Graduate Students

Current Graduate Students

Hazim Abdullah-Smith (hazim@umd.edu)

Hazim Abdullah-Smith is a Ph.D candidate in American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. In their dissertation, they explore Black, queer travel and migration narratives between Jamaica and the U.S. They are interested in the cultural significance of tourism for Black, queer people, queer Caribbean identity formation and Black queer social life. They bring together Black queer studies, cultural geography, digital humanities and popular culture to understand Black, queer, diasporic belonging. Hazim has completed graduate certificates in Women’s Studies and Digital Studies in the Arts and Humanities. They earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in African American Studies with a certificate in Civic Engagement. Throughout their time at Northwestern, Hazim pursued various forms of political, social and scholarly activism and received the 2016 department award for Academic and Community Leadership in African American Studies. Hazim’s work has been supported by the African American Digital Humanities (AADHUM) fellowship program, Social Science Research Council and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF).


I.O Abukar (ilyasabukar@gmail.com)

Mr. Abukar is a McNair fellow and doctoral student in the American Studies program at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Literature and a minor in English from the Pennsylvania State University. His research interests concern the acculturation process for Somali refugees resettling in the United States, black subjectivity, black ethnicities, and Diaspora.


Brienne Adams (baadams7@terpmail.umd.edu)

Brienne A. Adams is a Ph.D. candidate. Her dissertation research explores how fans engage Black popular culture depictions of intimate relationships (both romantic and familial) on social media platforms. Her research interests include popular culture studies, narrative theory, race, gender, sexuality, and class construction in music, television, web series, and film. She holds a graduate certificate in Digital Studies and one in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She received an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a B.A. in Literature Studies from Beloit College. Her dedication to her work is rooted in the transformation of fandom to aid in the possibility of ‘the digital’ to facilitate healing and liberation through a broad connection to Black communities. You can also connect with her on Twitter at @amethystpen7


M. Benitez (mxbntz@umd.edu)

M. Benitez is a Flagship Fellow and PhD candidate in the program. A former welder who worked in the U.S. and abroad, she left the shop-floor to pursue ‘labor’ from a different angle. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University majoring in labor studies and gender studies and is a co-founder of the Reckoning Trade Project that works to educate and train non-traditional workers in blue-collar labor through a community-based framework. M. Benitez brings together the fields of women of color feminism, labor studies, affect theory, critical race theory, and performance studies, to analyze the intersections of labor and identity. Her dissertation challenges us to consider more critically the role our labor plays in creating and producing our identities and bodies, or, as she asks, how do we become our labor?


Yvonne Bramble (vbramble@terpmail.umd.edu)

Yvonne Bramble is a PhD student in the department. They received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University with a double major in Ethnic Studies and Modern Culture & Media. Yvonne is interested in the dynamic, historical role of digital media technologies in the way people negotiate their experience of oppression and exploitation. Their primary research centers pivotal case studies from the last forty years where the implementation of new digital media technologies accompanied widely influential changes to everyday sites for the articulation of governance, resistance, and the normative human and citizen, including welfare administration, routine policing practices, and identity documentation.


Leah Bush (ljbush@gmail.com)

Leah Bush is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies. Her research centers around an ethnographic study of relationships between identity formation, music, queer theorizing, and performances of age within music-based subcultures, with a particular focus on the Goth subculture in Baltimore. Leah holds a BA in Sociology from Eastern University, where she studied social stratification at the University of Oxford, and an MA in American Studies from the University of Maryland. She also earned the Graduate Certificate in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture from the University of Maryland, undertaking a research practicum at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage which analyzed performance ethnography and cultural representation at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. In addition to her graduate studies, Leah is a DJ on WMUC 88.1 FM and works as a musician in the Baltimore area.


Mel. Coles

Mel. Coles is a M.A. student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park, where she also received her B.A. in Sociology in 2016. Mel. identifies as an interdisciplinary scholar whose research includes the fields of Women’s Studies, Gender and Queer Studies, English and Sociology. Her current research Black Feminist Speculative Poetics as a methodology for engaging feminist theoretical interventions into the psychoanalytical, historical and visceral peculiarities of Black female/femme/feminine experiences of liminality and fugitivity. Mel. works at UMD Memorial Chapel and lives in College Park, Maryland with several plant babies and three feline fur babies: Emerald, Isis, and Galadriel. Mel. identifies as a Queer Black Womyn whose pronouns are She/Her/Hers.


