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

B.A., Environmental Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder (2013)
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2017)

Supervisor: Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva

BA, Anthropology & Law, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (2015)
MA, Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2017)

Thesis:  Reading the threat, imagining otherwise : Notting Hill Carnival, the London Riots and a global issue of blackness

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

B.A., Sociology and Law and Society, UBC (2015)
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2017)

Thesis: Engendering unification: Family law and women’s legal subjectivity in Southern Yemen

B.A., Honours in Communication, Media & Culture joint Publishing Media, Oxford Brookes University (2013)
A.A., Sociology, The College of The Bahamas (2007)
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2016)

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

B.A., English (Hons), Delhi University, India (2009)
M.A., English Literature, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India (2011)
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2017)

Supervisor: Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva

B.A., Educational Studies & Peace & Conflict Studies, Colgate University (2015)
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2017)

Thesis: Resistance in and of the university: Neoliberalism, empire, and student activist movements

B.A., Double Major Political Science and Pacific & Asian Studies, University of Victoria 2007-2012
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2015)

Thesis: Postmemory work in the Cambodian diaspora: Using the past to access the present

Supervisor: Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva

B.A., Journalism – Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) (2013)
Postgraduate in Literature, Art and Contemporary Thought
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia (2018)

Thesis:  Finish the eulogy, Brazil: A call for the end of the subject

Supervisor: Dr. Ayesha Chaudhry

BA, Women’s Studies, Colgate University (2016)
M.A., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2019)

Thesis: The case for black girl joy in America

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

M.A., Honors Research Masters in Social Science,University of Amsterdam (2010)
B.A., Honors Anthropology, Sociology, & Russian and Eastern European Studies, University of Michigan (2008)
C.S.S., Certificate in Social Science, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, Budapest (2006)
A.A., Honors Liberal Arts in Science, Delta College, USA (2005)
Ph.D., Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, UBC (2016)

Dissertation Title: Accordion homes: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) refugees’ experience of home and belonging in Canada

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.

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.

Sarah Leamon obtained her Master of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 2010.  Prior to that, she had studied law in Australia and earned a Juris Doctor from Bond University.  Sarah’s academic studies were focused on miscarriages of justice, popular culture, horror and the macabre.

Sarah was a finalist in Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 2018 list of 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada and a winner of Business in Vancouver’s 2018 Forty Under 40 Award. [Read More]

Supervisor: Dr. Janice Stewart

Tessa MacIntyre is a Masters Students in the Gender, Race, and Social Justice Institute. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production and Studies from the University of Regina. While completing her undergraduate program, Tessa developed a strong interest in documentary filmmaking, and looks to filmmakers such as Sarah Polley, Errol Morris, and Bonni Cohen as influences.

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.

Thesis: White Supremacy and Patriarchal Cisgenderism in US Nation-Building and Resistance by Transgender and Non-Binary People of Colour

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.

Thesis: I Thought Canadians Were White! An Intersectional Gendered Visual Analysis of Race, Nation, Gender, and LGBT+ Representation in ESL/ELL Textbooks

Supervisor: Dr. Erin Silver

Jade Pollard-Crowe has traveled here from the UK to complete her Masters in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She grew up in Cambridge although has strong cultural ties to her Jamaican ancestry.  Jade’s research is concerned with evaluating the possibilities and limits of arts-based activism today particularly focusing on queer, racialized, feminist artists and activists in Britain. How do artists, performers, activists work to challenge mainstream culture, dominant ideology and social constructs whilst functioning within them? What new questions are being asked and how are the outstanding questions requiring provocation being aroused?  These are some of the inquiries that underpin her thinking.

Through her own art practice, among other concerns, Jade examines the portrayal of Black bodies in popular culture and critiques these representations through a queer lens. Moving between masculine and feminine energies on stage she aims to offer audiences the opportunity to consider the celebration of gender fluidity and acknowledge the intersection, not separation, of gender, race and sexuality.

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.

Thesis: Institutionalised Activism and Politicised NGOs: The State’s Engagement with NGOs in Sudan

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.

Thesis: Neoliberal Desires, Spectacles of Market-Nationalism, Utopian Performances: A Feminist Analysis of Gendered Cultural Narratives in Post-Dictatorship Chile

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.