Students | Anthropology and Education | International & Transcultural Studies

Skip to content Skip to main navigation


In the Department of International & Transcultural Studies

Our Doctoral Students

Welcome to the profiles of the doctoral students in the Programs in Anthropology at Teachers College. These snapshots demonstrate our academic, professional and personal diversity. We hail from South Africa to Korea to New York. Our students are anthropologists, teachers, administrators, consultants, and work in the public and private sectors, in academia and research organizations.

* Doctoral Students: Profiles are updated and new profiles are added ONCE a year during the Fall semester.

Sara O. Ahmed

Sara O. Ahmed

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education:  Ed.M. International Educational Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Research Interests: Multi-cultural Identities, Multilingualism, Global Citizenship Education, Culturally Sensitive Instruction, Technology in Education, Universal Design for Learning 

Geographical Interests: The Middle East, North Africa

Selected Publications: 

Ahmed, Sara O. (2019) “Between Local and Global Citizenship in Egypt”. The Struggle for Citizenship Education in Egypt – (Re)Imagining Subjects and Citizens. Routledge.

Afaf  A. Al-Khoshman

Afaf A. Al-Khoshman

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education: M.A. in translation, University of Jordan, 2010; M.A. in Arab Studies and Development, Georgetown university, 2016 and M.A. in education and anthropology, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2020.

Research Interests: My overarching research agenda involves the following topics: family and education, literacy practices and transnational movements with a focus on immigrant women’s trajectories, and the social and political inclusion of Arabs and Muslims in New York City. I also interested in teacher education programs in the Middle East, teachers as practitioner researchers and youth participatory action research.

Geographical Interests:  Middle East, Arab communities in the U.S.

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:


Work in progress: Khamis-Dakwar, Reem. Al-Khoshman, Afaf,  Iman Salam, Ryan Priefer, Angela Murphy, 2020. Perceptions and lived experiences of Arab-American minority parent participants in LENA Start and the incorporation of language input feedback devices 


  • Towards a Framework for Anthropology-based Teacher Education Programs in the Arab World. The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. London, King’s College, June 27th, 2018.
  • “Do we have a crisis?” Jordanian mothers grapple with the question of ethics and role of education”. The Third Conference on Anthropology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. October 27th, 2018.
  • Envisioning Anthropology-Based Teacher Education in the Arab World: Possibilities and Limitations”. Teachers as Agents of Change: Pedagogy, Practice and Educational Reform Workshop. Georgetown University, Washington D.C. June 11th, 2019.
  • Agency and Gender in Global Educational Contexts. Social and Gendered Change in A Jordanian Town. The American Anthropological Annual Meeting, Vancouver November 23rd, 2019.
  • Socialization and Societal Change-Families Negotiating Changing Education Environment-Al-Rawda Jordan. Middle East Studies Association 53rd Annual Meeting, November 14-17th, New Orleans, 2019.


  • Teacher’s College at Columbia University TESOL program scholarship (2007).
  • Kuwait America Foundation’s Scholarship for Georgetown University graduate students (2014-2016).
  • Columbia University, Teachers College international student and general scholarships (2017, 2018 and 2019)
  • Zeina Jardaneh and Middle East Institute at Columbia University Summer fellowship (Summer 2018)
  • Ruth Lubic Scholarship for Students in education and anthropology (Fall 2018)
Sarah  French Brennan

Sarah French Brennan

Ph.D. Applied Anthropology

Previous Graduate Education:  MA in Applied Anthropology, Teachers College, Columbia University

Research Interests:
I’m interested in the contexts, practices and technologies involved in the production of sexual identities and minority subjectivities. Currently, I am studying queer asylum seekers in the Netherlands, looking at how they experience the asylum process, and the formal and informal institutions with which they interact. I am interested in the ways in which the processes of claiming asylum as a “LGBT” (the legal terminology in the asylum process) individual produce, rather than simply represent, a specific type of subject. Previously, I have studied queer communities in Cairo, Egypt.