Elizabeth Comer

Elizabeth Anderson Comer earned an M.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Kansas and a B.A. in History and Political Science from Hood College. As Baltimore City Archaeologist, she pioneered complex urban, industrial and waterfront public archaeology projects. As Chief Administrator, Division of Tourism and Promotion, she instituted a Heritage Tourism strategy for Maryland. She serves as Principal of EAC/Archaeology, Inc. a woman-owned business specializing in archaeological and historic architectural investigations in the US and abroad. She volunteers for the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., managing historic structure restoration and museum development. She serves as co-PI on a joint Smithsonian Institution bioarchaeological research project analyzing the human remains of Catoctin’s enslaved population by utilizing craniometric analysis and stable isotope and DNA data to search for descendants. She teaches in the Museums and Society program at The Johns Hopkins University.


Nicole Currier (ncurrier@wau.edu)

Nicole Currier is a PhD student in American Studies. She holds a BA in History from Atlantic Union College, and an M.A. in American Studies from University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her research interests include race/ethnicity, popular culture, and travel/tourism. A part-time student with more than 15 years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education, she is currently Interim Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland.


Devon Betts (dbetts@umd.edu)

Devon Betts is a doctoral student in the American Studies department at the University of Maryland. He received his master’s degree in Afro-American Studies with a certificate in Gender & Women Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison. His research explores legacies of public health discourse related to HIV prevention and medical mistrust. More broadly his research interests are queer of color critique, Black feminism, Afropessimism, public health, and digital humanities. Devon’s think piece, “Who Gets to be a #TruvadaWhore: Promiscuity, Race, and Queer Politics” is forthcoming from the Radical History Review (May 2021).


Dallas Donnell (ddonnell@umd.edu)

Dallas Donnell graduated from the University of Chicago in 2010 with honors distinction, with a degree in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. Prior to joining the American Studies program at the University of Maryland, Dallas spent eight years doing communications and organizing work for a variety of racial and social justice organizations and initiatives, including the Black Youth Project, Color Of Change, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Free Press, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Broadly, Dallas’ academic interests include Black popular music and culture, politics, and social movements. His current research explores the use of nihilism as an aesthetic tool in Black art toward a larger critique of respectability, neoliberalism, and the politics of hope and change.


Anh Duong (anhduong@umd.edu)

Anh Duong entered the doctoral program in American Studies in the spring of 2016. She earned her MA in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2008. Her research interests are cultural representation, cultural diversity, cultural sustainability, language and heritage, food studies, festivals, Vietnamese diaspora, immigration policies, racism, and Vietnam-US relations. She actively participates in many educational and cultural activities organized by the US embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. She was in the International Visitor Leadership Program in 1999 and a Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Berkeley from 2000 to 2001. She is the co-author of “Characteristics of American Culture” (2006), and “Lecture on American Culture and History” (2014), both written in Vietnamese.


Omar Eaton (oeaton@umd.edu )

Omar is currently a PhD student. He earned a BA in African American Studies from the University of Maryland and an M.Ed from American Intercontinental University. His research interests are Afro Latinx identity as well as Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in museums and cultural institutions. Omar recruits and manages 200+ interns and fellows at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He participates on committees that focus on inclusion and advocacy for professionals of color at the Smithsonian. He has worked at the National Park Service, the Office of the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, NASA and was a K-12 teacher in New York City and Washington, DC. Externally, he has board membership for Museum Hue (National Board Chair) and the Museums and Race Steering Committee. Additionally, he participates in sector-wide initiatives like MASS Action (Museums as a Site For Social Action), AAM’s DEAI Working Group, AASLH’s Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce and Leadership Nominating Committee, and has served on the National Program Committees for AAM and AAAM national conferences. Omar has published in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Museum magazine titled “Truth and Reconciliation: Museums as Advocates for Human Rights and Healing” and the Spring 2017 issue of History News titled “Calling Out Afro Latinx Identity.”


