Graduate Students

Berner, Justin

Justin Berner is a PhD student in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, focusing on the intersection of New Media Theory and the modern literature of the Iberian Peninsula. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Justin studied Spanish Literature and Economics at Occidental College in Los Angeles before entering Berkeley’s PhD program.


De Morais Gama, Catarina

Catarina is a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Languages and Literatures – Luso-Brazilian track. She holds an M.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a B.A. in Portuguese Language and Culture from Universidade de Lisboa. Catarina’s research interests include 20th century Portuguese and Brazilian literatures, theater and performance studies, humor, black studies, and Portuguese as a foreign and second language. She is currently working on the relationship between laughter and the senses in censored dramatic texts as well as theatrical enactments of Portugal and Brazil under the repression of the 20th century authoritarian regimes.

Fierro, Alfonso

My areas of interest are Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature. Science Fiction and Crime Fiction in modern Latin America. Critical Theory.

Gimenes Hernandez, Monica

Mônica Gimenes is a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Languages and Literatures specializing in 21st century cultural production from the Southern Cone and Brazil. Her dissertation explores patriarchal authoritarianism, femicidal violence, and feminist resistance through a transnational feminist lens. She holds an M.A in Spanish and a B.A. in Multimedia Studies: Journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

Personal website:

Gutierrez, Ernesto

Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete is a PhD student in the Hispanic Linguistics program. He completed his undergraduate studies at Pomona College, with a double major in Spanish and linguistics. Ernesto is interested in bilingualism and Spanish in the US. At UC Berkeley, he focuses on his areas of interest through the lens of sociophonetics and psycholinguistics.

Helms, Annie

Annie Helms is a PhD student in the Romance Languages and Literature program. She is interested in the Spanish, Catalan, and French languages and in sociophonetic variation in regions with language contact and bilingualism. Before coming to UC Berkeley, she earned her B.S. from Baylor University with a double major in Spanish and chemistry.

Personal website

Hernandez-Ramirez, Azucena

I am interested in Mexican and Latin American literatures and cultures, with a special interest in the 19th century and the processes of modernization, its relation with technology, science, capitalism, postcolonialism and the effects and » read more »

Lesser, Gabriel

Gabriel Lesser is a Ph.D. student in Hispanic Languages and Literatures. He earned his B.A. from Brown University, where he was awarded the Fichter Prize for his honors thesis in Hispanic Studies. His interests include 19th and 20th century humor, visual studies, caricatures, and cartoons in Mexico and Brazil.
Prior to starting his doctorate, Gabriel worked at the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress and helped put together the Handbook of Latin American Studies.

Licata, Gabriella

I am a Ph.D. student in Romance Languages and Literatures program- Linguistics track. My research interests are organized within sociolinguistics, including qualitative and quantitative approaches to language variation and attitudes, minority languages, speaker and group indexicality, and critical discourse analysis. My research is centered around the use Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Genoese) in the United States and abroad.

Munera, Alejandro

Alejandro Múnera is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. He holds a B.A. in Literary Studies from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. His areas of interest include modern and contemporary literature and visual culture from both Spanish America and Brazil, psychoanalytic theory, Marxism and continental philosophy.

Neyra Tercero, Delia

She obtained her B.A. with a double major in English and Spanish magna cum laude at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA. During college, she founded a literary magazine in Spanish, Verso y flor, in order to showcase and » read more »

Ochoa Villicana, Maria

She earned her M.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame and her B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include the colonial period, twenty-century literature, and women representations.

Papadopoulos, Benjamin

I am a Ph.D. student working in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I graduated with two B.A.s from UC Berkeley in 2018. I am interested in the fields of sociolinguistics and critical sociology. My current research investigates nonbinary gender morphology in Spanish (e.g. latinx, elle ‘they [sg.]’) and other languages, and contextualizes the institutional rejection of gender-inclusive language within linguicism, a theoretical framework describing the inseparable nature of linguistic and all other forms of discrimination. I am relatedly pursuing a Designated Emphasis in Gender and Women’s Studies.

Quesado Valente, Poema

Poema Quesado Valente Meyer earned a BA in English Literature from the Federal University of Bahia, where she also studied Brazilian literature and culture. She was part of a translation research group coordinated by professor Elizabeth Ramos and during that time developed a passion for the subject. She is now a PhD Candidate in Luso-Brazilian literature and culture, working on a dissertation centered on Inter-American relations and the political concept of utopia during the 19th and 20th centuries. Her other research interests include translation, regional literature, and nation-building and race.

Roman Maldonado, Yairamaren

Ph.D. Candidate in Hispanic Languages & Literatures with a designated emphasis in New Media. She specializes in contemporary experimental literature and digital culture in the Hispanic Caribbean. Her research is currently supported by the Ford Dissertation Fellowship and a UC Dissertation Year Fellowship. For more information about her work please visit her website:

Wind, Ariel

Ariel Wind is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation focuses on literary and visual representations of Mexico City cabarets from 1920-1994; in particular, how these popular spaces of assembly and spectacle hinging on women’s performative labor interfaced with the private, elite literary production of male intellectuals. Before starting her doctoral studies, Ariel attended Washington University in St. Louis, where her thesis on the politics of representation of post-NAFTA Mexican film, literature, and theater was awarded top honors. She has also worked with Professor Terry Karl of Stanford University in conjunction with the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco, contributing to narrative for tribunals on human rights and the politics of amnesty in the context of El Salvador’s civil war. Ariel’s other research interests include comparative modernisms, the transnational avant-garde, queer and feminist theory, performance studies, affect theory, and capitalism of the 20th and 21st centuries. She has published in journals such as Comparative Literature and Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos.