Graduate Affiliates 2020-2021

JaQuan Beachem

JaQuan Beachem is a New York, now Connecticut, transplant raised in Georgia with New Jersey roots. JaQuan is a first year Master of Divinity student with a B.A. in Theater & Performance from Bard College. He is an interdisciplinary artist interested in integrating the arts and theology for social change. JaQuan’s theology explores the intersections of identity, blackness, masculinity and ethics. Outside of the classroom, you can find him practicing yoga poses, jamming to an album, catching up on a tv series, or viewing a new work of theater/art. JaQuan could not be more excited to join the Stiles family. Feel free to reach out to discuss anything under the sun — from food + faith to politics + pop culture — or if you simply need a listening ear or new self-care technique!
Pranam Dey, a first year medical student, graduated from Yale College in 2018, where he was a proud member of Ezra Stiles and majored in Econ and MCDB. Between college and medical school, he worked in health policy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. At YSM, he is involved in the ultrasound clinic, serves as the class alumni liaison, and does research at the Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation and the Solomon Center for Health Law & Policy at Yale Law School. He is a TA for Econ 170, Health Economics & Public Policy. Outside of school, he loves watching sports, going to plays and movies, and exploring New Haven’s incredible food scene. He’s happy to talk to anyone interested in medical school, working in health policy, or anything else! 

Allison Durkin

Allison Durkin is a first-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School, and a proud Stilesian. Originally from West Pittston, Pennsylvania, Allison graduated from Yale College in 2016 with a B.S. in Cognitive Science. Before returning to New Haven for law school, Allison worked as a Research Coordinator to the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment in New York, where she developed interests in disability rights, education law, and health law. Outside of class, Allison loves to bake, attend trivia, and explore New Haven’s incredible ice cream scene. She’s thrilled to be rejoining the Stiles community.

Arash Fereydooni

Arash is a third year medical student, graduated Yale in 2015 with a BS and MS in MCD Biology, and was a proud stilesian. Though he hails from Southern California, he has weirdly been okay with New Haven’s bipolar weather for the past five years. He is interested in surgery, academic medicine and social justice issues and enjoys hiking, reading non-fictions, playing soccer, and watching Grey’s Anatomy. He is very excited to be rejoining the Stiles community.

Noa Golan

Noa is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Interdepartment Neuroscient program. She is specifically interested in enhancing recovery after spinal cord injury. Noa grew up in Newton, MA and attended Northeastern University as an undergrad. In her free time, she loves to run and spin and usually tries to incorporate those passions in her Stiles programming. 

John Gonzalez

John is a third-year law student, who graduated from Yale College in 2014 with a BA in Economics, where he was a proud Stilesian. Originally from California, John worked in New Orleans after graduation, teaching 8th-grade math in Tréme through Teach for America. Later, he worked at a worker’s compensation plaintiff law firm, helping represent injured workers. He is interested in criminal justice and education reform. At law school, John is a member of the Advanced Criminal Justice Clinic, the Advanced Sentencing Clinic, and the Yale Law Peer Advocates, and also co-directs the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, which places law students into high school classrooms to teach constitutional law. Last year, he was Community Chair for the Latinx Law Students Association, Co-President of the Project for Law and Education at Yale, Co-Director of the Rebellious Lawyering Conference, a Dean’s Advisor, and a constitutional law teacher at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. When not learning about statutory interpretation, he enjoys playing the piano, performing at The Moth, shooting hoops, and eating Pepe’s. He’s excited to be a part of the Ezra Stiles community again and wants to help out in any way he can.

Alison Hall Kibbe 

Alison Hall Kibbe is a Phd student in African American Studies and American studies. She is a scholar, multidisciplinary artist, cultural organizer, and producer. Her work is grounded  in engaged research, creative practice, embodiment, and collaboration. Her research looks at Black multiracial identity, migration, and transnationalism in the Caribbean and the Americas, with a focus on borderlands as both geographic areas and emotional states. She is interested in the possibilities and significances of the body and movement, particularly how subjects negotiate and co-create borderlands in aftermaths of colonialism and slavery through migratory, corporal, and social movement. Her graduate research builds from her current creative project, body/s  in question,  a choreopoetic performance  that moves through her family’s  histories of migration and home-making in Jamaica, Cuba, Panama, and the United States. In her creative work, Alison works with dance, performance, literary arts and dialogue, using oral history and ethnographic research to guide the development of multi-faceted storytelling experiences. Alison graduated from Duke University in 2012, B.A. cum laude with distinction in Cultural Anthropology and Public Policy, where her work focused on the role of embodied traditions and oral history in navigating and resisting displacement across the Black Diaspora, including in Brazil, South Africa, and Chapel Hill, NC. Before coming to Yale, Alison worked as an independent artist, producer, and cultural organizer and consultant in Cuba and New York City. 

Megann Licskai

Megann grew up outside of London, Ontario on a farm with horses, chickens, and corresponding barn chores. She moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of King’s College, where she read a lot of books and accidentally discovered a love for the history of science. Now that she is in her 5th year in HSHM at Yale, Megann reads even more books but is still enamoured with the field. She is interested in reproductive justice, particularly looking at abortion (access to, attitudes about) in the decades after Roe v. Wade. When not elbow-deep in reading, Megann is probably walking, writing letters, binge-watching TV, or thinking about food. She is passionate about mentorship, care packages, and poutine, and could not be more excited to be the head grad affiliate at Stiles this year. 

