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Graduate Prize Winners

Kayla Marie Martensen, PhD (2024) Heading link

2024 Graduate Student Prize Winner Kayla Marie Martensen in her graduation cap and gown

Kayla Martensen has just earned her PhD in Criminology, Law and Justice under the mentorship of three GWS faculty members, Dr. Beth Richie and Dr. Lorena Garcia, both affiliated faculty and Dr. Laurie Shaffner, an emerita faculty; and completed the Gender and Women’s Studies Graduate Concentration. Martensen’s work is deeply informed by women of color feminisms, abolition feminism, and a commitment to equity, safety, and liberation. Her research critically examines the intersection of the carceral and social welfare states as sites of gender-based violence, with an interest in the gendered, racial, and ethnic implications of collusions between welfare and punishment. The essay she submitted to the prize committee, “Prison is Not Feminist, Service is Not Liberation: Punishment, Service and A Web of Detainment,” makes a critical set of interventions into a range of fields of study and practice including feminist studies of carcerality and the web of social services purportedly designed to support young women and girls of color who are system-involved.

About Sangeetha “Ilā” Ravichandran (2023) Heading link

2023 Graduate Student Prize Winner Sangeetha

Sangeetha “Ilā” Ravichandran is a PhD candidate in Sociology, with a concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies, whose scholarship is “rooted in radical and interdisciplinary traditions of intersectional feminisms and an abolitionist feminist political praxis.” Based on four years of ethnographic field work, in-depth interviews, archival work, and mixed method analysis, Ilā’s dissertation “draws out the landscape of genomically based carcerality in which human DNA becomes a permanent and racialized tool to expand the state’s reach into Black and brown communities of color, in perpetuity, through a Black feminist and queer of color lens.” In line with feminist notions of data justice, Ilā is developing multiple outlets to share her research with multiple audiences. In addition to creating a digital archive of her data that will be available to left-leaning journalists and social movements, Ilā is working on the Free Them All Seed Quilt, a community engaged public art piece that is a response to her research findings and will be installed outside the women’s prison in Illinois.

About Sravanthi Dasari (2022) Heading link

A person with long brown hair in a red top stands on the sidewalk with buildings behind them.

I am delighted to be chosen to receive this award from the GWS department. I have found GWS to be a space which has nurtured me intellectually and otherwise. It has also been my absolute privilege to be a TA in the department and have the space to interact with the brilliant undergraduate students here.

About Shilpa Menon (2021) Heading link

A person with a white and black striped shirt and red and black necklace stands in front of a blurred background.

As a concentrator, my thinking and praxis have been shaped by the generous and careful mentorship of GWS faculty, and by the extraordinary peers I meet in my courses. I am grateful for this recognition, and look forward to using the prize towards field work that remains accountable to the transformative visions of social justice I have been exposed to at GWS.

About Krysten Stein (2021) Heading link

In this selfie, a person with long brown hair and brown glasses is in front of a brick wall.

I am extremely honored to be receiving such an important award — the 2021 Graduate Prize in Gender & Women’s Studies! Receiving this award would not have been possible without my community of support, including mentors, colleagues, comrades, friends, and family. To all these folx for whom I have the deepest respect, and from whom I derive the strength to challenge myself and push forward, thank you! In the words of bell hooks, “To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination”(Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope).

Earlier Awardees Heading link

2019 Meloddye Carpio Rios
2018 Paige Sweet
2017 Jennifer Ash
2016 Jenny Korn
2015 Rebekah Moras
2014 Jason Stodolka
2012 Deana Lewis
2011 Megan Milks
2010 Neslihan Sen
2008 Cynthia Barounis
2007 Michael Gill, Aarati Kasturirangan
2006 Glenda Jones
2005 Catherine Mintler
2004 Jackie White
2000 Monica Oberoi