Incoming Chairs:

Chamara Kwayke, Ph.D. (she/her)

Scholar, Writer, and Performer, Chamara Jewel Kwakye is an Academic Specialist in the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. Daughter of the African diaspora, Dr. Kwakye was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. With matrilineage from Crossett, Arkansas and patrilineage from Akropong, Ghana she attributes the richness of both Southern Black culture and West African culture to her dynamic interests, her outlook on community and solidarity, her approach to art and creativity and in part her success.  She holds a Masters in Post-Secondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California and a PhD in Education Policy Studies with a concentration in African American Studies and a graduate certificate in Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.   

Sarah Bruno, Ph.D. (she/her)

Dr. Sarah Bruno is the Diasporas Solidarity Lab Postdoctoral Fellow (2023) and incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University. 2022-2023 postdoctoral fellow in Latinx Art, Cultures, and Religions in the Humanities Research Center at Rice University. Her research and art lie at the intersections of ethnography, performance, diaspora, and digitality. She is currently writing her first manuscript, Black Rican Dexterity where she uses the Afro-Puerto Rican genre of bomba as a site and method in constructing a cartography of Black Puerto Rican femme feeling throughout history. Dr. Bruno was a Mellon ACLS Dissertation Fellow in 2020-2021 and the 2020 awardee of the Association of Black Anthropologists Vera Green Prize for Public Anthropology. Bruno was the 2021-2022 ACLS Emerging Voices Race and Digital Technologies postdoctoral fellow at the Franklin Humanities Institute and in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. She is a member of the Black Latinas Know Collective and is one of the lab leads of Taller Entre Aguas, micro lab within the Diasporas Solidarity Lab, that focuses on Black Puerto Rican digital spaces, data, and lives beyond and against the archives. She charges herself to continue to write with care about the never-ending process of enduring, imagining, thriving, and healing in Puerto Rico and its diaspora.

Outgoing Chair:

Delia Fernández-Jones, Ph.D. (she/her)

Delia Fernández-Jones is the Associate Dean for Equity, Justice, and Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts and Letters, Associate Professor of History, Core Faculty member of Chicano/Latino Studies, and the outgoing chair of the Womxn of Color Initiatives at Michigan State University. She has two award-winning articles on Latinos in Michigan. Her book, Making the MexiRican City, Mexican and Puerto Rican Migration, Placemaking, and Activism in Grand Rapids, Michigan (University of Illinois Press) will be released in February of 2023. In addition to serving as the chair of WOCI for 2022-2023, she is also the undergraduate coordinator for the Chicano/Latino Studies Program.  As a historian and scholar of Latinx Studies, she has drawn on her lived experiences as a Latina in Michigan and extensive primary source research, to document and theorize Latinx placemaking in the Midwest. She is the author of the award-winning book, Making the MexiRican City: Mexican and Puerto Rican Migration, Activism, and Placemaking in Grand Rapids, Michigan (University of Illinois Press, 2023). Her book details how disparate Latinx communities came together to respond to social, racial, and economic challenges and simultaneously transformed Grand Rapids and the Midwest from the 1920s to the 1970s. She is also the author of two award-winning articles on Latinxs in Michigan. 

Affiliated Faculty:

Estrella Torrez, Ph.D. (she/her)

DR. ESTRELLA TORREZ is an Associate Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. Her scholarship centers on critical pedagogy, civic engagement, multicultural education, Indigenous education and sociocultural literacy, particularly among rural migrant families and urban Indigenous youth. Dr. Torrez is a Gates Millennium Scholar, being awarded the prestigious award during its inaugural year. She attended The University of New Mexico, receiving an MA with dual concentrations in Early Childhood Multicultural Education and Bilingual Education, and a PhD in Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies with a concentration in Bilingual Education. As a child, Torrez attended specific schools for migrant children until, at the age of twelve, she began working alongside her parents and grandparents in the fields. Later, she taught within the same migrant educational system, eventually working for the Office of Migrant Education in Washington, DC. In 2009, Torrez co-founded the Indigenous Youth Empowerment Program (IYEP), a program serving urban Indigenous youth and families in Michigan. She presently serves as IYEP’s co-director and facilitates an afterschool program for youth in Kindergarten through twelfth grades, as well as organizes a summer cultural camp for 65 urban Indigenous youth. From 2011-2013, Dr. Torrez served as a Commissioner on the Metropolitan Detroit Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where she was charged with interrogating structural racism embedded in housing, education, and criminal systems. In the spring of 2013, she initiated the Nuestros Cuentos collaborative project with the College Assistance Migrant Program and Lansing School District. Nuestros Cuentos brought together students from MSU’s RCAH and CAMP with 4th-6th grade Lansing Latinx youth in a storytelling project. In her tenure at MSU, she has taught five experiential-based university courses on Latino and Indigenous issues in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, as well as four on-campus collaborative courses with Migrant Student Services.


