Executive Board Nominees 2018

Executive Board Nominees

Kendra Dyanne Rivera

Kendra-Rivera December 2016 headshot

I am engaged in feminist community action research in order to understand how communication both shapes and reflects our health and wellness at the identity intersections of gender, race, class and sexual orientation.My current research is an ethnographic exploration of the ways in which midwives and Latina moms make sense of wellness in the birthing process.

I utilize critical pedagogical approaches, including communication activism pedagogy, service learning, and contemplative practices.  I believe my greatest accomplishment in the academic world are my students who have gone on to work in social-justice environments with a goal of giving back to their community.

I joined OSCLG in 2005, when I presented my first conference paper. The supportive sisters and brothers of OSCLG have pushed me to be more reflexive, more critical, more performative, more activist, and to find myunique voice.  As a professor, I now mentor a new generation of scholars, including my son, who will be presenting at his 10thOSCLG Conference in October.  Indeed, I see OSCLG as an extension of my family and my life’s work. As a member of the Board, I will bring energy and innovation, particularly in the areas of feminist pedagogies and diversifying our membership.  I look forward to our growth and our contributions to countless scholars in the future.

Laurena Bernabo


I became a lifetime member of OSCLG after attending my first conference in 2013. OSCLG has been my happy place ever since, and I want the opportunity to serve my community. I am a recent graduate of the University of Iowa where I served as President of the Graduate Student Senate. This position came with many duties, including facilitating an annual graduate conference and advising deans regarding college business. I was responsible for running monthly meetings, troubleshooting for six different committees that served the graduate student body, and bridging divides between the sometimes-competing interests of students, faculty, and administrators. I also received a departmental award for building a sense of community among my peers. During my years of service and active citizenship, I developed skills with which I can help the board to develop and deliberate policy initiatives, manage the many award committees, and support research, all while promoting an inclusive and nourishing sense of community among OSCLG’s members and guests.

Jimmie Manning


As a long-time member and supporter of OSCLG, I am excited about the possibility of serving on the Board. If elected, I promise to be a conscientious contributor. During my 13 years as a member of the organization, I have been involved in many ways, including service as the Alternative Scholarship editor for Women & Language, as a member or chair of several committees, and, perhaps most memorably, as co-planner of the 2016 conference in Chicago. These experiences—as well as my interactions with many OSCLG members over the years—have prepared me well to contribute to board conversations about the future of our organization. Other experiences that will help me to be an informed board member include work done as a part of the National Communication Association Presidential Task Force for Inclusivity; serving as Executive Director for the Central States Communication Association; and developing an advocacy film for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. If elected, I would be interested in offering my skills and expertise to consider how we might increase funding for student and international participation, including endowed awards; expand our social media presence; and how we can increase readership of our beloved and excellent journal.

Marie Thompson

Marie Thompson

I attended my first OSCLG conference as a graduate student in 2006. From the moment I entered that St Louis conference, each turn garnered another welcoming smile, another hand, an invitation to sit and talk, to eat and have a drink. Even as my bones were shaking with fright and awe – I felt safe. Safety wove its way through all that laughter, those questions, ideas, and dialogue pouring as fast and as wickedly as the wine and dwindling chocolate. Still each day these powerful women and awesome men rose, organized, presented, challenged, welcomed and worked to lift us all up. Each conference became more of a homecoming, a place of refuge and of rejuvenation for the inevitable return to circles of demanding noise. Each year I come, somewhat exhausted and depleted, and I leave lifted and more hopeful. The presence of OSCLG resonates and moves on through me to touch others- students, colleagues, leadership, and scholarship. OSCLG provides a sacred space for gathering back up all our strength …. Because honestly, what other professional space can you feel this much love, drink all the wine you need, all the chocolate you can handle, cry, pee yourself laughing, dance all night and still be taken seriously by smart intelligent bad-ass women and men? Some 12 years later this juice continues to both inspire and call me to action because I firmly believe all that underscores the scholarship, activism, and advocacy we bring to each conference needs to be sustained.

Having served as graduate representative for OSCLG 2010-2012, I am eager to return and serve again, to give back, and help move us forward. If elected, I look forward to support the effort to make way for new and varied voices, even as I hope to join, contribute, and learn both with and from those voices.

Carol Winkelmann


My name is Carol Winkelmann and I am a linguist/ professor at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio.  I teach feminist linguistics and language-based courses on gendered violence. Pedagogically, I focus on ways to be involved in the local community and to bring the community into classrooms.

In pursuit of these goals, I volunteer both for End Slavery Cincinnati, an organization that brings health, legal, and educative services to local sex workers, and for another volunteer group that provides basic services to adult entertainers. I’m an active member of the Tri-State Anti-Human Trafficking Networkwhich advocates for the de-criminalization of sex workers through community education and the development of better response protocols and communicative practices for policy makers and direct service providers, including medical personnel, law enforcement, attorneys, and social workers.

