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PGIS Faculty and Members

Affiliated Faculty

Melissa Alvaré, Ph.D.

Dr. Alvaré is a Sociology Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Sociology. Her research focuses on social inequalities, with a focus on race and initiatives for racial justice. Most recently, Dr. Alvaré conducted an ethnographic case study on a teacher preparation program intended to confront within-school inequalities through cultural proficiency training. Her work deriving from that project addresses cultural racism and anti-racism programs. Dr. Alvaré has also conducted research on urban inequalities in the contexts of gentrification and environmental justice.

PGIS-related courses

  • Introduction to Gender Studies (SO/GS 225)
  • Race and Ethnicity (SO/GS 252)
  • Introduction to Social Justice (SO/PS 107)

PGIS Contributions:

  • Advisor to the Gender Studies and Intersectionality Club

Dr. Mary Kate Azcuy

Manuel Chávez, Ph.D.

Dr. Chávez is the Philosophy Program Director in the Department of History and Anthropology. His recent publications include “Toward a Decolonial Ethics” in Speaking Face to Face/Hablando Cara a Cara: The Visionary Philosophy of María Lugones, and “The Chicano/a Movement and Philosophy” in the Inter-American Journal of Philosophy. He also recently organized academic panels on the ethics of migration and anti-racist pedagogy. His research interests include the philosophy of race and gender, Latinx and Latin American philosophy, decolonial theory, and critical thinking pedagogy.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Gender and Global Cultures (PR 411)
  • Race and Ethnicity (SO/GS 252)

PGIS Contributions:

  • Member of the PGIS Executive Team
  • PGIS website administrator

Anne Deepak, PhD

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Anne Deepak is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Monmouth University in New Jersey and coordinates the Global and Community Practice (GCP) Masters concentration. She represents the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) at the United Nations with the IFSW-UN NY team. Her scholarly work has been centered on developing and applying a postcolonial feminist social work perspective to food security, human trafficking, humanitarian initiatives for women’s economic empowerment, social work practice with refugees and immigrants, and sustainability and population growth. Her other interests are in globalization and international partnerships and diversity and anti-racism in social work education. She recently joined the board of Pacific Bamboo Resources, an organization that cultivates economic activities that restore the health of natural and built environments and create resilient, sustainable communities.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Implications of Social Justice and Human Rights on Social Work Practice (SW627)
  • Applications of Social Justice and Human Rights on Social Work Practice (SW669)

PGIS Contributions:

  • Panelist for Reproductive Justice: Perils and Prospects, co-sponsored by PGIS (Oct. 29, 2019)
  • Developing a new gender studies elective on gender and social development in a global context

Dr. Lisa M. Dinella

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Dr. Dinella is the Director of PGIS. She is a research scientist who investigates the connection between gender, academic achievement, and career development. Dr. Dinella studies children’s toy play and media exposure, and how gendered experiences shape academic and career pursuits across the lifespan. She is a Professor of Psychology and the Principal Investigator of the Gender Development Laboratory at Monmouth University. Her school-based research endeavors led to her edited book Conducting Science-Based Psychology Research in Schools and co-edited book Gender Typing of Children’s Toys: How Early Play Experiences Impact Development. Dr. Dinella gave an invited address at the White House, Washington D.C. on gender disparities in children’s toys and media. She is a consultant for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and works with global toy companies to help them reduce gender stereotypes for children. Her work has been featured on NPR and PBS.

Dr. Dinella achieved the Monmouth University Distinguished Teaching Award 2019.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Psychology of Women (PY 331)
  • Science of Gender Development (PY 498)
  • Senior Thesis and Lab/Gender Development (PY 491) 

Kiameesha Evans, DrPH, MPH, MCHES

Prior to her arrival to Monmouth University, Dr. Kiameesha Evans worked in the non-profit sector, developing partnerships and educational programs in maternal/child health, HIV/AIDS, chronic disease, and environmental and social justice. She has held the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) credential since 1998 and obtained the Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) in 2011.

Kiameesha is a co-Investigator Fruved, a campus-based initiative to help campuses eat well, move more, and live better. Funded by the USDA, Fruved has been expanded to more than 90 high school and college campuses across the country. She is also the faculty advisor for the Monmouth University chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma (a national health education honorary) and the interim director of MU’s Program in Gender and Intersectionality Studies.