Caroline He (carohe@umd.edu)

Caroline He is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a MLS degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she studied library and archival science, and a BA from Vanderbilt University where she studied anthropology and Asian Studies. Her professional experiences include working at multiple public and private university research libraries (including Government Publications at McWherter Library of the University of Memphis, Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt University, and the Clements Library of Americana in Ann Arbor, Michigan) as well as interning with the Folklife Center at the Smithsonian and the Chinese Historical Society of America in Chinatown, San Francisco. Her research focuses on Chinese American diaspora in the Delta region of the American South. She also works within the fields of material cultures, memory studies, transnational studies, and digital studies.


Wanda Hernandez (wanda.hrnndz@gmail.com)

Wanda Hernández is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2017, Wanda curated Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, the first bilingual exhibition to explore Latino heritage in Virginia. Her research interest revolve around Afro/Latinidad, Central Americans and Washington, D.C., but more generally bring together race and ethnicity, space and place, material culture and women of color feminisms. In addition to academia Wanda maintains an arts education and independent curatorial practice.


Anne Hoffman

Anne Hoffman is an doctoral student and an Associate Professor of English at Frederick Community College where she teaches writing, literature, and sociology courses centered on the structural inequities and histories of gender, race, and class in America. Her teaching career spans two decades and three states in K-12 through university classroom settings. She holds an MEd from The George Washington University in Secondary English Curriculum and Instruction and an MA in English from The University of Texas at San Antonio where she focused on women’s lived and fictionalized experiences in literature, television, and film. Her current doctoral work in American Studies at the University of Maryland explores the gendered intersections of motherhood, race, and the labor politics of public education access.

From this research, Anne created and manages Parents Lead, a degree and scholarship program at FCC designed to reduce child care barriers for working parents. Anne is an active leader at FCC, serving on the Faculty Association Executive Board, the College Senate, and multiple committees that address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also has served leadership roles within the National Women’s Studies Association advocating for community college students and faculty representation within higher education. Additionally, she is a community organizer for #MeTooFrederick, a local, grassroots movement established to illuminate gendered violence and sexual misconduct in Frederick, MD.


Melodie Jackson

Melodie Jackson received her BA from Brigham Young University majoring in American Studies, minoring in Sociology, and receiving an American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Portuguese language certificate. She worked as a Political Associate for the Michael Bennet presidential campaign where she headed both grassroot and grasstop organizing and research in socially connecting the candidate to the community. She considers herself an activist and uses creative writing and her faith to shape and center her activism. She founded the Provo, Utah “Let Freedom Read” Black Book Festival that seeks to explore and secure black liberation though various literacy forms in one of the least diverse cities in America. She also founded the #blacklivesmattertoChrist social media campaign to address and rectify racism within Latter Day Saints (LDS) communities and institutions. Her research interests include black studies, black religious studies including black liberation theology, treating and reading black bodies as material culture and texts, gender studies, and Afro-Brasilian bodies within an LDS/Mormon religious, cultural, and social context.


Robert Jiles (rjiles72@gmail.com)

Robert is a McNair Fellow and doctoral candidate. He has a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His research interests include, popular culture, visual culture, black queer studies, gender studies, internet studies, and affect theory. Robert’s dissertation focuses on online visual culture created by black gay and bisexual men and their access to it. Robert has a B.A. in English Composition and Literature from California State University, San Bernardino and a M.P.S. in Africana Studies from Cornell University.


