Skip to main content
Scenes from Women's Studies

Faculty and Staff

Jody Lisberger

Donna Hughes, Professor

   Donna M. Hughes holds the Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Chair in Women's Studies. She's a leading international researcher on human trafficking. She has completed research on the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Korea and also does research and writing on women's rights. She is the co-editor, with Claire M. Roche, of Making the Harm Visible: Global Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls, Speaking Out and Providing Services (1999). She is also the co-editor, with James R. Stoner, of The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (2010). In December 2010, she was named the winner of the Josephine Butler Abolitionist Award for Policy for her work as founder of DIGNITY and her work "challenging the status quo and creating new abolitionist policy or approach ti sex trafficking in the United States." In May 2010, she received the University of Rhode Island Annual Research Award. Her topic areas include: violence, slavery, sexual exploitation, Islamic fundamentalism, and women's organized resistance to violence and exploitation. She also works on issues related to sexual exploitation and technology.

>>>Read more.

Jody Lisberger, Director, Associate Professor or

    Jody Lisberger has a Ph.D. in English (Boston University, 1991), with a specialty in feminist narrative theory. She also has an M.F.A. in Writing (Vermont College, 1999), and a B. A. in anthropology (Smith College, 1975). For 2013-2014 she was named The Susan Currier Visiting Professor for Teaching Excellence at California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo. In May 2011, she won the URI Diversity Award for Faculty Excellence. She teaches Feminist Theory and Methodology, with an emphasis on narrative, film, medicine, and law, Critical Issues in Feminist Scholarship, "Crossing Borders: Women Writing Their Lives" (advanced Creative Nonfiction), Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies, "Race, Class, and Sexuality Seen Through Literature" and "Violence and Nonviolence in Theory and Fiction: Feminist "Violence and Nonviolence in Theory and Fiction: Feminist Alternatives. Her essay,"DES and Diflucan: Pharmaceutical Marketing Choices--Why Women Should Take Heed," was published in (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women's Experience (2009). "The Politics of Data: Gender Bias and Border Mentality in the EEOC Job Category Compliance Chart and How Transnational Gender Mainstreaming Can Offer Best Practices for Change" was published in Wagadu, Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies (2011). Jody is also on the faculty of the brief residency M.F.A. in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her story collection, Remember Love, published by Fleur-de-Lis Press in 2008, was nominated for a National Book Award and other prizes. Her prize-winning stories have been published in Michigan Quarterly Review, Fugue, Confrontation, Thema, and the Louisville Review.

Karen Stein, Professor

   Karen Stein received her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She teaches in the English Department and Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island. She publishes on contemporary North American women writers, especially Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison. She is especially interested in the ways that contemporary women writers inflect Gothic themes and motifs. On two occasions, Professor Stein was honored with the Woman of the Year award: in 1993 from the URI Association of Professional and Academic Women and in 2007 from the Rhode Island Commission on Women. Her most recent publications are: “It’s About Time: Temporal Dimensions in Margaret Atwood’s Life Before Man” in Once Upon a Time: Myth, Fairy Tales and Legends in Margaret Atwood's Writings, edited by Sarah Appleton (Cambridge Scholars Press, 20080; “The Cleavage Commotion: How the Press Covered Senator Hillary Clinton’s Campaign,” in Cracked but Not Shattered: Hillary Rodham Clinton's Unsuccessful Campaign for the Presidency ed. Ted Sheckels (Rowman and Littlefield, 20090;. In Press: “Problematic Paradice: Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake,” in Margaret Atwood: The Robber Bride, The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake, ed J. Brooks Bouson (Continuum Press, 2011). She is the author of three books: Margaret Atwood Revisited (Twayne, 1999), Reading, Learning, Teaching Toni Morrison (Peter Lang, 2009) and Rachel Carson (Sense Publishers, 2012).

Jessica Frazier, Joint Visiting Assistant Professor with the College of the Environment and Life Sciences and Gender and Women's Studies

  Jessica Frazier earned a PhD in history from SUNY Binghamton with a concentration on U.S. women's history in the 20th century. She is currently working on a book project called "Cold War Social Movements: Gender, Race, and Peace during the Viet Nam War Era," which provides a window on how women in civil rights, peace, and feminist organizations created unique antiwar narratives. "Cold War Social Movements" began as her dissertation, which was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians' Lerner-Scott Prize for the best dissertation in U.S. women's history in 2014. While working on this project, she received two dissertation completion fellowships, from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Association of University Women. She has also received a number of research grants -- from the Sally Bingham Center at Duke University, the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University, and the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, among others. She has published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Peace and Change and has presented papers at a number of conferences, including the major conference in the field of women's history, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. At URI, she enjoys teaching on social movements, coastal societies, and human rights issues in courses that consider gender, race, and class central categories of analysis.

Tina Egnoski, Department Assistant

  Tina Egnoski is the part-time department assistant for Gender and Women’s Studies. Before coming to the University of Rhode Island, Tina worked in administration at the Providence Athenaeum, the University of Colorado, and the University of Florida.

 She is also a writer. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in several literary journals, including The Carolina Quarterly, Cimarron Review and Folio.She is the author of two books, In the Time of the Feast of Flowers (Texas Review Press, 2012) and Perishables (Black Lawrence Press, 2010).


Uchenna Jones, Graduate Assistant

  Uchenna Jones earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Boston University and a master's degree in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island. She is continuing as a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Rhode Island. Her research and clinical interests include help-seeking for mental health services among parents, adolescents, and young adults as well as child and adolescent anxiety, particularly within low-income families.

  Her doctoral research will focus on factors contributing to the accurate recognition of child mental health issues. Her master's thesis is titled "Predicting Readiness to Seek Mental Health Services in College Students."  

Africa Smith, Student Assistant

  Africa Smith is a BA student in the department of Africana Studies and Political Science.

She is very outspoken when it comes to women's issues, specifically the issues of healthy relationships and teen dating violence in her home state of Rhode Island. Africa, who was a youth leader for Sojourner House RI traveled to Washington,

DC and met with RI Congressional Reps to promote healthy teen relationships in Rhode Island. Africa is currently pursuing a double major in Africana Studies and Political Science and a double minor in Gender and Women Studies and Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Committed to the ideals of equality especially for women of color, Africa hopes to attend Law School after her journey at URI. Africa’s goal is to even out the fields of politics for women while peacefully fighting the many laws that hinder the rights of women and people of color. Africa is currently a freshman and knows that she has a long road ahead to meet her professional and academic goals.

 Affiliated and Part-time Faculty

Bola Akanji, Part-time Faculty

  International scholar Dr. Bola Akanji comes to URI from the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research. Akanji is actively involved in studying and assessing policy processes in Nigeria that relate to gender, macroeconimics, and sustainable development. Her expertise includes gender budgeting, gender mainstreaming strategies, engendering policy benchmarking processes, and developing the national gender poliy. Akanji earned a doctorate in agricultural economics and works extensively on policy issues as researcher, consultant, trainer, and policy analyst. She focuses on Nigerian and African development areas, such as poverty analysis, market, labor and structural studies in agriculture, liberalization, and commodity pricing policies. She is a member of the International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics or GEM-IWG, an international network of economists formed in 1994 for the purpose of promoting research, teaching, policy making and advocacy on gender-equitable approaches to macroeconomics, international economics and globalization and also consults for UN Women.

