Congratulations to the 2023 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner: Michelle Gomez Parra, and Honorable Mention Recipients: Aparajita Santra and Venus Green!
Sociologists for Women in Society first established the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship at its annual meeting in February 2007. The primary purposes of the scholarship are: (1) To offer support to women and non-binary scholars of color who are from underrepresented groups and are studying concerns that women of color face domestically and/or internationally and (2) To increase the network and participation of students and professionals of color in SWS and beyond. The award is named after Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green to acknowledge the contributions of these two SWS members who played an integral role in making SWS more inclusive of women of color. The awardee receives an $18,000 scholarship and a $500 travel stipend for the SWS 2023 Summer Meeting and SWS 2024 Winter Meeting. The Honorable Mention Awardees will each receive a $1,750 scholarship.
Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Sister to Sister Committee: LaToya Council and Pallavi Banerjee, the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Subcommittee Members: Christobel Asiedu, Erika Busse Cardena, Lisa Covington, and Mahala Stewart and the liaison for applicants: Katherine Maldonado Fabela.
Michelle Gomez Parra (she/ella) is a first-generation Latina student born and raised by an immigrant single mother in Los Angeles, California. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department with a designated emphasis in Latin American and Latinx Studies at The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Previous to attending UCSC, Michelle earned her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she conducted research as a McNair Scholar examining the sexual experiences of college women of color. Michelle continued investigating the sexual experiences of racialized college-women, with a particular emphasize on Latinas, while completing her M.A. in Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University.
Building on her previous research, her dissertation, Desiring a Better Life: Heteronormativity, Mobility, and Generational Negotiations among Latinas, is a qualitative study which uses feminist theories of color like intersectionality and transnational feminist theory to examine how heteronormativity and undergoing a substantial mobility experience of migration or higher education shapes Latinas’ own gender and sexual subjectivities and generational negotiations of these social forces amongst mother-daughter dyads. Within the national context of the US and at the regional level of Los Angeles, California, Desiring a Better Life addresses how intersecting structures of power produce discourses of heteronormativity, subsequently shaping Latinas’ mobility experiences, their gender and sexual lives, and the conversations they have about sex, girlhood, womanhood, dating, and pleasure. Overall, this project disrupts narratives that blame Latinx culture as the primary factor causing gender and sexual oppression within this community by illustrating that heteronormativity, poverty, access to (sexual) education, and sexual violence shape how Latinas negotiate their own gender and sexual subjectivities and generational teachings of these social forces.
In addition to conducting research, Michelle actively contributes to making academia a more equitable institution through her mentoring efforts. She has formally mentored marginalized high school, community college, and UC Santa Cruz undergraduate students through six programs. Moreover, Michelle has supported the academic trajectories of graduate students through her organizing role for the UCSC Women of Color Graduate Group. As a coordinator, she has secured funding and created workshops that address the marginalization racialized women face within academia.
Michelle aspires to become a faculty member at a four-year university, teaching and conducting research on mobility (migration and higher education), gender, sexualities, from an intersectional and feminist of color standpoint. Her deepest desire is to collaborate with feminist sociologists, community organizations, and community members to conduct applied research that advocates for the reproductive justice of girls and women of color in the Americas. In particular, she wishes to co-create a bi-lingual sex education curriculum that utilizes women of color feminisms theory, decolonial theory, and art-based methods to design accessible sex education resources for diverse groups of racialized girls and women. Michelle’s research can be found in Gender & Society as well as Sex Education.
Aparajita Santra is an Indian first-generation immigrant to the United States and a PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Aparajita has dual graduate minors in Gender Relations in International Development and Gender and Women’s Studies. She did her undergraduate degree in Architecture and a master’s degree in Urban Design, both from India. Aparajita’s research interests are global-south urbanism, spatial justice, urban mobilities and feminist sociology. Her lived experiences and background shape her understanding of the unevenness in spatial design of cities as manifestations of structural inequalities, systemic oppression, and injustice. Her doctoral dissertation focused on studying the spatial negotiations of working-class women of lower-castes in Kolkata, India using the lenses of intersectionality and spatial justice, stems from her own life experiences as a woman from a lower-caste in India and being raised by a single mother.
Her research builds on urban sociology, feminist geography, sociology of gender and sexuality, postcolonial and transnational feminisms and explores the placemaking practices enacted by the minoritized women from the urban margins of Kolkata. She centers these women as embodied knowledge producers who engage with and attempt to overcome a wide array of structural and systemic constraints in the spatial organization of the city. By doing so, the research aims to locate the various forms of situated knowledges that are produced, experienced, and applied by the women spatially, thus, enabling them forms of spatial agency and mobilities.
In addition, Aparajita continues to work in several community-oriented projects, collaborating with local NGOs and social organizations focusing on issues related to gendered experiences of the city, barriers faced in mobility and safety by minoritized bodies in hostile environments and contested urban spaces. As a feminist with investments in the fields of urban spatial justice, one of the long-term goals of Aparajita is to extend such collaborations with other social organizations in the future and work towards extending feminist knowledge productions. She sees her research as being useful for both city planners and policy makers and additionally to the field of feminist sociology as it foregrounds the spatial agency of subaltern subjects that are rendered unintelligible due to gendered, classed, racialized, and sexualized inequalities and dispossession.
Venus Green is a Black feminist intersectional sociologist and activist whose research is located at the intersections of racialized and gendered labor regimes, care work, collective organizing, antiblack violence, histories of racial slavery, identity formations, and the ongoing project of Black emancipation.
Her dissertation examines how Black and Afro-descendent domestic workers have been central to the most progressive elements of the labor movement in the U.S. and how the gendered anti-black violence of slavery’s afterlife shapes their work experiences and tireless struggles for survival. Through semi-structured interviews, Black feminist grounded ethnography, media analysis, and oral histories of Black women domestic workers’ political organizing practices and work experiences in Boston, New York City, and D.C., this research investigates how Black and African descendent domestic workers and domestic workers organizations infuse radical care work into community building efforts to mobilize support at the grassroots and federal levels for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and other struggles for workers’ protections and dignity. This research seeks to understand how Black women’s intersectional organizing around care work strengthens Black radicalism within the mainstream labor movement and re-envisions critical paths toward Black emancipation.
In connection with this research, she is currently an intern with the Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Workers and a volunteer with Matahari Women Workers’ Center, and was a research analyst at Social Action for Health in East London.
Venus holds an M.A. in Medicine, Health, and Society from Vanderbilt University and a B.A. in political science, African American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon World Studies Interdisciplinary Project, the Labor Action and Research Network, the Nichols Humanitarian Fund, the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst, the Graduate School at UMass Amherst, the Center for Global Work and Employment at Rutgers, and the Center for Employment Equity at UMass Amherst, to name a few. Her work has been published in multiple journals including Sociological Spectrum and TRAILS.
SWS will honor Michelle Gomez Parra, Aparajita Santra and Venus Green and all our 2023 Summer Award recipients during our Awards Banquet which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 20 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
If you are interested in making a gift to support the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at email@example.com, or make a gift via this form: https://sws.memberclicks.net/donation-form.