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10 Years of LGBTQ Studies at Colgate

October 4th & 5th, 2019

The LGBTQ Studies program at Colgate will mark its 10th anniversary with a symposium that coincides with the University’s Homecoming Weekend celebrations. The program will reflect aspects of belonging, visibility, and well-being through events that consider the past, present, and future — the opportunities and challenges — of LGBTQ studies broadly viewed so as to include scholarship, pedagogy, and broader institutional as well as local impacts.

Maria Scharron-Del Rio


The symposium’s keynote address will be given by María Scharrón-del Río, Interim Associate Dean of the School of Education and Professor of the School Counseling Graduate Program at Brooklyn College, CUNY.

Panel Discussions

Three panel discussions will feature returning alumni as well as invited faculty, student life professionals, and representatives of local support agencies. Topics include experiences and aspirations; the state and future of LGBTQ Studies; and fostering new forms of engagement with queer alumni and communities.

Alumni Panelists

  • Leeander Alexander ’12
  • Drea Finley ’13
  • Dominique Hill ’05
  • Keyra Jimenez ’19
  • Kareem Khubchandani ’04
  • Renée Roundy ’19
  • Em Rubey ’18
  • Jack Skelton ‘05

Faculty Panelists

  • Matt Brim, Associate Professor of Queer Studies in the English Department, College of Staten Island, CUNY
  • Pedro DiPietro, Assistant Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies, Syracuse University
  • Dominique Hill ’05, A. Lindsay O’Connor Fellow in Women’s Studies, Colgate University
  • Eliza Kent, Professor and Head of the Department of Religion, Skidmore College
  • Kareem Khubchandani ’04, Mellon Assistant Professor of Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies, Tufts University
  • Melissa White, Assistant Professor of LGBT Studies, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Keynote Speaker

María Scharrón-del Río is a predoctoral Ford Foundation & APA's Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) fellow and received their Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico. After their clinical internship at the Harvard Medical School, they worked as an assistant child psychologist at the Washington Heights Family Health Center, a primary-care clinic that serves a predominantly Latinx immigrant community in NYC. They are an active leader in GLARE (GLBTQ Advocacy in Research & Education). They are committed to the development of multicultural competencies in counselors, psychologists, & educators using experiential & affective educational approaches. Their scholarship & advocacy focus on ethnic & cultural minority psychology & education, multicultural competencies, intersectionality, LGBTQ issues, gender variance, spirituality, resiliency, & well-being.


Invited Panelists

Leeander Alexander was the first LGBTQ Studies minor graduate at Colgate University in 2012. Since then they have gained experience in disability law, behavioral health, rehabilitation, and patient care coordination. They completed their M.A. in Healthcare Administration in 2019 at Colorado State University-Global Campus. Mx. Alexander is the Founder and CEO of Pass Da Suga, a privately owned fashion, style, and beauty boutique that de-genders the binary complex of the fashion, retail, and beauty industries and works full time as genderqueer style advisor and entrepreneur. 


Matt Brim is Associate Professor of Queer Studies in the English department. He teaches a variety of courses in LGBTQ literature and women's studies, often with a focus on black feminist/queer studies. His books include James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination (U. of Michigan Press, 2014), the co-edited collection Imagining Queer Methods (with Amin Ghaziani; NYU Press, 2019), and the forthcoming Poor Queer Studies (Duke U. Press, 2020), which reorients the field of queer studies away from elite institutions of higher education and toward working class schools, students, theories, and pedagogies. He has published in venues including the Journal of Homosexuality, the Journal of Modern Literature, and the Gay and Lesbian Review. Brim coedited the “Queer Methods” special issue of WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, and he wrote an interactive online study guide for teaching the HIV/AIDS documentary film United in Anger: A History of ACT UP. He has served on the board of directors for CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies, and with Dr. David Gerstner he cofounded the Queer CUNY Faculty and Staff Working Group. For three years, Brim and Dr. Cynthia Chris coedited WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, published by the Feminist Press. He is currently an associate editor for the James Baldwin Review. With Dr. Shelly Eversley, he is Academic Director of the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program, a university-wide initiative that advances CUNY’s institutional goal of supporting a diverse professoriate. In the fall 2019, Brim will be a Distinguished CUNY Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) at The Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York.