Talvikki Ansel, Gender and Women's Studies and English, Part-time Faculty

    Talvikki Ansel, M.F.A., is the author of two collections of poetry: My Shining Archipelago (1997), winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and Jetty & other poems (2003). Her awards include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing, a Pushcart Prize, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and an individual artist fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.Currently an instructor at URI, she has taught as a visiting instructor at the University of Texas at Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Vermont College. Recent poems have been published in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, and The Yale Review.

Laura Beauvais, Vice Provost Faculty Affairs, Provost Academic Affairs, Professor of Management

   Laura L. Beauvais is Professor of Management at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI. She is also an adjunct faculty member of the Labor Research Center and an affiliate of the Gender & Women's Studies Program. She received her Ph.D. degree in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1987. She has taught courses at the undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA, and doctoral level in general management, organizational behavior and theory, human resources management, leadership and motivation, and workplace gender issues.

    Her research, which has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Human Relations, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Journal of Business and Psychology, includes the study of the management of work/professional/ family roles among employees; union and organizational commitment; self concept-based motivation; and labor-management cooperation.From 1992-1995, she served as the College of Business Administration's first Director of their Ph.D. Program, and from 1996-1999, she served as Director of the College's Full-Time MBA Program. In 1990-1992, supported by federal and state grants totally $265,000, she was one of several researchers involved in initiating and facilitating the operation of a labor-management committee within a manufacturing company. In this capacity, she conducted research and training, and provided group facilitation to joint labor and management teams in their problem-solving efforts.

   She has done numerous presentations to local, regional, and national professional societies and organizations. Specifically, she has presented her research at the national Academy of Management meetings and its regional associations, as well as the New England Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists. In addition, she has been an invited speaker several times at the annual Rhode Island Labor Management Conference with regard to labor-management cooperation and corporate downsizing; at Kenyon Industries with regard to conflict resolution processes; at Bryant College's Women's Summit in March, 1999 with regard to women's leadership issues; at the University of Rhode Island's Women's Leadership Conference in November, 1999, with regard to managing work and nonwork life; and at various student organizations and conferences over the past 10 years at URI. In March, 2000, she was CVS's first invited speaker in their newly developed Diversity Program, speaking about how to enhance women's leadership opportunities in business.

Alana Bibeau, Lecturer in Sociology

 Alana Bibeau is a feminist mother and Lecturer in Sociology. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Virginia. Her research and teaching interests are in culture, gender and sexuality; maternal pedagogy and reproduction; and social inequality. She is particularly interested in how people understand and experience the cultural tension between the rational pursuit of individual interests and the ties of commitment that bind us to others. She has taught courses in Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies at URI since 2006, including large-lecture introductory courses in both disciplines, and lower- and upper-division courses on Women and Health; Sex and Gender; Families in Society; Health, Illness and Medical Care: Race, Class, and Sexuality in Women's Lives; Intimate Relationships; and Feminist Theory. In addition to her academic work, in 2004 Dr. Bibeau began supporting women in labor; in 2006 she completed her formal doula training at the Seattle Midwifery School through DONA Internationl. She is a Certified Labor Doula (CLD) through Childbirth International and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Rhode Island Birth Network.

Noel-Anne Brennan, Part-time Faculty

  Noel-Anne Brennan has been fascinated by gender and culture since she was a child.  The intersection of these two topics has formed the core of her academic research.  She teaches Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Rhode Island and was involved with creation of the original Women's Studies Program there. Brennan's interest in culture and gender also provided a background for her novels.  She is a poet and a journalist as well as a novelist, with a poetry award from the North East Poetry Journal. She is the author of the non-fiction "The Goodspeed Opera House", Waverly Press, 1972, novels "Winter Reckoning", Donald Grant, 1986, "The Sword of the Land", Ace Books, 2003 and "The Blood of the Land", Ace Books 2004, "Daughter of the Desert", Ace Books 2006, "Tiger Lily", Sander Press 2011, “A Changed World”, 2013, “Burning Bright”, 2014, and books of poetry, "February's Country", Sander Press 2011, "Hurricane Warning", Sander Press 2012, and "Meow Cat Poems", Sander Press 2012, “Welcome to Wilderness”, 2015. She was a finalist for the Romantic Times Award for "The Sword of the Land" in 2003.

Winnie Brownell, Dean of Arts and Sciences

   Dr. Winifred Brownell joined the URI faculty in 1971. She received a Ph.D. in Communication Theory from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She was supported in part by a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Her doctoral studies included a number of courses in Computer Programming, Statistics, and Neurophysiology. She has taught a variety of courses including the following:Aging, Dying and Death, Mortal Questions, Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Communication Theory, Women in the Natural Sciences, and Aging and Communication. In 1988, she received the URI Teaching Excellence Award, and in 1996 she received the Association of Academic and Professional Women "Woman of the Year" award. Her publications include articles in Communication Monographs, Communication Quarterly, Personnel Journal, Communication Research Reports, The Encyclopedia of Aging, and The Gerontologist. Her most recent research projects include the publications, "Aging and Infotainment Technologies: Intercultural Perspectives (1997)," "Films of the Frankenstein Myth: Children of an Angry God (in press), "Communication Technologies and Older Adults (1996), " and "Images of Aging in the Media (1996)." Dr. Brownell has written grants funding over $900,000 in research projects. In 1974-75 she coordinated the URI Honors Colloquium on "Aging, Dying and Death." In 1996, she coordinated the acclaimed John Hazen White Honors Colloquium on "Mortal Questions" with Carolyn Hames and Gene Knott. She created a special unit on images of scientists in American popular films that led to a number of presentations on images of scientists and women scientists in popular culture.

Mary Cappello, Professor of English

  Mary Cappello is Professor of English and creative writing and the author of Night Bloom; Awkward: A Detour (a Los Angeles Times Bestseller); Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life; and Swallow, a multi-genre meditation on the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection in Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum. Professor Cappello’s literary nonfiction, cultural critique, and experimental prose can be found in such journals as Salmagundi, Raritan, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, American Letters and Commentary, Western Humanities Review, Seattle Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from Teachers and Writers Collaborative for her essay, “Can Creative Writing Be Taught?”; the Dorothea-Lange/Paul Taylor Prize (with photographer Paola Ferrario) from Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies for the project, Pane Amore/Bitter Bread: The Struggle of New Immigrants to Italy; and a Fulbright award that enabled her to teach at the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow, Russia. Her book about breast cancer (Called Back) recently received a Foreward Book of the Year Award and an Independent Publishers Award (IPPY), while an excerpt that appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of The Georgia Review won a GAMMA Award for Best Feature from The Magazine Association of the Southeast. Called Back was also a Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and a Publishing Triangle Award, the judges for whom described the book this way: “The narrative of cancer has become disconcertingly familiar to us. But Mary Cappello turns the story inside out, folds it up, and deftly re-opens it into something new and rather marvelous. This is someone who reads Proust on the gurney while waiting to be wheeled into surgery. She brings us along for the ride, and it's a dizzying, discursive delight. With a bracing combination of intellectual and emotional acuity, Cappello explores the inanities and indignities of the medical establishment, the solitude and camaraderie of illness, the politics and poetics of cancer culture. ‘Most essays are finished before they've begun,’ Cappello cautions her undergraduate writing students. Her book is an essay continually striking off into unexpected terrain with giddy courage and wonderment. Called back across that grim border, Cappello brings with her a luminous gift.”

