Staff

Julie_Falk.jpg

Julie Falk, executive director

julie(at)b-word.org

Julie Falk was hired as Bitch Media’s first Executive Director in June 2009. She previously served as Executive Director of the Center for Health Justice in Los Angeles and the Prison Media Fund in Cambridge, MA. Born in Kentucky, Julie is a graduate of Swarthmore College. She is thrilled to have landed in Portland OR, where she enjoys cooking and eating the local bounty and exploring the town through the eyes of her children and dog, Copper.

Favorite TV: Perry Mason, Rockford Files, Designing Women, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire

Favorite Movie: Rear Window

Favorite Authors: Carson McCullers, Carolyn Keene, MFK Fisher, Georges Simenon, Lois Lowry

Turn-ons: bakeries, used bookstores, German writing instruments, clean linens

Turn-offs: industrial meat production, extreme temperatures, inconsistency


andi_zeisler.jpgAndi Zeisler, cofounder

andi(at)b-word.org
@andizeisler

Andi is the cofounder of Bitch Media. A longtime freelance writer and illustrator, Andi’s work has appeared in numerous places, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, Ms., Mother Jones, The Toast, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a former pop-music columnist for the SF Weekly and the East Bay Express, and also contributed to the anthologies Young Wives’ Tales, Secrets and Confidences: The Complicated Truth About Women’s Friendships (both from Seal Press), and Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit (Crown). She is the coeditor of BitchFest: 10 Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine, and the author of Feminism and Pop Culture (Seal Press). Her new book about the consumer co-optation of feminism, We Were Feminists Once, was published in May 2016 by PublicAffairs. She speaks frequently on the subject of feminism, media, and pop culture at various colleges and universities.

Andi graduated from The Colorado College in 1994 with a B.A. in Fine Art that has proved to be more or less useless, though she did use it to secure a job designing rugs for Pottery Barn back in the day. She passes her non-Bitch hours watching television, hanging out with her basketball-obsessed family, embroidering portraits of dogs, and subscribing to whatever magazines are left on Earth. Her other interests include drawing, snacking, hiking, traveling, and eating cheese.

Fatal weakness: candy, naps

Crushes: Gram Parsons, Steve Buscemi, Hugh Laurie, Domnhall Gleeson, the Portland Trail Blazers

Favorite TV shows: Mad Men, Parks and Recreation, Freaks and Geeks, UnREAL, Game of Thrones, and dog shows.

Favorite authors: Laurie Colwin, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, Mary Roach, Alison Bechdel, Rona Jaffe, Jonathan Tropper

Turn-ons: clogs, flocked wallpaper, the Winter Olympics, rainbow cookies

Turnoffs: lip liner, improper punctuation, mansplaining, trend stories, people who say “It is what it is”

Secretly wishes she were: An arts-and-crafts counselor at a summer camp in the 1970s


Kate_Lesniak.jpgKate Lesniak, publisher

kate(at)b-word.org
@kateotherkate

There’s nothing more energizing to Kate than outstanding engagement models that not only distribute content, but also sustain organizations financially—and that’s what Kate’s work at Bitch is all about. Kate arrived at Bitch Media as the Director of Development in 2012, hungry for the kinds of nuanced perspectives that were secondary in progressive political organizing. Four years later, after launching innovative media products like the Weekly Reader, Feminist Snack Break, and What Just Happened?—and setting Bitch Media on the path towards longterm financial sustainability—Kate serves as Publisher and is challenged daily by one question: How does Bitch thrive in an environment that caters to corporate media and is constantly evolving through new engagement models and platforms? (If you have thoughts on that, send Kate an email. No, really.)

A product of Buffalo New York, Burlington Vermont, and about 1,000 feet of snow, Kate takes pride in turning the inclement into opportunity. Before Bitch, Kate worked as a digital organizer and fundraiser, most recently with Democracy for America as the Deputy Finance Director and with Corporate Accountability International as a special projects grantwriter. Kate is currently a member of The Media Consortium’s program committee and an adviser at Making Contact. A graduate of the University of Vermont, where Kate also served as team captain for the Women’s Ice Hockey team and scored the first-ever hattrick in the program’s Division I history. Above all else, Kate values creativity, accountability, and collaboration.

Kate lives in Portland, Oregon and enjoys early morning walks with Mariah, the most lovable pony-sized german shepherd ever to exist.