Geographical Interests: 

Western Europe; Middle East and North Africa

“Narratives of Existence: Strategies and Safe Spaces of Sexual Minorities in Cairo.” Anthropological Quarterly Special Issue: Minorities in the Middle East, 2015

Selected Publications & Presentations:
"Producing the 'LGBTI Asylum Seeker': Sharing Stories and Strategies at Amsterdam’s Secret Garden," Queer Migrations and Mobilities Workshop, Lund University, Sweden, Fall 2014

“Narratives of Existence: Negotiating Rights and Sexual Identities in Cairo,” British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Graduate Student Conference, Oxford University, Spring 2013

“Narratives of Existence: Negotiating 'Rights' and Sexual Identities in Cairo,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Fall 2012

“Securing and Contesting Sexual Identities in Cairo,” Minority Experience of the Middle East: New Anthropological Perspectives Workshop, Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Spring 2012

“Security and Sexual Identity in Cairo,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Fall 2011

"Race Monologues: Personal Narratives on the Contemporary Experience of Race and Racism" in the United States, 9th Annual Education Across the Americas Conference: Experiences, Challenges and Solutions. Teachers College, Columbia University, Spring 2011

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Academic Year 2011-2012

Columbia University Middle East Institute Summer Regional Travel Research Fellowship, 2011

Columbia University Teachers College General Scholarship, 2010-2012

Columbia University Teachers College Tuition Assistance Grant, 2010-2011‌

Shana  Colburn

Shana Colburn

Ph.D. Applied Anthropology

Research Interests: My dissertation examines the liminality of market identity through a case study of a Chinese internet radio station and its journey toward becoming commercial.

Geographical Interests: China (East Asia)

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:


2016 (May)—Society for Cultural Anthropology Panel Paper: The IRB as Unexpected Collaborator: Institutional Frameworks, Power and the Shaping of an Anthropological Project

2016 (November)—American Anthropological Association Panel Paper: Sense as Subject Position: How Sense Shapes the Trajectory and Approach of a Project


Gardner Cowles Fellowship (2016-2017)

Provost’s Grant for Professional Development, Teachers College, Columbia University (2016)

Grant-in-Aid, Teachers College, Columbia University (2016-2017)
Weatherhead East Asian Institute, V.K. Wellington Koo Fellowship, Columbia University (2016-2017)

Weatherhead East Asian Institute, SYLFF Fellow, Columbia University (2014-2015)

General Scholarships, Teachers College, Columbia University (Summer 2008)

Minority Scholarship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2007-2008)

Fernanda  Dias

Fernanda Dias

Ph.D. Anthropology and Educaiton

Previous Graduate Education: M.A. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, M.Ed. Federal University of Minas Gerais – Brazil, B.A. Federal University of Minas Gerais – Brazil.

Research Interests: Youth, Education, Apprenticeship, Immigration, Latin America, Brazilian immigrants in the U.S., Transnationalism, Identity, Race and Ethnicity.

Geographical Interests: Brazil and the United States

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:

Dias, F. V. 2019. A pedagogia crítica nos Estados Unidos: possibilidades para pensar a prática educativa crítica e popular (Critical pedagogy in the United States: possibilities for considering critical and popular educational practice). In Peres, Selma Martines and Alves, Maria Zenaide (eds.). Educação Popular e Letramentos. 1. ed. Jundiaí, SP: Paco, p. 19-42. Print (book) and E-book. 

Speaker in the International Research Seminar on ‘Situated Learning - Revisited’: Conflictual Practices in the Everyday Life of Children and Young adults on the margins, 2017. Aarhus University, Danish School of Education. Copenhagen, Denmark.

Speaker in the EMIRGE – Empowering Massachusetts Innovation and Research in Graduate Education Conference 2016: “Innovation, Impact, and Inclusion”, 2016. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth – MA, United States.

Dias, F. V., & Dayrell, J. T. (2012). “Sem Querer Você Mostra Seu Preconceito!”: As Sutilezas das Relações Raciais e suas Repercussões no Cotidiano Escolar de Jovens Estudantes do Ensino Médio. In C. L. Eiterer, & R. C. Campos, Sujeitos sociais, processos educativos e enfrentamento da exclusão (pp. 57-76). Belo Horizonte: Mazza Edições.

