Dr. Keishla (Kay-shla) Rivera-Lopez is a writer, poet, and scholar. 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.” 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 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. Currently, Dr. Rivera-Lopez is a NEH postdoctoral research associate in American Studies at Montclair State University where she launched the “New Jersey Latino Experiences During the Covid-19 Pandemic” Oral History Project and is working on her book manuscript, Boricua Projects.
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, identity, coloniality and decolonization. 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. She was a 2019 Summer Dissertation Fellow at The Center For Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College where she completed a writing and research residency. During her final semester at The Graduate School-Newark, Dr. Rivera-Lopez was a graduate student mentor in the Mellon-Price Humanities Scholars Program that aimed to assist HLLC undergraduate scholars navigate college.
In her free time Keishla enjoys writing poetry, short-stories, plays and essays. When she is not writing, she enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen, hiking, dancing, and traveling.