Fatal weakness: sandwiches

Favorite screen stuff: Insecure, Harold and Maude, V for Vendetta, First Girl I Loved

Turn-ons: snow, outdoor projects, sunday morning paper, cleanliness

Turn-offs: people who are rude to canvassers

Writers: Alison Bechdel, Zadie Smith, Mary Oliver, Alice Munro

Music: Tegan and Sara, Robyn, Lizzo, Brandi Carlile, Nina Simone, Gregory Alan Isakov, Lauryn Hill

Secretly wishes she were a: musician


Lisa Factora-Borchers, editorial director

lisa[at]b-word.org
@LFB27

Lisa Factora-Borchers is a Filipina American writer, poet, and editor of Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press, 2014). She is a long time contributor and editor with make/shift magazine and has also worked as a nonfiction editor with Literary Mama. She has contributed to The Rumpus, The Independent (UK), Refinery 29, In The Fray, TruthOut, The Feminist Wire, The International Examiner, NTRSCTN, and Mutha magazines. She has contributed to anthologies Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets (Pawa Press, 2014) and Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (PM Press, 2016).

Lisa received a BA in English from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio; a joint masters degree in Counseling Psychology and Pastoral Ministry from Boston College; and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. After several years of nomadic tendencies, she now lives with her life partner in Columbus, Ohio where they raise their two children.

Fatal weakness: scarves and soft serve vanilla custard

Favorite TV shows: Shonda Rimes’ empire, House of Cards, 80s reruns

Turn-ons: photography, dancing, non-judgey karaoke, personal essays, Ohio State football, contemplative prayer

Turn-offs: the entire spectrum of rude and snide behaviors, willful ignorance, the bridal industry

Music: From classic to rap, ballads across genre, from Mötley Crüe to Lionel Richie: whatever fits the mood

Secretly wishes she were an: actress


Soraya Membreno, director of community

soraya[at]b-word.org
@SorayaMem

Soraya Membreno is a daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants and a pre-Lebron Miami native. An astrophysics geek turned cultural/literary theory junkie, she eventually settled on an English major from Williams College. She obsesses (and occasionally writes) about issues of accessibility, representation, and culture-straddling/identity building in literature and academia. Her writing has appeared in Catapult, Post No Ills, and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Her professional background includes editing and production at Union Station Magazine, development for various literary nonprofits including Poets & Writers and Cave Canem, and orchestrating public call-outs for gender parity at GenderAvenger. She is currently hiding from winter in Los Angeles.


Amanda GreenAmanda Green, finance & administration director

amanda(at)b-word.org

Amanda is a recovering Texan that moved to the University of Wisconsin - Madison for college before coming to Portland to organize for the PIRGs in 2008. In 2011 she received her Masters in Public Administration focusing in nonprofit management from Portland State University. Before she started at Bitch Media in August of 2013, she worked for the Northwest Earth Institute and spent several years working in the feminist anti-violence movement, most recently as the Associate Executive Director of PAVE. She helped found the Oregon End Violence Against Women Political Action Committee and sits on the Prevention and Education Committee of the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force. She also works as an instructor in nonprofit budgeting and finance at Portland State University.

Favorite books: The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy), A Language Older than Words (Derek Jensen), Yes Means Yes (Jessica Valenti), The Razor’s Edge (W. Somerset Maugham), Small Wonder (Barbara Kingsolver) and most everything by Jane Austen and Rushdie.

Favorite movies: Cheesy action flicks, rom-coms, high budget (and lets face it, low budget) sci-fi movies, anything with Schwarzenegger before 1995, pretty much anything terrible by critics’ standards.

Favorite TV: Broad City, Game of Thrones, Veronica Mars, The Wire, Arrested Development, Bored to Death, Twin Peaks, all the Marvel shows (all of them), Buffy and EVERYTHING by Joss Whedon, Xena: Warrior Princess

Favorite Music: Joanna Newsom, Beach House, Washed Out, Radiation City, La Luz, Erik Satie, Beyonce (of course) Fleet Foxes, The Guess Who, Philip Glass, Cut Copy, Betty Davis, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Gershwin, and pretty much everything that falls into the chill-wave (sorry I can’t help myself), bedroom, or funk genres.

