Current Fellowship Recipients

SWG’s 2022-23 Fellowship Recipients

The Society of Woman Geographers is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2022-23 fellowship awards. 

The Society is fortunate to be able to provide graduate students our prestigious SWG Pruitt and New York fellowship awards for the academic year 2022-23. We were able to grant 11 fellowships totaling over $108,000. Congratulations to our new fellows!

Evelyn L. Pruitt National Fellowship for Dissertation Research

Ko toku igoa ko Tagimamao Melanie Bean (nee Puka). Ko au ko te ulumatua a Ioane (a Holomona ma Metita) ma Pelihe (a Kitiona ma Mela). Melanie is the eldest child of Ioane (son of Holomona and Metita) and Pelihe (daughter of Kitiona and Mela) Puka. She is a New Zealand-born descendant of Tokelau and Samoa.

Melanie graduated from Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington, with a conjoint bachelor of laws and bachelor of arts (2017) and a master of development studies with distinction (2019.  She has been admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court (2018). In 2019, Melanie received a Fulbright General Graduate Award, which brought her to the Geography and Anthropology Department at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, where she is a doctoral candidate. Her dissertation research looks at the impact of migration of Tokelau peoples across colonial borders on their individual and collective identities. It is focused on the Tokelau diaspora in Aotearoa New Zealand and Hawai‘i. Melanie’s research aims to find out how the Tokelau descendants and communities connect and how those connections might continue to be fostered as the community grows globally beyond the reef and think about climate futures.

Kaitlin Fischer is a doctoral candidate pursuing a dual title in rural sociology and international agriculture and development at Penn State University. Her dissertation research uses a mixed-methods case study to examine how agricultural development interventions in the groundnut (peanut) value chain affect the empowerment and disempowerment of Ghanaian female farmers. One intervention aims to add value through social upgrading, while the other focuses on economic upgrading. As a Fulbright student researcher, Kaitlin uses longitudinal depth interviews and participant observation with monogamous and polygamous households in four communities across two regions of Northern Ghana. The SWG Pruitt Dissertation Fellowship will allow her to extend and complete data collection and analysis.

Born and raised in the Garden State, Kaitlin earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental policy, institutions, and behavior and political science at Rutgers University. She has a master of science in food systems and society and was a visiting instructor of environmental studies at an indigenous-serving public college in the southwestern U.S. prior to pursuing a doctorate at Penn State. Her experiences working with farmers and farm workers in Colorado and Oregon initiated her research interests in agricultural labor, food system inequities, and agrarian change. After graduation, Kaitlin hopes to connect her scholarship with agricultural development praxis.

Adrienne Hall is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She is broadly interested in critical public health, Black geographies, and cartography. The Pruitt Fellowship will support her dissertation research, which explores the regionalization of health governance and the politics of health infrastructure development.

At UNC, Adrienne works as a research associate at the North Carolina Institute of Public Health and is a member of the Mapping Black Towns project and the Carolina Cartography Collective. She served on the editorial teams for the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s first book, Counterpoints: A San Francisco Bay Area Atlas of Displacement and Resistance, and the multimedia zine, (Dis)locations: Black Exodus. Adrienne holds a master’s degree in public health from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Lily Herbert is a doctoral candidate in geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research is at the intersection of spatial data science, health geography, and critical geographic theory. Lily’s dissertation focuses on the concept of hate crime through a critical approach to two types of data — police reports of hate crime, and hate crime prosecution across the United States. She problematizes missingness and other issues with data on hate crime as reported by police and court systems. Her work places the data into conversation with critical race scholars asserting that hate crime laws contribute to a system harming the most marginalized. She also draws on public health approaches to measuring structural racism, to explore if and how hate crime data may be connected to dynamics that cause premature death for racialized minorities — and how this connection varies across places in the U.S. Lily aims to bring together discourses on hate crime and contemporary police and prison abolition. Her project stems from a goal of producing policy-oriented research on topics important to marginalized communities. She hopes her project inspires and informs conversations about how to sustainably and equitably address racialized violence.

Lily aims to build a career in spatial data science research, completing projects critically designed to address structural inequities and improve the lives of marginalized people and youth. She holds a master’s degree in geography and a bachelor’s in geography and global studies from UNC–CH. She has a background in digital communications, graphic design, and international education, having held positions at nonprofit, B-corporation, and higher education organizations. 

Sarah Jackson is a doctoral candidate and Rhude M. Patterson Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina. Originally from southwestern Illinois, her academic background is in history and geography with a focus on natural hazard risk perceptions. Before starting her doctoral studies, she worked as a geospatial analyst and geography instructor in the St. Louis area.  

Sarah is a human-environmental geographer who now executes risks, hazards, and disaster research at the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute (HVRI) at UofSC. A major focus of her work is the role of social vulnerability and community capacities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from environmental hazards. Some of her recent work analyzed the spatial disparities of Covid-19 cases and fatalities in the U.S. incorporating existing vulnerability, resilience, and pandemic mitigation measures. Sarah also manages and executes research projects in collaboration with local and state government organizations to assess environmental risks by applying geospatial techniques to analyze hazard occurrences and effects. She is the current president of the Geography Graduate Student Association, teaches as an undergraduate instructor, and serves as a graduate student mentor within her department. 

The Pruitt Fellowship will support Sarah throughout her dissertation research project, which investigates the role of local physical and social geographic contextual elements on tornado risk perceptions and protective action responses. This study will apply a novel social science conceptualization of tornado risk in the U.S. that is empirically tested using spatial-statistical methodologies. Practical contributions of Sarah’s research include the advancement of local emergency management and community-based planning strategies to more equitably mitigate tornado risks.

