2021 Panel Presentations

Transnational Inquiries and Solidarities

In this panel, five graduate students will discuss their work on: critical edges and affects of working around refugee crisis in Germany, critical/liberatory psychology across national borders in interviews with US and Salvadoran therapists, the delicacies of decolonizing/documenting the praxis of women activists in Africa, the vision of creating the transnational network, and “radical dreams” for transnational psychological inquiry.


Juan Carlos Garcia Rivera (Choco) is a Salvadoran born and raised psychologist completing a doctoral degree in the Critical Social/Personality Psychology program at City University of New York. In the last seven years, he has engaged closely with immigrant individuals and families in different capacities: as mental health provider, as psychosocial worker, and more recently as research. Juan Carlos’ inquiry and practice is informed by Liberation Psychology and Critical Participatory Research, with an emphasis on immigration issues involving the United States and the Central American region. He seeks to contribute towards the articulation of transnational frameworks and practices that respond to the psychosocial conditions endured by refugees and asylum seekers from Central America. 

Katia Henrys (she/her/hers) After getting a master’s in Clinical Psychology from University of Paris 7, France, Katia went back to her home country Haiti, where she practiced as a clinician and as a trainer in different settings: Research centers, International NGOs, local NGOs, the State University. As a Fulbright recipient, Katia came to the Graduate Center, CUNY and obtained a master’s in Women’s and Gender Studies before starting a PhD in Critical Social – Personality Psychology. Her research interest includes trauma and healing in medical settings for women who are sexually assaulted; transnational work with a strong attention to ethics.

Chris Hoffman (he/him/his) is a dual doctoral student at the Graduate Center at City University of New York where he studies environmental psychology and critical social and personality psychology. Using participatory action research Chris’ research focuses on dismantling normative assumptions in pedagogy as well as challenging racial inequality and narratives of urban renewal in Yonkers, New York. Chris is a co-founder of TESANDA (Transnational Educations, Scholars, and Activist Network to Decolonize Academia) and currently teachers Psychologies of People in Place: From Climate Change to Gentrification as well as Queer(ing) Psychology at City College of New York.

Nawal Muradwij (she/her/hers) was raised in Lebanon with roots in Jordan and Palestine. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center at City University of New York (CUNY). Clinically, she has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults and is interested in effective, culturally grounds trauma intervention. Her research focus is on examining the psychological consequences of collective ‘trauma’ for communities in the Levant region with the purpose of identifying mechanisms of resistance and recovery.

Sedef Ozoguz (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Critical Social/Personality Psychology Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. She completed her BSc in Psychology at the University of York and did her Masters at University College London. Sedef teaches Psychology of Women classes at Hunter and at CSI, and her research focuses on epistemologies of ignorance, recovering and creating knowledge around the liberation of women in Turkey. 

Kate Sheese (she/her/hers) is a Doctoral Candidate in Critical Social Psychology and is completing a dissertation on the moral/psychic costs of working in emergency and the challenges and possibilities of international solidarity work in the context of migration/displacement, focusing on experiences of international volunteers in Greece 2015/16. Kate works a Research Associate at the Sigmund Freud University in Berlin where she teaches in the Masters Program on Cultural Relations and Migration and in Social Psychology.  Since 2016, she has been working with psychosocial support organizations in the Middle East and in Greece to understand staff care needs in crisis/conflict/war and to develop contextualized, responsive staff care structures. 

Decolonial Feminist Embodied Research: Psychopolitical approaches to the study of bodies, nation-states, and state violence

In this panel presentation, scholars present critical, transnational scholarship from four distinct perspectives. Collectively, they offer analyses of bodies in movement, in detention, in resistance, and after death. Panelists invite the audience to engage in reflective practices, to contemplate and wrestle with the following questions – what do individual narratives reveal about state violence? How is the state molding our collective memory and framing our collective desires for the future? What does it mean to do research centered on humanness? 


Varnica Arora, M.A, (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Critical Social/Personality Psychology program and a fellow at the Public Science Project, Graduate Center, CUNY. Varnica is an activist scholar with a keen interest in feminist organizing in the Global South. Her research interests lie at the intersection of psychology, inequality, and gender. Current projects include: Self Harm and Suicide among Young Girls in India, Curating an Archive of Feminist Carceral Resistance in New York: The Bedford Hills Domestic Violence Hearings, and Gender Inequality within Indigenous Contexts in India.

Joanna Beltrán Girón (she/they) is a poet, organizer, and a decolonial feminist researcher. She’s pursuing a Ph.D. in the Critical/Social Personality Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses on decolonial feminism, transgenerational healing and trauma among Salvadorans, migration, and state violence.

Laura Hooberman (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Critical/Social Personality Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research focuses broadly on nexuses between reproductive injustices and state violence, the role of biomedicine in shaping U.S. empire, and transformative models of care. Her current project looks at histories of state-sanctioned sterilizations in the U.S. and the experiences of full-spectrum doulas, whose work emerges from, and is consistent with movements for birth justice and reproductive justice.

Andrea Niktê Juarez Mendoza (she/her) is an NYC based Guatemalan scholar-activist, artist and organizer from San Fransisco California, whose work centers on community-drive change. Andrea’s current research broadly looks at immigration, family separation, dehumanization, decoloniality, social movement, and scholar/activism. She has worked as a translator in detention centers with the Feerick Center for Social Justice and as an organizer and researcher with the APA, CUNY and the Public Science Project on local, state-wide and national projects documents and archiving immigration experiences.