Zac Johnson (zjohnso5@terpmail.umd.edu)

Zac Johnson is a doctoral student in the American Studies department at the University of Maryland. He holds an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies and a BA in Political Science, both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Zac’s current research centers on how figures of the intellectual in various guises (such as the “public intellectual” or “activist intellectual”) and narrative tropes associated with the intellectual (the “ivory tower,” the “inaccessible” theoretician, the “selfish” or “careerist” academic) are used in contemporary scholarship and political narratives to index certain political anxieties and fantasies that arise from the class divisions implicit in the capitalist organization of the university and the professoriate. Zac’s other research interests include critical university studies, visual cultural studies, and contemporary critical theories. Zac’s intellectual work has been recognized with several honors and accolades including an award for outstanding work in Women’s and Gender Studies for a chapter of his master’s thesis, an exceptional paper award for a conference presentation at the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association, and the Greensboro Graduate Scholar fellowship for outstanding academic achievement. Zac is also the current graduate student representative to the American Studies department and is a member of the critical university studies working group.


Kevin Kim (jung.kevin.kim@gmail.com)

Kevin Kim is a doctoral student in the department, where he also teaches introductory courses on material culture. His research interests focus on cultural politics of food in the Korean American diaspora, as well as the discursive power of food in popular culture. In 2015, he was the recipient of a Park Break Fellowship in Cultural Resources Management from the George Wright Society and has also held curatorial internships from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Through his work with the University of Maryland’s Certificate Program in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture Studies, he is interested in researching innovative curatorial and exhibition strategies to connect marginalized communities with the museum world through food history. Kevin also serves as the editor for the department’s graduate student publication, Powerlines. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a BA with honors in History.


Tim Kumfer (tkumfer@terpmail.umd.edu)

Tim Kumfer is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He holds a Master in Theological Studies degree from Duke University with a concentration in critical theory through the Program in Literature. Training as an interdisciplinary scholar of social movements and cities, his work draws on the fields of urban studies, ethnic studies, and 20th C. US history. His dissertation in progress examines how activists and community organizations sought to counter inequitable urban development and realize a more racially and spatially just vision of Washington, DC from 1960-2010. His other research areas include theory and method in American Studies and the politics of knowledge production more broadly. He has a personal background in community organizing, direct action activism, and popular education.


Mark Lockwood (mlockwo@terpmail.umd.edu)

Mark Lockwood is a Ronald E. McNair Graduate Fellow in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He earned a MA in Performance Studies from New York University and a BA in Women’s & Gender Studies and English from Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Mark is currently building on his theoretical framework he previously explored during his time at NYU. This framework centers black queer performance and masculinity in order to consider how black gay sex workers are represented in the gay porn market, while also critiquing an industry that profits from what Kobena Mercer calls “racial fetishism.” His dissertation looks at the figure of the “homo-thug” and argues for a more nuanced approach towards sexualized representations of black men in hardcore moving-image media. Mark’s dissertation pays attention to how black gay sex workers understand the political stakes of their representations and instead deploy what he calls “black inches” – a performative strategy that is tethered to black men’s racial-sexual history – to invoke agency where it is assumed to not exist. Drawing from black queer studies, race and visual culture, performance studies, and critical porn studies, Mark’s project provides new methods for reading black queer agency and sexuality in pornographic texts.


Kristy L.P

Kristy L.P’s academic research has also focused on the process of shaping space.  In her M.A. work she explored the subversive nature of maleta (suitcase) spaces through lenses of queer material culture, women of color feminisms, and affect theory. She has also worked with her neighbors to document Black women elders’ discursive interventions against hyperlocal gentrification processes, particularly on the Nextdoor list serv. A digital humanities devotee, Kristy is also interested in DIY makerspaces and more specifically, in the knowledge-uncovering possibilities of intergenerational and collaborative cell phone repair. Kristy is a cultural worker within queer, Latinx and BIPOC communities in DC and part of her research focused on the practices that underground musicians and party organizers use to shape safer spaces. She is interested in the processes of cultivating events that allow for our own versions of connection, care and coming undone together. Kristy also does youth work with high school students and serves as a sound and music designer as well as a visual and historical researcher for multiple community- and museum- based initiatives.


Shoji Malone (Sanders) (ssander1@umd.edu)

Shoji is a PhD Candidate whose research focuses on the role of black church women’s adornment in identity formation and expressions of black womanhood. She argues that clothing can be read as an epistemology for black women from the early 1900s through the contemporary moment. Her work employs interdisciplinary methods and theory including historical analysis, material culture, performance theory, visual culture, and ethnography to  investigate how African American church women became style architects, cultural producers, and change agents.


