Celebrating the year in GGS!

UB graduates gathered around Baird Point columns on North Campus near Lake LaSalle.

Published May 20, 2021

The Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies gathered virtually to celebrate the 2021 graduates and the many accomplishments of our students and faculty.

Celebrating our graduates

Despite another challenging year, students in Global Gender Studies perservered and earned their degrees, received awards and made career and graduate school plans. The Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies was honored to support the class of 2021 through their research and activism at UB. Below are some of the students who were recognized during the virtual commencement ceremony on May 15, 2021. 

Screenshot of the virtual graduation ceremony on Zoom with the participants videos featured.

PhD and MA Graduates

  • Carolyn J. Washington, PhD (Advisor: Carine Mardorossian, PhD)
    • Dissertation: UNSCR 1325 Meets Boots on the Ground:  Integrating a Gender Perspective Within Military Operations
  • Hilary Vandenbark, PhD expected winter 2022 (Advisor: Gwynn Thomas, PhD)
    • Dissertation: Political Performance, Pressure, and Policy Outcomes: A Case Study on the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights
  • Courtney Ashraf, MA (Advisor: Gwynn Thomas, PhD)
    • Thesis: A Posthumanist Challenge to Mass Incarceration: Criminals Aren't a Thing

BA Graduates

  • Mosammet Asma, BA Global Gender Studies/Political Science, was recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Senior. Mosammet is now working as a Case Manager and Client Advocate with ‎RAHAMA (Resources and Help Against Marital Abuse) in Buffalo
  • Alexandria Iadanza, BA Global Gender Studies, received the 2021 Outstanding Undergraduate Research award for their thesis titled "Barriers to Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking at the Hands of the State.” Alex was accepted to American University's Human Rights program. 
  • Mykela Moore, BA Global Gender Studies, was selected to receive the 2021 Community Engagement and Activism Award for their work as a GGS student ambassador, and a volunteer with the Erie County Medical Center and American Red Cross.

Celebrating our faculty


The GGS department recognized the retirement of several of our faculty members, whose friendship, mentorship and collaboration will be greatly missed at UB:

  • Barbara Bono, Professor of English and Global Gender Studies
  • Susan Cahn, Professor of History and Global Gender Studies
  • Arabella Lyon, Professor of Global Gender Studies
  • Margarita Vargas, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Global Gender Studies

Promotions and Appointments

  • Gwynn Thomas was reappointed as Chair of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Christine Varnado was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective fall 2021
  • Ewa Ziarek was appointed as Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, effective fall 2021

Awards, Grants and Fellowships

  • Yige Dong received a 2021 early career fellowship from the American Council of Learned Studies (ACLS) Luce program for China Studies.
  • Elizabeth Otto has been awarded a Research Scholarship from Germany’s Gerda Henkel Foundation and will be a Residential Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in 2021.
  • Jasmina Tumbas received the Julian Park Award in support of her upcoming book with Manchester University Press, “I Am Jugoslovenka!” Feminist Performance Politics During & After Yugoslav Socialism"
  • Christine Varnado was the winner of The Shakespeare Association of America's Most Innovative Article Prize for 2021 for her article, “The Quality of Whiteness: The Thief of Bagdad and The Merchant of Venice.” 
  • Kari Winter received a grant from the Just Buffalo Literacy Center's Civil Writes Project in support of her docuseries, Labor's Fruit.