Turn-ons: dancing, tacos, crunchy leaves, fungi, coffee, sweaters, gardening, big trees, chocolate

Turn-offs: no soliciting signs, bad tippers, close talkers, “______________ industrial complex”

Secretly wishes she were: an astronaut, Laura Croft, or Xena: Warrior Princess


Kristin Rogers BrownKristin Rogers Brown, art director

kristin(at)b-word.org
@krbeedesign

KRB joined Bitch Media as Art Director in March, 2010. Though her first love in design was print, she loves finding the right media for the message and believes in keeping a balance of form, function, and fun in all the details of her work whether it’s brand development, packaging, identity, or web design. In addition to designing Bitch, Kristin is a freelance designer, educator, and former vice president of AIGA Portland (American Institute of Graphic Arts). She has worked with sustainable design and design community initiatives for a variety of clients, and has been instrumental in work with AIGA’s SHIFT, sustainability team (established in 2008, now part of their social change project Design for Good), and Exploregon zine project; Worldstudio’s Urban Forest Project; and Design Week Portland.

Kristin serves as an assistant professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), where she runs the senior studio in the illustration department, moonlights in various communication and collaborative design courses, and mentors thesis students.

Born in Chicagoland, Kristin is a graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. When not designing, Kristin frequents waterparks, swoons for David Bowie, takes pictures of her dog, obsessively roots clippings of her houseplants, and runs or rides her bike around Portland. She is part insomniac, part narcoleptic, and quite possibly the messiest perfectionist ever.

Celebrity crushes: David Bowie, John Hodgman, Parker Posey, Keegan Michael Key, Oscar Isaac, Adam Scott, Gillian Anderson

Favorite music of the moment: David Bowie, Neko Case, Lady, Sharon Jones, Saun & Starr, Bill Callahan, Jawbreaker, Missy Elliott, Tribe Called Quest, Florence & the Machine

Favorite movies: Bottle Rocket, Hoosiers, The Last Unicorn, MacGruber, Christopher Guest in every flavor

Favorite TV shows: Lady Dynamite, Jane the Virgin, Key & Peale, Parks & Rec, Adventure Time, Alan Alda’s Scientific American Frontiers, Trailblazers’ basketball, and most things related to law and/or order

Favorite books: Cruddy (Linda Barry), Dubliners (James Joyce), Spook (Mary Roach), Yehuda Amachai’s poetry, too many picture books to mention

Turn-ons: scrabble, mixed tapes, road trips, crying about sports

Turn-offs: fake banana flavoring, slam poetry, MOTHS, using the wrong “to”, “too”, or “two” (ditto for “your/you’re”)

Secretly wishes she were a: botanist


Korin LakimKorin Lykam, director of data and operational systems

korin(at)b-word.org

Korin Lykam joined the Bitch Media team in January of 2015. She was raised in a very small, conservative town in central California, and then escaped to the University of California in Santa Cruz. There she studied languages (she used to know Italian) with the dream of being an ex-pat, and relying on a Trinity School of London TESOL certificate and her native English for job security–and then discovered she didn’t like public speaking. Through her work with small business administration, she fell in love with systems, data and databases and gets a thrill when everything works. She is also the proud author of a large collection of unfinished speculative fiction novels and short stories, a collection that began when she was ten years old. Korin spends her spare time consuming and producing weird fiction, convincing herself to exercise, trying to grow a green thumb, daydreaming, and hanging out with her dog.

Fatal weakness: video games

Favorite authors: Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert

Favorite TV: FireflyDoctor WhoStar TrekCowboy BebopDownton Abbey–any British show set in the early 1900’s, really.

Favorite movies: I heart HuckabeesKung Fu HustlePrincess Mononoke, indy rom coms, Guardians of the Galaxy

Turn-ons: mornings at home with a mug of coffee, surprise adventures, coincidences, efficient errand-running

Turn-offs: tangled extension cords, cold weather, needles

Secretly wishes she were: a voice actor


DahliaDahlia Grossman-Heinze, senior engagement editor

dahlia(at)b-word.org

Dahlia is a Chicana who was born in California, raised in Kansas, and went to college in Portland. She graduated from Reed College with a BA in English Literature, where she wrote weird short stories and a thesis on Angels in America by Tony Kushner. Her hobbies and interests include reading, writing, Satanic Feminism, snacks, naps, and David Lynch films. She once trained a squirrel, survived the coldest winter in Chicago in 30 years, and rides a scooter. 