Kylee Manganiello

Kylee Manganiello is a doctoral student in the American Studies department at the University of Maryland. She graduated with honors in May of 2018 from Boston University where she earned a BS in Social Studies Education. Before joining the American Studies department, Kylee was a K-12 classroom teacher in both public and private school settings. Currently, her research interests include identity formation, Black feminist theory, and the intersections between race, gender, class, geography, and trauma in relation to civic engagement and public education.


Kelsey Sherrod Michael (ksm@umd.edu)

Kelsey Michael (she/her/hers) is a PhD candidate in American Studies and a University Flagship Fellow. Her research concerns how religious practices converge with gender and race to produce the political subject. Her dissertation, “Sunday Morning Matters: The Production of Gendered Subjects in White Evangelical Life,” is a study of patriarchal worship practices in white evangelical churches and how they shape dimensions of churchgoing women’s lives that are not often considered “religious”: work and labor, sexual intimacy and pleasure, performance and material culture, and embodiment and desire. Kelsey’s recent scholarly work appears in Feminist Media Studies.


Jacqueline Beatriz Partida

Jacqueline Partida is a Ronald E. McNair fellow and a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). She received her BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a double major in Chicana/o and Feminist Studies. Her research interests include Latina/o identity formation, immigration, gender and citizenship studies. In addition, Jacqueline serves as a graduate assistant for the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program at UMD, in which she is able to assist in recruitment, advising and mentorship activities.


Maggie Pelta-Pauls

Maggie Pelta-Pauls, an M.A. student in the Department of American Studies, has wide-ranging interests, including historic foodways, immigration history, the history of agricultural policy in the US, public history and historical preservation. As a Waxter Intern at Preservation Maryland, she also developed an interest in, and wrote about, topics in Jewish history in Maryland. In subsequent study, she has also focused on the preservation and interpretation of historic kitchens as intersections of race, gender and labor history. She earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, where her capstone research centered on the role of Colonial Williamsburg in the development of unaffiliated local museums.


Christopher J. Pérez (cperez6@umd.edu)

Christopher is a PhD candidate and holds two baccalaureate degrees in English and Women’s Studies from NMSU and a Master’s degree in American Studies from Penn State Harrisburg. His research interests include LGBTQ and Latina/o studies, immigration, and citizenship. Christopher’s dissertation, Queer Asylum: Finding Refuge in American Immigration, examines the history of LGBT immigration in the U.S. with primary ethnographic data of lesbian and gay political asylees. Christopher has taught introductory courses in popular culture and cultural studies, ethnography, film, and LGBTQ Latina/o studies. He has taught research courses in cultural diversity for American Studies at UMD and currently teaches “Advanced Study of Queer Latina/o Cultures” for LGBT Studies at UMD.


T’Sey-Haye Preaster (tseyhaye.preaster@gmail.com)

T’Sey-Haye Preaster received her BA in Afro-American Studies and Sociology from Smith College.  T’Sey-Haye’s research interests include Black women’s history (particularly the “women’s club era,” 1896-1950); philanthropy; Black feminist theory; and the intersections and impact of race, gender, and class on cultures of giving, identity formation, and group uplift for/by Black women.


Xinqian Qiu (poemqiu@gmail.com)

Xinqian Qiu is a PhD student in American Studies, she is also working on two Graduate Certificates “Historic Preservation” and “Museum Scholarship and Material Culture”. Prior to entering the program in 2011, she received her MA in Ceramic Art History from Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China. Her research interests involve the transformation and gentrification of ethnic communities (especially Asian Americans) in the metropolitan areas, cultural sustainability, public history, material culture, and also intangible heritage preservation. She is also interested in the U.S. China relationship as well as the political engagement and leadership development among new immigrants. Xinqian has served actively in several prominent Asian American organizations and is now the Steering Committee member of National Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation.


