The National Office

About the National Office

The National Women's Studies Association, Inc. was founded in 1977 and officially charted in the State of Maryland on May 18, 1978. Since its founding, the Association grew through grassroots organizing and coalition work; an incredible cadre of women's, gender, and sexuality studies educators and activists shepherded NWSA and raised funds to hire our first full-time Executive Director in 2004. Over time, the National Office became the administrative anchor and works as thought partners with the elected Governing Council. Today, the National Office team works to support our expanding membership through programming initiatives and resource development - most notably the Annual Conference.

Connecting with Our Team

The National Office strives to meet the needs of our members, collaborators, and partners - though we do not work in the urgent way that white supremacist capitalist culture often expects and dictates1. The National Women's Studies Association engages members across Turtle Island (North America) and beyond; the Association therefore functions on a 9 AM - 5 PM ET schedule with sensitivities to our members based in other time zones. Your outreach is important to us and we look forward to connecting!

1Adapted from organizer paradyse oakley.

Kristian Contreras

Interim Executive Director

Dr. Kristian Contreras (she/her) is a Black feminist dreamer and educator. Her work focuses on honoring the ways in which we’ve survived, created, loved, and learned despite the presumed deficits associated with our socio-political identities. As a long-time member of the National Women's Studies Association, she is proud to serve the organization as its Interim Executive Director.

Kristian’s experiences as a first-generation daughter of Caribbean immigrants and Scholastics Book Fair aficionado lay at the foundation of an ever-present curiosity – who holds the power in telling our stories? What is possible if we could do more than survive a world designed to keep us at its figurative bottom? How can we thrive beyond this assigned marginality? These questions fuel her commitments towards building feminist futures and permeated her academic journey. Kristian was the first in her entire family to graduate with her B.A in English Literature at the University of Delaware and is humbled to know that for many in her circle, she is the first Afro-Latina they know with a PhD (Syracuse University).

Kristian is the founding director of the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion at Agnes Scott College, former Title IX Coordinator for Students, and is proud of her collaborative work with equity-focused organizations like Parenting for Liberation and the Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights. Drawing from her years as a higher education administrator and skill as an equity and inclusion educator, Kristian merges social justice education, Black feminist fire, ancestral and communal blueprints, a love for art as activism, and Critical Race Theory’s power of storytelling to transform those curious daydreams into liberatory realities. 

When she is not working or pretending to be an Ivy Park ambassador, Kristian can be found lost in a romance novel, investing in my eyebrow maintenance, or asking herself "What Would Janet Mock Do"? Kristian remains inspired by community building, the legacy of Black Women writers, the freedom of a library card, carnelian adornments, being in love, and surpassing the limitations often associated with marginality. You can learn more about her work here!

Courtney Carroll

Operations Manager

Courtney Carroll (she/her) serves NWSA as its Operations Manager. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Loyola University Maryland in Communications with a specialization in Advertising and Public Relations. Her interest in unpacking systems of oppression and how they impact issues of representation and inclusion first led her to an internship with the Association in 2021. Since joining the National Office, Courtney oversaw the curation of two national conferences and maintained vital records during years of instability for the Association.

When she is not stabilizing and supporting the daily operations of NWSA, Courtney is working on the elusive work-life balance. As a native Bostonian, staunch fan of Lizzo, and extra pickles on her sandwiches, Courtney is her best self when in the company of her family and close friends. She is passionate about equity work and contributes much of her intellectual growth to the community of scholars and activists within NWSA. While she may be known for her behind the scenes work, Courtney is a true testament to the transformative nature of the Association as she fine tunes her own feminist voice.

Meet Our 2024 Summer Fellows

Reporting to the Interim Executive Director and Association President, our Summer Fellows work on myriad research projects and Association content that accurately reflects the values, focus, and alignment of the National Women’s Studies Association. Our team works independently, and at times, collaboratively to develop composite reports, original content, and resources in the following areas of focus: 

  • Research and Reporting (ie. accessibility protocols and benchmarking, WGSS programs and resources, etc.)

  • Public Relations and Marketing (ie. social media content, conference designs, infographics, etc.)

  • Association Support (ie. membership support and engagement, daily operations support, etc.)

Our 2024 Summer Fellows are made possible through the support of Colorado College's Summer Internship program and Dr. Heidi R. Lewis' advocacy.

Brailey Harris

2024 Summer Fellow

Brailey Harris (She/They/He) is a Feminist and Gender Studies Major and a rising junior at Colorado College. They are originally from Mansfield, Texas, and became interested in the field through their love of community, history, and storytelling. After CC, Brailey will pursue a graduate degree and engage in research that centers on demystifying black, brown, and queer bodies throughout history and across the globe. Brailey is currently an ADEI Peer Educator at Colorado College and has recently presented a research project at the National Council for Black Studies’s 2024 conference.

Azaria Hampton

2024 Summer Fellow

Azaria Hampton (she/her) is a rising junior at Colorado College, majoring in Business with a minor in Education. In her free time, she enjoys baking, painting, and engaging in various artistic endeavors. She also cherishes spending time with her loved ones and being an active part of her community.

Azaria is thrilled to join the National Women's Studies Association this summer and is eager to expand her knowledge and understanding of women's studies and advocacy. Through this internship, she hopes to develop her skills in research, outreach, and community engagement. She looks forward to contributing to meaningful projects that promote gender equity and empower women, while also learning from the inspiring professionals within the NWSA.

Auna McConnaughey

2024 Summer Fellow

Auna McConnaughey (she/her) is a 2024 NWSA fellow. She is a rising senior at Colorado College majoring in Feminist and Gender Studies and minoring in Education. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to do the MAT program offered at Colorado College. Her senior thesis is one that will explore Feminist practices of letter writing and hopes to incorporate mixed media in presenting her research. She is excited to joining the NWSA team and to deepen her community within the discipline. At Colorado College, she is involved with the Feminist and Gender Studies department through her role as editor of the department’s publication, The Monthly Rag, as a student worker in the Interdisciplinary House, and through her upcoming role as Vice President for Triota. She is most excited and grateful for the opportunity to attend the NWSA conference in the Fall.

Auna also enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and loved ones. She is from Colorado Springs and maintains a close relationship with her little sister, Aisling. In addition, she loves to collage, write letters/cards, and play bananagrams! She can’t wait to further engage with NWSA and their wonderful community.

Italia Quintana

2024 Summer Fellow

Italia Quintana is a Chicana from Denver, Colorado studying at Colorado College. With an educational background in Romance Languages, Political Science, and Race, Ethnicity and Migration Studies, she pursues activism that centers the experiences of Black and Indigenous communities. Italia has worked with various organizations that promote impactful initiatives and campaigns that uplift and amplify the voices of womxn, especially those who exist at multiple margins of oppression. Her activism and labor is driven by an unyielding commitment to intersectionality, transnational feminism, dismantling oppressive systems, and the belief that true liberation is achieved through collective action and solidarity.

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