Social Sciences

Department Alumni

Leah Juliett:

Leah was recognized as one of Glamour Magazine’s 2019 College Women of Year. In 2020, Leah was named as a L’Oréal of Paris Woman of Worth, the first non-binary honoree, and they received $10,000 for victim support, as the Founder and Director of March Against Revenge Porn: eradicates image abuse through global grassroots organizing, national protest marches, media advocacy, victim support services, federal lobbying, and direct legislative action. Leah graduated in Fall 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.


Nicole Struth:

Nicole Struth graduated from WCSU in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in conflict resolution. She currently works as the Education and Special Projects Director at the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, where she works to manage and expand CTWAC’s education related programs such as the annual Model UN, reaching over 1100 Connecticut high school students each year. Nicole completed a dual graduate degree program, receiving an M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and a Masters of Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prior to her studies, Nicole served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington State assisting with the management of a college preparedness program for underserved high school students. Nicole has extensive travel experience that includes living abroad in Germany and The Netherlands.





Fernando Bermudez: 

At 12-years-old, Represent Justice ambassador @FernandoBermudezFree had an after school routine. When his last class was over, he’d head down to the subway with his friends and markers in tow, and spend his afternoon writing in the tunnels. It was like art class, and he wasn’t alone.  He was part of a phenomenon of Black and Brown youth in the five boroughs making themselves visible through public art when the rest of society tried to render them invisible.

“It was a way of self expression in the ghetto. A way to become known, to become popular,” Fernando said. But after spending 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Fernando suppressed his talents, partially out of fear of getting in trouble.

These last few months of sheltering in place have allowed Fernando to reconnect with his artistic practice, and channel his emotions through graffiti. That’s why he created this piece for #FreeOurVote. His piece explores what it means to be disenfranchised. He traces the roots of mass incarceration and reminds us that November’s election is the first step toward building a fairer justice system.

Through his art, he outlines the rise of the prison industrial complex, and how the rapid expansion of prisons and policing — which disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities — takes decades away from people’s lives. With an officer blocking access to a ballot box, Fernando shows how the ramifications of incarceration last long after a person is released. And we know this to be true, since more than 6.1 million Americans have lost the right to vote because of a felony conviction.

“We need to vote for more people, but we also need to pass laws to get more to vote,” Fernando said. “We need to free our vote.”

Fernando graduated from WCSU in Fall 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences.



Past Alumni Panel Discussions:

Click to see the full images

March 2020 

February 2019 (for a PDF version, see here)

About Dr. Laurie Weinstein

Dr. Laurie Weinstein is Professor Emeritus at WCSU Anthropology. Although she is retired, she still teaches for the Department and handles the Permaculture Garden logistics or everything from grant-writing to managing the student interns and networking with the food pantries in the Danbury region. The Permaculture Garden was her initiative when she was Chair of the JGC. When she is not working at WCSU, she is writing her books about Native England (Between Two Rivers and Two Wars: Western New England in the 18th century with Dr. Lucianne Lavin, for U of Arizona Press) and managing a major series for the U of Arizona Press. Weinstein also started the Archaeology Program and CRM minor at WCSU and she still consults with state officers, local museums, and historical societies about regional culture history. In particular, she is active with the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT. Dr. Weinstein has a lot of pets and helps to rehab small animals up in Massachusetts where she lives.

About Dr. R. Averell Manes

Dr. R. Averell Manes earned a Ph.D. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She taught comparative politics, research methodology and conflict resolution courses at WCSU for 28 years. As the founder and Director of the Conflict Resolution Project, she offered information, training and services to members of the WCSU from 1995 to 2020. Since its inception in 2008 until 2019, Dr. Manes co-founded, co-chaired and coordinated the Hancock Student Leadership Program with the Office of Academic Affairs. She served as the faculty editor of the Social Sciences Journal from 2001 to 2016. A conflict analysis and resolution specialist, she continues to work as a consultant, trainer, and intervener with non-profit organizations, government agencies, public and private schools, businesses, and private individuals. In 2021, the R. Averell Manes Gender Equity Award was created in recognition of her career of service in the fields of gender justice and conflict resolution. Currently, she is a Faculty Affiliate at the Program on the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