Favorite TV Shows: Vanderpump Rules, Twin Peaks, Mad Men, Six Feet Under

Favorite Movies: It FollowsThe WitchHedwig and the Angry InchThe Big Lebowski

Favorite Book: We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson)

Favorite Music: Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Florence & The Machine, Selena, Nicki Minaj, Lana Del Rey, Depeche Mode

Fatal weaknesses: Oysters, hot chocolate, ‘90s music, horror films, baths, my cat Howard


Evette Dionne, senior editor

evette(at)b-word.org

Evette is Bitch Media’s senior editor. She’s also a Black feminist culture writer and scholar whose been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, SELF Magazine,Teen Vogue, Bustle, Hello Beautiful, The Root, and a multitude of other digital and print publications.

Before joining Bitch Media, Evette worked as a founding senior editor at Revelist where she honed her commitment to inclusion in media. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bennett College, an incredible HBCU for Black women, in 2012. In 2014, she received her master’s in media management and women, gender, and sexuality studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. That might be why researching is her favorite thing to do — outside of reading, tweeting, and ranting about self-care. Evette’s an independent women’s studies scholar who uses critical theories to examine Black female sexualities and pleasure within media texts. She’s published book chapters about Tyler Perry’s For Better and Worse and Beyoncé’s self-titled album.

She is currently doing her best Khadijah James impression in Brooklyn.

Fatal weakness: Beyoncé. All things Beyoncé, all the time.

Favorite screen stuff: The Color Purple, Crooklyn, A League of their Own, Poetic Justice, Living Single, A Different World, How To Get Away with Murder, Super SoulSunday, Ugly Betty, Drop Dead Diva

Turn-ons: beaches, good food, the smell of new books, libraries, coffee shops

Turn-offs: people who misuse the word extra

Writers: Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Pearl Cleage, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

Music: Beyoncé, Nas, Monica, Lauryn Hill, Boyz II Men, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield

Secretly wishes she were a: writer for the WWE


Ashley Duchemin, production manager

ashley(at)b-word.org

Ashley Duchemin is an Afro-Latina of Dominican and French descent from East New York, Brooklyn. A graduate of The City College of New York, she previously served as a digital content/website editor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she created, structured, and edited content on metmuseum.org and served as managing editor for a number of Met blogs and The Met’s email program. Outside of Bitch Media, her interests include curly-girl hair care, doggos, tech, the great outdoors, and true crime. She is always on the search for Latinx books, poetry, art, music, and events, and probably has tabs open on Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, Grammar Girl, Google, and titlecapitalization.com at this very moment. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and two dogs, Jay Bay Bay and Minerva Mirabal Schick.

Current favorite quote: “My curiosity always seems to move between the harmonious and the horrific, and that’s what our lives are about.”—Carolee Schneemann

Favorite music: FKA Twigs, Frank Ocean, James Blake, Sampha, SZA, Willow Smith, almost every single Bachata song in existence, Merengue típico, select Majestic Casual tracks, and hip hop and R&B from the ’90s to early 2000s

Turn-offs: white rage, tears, and privilege, and people who don’t tip or are rude to hospitality workers

Turn-ons: irreverence, cleanliness, and authenticity

Fatal weaknesses: plátanos (preferably maduros, or in the form of mangú)

Secretly wishes she were: the owner of a vegan Dominican restaurant (which she would name after her maternal grandmother)


Patricia Romero, community programs coordinator

patricia(at)b-word.org

Patricia Romero grew up in San Francisco, CA. then moved to Portland in 2013. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Women’s Studies in 2016. She enjoys critically analyzing the world she lives in with a Latina/Chicana/Black/Queer feminist lens. Her feminism is a work in progress; intersectional and messy is the best way she can describe it.

She enjoys spending time at home watching a variety of TV shows, listening to podcasts, practicing speaking Spanish/Spanglish, reading, and writing down her feelings on paper. When not at home or work she also enjoys walking, jogging, dancing, and karaoke.

Favorite TV shows: The Walking Dead, Insecure, Jane the Virgin, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Bob’s Burgers, Lady Dynamite, and many more!

Favorite Movies: Pariah, Moonlight, Hamlet 2, Hecho En México, Coraline, Instructions Not Included (No Se Aceptan Devoluciones), Little Miss Sunshine, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Favorite Books: The Barbarian Nurseries, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, The House on Mango Street, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Bad Feminist: Essays, Now We Will Be Happy, Sister Outsider

Favorite people to listen to: Julieta Venegas, The Read, Latinos Who Lunch, Justice, Flight of the Conchords, Crystal Castles, Al Green, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Doors, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Selena, Frank Ocean

Wishes she were a: Stand-up comedian


Amy LamAmy Lam, contributing editor

amy(at)b-word.org
@amyadoyzie

Amy published her first zine at the age of 15. Since then, has contributed to and published more than a dozen zines. She penned a long-running column for Razorcake, America’s first and only non-profit punk rock fanzine. She joined Bitch Media in June 2014. 

