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My name is Joni (pronouns: he/him/his) and I am a first-generation scholar in the Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender in the Ph.D. program in the Education department. I was born in La Piedad, Michoacán, and was raised in Sioux City, Iowa. I completed a B.S. in anthropology and an MA in anthropology from Iowa State University where I was a Ronald E. McNair scholar. My research interests include whiteness studies, asymmetrical and targeted policing in K-12 and higher education, abolition studies, and the prison-industrial complex (school-prison-industrialized labor nexus). I have research experience in biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. For my doctoral studies, I am inquiring how police humanitarianism, a domestic counterinsurgency program, is upheld and reproduced for mental health and drug education initiatives in educational institutions. Being a target of asymmetrical criminalization has provided me an entry to imagine alternative solutions beyond educational reform and disrupt the hyper-criminalization of ethno-racially marginalized communities. My commitment to undoing these systems and destabilizing power relations is evidenced by my commitment to mentorship and my pursuit of a Ph.D. in education with a focus on critical studies. I intend to join the professoriate and dedicate my work to transformational research that has the power to reshape and make higher education accessible to historically marginalized students while disrupting the mechanisms that uphold targeted criminalization. In my free time, I enjoy road cycling, fútbol, hiking, hanging with friends, listening to corridos and banda, and watching competitive cooking tv shows.
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Dani (she/her) is a second-year PhD student in Comparative Literature. Her research interests involve questions of abolition and solidarity, exploring works of literature and music throughout the Black diaspora. She obtained her B.A. in French and Italian with a concentration in Jazz Studies at Princeton University in 2020 and joined Berkeley’s Comparative Literature Department in the fall of 2021.