About Dr. Christine Hegel-Cantarella

Dr. Christine Hegel holds an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She teaches courses on economic and legal anthropology, public anthropology, qualitative research methods, and the Middle East, among others. In 2017, Hegel received the CSCU Board of Regents Award for Teaching Excellence. Her current research project examines and contributes to the fight for livelihood rights for waste pickers (also called canners/informal recyclers/micro-haulers), for which she conducts field research in Brooklyn, New York and collaborates with local and global organizations. Prior collaborations have taken her to Finland to study hockey workers as part of research on Arctic economies, and she has undertaken a number of projects since 2012 focused on the intersections between design and anthropology. Her recent co-authored book, Ethnography by Design: Scenographic Experiments in Fieldwork, (2019, Routledge) with George E. Marcus and Luke Cantarella, offers a model for using design thinking and methods for ethnographic research. She has been awarded research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright Commission to conduct ethnographic research in Cairo and Port Said, Egypt, on on the use of legal fictions to reconfigure debt relations. Hegel has authored essays for the edited volumes Collaborative Anthropology Today: A Collection of Exceptions (2021, Cornell University Press) Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa Into the New Millennium (2013, Indiana University Press) and Family Law in the Muslim World (2016, I.B. Tauris) and articles, essays, and reviews in The Anthropology of Work; Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference; American Anthropologist; Cultural Anthropology; Anthropological Quarterly; and Law, Culture, and Humanities Journal. Her website is

About Dr. Howell Williams

Dr. Howell Williams holds a PhD in Politics from the New School for Social Research. His doctoral dissertation, “Re-Focus on the Family: The Development of a Liberal Family Politics,” was awarded the 2017 Hannah Arendt Dissertation Award in Politics. Williams researches the relationship between families and the state in America politics from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This research combines Williams’s interest in welfare policy, political discourse, and the rights of women and LGBT people. Williams incorporates these research interests into his political science classes on a range of topics, including American government, political institutions, political theory, and gender and sexuality politics. He has fellowships from the British Library and the U.K. Higher Education Academy. His writing has appeared in PS: Politics & Political Science, American Immigration (2nd Ed.), and The Guardian, and he contributes political commentary for the BBC. His current research project is a book on family values rhetoric in the contemporary Democratic Party.

About Dr. Robert D. Whittemore

Dr. Robert D. Whittemore earned his Ph.D. at the University of California in Los Angeles. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer and teacher and educational director for a child development center in Massachusetts, he did ethnographic fieldwork among the Mandinka people of the Casamance region of the Republic of Senegal. He also worked in urban Los Angeles with the developmentally disabled. As an associate of the Institute for Writing & Thinking at Bard College, Whittemore, in his classes at Western, explores the relationship between writing and thought, underscoring the importance of developing the kind of ethnographic sensibility essential to global citizenship. His wife, Elizabeth, who has collaborated with him on some of his research and writing, is a poet, playwright and novelist. Their eldest daughter, Miranda, is a novelist and their youngest, Vanessa Kai, is a filmmaker.

About Jessica Anderson Schofield

Dr. Jessica Anderson Schofield earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri in 2017 and a B.A. in Global Studies and Political Science from South Dakota State University. She specializes in the study of international relations and comparative politics. Her research focuses primarily on issues relating to international human rights and enforcement of human rights law through international courts, and she is currently working on a project examining allegations of African bias in the International Criminal Court. Dr. Schofield also conducts research on topics relating to women’s rights, political violence, and African politics. She has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences, and her work on human rights theory has been published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Empirical International Relations Theory. 

About Dr. Manoj Misra

Dr. Manoj Misra earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Alberta, Canada. Before joining this university, he was an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Republic of Korea. After the completion of his PhD, Dr. Misra was invited as a visiting research fellow at the Agrarian Alternatives cluster at Heidelberg University, Germany. His writings have won best graduate paper awards at the American Anthropological Association and the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development. He has published research articles in top-tier academic journals including in the Journal of Agrarian Change, Agriculture and Human Values, and Climate and Development. He also regularly writes in newspapers and magazines. His research interests are agrarian change and food sovereignty, energy issues and climate justice, and development dispossession in South Asia.

About Dr. Carina Bandhauer

Dr. Carina Bandhauer, Professor of Sociology, earned a Ph.D. at Binghamton University in 2001. She specializes in the sociology of racism, immigration, Latino/a/x studies, and globalization with a regional specialization in Latin America. Her research focus is on the study of racism, the anti-immigrant movement, international migration and globalization. Bandhauer is committed to teaching, researching and working to achieve social justice through awareness. Dr. Bandhauer founded Undocumented Student Services at WCSU in 2017 in conjunction with Connecticut Students for a Dream, and coordinates the UndocuAlly Task Force. In 2020 she co-founded and now co-chairs the Racial Justice Coalition. Dr. Bandhauer has ongoing partnerships with humanitarian groups in El Salvador where she has worked with rural communities since 1993. Dr. Bandhauer served as creative consultant for the production of the film, “El Pueblo Unido,” which documented her work in El Salvador and premiered at the Montreal Film Festival in 2004. Dr. Bandhauer hosts a variety of alternating speakers series on campus including a Latinx Speakers Series; an Undocumented Speakers Series; a Racial Justice Speakers series; a Transnational Families Speakers Series; and a geographically rotating International Social Sciences Symposium. Please feel free to email to find out what’s on the horizon!