     For more information about Professor Cappello’s writing, research, and pedagogy, please visit her website:, or her English Department faculty profile where you can learn about courses that she teaches in nineteenth century American literary and cultural studies; literature and medicine; the contemporary memoir: in theory and practice; immigrant subjectivities and documentary discourse; major authors (Stein, Dickinson, Baldwin, Chesnutt, James, Barthes, Sontag); and workshops on all levels of the curriculum in creative writing in poetry and creative nonfiction. Professor Cappello has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the Excellence in Teaching Award at SUNY/Buffalo; the Teacher of the Year Award at the University of Rochester; and has been a nominee and finalist for the University of Rhode Island Teaching Excellence Award. Her essays have received the distinction of Notable Essays of the Year in Best American Essays for 2005, 2008, and 2009.

Nancy Caronia, Lecturer, Honors Program

Nancy Caronia is a Lecturer in the Honors Program at the University of Rhode Island where she teaches literature and writing and is a freshmen advisor. With Edvige Giunta, she co-edited Personal Effects: Essays on Memoir, Teaching, and Culture in the Work of Louise DeSalvo (Fordham UP 2015). She wrote the introduction to the reprint and first American printing of Louise DeSalvo's Casting Off. Her scholarship appears in peer-reviewed journals, including AEQ, ItalianAmerican Review, and Essays on Italian American Literature and Culture. A Pushcart Prize nominated author, her creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Animal, the New Delta Review, Lowestoft Chronicles94 CreationsTai Chi Thoughts, The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and CultureColoring Book: An Eclectic Anthology of Fiction & Poetry by Multicultural Writers, and She Is Everywhere: An Anthology of Writing in Womanist/Feminist Spirituality. in 2013, she received a URI Diversity Award. Additionally, Nancy is long-time practitioner of Tai Chi Chuan.  


Ann Danis, Professor of Music

    Ann Danis is Professor of Music and the Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Rhode Island. She is in demand as a performer on violin and viola, clinician, and as a guest conductor throughout the country. She founded the Ocean State Chamber Orchestra in 1991 and the Ocean State Youth Orchestra in 1999 and served as the Artistic Director and Conductor for both organizations. Ann has served as an assistant conductor for the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the conductor of the Philharmonic's Senior Youth Orchestra. Locally, she has also conducted the Festival Ballet of Providence Orchestra, Ocean State Lyric Opera, Claflin Hill Symphony, the Franklin School for the Performing Arts Orchestra, and many joint endeavors between her professional chamber orchestra and organizations such as Sine Nomine, Schola Cantorum of Boston, Brown University Chorus, South County Chamber Singers, among others. She has been a member of orchestras throughout the country as well as several professional chamber ensembles.

    Ms. Danis graduated with High Honors from the New England Conservatory of Music where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in violin performance. Her principle teachers at NEC were George Zazofsky and Joseph Silverstein. She was a Graduate Assistant in early music and worked with such notables as Daniel Pinkham, Rudolph Kolisch, James Pappoutsakis, and Aldo Parisot. At NEC, she studied conducting with Richard Pittman and later with Andrew Massey.Between 1990 and 2009, Ms. Danis has led All-State and Festival Orchestras in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Georgia, and New York. Recognized by critics and audiences for her innovative and daring programming, Ms. Danis has demonstrated a firm commitment to the presentation of new works and exposing audiences to modern repertoire in a casual and informative setting. Over the past fifteen years she has introduced many premiere works through her music ensembles including Rage of the Heart by Enrico Garzilli (World-Premiere), State House and Bridging Time- A Sinfonietta for Strings by Rhode Island composer Geoffrey Gibbs (World-Premiere), Blind Allegory by Nico Muhly (Rhode Island-Premiere), A Triptych for the Millennium by Providence composer Paul Nelson (World-Premiere), and the American premiere of Dance of Grandmother Nohpat and the Dwarfking by the Mexican composer Sylvestre Revueltas. Most recently, Ms Danis and a group of URI alumni traveled to Belize, Central America as part of the Belize Music Project. There she conducted master classes for string students, conducting workshops for teachers, and guest conducted an ensemble from the Palotti Music School in Belize City. The ensemble performed a benefit concert for the Palotti School including works by Dvorak, Brahms, and Corrette. During the summer of 2009, she and a group of colleagues and alumni performed in a series of chamber concerts in Provence, France. Working with professional musicians from the French conservatory system, these performances mark the beginning of an ongoing collaborative effort between these artists know as Les Femmes Internationales.

    In 2008, Ann served as concertmaster for a performance with jazz violinist Lesa Terry and the Women's Jazz Orchestra of Los Angeles at the World Sacred Music Festival. In October of 2009, she welcomed David Kim, URI Artist in Residence and concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as many string alumni in a special concert with the URI Symphony featuring works by Elgar, Bruch and Dvorak. In addition to her conducting and scholarly activities, Ann is the current Music Director and Conductor of the Fall River (MA) Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra based in her hometown.

Susana De Los Heros, Associate Professor of Spanish

Susana de los Heros obtained her BA at the Catholic University of Peru in 1988. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Professor de los Heros specializes in Spanish sociolinguistics and pragmatics. Her research focuses on language attitudes and language ideologies toward Indigenous languages and non-standard Spanish varieties, and on the sociopragmatics of language and gender. She is currently studying the social and gender co-construction and negotiation of identities in language interactions in Peruvian Spanish


Lynne Derbyshire, Director of the Honors Program, Associate Professor of Communications

    Dr. Lynne Derbyshire, Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, is highly regarded for her exemplary efforts to enrich our curriculum and to ensure that URI is a safe and supportive place for everyone to learn, work and live. She, along with Co-PIs C. B. Peters, Bette Erickson, and Melvin Wade, were awarded a major grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to address issues of multiculturalism and diversity, and she headed the Multicultural Student Fellows Program, a key project funded by the grant. Dr. Derbyshire helped foster development of a multicultural emphasis in the curriculum in Communication Studies and in general education offerings, and received a Feinstein Service Learning Grant for incorporating activism in teaching multiculturalism. She played an active role on the Women’s Equity Committee and in the negotiations with the Brothers United for Action to develop positive outcomes that supported students, faculty, staff, programs, and the University. Through her participation in the Bridges and Diversity Retreats, Diversity Weeks, and the Diversity Task Force, Dr. Derbyshire has consistently promoted an inclusive campus community. Along with colleague, Dr. Arthur Stein, Professor of Political Science, she coordinated the acclaimed Fall 2000 Honors Colloquium on “Nonviolence: Legacies of the Past, Bridges to the Future,” that featured Coretta Scott King and legendary folk artist Pete Seeger, among others.

Adria Evans, Lecturer, URI Feinstein College of Continuing Education

A feminist for over forty years, Adria’s early feminist and political activism includes changing Douglass College (of Rutgers University) rules that discriminated against women students; participating in antiwar protests, early women’s protests, and the first gay pride march in NYC; and initiating her college’s May 1970 student strike and local consciousness raising groups.  At URI, she was a founding member of Air Wave Women, the women’s radio collective that created WRIU’s Voices of Women, still broadcast today, and received a R.I. Council of theHumanities grant for its radio series on women creators. She has served on the GWS Advisory Board since 1980 and tutored for the Talent Development Program for fourteen summers. Based at FCCE since 1987, she taught while working as an Academic Advisor for twenty years and received the Dr. Gilbert S. Mongeau Service Award for the Most Outstanding Faculty Member in 1998. She currently teaches for the Gender and Women’s Studies, Writing, and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies departments. Her current writing is based on her shamanic journeying practice, and she is completing a Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Certification.

