Presenter Bios

Cheng (Shirley) Ni: Shirley, is a History student at the University of Macau with a keen interest in gender studies. She has broadened her perspectives through summer schools at Peking University and University College London, focusing on cultural anthropology and gender issues. Ni's dedication to gender equality is showcased in her leadership with the SheShapes Art project, empowering women, and her involvement in developing China's first LGBT+ chatbot, promoting inclusivity for diverse communities. Her diverse engagement in academic and social advocacy underscores her fervent pursuit of a fairer society. She will be presenting her work “Between the Gazette and the News: Prostitution in Colonial Macau 1849-1949”. 

Ananya Vohra: Ananya Vohra is a fourth year honors political science student with a minor in women’s and gender studies. Ananya’s current research focuses on the intersection between critical security studies, specifically feminist security studies, and Indigenous studies. Ananya is the current Political Science Undergraduate Association’s Vice President Communications and a University of Alberta Ambassador. After she finishes her undergraduate studies this spring, Ananya plans to continue her education with a Masters in International Relations while continuing her research on gender, settler colonialism, and critical security studies. She will be presenting her work “Canadian (In)Security: The Strategic Use of Sexual Violence in Canada’s Colonial Project”.

Saniya Ghalehdar: Saniya Ghalehdar lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She immigrated to Canada as a young child with her parents from Iran. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Certificate Program. She is also a Women's and Gender studies major at the University of Athabasca and Saniya also works for an Inclusive Leadership team at college. She loves causes that help advance women's rights and marginalized communities, has a creative side and has a great love of the arts. She will be presenting her work “Gender Apartheid: Iranian Women and their Struggle for Freedom”.

Latifat Busari: Latifat Busari (they/she) is a final-year student at the University of Alberta with a major in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. They are from the Yorùbá people of Southwest Nigeria and currently residing in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, on Treaty 6 territory of so-called Canada. They are interested in research, specifically in the field of sustainability relating to environmental racism and Indigenous sovereignty. Dedicated to raising awareness on the enduring colonial violence against African populations within Western-dominated systems, they hope to explore the impact of colonialism on individuals and communities through their work, further bridging the gap towards liberation for African people. They will be presenting their work “Sustainability Paradigms: Indigenous Voices and the Confrontation of Imperialist, Colonialist, and Capitalist Systems”.

Baiyu Su: Baiyu SU holds a Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. in History and possesses ten years of experience in Oral History projects. In her recent co-authored books, she delved into the ways individuals leveraged their social capital for success across various historical epochs. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the University of Alberta, investigating how women utilize their social and cultural capital during migration. Her research also explores the factors that shape women’s decision-making practices and outcomes in migration. She will be presenting her work “Fafeng as a strategy: How Daughters in Chinese Families Respond to Gender-based Violence During Covid Lockdown”.

Yared Aynalem: I am a PhD student enrolled at the University of Alberta with a prior academic background of completing an MSc in Nursing at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. As an Assistant professor, I have served as a lecturer and researcher at Debre Berhan University, with an accomplished research portfolio featuring publications in reputable international peer-reviewed journals (more than 70 publications) and contributions to esteemed national and international research conferences, workshops, and training programs. Additionally, I have contributed to the academic community as a reviewer for more than seven journals and as an external editor for Frontiers in Public Health. My research interests are primarily focused on maternal and child health issues.My dissertation primarily centers around preconception care. For additional information, please refer to the link provided below. He will be presenting his work “Exploring gender intersection with Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Preconception Care”.

Rjay Ram: Reshma (Rjay) Ram is a 4th year Women and Gender studies undergraduate student who is double minoring in Political Science and English. Her research focuses within the South Pacific (Oceanic) specializing in Fiji Islands where she uses a comparative intersectional approach to her Indian Indentureship history with the relation to Black/Indigenous Internationalism in South Pacific among the Melanesian islanders. She will be presenting her work “Looking At Fiji's "Madwomen": A Case Study in Fiji Islands On Indentured Women Experiences and Examining Fiji Feminism”.

Rojina Sabetiashraf: Rojina Sabetiashraf, born and raised in Iran, is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Alberta. Her thesis centres on the embodied experiences of Iranian women at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA), reflecting a deep engagement with feminist research methodologies. Over the summer, Rojina dedicated two months to conducting fieldwork in Iran, furthering her exploration into the interactions between women and cultural spaces within her home country. She will be presenting her work “Acts of Resistance: Iranian Women's Narratives at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art”.

