Series for Graduate Student Mothers – Part 2: Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Creating Inclusive Spaces for Mothers, August 3 from 3:00 pm CDT – 4:30 pm CDT

Series for Graduate Student Mothers

Part 2: Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Creating Inclusive Spaces for Mothers, August 3 from 3:00 pm CDT – 4:30 pm CDT

Co-Sponsored by: The International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship IAMAS and SWS

Part 2: Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Creating Inclusive Spaces for Mothers 

Panelists include: Dr. Mairi McDermott, Dr. Catherine Riley, and Dr. Jessica Leveto

Panel bios follow:

Dr. Catherine L. Riley is a Part-Time Assistant Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University. Her research focuses on rhetoric. With a bioethics grant, she is currently co-authoring a book that explores the discrepancies among the protections Title IX mandates, what colleges’ say about pregnancy and parenting, and what pregnant and parenting students are actually experiencing. Outside of academia, Catherine owns and directs the Great American Writers’ Camp, a creative writing summer camp for youth and takes nearly full-time care of her three small children. She also enjoys planting flowers and playing the accordion.

As a mother-scholar, Mairi McDermott, PhD is an associate professor and chair of Curriculum and Learning at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Her research and teaching interests are with what kinds of teaching and learning can move us beyond existing hetero-patriarchal colonialism shaping habits of knowing, being, and relating in schools and society. Her current research is situated within the lived tensions of pursuing tenure as a mother of school aged children to make visible the ways in which mothers are a forgotten demographic within the university worldmaking machine. Some of her publications include a chapter in an edited volume on Women Negotiating Life in the Academy (2020, Sense) and a special issue in the Journal of Motherhood Initiative on Academic Mothers and COVID-19 (2020/2021).

Dr. Jessica Leveto is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Kent State University at Ashtabula. She is an Admin and founder of the virtual community, Ph.D. Mamas. Ph.D. Mamas was founded as a support system for academic mothers in 2015 and has blossomed into a sanctuary and support network of nearly 2000 mothers in various stages of academia and motherhood. Dr. Leveto’s current research examines the impact of COVID19 on mothers in higher education. She builds upon her previous work examining identity, emotion and mental illness, combined with her experiences as a mother in higher education. Dr. Leveto has three children, Liam (21), Ryleigh (6), and Lillian (5). 

Series for Graduate Student Mothers – Part 1: Making the Invisible Visible: Knowing the Problem and Raising Awareness, July 20 from 12:00 pm CDT – 1:30 pm CDT

Series for Graduate Student Mothers

Part 1: July 20 from 12:00 pm CDT – 1:30 pm CDT

Co-Sponsored by: The International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship IAMAS and SWS


Part 1: Making the Invisible Visible: Knowing the Problem and Raising Awareness

Panelists include: Oksana Moroz, Dr. Annie McGlynn-Wright, and Dr. Adina Nack


You can’t fix a problem you don’t know exists. In this first interactive talk, we’ll highlight formal and informal barriers/problems graduate student mothers face on their campuses and discuss how to handle unexpected issues with pregnancy and childcare. Administrative-level faculty are encouraged to join. We welcome audience participation via testimonials and questions.

Panel bios:

Annie McGlynn-Wright, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Law & Society at the Newcomb Institute of Tulane University. In 2019, she received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Washington, where she was a Comparative Law and Societies Studies Graduate Fellow. Her research is motivated by an interest in factors that influence policy development and the implications for race, gender, and class equity. She examines these issues across three sites: social welfare programs, criminal justice, and education systems. Within social welfare programs, Annie focuses on how ideas about race, pregnancy, and poverty shape surveillance and control. She has six years of teaching experience as a Graduate Instructor at the University of Washington and a Visiting Professor at The Evergreen State College and has taught a range of courses. Annie lives with her partner and two children in New Orleans and is also a birth doula.