Janet Hagen, Part-time Faculty

Associate Professor Janet M. Hagen has a M.A. from St. Cloud State University in American Literature and Postcolonial Feminist Studies where she was awarded St. Cloud State University Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award and Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award Nomination for her feminist critique of Salmon Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses; she completed extensive work in a Ph.D. program at University of Rhode Island in feminist theory and postcolonial literature, with an emphasis on Caribbean women writers and feminist geography. For four years she was a graduate assistant in URI’s Gender and Women’s Studies Program, where she taught courses and took care of administrative responsibilities. Her Gender and Women’s Studies teaching and curriculum development credentials at URI include an appointment as a GWS lecturer; the development and implementation of a new 300-level GWS course, Women Writers of the Caribbean; integration of Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies into Talent Development’s Summer Program; the development of a learning community funded by a National Science Foundation Grant to elicit women’s interest in information technology; and over 11 years teaching part-time Gender and Women's Studies courses, including Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies, Feminist Theory, Race, Class and Gender in Women’s Lives, Women Writers of the Americas, and Caribbean Women Writers. Other notable contributions to URI Gender and Women’s Studies Program include changing the name of the GWS Faculty Colloquium to Dana Shugar Colloquium to recognize and continue the legacy of Dr. Shugar’s work at URI and working with students as faculty advisor to revive feminist activism on campus through the creation of P.A.G.E. (Promoting and Advocating Gender Equality), a student feminist organization.

Elizabeth Herron, Program Coordinator, URI  Watershed Watch, Lecturer

Elizabeth Herron has a B.S. in Zoology, Marine Science emphasis and an M.A. in Marine Affairs, both from the University of Rhode Island. As Program Coordinator with the URI Watershed Watch (URIWW) program, Rhode Island's largest scientist-led volunteer water quality monitoring program, she works to involve communities in watershed education and stewardship locally, regionally, and nationally. The information generated through URIWW is the principal source of fresh surface water data for Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. Through regional initiatives and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring National Water Resource Project, she helps to build the capacity of organizations to assess local watersheds in support of the development of watershed management and restoration plans. She is often invited to speak about water quality volunteer monitoring and monitoring of invasive aquatic species. As a feminist with a strong foundation in environmental science, Ms. Herron will be engaging students in the exploration Women and the Natural Sciences in GWS 220.

Valerie Karno, Associate Professor of English/Library and information Studies, Interim Director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies

    Born and raised in Los Angeles, Valerie Karno grew up with film, television, and music as part of her self-constitution. With a B.A. from UC Berkeley in English, she then received a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law. There she was Editor-in-Chief of both the International and Comparative Law Review, and the Women's Law Journal. During law school she published essays on the CITES treaty, and feminist legal theory. Then, with her M.A. from the Univ. of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from USC, her interests in Critical Race and Legal Theory were integrated with her ongoing thinking about visual culture. Having worked in the film and music video industries, and having made her own music video, she has published on topics ranging from the so-called "serial killer" Aileen Wuornos, (in Critical Matrix: The Princeton Journal of Women, Gender, and Culture) to how notions of hunger get deployed in treaties with Native Americans, (in College Literature) to how representations of race in daytime televised small claims court shows re-invigorate legal agency. (in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society). She has also published book reviews on 9/11 in the online journal Postmodern Culture, and on Anti-Discrimination Laws in American Quarterly.

    Her courses reflect the range of her interests. She has taught "Law & Literature," (ENG 356/HPR 319) (for which she was featured recently in the national Law Magazine Lawyers Weekly) "Immigrant Women Authors," (ENG 260), "Literature & Democracy," (ENG 590L), "Envisioning America" (ENG 590G), Postmodernism of the Americas (ENG 545), the Cultural Studies Capstone Course (ENG 498), Postmodernism (ENG 378), Antebellum Literature (ENG 347), and Introduction to Literary Studies (both ENG 201 and 202.)

    Karno is currently Interim Director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, and teaches courses in Information Ethics and Policy, and the Digital Humanities


Sandra Ketrow, Professor of Communication Studies

   The evolution of Dr. Ketrow's research began with her
investigations into leadership and other role specializations in group decision-making. Over time, she has held a programmatic focus on nonverbal aspects of interaction in various contexts, including interpersonal, group, and organizational, as well as decision-making. Most recently, Ketrow's explorations of human
communication have been in argumentation and decision-making in family groups experiencing crisis or facing a consequential decision, such as terminating life support for a loved one. Her research has been published in academic outlets such as Small Group Research, Management Communication Quarterly, Psychological Reports, The Handbook of Group Communication Theory and Research, Mental Measurements Yearbook, and Lesbians in Academia.

    Dr. Ketrow's sojourn at the University of Rhode Island began in the fall of 1986, when she was drawn to come back to academia and the sea. She teaches undergraduate courses in
gender and communication, interpersonal communication, group communication, nonverbal
communication, and communication theory. She offered the first online course at URI, which was gender and communication. She is one of the first Technology and Teaching Fellows at URI, and is often tinkering or torturing her students and colleagues with some new electronic toy. When she is not surfing the World Wide Web, in warmer weather she might be surfing on her longboard with her friends from Chicks on Sticks and SurfRider and actually enjoying a tropical storm or nor'easter.

Doris Kirchner, Professor of German

    Doris Kirchner received her Ph.D. in German Languages and Literatures from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA and is currently professor of German at the University of Rhode Island where she also directs the German International Business Program (IBP).  In 2009 she was appointed Director of the German School at Middlebury College – the oldest and largest German total immersion program in the US.

    Before joining the German Program and the International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Kirchner taught at Columbia University in New York City, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and twice at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, People's Republic of China.

    Dr. Kirchner teaches all levels of German language and literature and has designed and taught many upper level German Studies courses. She is affiliated with URI's Gender & Women's Studies Program, was a Multicultural Fellow, and served as Chair for the University of Rhode Island's Center for the Humanities. She has also been Chair for the AATG Testing Committee in Rhode Island.

    Dr. Kirchner's research interests focus on the literature of "Inner Emigration, 1933-1945", Magic Realism / New Objectivity, Literary Regionalism, Women's Studies, Issues of Multiculturalism, Curricular Innovations, and Cross-cultural Studies. She has authored and co-authored books on Inner Emigration and has published articles in German Studies Review, Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German, ADFL Bulletin, and Zeitschrift für sprachliche und interkulturelle Wirtschaftskommunikation among others. She has also published numerous book reviews and has served as manuscript reader for Camden House and Houghton Mifflin. She is in the process of writing a book on German Expellees from East Prussia.