Cori Balsdon: I am a passionate learner of many things, especially issues of social justice and healing, our purpose as human beings upon the Earth, and how knowledge transforms into everyday practice. The more I learn, the more I understand my responsibility to share this knowledge, to challenge thoughts and beliefs that uphold the status quo. I am a radical, a thinker and a feeler, who loves imagining transformative shifts in society's values. Through centering relationships and understanding our connection to everything, we can change this world we have built. She will be presenting her work “Rain Rising: How a world centered on survivors remembered balance and meaning (a zine)”.

James Harley: James Harley (they/them) is a Master’s student in English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. Their background is in Women’s and Gender Studies, and they are interested in reimagining Canadian identity through queering and decolonizing Canadian literature. They will be presenting their work “Decolonizing Speculative Fiction: Locating Indigenous Feminist Resurgence in Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves”.

Deidra Mahabal: I am Deidra Mahabal, a female who prefers the gender pronouns she/her. I am an energetic Undergraduate at Athabasca University (AU) earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree. I am a proud member of the Equality, Inclusion, and Diversity (EDI) Committee, where I advocate for AU’s student body. A fun fact about me is that I’m a coffee connoisseur, and as I indulge in my morning cup of coffee, it’s the time of day when I am most innovative. I often ponder if this is because of the euphoria that coffee beans release. Nonetheless, I’m happy to be here! She will be presenting her work “Oral History Interview on Gender Inequality”. 

Aidan Blockley: I am a Master’s student of Sociology at the University of Alberta. My experiences growing up in rural Georgia, U.S.A. (which is stolen land which rightfully belongs to the Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, Eastern band) and Miccosukee peoples), on the foothills of Appalachia, have informed many of my research interests. My current (planned) line of study explores the relationship between 2SLGBTQIA+ people and psychiatric treatments, in particular, forms of in-patient treatment and the therapies which follow. I hope to continue these studies in a PhD program. Aidan will be presenting the work “Maddening Queers: Psychiatric Discourses Around Queer People in Twentieth-Century Canada”.

Nadiia Chervinska: Nadiia Chervinska is a Master’s student in Comparative History at Central European University, holding both a BA and an MA in Philosophy from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She is an assistant curator at the National Art and Culture Museum Mystetskyi Arsenal and an Editor-in-Chief of Saliut, a magazine dedicated to contemporary Ukrainian photography. Her primary research interest lies in intellectual history, with a special emphasis on feminist cultural and political thought. Her current project delves into the development of feminist and nationalist discourses in post-independence Ukraine. She will be presenting her work “Reclaiming Modernity: Feminist Discourses and National Identity in Post-Independence Ukraine”.

Yan Xue: I am a third-year Ph.D. student from the Sociology Department of UAlberta. I received my Master’s degree from the Anthropology and Geography Department of Colorado State University in 2021. My Master’s research focuses on transgender people in China. I examine how their well-being and identity development are affected by their family lives and community engagements. My PhD research focuses on Chinese transgender migrants in Canada. Deploying narrative inquiry methodology, I will investigate their experiences of multi-faceted transitions and multi-placed queer kin-making. Yan will be presenting the work “Queer Necropolitics and Transgender Lives in China”.

Ayesha-Jade (AJ) Reece: Hello, I am Ayesha-Jade (AJ), a fourth-year Political Science honors student with an interest in political theory and gender studies. My research primarily focuses on the intricate connection between capitalism, liberalism, slavery, and the commodification of black women. I aim to uncover and challenge the systemic structures that perpetuate inequality, using my academic background to critically engage with political discourse. She will be presenting her work “Are they truly free? The paradox of freedom and racialized sexual exploitation in Antebellum New Orleans”.

Zainab Abdullahi: I am an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, passionately pursuing a major in Biological Sciences complemented by a minor in Sociology. My academic journey is fueled by a keen interest in gender studies, demography, and advocacy for social justice initiatives, driving me to explore the intersections of science and society in pursuit of positive change. She will be presenting her work “Amplifying the Unheard: A review on Gender based violence around the globe”.