Pedro DiPietro

Pedro DiPietro is assistant professor in the department of women’s and gender studies at Syracuse University and an affiliate of Latino and Latin American Studies, Indigenous and Native American Studies, and LGBT Studies. They work at the intersection of decolonial feminisms, women of color thinking, Latinx studies, and transgender studies. They are one of the co-editors of Speaking Face to Face: The Visionary Philosophy of María Lugones and they are at work on a single-author manuscript under the title Sideways Selves, The Decolonizing Politics of Trans* Matter Across the Américas. They also serve as Coordinator of Graduate Studies at PRIGEPP-FLACSO, the Regional Program in Gender, Society, and Politics at Facultad Latinoamericana de las Ciencias Sociales. They collaborate with multiple organizations and collectives committed to social justice, including the Democratizing Knowledge Collective at Syracuse University, the Association for Jotería Arts, Activism, and Scholarship (AJAAS), and the travesti collectives Damas de Hierro and Futuro TransGenérico. In addition to other honors, DiPietro has received a Tinker Foundation Scholarship and an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at the University of California (Berkeley).  


Drea Finley 

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Drea Finley '13 is a black feminist scholar, activist and community organizer born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Drea graduated with a dual degree in Sociology and honors in Women’s Studies from Colgate University in 2013. Currently, Drea serves as an Assistant Dean for Administrative Advising and Director of First Generation Programs at Colgate University and holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University.

Drea lives their life as an openly proud Black, queer, differently-abled, woman who focuses on holistic interpretations of healing justice and radical activism. As a deep intellectual, Drea works to interrogate systems of oppression through community organizing and higher education platforms. With a critical lens for race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and spirituality-Drea works to model and dismantle notions of respectability politics within higher education. Drea was the inaugural recipient of the Audre Lorde award and simply put, Drea’s life work is devoted to seeing the complete liberation of all folx’s right to exist and live- within the complexities of our intersectional identities. In their words, "If my liberation is bound in your liberation, then ultimately we are connected. For when passion meets desire, change happens." With Care, -Drea


Dominique Hill PhD, class of 2005, is dedicated to highlighting voices, theories, and practices emanating from muted and hypervisible bodies and communities. Hill’s traditional and creative scholarship highlights liberatory practices and carceral experiences in contemporary Black girlhood as well as narrating, through collaborative and artistic mediums, Blackness, queerness, and violence as entanglements. She is co-visionary of the creative collective Hill L. Waters, co-author of the recently published Who look at me?! Shifting the Gaze of Education Through Blackness, Queerness, and The Body, and the A. Lindsay O’Connor visiting assistant professor in Women’s Studies at Colgate University. 


Keyra Jimenez was a FIRST scholar who majored in Educational Studies and minored in LGBTQ Studies. Through her heart-driven work as an intern at both The Center for Women’s Studies and LGBTQ+ initiatives, she contributed to making the campus climate more inclusive of marginalized identities, and attempted to create welcoming spaces for any student to be themselves. Keyra’s senior honor thesis film, Voices from the Hilltop, was a project guided by her love of her peers in the QT*POC community at Colgate, and a fascination with the nexus between our treasured pasts, dynamic presents, and imagined futures. Freshly graduated, she currently works with preschoolers in her hometown of Brooklyn, NY.


Eliza F. Kent is Professor of Religion at Skidmore College. While teaching in the Religion Department at Colgate from 2003-2014, she helped found the LGBTQ Studies program in 2008. A scholar of religion in South Asia, she is the author of Converting Women: Gender and Protestant Christianity in Colonial South India (Oxford University Press, 2004) and Sacred Groves, Local Gods: Religion and Environmentalism in South India (Oxford University Press, 2013). Her favorite courses to teach are Sex, Love and God and Queer Religion. 


Kareem Khubchandani 

Pronouns: all 

is the Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Drama & Dance and the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Tufts University. Kareem is developing several book projects include: Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (forthcoming, U. Michigan Press), Queer Nightlife (co-edited with Kemi Adeyemi at U. Washington and Ramón Rivera-Servera at Northwestern U.), and Auntologies: Queer Aesthetics and South Asian Aunties. Kareem is also a performance artist, working in drag, storytelling, body art, theater, and digital media. 


Tiffany Lane joined Colgate University in July 2018 as the Director of LGBTQ+Initiatives. Prior to coming to Colgate, she worked at Gettysburg College as the Director of LGBTQA Advocacy and Education. She also worked at Minnesota State University, Mankato as the Assistant Director of the LGBT Center, and as a Program Coordinator for Out for Equity, an LGBT school based program, in the Saint Paul Public School district. Tiffany earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Michigan State University and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Minnesota. From student activist to student affairs professional, she enjoys working with LGBTQA students and educating others on LGBTQA issues on campus.


