Graduate Scholar Recipients

Della Duncan Ishita Maheshwari
Debby Gerritsen Anasuya Ray
Dominique Harrison Han Nee C. Wester
Sophie Hennekam Adam C Williams

Graduate Scholar Winners

Della Duncan
Della Duncan is a graduate scholar from the Sociology Department at the University of California, Davis. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Sociology from the same university. Her areas of interests include Latin America, inter-cultural relations, and development economics. She is especially passionate about studying the field of human development as a way to overcome the structural obstacles that stand in the way of people living the lives they want to live. She is excited to be a part of the discussion at this year’s Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations Conference.

Debby Gerritsen
In 2008 I obtained a master degree in Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism at Utrecht University. At this moment I am a PhD student in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science at Utrecht University. With a special interest in education, I am currently conducting research into the participation of young migrants in Europe, the transition from school to the labour market, gender differences and social policies on these areas. Additionally I am involved in the 7th framework European research project PROFACITY, in which I study the concept of ‘profane citizenship’ in the case of young migrants in the Netherlands. My research could be defined as interdisciplinary and practice-based.

Dominique Harrison
Dominique Harrison is a second semester, first year doctoral student in Mass Communications and Media Studies at Howard University. She obtained her masters degree in Media Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and her bachelors degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, Dominique’s research interests include development within the Caribbean, race and representation, tourism, and globalization.

Sophie Hennekam
I am Sophie Hennekam, a PhD student at ESC Rennes School of Business in France. After having done a bachelor in Psychology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, she has done a minor in French at the University of Rennes in France and afterwards a Master of Science in Diversity Management. During this master a passion for diversity management was born and she started teaching in a Rennes School of Business while doing a PhD specializing in older employees at the workplace. Being dynamic and full of energy, I enjoy the interaction with other students and experts in this field and hope that exchanging knowledge in a multicultural environment like this conference will help advance the field of diversity management.

Ishita Maheshwari
Originally from Mumbai, India, Ishita obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communications from California State University East Bay. She is an MA candidate in Intercultural Relations with a passion for understanding the interpersonal, societal, institutional, organizational and personal dynamics of culture and how that gets communicated at times of grief and conflict. These interests translate into Ishita’s research, which explores women’s experience of abortion and the manner in which ethnicity, societal structures, and cultural ideals shape or transform grief experiences.

Ishita’s teaching experience is in intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, and public speaking. In 2010, Ishita coordinated a 10-day intensive Intercultural Institute for 6 female students from the University of UAE visiting Cal State East Bay. These individuals engaged in cross-cultural perspective taking and practiced inquiry into the differences and similarities in cultural norms, values, belief systems, history and religions of the Bay Area. In 2011, Ishita was able to visit the University of Al-Ain and conduct a week-long Intercultural training session with students and staff on campus. The training involved engagement and understanding of concepts relating to ‘othering,’ prejudice, oppression, conflict and the nature of culture in identity.

Ishita was awarded the “Intercultural Student of the Year-2009″ and the “Teaching Associate of the Year-2010″ by the Dept. of Communication at Cal State East Bay. She was also President of the Communication Student Association at Cal State East Bay from 2009-2010.

Next year, Ishita begins her doctoral studies in New Zealand in continuation of her research and learning of race relations, culture and women’s experiences of abortion.


Anasuya Ray
Anasuya Ray graduated from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India in 2006 with a B.A in Political Science and Film Studies. She received her M.A in Social Work in 2008 from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India with a focus on Community Organization and Development Practices and Social Policy and Planning.

During her master’s degree, Anasuya did field work in a mental health clinic for children and adolescents. There she designed an intervention program for children with learning disabilities and incorporated play therapy in her work. Her second year field work was in a slum setting in Mumbai, where she worked with waste picker women and facilitated micro credit initiatives, as well as formed children’s groups to initiate life skills, study sessions and play therapy.

During her UNICEF internship, she worked in rural Maharastra evaluating micro planning projects across ten villages, where she assessed education, health care and governance structures. Anasuya has worked and conducted research in multiple states in India on gender and livelihood, public health care, and food security. She gained experience working in a conflict area when she studied state control and documented torture testimonials of ex-militants and civilians in the backdrop of armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.
Her research interests include social networks and every day violence in Afghanistan; development interventions in conflict areas; religion and conflict; construction of memory; language, identity and spatiality in conflict; and gendering violence.

She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. She is a research assistant for the Intensive Weekend Program, where her responsibilities include designing surveys, data analysis and supervising an online field support group for students.


Han Nee C. Wester
Han Nee C. Wester is a faculty member at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hawaii Pacific University. She also facilitates online undergraduate courses at the University of Phoenix and international business courses at Remington College Honolulu Campus. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in education at the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California. Her research interests include innovation, diversity, and learning styles.

Adam C Williams
Mr. Williams was born in the Bay Area of California and attended California State University at Sacramento in which he received his B.A. in Digital Media, with minors in Film Studies and Pan African Studies. During which he was committed to servicing Black communities in the Sacramento and Bay Areas. Currently twenty-eight years old, and a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin, Mr. Williams studies the ways in which contemporary media impacts people of African descent throughout the African Diaspora. His recent travels and research throughout Ghana, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago have enhanced his knowledge and exposure to broader African Diaspora communities and their media use, while domestically his many projects have centered on Black manhood and the culture industry in the US. His dissertation centers on performances of Black male respectability within social media spaces such as MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Mr. Williams is the co-founder of the Black Media Council (which is an organization geared around the consciousness and utilization of all modes of media in order to educate and empower the Black community), and teaches Black Media Literacy.