Paul Saiedi (psaiedi@gmail.com)

Paul Saiedi is a PhD candidate and interdisciplinary researcher in American Studies and the University of Maryland. He received both his BA in Communications and his MA in American Studies from Cal State Fullerton. Paul’s dissertation explores the concepts of embodiment, slacktivism, and the self by examining how their meanings are negotiated on social media platforms and in light of constantly shifting rights, freedoms, and privacy. Paul also received a Women’s Studies certificate while at UMD and served for three years as the head editor of Powerlines, an interdisciplinary online journal for graduate students.


Gabriela (Gabi) Salas

Gabriela (Gabi) Salas is an M.A. student in the department. She received her bachelors in Global Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she also double majored in Women’s & Gender Studies and minored in International Relations. Gabi is interested in researching the dynamic between societal and political factors that impact cultural narratives around reproductive health in Latin America. Her other research interests include major research interests include reproductive justice, women’s health rights, gender studies, Latinx studies/history, women of color feminisms, race, and ethnic studies.


Alice Santana 

Alice Santana is a Ronald E. McNair fellow and a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned her BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders with minor concentrations in African American Studies and Latin American Studies at Wayne State University. Her current areas of interest center around the perceptions and traditions of death within African American’s in the southern United States. Additionally, she studies indigenous traditions such as the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) and its influence on American culture. In her research, she seeks to understand how a community may play a contrasting role within the traditional Western funerary practices of the United States because of the difference of outlooks on grief and death.


Mary Savig (SavigM@si.edu)

Mary Savig earned her BA in Classical Humanities and Art History from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her MA, in Art History from George Washington University.  Her broad research objective is to understand the historical development of craft in the 20th century and how it has functioned as an indicator of culture.


Christina Sessoms (csessoms@umd.edu)

As a 6th year doctoral candidate from the metropolitan Seattle, WA area, Christina Sessoms’ dissertation works with Black women in understanding their experience while in doctoral education and how their joy may be utilized as a resilience mechanism. She received her BA in Comparative Ethnic Studies with a focus on Black Studies and a minor in Political Science from Washington State University in May of 2015. While at UMD, Christina also serves as the graduate assistant for The University Career Center & The President’s Promise. In addition, she continues to serve as the department’s representative for the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Board and as an active member of UMD’s Black Graduate Student Union Executive Board. In 2018, Christina became the recipient of the President’s Commission on Women’s Issues’ Women of Influence Award in recognition of her effective involvement in activities that span the spectrum of women’s issues from career advancement to sexual misconduct policies. Outside of the UMD space, she mentors young women for two DC-based college access organizations.


Brian Watkins (bwatkins@umd.edu)

Brian is a part-time doctoral student in the department. His areas of interest include LGBTQ studies, race, gender, religion, and family. His research likely will focus on the social construction of family, fictive/self-selected kin as a response to oppression/exclusion, and the interplay of family and LGBTQ identity development. Brian has worked in higher education in a variety of administration and teaching roles for more than 20 years, and currently serves as the Director of Parent and Family Affairs at the University of Maryland. He is also an expert for NBC News Education Nation and an advisor for CampusESP. He frequently is invited to consult with colleges and universities, is a contributor to stories in local and national media, and is a published author on diversity issues in higher education. A first-generation college graduate, Brian earned a Master of Education degree in higher education and student affairs administration from The University of Vermont and a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in psychology from Hope College. Brian lives in Maryland with his husband, son, and their beloved pets.


Christin Washington 

Christin Washington is a Flagship Fellow in the Department of American Studies and Graduate Assistant at the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities center (AADHUM) here at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is also a member of the Immersive Realities Lab for the Humanities (irLh). Focusing on digitality’s place in Black and American life, she explores how digital technologies stretch and remodel the present limits of storytelling and memorialization, warp time, shrink space, and democratize resources. She remains attuned to the ways they can also reproduce marginalization and obstruct access in the United States. As a result, she feels called to helping create digital tools that are equitable and humanistic at its core. Christin earned her bachelor’s degree with highest distinction in Black Studies and Political Science from Amherst College. There, she was a Five College Digital Humanities Fellow and recipient of the Edward T. Jones Prize for her senior thesis, Dare to Remember: A Digital Memorialization of Black Brooklyn (BlackBrooklyn.org).