Graduate Research Fellows, Summer 2015

B Aultman

B Lee Aultman (M.A., New York University; M.Phil.,The  Graduate Center) is a PhD candidate in political theory at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His dissertation examines how the classificatory schemes of everyday life, including those of social and legal institutions, have distorted the political/epistemic practices and identities of trans people. B has written about “Cisgender” in the inaugural issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke 2014). He is currently working on two projects. The first is a co-authored book chapter with Professor Paisley Currah (Brooklyn College) concerning the invisible politics of marginalized trans communities. The second is a journal article studying the legal implications of epistemic injustice for trans people in American nondiscrimination case law. B also serves as a co-host for the Always Already Podcast, a critical theory podcast.

Vadricka Etienne

Vadricka Etienne is a Sociology doctoral student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her research interests lies at the intersection of race/ethnicity, immigration, and family. More specifically, her work examines how second generation Haitian Americans culturally socialize their children, and how this process of socialization is a reflection of their ethnic lived experience and chosen ethnic identity within a new roles as parents. As a recent National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship recipient, her current project examines the role of long-term romantic relationships, such as marriage, in ethnic identity development and culture heritage maintenance among adult children of immigrants.

Kristen Hackett

Kristen Hackett is a doctoral student in the Environmental Psychology sub-program at the CUNY Graduate Center. As a social justice researcher Kristen’s work focuses on modes of more equitable resource distribution as well as documenting present-day inequalities. Her MA thesis focuses on re-framing youth political participation in light of the socio-material conditions in which young people’s political agency is taking shape. Recently, Kristen has begun conducting research on participatory budgeting, work that she hopes will be the basis of her dissertation. In addition, Kristen has worked as a research associate for the Housing Environments Research Group (HERG) for the last four years. Her work with HERG has focused on the extent to which the alternative housing model, community land trusts, can affordably, stably, and sustainably house households that have traditionally marginalized from homeownership, and from stable housing more generally. Kristen also teaches in the Urban Studies Department at Queens College.

Gaurav  Jashnani

Gaurav Jashnani is a doctoral student in Critical Social/Personality Psychology. He conducts research on the impacts of order-maintenance policing on New York City residents through the Public Science Project, and in collaboration with Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). Additionally, he serves as an educator with the Challenging Male Supremacy Project. Gaurav holds an Ed.M. in Psychological Counseling, and is originally from Queens, New York.

Erit Maor

Erit Maor is beginning her 3rd year as a doctoral student at CUNY, The Graduate Center, in the area of Environmental Psychology. She earned a BA in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine’s School of Social Ecology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning (with an emphasis on Environmental Psychology) from the same program. Her current research focus is on expanding the notion of restorative environments and emphasizes the transactional relationship between the person and their environment (both social and physical). More specifically, she is interested in understanding the role of actively directing attention towards enjoyable and creative activities in achieving psychological restoration. She is currently conducting field research at a ceramics studio in Queens, New York, and is applying a phenomenological approach to her research. Erit is also a research associate for The Housing Environments Research Group (HERG). At this time, she is working with HERG to analyze data collected from a Community Land Trust (CLT) in Minneapolis to assess the potential of shared equity housing to interrupt inequality. Along with her research, Erit is teaching Environmental Psychology at LaGaurdia Community College and is a TA for Research Methods in Psychology at Baruch.

James Sevitt

James Sevitt is a PhD student in the Environmental Psychology program at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he is currently conducting pre-dissertation research into “The Ambivalence of Transformation in the Aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis.” From an early stage in James’ undergraduate studies in critical theory and modern history at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Canada he sought to apply the ideas and concepts he studied to the concrete realities and challenges of broader society. This led him to direct ‘Reading Hebron’, a play about the complexities and urgencies of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and, in 2002, to co-found the “Muslim-Arab-Jewish dialogue group” at the University of Toronto that organized a 2-day dialogue conference for over two hundred people. James completed an MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics in 2006, specializing in transitional justice and the varying and controversial means through which societies grapple with a legacy of mass atrocity. For his dissertation, James received a distinction for his work on the construction and function of memory in post-genocide Rwanda. After completing his MSc, and before moving to New York, James worked for several years in London and Israel/Palestine promoting human rights and intercultural education, facilitating conflict resolution, and campaigning for socio-economic justice.

Wilson Sherwin

Wilson Sherwin is a native New Yorker and a PhD candidate in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her work centers around Marxist theory, feminism, social movements and the sociology of labor. She is currently beginning dissertation research on solutions to unemployment that foster autonomy from waged labor, and on current proposals for Universal Basic Income.

Troy Simpson

Troy Simpson is a doctoral student in the Environmental Psychology program at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research interests include human-environment relationships, largely in the contexts of sustainability initiatives and urban neighborhoods. As a 2015 Gittell Graduate Research Fellow, Troy is collaborating with Dr. Melissa Checker on research related to environmental gentrification in New York City and its relationship to residential development, sustainability initiatives, and the redistribution of environmental hazards and amenities. Previously, Troy conducted research on community gardens and household energy use at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and worked as a green building and policy advisor in the non-profit environmental sector. Troy is a LEED-Accredited Professional and holds a B.S. in psychology and political science from Santa Clara University and a M.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Osha Smith-Gittelman

Osha Smith-Gittelman is a second year PhD student in Political Science the the CUNY Graduate Center and a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Brooklyn College. His research interests lie in comparative politics with a focus on the political economy of state formation, land-related conflict, and the relationship between private power and public authority in the construction and contestation of order. Prior to enrolling at the Graduate Center he worked with day labor organizers at Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project and as a coordinator at Outside In, an agency that provides healthcare and community services to homeless youth and others living on the margins. He is currently a research assistant for a project seeking to assemble insights and perspectives from local experts, scholars and practitioners working on peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict areas. Apart from his studies, Osha enjoys the company of good friends, mountain vistas, and encounters with the unfamiliar.