Isom Fellows


 About the Isom Fellows Program

The Isom Fellows Program is a two-year fellowship with the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies funded by the Office of Provost. Isom Fellows will be asked to contribute to the Isom Center through research, teaching, and service.

To aid in research, the Isom Center supports fellows with a $4,500 per year stipend.  These funds may be used for grant writing support, summer research funds, research assistance, organizing symposia or conferences, or travel.  Fellows will also assist in planning the Isom Student Gender Conference, and coordinate with the Isom Center in planning lectures and other campus events, as relevant to their teaching and research interests. The Isom Fellows programs is intended to be flexible to meet the needs of interested fellows and their home departments.

Isom fellows will also be expected to develop a new cross-listed course between the Gender Studies program and the fellow’s home department. Fellows will also have the opportunity to teach graduate courses for the Gender Studies program, based on their interests, qualifications, and availability.  Possible courses include GST 600 - Gender Studies Methodology, GST 601 - Gender Theory, and GST 605 - Feminist Pedagogy.

 2019-2021 Isom Fellows


Francis D. Boateng, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

Dr. Francis D. Boateng is an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology in the Department of Legal Studies, University of Mississippi and a research fellow for Africa Institute for Crime, Policy & Governance Research. He received his MA and PhD in criminal justice and criminology from Washington State University, and is currently working on several projects testing the organizational justice and support theories in a comparative context. He is also developing a book manuscript (under contract with Routledge) that looks at U.S. immigration policy and National Security. Dr. Boateng’s main research interests include comparative criminal justice, comparative policing, Police legitimacy, international security, victimology, quantitative research, crime, law and justice. In addition to presenting papers at professional conferences such as American Society of Criminology (ASC), Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), and Western Association of Criminal Justice (WACJ), he has published extensively. His recent publications have appeared in a number of well-respected journals, including Crime & Delinquency, Prison Journal, Policing & Society, Policing: An international Journal, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, International Studies Criminal Research Justice Review, Journal of the Institute of Justice and International 

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Female Police Criminality: Nature and Extent of Crimes Committed by Female Police Officers




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Deidra Jackson, Ph.D.

Visiting Instructor of Writing

Deidra Faye Jackson, who earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi, teaches first-year writing and graduate higher education courses. She researches faculty perceptions of scholarly productivity, writing groups as faculty development, and faculty persistence within "publish or perish" R1 universities. She is a Visiting Instructor of Writing and holds a master's and bachelor's degree in journalism. A former newspaper editor and reporter in North Carolina and Mississippi, she currently is a contributing writer for Inside Higher Ed. She also has presented research at the annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and (forthcoming) the Association of Rhetoric and Writing Studies. She has co-authored and authored articles in the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship and the Journal of Contemporary Research in Education, respectively. Daily, she is motivated to persevere by her Gen Z son, Jackson, with whom she lives in Oxford, Miss.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Gender and race influences in publishing persistence, as well as faculty relationships and collegiality as they relate to scholarly productivity.




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Tess Lefmann, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Tess Lefmann received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. Her research agenda focuses on maternal and child health disparities, beginning with inequalities in the prenatal environment that lead to discrepancies in postpartum health promotion behaviors. Particularly, on the structural and cultural barriers that contribute to the glaring racial and economic disparities in breastfeeding behavior.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Intersectionality of birth, breastfeeding, and motherhood




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Gregory J. Love, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science

Gregory J. Love is Associate Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Researcher of the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University. He is also co-director of the Executive Approval Project and the Southeast Latin American Behavioral Workshop. He holds a Ph.D. and B.A. from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Love’s work focuses on the intersection of mass political behavior and elite identities, actions, and institutions, particularly in Latin America. His recent publications and ongoing projects look at the role of leader gender and democratic accountability in the developed and developing world. Work from this project and others appear in numerous academic journals, books, and popular press outlets. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Center for the Study of Conflict and Social Cohesion (Chile), and the Latin American Studies Association. Dr. Love’s teaching interests align with his research endeavors. Recent courses have examined the politics of Latin America and the role of mass movements and identities in shaping individual behavior.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: The role of gender in political leadership and the interesection of gender and racial/ethnic identity in public opinion from a comparative perspective.




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Amy McDowell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Amy McDowell studies and teaches the intersection of religion, gender, sexuality, and popular culture. Her previous work focused on how young Christian men use punk rock music to construct religious space in secular settings and on how Muslim youth use punk to resist anti-Muslim racism. She published this research in Gender & SocietySociology of ReligionQualitative Sociology, and Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. McDowell’s current research takes a qualitative approach to understanding the relationship between American evangelical church culture and gender politics in the Deep South.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Sociology of gender, sexuality, and religion, particularly religious conservatism.




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Jessica Wilkerson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies

Jessica Wilkerson teaches and writes about Appalachia, the South, and the history of women and gender in the United States. She is an assistant professor of history and southern studies, regularly teaching courses on U.S. women's history, oral history methods, gender and sexuality in the South, and U.S. social movements. She is the author of To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2019). She has also contributed to Rewire News, 100 Days in Appalachia, and Longreads.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Women's labor and activism, gender and sexuality in the South and Appalachia




 2018-20 Isom Fellows

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Susan H. Allen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science

I am an associate professor of political science at the University of Mississippi. I received my Ph.D. in political science at Emory University and bachelor's degree from Guilford College. In my research, I explore economic sanctions, air power, and the consequences of conflict. Other work contributes to the scholarship on international institutions (particularly the United Nations), interactions between national governments and opposition groups, the human consequences of military and economic conflict.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Women and armed conflict





Rhona Justice-Malloy, Ph.D.

Professor of Theatre and Film

A professor of theatre arts, Justice-Malloy is a member of the National Theater Conference, which has only 150 members selected through a strict nomination process. She served as president of the Mid-America Theater Conference and was recently inducted as a fellow. Justice-Malloy’s record of research spans many years and includes articles in Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance, and in Theatre History Studies. She co-edited and contributed a chapter to the book “Enacting History.” Besides her strong publication record, Justice-Malloy also has s significant record of presentations both domestically and internationally. In 2018 Dr. Justice-Malloy received the College of Liberal Arts Award for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity for Senior Faculty.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Contemporary American Women Playwrights




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Catherine V. "Ginny" Kilgore, J.D.

Adjunct Professor of Law

Catherine V. (Ginny) Kilgore has served for many years as Adjunct Professor for the Elder Law Clinic, a part of the University of Mississippi School of Law Civil Legal Clinical Program, which partners with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services (NMRLS) to provide access to justice for poor people in North Mississippi. Currently she teaches Elder Law and directs the Elder Law Clinic at the Law School. For most of her legal career, she also worked at NMRLS in various capacities, providing legal assistance to low income and frail elderly clients in cases involving the basics of life - access to food, clothing, shelter, income, health care, a safe environment, preservation of the family, employment, and planning for the future for people with small estates. Inspired by the National Aging and Law Conference 20 years ago, she developed the annual NMRLS Elder Law Conference that offers Continuing Legal Education for attorneys and social workers. The Law School Elder Law Clinic and NMRLS also, to this day, continue to partner on community legal education events, including outreach to frail and isolated clients in 39 counties and legal instruction for professionals in the field. Ginny became interested in developing the history of North Mississippi Rural Legal Services during the time that she co-chaired the NMRLS 50th anniversary events in 2016. She was also a witness to history in that she worked for NMRLS for almost 40 years. As she helped develop the history, she realized that women played a large role in the genesis and development of legal services for the poor in Mississippi. However, the essential role of women in the access to justice movement has not been fully recorded. She decided to begin the process of investigating and recording the rich untold story of the role of women in the development of legal services in Mississippi. Ginny is the 2011 recipient of the National Aging and Law Award, the 2002 recipient of the University of Mississippi Law School Public Service Award and the 2000 recipient of the Mississippi Bar Legal Services Lawyer of the Year Award.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: The role of women in the genesis and development of legal services for the poor in Mississippi.




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Alysia Burton Steele, MA

Assistant Professor of Journalism

Alysia Burton Steele is a multimedia journalist and author of the book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom,” a finalist in the 2015 Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards for nonfiction.

The book has been featured in The New York Times,, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Public Radio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Essence, (owned by The Washington Post), Free Lance-Star,  The Clarion-Ledger and Southern Living. NYT bestselling author Bishop T.D. Jake’s featured her story in his Docu-Series.

She received her bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in photography from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication.

