UBC’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice alumni have a longstanding history of individual achievements and collective success. Since the first Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice courses were offered at the University, our alumni have made a mark for themselves internationally and in a vast diversity of careers. Below are a few alumni profiles from our Institute.

Supervisor: Dr. Leila Harris

Noal Amir graduated in the MA program at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She plans to research the relationship between gender and international wildlife conservation, specifically the roles of women in rural communities. She is interested in indigenous knowledge, political ecology and global justice. Her research interests are inspired by her work in West Africa and Central Asia.

Supervisor: Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva

Emmanuelle Andrews is a Master’s student at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, from England (though prides herself less on being British and more on her Grenadan and Seychelloise roots). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is currently researching the way black bodies in the UK are utilised by the state, reading particularly the moment after the so-called London Riots in 2011 when Notting Hill Carnival was threatened to be cancelled as a racialised threat that continues to the present in rhetoric that sees carnival reported for its crimes and in actions that contribute to the global, violent othering of blackness. As such, she is interested in black ontology, notions of security, cultural difference and British (white) self-preservation. Recently dipping her toes into the arena of film-making, Emmanuelle has been embracing her creative side, and she also enjoys embroidery, writing poetry and dance.

Supervisor: Dr. Ayesha Chaudhry / Dr. Dina Al-Kassim

Iman graduated in the MA program at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, and is an artist from Yemen. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Law and Society from UBC. Her research examines the intertwining of legal history and gender relations in southern Yemen through an investigation of shifts in Family Law. Complementing her research, Iman’s art touches upon topics of social justice and gender within Yemeni society and the Middle East.

Simone graduated in the MA program at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication, Media & Culture joint Publishing Media from Oxford Brookes University. Her current research project examines the intersectional positions of Black women and their production of self narratives in the face of representational bias. Simone is also interested in representation of radicalized bodies in the Media, sexual practices, interracial relationships, destabilizing gendered and raced HIV/AIDS bodies of knowledge.

Supervisor: Dr. Dina Al-Kassim / Dr. Judy Segal

Shruti is a literature postgraduate from India. She has worked as an editor at a newspaper and an international children’s publishing house. Shruti is also a poet and book reviewer, published widely in both, national and international literary journals. Her interests span across disciplines, ranging from poetry, literary theory, history and science to children’s literature, all sorts of tea, horror movies, and comic + graphic novels.

Supervisor: Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva

Kristi Carey graduated with an MA in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University. Her research interests lie in the university’s self-management and management of relations with other institutions, and namely, how student resistance interacts with these bureaucratic and increasingly corporate processes in the context of censorship and increased professionalism of higher education.

Chany Chea graduated with an MA in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice,  whose auto-ethnographical research focuses on the intergenerational dynamics postmemory work involving the Cambodian genocide. She is interested in memory work, public histories, intergenerational knowledge sharing, trauma and representational politics.

Supervisor: Dr. Janice Stewart

Pedro Daher graduated in the MA program at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Postgraduate degree in Literature, Art, and Contemporary Thought, both from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Brazil. His work seeks to rethink and redeploy difference, releasing it from the shackles of the projects of cultural and racial difference from the 19th and 20th-centuries and also 20th-century reworkings of the concept, as the famous Deleuzian solution of difference in itself. To do so, he is interested in performing a sort of genealogical work of reading the texts that wrote the Modern text itself to understand how subaltern populations were written as subaltern and forever placed outside of Universality, allowing them to suffer violence without any sort of ethical crisis ensuing from it. Since he is Brazilian, he is interested in understanding how Western metaphysics deployed itself in Brazil. This brings us back to difference and why it is important to rethink it: in order to change how we write, that is, to arrive at a moment wherein writing does not require the original violence explained by Derrida, he is convinced that a complete new sociality must be created, a sociality that writes itself from without the Modern text while inhabiting it simply to fully escape it.

Supervisor: Dr. Ayesha Chaudhry

Aidan Davis is a Master’s student at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. She is a poet, advocate, and aspiring fantasy writer. Her interests include how those marked other are broken but not fragile, how to love, the meaning of loving, and the joy of the oppressed. Using a black feminist/womanist lens, her honors thesis focused on her personal negotiations of self-love, black love, and their political intersections with colourism and black joy in the U.S. Her current research scope is the policing of black women and the ways in which their humanity is marked “debatable.” She is driven by what makes her feel lost. Additionally, she claims to love coffee but secretly just likes cream and sugar and she loves/hates young adult fiction.

Supervisor: Dr. Gillian Creese

Amel Eldihaib is a researcher and social activist. Over the last ten years she worked and volunteered with different international and national civil society organizations in Sudan (both South and North), as well in other countries in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Her work and activism is mainly around areas of social justice, active citizenship, peace building and environment.

Supervisor: Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh

LUNA M. FERGUSON (Ph.D.) is a trans (they/them) filmmaker, writer, artist, and advocate. Their advocacy for non-binary legal recognition has contributed to policy changes in Canada. Ferguson’s filmmaking includes the award-winning Whispers of Life (2013); Limina (2016), which was shown at festivals around the world and praised for its trans inclusivity; and the queer love story Henry’s Heart (2019). Their writing and advocacy efforts have been featured in international publications including HuffPost, VICE, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, OUT Magazine, NBC News, The Guardian, and the Toronto Star. Ferguson lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with their partner Florian. Their first book, Me, Myself, They, a memoir, was published by House of Anansi in May 2019.

