I am a sociologist, working at the intersections of gender, religion, and race. In particular, my work has centered on LGBTQ+ Muslims; feminism in Islam; anti-Muslim racism; and anti-immigrant sentiment, with a focus on new religious immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. My interest in these issues is rooted in formative experiences as a middle schooler in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago, when I decided to don the hijab for fourteen years in solidarity with French schoolgirls who were denied the right. Having made this decision at the height of the Persian Gulf War, I encountered religious bigotry from classmates that fueled my desire to study the racialized and gendered experiences of Muslims.
My college student life began when I was accepted into the Aeronautical Engineering program at the U of I and eventually graduated with a B.A. in Business. I worked in the corporate world for a short stint but felt disconnected from and unchallenged by the work. It was ultimately volunteering (as a highschooler and college student) for a crisis hotline at a domestic violence shelter that served South Asians, that drew me back to graduate school to examine gender and racial inequities from a more macro-level framework. Six years later, I earned a PhD in Sociology (emphasis in religion and gender) from Loyola University Chicago. Immediately thereafter, I worked for City College of Chicago on the far south side but left the Windy City in 2009 for greener pastures in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I started at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as an Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and attained promotion to Associate Professor in 2015.
Since 2009, I received more than $60,000 in funding from over 20 grants in order to: research LGBTQ+ inclusive formations of Muslim community in Canada and China; feminist organizing in the West Bank and Nepal; invite a host of international speakers to campus; start film festivals; and get funding to teach Social Justice Theory to BIPOC teen girls from the boroughs of New York City in 2013. I have been invited to speak at a wide range of universities, both nationally and internationally, and have presented at nearly 50 scholarly conferences, including the American Sociological Association, the National Women's Studies Association, and several regional sociology meetings. In addition to serving on the Governing Council of the National Women's Studies Association, I have published articles, book chapters, and reviews in outlets such as, the Journal of International Women's Studies, Praeger Press, Brill, SUNY Press, McFarland and Co., Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, and Feminist Collections.
Gender and human rights
Muslim refugees/new religious immigrants
Gender, Work and Globalization
Awards and Honors
Awardee, YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women Award (Education) (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
Awardee, Outstanding Professor, Leadership & Involvement Center (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
Awardee, Recognition for Excellence in Service Award for the College of Liberal Studies (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
Nominee, Provost Office's Teaching Excellence Award (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
Race, Gender, and Power
History of Sexuality in the U.S.
Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Women’s Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture
Introduction to LGBT Studies
Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change in Religion
Gender and Human Rights
Globalization, Women, and Work
Women's Studies Senior Capstone