2012 Constance Coiner Awards and Honorable Mentions
Laura Enriquez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at UCLA. Her dissertation project explores the ways in which legal status, gender, and education affect how undocumented young adults participate in U.S. society and feel a sense of belonging. She has been conducting research with undocumented young adults for the past five years and continues to mentor, teach, and organize with the undocumented young adults who inspire her to do this work. Her work has been recently published in a special issue of the Harvard Educational Review, as well as with the Huffington Post as a contributor to the DREAM Act blogger series. In addition, she is dedicated to helping students understand the transformative power of community-based research and use it to understand and validate their own experiences. As a teaching associate for a year-long UCLA undergraduate service-learning course on undocumented student experiences, Enriquez helped students develop a qualitative research project on the experiences of undocumented students. Her students produced two research articles which are part of the UCLA Labor Center student publication, Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cynthia Felix, and the Undocumented Immigrant Youth Movement. She is especially thankful to the countless undocumented young adults who have taken the time to share their stories with her and all of those who have encouraged and supported her work over the years. Enriquez had an article published in CSW's November 2013 Newsletter, titled "Researching and Learning from Undocumented Young Adults." The article is viewable here.
Liza Taylor is a Ph.D. student studying feminist political theory in the Department of Political Science at UCLA. She has been teaching for the History of Modern Thought Freshman Cluster Course for the past two years, for which she designed and taught her own seminar, "A People's History of Democratic Thought: Critical Perspectives on Democracy from the Disfranchised, Marginalized and Forgotten." Her dissertation research critically examines the legacy of deconstructive feminism within contemporary feminist theory in an attempt to recenter politics. By turning to women of color feminism, her research aims to recover a form of feminist political theory that is theoretically equipped to appreciate the unstable category "women," without forsaking a feminist political project rooted in the everyday needs and concerns of differently situated women.
Shelby Schemerhorn began her college education at UC San Diego but soon found that she was interested in pursing a degree in Gender Studies, and so she worked to transfer to UCLA. Shelby is a third-year undergraduate with a Gender Studies major and a Labor and Workplace Studies minor, and is loving it! She has done a variety of research including researching both men and women who work in occupations dominated by the opposite sex. This summer, she will be conducting further research through an internship through the Labor and Work Studies department. Additionally, she continues to give back to her community by working as a Bruin College Advisor at her former high school—working closely with minority and low-income students on their journey to attending and graduating from a four-year university..
Maureen Purtill, who received an Honorable Mention, s a mother, domestic worker organizer, and doctoral student in Urban Planning, focusing on immigrant’s rights, critical race studies, and transformative organizing practices. Maureen worked with migrant families in Northern California for three years before she decided to enter the Latin American Studies and Urban Planning masters’ programs at UCLA. While in Los Angeles she worked with the Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Downtown Women’s Center to develop interactive popular education trainings to address the need for community control of land, build worker leadership development, and call for more permanent supportive housing to end homelessness respectively. She is currently in her fourth year of the PhD program in Urban Planning, and is conducting field work for her dissertation in Sonoma County while working as an organizer with ALMAS, La Alianza de Mujeres Activas y Solidarias, of the Graton Day Labor Center. Her research is a Critical Race and participatory action project exploring the ways that domestic worker organizing efforts are transforming the boundaries of citizenship and membership at multiple scales of influence. The results of her research will hopefully inform campaigns for justice for domestic workers in California.
Elena Shih also received an Honorable Mention. Originally from Queens, NY, she moved to California in 2000 to attend Pomona College, where she majored in Asian Studies, with minors in Women's Studies and Economics. Between the years 2004-2007, she lived and worked in China, first in Beijing, and later on in Ruili City in Dehong Prefecture, Yunnan Province. She was a Fulbright Fellow at the Beijing University Center for Women's Law Studies and Legal Aid. She has also been a gallery director for a Chinese contemporary art gallery and is co-founder of the "Border Statements Collective," a community arts center that provides no-cost arts education to Burmese and ethnic minority Chinese youth living on the China-Burma border. She a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at UCLA, where her research focuses on creative interventions to anti-human trafficking work. She is also a Student Affairs Officer at the UCLA Scholarship Resource Center and a Graduate Student Researcher for the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Shih had an article published in CSW's November 2013 Newsletter, titled "Health and Rights at the Margins." The article is available here.