Sara Muñoz

Pronouns: she/her or they/them

My name is Sara Muñoz.  I work full time as a Member Service Specialist at AmeriCU Credit Union while also taking full-time classes online with Empire State College to obtain my Bachelor’s in Community and Human Services with a concentration in LGBTQ+ Youth Advocacy.  It is my goal to continue on to a Master’s program and become a licensed mental health counselor for LGBTQ+ youth. I have a cumulative of over 15 years of volunteer, board, and non-profit experience, much of this is in the Cazenovia community, where I was born and raised and now continue to raise my two sons.  In 2018, I worked to create my own local non-profit, SAGA Kids, Inc., to serve LGBTQ+ youth in rural areas of Central New York. I serve as Director and Founder of this organization as well as doing training and education on LGBTQ+ rights in schools and communities and running an LGBTQ+ youth support group and parent support group.  I currently serve on the following boards: CNY LGBTQIA Coalition, the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce, and SAGA Kids.


Christopher Nulty

Class of 2009, Colgate Alumni Affairs Board, and Head of Public Affairs, Americas at Airbnb


Em Rubey is a recent graduate of the class of 2018. They received High Honors in Educational Studies, minoring in LGBTQ Studies. While at Colgate, Em worked in the Office of LGBTQ Initiatives and facilitated the NY6 Spectrum Conference in 2018 to build queer and trans communities across New York state college campuses. Em is a white queer/trans person with a deep curiosity about teaching queer histories and an exasperated attitude towards neoliberalism. Em currently resides in New York City, where they work as Executive Assistant at an LGBTIQ human rights nonprofit, OutRight Action International. Em's hobbies include feeding chickens at their community garden, un-ironically watching The Office, and reading science fiction.


Renée Roundy (she/her/hers), an OUS Scholar, graduated in May 2019-- majoring in Educational Studies and minoring in LGBTQ+ Studies. She found her love of queer theory and its impact on everyday life in her Sophomore year, continuing to explore her passions through both course work and the queer community she formed outside of classes. She is currently pursuing a certification in Elementary Education at Colgate University which will be completed December of 2019. She hopes to pursue teaching alongside qualitative research.


Jack Skelton, LMSW, MA

Pronouns: ze/zir/zirs

Colgate Class of 2005

Jack is a community organizer and social worker based In NYC. While at Colgate, ze organized with Sisters Of The Round Table And The Rainbow Alliance. Since graduating In 2005, Jack attended Silberman School Of Social Work at Hunter College (Masters of Social Work) and the University Of Texas at Austin (Master Of Arts In English). Jack has been working with young adults doing organizing and peer education work In New York since 2009. Ze currently works at NYC-based Program Day One to educate and serve young adults and their communities as they work to end intimate partner violence.

Melissa Autumn White 

Is Assistant Professor of LGBT Studies at Hobart & William Smith Colleges, where she teaches core curriculum in LGBT Studies, including the intro course, queer of color critique, histories of sexuality in the West, and queer theory, along with specialized courses in her areas of scholarly expertise. Dr. White's research focuses on queer migration studies, transnational biopolitics, and field formation in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, and has been published in Sexualities, Radical History Review, WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, Women's Studies in Communication, Intervention: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Feminist Studies, and in Swedish translation in the social theory journal Fronesis, along with numerous anthologies. Her first book, the co-edited volume Mobile Desires: The Politics and Erotics of Mobility Justice brings queer, trans, and feminist perspectives to bear on questions of mobility justice. Her current major research project critically attends to the emergence of private refugee sponsorship as a response to crises in global (im)mobility, the interplay of bureaucracy and emotion in making adjudications regarding LGBT-identified subjects, and how those racialized as "migrants" and "refugees" resist and transform the naturalization of the nation-state as a horizon of power and belonging. Her research on field formation in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies is informed through her work as co-founder and former co-chair of the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) Gender, Women's and Feminist Studies PhD Interest Group, and as former Vice-Chair of the Sexuality Studies Association. An activist scholar, she co-founded Feminist Researchers Against Borders in 2017, which has to date two Summer Schools oriented around questions of no borders/mobility justice futures in Athens, Greece.

Schedule of Events

A provisional timetable of events taking place in 207 Lathrop Hall is as follows:

4:00–5:30 p.m.: Opening Remarks & Alumni Panel: Experiences, reminiscences, and aspirations

  • 9:30–10:45 a.m.: Faculty Panel: Reflecting on the state and future of LGBTQ Studies
  • 11:00–12.15 p.m.: Keynote address
  • 1:30–3.00 p.m.: Panel of Alumni and Others: Fostering new engagements with queer alumni and communities followed by closing remarks

Please join us as we reflect on our program and what it means to our campus and local communities. The LGBTQ Studies Advisory Committee looks forward to welcoming you to the symposium.

Registration is not required, but is appreciated to help us better plan resources for the event.


Watch this site for additional updates and program information.