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Disability, Eco(in)justice, and Transnational Solidarity

While much has been written about the eco(in)justices in two global cities, Bhopal, India &. Flint, Michigan separately, very little has been done to map out the continuities and discontinuities of the ways in which disaster capitalism in transnational contexts separates and divides communities collectively brutalized in its wake. Further, much of the published literature fails to recognize that, in these contexts, disability proliferates. When disability is recognized in these contexts, these writers tend to treat it as a pathological condition, and thus fail to engage disability as a historical category forged at the intersections of race, caste, and class by the violence of disaster capitalism. This talk draws on “contemporary materialist postcolonial criticism” (Barker and Murray; 2010) to explain how the story of environmental (in)justice is tied to racialized, classed, casteist and ableist “histories of segregation, abandonment and the relationships among people, property and capital” (Ranganathan, 2016) and discusses the implications for transformative praxis.

Transform Dolores Huerta Scholarship Recipients

Four students were selected as the first round of recipients of the Transform Dolores Huerta Scholarship for Social Justice Community Engagement. The students were selected on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to community engagement, service, and social justice and on their project/ internship’s potential impact on the student’s learning and professional development.

Join us in congratulating them!

Cloe Butler

Cloe Butler

Gender Studies
Health, Society & Policy

Cloe Butler is in her last semester at the University, and is double-majoring in Gender Studies and Health, Society & Policy. She is passionate about sexual and reproductive health, and works to create better access to information for all people. Cloe’s project “Beyond the Birds & the Bees: Comprehensive Sexuality Education for Immigrant and Refugee Youth”with Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center, addresses immigrant and refugee community members’ access to comprehensive sexuality education.

Lauren Harvey

Lauren Harvey

Ethnic Studies

Lauren Harvey is a fourth-year student who wants to use her Ethnic Studies major and experience to help make the justice system more just. Her current project, “Implicit Bias Training for the Utah Sentencing Commission” evidences her long-term commitment to shaping the criminal justice system to be more equitable for communities of color.

Suzanne Leilani Kekoa

Suzanne Leilani Kekoa

Ethnic Studies

Suzanne Leilani Kekoa is a first-year student at the University of Utah, and the first in her family to attend college.  She joined Ethnic Studies to make a difference especially among marginalized communities. Suzanne’s work as intern with Davis Behavioral Health focuses on services for marginalized and underserved communities and is seeking ways to better serve BIPOC clients.

Adam Montgomery

Adam Montgomery

Gender Studies
Chemistry – Education

Adam Montgomery is a Gender Studies and Chemistry-Education double major in their fourth year. They are creating more equitable and social just classrooms through their internship at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education Queer Celebration Academy class and their field hours in the education department.

The work of each of our scholarship awardees exemplifies the spirit of the Transform Huerta Scholarship. Dean Kathryn Stockton said “We in Transform could not be prouder of the important work our students are doing. Their commitment to social justice community engagement is part of what makes Transform such an exciting place to put scholarship into practice.”

The Transform Huerta Scholarship is possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Most of the funding for this year was collected during the University of Utah’s U Giving Day Challenge. If you would like to become a donor now, please visit this page and select the method that best suits you.

*Save the date: 2022 U Giving Day is March 1. Be on the lookout for special challenges and opportunities to become part of the Transform donor base!

Transformative Intersectional Collective

The School for Cultural and Social Transformation (Transform) has been awarded a $517,000, three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to form an intersectional studies collective. The Transformative Intersectional Collective (TRIC) at the University of Utah will join similar groups at five other universties—New York University, the University of Southern California, Georgia State, and the University of Virginia – as part of a network to advance the field of Intersectional Studies on a national level.

“Intersectionality” describes the field of study that examines the interlocking dynamics of how race, gender, sexuality and (dis)ability, among other critical entities, intersect each other. Transform was formed as the expressed commitment to intersectionality by Ethnic Studies and Gender Studies, and strengthened with the later formations of the Pacific Island Studies initiative and Disabilities studies program. 

