Independent Research Project: “Religion and Feminism in Coherence.”
Valentina is a ‘third-culture’ woman of color – half Indian, half Persian, and born-and-raised in Botswana – who moved to the U.S. as a young adult. Her experiences navigating these intersections have informed her positionality and (un)belonging in places and spaces of her identity as well as her career trajectory. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a B.A. in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and Communication Studies, then received her M.A. in Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights from American University in Washington, D.C., where she was involved in neighborhood community-building and organizing with youth for several years. Valentina’s experiences have inspired her current pursuit of a Ph.D. in Geography at West Virginia University. Her research is founded in Black feminist theory and methodology, investigating community-organizing efforts and social-movement building concerning marginalized populations and youth who face dispossession, environmental racism, and cultural displacement in both urban and rural contexts. She is also a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Resilient Communities at West Virginia University, where she works with scholars, activists, and organizers who are committed to advancing social change and transformation through community-based action research and accompaniment.