Dr. Keishla (Kay-shla) Rivera-Lopez is a writer, poet, scholar and educator. She received a PhD in American Studies at The Graduate School-Newark at Rutgers University where she was awarded the 2019-2020 Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship to finish her dissertation project titled “Writing Freedom: Puerto Rican Women’s Literary Conceptualizations of Motherhood and Memory Beyond Archives.” Her dissertation received a special recognition distinction for the 2021 Virginia Sanchez-Korrol Dissertation Award Prize by the Puerto Rican Studies Association. She received her B.A. in Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies and American Studies in 2015 from Rutgers University-New Brunswick where she was a Ronald E. McNair scholar. She was a 2022 NEH Postdoctoral Research Fellow in American Studies at Montclair State University where she launched the “New Jersey Latino Experiences During the Covid-19 Pandemic” Oral History Project. Currently, Keishla is a lecturer in Latina/o Studies at The Effron Center for the Study of America at Princeton University and is working on her book manuscript, Boricua Projects.
Keishla was born and raised in Newark, NJ to Puerto Rican migrants and reflects on what it means to be a child of diaspora in her scholarship and writing. In her free time she enjoys writing poetry, short-stories, plays and essays. Her writing has been published in The Acentos Review, Decolonial Passage, The Newarker, and The Journal for Latina Feminist Criticism. In 2019 her play “Puerto Rican Kitchen” was selected for the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Short Play and Monologue Theatre Festival and won second place for the “Best of the Fest” Award. When she is not writing, she enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen, hiking, dancing, and traveling.