Keishla (Kay-shla) is an American Studies doctoral candidate at Rutgers University-Newark. She received her B.A. in Latino Hispanic Caribbean Studies and American Studies in 2015 from Rutgers University-New Brunswick where she was a Ronald E. McNair scholar. She 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.
Her research interests include contemporary U.S. Latinx Studies and literature, Puerto Rican Studies, and Caribbean Diaspora Studies with a focus on gender, race, configurations of the body, the (maternal) body, afro-latinidad, communal trauma, and identity. During the 2017-2018 academic year she was a teaching fellow for the Honors Living-Learning Community, a unique college-access program that is redefining what it means to be an honors student and honors college program. Currently, she is an instructor at Rutgers University—Newark in the American Studies Program and African-American and African Studies Program. She was awarded a 2019-2020 Graduate School-Newark Dissertation Fellowship which will help her finish writing her dissertation project tentatively titled “Writing Freedom: Puerto Rican Women’s Literary Conceptualizations of Motherhood and Memory Beyond Archives.” She was a 2019 Summer Dissertation Fellow at The Center For Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College where she was completing a writing and research residency.
In her free time Keishla enjoys writing poetry and essays from her travel and everyday experiences (and struggles) as a Latina woman. She also enjoys experimenting with different sazons and sofritos in the kitchen, hiking, dancing, and traveling.