Supervisor: Dr. Leslie Robertson / Dr. Erin Baines

Katherine Fobear graduated with a PhD at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. Katherine is a queer scholar and activist whose work revolves around LGBTQ refugee settlement in North America. Katherine uses participatory photography, oral history, and community-based art projects to explore LGBTQ refugees’ stories of settlement. Through storytelling and art Katherine works with LGBTQ refugees and newcomers to share their story and fight for social justice.

Supervisor: Dr. Gillian Creese

Serah Gazali joined the GRSJ institute M.A. program in the fall of 2013. Her studies are focused on issues affecting the process of gender mobility and migration. She has been involved with refugees cases since 2008, both in the Mexican Aid Committee for Refugees and the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia where she works now as the assigned resettlement counselor for the Arabic and Spanish speaking communities. Her current research scope is concerned with gender roles’ reconstruction and negotiation strategies among Iraqi women who are resettled to Metro Vancouver.

Chaya was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She completed a BA in Anthropology in UBC and an MA at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. From November 2013 to June 2014 Chaya worked as an emergency relief worker across the Visayan islands in the Philippines devastated by the super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. Her MA thesis is a feminist anthropological research on women survivors’ perceptions of disaster and their relations to water-related hazards.

Hedda Hakvag graduated with an MA at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She holds a BA with distinction in Women’s Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Alberta. Her research interests are diverse and include social discourses of the body/embodiment, consumerism, children’s toys and teen culture, gender violence activism, and terrorism and Islamophobia.

Pro-tem Advisor: Dr. Nora Angeles

I hold a BA in Modern Languages (Spanish and Italian) from the University of Birmingham in the UK and have been living in Japan for the past few years. The gender inequality I explored during undergrad and experienced first hand in the Uk, Spain, Italy and Japan is what motivates me to continue my academic career. My interests are gender and law, sexualisation and sexual violence, transnational feminist networks and cultural difference.

Supervisor: Dr. Dina Al-Kassim

As a Desi-American from Cleveland, One of the most frequent reactions to my story I hear is that people “like me” could not possibly come to exist. That is, they mean, someone “like me” must be Coastal, and White. I seek to challenge the narratives of people “like me” in showing that places and peoples considered “fly-over territory” do indeed have their own narratives.

Supervisor: Dr. Sunera Thobani / Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva

Lyra McKee grew up in Texas and holds an MA in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She is a white settler whose research interests include transgender studies, critical race theory, political philosophy, queer theory, and qualitative geography. She also adores the performing arts and enjoys singing, dancing, and acting.

Pro-tem Advisor: Dr. Nora Angeles

Travelling since the tender age of 6 months, I have always had an interest in the world and the people in it. My love of language led me to ESL, but my interest in social issues, media and activism led me to The Social Justice Institute. It is my hope to ‘put my money where my mouth is’ and learn what needs to be done, and the best way to do it.

Kate Reid is a professional queer-musical-activist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. With rapid-fire wit, a raw and often irreverent delivery, Kate is a guitar-playing, harmonica-slinging, singer-songwriter and bona-fide entertainer. Her lyrics are honest and poignant, sometimes hard-hitting and sometimes hilarious and she is known for her self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek humour.

Supervisor: Dr. Gillian Creese

Khaldah Salih is a Master’s student at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She is from Sudan and grew up largely in the Diaspora. She is interested in humanitarian work, specifically in Sudan and in Africa generally, while also emphasizing and debating its ethics and boundaries. Khaldah to contribute to studies and literature on oppression in Sudan, noting the lack of diversity in knowledge that is available and accessible. Her research is focused on NGOs and political activism in Sudan, exploring the ways in which government policy and international donor funding have impacted the political landscape through NGOs. Broadly, Khaldah is interested in all issues related to Africa and the Middle East and specifically the role of changing global economies and politics on individuals and communities.

Supervisors: Dr. Leila Harris/Dr. Gillian Creese

Sejin Um is an MA student at the Social Justice Institute who is interested in gender; work; family; education; and social movements. She holds a BA in International Studies and Law and Public Administration from Korea University.  Prior to joining the MA program, she worked in the private sector for three years, and the work experience there strengthened her passion for feminist research and activism. She has been part of the millennial feminist movement in South Korea since 2015, both on-line and off-line, studying feminist theories and organizing various events, marches and protests with multiple organizations and groups. She continues to be engaged in the women’s movement in South Korea and is also currently involved in feminist communities in Vancouver, Canada.

Manuela Valle’s research interests include the gendered and sexual narratives of neoliberalism, militarism and imperialism, and the intersections between gender and nationalism. Her research project aims to explore how in Latin American post-dictatorship societies such as the Chilean, the continued legacy of an authoritarian culture limits the exercise of citizenship and rights for women and men and children, arguing that a real democratization in these societies requires the transformation of gender meanings and sexual imaginaries through a repoliticization of the domestic space and gender relations.

Other Notable Alumni

Lauren Hunter

Government of Canada
Job Title
Head, IN.spire Innovation Hub, Natural Resources Canada
Home Town
Vancouver, Canada
Current Location
Ottawa, Canada
Faculty of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (PhD)
Research topic
Multiculturalism and Human Rights
Research supervisor(s)
Daniel Joseph Hiebert
UBC Degree Conferred in

Learn more about Lauren on UBC’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:

For more information about UBC Alumni in the Faculty of Arts, contact:

Christine Lee
Associate Director, Alumni Relations
Faculty of Arts

Read testimonials from alumni of the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.