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Meet the Staff

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

Stephanie Nawyn, Co-Director for Academic Programs, Outreach, and Engagement

Stephanie Nawyn

Co-Director for Academic Programs, Outreach, and Engagement

I oversee the Women's and Gender Studies undergraduate curriculum and the WGS graduate specialization, collaborate with amazing staff and faculty doing gender- and sexuality-related programming on and off campus, and ask the interns how to work my phone.  I did my doctoral work at the University of Southern California, and starting working at MSU in 2006.  When I'm not at the GenCen, I am an associate professor in Sociology doing work on gender and migration.

I have a cat, Suleiman the Magnificent, names after the great Ottoman Sultan, and a beagle mix dog, Kirby, names after the Nintendo video game.

Favorite things to talk about:
My research, feminist epistemology, my kids, and whatever I'm watching on Netflix.

If you had any career other than the one you have, what would it be?
Something involving food preparation, even though the hours are terrible.


Wenda Bauchspies, Co-Director of International Outreach and Engagement

Wenda Bauchspies

Co-Director of GenCen for International Research and Engagement 

Bio: I share the responsibility of guiding, leading, and running the GenCen with mCo-
Director, while I focus on the research, engagement and international side of the 
center. I am a social scientist trained in science and technology studies with an affinity
for Francophone West Africa.  I have been traveling, researching and living around the
world since I completed my bachelors at St. John's College.

Favorite thing to talk about:
Social Theory

If you had any career other than the one you currently have, what would it be?
Arborist or Ophthalmologist

Top 5 things I'd like to see in the future:
1. A safe and respectful university
2. Good global healthcare
3. Unpolluted Earth
4. Respectful communities
5. Instantaneous Travel

Amy Jamison, Associate Director

Amy Jamison
Associate Director

I am responsible for leading the GenCen's efforts to promote global
gender-related research and outreach at Michigan State University. I act as
GenCen's liaison with similarly oriented women's and gender studies, 
international development, and global studies programs outside of MSU. I also 
work with center-affiliated faculty across campus to advance ISP's and MSU's
gender-related international research on topics such as agriculture, food, and 
development; natural resource management; health and nutrition; higher 
education capacity building; gendered violence; and empowerment strategies. 
Before becoming the interim co-director in 2017, I was GenCen's assistant director
and grant writer.  I am a gender and education specialist with Masters degrees in
African Studies and African History from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Education Policy from MSU.

Favorite things to talk about:
Social justice issues, international research, African universities, women's leadership,
sci-fi/fantasy TV shows, Spartan basketball, traveling, and quilting.

If you had any career other than the one your have, what would it be?
An archaeologist, a full-time quilter, or someone who plans
off-the-beaten-path international tours.

Fun Fact:
I'm obsessed with African fabrics and have acquired a fairly large collection.

Greg Frens, Fiscal Officer

Gregory (Greg) Frens

Fiscal Officer

Graduate of MSU in Accounting 1986. Best experience at MSU: Overseas study program in Business Law at Eramus University in Rotterdam in 1985. I have never stopped traveling since the ISP experience. Retired from MDOT at the State of Michigan. Recently accepted Cathy Fields' old position as the Fiscal Officer. Excited to be working here and committed to helping the GenCen find new revenue streams and grow!

Top 5 Beaches of the World (in no particular order):
1. Bali
2. Amalfi Coast
3. Oahu
4. Rio de Janeiro (been there!!)
5. Maui

"I'd never admit it, but I secretly love _____."
Old AT&T commercials that make you cry.

If you had any career other than the one you have, what would it be?
Travel reviewer (Love the travel part, just not the writing part.)

Emily Khan, Secretary

Emily Khan

I graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Advertising (creative concentration) in May 2015. My role at GenCen is basically to ensure things run smoothly! I help plan events, coordinate schedules, manage the day-to-day office happenings, and am also in charge of the graphic design and promos for GenCen.

2 kitties - Snickerdoodle and Han Rolo

Favorite things to talk about:
1. My husband (Salim) and my kitties
2. Video games. Most recently, I finished Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I've been playing the new competitive season of Overwatch.
3. Whatever TV show I'm currently binge-watching on Netflix - right now it's Person of Interest.

Top 5 Musicians/Bands:
1. Rise Against (by a large margin)
2. Three Days Grace (particularly with original lead singer Adam Gontier)
3. Linkin Park (best albums are 2012 and prior)
4. Justin Timberlake
5. Fall Out Boy

Sara Bijani, GenCen Undergraduate Student Advisor and Internship Coordinator

Sara Bijani

Undergraduate Advisor

I advise the undergraduate majors and minors in the center as well as coordinate internship placements for students who are interested in learning more about how gender studies can be applied to hands-on research and work.

I have an old dog, and old cat, and two rabbits who all bounce around in my house and get along with one another.

Favorite thing to talk about:
Everything. I especially enjoy learning about the interests and goals of all of the students who come in for advising.