Keith Labelle, Bystander Intervention, Part-time Faculty

  Keith Labelle, Supervisor of the Bystander Intervention Program and the URi-STANDers at the University of Rhode Island, has conducted trainings on sexual assault, domestic violence, and substance abuse since 2001.  He received his Master’s Degree in Communications from URI in 2003.  He is an Honor Roll graduate of the University and was a 4-year member of the varsity baseball team, serving as team captain in 2000.  He worked as Program Coordinator for Substance Abuse Prevention Services at URI from 2000 - 2003 and worked  for the Violence Prevention & Advocacy Services Program from 2003-2013.  He now runs the Bystander Intervention Program on campus and supervises the URi-STANDers - a group of undergraduate students who provide education and awareness to the campus community regarding sexual assault, dating violence and stalking as well as to promote active bystanders to prevent these crimes. The URi-STANDers are a team of specially trained students who create and perform interactive bystander intervention workshops and programs to educate and increase sexual violence awareness campus-wide. Keith has also served as a member of the NCAA Speaker’s Bureau and presents annually to the National Football League on violence prevention issues.  He has presented at national conferences on substance abuse issues and at numerous national conferences, colleges, high schools, and for various agencies all over the country on violence against women issues.  At URI he provides training to thousands of students, staff and faculty members annually, including all incoming student-athletes and members of Greek Life.  He also is Advisor of the award-winning mentoring organization for first-year women on campus called WOWW (We're Offering Women Wisdom).  Additionally, Keith has provided training and educational workshops for police groups, fraternity men, and members of both professional and collegiate athletic teams throughout the country on healthy masculinity and violence prevention issues.  Keith has taught GWS 360: Men & Masculinities, GWS 351: Violence Prevention Training, GWS 300: Peer Advocacy, GWS 451: Women's Leadership, GWS 300: WOWW Internship, GWS 150: Intro to Women's Studies, HDF 416: Personal & Organizational Leadership, HDF 298: Peer Advocate Training, CSV 302: Bystander Intervention Training and CSV 302: URi-STANDer Internship.

Barbara Luebke, Professor of Journalism and Gender & Women's Studies

  Barbara F. Luebke has been teaching journalism for 34 years. Prior to joining the URI faculty in 1989, when she was hired to chair the department, she taught at the University of Missouri, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of Hartford. In 1998-99, she was Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Fitchburg (Mass.) State College. Her first journalism job was as a reporter at a small daily newspaper in central Wisconsin. She also has been a copy editor, assistant news editor, news editor and assistant features editor at newspapers in Wisconsin, Missouri and Connecticut. Dr. Luebke, who holds a Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Missouri, has published numerous scholarly articles, including research on the images of women in the media in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly and Sex Roles. Her research on Elias Boudinot, the first native American newspaper editor, has appeared in books and scholarly journals. She is co-author, with Mary Ellen Reilly, of Women Studies Graduates: The First Generation, published in 1995 by Teachers College Press. Dr. Luebke has participated in seminars at the American Press Institute, the Poynter Institute and the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center. In 1994, she studied at the HERS-Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration. Her teaching specialties are editing, feature writing and the literature of journalism. Dr. Luebke serves as the department's webmaster.She is the university's Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA and a member of the NCAA Committee on Athletic Certification.

Amy Maas, Biology, Part-time Faculty

    Amy Maas has a BA in Biology from Hiram College and a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Rhode Island (2011). Her research focuses on the physiology of animals in extreme environments with an emphasis on the impacts of climate change. This work has taken her from Antarctica to the open oceans off the coast of Panama. She has been involved in the ADVANCE grant at the University of Rhode Island and has a vested interest in the topic of women in science. She teaches WMS 220: Women and Natural Science.

Joline MacFarlan, MD, Part-time Faculty

Joline Macfarlan is a family physician who practices in Fall River, Massachusetts.  She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island (B.S. Biological Sciences) and Boston University (M.D.) and completed a family medicine residency at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California.  Her clinical interests include women's health and reproductive rights, integrative medicine and access to care.  She has been teaching WMS 350: Women and Health since 2011.

Helen Mederer, Professor of Sociology

    Professor Helen Mederer holds a B.A. in Sociology from Muhlenberg College and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. She has been on the Sociology faculty at URI since 1984.

   Helen Mederer's interests in Sociology revolve around families, work, and gender, and the intersections of these social institutions. She also is keenly interested in the social implications of population aging. Dr. Mederer regularly teaches Soc 212 Families in Society, Soc 350 Work & Family Life, Soc 413 Gender Inequality, and Soc 438 Aging in Society.

Her research program broadly focuses on studying barriers to women's participation in the workforce, and on men's participation in family life. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Elsevier Foundation, and NOAA's Sea Grant program. One of her current research projects is a study of women's participation in and impact on fishery management policies in the Northeast. A recently completed project was a NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant, which focused on how to make employment practices more compatible with 21st century workers' lives on and off the job. In addition, Professor Mederer has been the Chair of the URI Work-Life Committee since its inception in 2003

Sara Murphy, Part-time Faculty

Sara Murphy is an ABD doctoral candidate in English at the University of Rhode Island. She received her M.A. from SUNY Albany with a thesis titled “Immortal Love in Mortal Lives: The Marriage of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ellen Louisa Tucker.” She also has a graduate certificate in Gender and Women's Studies from the University of Rhode Island. Her essay “Literature, if Anything, Will Save Me” and other writings were published in Death in the Classroom by Jeffrey Berman (State University of New York Press, 2009); additionally, she is a published poet and a staff reader on the Ocean State Review. Sara has presented at the ALA Symposium on Naturalism and the PAMLA and NeMLA annual conferences in addition to multiple graduate conferences. In 2010, she chaired the URI graduate conference “Carried Across: Translations, Temporalities, and Trajectories” and in 2011-2012 she served as a Graduate Fellow to the NeMLA conference as a Graduate Liaison to the Department of English. She has been recognized recently for Outstanding Service to the Department. Currently, she is completing her training as a thanatologist through the National Center for Death Education. Intellectual interests include: contemporary and 19th century American literature and intellectual history, gender and sexuality studies, death education, radical pedagogy, and writing as rescue. Her dissertation is an exploration of the ways in which race, class, gender, and sexuality impact the ways in which historical and contemporary American cultural attitudes toward the suicidal individual have not kept pace with changing understandings of suicide as an act or idea. Sara has taught in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, the University College, and the Talent Development Program at URI and currently teaches in the Department of English and Program of Thanatology, in addition to the Gender and Women's Studies Program at URI.

Kim Hensley Owens, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric

    Degrees: University of Arizona (BA); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MA, PhD) Teaching Interests: Rhetorical and composition theory, ethnography, scientific and technical writing, writing for community service, rhetorics of reproduction, feminist
theory. FYC Courses Recently Taught: WRT 305: Travel Writing, HPR 112: Ethnographic Writing, WRT 512: Studies in Rhetorical Theory, WRT 645: Rhetorics of/and Reproduction, WRT 490, WRT 333, WRT 304, WRT 10. Selected Recent Publications: “Writing With(out) Pain: Computing Injuries and the Role of the Body in Writing Activity,” with Derek Van Ittersum, Computers and Composition (2013); “On Being Lucky,” Joy, Interrupted: An Anthology on Motherhood and Loss edited by Melissa Miles McCarter (Fat Daddy’s Farm Press, 2013); “Reviews and Reactions: A Rhetorical-Cultural Analysis of The Business of Being Born.” Rhetoric Review (2011); “Rhetorics of E-Health and Information Age Medicine: A Risk-Benefit Analysis,” JAC (2011); “‘Look Ma, No Hands!’: Voice-Recognition Software, Writing, and Ancient Rhetoric.” Enculturation (2010). Current Research Interests: Rhetorics of childbirth (birth plans, birth narratives, and historical and medical childbirth rhetoric); intersections and responsibilities of writing instruction and ergonomics.

