Staff and Research Scholars

The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program is enriched by the following Staff, Fellows, Research Scholars, and Lecturers:

Nancy Hirschmann

Nancy Hirschmann

A professor in Political Science, Nancy Hirschmann works in the history of political thought, analytical philosophy and feminist theory. Her newest book, Gender, Class, and Freedom in Modern Political Theory considers the concept of freedom as it developed in the canon of political thought from the 17th to 19th centuries and examines how issues of gender and class affected the dominant conceptions of freedom.  Her previous book, The Subject of Liberty: Toward a Feminist Theory of Freedom, took a more contemporary approach and considered the concept of freedom in the context of political and social issues such as domestic violence, Islamic veiling, and U.S. welfare reform.  Read More

Demie Kurz

Demie Kurz

Demie Kurz is the Co-Director of the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the Co-Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies program.  Her primary research and teaching interests are in contemporary issues of gender, with a specific focus on the family.  She has written on the topics of divorce and domestic violence and also has a strong interest in the area of "carework".  Read More

 Melanie Adley

Melanie Adley
Associate Director

Melanie Adley is the Associate Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program and of the Alice Paul Center. Her teaching and research interests include feminist and queer theory, gender and sexuality studies, as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and culture. Read More


Luz Marin

Luz Marin
Program Coordinator

Luz Marin is the Program Coordinator for the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program.  Read More


Sara Mourad
Graduate Associate

Sara Mourad is the Graduate Associate in the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program. She is a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication. Her current research focuses on the politics of sexuality in the Arab world, particularly how discourses of sexual morality are deployed locally and transnationally to police and destabilize national boundaries and identities. Read More 


Sabina Spigner
Office Assistant

Sabina Spigner is the Office Assistant for the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. She is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her majors are Biological Bases of Behavior and GSWS. Her goal is to become a Pediatric Surgeon and/or an OB/GYN. She wants to implement what she learned from the GSWS Program into her eventual field of medicine. In addition, Sabina is currently working as an intern in a genetics research lab at CHOP. She is also an avid member of the Penn Band!



Sheila Shankar
Media Outreach Coordinator

Sheila Shankar is the Media Outreach Coordinator for the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program.  She is currently a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences studying GSWS and BBB.  Sheila currently interns in a skin cancer research lab at HUP and is on the GSWS Undergraduate Advisory Board.  In 2013 she founded Penn for Reproductive Health, an organization partnered with Planned Parenthood to promote safe reproductive health practices and provide resources to Penn students. Additionally, Sheila is the Internal Communications Chair of Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP).

Kirk Fiereck

Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Sexuality Studies (2014-2016)

Kirk Fiereck received a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from Columbia University in 2014 and a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2005. His research examines how forms of queer personhood have emerged out of complex enactments of sexual and gender identities within black and medical cultures in South Africa over the past century. Read More


Katie Eyer

Katie Eyer, J.D.
Alice Paul Center Research Affiliate

Katie Eyer is an Alice Paul Center Research Affiliate and Assistant Professor of Law at Rutgers Camden Law School. Her research focuses on using transcontextual approaches to identify and address major under-theorized questions in the area of civil rights law. Current projects involve an investigation of the ways in which family law has historically been treated differently as a locale for civil rights reform, and a series of projects investigating the reasons why discrimination litigants fare so poorly in obtaining successful litigated outcomes.  Read More


Jeanne Vaccaro
Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Sexuality Studies (2012-2014)

Jeanne Vaccaro received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies at New York University and B.A. in Women's Studies at Smith College. She works at the intersections of feminist art historical practice, affect, and queer theory. Her book project, "Handmade: the Everyday Feelings and Textures of Transgender Embodiment," is an interdisciplinary study of transgender performance art and visual culture. Jeanne recently accepted another prestigious postdoctral fellow in Gender Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.  

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The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women

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