Adina Nack, Ph.D. is a tenured Professor of Sociology who currently serves as Chair of the Sociology Department and Director of the new Public Health Program at California Lutheran University. In the past, she has served as Director of the University Honors Program, Director of CLU’s Center for Equality & Justice, and as the Director of CLU’s Gender & Women’s Studies Program. Nack is a medical sociologist whose research has focused on sexual health, social psychology, social inequality, gender, and sexuality. An award-winning teacher, she has also won local community service awards, national research awards, published articles on sexual and reproductive health, and authored a book on the stigma of sexually transmitted infections (Temple University Press). In recent years, she co-authored an article on experiences of abortion stigma and just completed an in-depth interview study and report on the physiological, psychological and social aspects of patients’ experiences of severe maternal morbidities (with collaborators from Stanford Medical School and NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene).

Oksana Moroz is a Mama PhD Candidate at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania; she is a Ukrainian international student in the Composition and Applied Linguistics PhD program. Her research interests include gender and teacher identity, digital identities of students, issues of accents and language ideologies, and teaching with Wikipedia.

Tsedale M. Melaku, SWS Member, Featured in CBS News Documentary – Women’s Challenges in the Workplace Especially During COVID and Racial Upheaval

Tsedale M. Melaku, SWS Member, featured in CBS News Documentary

See more of Tsedale M. Melaku’s work at the websites below:

SWS Celebrates Juneteenth 2021 – Responses to White Supremacy and Systemic Racism

Juneteenth 2021

SWS centers and promotes the Black movement/resistance. We have compiled a list of Black feminist thoughts, work, expertise, and voices. To see a list of Black Feminist Scholars that we have compiled, please go to this page:
If you are a Black Feminist Scholar and wish to add your name here or if you see that the name of a Black Feminist Scholar is missing, please email SWS Executive Officer, Barret Katuna at with the pertinent information.
We have a Systemic Racism Fund that offers support to expressly combat systemic racism faced by our members during political protests, interactions with institutions, and other types of experiences. Members can apply for funds here:

Announcing the 2021 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner, Roxanna Villalobos and 2021 Honorable Mention Awardees, Kristina Fullerton Rico and Emilia Cordero Oceguera

Congratulations to the 2021 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner, Roxanna Villalobos and 2021 Honorable Mention Awardees, Kristina Fullerton Rico and Emilia Cordero Oceguera

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.

Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Sister to Sister Committee: LaTonya J. Trotter and Esther Hernández-Medina and the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Subcommittee Members: Jennifer James and Adelle Monteblanco.

Photo of Roxanna Villalobos

Roxanna Villalobos (she/hers/ella) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department pursuing a designated emphasis in Latin American and Latinx Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Feminist Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 and her Master of Arts in Gender & Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts in 2015. She identifies as a Latina with roots in El Salvador and California’s Central Valley. Roxanna grew up in Parlier, California, a small rural town in the heart of California that is home to a predominantly Latinx community of immigrant farmworkers. She’s the proud daughter of a single immigrant mother who has worked as a campesina (farmworker) for over thirty years.

Drawing inspiration from her own background, Roxanna’s research explores the gender and racial subjectivities of working-class Latina girls living and working in rural, farm-working communities in California’s Central Valley. Through this research, Roxanna employs a transnational feminist approach to examine how discourses of rural girlhood reveal nation-making projects of modernity, imperialism, and settler-colonialism, seeking to understand how rural girls of color in the U.S. navigate these discourses in their place-making practices and spatial mobility trajectories. As a feminist qualitative researcher, her research is interdisciplinary at its core, drawing from various fields such as Black and Xicana/Latina intersectional feminist theory, feminist geography, critical girlhood studies, immigration/migration studies, rural sociology, and Latinx sociology.

Through her dissertation research, Roxanna aspires to uplift, understand, and learn from rural women and girls of color within the U.S. and across a transnational context. Outside of school, she loves to watch films of all genres with her partner. Roxanna also loves cuddling with her two cats, Melón y Uvas aka The Fruits, on the couch with some ice cream in hand. When she feels adventurous, she likes to explore new cuisines, visit spooky landmarks, explore national state parks, and travel to new places.