Originally from southern California, she studied journalism/photojournalism and Women’s Studies at university and landed her first grown-up job at the Los Angeles PBS station. In 2005, she moved to Portland, volunteered in China and Bangladesh for a few years, and returned to Rip City in 2009. She has spent more than a decade working for non-profits, most recently with a social justice organization aimed at training activists. Amy is a first-generation college graduate. 

Favorite TV shows/movies: National Basketball Association, Project Runway, documentaries, Slacker (1991) 

Favorite reads: short fiction, celebrity gossip, writers of color, back issues of the New Yorker, and way too much Reddit

Favorite things to listen to: Nina Totenberg, Reigning Sound, MIA, Bent Outta Shape, Childish Gambino, The Read, Zayn, The Weakerthans, Hop Along, Mitski

Turn-ons: salty snacks, modern-day plumbing, day napping 

Turn-offs: vegan cheese, seasonal allergies

Secretly wishes she were a: foley artist


Mia Burcham, editorial assistant

mia(at)b-word.org

Mia Burcham is a senior at Reed College, graduating with a degree in English literature. She was born in Arizona and grew up in Texas, but has called Portland home for 12 years. Mia writes really long analytical essays on politics and really short prose poems on anything, ruins all her shoes on long walks, and cooks more than she can eat. She is writing her undergraduate thesis on American political theology in the works of Walt Whitman, and is generally interested in the foundation of American politics and literature, creative nonfiction writing, food writing, and speechwriting. 

Favorite TV Shows: The Office, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, Firefly, Outlander, Stranger Things

Favorite Movies: The Way Way Back, Sense and Sensibility, The Royal Tenenbaums

Favorite Book: The Stand by Stephen King

Favorite Music: Vampire Weekend, Simon and Garfunkel, Lorde, Frank Ocean, Fleetwood Mac

Fatal Weaknesses: Pod Save America, good coffee, big salads, room-temperature la croix


Piper Gibson, operations assistant

piper(at)b-word.org

Piper Gibson was born in Oakland, California, raised in Eugene, Oregon, and has lived in Portland for three years. She is currently in her last year of pursuing a BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Portland State, and is working with Bitch to complete practicum credits for the program. Her passion lies in pop culture criticism and analysis, specifically through the lens of queerness and disability and how those intersect with other identity categories. She recognizes her feminism will never be perfect, but she is committed to working, growing, and learning more every single day, continually educating herself and others.

When she isn’t at Bitch or in class, she enjoys writing, listening to a variety of podcasts, baking, and hanging out with her girlfriend and their two cats, Eleanor Rigby and Noodle. 

Favorite TV shows: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Steven Universe, The Get Down, Leverage, Parks and Recreation

Favorite movies: Pacific Rim, Her, Across the Universe, Singin’ In The Rain, Fourth Man Out, Carol, Baby Driver, Moonlight, Snowpiercer, The Fall

Fatal weaknesses: Anything with sugar, baby animals, queer media, acoustic music, denim jackets

Secretly wishes they were: A cat


Sabrina Nelson, editorial assistant

sabrina(at)b-word.org

Sabrina grew up all over the Pacific Northwest, from the high desert of Oregon to the temperate rainforests of Washington’s northwest peninsula. She studies sociology at Reed College, where she is currently working on her thesis about menstrual activism and social media consciousness building. She loves reading and writing poetry, spending time with her mom and two younger sisters (aka her best friends), learning all she can about women’s health, making elaborate teas with obscure herbs, and talking at length about periods. If you ask her what she is planning to do with her life, she’ll tell you anything and everything related to writing, public health, and hot beverages. 

Favorite books: Code Red by Lisa Lister, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, Look by Somlaz Sharif, Audre Lorde’s poetry, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Favorite screen stuff: Anything Nora Ephron (most notably, You’ve Got Mail), Fantastic Mr. Fox, Arrival, movies about space, any of Ina Garten’s cooking shows, How to Get Away With Murder, Jane the Virgin

Turn-ons: the ocean, used bookstores, early mornings, grocery shopping, the moon, podcasts, hot chocolate, wit, kindness

Turn-offs: bad podcasts, anthropology, dairy, slow walkers, rudeness.