Given this background, Transform is prepared to launch a three-year action plan dynamically centered on intersectionality.  Dean Kathryn Stockton, who will also serve as the grant’s principal investigator, says “we continue thinking and working through this concept because of its history and impact in our fields, never mind our lives—while we also want to see it conceptually expand across disciplinary areas.”

During the first year of the grant, the TRIC will focus on intersectional pedagogy by spreading intersectional curricula among those faculty avidly seeking it. With the soon-to-be-selected Intersectional Pedagogy Fellows, and through webinars and panels featuring local, regional and national experts, programming will foster instructor expertise, provide examples of intersectional content and galvanize collective conversations as they build and broaden the regional Transformative Intersectional Collective.

Year two of the Mellon-endeavors will be concerned with enhancing existing intersectional research projects and encouraging new research explorations, with funding opportunities for groups or for individual researchers- who will be the Research Fellows. Scholars will organize “idea exchange” events which will bring together University of Utah scholars, regional, and national partners. The groups and Fellows will also digitize reflections on the process and progress of their work, thus leaving archival resources as reference to others who may later engage and teach intersectional research.

The third year of the grant will highlight and document intersectional praxis and community engagement, while strengthening the two-way flow of the TRIC. Intersectional Community Fellows – a mix of scholars and community organizers, will participate in community summits to share their projects, successes, and challenges. By gathering these partners, the TRIC will build a network of intersectional collaborations grounded in the lived experiences and felt needs of its communities.

This final year of the grant will also entail the creation of an engaging, collaborative publication that reflects on how the U’s TRIC practices intersectional change. This will the mechanism for dissemination of all that is learned in the creation of the Intersectional Studies Collective and about the intersectional praxis itself.

At five years-old, Transform already has two Mellon grants under their belt – the first was in 2018 to the Pacific Islands Studies initiative.  The Transformative Intersectional Collective (TRIC) Mellon Foundation recognizes the School for Cultural and Social Transformation, and more broadly the U, as a national leader in the field of Intersectional Studies. While our faculty are excellent scholars working in the forefront of Intersectional studies,” said Stockton, “we particularly honor the Black and Indigenous women who founded and coined the concept of intersectionality based on the complex, multiple conditions of their lived experiences.”

The TRIC will launch with a webinar, Intersectionality Here & Now, on February 25, 2-3:30pm. Learn more and register for this virtual event here.

Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to get involved!

Walk-In Advising

Walk-in advising will be held virtually via Zoom. Drop-in advising will be no more than 20 minutes. If more time is needed, please schedule an appointment with Jen Wozab.

These appointments are meant for quick discussions on Spring 2022 registration; connecting with campus resources; and exploring the Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, and Disability Studies programs.

  • Monday, January 10: 1 – 4 p.m. MT
  • Tuesday, January 11: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. MT
  • Wednesday, January 12: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. MT
  • Thrsday, January 13: 2 – 4 p.m. MT
  • Friday, January 14: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. MT

Please note that these will be busy advising days and the advisor will focus on addressing any issues and support for the start of the Spring semester. Appointments will be shortened to 10-15 minutes if other students are waiting.

Appointments will be added to the system on January 12 for the week of January 17.

Zoom meeting ID: 337 668 6846

After joining the Zoom meeting, please wait in the Waiting Room. The advisor will admit you into the meeting once she is finished advising the previous student. Please keep in mind you may wait for several minutes. We thank you for your patience.

Jen Wozab

Student Support Coordinator & Academic Advisor

jen.wozab@utah.edu801-581-5140Gardner Commons, room 4203 (View map)

Apply for the Transform Dolores Huerta Scholarship

Transform Dolores Huerta Scholarship for Social Justice Community Engagement

Award amount: Up to $5,000.

Dolores Huerta is known for her involvement and leadership with the United Farm Workers (UFW) during the 1960s and 1970s. While the UFW was a major part of Huerta’s life work, she has also founded or led other community service organizations that address matters of racial segregation; police brutality; working conditions and socioeconomic conditions of farm-working families; and women’s representation in government, among other issues.

Because of her outstanding activist work, Huerta was featured as the University of Utah’s 2008 Women’s Week keynote speaker. At that time, Dolores Huerta donated her honorarium to the department of Gender Studies for the creation of a scholarship. Transform is now excited to expand the Scholarship to reach all students majoring in Ethnic Studies and/or Gender Studies.