Photo of Kristina Fullerton Rico

Kristina Fullerton Rico (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her binational, ethnographic research focuses on the experiences of unauthorized immigrants and their families who are physically divided –– due to the tightening Mexico–U.S. border –– but digitally close thanks to cheaper, more accessible communication technologies. Kristina’s Master’s thesis found that mothers with children on either side of the border use technology to forge bonds of “digital siblinghood” between siblings who have never met. Her dissertation uses a feminist, intersectional perspective to study the experiences of older adults who are aging while undocumented. With a focus on gendered and racialized processes, this project examines how individuals cope with social exclusion, isolation, and uncertainty, as well as sources of social support for older immigrants in the United States and for older return migrants in Mexico.

If Kristina had to sum up the key takeaways from her research in just a few lines, she would explain that most migrants who are undocumented hope to adjust their status in order to be able to return to their communities of origin without having to leave the United States for good. In short, unauthorized immigrants are not just afraid of being deported; they also fear not being able to see the people they love — in both of their home countries — again.

Kristina’s work is inspired, in part, by her own experiences as a Mexican immigrant with strong transnational bonds. By studying unauthorized migration using a transnational perspective, she hopes to help shift discourse from “right to stay” policy recommendations to arguing for the right to migrate more freely, a privilege that U.S. citizenship largely bestows.

Photo of Emilia Cordero Oceguera

Emilia Cordero Oceguera (ella/she/her) is a PhD student in Sociology at North Carolina State University. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and an M.A in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Emilia’s research focuses on the connections among agriculture, food practices, and everyday acts of resistance. She uses intersectionality as a lens to look at the experience of migrant farmworker communities in the U.S. She is specially interested in the ways an intersectional perspective can help shift monolithic views within U.S. academia.

Her dissertation looks at the everyday food and agricultural labor of Mexican migrant farmworker mothers in North Carolina and how they enact resistance to intersectional oppression in their everyday life. Emilia’s research will provide nuance to the portrayal of the migrant farmworker experience in the U.S. by focusing on the everyday lives of farmworker women who are mothers, whose labor within the food industry is undervalued and invisibilized, and whose bodies are racialized within an ethnically hostile context. Emilia is interested in the ways feminist methodologies, like photovoice, can help social researchers create significant connections with their research collaborators and build durable paths towards social justice.

Emilia is from Mexico City and in her journey as a feminist sociologist she looks forward to creating bridges between Mexico and the U.S. Her focus on community-based research also encourages her to pursue connections among academia and grass-roots organizations.

As a woman who lives her life across borders, Emilia is committed to pursuing the well-being and dignity of disenfranchised migrant communities.

SWS will be honoring Roxanna Villalobos, Kristina Fullerton Rico and Emilia Cordero Oceguera, and Kristina Fullerton Rico via a Virtual Awards Presentation on July 7, 2021, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT. Pre-registration is required via this link:

SWS will also honor Roxanna Villalobos, Kristina Fullerton Rico, Emilia Cordero Oceguera and all our 2021 Summer Award recipients via a Virtual Awards Presentation. Our Awards Reception is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 9, 2021, between 6:00 pm EDT- 8:30 pm EDT and more information will be shared via the SWS Virtual Meeting Platform.

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 You can also make a gift online, by clicking here.

Congratulations to the 2021 Summer SWS Social Actions Initiative Award (SAIA) Winners!

Congratulations to the 2021 Summer SWS Social Actions Initiative Award (SAIA) Winners!

Lauren C. Garcia

Jessennya Hernandez

Bahar Aldanmaz

In 2016, SWS Council approved the Social Action Committee’s (SAC) proposal to support more direct social action of SWS members. The Social Actions Initiative Awards (SAIA) provide a way for the SAC to directly support and encourage the social activism of SWS members. Awards are given out twice per year on a competitive basis until funds run out. The social actions represented by this initiative are central to advancing the mission of SWS. Current SWS members can apply for funding up to $1,000 to support broadly defined social action initiatives (e.g., advocacy, public education, organizing, movement-building) that also support the mission of SWS. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Kris De Welde (Chair), Kristy Kelly, Rosalind Kichler, Kira Escovar, and Heather Hlvaka.