Rosa Maria Pegueros, Associate Professor of History and Gender & Women's Studies

     Rosie Pegueros received her law degree from the People’s College of Law, and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles. She came to academia after a career in community organizing and several years with the National Organization for Women, Californians for a Fair Share, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Central American solidarity movement, among others. As an associate professor of History and Gender and Women’s Studies, her main interests are modern Central American history and the Central American solidarity movement in the United States. Her private passion is the study of the ancient Maya. She is also a member of B’not Esh, one of the first Jewish feminist collectives, and was an editor of Bridges, the Jewish Feminist Journal. Today, her writings appear regularly on, as well as in her blog, Professing History, She has been active in the lesbian rights movement. She also maintains a blog listing all the opera-related events and performances in Rhode Island, “Opera Lovers of RI” weekly blog, Rosie has one daughter, Ariela Gragg, a lawyer and political activist.

>>>>>>Rosie on the Callie Crossley Show

Aimee Duvall Phelps, Business Administration and Gender & Women's Studies, Lecturer

   Aimee is a full-time Instructor in Entrepreneurial Management.  She has been teaching Human Resources, Organizational Behavior and Strategy at the university level since 1999.  She is also an independent consultant specializing in Human Resource Management, Training & Development based in Newport, RI.  She serves clients ranging in size from 10-150,000 employees in the consulting, financial, power, defense, electronics and human services industries worldwide. As a consultant, she has worked on a broad range of HR issues and programs in corporate and not-for-profit environments.  She also designs and delivers training programs on a range of topics, including leadership; facilitation; communication; management skills; process improvement; team startup and intervention; change management and MBTI. 

  In the course of her career, she has reviewed thousands of resumes, interviewed hundreds of applicants and students for her clients and has provided career guidance to scores of university students. Aimee has also developed and led leadership development initiatives, led entry level recruiting efforts, and led HR development as a generalist for a fast-growing global business.  As a Manager of Training she managed a $2 million annual budget and developed a comprehensive training curriculum for high potential employees. Other experiences include leading a national not-for-profit focused on teen communication, leading staffing initiatives for a corporate financial institution and coaching not-for-profit leaders on transforming their organizations.

  Aimee received her MBA from Cornell University and her BA in Sociology from Miami University. She has completed her coursework toward a PhD in Management at URI.

Rosaria Pisa, Sociology/ Anthropology, Lecturer

  Professor Pisa originates from Naples, Italy. She emigrated with her family to the U.S. as a child. Prof. Pisa has lived in Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts before settling in Rhode Island with her family. As a child, Prof. Pisa dreamed of seeing the world, connecting with people from different cultures, and communicating with them in their own language whenever possible.

  Prof. Pisa is multilingual, has traveled extensively and has lived in Germany and Mexico for a time. It was on one of her sojourns abroad that she came to know and love Mexico. Her passion for Mexico ultimately shaped the direction of her graduate studies in political science (M.A. 1992) and sociology (Ph.D. 2001). Realizing her childhood dream of intimately connecting with other cultures, Prof. Pisa has conducted in-depth fieldwork in rural and urban Mexico since 1993. Her research has evolved from studying the impact of the privatization of communal land on community life to her current focus on the gender dynamics of local and organic farming.

 Prof. Pisa regularly teaches SOC 100 General Sociology and courses in the area of social inequality such as SOC 240 Race and Ethnic Relations. She also teaches two interdisciplinary courses cross listed with anthropology, SOC/APG 329 Contemporary Mexican Society and SOC/APG 416 Migration in the Americas.

  Her research on the Mexican Agrarian Reform and land privatization has been published in Urban Anthropology and Habitat International, as well as several edited volumes in the U.S. and in Mexico. She has presented her research at numerous international conferences, in Mexico, and the World Bank.

Kathryn "Kat" Quina, Professor of Psychology and Gender and Women's Studies, Associate Dean CCE/Academic Division

    Kat Quina, Professor of Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies, earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Georgia in 1973, focusing her research on the life-span development of illusory perceptual phenomena. From 1974 to 1978, she shifted her research and academic focus to the newly emerging fields of trauma and gender studies.

   Since joining the faculty at URI in 1978, Dr. Quina has divided her time between the Providence Feinstein campus (where she was Coordinator of the Psychology degree program and taught Psychology of Women and Introduction to Women’s Studies) and the Kingston campus (where she was Director of the Behavioral Science graduate program and taught gender and multicultural issues at the graduate level). In August 2008, she was appointed Associate Dean of the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education at the Providence campus of URI.

   For over 30 years, her research has examined the sequelae of childhood trauma in its various forms, gender and multicultural influences on human behavior, and the status of women in science and in academia. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, she has coauthored or co-edited six books and numerous publications in professional journals and presentations at national conferences. Her newest book, Trauma and Dissociation in Convicted Offenders: Gender, Science, and Treatment Issues, addresses her concerns about high rates of childhood trauma among incarcerated men and women.

   Kat is Past President of the New England Psychological Association and served on the Board of the Rhode Island Psychological Association, and is co-coordinator of the 2009 national conference of the Association for Women in Psychology. She has received outstanding teaching/faculty recognitions from the URI Providence Feinstein Campus senior class and from the Golden Key and Alpha Sigma Lambda honoraries. She was selected as Woman of the Year by the Rhode Island Women's Political Caucus and the URI Association for Professional and Academic Women, and received the Faculty Diversity award from the URI Multicultural Center and the Founder’s Award from the RI Rape Crisis Center (now Day One). She has received the three highest awards from the national Association for Women in Psychology: the Distinguished Publication Award, the Christine Ladd Franklin Award for service and the Florence Denmark Mentoring Award, and she is active in several professional associations. She has volunteered for the Girl Scouts, United Way, and the Scituate High School Music Association.

   She resides in Scituate, RI, is married to Dr. David L. Miller, and has one daughter, Laila Laural Miller.

Nedra Reynolds, Professor and Chair of Writing and Rhetoric

 Nedra Reynolds is Professor and Department Chair of Writing and Rhetoric in the Harrington School of Communication and Media. She teaches a variety of writing and rhetoric courses in the B.A. degree program and advises all students in the major. Her teaching interests include portfolios, online peer review, and learning technologies. She is the author of Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004) as well as Portfolio Keeping: A Guide for Students and Portfolio Teaching: A Guide for Instructors (3rd Edition, Bedford/St. Martin’s 2014). She has coedited The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing (5th, 6th, and 7th editions). Her articles have appeared in Rhetoric Review, Journal of Advanced Composition, College Composition and Communication, Writing Program Administration, Pedagogy, and a number of edited collections.

Joelle Rollo-Koster, Professor and Chair of History

  Joelle Rollo-Koster earned her Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1992. At URI, she has taught History of Ancient Greece and Rome, Western Europe in the High Middle Ages and Between Eve and Mary: Women in the Middle Ages, among other classes.

  Her published books include The People of Curial Avignon (Lampeter, GB, and Lewinston, USA: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009); Raiding Saint Peter: Empty Sees, Violence, and the Initiation of the Great Schism (1378). (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008); and For the Salvation of my Soul: Women and Wills in Medieval and Early Modern France, editor with Kathryn Reyerson (St. Andrews, UK: St. Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, 2012).

She is also the author several articles, including "Ritual, Liturgy and Political Legitimization in Schismatic Avignon," in Procession Performance, Liturgy and Ritual: Essays in Honor of Bryan R. Gillingham, ed. Nancy Van Deusan (Ottawa: Institute for Medieval Music Publications, 2007); "The Boundaries of Affection: Women and Property in Late Medieval Avignon," in Gender, Property, and Law in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Communities in the Wider Mediterranean 1300-1800, ed. Shona Kelly Wray and Jutta Sperling (New York and London: Routledge, 2009); and "Body Politic" for SAGE'S Encyclopedia of Political Theory, ed. Mark Bevir (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2010). Her research interests are history of the medieval papacy, death and memorialization, immigration, women, and historical anthropology.

