2020 WHA Graduate Student Caucus Election
My name is Brianna Tafolla Riviere. I am currently a second-year Ph.D. history student at the University of California, Davis, where I focus on Native American and American West history. I am planning a dissertation on how the Red Power movement influenced Hollywood and the western film genre throughout the twentieth century. The Western History Association Conference is and will always be my academic home. I first came to the WHA in 2017 in San Diego as a graduate volunteer, while still completing my M.A. at The University of Nebraska at Omaha. You probably recognize me from behind the registration desk where I have spent most of the last three conferences. I am interested in serving on the WHA Graduate Student Council as the Outreach Coordinator to contribute to the organization more dynamically throughout the year. My enthusiasm for the WHA is well-documented among other grad students in my own department and I would be thrilled to be able to continue to advance and grow the WHA Graduate Student Council through this role.
Jenni Tifft-Ochoa is currently finishing her MA at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. She will be entering a PhD program in the fall. Her research examines the role bison and cattle played in shaping Apache – Spanish relations on the Southern Plains of Texas in the eighteenth century. Her research interests have evolved to include the history of early America, the Spanish Borderlands, Indigenous Peoples and the environment. She has spent the last eighteen months in the capacity of the WHAGSC Historian. During her time with the WHAGSC, she has served the graduate community by providing students access to training and opportunities in order to enhance necessary skill sets vital to their future careers in Western History. Over the next two years, she plans to further center diversity and inclusion in the WHAGSC by creating opportunities for underrepresented students to travel to, present at, and participate in the Western History Conference. We need to not only provide opportunities for all students, but also provide a welcoming, inclusive space that allows students to grow and flourish through shared connections.
Hey! My name is Korina Ike. I am a first-year master’s student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In general terms, I study the environmental history of the American West. Specifically, I focus on the history of brucellosis eradication in the Greater Yellowstone Area. I saw the email for the call for applications and thought it would be a great way to get involved. I have been on the fringes of the organization and I think obtaining a position will give me an opportunity to actively engage with the Western History Association as a graduate student. I wholeheartedly agree with the goals of the mission statement and hope that my involvement will further these aspirations. Western history is the reason I fell in love with history and why I am pursuing a master’s degree. I appreciate the organization serving as a hub for historians to share their passion for the West.
Alika Bourgette is a PhD student in the University of Washington Department of History. His dissertation research investigates Native space making and resistance to kinship and relational reform in Kakaʻako, Honolulu in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His project examines the ways Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) youths circumvented and transgressed gender and sexual norms introduced through missionary schools in Honolulu. By shifting conversations of Native dispossession from a focus on the loss of land tenure and property to the reconfiguration of kinship and relations in a place-based context, his work posits anti-statist and anti-patriarchal imaginations of future liberations. Prior to his attendance at the UW, Alika served as an AmeriCorps VIP Fellow for the Cross Cultural Centers at California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Following his passion for social justice work, he supported programming and events for underrepresented students on campus.
Gianna May Sanchez is a history PhD student at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on the history of medicine in the twentieth century American West, with particular interest in folk healing, curanderismo, and women’s health. Her research examines how traditional medicine adapted, negotiated with, and persisted in the twentieth century alongside increasing forms of state surveillance and pressure from western medical influences. In her Master's at the University of New Mexico, her thesis addressed the history of birth control, eugenic thought, public health, and maternal welfare in New Mexico. Gianna is an editor at Nursing Clio, an open access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog project that ties historical scholarship to present-day issues related to gender and medicine. She is also a Research Assistant for the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab at the University of Michigan. In this position, Gianna works with a team of researchers to examine eugenic sterilization records across Iowa, California, and North Carolina, incorporating methods in digital humanities, data analysis, data visualization, historical inquiry, and public engagement and education.
Gianna attended her first WHA in 2014, and regularly attends the conference since then. She is a member of the Coalition for Western Women Historians Committee and the Coalition on Race and the American West. She previously served on the Graduate Student Caucus from 2015 to 2017, and would like to renew this involvement to further support the Caucus and graduate student endeavors. In particular, Gianna hopes to further develop opportunities for graduate students to build upon and present on digital and public-facing research, as well as continue support of GSC initiatives. In the past, Gianna participated in GSC-organized lightning talks and networking events, and she hopes to continue supporting these events for other graduate students to benefit from these opportunities.
List of Nominees