If you had any career other than the one you have, what would it be?
Union organizing

Rowenn Kalman, Graduate Advisor

Rowenn Kalman

Assistant Professor and Graduate Student Advisor

I recently earned a PhD in Anthropology with a specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change (MSU 2017). My dissertation, titled “Environmental Stewardship and the Production of Subjectivities: Indigenous, Scientific, and Economic Rationalities in Ancash, Peru,” examines how NGOs, rural farmers, mine engineers, and various state officials conceptualize and enact different versions of environmental consciousness as they attempt to assert authority over key resources like water. My principal case study of resource management in Vicos, Peru, illustrates the complexities of stewardship participation resulting from (and giving rise to) different aspects of multifaceted subjectivity including gender, indigeneity, economic incentives, and environmental science. I worked alongside NGO and civil society groups in the Andes while conducting this research, and look forward to developing future collaborations as I disseminate my findings. As GenCen's Graduate Student Advisor, I assist students in creating plans of study that increase their expertise on Gender and Environment (GJEC) and/or International Development (GSID). I also teach introductory and upper-division courses in Anthropology and Women’s Studies with a focus on Cultural Anthropology, Gender, International Development, Political Ecology, and Latin America (e.g., ANP 201, WS 403, and ANP 325).

I don't have any pets, but my daughter sometimes pretends to be a puppy.

Fun Fact:
On weekends I like to draw and paint.


Dessie Clark, GPID Working Papers Managing Editor

Dessie Clark

Managing Editor, Gendered Perspectives on International Development (GPID) Working Papers

I am the Managing Editor of Gendered Perspectives on International Development. In my position, I recruit and review papers focused on gender and development. During this process, I work with authors and editorial board members to get relevant papers ready for publication. I received a B.A. in Psychology from Centenary College of Louisiana and a M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University in Community Development and Action. I am currently a Doctoral Candidate at MSU working towards my Ph.D. In Ecological-Community Psychology. My interests include the institutional and systemic reinforcement of gender-based violence. My research includes looking at affordable housing options for survivors, such as transitional housing and rapid re-housing. My latest project focuses on looking at traumatic brain injury in survivors and the use of neurofeedback therapy to mitigate the impacts of traumatic brain injury.

I have four! Two dogs (Bronx the Boston Terrier and Louis the Great Pyrenees), a cat (Rudy), and a thoroughbred horse (Toby).

Top Five Cheese Dips:
1. Any form of white queso
2. The classic crockpot favorite - rotel and velveeta
3. Pretty much any form of whipped feta
4. Spinach and artichoke dip
5. Beer cheese (typically accompanied by soft pretzels)

Fun Fact:
I won several world championships riding horses. However, you would not guess that if you saw me on my newly adopted ex-racehorse. He loves to "challenge" me.

Rebecca Cox, Undergraduate Intern

Rebecca Cox

Undergraduate Intern

I'm a rising junior studying Social Relations and Policy with minors in LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and Public Relations.

"I'd never admit it, but I secretly love _____."
Imitating the announcement “please watch your step as you exit the moving walk” in airports.

If you had any career other than the one you're planning to have, what would it be?
I'd be a Tour Manager for a musician.

Top 5 Albums of 2017:
1. Gone Now - Bleachers
2. Melodrama - Lorde
3. About U - MUNA
4. Something To Tell You - HAIM
5. American Teen - Khalid

Naomi Kamitha, Undergraduate Intern

Naomi Kamitha

Undergraduate Intern

I am a rising junior studying Women’s and Gender Studies and International Relations.  I work at the GenCen as an intern to support the important work that the center does around campus and beyond.

Favorite thing to talk about:
I like to talk about home, Kenya and Africa. I am passionate about African issues and am always eager to learn more and share.

"I'd never admit it, but I secretly love _____."
CapriSun and reality TV.

If you had any career other than the one you're planning to have, what would it be?
I would be a gymnast (or any other kind of athlete) or singer.


Marisa Meyerson, Undergraduate Intern

Marisa Meyerson

Undergraduate Intern

I am a Psychology major with minors in Women's and Gender Studies and Religious Studies. After graduating, I plan to pursue a career in clinical social work, doing family therapy with a focus on gender and sexuality. At GenCen, I work on our website and social media, create promotional materials for events, and help with special projects. Most recently, I helped coordinate GenCen's 2017 Undergraduate Research Showcase.

I don't have any pets of my own, but two of my roommates have cats. One is very social and thinks she's a dog, and the other one has really bad anxiety and will run away if she has to make eye contact with a human.

"I'd never admit it, but I secretly love _____."
It's really not a secret but I love corgis. Someday I'd like to have two, named Nigel and Miranda after characters in The Devil Wears Prada.

If you had any career other than the one you're planning to have, what would it be?
I love baking and cake decorating, and I would love to do that professionally! 

Rhys Sirna, Undergraduate Intern

Rhys Sirna

Undergraduate Intern

I'm a third-year Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science (IDS) major concentrating in Community Governance and Advocacy with a minor in Global Studies. After college I'd like to work in some sort of community organizing, like an LBGTQ+ resource center. I'm also on the eboard of TransAction, a group for trans students at MSU.

I have a large, orange cat named Mimi. She is very sweet and loving, except at 7 a.m. when she wants her food, and she wants it now.

Top 5 Musical Artists:
1. Lorde
2. Wet
3. Panic! at the Disco
4. Shakira
5. Hayley Kiyoko
Bonus: Bayside

Favorite joke:
What’s the fastest liquid? Milk, because it’s pasteurized before you see it.

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