Ning Hsieh, Ph.D. (they/them)

Ning Hsieh’s research broadly concerns health, sexuality, aging, and social relationships. Their current work examines health and health care inequities faced by sexual minority and older populations in two focal areas: (1) how structural inequalities influence health and well-being through shaping social networks and relationship quality, and (2) the impact of intersecting social positions and identities, particularly sexuality, gender, and race/ethnicity, on health and health care experiences. Dr. Hsieh’s research appears in Demography, Gerontologist, Health Affairs, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Marriage and Family, LGBT Health, Society and Mental Health, and other peer-reviewed journals and book volumes. Their scholarship has been recognized by awards from the American Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, and IPUMS. They have also received the 2022 Teacher-Scholar Award at Michigan State University. Before joining MSU, Dr. Hsieh was a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago. They received their doctoral degree in demography and sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Terah Venzant Chambers (she/her)

Dr. Terah Venzant Chambers is a professor of K-12 Educational Administration in the MSU College of Education. She joined The Graduate School as Associate Dean in Fall 2022 and in that role is thrilled to contribute to a variety of programs that will foster graduate student success. Dr. Venzant Chambers’ research interests include post-Brown K-12 education policy and urban education leadership.  Specifically, she is interested in the ways within-school segregative policies influence African American students’ academic achievement and school engagement, as well as the price of school success for high-achieving students of color (racial opportunity cost). Her 2022 book, Racial Opportunity Cost: The Toll of Academic Success on Black and Latinx Students is available from Harvard Education Press. Venzant Chambers is past president of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) and previously served as AERA Division A Secretary. She currently serves as co-editor of AERA Open and has previously served as associate editor for Educational Administration Quarterly, the Journal of Teacher Education, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. She has an expertise in qualitative research methodology, particularly critical approaches to research methods and theory. At MSU, Venzant Chambers was selected as an Academic Advancement Network (AAN) Fellow (2020-2021) and a Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Academic Leadership Program (ALP) Fellow (2021-2022). She previously served as a Congressional Fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) with placements in the Office of Rep. Diane E. Watson (retired) and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Chambers also serves in an elected position on the East Lansing School Board.

Fashina Alade, Ph.D. (she/her)

Fashina (Shina) Aladé is an Assistant Professor of Advertising & Public Relations, and also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Her work lies at the intersection of media effects, developmental psychology, and early childhood education, with a focus on young children’s comprehension of and learning from educational media. Her research has won top paper awards from the International Communication Association, and has been published in journals such as Media Psychology and the Journal of Communication. Dr. Aladé is the Associate Editor for the Society for Research in Child Development’s Social Policy Report, and she has also worked with WTTW Chicago and MediaKidz Research and Consulting, Inc. on a variety of projects evaluating children’s television programs and online games. She earned her PhD at Northwestern University in Media, Technology, & Society, where she conducted research with the Center on Media and Human Development. She also holds an MA from Ohio State University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, both in Communication. Dr. Aladé is passionate about elucidating the ways that media and technology can be used to positively impact the lives of children and families. As a community-engaged scholar, much of her research is conducted in partnership with community organizations. She often engages in outreach activities, such as professional development workshops for educators and creating tip sheets for children’s television producers, to make sure that her research reaches the people who need it most: parents, educators, and children’s media creators. 

Womxn of Color Initiatives Graduate Student Assistant:

Toni Gordon, (she/her)

Antonia C. Gordon is a native of Muskegon Heights, Michigan. She joined the Political Science Department in the fall of 2021 as a PhD student. She earned a BA in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. Her research interests include public policy, education policy, and urban schooling. Antonia currently serves on the Board of Directors at the American Society for Public Administration – MI Area Chapter. She is also a soldier in the U.S. Army reserves, a 2021 Michigan State Enrichment Fellow, and a member of Michigan State Interdisciplinary Training in Education and Social Science (MITTENSS) Fellowships’ second cohort.

Womxn of Color Initiatives Assistant:

Julia Lee is a recent BA graduate in Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. She currently works for the MSU Women of Color Initiatives, MSU Asian-Pacific American Studies Program, and is a Research Assistant at MSU’s James Madison College. She was a former Peer Research Advisor for the MSU Undergraduate Research Office and a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Intercultural Aide for MSU’s Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions. She is currently applying for post-graduate research programs that consider pursuing graduate studies. Her latest area of interest consists of women and gender studies, Asian American studies, and pop culture studies. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking, singing, and watching movies.

Past Members