Alison Rose, Gender and Women's Studies, Part-time Faculty

    Alison Rose received her Ph. D. in Jewish history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She began teaching in the History Department at the University of Rhode Island in 2002 and in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program in 2008. Her research focuses on Jewish women in Vienna and her most recent work is on Viennese Jewish salon hostesses. Her book, Jewish Women in Fin de Siecle Vienna, was published by the University of Texas Press in 2008. Other recent publications include “The Jewish Salons of Vienna” in Agatha Schwartz, ed. Gender and Modernity in Central Europe: The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Its Legacy, University of Ottawa Press, 2010,  and “Perceptions of Christian Women in the Turn-of-the-Century Viennese Jewish Press,” in Michael Nagel and Eleanor Lappin, eds, Frauenund Frauenbilder in der judischen Presse, Georg Olms Verlag, 2007.  She teaches GWS 351: Women in Judaism and GWS 350: Women in Islam.

Andrea Rusnock, Professor of History

    Andrea Rusnock is Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island. She received her MA and PhD in history from Princeton University, and her BA from Brown University. Her research focuses on the history of science and medicine in the early modern period, and has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Welcome Trust, and the American Philosophical Society. Her first book (Rodopi 1996) was an edited volume of the correspondence of James Jurin, an innovative English doctor and scientist known for his advocacy of smallpox inoculation. Her second book, Vital Accounts: Quantifying Health and Disease in 18th Century England and France (Cambridge 2002), analyzes the use of quantification in the human sciences. Her current project is on the early history of smallpox vaccination. She is the editor of Osiris, a research journal devote to the history of science and its cultural influences.

   Before joining the URI faculty in 2000, she taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Princeton University. At URI, she has developed courses on the history of medicine, history of public health, and history of women and health. She is affiliated with the Gender and Women's Studies program and has taught for the Honors program. She is a member of the Institutional Review Board and the Health Professions Advisory Committee.

Annie Russell, Director LGBTQ Center, Part-time Faculty

     Annie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Adrian College in Michigan. Following that, she received her Master’s of Education from Ohio University and most recently, finished her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University. Annie’s professional background is in both faculty and administrative work. She has had the fortunate opportunity to engage with a wide array of students on a multitude of issues during her 11 years of teaching in the college classroom and 8 years of administration in higher education. Her core professional interest has always been and continues to be social justice. She works diligently every day to ensure that she has attempted to eradicate oppression in some way, shape, or form.

Brett Rutherford, Distance Learning and Gender and Women's Studies, Part-time Faculty

   Brett Rutherford is Coordinator of Distance Learning at URI’s Providence campus, and a part-time faculty member in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program. In his graduate work at URI (MA, English, 2007), he embarked on original research on American slave poet Phyllis Wheatley and British novelist Virginia Woolf. His broad interest in women creative artists and intellectuals provoked him to introduce “Diva Studies” to the WMS curriculum in 2007, and a course on Women in Science Fiction in 2009.

    As a poet, playwright, novelist, and founder and editor of The Poet’s Press (1971-present), Brett has frequently edited and published women poets, most prominently the New York poets Emilie Glen, Barbara A. Holland, D.H. Melhem, and Annette Hayn. His press has published 190 books and chapbooks. He has also produced anthologies for The Rhode Island Writers Circle, the Pawtucket Arts Council, and the North Jersey Literary Series. Several of his verse plays have been produced locally and internationally, including The Death of Queen Jocasta and Carlota, Empress of Mexico. His poem, “All I Know About My Father,” is featured in a 2011 Longman textbook, Literature and Gender.

    In 2010, Brett edited and annotated two World War I-themed books. The first is Rose Allatini’s Despised and Rejected, a landmark in women’s writing, gay and lesbian fiction, and pacifist literature, banned by the British government in 1917 and unavailable for most of the last century. The second is an annotated edition of the poetry of Charles Hamilton Sorley, Death and the Downs, restoring a lost poet to print. He has also published another annotated edition, Tales of Wonder, the 1801 poetry anthology by M.G. Lewis than launched the Gothic poetry movement, a text unavailable in its original form since 1805.             

    Brett’s teaching of literary texts for Gender and Women’s Studies (including fiction, memoir, biography, autobiography and criticism, and on into film, television and advertising art in the "Women in Science Fiction” course) focuses on the study of women artists and writers in their historical context, what Brett calls “reading in ever-widening circles” around a literary subject, and seeing their lives against the contemporaneous struggle for women’s rights and equality. “We can examine figures like Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, or Maria Callas as role models,” Brett observes, “but we also need to understand what it cost them to become who they were.”

Ulli K. Ryder, Part-time Faculty

   Ulli K. Ryder, Ph.D. is an award-winning educator, consultant, writer, editor, thinker and Google Glass Explorer. She facilitates discussions of gender, race, ethnicity, identity formation and media and technology to foster diversity and create open dialogue. Her work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The New York Post, Cultural Weekly and Tikkun. She is also a member of  the Editorial Collective of The Feminist Wire. Her book, "Mixed Race 3.0: Mixing Race, Risk and Reward in the Digital Age" is forthcoming from Annenberg Press.

    Her expertise has been sought by institutions such as the University of Southern California, the University of California - Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Rhode Island, Simmons College, Emerson College and Brown University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Brown University since 2009. Dr. Ryder earned her Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Master of Professional Writing (USC), a Master of Afro-American Studies (UCLA) and BA from Simmons College in English and African American Studies.

Catherine Sama, Professor of Italian & Film Media

     Catherine Sama has a B.A. in French/Italian from the University of Virginia and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Brown University. She has been at URI since 1997 and is the Head of the Italian Program. Catherine Sama explores the ways in which Italian women of the eighteenth-century created spaces for themselves in literary and artistic professions by drawing on male patronage, networking with other women, and carefully negotiating of the gendered boundaries of their society. Her work focuses on three Venetian women: the journalist-publisher Elisabetta Caminer Turra (1751-96), the poet-play-wright Luisa Bergalli Gozzi (1709-1779), and the artist Rosalba Carriera (1657-1757). Her current book project is a scholarly edition of Rosalba Carriera's correspondence in English translation for the "Other Voice in Early Modern Europe" (The Toronto Series), Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria College in the University of Toronto.

Natascha Saunders, Gender and Women's Studies, Part-time Faculty

   Natascha joined The University of Rhode Island in Spring 2008 as a Part-time Faculty Member for WMS301 Women's Professional Development & Leadership. Natascha is a career coach and speaker, who is focused on youth & young professionals. She coaches with the areas of: resumes, career selection, interviewing, negotiation, networking and goal-setting etc. Natascha is a former Assistant Director, Undergraduate Career Services at Boston University School of Management. She currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty at The University of Rhode Island, Member of the MBA Admissions Committee at MIT Sloan School of Management, is an Education Consultant with EnCompass Solutions and lastly, is the proud CEO/Founder of The Youth Career Coach Incorporated.

     In the year 1999, while attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst she discovered her passion for Image Consulting. As a result, she was the creator of a Bachelor Degree Interdisciplinary (BDIC) area of study for UMASS entitled, "Independent Image Consulting". She also earned an MBA in Global Business from Johnson & Wales University, Executive MS in Leadership from Northeastern University and her Certification in Career Coaching from The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

Establishments such as: Harvard University, Simmons College, Brown University, Providence College, The Met School, and Greater Generations Church have all hosted Natascha as a guest speaker. She has also spoken and served on panels for some of the nation's most prominent organizations including: The Links Inc., Girl Scouts, TJX Corporation, ALPFA, Federal Reserve Bank, & PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has also served as Miss Black Rhode Island 2006 and 2007 under the Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant.