Steele has worked as a staff photographer/multimedia producer at The Columbus Dispatch, a picture editor at The Dallas Morning News and deputy director of photography/picture editor at The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Steele spent five weeks documenting life in South Africa, Uganda and the Ivory Coast, where her images were featured in Habitat for Humanity’s 25th anniversary coffee table book. While working as a photographer at The Columbus Dispatch, she won the 2004 James Gordon Understanding Award for photographic excellence for her month-long assignment inside the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

In 2006, she was part of the photo team that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage where she served as a picture editor. For three consecutive years, she did the picture editing and layout/design for the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Classic coffee table book.

She also did picture editing for the National Urban League and designed their 100th commemorative poem booklet written by Maya Angelou. She’s won numerous awards for her photography and picture editing.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Women’s oral histories




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Amanda Winburn, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Leadership and Counselor Education

Amanda Winburn, Ph.D., SB-RPT, NCSC, NCC is currently serving as an Assistant Professor within the Department of Leadership and Counselor Education. Dr. Winburn has over a decade of experience working with children in various settings. Dr. Winburn is a licensed educator, counselor, and administrator. Over the last 8 years, she has been actively involved in play therapy at the University of Mississippi both at the clinical setting as well as actively conducting research within the field. Other research interest include school counseling, wellness, and advocacy.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Educators and Advocacy




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Kenya Wolff, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education

Dr. Kenya Wolff grew up in East Africa as the daughter of an anthropologist and a teacher/missionary. She credits this unique upbringing for exposing her to academia and the transformative power of education and service. Dr. Wolff, joined Ole Miss as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from Chaminade University (Honolulu), a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas Woman's University and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Texas. Dr. Wolff teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in early childhood education.Dr. Wolff ‘s experience as a classroom teacher and administrator allows her to bring real-world knowledge to the students she teaches at Ole Miss. Dr. Wolff’s research utilizes critical qualitative methodologies and focuses on social justice across various social contexts of childhood. For example, her dissertation research examined corporate marketing as central curriculum for today’s globalized child. She has written several subsequent articles on marketing to young children and the impact materialism has on children within today’s globalized world. She currently has several studies underway, including one on the use of yoga in preschool settings, a study on teacher perceptions of gender and sexuality in early childhood and an investigation on administrative decisions to recommend alternative schools for young children.In addition to research, Dr. Wolff currently holds a position on the editorial board for the Southern Early Childhood Association Journal, Dimensions and serves as an associate editor for the journal, International Critical Childhood Studies. She is also mother to Grace (16) and Ethan (12) who inspire her daily to strive for a more just and equitable world for children everywhere.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Gender in Education, Gender in Marketing





Peter Wood, Ph.D.

Instructional Assistant Professor of Theatre and Film

Peter is theatre scholar, teacher, director, and sound designer. As a scholar, he is deeply invested in understanding how the stories people tell themselves—through drama, film, performance, and history—shape human behavior and thought. His research focuses on cross-cultural avant-garde, cognitive science, popular culture, and gender within the US, Europe, and Japan during the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to theatre, he also does occasional web and graphic design, dramatic and fiction writing, and composes electronic/ambient music. Samples of his work can be found at 

Peter's central focus on GWS issues is on how gender is represented in popular culture and he has published on gender representation in film (Aliens), and theatre (Into the Woods). He is also working to do more to bring attention to women avant-garde and experimental performance artists by teaching on the subject in the fall of 2018 and has begun researching a number of issues related to polyamory/consensual non-monogamy and theatre/performance.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Gender is representations in popular culture, women's avant-garde




Emerita Isom Fellows


Carrie Veronica Smith, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Carrie Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Mississippi.  She is also the inaugural Isom Center Fellow.  She holds a masters degree in Experimental Psychology from the College of William & Mary and a doctoral degree in Social Psychology from the University of Houston.  Her research falls into three main areas: (a) The role of the self and motivation in people’s relationships (friendships, romantic and sexual relationships, families, professional relationships), especially through the lens of Self-Determination Theory, (b) Situational and individual determinants of perceptions of daily experiences, such as social interactions and sexual interactions, and (c) The influence of sex, gender, and ambivalent sexism on social perception, social interaction, and personal and professional well-being.  She has presented her work at regional, national, and international conferences and has over 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters to her credit.  In addition to her academic endeavors, her campus service has included serving as the chair of the Diversity Committee in the Department of Psychology, volunteering on advisory boards and work groups associated with Greek Life, and working on the Non-Tenure Track Task Force on issues of shared governance.

Gender Studies -Related Research Interests: Personal Relationships and Sexuality