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Meet the Staff

Click on the drop-downs below to learn more about the awesome GenCen staff!

Soma Chaudhuri, Co-Director of Global Research, Outreach, & Engagement

Soma Chaudhuri

MicrosoftTeams-image (16).pngCo-Director of Global Research, Outreach, & Engagement



In her role, Soma Chaudhuri is responsible for promoting gender-related research and outreach across the university and facilitating interdisciplinary global research and engagement among faculty teams. She also develops and supports strategic domestic and international partnership initiatives in the areas of gender and women’s studies and foster partnerships with similarly situated p

rograms around the globe.

"Dr. Chaudhuri’s diverse experience clearly demonstrates her commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship that uphold the feminist ideals of equity and collaboration centered in GenCen’s mission,” said Steven Hanson, vice provost and dean for MSU International Studies and Programs.

Soma Chaudhuri is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology. Her work spans areas on gender, development, violence, witch hunts, and social movements, with specific connections to violence against women. Her research has been funded by several grants including those from the National Science Foundation and Social Science Research Council. Soma Chaudhuri earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Vanderbilt University.


Aminda Smith, Co-Director of Academic Programs, Outreach, & Engagement

Aminda Smith AM-Smith-Headshot-2022.jpeg

Co-Director of Academic Programs, Outreach, & Engagement (she/her/hers)


Bio: Mindy is a historian of modern China with a particular interest in radicalism and revolution. She has been involved with the GenCen, teaching courses and working on other projects, since the Center was created in 2007. Her connection to the GenCen has always been one of the most rewarding aspects of her career at MSU, and she was very excited to join the staff during this leadership transition.

Do you have any pets?

I have a black cat named Arthur.

If you were to have a career other than your current one, what would it be?

I would be the greater Lansing area’s worst dance teacher, and I would love it.

If you had to give a lecture on one subject without preparation, what would it be? 

The history of consciousness raising as a revolutionary intersectional practice.

Rajalakshmi Nadadur, Assistant Director


Rajalakshmi Nadadur
Assistant Director


Rajalakshmi Nadadur serves as GenCen’s Assistant Director. In this role, she manages the research team, maintains and builds the existing network comprising of interdisciplinary scholars, various MSU departments and units, external partners, and provides program management support for gender transformative research.

She holds a PhD in Gender and Religion from the University of Stirling, U.K. and her research interest is in gender and development. As a gender expert, her current work focuses mainly on gender mainstreaming, intersectionality and social inclusion in the fields of education, livelihood, migration and climate-resilience with field work experience in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Kenya and Uganda. She has published on these topics and has served on USAID and DoS projects. Before joining GenCen, she was a Project Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo where she taught research and writing, and an introductory course in Anthropology of Religion in the Japan in East Asia program. Since 2007, she has taught in various capacities at universities in the U.S., U.K., and Thailand. Between 2015 – 2019, she was also an affiliated researcher at the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Outside academia, she has worked extensively in livelihood projects with urban refugee communities in Thailand, conducting participatory research, culture mapping, and providing tutoring and interpretation services to organizations including UN-ACT, and in media and public policy research in India and U.K.

What is your favorite thing to talk about?
Gender theories and the news.

If you were to have a career other than your current/planned one, what would it be?
A librarian or a museum curator. They are some of the coolest people on the planet.

Do you have pets?
Yes! Our grey tabby Tora who talks all the time, and our orange tabby Yuki who loves to lay in the sun.

Pat Arnold, Undergrad/Grad Advisor

Pat ArnoldARNOLD_Patrick_2 (1).jpg
Academic Specialist - Undergrad/Grad Advisor


Pat Arnold is an academic specialist in GenCen entering their fourth year with the Center and the Women's and Gender Studies program.  They serve as the academic advisor for all undergraduate and graduate students in GenCen programs, and also coordinate student internships, assist in curriculum development, and teach WGS courses. They are passionate about facilitating student success at every level of the college experience, and advocating for gender and racial equity in MSU policies, curriculum, and culture.  

Pat comes to GenCen from their prior job at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where they coordinated the first-year curriculum, and taught in the WGS program. Pat holds a B.S. in Philosophy and English from Northern Michigan University and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan. They worked on a PhD in philosophy/ethics at the University of Nebraska but are now pursuing a Public Health degree at MSU.

What's your favorite thing to talk about?
I am fascinated by literally everything. I want to take every class at MSU and geek out about them with others. I also enjoy talking about new shows and podcasts. Currently, I am digging the podcast Bad Gays, about the lives of complicated queers in history.

What are you currently working on?
My main current research project involves investigating the impact diversity courses and programming have on participants. For instance, do they reduce gender or racial bias? Do they promote a sense of belonging particularly for underrepresented student groups? In public health, I research interventions to reduce healthcare inequity for trans and nonbinary groups, particularly as they navigate reproductive health and decision-making, and have recently joined MSU's Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health.