Alexandra Lamiñais an Ecuadorian doctoral candidate in Latin American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also pursued a dual master's degree in community and regional planning and Latin American studies. Her academic background is in geography, and her previous work focused on indigenous geographies and regional planning in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Working in the indigenous Amazonia with the Kichwa Nation has inspired her work to support territoriality and political representation processes since 2010. She has also participated in international collaborations for geographical assessments in indigenous and Afro-Latin descent politics of territorial rights and autonomy in Bolivia, Colombia, and Brazil and planning studios in informal areas of the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Her dissertation examines how indigenous people in Ecuadorian Amazonia transform colonial urbanization through indigenous knowledge production, mobilities, and indigenous planning. She mainly focuses on the Amazonian urban geographies learning from indigenous epistemological traditions and drawing on feminist, indigenous, and decolonial thinking in geography and urban planning. Her study also includes training and knowledge co-production with indigenous women in geospatial research and feminist indigenous geographies to connect diverse epistemological perspectives from global south-north research with urban development practice. 

Photo credit: Carla Silva-Muhammad.

Holly Moulton is a doctoral candidate in environmental sciences, studies, and policy at the University of Oregon. Her dissertation research focuses on Quechua women’s lived experiences of climate change adaptation and processes of futuremaking in the glaciated Peruvian Cordillera Blanca and how their experiences are reflected by indigenous women’s social and environmental movements, state agencies, and multilateral organizations. Holly is a feminist political ecologist who is broadly interested in studying how narratives of vulnerability, race, and gender are represented by diverse actors in national and local climate change adaptation policies and management in Peru and other icy regions of the globe. She often conducts research and publishes with multidisciplinary teams of glaciologists, hydrologists, social scientists, humanists, and technical professionals. Both her teaching and research revolve around a deep commitment to generating collaborative, community-centered knowledge spaces and working for intersectional environmental justice. Her dissertation research has also been supported by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program, the Andrew W. Mellon Center for Environmental Futures, the University of Oregon Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, and the University of Oregon Center for the Study of Women and Society.

Prior to beginning her doctorate, Holly received her master’s in Latin American studies with a concentration in environment, ecology, and sustainability from Stanford University and a bachelor’s in government and Latin American politics from Cornell University. She has worked in environmental education in Costa Rica and in grant writing and administration for a science and technology charter school in Denver and was a Teach for America corps member in Little Village, Chicago.

Michelle Eirini Padley is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill broadly interested in how urban development takes place and who benefits. As a feminist geographer she researches how city spaces are produced through legal practices and cultural politics that are related to local, national, and even geopolitical shifts. She teaches courses on the creation of and resistance to global inequality. In her dissertation, Michelle considers how postmilitary landscapes affect city futures and are reused as urban development projects. She does so through a study of Brooks, a former Air Force base turned mixed-use site on the southern periphery of San Antonio, TX. The project focuses on how Brooks is reconfigured through legal practices as well as discourses about social difference and desires for the city’s future. She is also part of a group exploring how ideas about vulnerability and deservingness in the U.S. create unequal social hierarchies and influence public policy. You can connect with her on Twitter @MelEiriniPadley.

Adelène Moffat Fellowship

Emily Lifs is a master's student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York. She is a geographer interested in conservation, biogeography, natural landscapes, human-nature interactions, and historical maps. Her thesis, “Conflict and Nature: How War in Cambodia Shaped Its Natural Landscape,” looks at the different pathways through which the Cambodian natural landscape and ecology were shaped by war, from the military aspects of war to the societal upheaval it causes. She intends to use the SWG Adelene Moffat Award to fund further research into the long-term effects of the U.S. use of such herbicides as Agent Orange in Cambodia (and the southeast Asian environment more generally).

Sheena Philogene is an academic librarian and a recent graduate of the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Hunter College. She has been a librarian since 2018 and the science librarian at Brooklyn College and liaison to the Brooklyn College Cancer Center since 2020. Sheena has earned a bachelor of arts in English from Hunter College, a master of library science from Queens College, and most recently a master of science in geoinformatics from Hunter College. 

Sheena’s research and interests are ever evolving, but currently they include community health, spatial epidemiology, environmental hazards, chronic disease analysis, and remote sensing. Her current research is focused on community health and spatial epidemiological analysis. Her thesis, “Using GeoSpatial Analysis to Evaluate Relationships Between Cancer Incidence and Social Factors in Brooklyn, NY,” explored the spatial distribution of cancer incidence in Brooklyn, using large amounts of publicly available data and GIS techniques. Sheena hopes to build on this work, investigating trends in the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases within New York state and improve community health education, local policy, and health outreach efforts. In addition to this work, she has recently developed an interactive Brooklyn-based health dashboard that provides local-level information about a variety of health conditions affecting the community. 

Sally Clark Award

Rebecca John is pursuing her master’s in geography from Hunter College, though grassroots social movements were her first form of education. She is interested in the ways we change ourselves, as individuals and as a collective, through the process of changing the world and aspires to be a geographer rooted in this dialectic. Her research is on efforts to reimagine fiber production and shape an anticapitalist material culture rooted in the land. As a weaver and embroiderer, she is inspired by the role textile workers and textiles have played in movements and in cultures across the world as well as the way fiber arts connect craft to the land. She looks forward to uplifting them as an often overlooked yet important part of our everyday lives and perhaps ways to map anticapitalist geographies. 


© 2022 Society of Woman Geographers
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© 2022 Society of Woman Geographers