Dr. Johanna Foster

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Dr. Foster is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the Helen McMurray Bennett Endowed Chair of Social Ethics in the Department of Political Science and Sociology. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rutgers University (2000), and an MA in Applied Sociology/Social Policy from The American University (1994), where she also earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies/Women’s Studies (1992). Dr. Foster’s major areas of expertise are intersectional feminist theories of inequality; identity and social movements; and the ethics and politics of mass incarceration with an emphasis on women in confinement. Most recently, her research (with Sherizaan Minwalla) on media ethics and the coverage of Yazidi women survivors of the 2014 ISIS genocidal attacks has received international media attention, as well as recognition from UN agencies. Her previous research has appeared in Equal Opportunities International, Sociological Forum, Gender & SocietyWomen’s Studies International Forum, and Research in Political Sociology. For nearly 20 years, Professor Foster has combined her teaching and research efforts in social inequalities with work to restore higher education in prison communities in the United States, co-founding The College Bound Consortium for incarcerated women in New Jersey (now NJ-STEP at Rutgers-Newark and RISE at Raritan Valley Community College), and College Connections, the college program for incarcerated women at Taconic Correctional Facility in New York State (now with Hudson Link for Higher Education). She currently co-coordinates the Monmouth University Academic Exchange Program (with Dr. Eleanor Novek) where MU students and college students living in New Jersey state prisons study together in combined classes inside the facilities

Jeanne Koller, PhD, MSW, LCSW

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Dr. Koller (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and came to academia with over 25 years of clinical practice experience. She is active in issues pertaining to older adults and serves as the Coordinator for the School of Social Work’s LGBT+ Older Adult Project (OAP). Initiatives of the OAP have included organizing an art exhibit at Pollak Art Gallery “Aging and the Lived Experiences of Trans and Nonbinary Older Adults,” hosting a conference of the same name, creating a podcast series titled Cross-Gen, and offering needed LGBT+ cultural sensitivity trainings for local and national agencies.

In the community Dr. Koller is involved in multiple activities including serving as Chair of the Executive Committee for the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACNJ) Community Health Centers Board of Trustees. She was also appointed for a 3-year term to the national Council of Social Work Education’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Gender Expression (SOGIE) Council. Research interests include grief and loss, social isolation and depression, aging in place, health disparities, and LGBT+ older adults. Over the years she has taught courses across the curriculum in the DSW, MSW, and undergraduate BSW programs. In Fall 2023 Dr. Koller taught a DSW elective she created titled “Special Topics in LGBTQ+ Studies.”

Jen McGovern, Ph.D.

Jen McGovern, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology at Monmouth University who is passionate about teaching and learning sociology. She specializes in understanding how sport both reflects and challenges social inequalities, such as social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and sexuality.

Her previous research focused on the ways that professional baseball’s institutional structures have grown and changed and how local baseball fans tell narratives about baseball players as the game has grown more global in scope. Her current research focuses on female athletes. She has written about female athlete attitudes about sexual assault and Latina women’s experiences in sport. In addition, she has worked on a  community needs assessment with various Asbury Park stakeholders. She is currently partnering with colleagues in the MU Health and Physical Education department to deliver and research after school physical education programs in Asbury Park. She is also working with students and faculty in Monmouth’s Psychology Department to conduct research on the gendering of sport toys

Dr. Nancy Mezey

Nancy Mezey, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology and dean of the Honors School. Her areas of specialization are family sociology, gender studies, the sociology of sexualities, and race-class-gender studies. At Monmouth, Mezey previously served as the director of the sociology program, curriculum coordinator of the gender studies program, and advisor to the Sociology Club. She received the 2010-11 Monmouth University Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. Outside of the University, Mezey serves as the president (2018-19) of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) ( She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Garden State Philharmonic ( Mezey is a returned Peace Corps volunteer where she served in Mali, West Africa from 1988 to 1990. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University and B.A. from Vassar College.

Dr. Katherine Parkin

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Dr. Katherine Parkin is Professor of History and the Jules Plangere Jr Endowed Chair in American Social History.  She is the author of Food is Love: Food Advertising and Gender Roles in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and Women at the Wheel: A Century of Buying, Driving, and Fixing Cars (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), each of which won the Emily Toth Award for best book in women’s studies and popular culture.  She is also the author of a dozen articles, including most recently a book chapter exploring the history of widows and politics between 1920-1940.  Her teaching and research interests include the history of women and gender, sexuality, advertising, and consumerism.

PGIS-related courses::

  • History of Advertising (AN/GS/HS 220)
  • History of Sexuality in America (GS/HS 307)
  • Women in US History (GS/HS 305)

PGIS Contributions:

  • P.U.S.H. Faculty Organizer

Sanjana Ragudaran, Ph.D.

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Sanjan Ragudaran is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. She graduated from the City University of New York with a Ph.D. in Social Welfare. Her research areas include migrant experiences, race disparities, and program evaluation. Sanjana’s research is collaborative with agencies where the study informs service delivery and advocacy. She is currently collaborating with an agency to gain an understanding of migrant experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanjana teaches global human rights and social justice, social welfare policies and services, research for social workers, and community practice. She is the Vice President of the New Jersey Baccalaureate Social Worker Education Association, and a member of the NGO Committee on Migration.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Global Human Rights and Social Justice (SW 205)
  • Social Welfare Policies and Services (SW 505)

Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D.