This scholarship will facilitate our own student-leaders’ efforts to put ideas from the classroom into forceful motion to change the world.

The Transform Dolores Huerta Scholarship specifically will provide financial assistance to undergraduate students who are participating in community-engaged, social justice work via an internship or a project of their own design. These funds will support undergraduate students majoring in one of Transform’s programs—students who might not be able to pursue their internship/project without this crucial financial support. The scholarship will aid the selected students to serve and gain valuable experience in the community.

Students will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to community engagement, service, and social justice and on the project/ internship’s potential impact on the student’s learning and professional development.

Students must either 1) work through the Transform Internship Program; or 2) have a Transform faculty mentor for the project. Students who are pursuing a minor or certificate, but not majoring in Transform MUST have a Transform faculty mentor for the project/internship.

Priority will be given to students who are not receiving any other funding for their project/internship, but all applications will be considered.


Application deadline: October 18, 2021

Transform’s COVID-19 Updates

The School for Cultural and Social Transformation will have limited operating hours. We are excited to have you lounge and work here, safely. Masks and social distancing are strongly, warmly, definitively encouraged in our space. Welcome back!

 Please follow your professors’ directions on how to best reach them for issues related to coursework.

Monday-Thursday: 9am-4:30pm

Friday: Closed

If you are meeting with a faculty member during a time outside these hours, please coordinate directly with that person.

For ADVISING questions, please contact or schedule a virtual advising appointment at

For GENDER STUDIES questions, concerns, or business contact: or

For ETHNIC STUDIES questions, concerns, or business contact: or

For DISABILITY STUDIES questions, please contact

For PACIFIC ISLANDS STUDIES questions, please contact

2021 Transform Awards & Recognitions

Transformative Teaching Award

Kim Hackford-Peer

Associate Chair, Gender Studies

Dr. Kim Hackford-Peer, associate chair for Gender Studies, is the inaugural recipient of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation’s Transformative Teaching Award. The award recognizes faculty who exhibit excellence in teaching through the use of innovative and transformative pedagogical approaches; inspire critical and creative thinking skills; promote a classroom climate that supports diverse opinions; engages and sustains relationships with students beyond the classroom experience; and applies classroom concepts to real world scenarios, specifically as related to challenging inequality, and advocating for justice.

Dr. Hackford-Peer was presented with this recognition during the School’s convocation ceremony on May 5, 2021.

“This nomination is a long overdue recognition of Dr. KHP’s extraordinary contributions to student experiences in Transform,” says Dr. Wanda Pillow, chair of the Gender Studies division. “Overall, it is crucial to highlight that Kim is not only supportive of and responsive to the needs of a diverse student body, Kim fosters a diverse student body. This work often occurs ‘behind the scene’ and Transform faculty may not be aware that Kim has been and is a primary reason for the richness of student diversity in Transform.”

Dr. Marie Sarita Gayta, chair of the selection committee, says “Dr. Kim Hackford-Peer is a gifted feminist educator who provides transformative teaching experiences to students by developing innovative courses that link theory with real-world applications, by supporting learning environments that include the mentorship of career line faculty and graduate teaching assistants, and by fostering sustained networks that promote undergraduate pathways into Gender and Ethnic Studies.”

Dr. Hackford-Peer skillfully creates and support learning environments for all students, whether in a Business School Gender Studies or a Queer representations course. Indeed, Dr. Hackford-Peer’s popular course “Medusa & Manifestos” is an example of Dr. Hackford-Peer’s student-centered teaching. The course focuses on the development of the process for critical and self-reflective writing as a tool for putting ideas out into the world, by analyzing the ways that socio-historical context and power have an impact on their own social justice work.

Beyond the classroom, “Dr. Hackford-Peer’s generosity is not lost on her colleagues who frequently remark about her ability to provide sound advice on issues ranging from improving online class engagement, designing community-based group projects, or helping connect students to effective campus resources. They also note that she is an unwavering champion for the rights and success of LGBTQI, Disabled, Undocumented, Low-income, and/or, BIPOC students across the University,” says Dr. Gaytan.