     Natascha has been interviewed by: Jim Vincent Show, Providence Journal, NYC Avenue Pink, City Line ABC Channel 5 with Karen Holmes Ward, and was featured in Working Mother Magazine & Color Magazine USA as Job Coach Junior. Natascha was also the recipient of the 2010 Harvard WECAN Empowerment Woman of the Year Award! Natascha has coached and mentored thousands of students and career professionals. Feel free to learn more about Natascha at:

Ted Shear, Academic Advisor for Talent Development, Part-time Faculty

   Ted Shear is an academic advisor with URI’s Talent Development Program. In the Gender & Women’s Studies Program he teaches WMS 220: Women and the Natural Sciences.

An interdisciplinarian by nature, Ted received his AB in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  -- but after changing his major from statistics during his senior year. While working as a computer programmer in an engineering research group, he earned his MA in Liberal Studies from the “Great Books” program at St. John’s College. In 1993, he came to URI to pursue a PhD in English where his dissertation focused on hypertext and literature. 

Aside from Women and the Natural Sciences, Ted has previously taught a wide range of courses including: Computers for College, Literature & Science, Technology & American Life, Scientific & Technical Writing, Hypertext & Literature, Literature/Popular Culture & the Internet, Business Communications, British Literature I and II, World Literature, The Poem, Developmental English, and Composition.

   He is the co-author (with Daniel Pearlman and Paula Pearlman) of the 7th and 8th editions of The Guide to Rapid Revision and his article “Tracking the Flights of Fancy: The Rationality of the Word Processor and the Creative Writer” appeared in the journalTEXT Technology. He has also presented at a number of national conferences including those of the Modern Language Association, the Popular Culture Association, and the Conference on College Composition and Communications.

Kathleen Torrens, Associate Professor of Communication Studies

    A member of the Communication Studies Department since 2003, Kathleen Torrens is a tenured associate professor. Her academic credentials include a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota-Twin cities, and an M.A. and B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her teaching covers rhetorical theory and criticism, public discourse, argumentation, public speaking, and communication fundamentals. Dr. Torrens' areas of research include public communication, online pedagogy, feminist rhetorical history, and Burkean studies. When not teaching, Dr. Torrens gardens, rows, reads, and lifts weights.


Jean Walton, Professor of English

   Jean Walton was trained as a specialist of Modern and Postmodern literature at SUNY/Buffalo, publishing articles through the eighties and early nineties on Beckett, Nabokov, and performer Sandra Bernhard. Her interest in psychoanalysis, feminist film theory, and queer theory led her to interrogate the failure of psychoanalysis to address processes of racialization, even as its central texts rely on tropes of racial "blackness" in order to make arguments about sexual or gender difference. This work culminated in Fair Sex, Savage Dreams: Race Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference (Duke UP, 2001), a book-length study of racialized assumptions in the work of Joan Riviere, Melanie Klein, poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Marie Bonaparte, and Margaret Mead, and an article exploring similar issues in Radclyffe Hall's lesbian classic, The Well of Loneliness (in Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on The Well of Loneliness, Columbia UP, 2001).
    Currently, Walton is writing a book about activist media, the politics of land use and urban development, and fledgling environmental and "sustainable development" movements in 1970s Vancouver. Focusing on two embattled communities on Vancouver's tidal fringes, "Mudflats Turf Wars" is conceived as a crossover "Memoir/Histoire," and will include reflections on Walton's own teen years as an American ex-pat in Canada, as well as an in-depth study of the Canadian National Film Board's "Challenge for Change" program as it intervened in the municipality where she lived. The Challenge for Change program was an experimental, state-funded film and video initiative; it sent "social animators" (along the lines of Saul Alinsky) to train citizens across Canada to use media as a tool for addressing inequities in their social and economic milieu, and to play a more active role in the political decision-making process. In the Vancouver area, this program focused specifically on "Land Use" issues, such as sub-par housing, lack of services, and the sacrifice of agricultural land and other natural resources to industrial development. It is hoped that this study of a specific time and place will have much to offer to current day digital activists as they confront the land use, environmental, and class issues of today, not only in Canada but the U.S. as well.
     The "Mudflats" project, insofar as it focuses in part on the politics of human and industrial "waste," has affinities with another area of research for Walton: the body and its peristaltic processes. "Modernity and the Peristaltic Subject" (in Neurology and Modernity: A Cultural History of Nervous Systems, 1800-1950, eds. Salisbury and Shail, Palgrave MacMillan) considers the temporality of the visceral autonomic system, especially as it is susceptible to disciplining structures (such as toilet training and habit clinics). "Female Peristalsis" (differences) explores how women manage and attach significance to the movement of substances through their bodies, even as their bodies are moved through social, political, domestic, erotic, and ideological systems. Sites of investigation include psychoanalysis, industrial and domestic time and motion studies, and the history of "colonic health."
Recent film publications include "Donald Sutherland: the Politics and Erotics of Submission" (for Hollywood Reborn: Movie Stars of the 1970s) and "Thomasina, Thomasina," a creative nonfiction exploration of 1960s Disney movie, for Hotel Amerika.
     Walton has published articles on race, psychoanalysis, gender and the body in Critical Inquiry, Discourse, and various edited volumes; and essays on Beckett and Nabokov in New Orleans Review, Contemporary Literature, and College Literature. She was Co-editor of the Queer Utilities issue of College Literature. Walton was a recipient of a Fulbright Lectureship to Moscow in 2001; received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship in 1997-8; and a URI Council for Research Grant to attend The Dartmouth School of Criticism and Theory, Summer 1995. Before joining the faculty at URI, Walton taught at Fordham University in the Bronx (1988-93).

Not shown:

  • Gail Cohee, Gender & Women's Studies

  • Alexia Kosmider, Gender & Women's Studies

  • Mailee Kue, Psychology

  • Lee Marshall, Writing and Rhetoric

  • Jeannette Riley, Gender & Women's Studies

Emerita/us GWS Faculty

  • Judith Anderson, Professor of Communication Studies and Gender & Women's Studies

  • *Sona Aronian, Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature

  • Sally Burke, Professor of English and Gender and Women's Studies

  • Josie Campbell, Professor of English and Women's Studies

  • Greta Cohen, Professor of Physical Education and Exercise Science and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Lois Cuddy, Professor of English and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Dorothy Donnelly, Professor of English and Gender & Women's Studies
  • Ira Gross, Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Cynthia Hamilton, Professor of African and African American Studies

  • Mathilda Hills, Associate Professor of English and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Carolyn Livingston, Professor of Music

  • Albert J. Lott, Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Bernice Lott, Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Marilyn J. Malina, Associate Professor of English

  • Gwenneth Rae, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

  • Mary Ellen Reilly, Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology

  • Wendy Roworth, Professor of Art History and Gender & Women's Studies

  • Karen A. Schroeder, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Women's Studies

  • Marie Schwartz, Professor of History
  • *Gail Anne Shea, Sociology

  • Jim Starkey, Professor of Economics

  • Sharon Strom, Professor of History and Gender & Women's Studies

In Memoriam: Stephen Grubman-Black, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Gender and Women's Studies

Faculty Publications