Edwin Serrano, Office Manager and Communications Coordinator

Edwin SerranoSERRANO_Edwin.jpg
Office Manager and Communications Coordinator


Edwin is responsible for the day-to-day office operations as well as digital and print communications for the center. A new Michigan resident with a varied history of working in media, education and public service, Edwin now brings his experiences to MSU. Aside from his work experience, Edwin enjoys photography, woodworking, and being outdoors. Having recently moved from California, Edwin is excited to see everything Michigan has to offer!

What brings you to Michigan?
I moved to Michigan to support my partner as they complete medical residency. I was initially worried about a culture shock, but Lansing/East Lansing already feels like a great fit. We haven't felt like we are missing out on anything so far and everyone we have met has been so friendly!

What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to be doing things. I enjoy working around the house, biking in the neighborhood, making new woodworking projects, working on my photography, and performing music. I enjoy working with all kinds of fun gadgets and tools to end up with something practical.

Mae Crowell, Fiscal Officer/Financial Analyst

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Fiscal Officer

Mae Crowell is the Fiscal Officer at GenCen (and several other units within International Studies & Programs). In her role, she is responsible for managing all financial accounts and coordinating human resources. Having held a variety of staff and administration roles across campus, Mae has been a proud employee of MSU for 20 years. She enjoys the variety of programs and people she gets to work with at GenCen.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
We have two dogs, Beau is a 14 year old Golden Retriever and Luke is a 5 year old Chocolate Lab.

What's your favorite thing to talk about?
My grandkids!

If you were to have a career other than your current one, what would it be?
I'd be a caterer or event planner.

Lucy Thompson, Senior Research Fellow

Lucy.jpgLucy Thompson
Senior Research Fellow

Lucy Thompson serves as the Senior Research Fellow for GenCen. Lucy is a feminist psychologist who works in the fields of critical, social, community, and organizational psychology. Her main topics of interest include feminist perspectives on work and organizations, and institutional perspectives on identities, power, and trauma. 

Lucy has been with GenCen since she began leading the Education Abroad program, “Gender, Sex, and Feminism in the UK,” in the summer of 2017, but now joins GenCen in an official capacity as Senior Research Fellow. In this position, Lucy works on grant applications and various gender and sexuality research projects. 

Lucy also works as an Assistant Professor for the Department of Psychology, where she has been employed since 2017. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006, and her PhD in Organizational Psychology from Leeds Beckett University in 2014.

Top 5 Things I like about Michigan (as a British person) in no particular order:
1. Better Made Rainbow Chips
2. Miller's Bar in Dearborn
3. My local neighborhood: REO Town
4. The Mission Peninsula wineries
5. The Detroit Institute of Art

What's your favorite joke?
Q: Where do mansplainers get their water? 
A: From a well, actually.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
My cat, Rocky, travelled from the UK with me when I relocated to Michigan. She's now known in our household as the Michigan Princess.

Kaya Wilske, Research Intern

Kaya Wilske
kayawilske.jpgResearch Intern
(she/her/hers & they/them/theirs)


Kaya Wilske is a Junior at Michigan State University declared for a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, and Minors in both Women and Gender Studies, and Theater. Their academic interests include examining different forms of power as they intersect with women and gender theories. She currently acts as the Vice President of the Historical Association at MSU and adores summer.

Do you have any pets?
I have three dogs! Two toy-poodles and a golden doodle who makes it her life’s mission to get the muddiest paws in the world.

Who are your top 5 musical artists?
Taylor Swift, Florence & The Machine, Hozier, Mitski, and The Regrettes!

If you had to give a lecture right now without preparation, what would it be on?
If I had to give a lecture on any subject without preparation, it would probably be why The Last Jedi is easily one of, if not THE best Star Wars movie. 

Mackenzie Lovell, Communications Intern

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Research Intern


I am a junior majoring in Social Relations & Policy and Comparative Cultures & Politics with minors in Women's & Gender Studies and Peace & Justice studies. Outside of class, I'm involved with Planned Parenthood Generation Action, Pad the Mitten, and the Progressive Policy Alliance (formally known as Roosevelt @MSU). I also volunteer for the Center for Survivors, and I work as a Peer Educator. I am extremely excited to be working with the GenCen this year -- I love this program and all of the valuable work they do around campus!

What are your top 5 music artists?

5 Seconds of Summer, Taylor Swift, Conan Gray, Lizzy McAlpine, Harry Styles

What Netflix show did you binge-watch embarrassingly fast?

It's a three-way tie between Julie and the Phantoms, Heartstopper, and Never Have I Ever.

If you had to give a lecture on one subject without preparation, what would it be?

The Cultural Impact of the Hunger Games (books and movies)

Kara MacKenzie, Communications Intern

Kara MacKenzieMACKENZIE_Kara_4.jpg
Communications Intern


I’m a senior studying Professional & Public Writing and Women’s & Gender Studies. Professionally, I am interested in the intersections between rhetoric and social justice, and I hope to one day use my communications skills to benefit a nonprofit organization. In my personal life, I am an intramural volleyball player, plant mom, artist, and avid reader.

What are your top 5 music artists?

ATEEZ, Stray Kids, LUCY, BTS, Twenty One Pilots

If you had to give a lecture on one subject without preparation, what would it be?

It would definitely be either an introduction to all of my plants or an explanation of why everyone should own a plant!

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