Blog Post

Welcome Lauren Melendez, Katina Rogers, and Four Futures Fellows!

Welcome Lauren Melendez, Katina Rogers, and Four Futures Fellows!

I am very pleased to announce that we now have our Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY team fully in place and we could not be happier.    We have an absolutely extraordinary team and, on behalf of all of HASTAC and on behalf of my colleagues at the Graduate Center, we heartily welcome:  Lauren Melendez, Administrative Specialist, and  Katina Rogers, the Deputy Director of both the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY.   These are very prestigious administrative positions in the GC and CUNY system, were extremely competitive, and we are so delighted to be welcoming these superb new colleagues.  Lauren will be joining us next week, and Katina early in October.


The four Futures Fellows equally are astonishing.  Working each day with Michael Dorsch, Danica Savonick, Lisa Tagliaferri, and Kalle Westerling has been a real treat.   This is an enormously talented team, each with different talents to contribute, and so much intellectual energy and dedication.


It's also great to see how the HASTAC@CUNY and the fabulous HASTAC@Duke teams are starting to collaborate and work together.   It is going to be a great year!   Please join me in welcoming these wonderful new colleagues who work so hard and do so much to help our thriving, burgeoning network dedicated to "Changing How We Teach and Learn." 


Please welcome:



Administrative Team:

Lauren Melendez, Administrative Specialist for the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY, will be joining the Graduate Center in late September. Lauren previously worked at ESPN Audio in Network Radio within the Sales Planning Department. In this role she coordinated with the Network Sales Team on stewarding General Market, Hispanic, Digital, and Remnant inventory with, pricing, clearing Network Audio buys, and worked with the finance department to expedite credit approvals, billing and several other administrative responsibilities. Lauren has been in the Media Industry for the last seven years and is very excited to be making the transition from media into working here at the Graduate Center as an administrative specialist of the Futures Initiative and HASTAC. Lauren is also attending Graduate School at Hunter College in counseling.  Lauren feels the admin role here at CUNY will be a great learning experience and growth opportunity, and she is excited by the prospect of working with undergraduate students in the CUNY colleges and community colleges as part of her position at the Futures Initiative.

Katina Rogers, Deputy Director of the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY, will be joining the Graduate Center in October. Katina previously worked with the Modern Language Association as managing editor of MLA Commons, the MLA’s online platform for collaboration, discussion, and new modes of scholarly publishing. She contributed to the MLA's initiatives on reforming doctoral education, broadening career horizons, and advocating for fair labor practices. Prior to working with the MLA, she conducted research on behalf of the Scholarly Communication Institute on perceptions of career preparedness among humanities scholars working in varied careers. While at SCI, she contributed to the development of the Praxis Network, a multi-institutional and international effort geared toward sharing model programs and experiments in humanities methodological training. Katina is the editor of #Alt-Academy, a digital publication dedicated to exploring the career paths of humanities scholars in and around the academy. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Futures Fellows:

Michael Dorsch

Michael is a doctoral student specializing in geography in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He teaches in the Department of Geography at Hunter College, CUNY and has also conducted research for the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. His research interests include using tools from geographic information systems and techniques from analytic cartography to visualize social and environmental inequities related to negative environmental exposures from energy production and industrial/post-industrial sites. Michael blogs on issues related to society/environment interactions, and his full CV is available at


Danica Savonick

Danica is a third-year doctoral student in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a teaching fellow at Queens College, CUNY. Her research interests include twentieth century and contemporary literary and cultural studiesAmerican studies, critical university studies, and critical race and gender studies (many, many studies). More specifically, she is interested in how literary, cultural, and popular texts help us understand the experiences of historically underrepresented populations within academia, and how these social texts theorize the relationship between education and social justice. She experiments with images. She dances, cooks, and obsesses over her cat. She is a HASTAC Scholar

Lisa Tagliaferri

Lisa is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her current research focuses on late medieval and early renaissance Italian and English literature, and utilizes digital humanities techniques. She also has a background in the computer sciences, having earned an MSc from the University of London. Her thesis explored educational gaming and provided a research context for a Java-based prototype of a multi-platform educational game she developed based on a BBC Radio program. Lisa has a penchant for traditional and antique photography processes, and blogs about education and technology at


Kalle Westerling 

Kalle is a performance and theatre scholar, currently working on two dissertations, one for Stockholm University in Sweden on the formation of the Swedish brand of drag show. His other dissertation project, for The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City, concerns male-identified bodies in 20th century burlesque and boylesque. He also co-directs the HASTAC Scholars project for the The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). He is on the Board of Directors for The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, as well as the board of Swedish Performance Studies-focused publishing house STUTS. He has held fellowships from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. His first book, on the Swedish drag group After Dark, was published in 2006. Read his full CV at


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