Dr. Deanna Shoemaker is Chair of the Department of Communication and Associate Professor of Communication and Performance Studies. A longtime PGIS member, she specializes in the interdisciplinary field of Performance Studies. Dr. Shoemaker’s teaching and scholarship focus broadly on performance, culture, and identity; performance in popular culture; the politics of representation; ethnographic and autoethnographic research methods; prison studies, and performance pedagogies for social justice. Dr. Shoemaker is also a performer and faculty advisor for CommWorks: Students Committed to Performance.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Multicultural Voices: From Page to Stage (CO 231)
  • Performance Theory and Practice (CO 337)
  • Communication, Culture, and Community Engagement (CO 509)

PGIS Contributions:

  • FormerMember of the PGIS Executive Team

Amanda Stojanov

Amanda is a media artist who investigates how innovations in communication technologies affect perceptions of identity, agency, and visibility, emphasizing concepts of embodiment and the “historically constituted body” within a networked-society. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in renowned venues such as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Ars Electronica, Linz, and the New Museum (online exhibition). Her work has been featured in publications like Artillery magazine, The New York Times, and The Associated Press. She earned her MFA from UCLA and currently serves as an assistant professor of digital media at Monmouth University.

PGIS Contributions:

  • Event organizer: Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, 2020
  • Event organizer: ArtNOW’s “I will dance with those oak trees as long as…” performance and workshop, 2023, Co-sponsored by PGIS
  • Pride Club Faculty Adviso

Marina Vujnovic

Dr. Vujnovic is Full Professor of Journalism in the Department of Communication. Before coming to United States in 2003, she worked as a journalist as well as a research assistant at the University of Zagreb. She also worked as a PR practitioner for Cyprian based PR agency Action Global Communications. She received her MA in Communication from the University of Northern Iowa, and her PhD at the University of Iowa in 2008. She is an author of Forging the Bubikopf Nation: Journalism, Gender and Modernity in Interwar Yugoslavia, co-author of Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers, and co-editor of Globalizing Cultures: Theories, Paradigms, Actions.

PGIS Related Courses:

  • Gender, Race, and Media (CO 226)

Dr. Hettie V. Williams

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Hettie V. Williams Ph.D., has taught survey courses in U.S. history, Western Civilization, and upper division courses on the history of African Americans at the university level for more than fifteen years. Her teaching and research interests include: African American intellectual history, gender in U.S. history, and race/ethnicity studies. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University where she teaches courses in African American history and U.S. history. She has published book chapters, essays, and encyclopedia entries and edited/authored five books. Her latest publications include Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History (Praeger, 2017) and, with Dr. G. Reginald Daniel, professor of historical sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union (University Press of Mississippi 2014). Forthcoming: Garden of Opportunity: Black Women and the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Personal Website:

PGIS Related Courses:

  • The Civil Rights Movement (HS 308)
  • Jazz Age and Harlem Renaissance (HS 306)
  • Spike Lee and the Black Aesthetic (PR 445)
  • The History of African Americans (HS 209)
  • African Diaspora in the Americas (HS 293)
  • Love and Marriage in Historical Perspective (HS 107)

Program Members

Colleen Beach, MSW, LSW

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Colleen Beach, MSW, LSW, is a Specialist Professor in and an alum of the School of Social Work at Monmouth University. In this role, she specializes in elder justice and is a passionate advocate for introducing students in the BSW and MSW programs to social justice and human rights and working with older adults. Colleen is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and National Adult Protective Services Association. Her other professional experience includes over 15 years in healthcare settings serving primarily older adults in New Jersey and a previous faculty position at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where she managed multiple continuing education certificates and the Adult Protective Services training grant for the state of New Jersey.

PGIS related courses

  • Global Human Rights and Social Justice (SW 205)
  • Family Violence (SW 278)
  • Implications of Social Justice and Human Rights in Social Work (SW 627)
  • Applications of Social Justice and Human Rights in Social Work (SW 669)

Dr. Melissa Brzycki

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Dr. Melissa Brzycki is Assistant Professor of History. Her research focuses children and childhood in the People’s Republic of China from 1949-1966. She is interested in how the state tried to create a certain type of socialist child and how families and children responded to those initiatives. She is currently working on research relating to the experiences and treatment of criminalized children. At Monmouth University, she teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate classes in Chinese history, East Asian history, and world history with an eye towards empire, imperialism, gender, sexuality, and race.

