council for International Visitors and has held that position for over three years. In charge of all aspects of programming, Ayesha arranges cultural and professional itineraries for emerging leaders from around the world as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, a seventy year old public diplomacy and professional exchange program. As Program Director she has arranged itineraries for over one thousand delegates. She has also had the opportunity to escort many of these international visitors during their stay in Miami. During her time at FIU, she focused her studies on women’s human rights and the Middle East/Central Asia, and was invited to present her research on Afghan women’s human rights abuses under the Taliban in the 2006 War Crimes Symposium at FIU, as well as the International Studies Association southern conference in Alabama.
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