April 7, 2020

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program presents the inaugural Gloria Anzaldúa Research Excellence Award winners. This award is to be given in early spring of each year for the amount of $1,000.00 to two awardees. This research excellence award stipend supports individuals pursuing advanced research near completion and of value to women’s and gender scholars, general audiences, or both. Stipends are awarded to individuals or a team of scholars. The scholarships can be used to disburse travel expenses, copyright, publishing cost, performance pieces, curate exhibit, book chapter, case study, conference presentations, and book tours among others.

The inaugural winners are Brenda Peynado and Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés, both from the Department of English.


Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés, Ph.D.
Professor of English

“For the last five years I have been working on a novel tentatively titled Marilu Gets It. The title character is a Catholic Cuban American girl coming of age in 1970s New Jersey whose growing self-confidence and awareness of her body and sexuality are temporarily thwarted when her parents move to Miami where they believe she will have a better life (and stop being “so boy crazy”). The 1970s setting in urban New Jersey and then Miami provides a backdrop of social and political upheaval. Marilu’s teenage years coincide with the rise of the disco where the music, dance, and scene facilitated Marilu’s sexual liberation. The novel is complete but is in the revision and polishing phase. I anticipate having the manuscript ready to circulate by the end of the Spring 2020 semester.”


Brenda Peynado, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English

“The Furious Branches is a historical novel-in-progress set in the Dominican Republic on the eve of a civil war and suspequent American invasion in 1965. On the day the Americans invade, a young girl, Mayluz, gains the power to see all her possible futures. In many of those futures, Mayluz’s mother, a guerilla combatant in the civil war, dies. The novel is a race to save her mother, and with her visions of the future, Mayluz must learn to orchestrate a cast of five people who will be attendant at her mother’s death to save her. A Dominican housewife who can bring people back from the dead must decide what is worth dying for. A Puerto-Rican soldier fighting for the Americans, who can trade places with his shadow, must sort through his loyalties. A Haitian-Dominican window washer who is the strongest man in the world must fight against the forces trying to keep him powerless. And Mayluz’s mother, who can see through any wound backwards to the scene when it was inflicted, must sort through the cause of her country’s trauma. All of these come together explosively in the final scene of Mayluz’s mother’s many deaths. The book is told by Mayluz on the eve of her own death fifty years later to her American daughter. Her daughter has her own journey ahead of her, from an apolitical scientist to someone who is willing to see and fight for the powerless. Mayluz hopes that her own tale from a war fifty years past will help her daughter understand how to take ethical political action and what to stand for, before it’s too late.”