The Committee, and the School for Cultural and Social Transformation are honored to recognize Dr. Kim Hackford-Peer as the inaugural recipient of the Transformative Teaching Award.

Graduate School Distinguished Mentor

Wanda Pillow

Professor and Chair, Gender Studies

Dr. Wanda S. Pillow, Gender Studies professor and chair, is one of the 2021 Distinguished Mentor Award recipients, honored by the University of Utah’s Graduate School. The award honors the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. In addition, the award recognizes faculty who provide intellectual leadership and model a record of excellence in research and ensures that students master the content and skills of their discipline. make a broad impact on mentorship by facilitating communities or building infrastructure for mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

Dr. Pillow “is an artist in the realm of mentor thoughtfulness,” says Dr. Kathryn Stockton, Dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. She “is something of an oracle” on the topics of methodology and intersectionality. Her students know and absorb this, and as they pursue their own scholarship, become Dr. Pillow’s intellectual friends.

Dr. Stockton adds: “I’ve seen Wanda’s thoughtful care—her creative inspiration of student thought—up close and personal. I’ve been on committees that Wanda has chaired. She makes us joyous in supporting her students. And teaches us the highest value to embrace: research as relationship.”

Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award

William Smith

Professor, Ethnic Studies & Education, Culture & Society

The Distinguished Research Award (DRA) recognizes outstanding achievements in research by University of Utah tenured faculty. Up to three awards for outstanding achievements in scholarly or creative research are awarded to University of Utah tenured faculty each year. Nominees are evaluated on the impact and significance of their career research or scholarly work to their field, as well as to the improvement and enrichment of the human condition.

“Dr. Smith has honed a wealth of Ethnic Studies and Education expertise. Racial Battle Fatigue, Black Males Studies, Multi-cultural/ethnic Issues in Higher Education, Multi-cultural Counseling, Racial Identity Development, and Student Transition and Persistence. William nails relevance,” says Dr. Stockton, Dean for the School of Cultural and Social Transformation.

This award recognizes Dr. Smith’s pathbreaking work on racial battle fatigue, along with his other scholarly endeavors and comes with a $10,000 grant to further pursue his research interests.

2020-21 Presidential Leadership Fellows

The university launched the Presidential Leadership Fellows Program in 2017, with the first fellow named the following year. The program’s goal is to foster talented, emerging leaders with administrative potential. Fellows engage in the activities and work of the Office of the President and with the President’s Cabinet, with emphasis on their chosen area of interest, over the course of one academic year.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, two of the four selected fellows were School for Cultural and Social Transformation faculty:

Annie Fukushima

Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies

Maile Arvin

Assistant Professor, Gender Studies and History

2020-21 Faculty Teaching Award for Innovation in General Education

Ana Antunes

Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Gender Studies

The Teaching Award for Innovation in General Education recognizes innovative approaches to general education. This year, the committee was most impressed by Dr. Antunes’ commitment to weaving community engaged learning, critical social justice and individualized attention in each of the General Education courses that she teaches. “This kind of integrated, applied, and student facing relevance is exactly the kind of pedagogical experiences that we hope all students will have in their General Education courses,” said Ann Darling, AVP for Undergraduate Studies.

Best Dissertation Prize from The American Political Science Association- Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section

David De Micheli

Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies and Political Science

Dr. David De Micheli was recognized for his dissertation titled “Back to Black: Racial Reclassification and Political Identity Formation in Brazil.”

Each year, the award recognizes a dissertation that makes an important theoretical contribution to our understanding of historical and/or contemporary processes of racial and ethnic information. In addition, the dissertation addresses critical substantive issues through which racial and ethnic politics are played out.

Irving K. Zola Emerging Scholar Award in Disability Studies

Lezlie Frye

Assistant Professor, Gender Studies and Disability Studies

Dr. Lezlie Frye was one of two winners of the 2020 Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies, offered by the Society for Disability Studies. She has won the honor designated for junior scholars, specifically for her essay, “Cripping the ‘Crack Baby’ Epidemic: A Feminist Genealogy,” which was unanimously voted as “best paper” by the Society.