Left to Right: Photos of Lauren C. Garcia, Jessennya Hernandez and Bahar Aldanmaz

Lauren C. Garcia (she/her) is a doctoral student at the University of Virginia and a Graduate Student Affiliate at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill. She completed her Master’s thesis at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 on the digital communication strategies of white supremacist groups, and the way platforms and algorithmic bias contribute to the spread of their ideas. In addition to her academic work, she is heavily involved in solidarity and mutual aid efforts in the city of Richmond, Virginia. She has worked alongside other students to create several community-centered projects, including a multi-organization annual winter drive, political education symposia, and the Race, Space, Place Initiative’s annual unConference. Her work has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education and featured by WordPress Discover. Under the umbrella of the Race Space Place Initiative, Lauren proposed a collaborative learning community, called The WERKshop: A Collaborative Learning Community, by and for first-generation femme graduate students of color where participants can prioritize their research interests around race, queer theory, platforms, and digital communication.

Jessennya Hernandez (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department and teaches in the Gender and Women Studies Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a working class, first generation college graduate, and first generation born in the U.S. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her dissertation research explores how queer and feminist brown and Latinx artists and creatives in greater Los Angeles (LA) produce transnational counterspaces and alternative forms of knowledge through embodied political practices. Tending to the quotidian and everyday life, she focuses on how these networks of queer brown artists and creatives redefine their and their communities’ lives beyond survival and envision a transnational feminist future. As a scholar-activist, she, along with other brown and Black queer women and femmes, co-founded Feed The Block, a grassroots mutual aid collective based on abolitionist and transformative justice practice. The collective provides monthly food and meal distributions; collects and distributes funds to those in emergencies and facing housing insecurity; and distributes bus passes and gift cards to houseless folks. The Social Actions Initiative award will fund a political education workshop focused on training those in the community who want to work and organize as members in the mutual aid collective. The workshop centers critical texts and practices that inform the mutual aid tradition such as Black Radical Politics and Decolonization. Along with building the collective’s membership, the workshop will be established as a reoccurring series for the general community to engage, learn, and discuss these theories and practices together in a local and non-institutional setting. This financial support will help foster the community engagement and power that is necessary for building alternative, autonomous, and sustainable networks of knowing, acting, and living that counter structures of harm. If you would like to learn more about the grassroots mutual aid collective, Feed the Block, located in southern California, or donate to help support, please follow this link

Bahar Aldanmaz (she/her) is a Sociology Ph.D. student at Boston University as a Fulbright scholar. Bahar is interested in gender, sexualities, menstruation, inequalities, immigration, and how these intersect. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Koç University and an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Bahar is also the co-founder of the We Need to Talk Association (Konuşmamız Gerek Derneği), the first and only organization in Turkey that addresses period poverty and the menstruation stigma, widespread problems in Turkey. Their goal is to “challenge period poverty and period stigma structurally.”  The We Need to Talk Association’s mission is to challenge period poverty and period stigma structurally. They have three target groups: seasonal agricultural workers, refugees, and children going to school in remote rural areas. They organize field projects and provide our target groups sanitary products that would last them for either an academic semester or a harvest season. As proposed by Bahar, the SAIA helped to fund “a virtual event on May 28, 2021 -Menstrual Hygiene Day… [as a] global gathering for stakeholders and beneficiaries. The goal of this event was to officially submit a manifesto/communique to UN Women/UNFPA with inputs from stakeholders working against period poverty and menstrual care beneficiaries. They hope with this event they will be able to increase the available funding opportunities for menstruation researchers, enhance the visibility of period poverty in policymakers’ agenda, and design a holistic action plan for menstrual care for all.

SWS will be honoring Lauren C. Garcia, Jessennya Hernandez, and Bahar Aldanmaz via a Virtual Awards Celebration scheduled to take place later this summer at a time to be announced. At that time, the Social Action Committee Chair, Kris De Welde will also highlight the next funding cycle deadline of October 1, 2021, that will then be accepting applications. If you are interested in making a gift to support the Social Actions Initiative Award, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at, or make a gift via this form: or make a gift via this form: