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Meet Jeanelle Hope, the New Graduate Student Assistant to the Dean and Chancellor

Jeanelle Hope, UC Davis graduate student and Graduate Student Assistant to the Dean and Chancellor
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 (All day)

Graduate Studies has named Jeanelle Hope, Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies, the Graduate Student Assistant to the Dean of Graduate Studies and to the Chancellor (GSADC) for the 2017-2018 academic year.

As the GSADC, Hope will serve as the primary student representative for graduate students at UC Davis, serving as a voice for graduate student concerns, needs and perspectives. Over the course of a year, she will work closely with the Chancellor, the Dean of Graduate Studies, Graduate Council and other campus leaders.

The GSADC frequently meets with graduate students and various graduate student groups and organizations, and provides the opportunity for professional development during which the GSADC may hone their leadership skills while also becoming familiar with university administration, particularly in relation to graduate education.

The GSADC position is a 13-month appointment, starting September 1 and continuing through October 1 of the following year. This position pays a stipend, plus full tuition and fee remission during the position's tenure. The year following service as the GSADC, the student receives a dissertation year fellowship from Graduate Studies. 

During the first year of the GSADC appointment, the student will have the option of participating in the Professors for the Future (PFTF) program. The PFTF program provides professional development opportunities through monthly meetings and receive formal training in teaching methods and ethics. 

Current GSADC Sarah Messbauer is excited to see what Hope brings to the role. "She is one of the most active and engaged grad students on our campus, with a long and proven track-record of community organizing and student advocacy," said Messbauer. "Knowing that she will combine that experience and energy with the institutional resources and support given to students in this role, I predict Jeanelle will double the impact of the GSADC position—to the benefit of all members of the UC Davis campus community. "

She will spend a month shadowing Messbauer on a part-time basis before stepping into the role full-time on October 1. 

To learn more about the role of the GSADC at UC Davis, visit the Graduate Student Assistant to the Dean of Graduate Studies & Chancellor website.

Getting to Know Jeanelle Hope

Tell us a little about your academic and professional background.
I earned my A.A. in African American Studies in 2009 from Contra Costa Community College, my B.A. in History and Africana Studies from California State University, Long Beach in 2012, and my M.A. in Pan African Studies with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies from Syracuse University in 2014. Currently, I am a rising fourth year Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Studies. In addition to my academic achievements, I have worked as an educator for various educational enrichment, after school, and summer school programs, and served as community outreach and site manager for Rising Sun Energy Center, an energy and water conserving non-profit organization in the Bay Area. On campus, I have worked in various capacities—as a TA and AI for courses in the African American and African Studies, Asian American Studies, and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies departments, as Graduate Student Director of the Graduate Academic Achievement and Advocacy Program (GAAAP), and as a Graduate Peer Adviser at the Internship and Career Center (ICC). Additionally, in service to my fellow students and the institution at large, I have been a Cultural Studies student representative to the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and a student representative on the Cultural Studies admissions committee. 

What first interested you in your discipline?
I was raised by my grandmother and great aunt in East Oakland and Hercules. They were both veracious readers, and as elders carried with them wisdom and history that I found fascinating. At an early age, they exposed me to African American history, specifically around Black radicalism and liberation movements. Throughout high school, my passion for social and cultural history flourished, and I decided that history would be my college major. It was the art of hearing and telling stories that really compelled me to pursue this discipline. As a historian and educator, I take pride in being able to preserve, document, and share the history of my community – amplifying the narratives and stories of those on the margins of the margins, who often go ignored and subjected to historical erasure. Our history is beautiful and worthy of its own platform. 

Why did you choose UC Davis for your graduate studies?
After completing my M.A. degree in the tundra of upstate New York, I knew I wanted to return to the west coast. In knowing that a Ph.D. program is a five to seven year commitment, I also yearned to be closer to my family, especially my grandmother. With my interdisciplinary background, I applied to both History and Cultural Studies programs. The Cultural Studies program at UC Davis was one of my top choices as the program was born out of Ethnic Studies, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s studies, and other fields that I directly engage with. The interdisciplinary nature of the program also presented itself as a space for me to curate a project on my own terms without being stifled by rigid disciplinary practices and gatekeeping. Finally, I was most drawn to UC Davis and the Cultural Studies program because of professors like Amina Mama, whose work I identified with, and so many of the other faculty members in Hart Hall.  

What are your research interests?
My broader research interests include: African American history, African American women’s history, Black Western studies, Afro Asian studies, Asian American history, critical race theory, transnational feminism, Black radical feminism, Black queer studies, public scholarship. While my dissertation focuses on Afro-Asian solidarity, since moving to Sacramento almost three years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to organize within the community and have begun conducting research on the history of African Americans in Sacramento, too. 

What’s the last book that you read for pleasure?
Being in graduate school really saps time and energy from reading for pleasure, but I do read comic books regularly. My great aunt was a huge fan of X-men and other Marvel and DC comics, which intrigued me. Because of her influence in my life, I actually ended up conducting an undergraduate thesis examining the depictions of African Americans in comic books and how those works are not only art, but forms of social commentary and history. A few comic books that I am currently reading are—World of Wakanda, America, The Invincible Iron Man—Iron Heart, and The Black Panther. As a Black queer woman, I appreciate finding and reading comics that provide greater representations of people. Aside from comics, I recently began reading Roxane Gay’s Hunger, and a friend just lent me a graphic novel about Rosa Luxemberg, which is actually pretty good. 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I still have faith in the tenure-track route, despite the declining employment prospects in academia. I would love to be teaching on the university-level, possibly a small liberal arts institution with a large population of students of color, continuing to conduct my research and being a publicly-engaged activist-scholar. However, there is huge appeal to Ph.D. holders in pursuing an alternative academic career. I have had great experiences in student affairs, education policy, and working with archives and museums, which has shown me that I have a lot of career options and there’s no need to limit myself. 

What UC Davis graduate students, faculty, or postdoctoral scholars who inspire you?
Robyn Rodriguez, Amina Mama, Kellie Butler and Wendy Ho

About Graduate Studies at UC Davis

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes 99 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options – bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields – researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community. For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.