Dias, F. V., & Dayrell, J. T. (2011). A indisciplina na ótica dos jovens: algumas reflexões sobre as relações sociais no cotidiano escolar. In V. L. Capellini, & M. C. Perez, Formação Docente e universalização do ensino: proposições para o desenvolvimento humano (pp. 417-424). São Paulo: Cultura Acadêmica Editora.

Dias, F. V., Carmo, H. C., Oliveira, H., Cruz, N., Gonzaga, Y., & Silva, J. (2011). Sujeitos de mudanças e mudanças de sujeitos: as especificidades do público da Educação de Jovens e Adultos. In L. Soares, Educação de jovens e adultos: O que revelam as pesquisas (pp. 49-82). Belo Horizonte: Autêntica Editora.

Dias, F. V., Dayrell, J. T. (first author), Carmo, H. C., & Nonato, B. F. (2009). Juventude e Escola. In M. P. Sposito, O Estado da Arte sobre juventude na pós-graduação brasileira: Educação, Ciências Sociais e Serviço Social (1999-2006) (pp. 57-126). Belo Horizonte: Argumentum Editora.


CAPES Foundation Doctoral Fellow, 2018 - 2022
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, CAPES). Ministry of Education (MEC), Brazil


CAPES Foundation Scholarship, Ministry of Education of Brazil 2018-2022

Graduate Support Award, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 2016-2017

CNPq Graduate Fellowship, Ministry of Science and Technology of Brazil 2010-2011

CAPES Graduate Scholarship, Ministry of Education of Brazil 2009

Miranda  Hansen-Hunt

Miranda Hansen-Hunt

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education: MS in Elementary Education from University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests: Education, the history of education reform in the United States, school discipline, curricular development, families and schools, schools as created communities, urban studies, power and the state

Geographical Interests: United States


Hansen-Hunt, Miranda. Disciplined Negotiation: The Conception of Discipline in a Washington DC Charter School. American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings. San Jose, CA.

Hansen-Hunt, Miranda. Learning to Discipline. Third Annual Anthropology and Education Conference. New York City, NY.

Amelia  Herbert

Amelia Herbert

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education: M.S.Ed Childhood Education, Hunter College CUNY; M.A. Anthropology and Education, Teachers College

Research Interests: Race, class, and schooling; Youth and the politics of aspiration; Social mobility discourses; Geography of urban education; Coloniality and schooling; Liminal subjectivities; Youth activism

Geographical Interests: South Africa, United States

Selected Presentations:  

Disrupting the Narrative: Complicating the “Public” in U.S. Education (Exemplary Paper Presentation Award). Paper presented with Dominic Walker at the 8th Annual Diversity in Research and Practice Conference, Teachers College – Columbia University, NY. March, 2017.

Challenges for Marginalized Students in Higher Education In South Africa, the United States, and Beyond. Invited presentation, Duke University, NC. November, 2016.

Something Borrowed, Something New: Resisting, Transforming, Debating, and Reciprocating Imports in a US/South Africa Teacher Exchange Program. Paper presented at the 2015 Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Denver, Colorado. November, 2015.


Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (South Africa)

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Vice President’s Grant for Student Research in Diversity

Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship

Leitner Family Fellowship for Language Study and Research in Africa

TC Beatrice Pealman Troupin Tuition Scholarship

Corinne  Kentor

Corinne Kentor

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Research Interests: immigration, postsecondary education, college access and success, family and education, youth activism

Geographical Interests: United States, Latin America

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:

In preparation and under review

Kentor, C. Snakes on the Baseball Field: Unmasking Political Images of Latinx Criminality. In. Formations of Political Culture in the Trump Era: Crafting Social Justice in a Hostile Nation. Kray, C. & U. Linke (Eds.). New York: Routledge.

Kentor, C. “Get Information from Wherever You Can”: Diversifying Career Education to Support Student Success.

