Graduate Fellows

Shari M. Cunningham

headshot of Shari CunninghamThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., M.S., is a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education program in the School of Graduate Studies and a proud Educational Opportunity Fund alumna. She earned a Bachelors in American Studies with a double minor in History and Political Science and a Master of Science in Business from the College of Saint Elizabeth. 

She was an assistant director in the Office of Financial Aid for the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) programs at the Piscataway campus.

Currently Ms. Cunningham serves as a student representative for the Advisory Council for the Graduate School of Education and the co-Vice President for the Graduate School of Education Student Affairs Committee. Her research interest primarily focuses on how Black students make sense of their scholarly journey throughout the stages of doctoral study. Her prior research projects included historical archival research on the emergence of Colored school in 19th century Newark as well as being a contributing author on two chapters to Scarlet and Black: Vol. 2, a Rutgers University exploration of its historical past as a mechanism for reconciliation. 

Nora Devlin

Nora Devlin headshotThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an advanced doctoral student in the PhD in Higher Education program at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Nora's research interests deal with justice and organizational/governance structures in universities, specifically in the realm of higher education law. Her dissertation examines faculty First Amendment cases brought against their (public) university employers. Nora researches the current caselaw on faculty free speech cases which reflects a split among the federal circuits, only some of which recognize the free speech rights of public university faculty. Her research seeks to map and theorize this landscape while offering practical recommendations for faculty, faculty organizers, and university leaders.

Benjamin Foley

Benjamin Foley headshotThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Rutgers University and an activist interested in how white organizers understand and navigate "whiteness" as they participate in interracial coalitions and politics. His dissertation is a historical sociological study of the Young Patriots Organization—a group of poor white migrants from Appalachia who formed in the impoverished neighborhood of “Uptown” Chicago in 1968. Paradoxically brandishing Confederate flags and Black Panther pins, they protested racism against “hillbillies” and “oppressed white people,” and claimed solidarity with other oppressed people of color around the world. Remarkably, the Illinois Black Panther Party saw the Patriots as an ally and recruited them to join their Rainbow Coalition in 1969. The Patriots’ heterodox “white revolutionary” discourse, Ben contends, complicates how we think about “whiteness” and how white anti-racism should and could happen. Rather than treating “whiteness” as an attitude or idea to be rejected, and inadvertently reaffirming its legitimacy as race category, the Patriots “produce” a race discourse where the essentialism of white/ nonwhite binary discourse is weakened, and thereby drained of some of its normative power. Through organizing free medical clinics, food pantries, and other “serve the people” programs, the Patriots link poor southern whites’ poverty and oppression to structural anti-“hillbilly” racism in Chicago. In doing so, the Patriots sought solidarity with other oppressed people of color, not out of a moral or pragmatic objection to “whiteness,” but out of a sense of shared positionally as racially oppressed by white supremacy. While the Patriots’ race discourse often erroneously (and dangerously) equates intra-white racism to racism against communities of color, it merits attention because it offers a model of antiracism that chips away at how white supremacy is reproduced in white ideology. In my project for CCA, therefore, I explore how the Patriots’ experience with Student for Democratic Society organizers formulated this extraordinary race consciousness.

Scott Harris

head shot of Scott HarrisThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Rutgers University. His research and teaching focus on twentieth- and twenty-first-century British literature and culture. His dissertation, “English Variety: Popular Theatrical Culture and Localist Form in the Post-Consensus Novel,” analyzes the sociopolitical function of popular theatrical forms as they appear in the work of Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Sarah Waters, and Ian McEwan. It suggests that contemporary fiction, marked by the decline of imperialism and post-war social consensus, takes up the popular theater in order to provide alternatives to cosmopolitan and democratic forms of inclusion in an age characterized by sociopolitical division.