Spring 2020 Fellows

Open Pedagogy Fellows – Spring 2020

Alexis Brewer earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in animal behavior and conservation from Hunter College. She is a doctoral candidate studying ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Alexis currently studies the emergence of novel ecosystems and biotic communities due to urbanization pressures. Alexis teaches in the Department of Biology at Queens College where she focuses on making the scientific process accessible to all students. When she is not in the lab or teaching, you can find her hiking with her dog or photographing wildlife.


Alyssa Lyons is a PhD candidate in the sociology program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research examines how anti blackness and white supremacy structure the contours and essence of formal education. A CUNY kid at heart, she’s currently an adjunct instructor at Lehman College, which also happens to be her undergraduate alma mater.


Blondie Natacha L. N. E. Pawa is a  Doctoral candidate in French at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is concerned about African Politics and is the co-chair of the African Research Group at the Graduate Center. Holder of a M.A and a D.E.A in French from University of Yaoundé I , her academic interests are broad and varied, French and Francophone literatures, Afro-American women writers (Toni Morrison, Alice Walker) , psychoanalysis, film, interactive technology. She also holds a certificate in Interactive Technology Pedagogy and a certificate in Film Studies from The CUNY Graduate Center. For the past 5 years, Natacha has been a French Lecturer (St John’s University, QueensBorough Community College, Hunter and Brooklyn Colleges).

Brian Mercado is a doctoral student in the Sociology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His current research seeks to analyze the processes by which immigration surveillance and enforcement, a manifestation of the criminalization of youth, occur within schools. He is the coordinator of the CUNY Pipeline Fellowship Program, a CUNY-wide initiative designed to provide support to undergraduates from groups underrepresented in academia who are interested in pursuing a PhD. Brian has taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Sociology Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.

Jennifer Savoie is a PhD student in the Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology program at the Graduate Center. Her dissertation research looks at lateralized behaviors in bottlenose dolphins. Jennifer is currently a teaching fellow at Hunter College.

Karen Zaino is a doctoral student in Urban Education at the Graduate Center and a Teaching Fellow in the Queens College English Education Department. Prior to graduate study, she was a high school English teacher for 12 years in Philadelphia, PA and Covington, KY. 

Maria Barrera-Vilert is a doctoral student in Criminal Justice at The Graduate Center / John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). She received her bachelor’s degree in criminology and Public Prevention Policies from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and her master’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College (NYC). Her research interest focuses on the impact of terrorism on prevention policies in public spaces. She currently teaches Research Design and Methods at John Jay College. In her spare time Maria enjoys wandering and taking pictures.

Maria Victoria Salazar is a PhD student in Philosophy focusing on Ancient Greek Philosophy. Her dissertation is about the relationship between metaphysics, politics, and eros in Plato’s philosophy. Her academic interests also include Philosophy of Archaeology and Philosophy of Education, though she understands her interest in Philosophy of Education to be personal as well as academic. She is currently teaching Philosophy of Religion at Queens College, CUNY. She is also a proud Hunter College, CUNY alumna.

Monika Zaleska is a writer, translator, and PhD student in comparative literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is an editor at Newest York, an arts magazine showcasing the city’s emerging writers and artists. She holds an MFA from Brooklyn College, where she served as fiction editor of The Brooklyn Review, and now teaches literature and creative writing.

Sally Sharif is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center. Upon completing the Open Pedagogy Workshop in January 2020, she revised her syllabus for the course “Civil Wars and Peacebuilding,” making it entirely open access. Her recent publications are The Art of Winning a Peace Agreement: The Case of the FARC,” and Predicting the End of the Syrian Conflict: From Theory to the Reality of a Civil War.” 



Stanley Chen is an adjunct lecturer at Lehman College (department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences). He has taught undergraduate courses in Introduction to Linguistics and Articulatory Phonetics. Coming from a second language acquisition, formal linguistics, and speech background, Stanley has developed expertise in teaching linguistics to students across different disciplines.

Tania Avilés is a Ph.D student from the sociolinguistic track in the Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures program at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a member of the Grupo de Glotopolítica. She has a BA and a Master in Hispanic Linguistics from the Universidad de Chile. Her dissertation project examines private letter writing as a social practice among the lower ranks of Chilean society during its nation state building process in the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. She is a GTF and Adjunct professor in John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.