Harry Newman-Plotnick

Harry Newman-Plotnick is a second year medical student who previously studied Neurobiology at Harvard, where he graduated in 2018. He grew up in Upstate New York and has always managed to stay within a 3-hour radius of home. In his spare time Harry religiously plays Monday night trivia at Gryphons, takes care of his two cats, Marx and Engels, and has recently learned to make toffee. Feel free to ask him about anything related to medicine, science, cats, movies, coffee, toffee, or any other random topic.

Joel Ong

Joel is an astronomy graduate student from sunny Singapore, doing research on asteroseismology and radial velocity instrumentation for exoplanet detection. He earned his B Sc. degree from the National University of Singapore, doing research on general relativity (wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff IN SPACE). As an undergraduate, he was part of the Ezra Stiles community while a visiting international student, and liked it so much that he decided to come back to Yale. Joel also likes food. A lot. When not doing science, you can probably find him in a kitchen somewhere. Maybe one day he might cook for you!

Maria Jose Plascencia

Maria Jose, or MJ, is a first year PhD student in American Studies. Her work focuses on the cultural history of her hometown- the San Diego/Tijuana border region. MJ is a first-generation college graduate. She received her B.A. in American Studies from the University of Southern California. At USC, she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. After graduating, MJ lived in Boston where she danced for the NBA Boston Celtics and worked in HR. Boston was a great experience, but her long term goal was graduate school and she’s excited to be at Yale! Outside of school, MJ is the proud dog mom of a rescue named Chonchis Monchis. Together they enjoy binge-watching TV, dancing cumbias, and Ashley’s ice cream. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about her work/MMUF/graduate school/resumes/dance/Chonchis Monchis/anything!

Héctor Peralta

Héctor is a 2nd year PhD student in the American Studies department. Héctor graduated from Brown University, where he received a BA in Ethnic Studies and Education-Human Development. While at Brown, he was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow, he studied abroad in Paris, and he was part of various dance teams. His doctoral research explores the history of the Californian borderlands. Héctor studies how migrant, refugee, Native and indigenous people shape the sociopolitical geography of California. Héctor grew up in El Centro, CA; Mexicali, BC, MX; and El Cajon, CA.

Malena Rice

Malena is a second year PhD student in the Astronomy department at Yale, where she specializes in exoplanets and planet formation. She is originally from southern California, and she graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with degrees in Physics and Astrophysics. She loves to be outdoors and is particularly renowned for her love of great bread. Malena is passionate about STEM outreach as well as playing the flute, stargazing, traveling, and smiling. She’s incredibly excited to be a part of the Stiles community!

Cera Smith

Cera is a third year PhD student in African American Studies and English. Originally from Southern California, Cera earned a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from California State University Long Beach where they focused on radical protest literatures of the U.S., especially those by writers of color from the 20th and 21st centuries. Now, their work focuses on the ways that Black literatures expose processes of race-making as well as how racialization is chronicled, interpreted, upheld, and/or resisted through the racialized body. Outside of school, Cera enjoys swing and tango dancing, getting to know people, organizing with local social justice organizations, and perusing the “free” section on Craigslist.

Deborah Streahle

Deborah Streahle is enjoying her fourth year living in New Haven. She moved here from Houston, TX in 2016 to join the History of Science and Medicine PhD program. Her goal is to spark conversations about neglected histories of health, technology, and caregiving. In the past, she has also worked as a career counselor, labor and postpartum doula, copyeditor, hospice volunteer, and bicycle mechanic. These days, she finds popcorn, extremely dark chocolate, and cheesy jokes especially appealing.

Stephanie Tu

Stephanie Tu is a second year medical student.  She was born and raised in southern California.  She attended the University of California, Irvine for college, where she graduated with a BS in Human Biology in 2016.  Stephanie is interested in integrating the topics of bioethics, medical humanities, and immunology for her career.  Outside of school, you can find her reading, writing, listening to music (and occasionally singing along), playing adventure games, hiking, and running.  She has had extensive experience helping students narrow down their major/minor options and adjust to university life.  She can’t wait to join the Stiles community and is happy to talk about whatever students are interested in learning more about!

Monique Flores Ulysses

Monique is a fourth year Mexican/Cypriot Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. She grew up on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples in Victoria, BC, Canada, completing her B.A. in History and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, and her M.A. in History from McGill University. Monique is a cultural historian of 20th c Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and Indigenous peoples (especially anything to do with music, fashion, and visual culture!) as related to questions of U.S. empire, citizenship, and migration. Before moving to the U.S. to begin her Ph.D. at Yale, Monique spent almost ten years working in the service industry and still longs for all the free espresso she used to get. When she isn’t doing school-related things, Monique likes to spend her free time reading, binge-watching Netflix, playing the guitar, making art, and hanging out in green spaces around New Haven. This is her fourth year as a Stiles graduate affiliate and she is excited to get to know all of the new students at Stiles! Feel free to contact her with anything you might need.


Teona Williams

Teona Williams is a second year Phd student in History and African American Studies. She studies 20th century United States history with a focus on African American and environmental history. Before Yale, she completed a master’s degree in Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. There she researched African Americans access to outdoor recreation. She hails from D.C. which to her will always be the greatest city in the world!

Bilige “Billy” Yang (杨毕力格)

Billy is a first year PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Through technological innovations, he strives to help people live better lives. His research is on soft robotics; enabled by their unique compliant properties, soft robots can revolutionize how we interact with machines. Billy grew up in Inner Mongolia, China and studied at Swarthmore College for a B.S. in Engineering. As an ethnic Mongol, he loves archery, horse-riding, and making milk tea. Billy is an avid martial artist, with training in Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and Wing Chun Kungfu. He also loves reading; his recent favorite is “Selected Works of Mao Zedong.” He is excited to meet you all! Please feel free to talk to him about robots, China, Mongolia, Martial Arts, and anything else!