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Faculty & Staff




Prof Alejandra Marchevsky Casual Portrait Photo

Email: [email protected]
Office: E&T A411

Dr. Marchevsky is on leave from 11/3/22 to 1/19/23.  Please contact Acting Chair Dr. Dionne Espinoza for any WGSS-related inquiries during this period.

Dr. Alejandra Marchevsky is a Latina immigrant scholar-activist whose work critically interrogates gendered racism and state violence, focusing in particular on Latinx migrants in the U.S.  Her research has explored topics of Latinx immigrants, low-wage labor, and U.S. welfare policy, the welfare rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and the gendered dynamics of U.S. immigrant detention and deportation policies in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Professor Marchevsky is the co-author of Not Working: Latina Immigrants, Low-Wage Jobs, and the Failure of Welfare Reform, and a contributor to Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Women’s Activism and Feminism in the Movimiento Era. Her work has been published in Latino Studies, American Studies, Sociology and Social Work, and Contemporary SociologyThe Nation, Boston Review, Los Angeles Times, and The Root. She holds a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in American Culture with an emphasis in Latina/o Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Feminist Ethnography.

Dr. Marchevsky has served on the board of directors of several Los Angeles or California-based social justice organizations, including CHIRLA, Californians for Justice, and Dolores Huerta Labor Studies Center at the Los Angeles Community College District. At Cal State LA, she has served on the faculty advisory boards for the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities, the American Communities Program, and the Program in Latin American Studies, and the faculty and staff advisory group for the Dreamer Resource Center. She helped to co-create the Minor in Labor Studies and the CSULA Migrant Justice Collective, and has also collaborated with students on various Community Participatory Action Research projects in partnership with community and labor organizations like the TransLatina Coalition, Coaliton for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), L.A. Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and the Pilipino Workers Center.  



PAULINA ABUSTAN, Assistant Professor



Photo of Paulina Abustan



Email: [email protected]

Dr. Pau/Paul/Leena/Paulina Abustan (any pronoun/ gender fluid) centers queer critical race feminist disability justice worldmaking found within youth learning, youth popular culture animated storytelling, and youth led decolonial Pilipinx and BIPOC coalitional activist spaces. Their dissertation highlighted the ways in which educators and youth participate in disability justice worldmaking everyday through cultivating an interdependent community, prioritizing rest, and honoring differences. Their previous research publications showcased the collective worldmaking of transgender and queer students of color activists along with decolonial dream worldmaking taking place with transgender, queer, and two spirit Indigenous peoples and diasporic Pilipinx community leaders, activists, and educators. Their current and future research gathers stories from sick, disabled, neurodivergent, transgender, and queer BIPOC educators and youth on what their dream learning spaces feel like and how Queer Crip Pilipinx Kapwa dream worlds are imagined within youth popular culture animated storytelling and coalitional diasporic Pilipinx and BIPOC led decolonial activist spaces. Dr. Abustan is the co-founder of an academic success coaching program, K-5 tutoring program, and a transgender, queer, and two spirit BIPOC led organization in Washington State. They are a 10th year higher education instructor who has taught with Western Washington University, University of Washington, Highline College, and Washington State University.


DIONNE ESPINOZA, Professor and Acting Chair (11/22-1/23)


Candid photo of Dionne sitting at desk

Email: [email protected]
E & T A415

Dionne Espinoza, Ph.D. is Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research and teaching interests include Chicana/Latina and women of color feminist history and social movement activism; oral herstory and archival methods; and intersectional feminist theories and methodology. She is currently revising her book manuscript Bronze Womanhood: Chicana Activism and the Chicano Movement Narrative and has co-edited (with Maylei Blackwell and Maria Cotera) Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Women’s Activism and Feminism in the Movimiento Era (2018).  She also co-edited (with Lorena Oropeza) the award-winning Enriqueta Vasquez and the Chicano Movement: Writings from El Grito del Norte (Houston: Arte Publico Press.) 

Dr. Espinoza was raised in the San Gabriel Valley cities of Alhambra and El Monte. She received her B.A. at UC Berkeley and her M.A./Ph.D .at Cornell University in English. In these programs her studies focused on comparative race/ethnicity studies, postcolonial theory, and women of color feminisms. She  joined Cal State LA  as a faculty member in Chicano Studies  (2002-2007) and then held a joint appointment in Chicana (o) and Latina (o) Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2007-2017). She was the founding Director of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2014-2017) and past Director of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities (2004-2008 and 2018-2019).  As Director of CSGS she co-founded the Annual Student Research Conference, “Gender, Sexuality, and Power" in 2005.


DAVID B. GREEN JR., Assistant Professor

Portrait Photo of Dr David Green

Email: [email protected]
E&T A421

Dr. David B. Green Jr., is a black queer male feminist, griot, and social justice educator. As a literary and cultural historian, his research works to recover and tell the rich and complex stories of black queer people in the United States. He is currently at work on his first book, Imagining Black Queer Freedom — a narrative cultural history that tells stories of how black queer cultural workers utilize literature, music, and performance art as political weapons to simultaneously fight against systemic oppression, anti-black racism, and violence against queer people and to forage communities critical to their survival and thriving across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the U.S.

In the classroom, he draws upon his own lived experiences as a first-generation college student and fuses them with integrative and culturally relevant pedagogies. The goal of such fusion is to create multi-sensual learning experiences that prioritizes compassion, peace of mind, critical social and political awareness, empowerment, and joy as an everyday life practice.

He earned his Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2015. His research interests includes and attends to the interdisciplinary knowledge formations of African American Studies, Women of Color Feminisms, LGBTQ Studies and Queer of Color Critique, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education.



