Graduate Students

Allen, Derek

Derek Allen is a PhD student in Luso-Brazilian Literature and Culture. He received his MA in Portuguese from Indiana University in 2020, where he was also an Associate Instructor of Spanish and Portuguese. He received his BA in Portuguese from Brigham Young University in 2014, where he was awarded Outstanding Portuguese Major, and graduated with minors in English and Management, while also working as a research assistant for the Department of Plant Sciences. He is an American who learned Portuguese while spending two years as a volunteer service representative in the Luso-African countries of Mozambique and Angola. He has studied abroad at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Universidade de Lisboa, and ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal, as well as at Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His research interests include literature, film, postcolonialism, and cultural identity.

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

PhD Candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. My dissertation project revolves around urban utopias modelled by writers, architects, urban planners, and artists of the postrevolutionary period in Mexico (1920-1950). My research interests include the history of modern urban thought and planning in Mexico, Latin American urban cultures, and utopian studies. Since 2018, I hold a monthly op-ed column in the Mexican architecture magazine Arquine and contribute regularly to other publications and journals.

Carvalho Gimenes, 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

Gabriella is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Romance Linguistics and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at UC Berkeley, where she takes mixed-methods approaches to understanding how semiotics and ideologies mediate perceptions of language, and how this shapes a speaker’s access to indexical fields.

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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.

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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.