Kentor, C. Cleaning Up the “Dirty Front Door”: How Reforming the College Application and Matriculation Process Can Foster Student Success in Higher Education.


Kentor, C. (2020). Evaluating Career Readiness at the City University of New York [White paper]. CUNY Office of Research, Evaluation & Program Support.

Oliveira, G. & C. Kentor (2020). Latin Americans in the United States: Considerations on Immigrant and Refugees’ Access to Higher Education. In Refugees and Higher Education: Trans-national Perspectives on Access, Equity, and Internationalization. L. Unangst, H. Ergin, A. Khajarian, T. DeLaquil, & H. de Wit (Eds.). Brill Sense.

Kentor, C. (2019). From Application to Enrollment: A Student-Centered Approach to College Access [White paper]. CUNY Office of Research, Evaluation & Program Support.

Selected Presentations

Kentor, C. (2020). Adaptability in Higher Education: Toward a New Model of Career Readiness Research. Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP). Fort Worth, TX. (presented virtually)

Kentor, C. (2018). The Archdiocese Needs Your Fingerprints: Religion, Regulation, and the Urban Nonprofit. American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings. San Jose, CA.

Kentor, C. (2018). Writing “Post” Script: Decolonizing Authorial Identity in Latin America. Comparative and International Education Symposium. Mexico City, MX.

Kentor, C. (2017). Examining School-Based Advocacy Networks Among the Unauthorized Families of Southern California. American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings. Washington, D.C. 

Kentor, C. (2016). Using Your Outside Voice: The Politics of Bilingual School Leadership in Southern New Mexico. Education Studies Scholars Senior Colloquium. New Haven, CT.


National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2018-2022

Seed Grant – Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research (CAETR) at Columbia University, 2020

Teachers College Doctoral Fellowship, 2016-2019

Provost’s Grant for Professional Development, 2018

International & Transcultural Studies Summer Research Grant, 2017

Dean’s Grant for Student Research, 2017

Lizz  Melville

Lizz Melville

Ph.D. Applied Anthropology

Previous Graduate Education: M.S.Ed. in Special Education, Hunter College

Research Interests: Incarceration across the African Diaspora; Race, sports and politics; psychological anthropology; surveillance/security in urban space

Geographical Interests: Latin America, Brazil

Teachers College Doctoral Fellowship, 2020-2023

Fulbright, 2018

Maria  Noland

Maria Noland

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education: M.A. French Studies, New York University

Research Interests: Phenomenology, aesthetics, blindness and visual impairment, assistive technologies, disability especially as concerns autonomy and inclusion, anthropology of consciousness.

Geographical Interests: China and France


Weatherhead East Asian Institute SLYFF Summer Grant 2019

Daniel  Rudas-Burgos

Daniel Rudas-Burgos

Ph.D. Anthropology & Education

Previous Graduate Education: Master in Education at Pontifical Xaverian University, Bogotá, Colombia (2011)

Research Interests:  My interests center around the comprehension of reading and writing as social, cultural, and political practices. I plan to explore how vernacular reading and writing practices can help empower excluded and marginalized social groups and provide key strategies for education, both inside and outside of school.

Geographical Interests: Latin America, United States

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
Rudas-Burgos, D. (2015). Tres miradas para interpretar un texto no convencional: ortografía, variedad y estructura. In XV Congreso de Antropología en Colombia: Regiones «Posconflicto» y futuros posibles. Santa Marta, Colombia: Universidad del Magdalena. Retrieved from

Rudas-Burgos, D. (2014). Formas de oralidad y escritura en los procesos de reconstrucción de la dignidad. In Actas del XI Congreso Argentino de Antropología Social. Rosario, Argentina: Universidad Nacional de Rosario. Retrieved from

Rudas-Burgos, D. (2013). Una exploración sobre el habla en el servicio al ciudadano en Colombia. In El habla en el servicio al ciudadano (pp. 9–36). Bogotá: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.

Rudas-Burgos, D. (Ed.). (2013). Encuentros de servicio y contexto cultural. In Congreso Colombiano de Jóvenes Lingüistas (CCJL). Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Jiménez, C., Rudas-Burgos, D., & Pava, A. L. (2007). Organizaciones juveniles en Bogotá: una cuestión de convivencia. Experiencias de diagnóstico y comunicación. Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cendex.

Jiménez, C., & Rudas-Burgos, D. (2006). ¿Qué pueden las mujeres y los hombres jóvenes? In S. Ciappi (Ed.), Periferias del Imperio, poderes globales y control social. Bogotá: Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

2016 - Fulbright Colciencias Scholarship for a Doctoral Degree in the U.S.

Elena  Sauceda-Peeples

Elena Sauceda-Peeples

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education: M.S.Ed in Adult Education, Indiana University

Research Interests: Community organizing and collective action, adult learning for/in political action, communities of practice, situated learning, nonformal and informal learning, the development of expertise, individual and community sense of self-efficacy, resilience, access to education, intergenerational education and learning practices, educational advocacy, trauma and education as the location of healing.

Geographical Interests: Latin America, United States

Noël  Um

Noël Um

Ph.D. Applied Anthropology

Previous Graduate Education: M.A. Anthropology, Columbia University

Research Interests: Anthropology of education, citizenship, migration and governmentality

Geographical Interests: East Asia, Korean peninsula

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:


Um, Noël. 2020. “Biopower, mediascapes and the politics of fear in the age of COVID-19.” City & Society 32 (2): ciso.12311.

Selected Presentations:

Um, N. Presenter. Individual Paper. Everyday Practices of Civic Care and Cultural Intimacy among Asian Immigrant Youth. Conference: Anth Symposium. Department of Anthropology, Columbia University. New York City, NY. July 2020.

Um, N. Invited Presenter. Biopower, mediascapes and the politics of fear in the age of COVID- 19. Conference: Asian American Leadership for Youth (AALFY), Hunter College High School, New York City, NY. June 2020.

Um, N. Guest Lecturer. Shamanism, colonialism and intergenerational trauma in Korea. Department of East Asian Languages and Culture, Barnard College. New York City, NY. November 2019.

Um, N. Presenter. Harlem Civics: Reimagining U.S. Civics Education Through Local History. Conference: Decolonizing Education, New York University (NYU) Metro Center, NY. June 2019.

Um, N. Presenter. Individual Paper. Privatized Resistance and Spiritual Embodiment on the Klamath Reservation 1874-1877. Conference: Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium, Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA. May 2016.


Departmental General Scholarship, Teachers College 2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021

Roger Lehecka DDC Fellowship, Columbia University 2019-2020, 2020-2021

Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship, Teachers College 2018-2019, 2019-2020

Sarah  Sarah Vázquez-Xu

Sarah Sarah Vázquez-Xu

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Previous Graduate Education: Master of Arts in Teaching, Johns Hopkins University School of Education

Research Interests: Educational Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, Political Anthropology, Race and Ethnic Studies, and American Studies; early childhood and elementary education, teacher education, civic education, and family engagement in schools; social learning, network theory, critical pedagogy, and interculturalism; multimodal and participatory research

Geographical Interests: United States

Selected Publications:

Vázquez-Xu, Sarah. 2020. “From the Epicenter, At the Apex: A dispatch about birth and COVID-19 from New York City.City & Society 32 (2): CISO.12330.


Vázquez-Xu, S. Presenter. Virtual Ethnography in Response to COVID-19 Fieldwork Concerns. Anth Symposium. Department of Anthropology, Columbia University. New York City, NY. July 2020. 


Teachers College Doctoral Fellowship 2019-2021, Anthropology Research Fund in Honor of Lambros Comitas, 2020

Andrew T. Wortham

Andrew T. Wortham

Ph.D. Anthropology and Education

Research Interests: Education and Development, Queer Marxism, Situated Learning as Participation, Fragmented Identities, Desire

Geographical Interests: Southwest China  


Teachers College Margaret Mead Fellowship
Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowship
Joyce Cowin Financial Literacy Doctoral Fellowship