Dr. Brzycki also co-hosts and co-produces the public history podcast East Asia for All with Dr. Stephanie Montgomery of St. Olaf College. East Asia for All discusses East Asian pop culture— including movies, TV series, documentaries, fiction, and memoirs — and their relevance to understanding different aspects of East Asian life and culture.

Dr. Stephanie Bobbitt

Dr. Staci Drewson

Dr. Staci Drewson works closely with students interested in physical activity promotion via teaching, coaching, and community events. Her expertise is on the training of future health and physical education teachers and coaches. She is interested in the intersectionality of gender inequalities and sexuality in relation to sport participation and physical activity engagement.

Emma Greenspon

Heide Estes

Andrea Hope, Ed.D.

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Dr. Andi Hope is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education. She received her doctorate in Health Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Andi’s service and scholarship are focused on the impact of physical activity on girls’ and women’s health through the lifespan. She has published and presented in the areas of childhood obesity prevention, body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders, and the impact of physical activity on breast cancer survivorship. Her most recent publications include “Gender differences in a youth physical activity intervention: movement levels and children’s perceptions” and “The opaque glass ceiling: five forces affecting the progress of professional female workers in the U.S.” Prior to her career in academia, she developed and managed comprehensive health promotion, wellness and fitness programs for Sony Music Entertainment, NBC, and The Army Materiel Command.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Women’s Health (HE 330 CD and GS)

Jennifer Harpootlian

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Jennifer Harpootlian is a Lecturer in the Department of English.  She is a Graduate of Seton Hall University with an MA in Literature.  She teaches College Composition with emphasis on themes related to gender, power and privilege.  She is a Service Learning Faculty Fellow and has recently worked with community partner Lunch Break-a non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, life skills and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County.  She has also partnered with other Service Learning classes to provide tutoring and mentoring to students at The Anastasia School in Long Branch.  Her research interests include Service Learning and community engagement and critical thinking pedagogy.

Mihaela Moscaliuc

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Mihaela Moscaliuc is an Associate Professor of English whose research and teaching focus on issues of immigration, colonialism and post-colonialism, transnationalism, global citizenship, and empathy. Her scholarship includes articles on code-switching and multilanguaging in contemporary poetry. As a scholar within the field of Romani Studies, she writes on issues of (self-) representation and cultural appropriation, and on various forms of exclusion and human rights abuses of Roma (known as Gypsies). Her most recent article is “Accessorizing (with) ‘Gypsyness’ in the Twenty-first Century” (Critical Romani Studies), which looks at appropriative practices that perpetuate epistemic injustice and compromise understandings of Roma and their culture(s) within non-member groups. Moscaliuc is also the author of three collections of poetry, two books of translations, and co-editor of Border Lines: Poems of Migration (Knopf, 2020). She is the Fulbright Program Advisor for MU students and former Fulbright Scholar.

PGIS-related courses:

  • Immigration Literature (EN 533)
  • Roma (Gypsies) in History, Literature and Pop Culture (PR 403)

Brooke Nappi

Karen Schmelzkopf

Karen Schmelzkopf is a geography professor in the Department of History and Anthropology. Her book, Celebrity, Whiteness, and Race Conversations, will be published this year. She has published works on feminist pedagogy in geography, tourism development in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and urban community gardens in New York City.

She is a former director of the MU Gender Studies program and has been an active participant for over 20 years.

Claude Taylor

Claude E. Taylor currently serves as Director for Academic Transition and Inclusion and is a lecturer in Communication Studies at Monmouth. Claude leads the campus-wide initiative First to Fly: First Generation at Monmouth which celebrates and supports students who identify as first generation. This student-centered program is designed to encourage active participation in an inclusive community of support that facilitates student success. Under his leadership, in 2020 Monmouth earned recognition as a First-gen Forward Institution, the nation’s first recognition program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success. Claude also works collaboratively to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across the campus community as an active member of the Black and African Diaspora Forum United (BADFU), the President’s Advisory Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Institute for Global Understanding (IGU) Faculty Advisory Council.

His scholarly interests include the study of mediated representations of gender, racial identities, social class, and practices of consumption. Claude regularly teaches courses in Gender, Race and Media, Communication Ethics, Media Literacy, Political Communication, and Civic Participation. As an educator, Claude is informed by his training in Rhetoric and Public Communication. His teaching at Monmouth is interdisciplinary and reflects a worldview of global interconnection and cooperation with which he guides students through critical analysis of ethical persuasion, argumentation, and audience-centered message creation.

PGIS related courses

  • Gender, Race, and Media (CO 226)
  • Communication and Social Class (CO special topics)
  • Communication Ethics (CO 311)
  • Intercultural Communication (CO 383)