Gino Conti casual portrait photo

Email: [email protected]

Dr. Gino Conti teaches queer theory, critical masculinities, theories of WGSS, and the introductory level WGSS course. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature with a gender studies certificate from the University of Southern California, where he wrote a dissertation about religious enthusiasm that connected cross-gendering to Protestant understandings of grace and American settler colonialism. He is also an occasional local drag performer and the mother of three.


Professional Photo of Renee Lemus Elisaldez

Email: [email protected]

Renee Lemus Elisaldez has a PhD in Ethnic Studies and works as a college professor at Cal State Los Angeles and in the Los Angeles Community College District. She is also a certified yoga instructor specializing in prenatal yoga, and yoga for bodies of all shapes and sizes. Both her academic work as well as her yoga practice is grounded in a feminist perspective that considers how women navigate a patriarchal society that devalues and disempowers them. She is an advocate for reproductive justice which calls for an intersectional approach to reproductive rights that particularly centers the experience of women of color and other marginalized identities. To that end, Renee seeks to share the knowledge she has gained in her own reproductive journey as well as her academic education in order to empower women to make fully informed decisions in regards to their bodies and their reproductive choices. 


Elisabeth Houston holding sheet of paper with word NO written on it

Email: [email protected]

Elisabeth Houston is a "writer" and "artist." She struggles with titles and words. She has taught at Cal-State Los Angeles since 2015.


Candid Photo of Grace Kim

Email: [email protected]

Grace Kim holds an MA in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego, and an MA in East Asian Studies and BA in History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of specialty include: women of color, post- and decolonial, and transnational feminisms; gender and sexuality in Asian/AAPI communities; critical immigration and globalization studies; feminist ethnography; gender, race, and law; and medical anthropology. She concurrently lectures at CSU Fullerton, and has previously taught gender and ethnic studies at UC San Diego and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea.



Yvonne Yen Liu is Associate DIrector of Research for the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, and co-founder and research director of Solidarity Research Center, a worker self-directed nonprofit that advances solidarity economies for workers of color and subaltern populations. She has over fifteen years of experience supporting racial justice and social impact organizations with quantitative and qualitative research. She is passionate about telling stories through words, images, or data to shift hearts, minds, and guts. Professor Liu's writing has been featured in Colorlines, In These Times, and Yes Magazine. She was the 2018 Activist-in-Residence Fellow at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. She has a BA in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and a MA degree in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she pursued a PhD. 


Portrait of Reyes in front of foliage

Email: [email protected]

Verónica Reyes is a Chicana feminist dyke poet from East Los Angeles, California. She is proud to have graduated from Hammel Street School (1981), Belvedere Jr. High (1984), and Garfield High School (1987). She is the author of Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press 2013), which won Best Poetry from International Latino Book Awards 2014, Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014, and Lambda Literary Finalist 2014. Reyes also won AWP’s Intro-Journal Project and Astraea Lesbian Foundation Emerging Artist award. She has received grants and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale Foundation, and Montalvo Arts Center. Reyes’ work has appeared in journals, such as Feminist Studies, and The Minnesota Review. 


Email: [email protected]

Dr. Nicole Richards holds a Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She also earned an M.A. in African American Studies with a concentration in Black feminist performance from Columbia University, and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her research reimagines Black feminist and queer fatherhood in literature, cinema, and history by way of Black feminist thought and practice. Dr. Richards is also a professional jazz singer.


Casual selfie of Rodriguez

Email: [email protected]

Dr. Reina Rodríguez was born and raised in Boyle Heights and her family later moved to Baldwin Park. After graduating from Baldwin Park High School, she attended Rio Hondo Community College and then transferred to Cal State LA to pursue a BA in Chicana/o Studies. After that, Reina decided to stay on to earn a Master’s degree from Chicana/o Studies where she wrote a master’s thesis titled, “Anti- Mexican Nativism Within the National Immigration Debate: Confronting, Contesting, And Rejecting The ‘Threat’ Of the ‘Illegal Alien Invasion.’” Following that, Reina started doctoral work at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies department and received a PhD in Feminist Studies with a minor in Development Studies and Social Change. Her dissertation is titled, “Chicanas/os in Contested Spaces: Communal Forms of Resistance and the Creation of Underground Calmecacs.” Her work explores the effects of familial migration stories and how they shape Chicana/o experiences in higher education while also documenting resistance strategies. 


Portrait of Melissa in front of book case

Email: [email protected]

Professor Melissa Saywell's research interests include Feminism, Queer and Trans Theories, Minority Discourse, Performance Studies, and 20thC American Literature and Cinema. She is currently completing her dissertation on queer millennial masculinity at the University of California, Riverside. The project intertwines psychoanalytic and historicist methods to analyze the intersections between race, ethnicity, and masculinity, as performed by both male and female bodies, at the turn of the millennium.


Photo of Lizette Rivera standing

LIZETTE RIVERA, Administrative Services Coordinator

Email: [email protected]
E&T A405

Lizette Rivera grew-up in Huntington Park and then moved to Pico Rivera where she graduated from Bell High School.  Lizette started Cal State L.A. in 1994 as a student pursuing a degree in Psychology, but eventually changed her major several times until she finally found her niche in forensic anthropology. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and started working as a full-time staff at Cal State L.A in 2000.  Lizette has worked in various departments within the College of Arts and Letters, including the Dean’s Office until finding her home in the Department of Liberal Studies and Women’s, Genders & Sexuality Studies in 2011. She is a mother to one beautiful, kind, and inspirational daughter. Traveling is something she enjoys immensely, especially cruising.