Dr. Frye is also a the recipients of the coveted University of Utah Faculty Fellow Award (2021).

2021 Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) Book Awards

Maile Arvin

Assistant Professor, Gender Studies and History

Each year, the AAAS recognizes authors and contributors in its Book Awards for titles of merit. Dr. Arvin’s “Possessing Polynesians” won honorable mention in the history category.

Gay/Lesbian/Queer Caucus of the Modern Language Association, Alan Bray Memorial Prize

Darius Bost

Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies

Named in honor of a scholar whose two landmark books have been profoundly influential in gay and lesbian studies, the Bray Award will be given to the best book in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer studies in literature and cultural studies, all broadly construed. Dr. Bost was presented with an honorable mention for the 2020 Bray Memorial Prize for his award-winning treatise Evidence of Being: The Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, Outstanding Advising Award Certificate of Merit

Jen Wozab

Student Success Coordinator & Advisor

The annual NACADA Outstanding Advising Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students or outstanding academic advising administration. As the U’s 2020 Outstanding Experienced Advisor awardee, Jen Wozab was the University of Utah’s nominee for this international recognition. Jen will be recognized at the NACADA 2021 conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

2021 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards

The Outstanding Undergraduate Research awards recognize students who demonstrate a record of sustained commitment to developing research skills and knowledge under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Furthermore, awardees are those who make positive contributions to the research culture of their Department, College, and the University as a whole. We are incredibly proud of our 2021 awardees:

Angela Pham
Gender Studies Major, Psychology Major and Ethnic Studies Minor

Cloe Butler
Gender Studies Major, and Health, Society & Policy Major

Cloe Butler was also selected for the 2021 Monson Prize based on her work “Identity: By Kids, For Kids – A student-centered Zine”, with faculty mentor Ana Antunes. Through this program, Charles H. Monson’s family recognizes an undergraduate student whose research is devoted to the subject of social change.

Transform’s 5th Year Celebration

Join us in celebrating five years of ideas, action, debate, growth, change, advocacy, and more at the School for Cultural and Social Transformation.

In honor of our 5th anniversary, the community is coming together to make an impact, so Transform can continue on its work. Gifts of any size, help forge the wave of the future, for the study of shifting sexualities, changing genders, dynamic immigrations, and emergent struggles against all racist thought and actions.

Your donation will immediately go to work to our three core goals:

  • Innovative Scholarship
  • Coalition Building
  • Practical Expertise

Thank you to those who donate. We appreciate your generosity and thoughtfulness!

Hello Transform Alumni!

We hope you are enjoying your summer so far. We are still celebrating your awesome accomplishments! Please read on for a few alumni-themed housekeeping items.


  • Check out the pictures from our School for Cultural & Social Transform Convocation. The pictures are available to download and keep!  

Cap/Gown Donation

  • If you would like to donate your cap and/or gown for future School for Cultural and Social Transform graduates, you can drop these off in the red box outside the doors of Transform, Gardner Commons, 4200. If you would like a tax donation form (and have your receipt for the purchase), email Jen Wozab. Thank you in advance!

Alumni Contact Form

  • We want to know where you’re going and what you’re doing after graduation. Please take a few minutes to fill out our short Transform Graduate Survey.

Alumni Connection

  • Transform is looking forward to create an Alumni program. More information will be forthcoming.  For now, let us know how we can keep you informed about Transform and campus events like our Disability Studies Lecture, Women’s Week, and more.
  • Join the University of Utah Alumni Association. Membership is FREE and there are great events and resources to stay connected to the U.
  • Connected with our Career Coach, Sarah Kovalesky, for resources in your professional endeavors. You can work with our Career Coach for up to 3 years after graduation! We look forward to creating meaningful interaction with current and future Transform students.

Stay Connected

2021 Convocation Recap

Watch the full livestream of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation Convocation! If you want to jump to a specific convocation speech, click the name of the speaker:

Convocation Photos

Don’t forget to check out the pictures from our School for Cultural & Social Transform Convocation. The pictures are available to download and keep!