Secretly wishes she were: an elite level gymnast


Lillyanne Pham, editorial assistant

lillyanne(at)b-word.org

Lillyanne Pham is a sophomore majoring in sociology at Reed College. Her career pursuit is in international news as an in-depth reporter. She is currently working as an Oregon certified Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate and a Peer Career Adviser at Center of Life Beyond Reed. Most of her projects revolve around supporting and empowering low SES and POC students. Meanwhile, she coordinates Reed Open Mic Night every month and presents a spoken word series called Raised by Refugees.

She uses art as a form of self-care. Her current favorite artists are أساسي (Assasi), a Syrian rapper, and WastedRita, an illustrator. Also, The Walking Dead is her guilty pleasure and a part of her sources for inspiration. 

Fatal weakness: Olive bars at grocery stores

Favorite books: One More Thing by B.J. Novak and Chicks Up Front by Sara Holbrook

Favorite music: The Districts, AJJ, and Stan Getz

Turn-ons: Shower rugs, jelly on pizza, and sentimental people

Turn-offs: Anime fanatics, nicknames, and flaky people

Secretly wishes they were: A pajama designer


2017 Writing Fellows

Aqdas AftabAqdas Aftab | Writing Fellow in Global Feminism

Aqdas was born in Lahore, and grew up in Islamabad, two cities where she first learned different—and at times conflicting—forms of feminisms from her mother, grandmothers, aunts, and teachers. She came to the United States to study literature at Smith College, where she continued to be around many conflicting feminisms, ranging from liberal white feminism to women-of-color feminism with ideologies inspired by Audre Lorde. After participating in activist groups in Pakistan and feminist PoC spaces in the United States, Aqdas’ gender politics became strongly intersectional and anti-colonial.

Interested in decolonizing mainstream gender movements, Aqdas believes in centering the voices of trans and queer people of color in global feminist movements. She also believes in the importance of critically exploring how feminism gets co-opted for imperialistic, islamophobic, and racist purposes. Aqdas is currently a graduate student in English Literature at the University of Maryland, where she is working on representations of non-normative bodies in postcolonial fiction. When she is not reading or writing, Aqdas can be found biking, listening to old Urdu ghazals, and cooking experimentally. ”



Fellow Vanessa BorjonVanessa Borjon | Writing Fellow in Reproductive Rights and Justice

Vanessa Borjon is the daughter of a Zacatecano immigrant and a southwest side of Chicago Chicana. She received her BA in Creative Writing- Poetry from Columbia College Chicago in 2015. Her writing explores themes of sexuality, xicanisma, and growing up in rural Illinois. Since 2015 she has been working as a teaching artist in various alternative high schools in Chicago where she facilitates youth dialogue around poetry and literature to build social-emotional skills. Her poetry has been previously published in the Columbia Poetry Review, Corazónland Review, Quaint Magazine, Nepantla, and The Shade Journal, among others.”



Fellow Bemnet GebrechirstosBemnet Gebrechirstos | Writing Fellow in Pop-Culture Criticism

Bemnet Gebrechirstos was born in Ethiopia, raised in D.C., sometimes lives in Maryland and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree from Scripps College in California. She writes both fiction and non-fiction that is always about womanism, radical love, accountability, and resistance narratives. She spends most of her time involved in community organizing, doing activist work and zine making as an editor for Our Sound (based out of Scripps). As a community organizer, she is a part of student mobilization towards decolonization and has worked with various non-profit organizations in helping high-potential youth from intersectional backgrounds. She is incredibly excited to share a number of her thoughts on pop culture criticism!

When not reading, writing, or working towards societal liberation, she’s watching Steven Universe, listening to her favorite podcast The Read, collecting existentialist memes, or exploring various forms of art.



Fellows Mailee HungMailee Hung | Writing Fellow in Technology

Mailee Hung is a writer, editor, and cultural critic based out of San Francisco, California. She earned her MA in Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts in 2016, where she wrote her thesis on prosthetics in Western contemporary pop culture. Her work focuses on the discursive and material intersections of technology and the human body. She is especially interested in the ways in which technologies define socio-biological norms and render only certain bodies culturally and scientifically intelligible.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, Mailee also writes about environmental conservation, rock climbing, and reclaiming adventure narratives and mountain literature for marginalized perspectives. When she’s not reading or watching sci-fi, she can usually be found somewhere in or near the Sierras, chuffing up trad routes or heckling other boulderers from a crashpad. She is easily bribed with dumplings or gummy candy.