I serve as co-president of Sakyadhita USA, an association for Buddhist women whose mission includes women’s leadership development. I’m an editor for American Buddhist Women.

Most recently, I’ve been writing about contemplative pedagogy in higher education and transgressive practices for racial justice. And I am very excited to be co-planning, along with Leland Spencer, the 2019 OSCLG Conference!For many years, OSCLG has nurtured me as a teacher scholar. I wish to give back by serving the organization in meaningful ways. This is why I am seeking a board position.


Student Nominees:

Shanice Littlejohn


Shanice, a first-generation college graduate, and graduate student, is committed to educating herself and others. She believes that representation is important, especially in the black community. As such, she hopes to fill that need for representation by starting with OSCLG. As the daughter of black gay women, in the south, Shanice not only reads about the struggles of womanhood and LGBT studies as they relate to race, but she has lived them. She hopes to help others adjust their understanding of life in these communities not only through reading, but through thorough dialogue.

Shanice is a graduate student at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, working towards a Masters in Liberal Studies with a focus in Social Justice in Literature. As student ambassador, she intends to continue fostering relationships with wise women and seasoned scholars. She also hopes to bring new scholars of varying backgrounds, both cultural and academic, to OSCLG. Shanice has fostered a mentor-mentee relationship with Siobhan Smith-Jones, and has learned a variety of information, and has been able to go to her for all kinds of advice, from sociopolitical to academic. Because of this positive experience, Shanice hopes to implement a mentorship program within OSCLG. She also hopes to develop the current scholarship, by seeking a new source of funding, meant for those who wish to attend the conference, but can’t afford it.

Shanice is currently writing a YA novel called Sins of the Father, about a woman who has to dismantle systemic racism. It is with this novel that she hopes to expose the hypocrisy that comes with pop culture and sociopolitical issues. Shanice has seen the public feel more empathy towards fictional characters than they do for their next-door neighbors, even though they have the same problem. 

Idrissa N. Snider


As a professor at Miles College in the Division of Communications, Idrissa N Snider is committed to educating and inspiring others to excellence. Her academic interests lie in the areas of Rhetorical Criticism and Womanst Studies. Snider’s primary focus in research deals with examining black women’s resistance towards controlling images. She is especially attentive to studying modes of empowerment through acts of self-defining.

Idrissa is currently a doctoral candidate at Wayne State University, located in Detroit, MI and expects to complete her PhD in the fall of this year. As student ambassador, Idrissa intends to foster and cultivate relationships with budding up-and-coming scholars. She knows far too well the value of mentorship and credits much of her own personal and academic success to the many women who have and continue to support her along the way. In fact, womanist scholarship promotes the belief in community, connectedness, and legacy. And that is why Idrissa has been involved with numerous women’s outreach programs for years.

Snider is a writer at heart and manuscripts an opinion column for The Birmingham Times. Her latest publication features the National Welfare Rights Organization in ABC-CLIO’s “Black-Power Encyclopedia: From ‘Black is Beautiful’ to Urban Uprisings.”

Anna Valiavska


It is an honor for me to introduce myself to the OSCLG community. I am Anna Valiavska, and I am a doctoral student at the University of Missouri. I am excited about the possibility of serving OASLG as a Student Board Member because it would allow me to combine my scholarship and professional experience and contribute to this organization.

I study organizational communication and focus on issues of power, gender, and rhetoric. My scholarly interests grow from a belief that research has to contribute to betterment of the communities we work with. I am excited to leant from and contribute to OSCLG community. It is a space or learning, reflection and professional fulfilment.

I am in my third year of coursework in the PhD program, working with Dr. Rebecca Meisenbach. Some of my recent projects focus on exploring identity work and sense making through performance in Queer Monologues (an annual storytelling event for LGBTS community and allies) and stigma management strategies women in engineering fields utilize to navigate college and early careers.

OSCLG was the first conference I have attended as a communication scholar, and I felt a great sense of belonging. As someone who was very new to my discipline I felt welcome and was energized by this deep community of committed scholars.  I’m a hard worker and feel that OSCLG is a group that I’d be deeply honored to learn from and serve as a student board representative, contributing my knowledge as a scholar and an administrator, and developing connective networks across the organization that can assist us all with scholarship and the practical demands of our work.

Michelle Dreiling


Michelle has been involved with OSCLG since presenting her undergraduate work in Florida in 2010. Since then, OSCLG has been an inspiration and guiding force behind her success in academia. Michelle has been active in the organization as a graduate student and as a faculty member, and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Media Studies with a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oregon. She continues to be involved as Design and Web editor for Women & Language, executing a complete redesign of the website and journal during her tenure in that role. Her priorities in regard to research include a focus on public scholarship through filmmaking and critical analyses of representation of gender and sexuality in media.

Michelle is committed to the continued success and sustainability of the organization. She is a futurist, an innovator, and is focused on inspiring young people to further the good work that OSCLG does as an academic organization but also as a community of thinkers dedicated to feminist ideals.