Let’s be better together
Helping Moms Be Their Best Selves.
IAMAS’ (International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship) roots are as an academic organization, but our members are more than just scholars. We are activists from dozens of countries who want to help all moms be their best selves with the supportive, proactive community they need to do that.
We strive to increase meaningful conversation among maternal advocates regardless of their field or experience. Our members are educators, members of the media, politicians, community activists, health practitioners, businesswomen, and much more.
IAMAS wants to use our collective knowledge to help moms – whether it is providing information so they can get reform they need, supporting legislation that helps caregivers, or sharing the collective knowledge of women in differing communities and reimagining what could work in our won.
Most moms take the culture of motherhood as a given, when it doesn’t have to be. It can be better. We can expect (and demand) better support from our partners, communities, places of employment, and governments. Motherhood isn’t new, but the ways we support moms can be. Let’s be better together.
Dr. Katie B. Garner
Katie Bodendorfer Garner, PhD focuses on motherhood, childcare, and labor equality via her PhD in English and is the executive director of IAMAS. Katie is currently writing The Illusion of Choice, which incorporates interviews with 100 U.S. mothers. She has recently published two co-editing anthologies: Care(ful) Relationships Between Mothers and the Caregivers They Hire (Demeter) and Creating Supportive Spaces for Pregnant and Parenting College Students (Routledge). In addition to publishing with myriad academic outlets, Katie has been consulted for or appeared in releases by Center for Public Integrity, Chicago Tribune, Fast Company, Nature, NPR and numerous podcasts. She is the mother of three human children and two furry ones. https://drkatiebgarner.com/
Mairi McDermott identifies as a m/otherscholar, a scholar who embraces the otherness that mothering relations offer to the oppressive conventions woven through the fabric of schools and society. In her present research, as Associate Professor in Curriculum and Learning at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, she is turning towards speculative fiction as a method and genre fertile for re-membering, re-imagining, and re-storying m/otherworlds for healing, justice, and livability.
Dr. Summer R. Cunningham
Summer R. Cunningham, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Communication and Affiliate Faculty in the Women’s and Gender Studies at SUNY Oneonta. She is interested in social justice and transformation, relationality, and connection. Her primary focus of research is in the area of mothering and motherhood, with a particular focus on the topics of single motherhood, mothers in academia, and the politics of motherhood. Her work often employs creative, performative, and experimental methods with the aim of garnering interest in social issues for which people are either disinterested or do not see themselves as stakeholders.
Dr. Jebunnessa Chapola
Dr. Jebunnessa Chapola is a Saskatoon, Canada based settler woman of colour trained as an anti-racist, decolonial feminist educator. She is a cultural and environmental justice activist. She is the mother of three daughters. She received Student Changemaker MOMA Award 2023 from the International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship (IAMAS), USA. In addition to her academic accomplishments, she is also engaged in decolonial social justice community activism and community-building activities for the last 15 years. As a community-engaged activist scholar, she has worked in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for the last ten years and has lived in Calgary for the last three years. She was involved with the University of Saskatchewan community garden, Saskatoon CFCR community radio, and transnational cultural activities in Saskatoon, Canada. Various federal, provincial, and local organizations have recognized her community-building work.
In 2015, Dr. Chapola received the provincial Anti-racist champion recognition (Betty Szuchewycz Award) from the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, the Anti-racist Beyond Trailblazer Honor (2015), CBC Future 40 Award (2015), and the University of Saskatchewan Graduate Students’ Association’s Excellence in Community Services Award (2016). CBC, CTV, Global TV, The Star Phoenix, Saskatoon Express, CFCR, The Sheaf, the YWCA in Saskatoon, Flow magazine, and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 have featured her.
In 2022, she joined as a contract faculty at the general education department at Mount Royal University (MRU), Calgary. Besides her teaching at MRU, Calgary, Dr. Chapola is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)postdoctoral fellow working under Professor Margot Hurlbert, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability Policy at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina. Dr. Chapola published several book chapters and articles in reputed journals.
More about Dr. Chapola and her work:
Susie Fishleder is the founder of MotherBLOOM, a coaching program that empowers women navigating the complexities of motherhood. Her transformative work addresses issues of identity loss, anger, and birth trauma, while also inspiring mothers to embrace maternal activism and view motherhood as a profound catalyst for spiritual self-growth. As the host of the podcast, Rebel Mothers, Susie Fishleder leads insightful conversations that challenge conventional narratives surrounding motherhood and redefine the modern mothering experience. Beyond her podcast, she is recognized as an independent educator, speaker, and facilitator, with expertise in the field of motherhood studies and a commitment to mothering for social justice liberation.
Susie earned her Master of Arts in Women, Gender, Spirituality, and Social Justice with an emphasis on Motherhood Studies in 2023, and her passion for effecting change extends beyond her professional work as she actively contributes to the mission of IAMAS, serving on its board. She is a mother to three children who delight and challenge her daily, and lives with her family in Suffolk, Virginia. To learn more about Susie Fishleder’s work and the Rebel Mothers podcast, please visit her website at www.susiefishleder.com.
Lacy is a recent NYU Sociology of Education graduate who currently works as an academic advisor at a community college in New Jersey. Her academic interests center on student mothers in institutions of higher education and how they navigate and interpret their experiences with faculty, staff, and institutional accommodations.
Dr. Lynn O’Brien Hallstein
Lynn O’Brien Hallstein serves as Assistant Provost for General Education, is a Professor of Rhetoric in the College of General Studies and is affiliated faculty with both the Center for Innovation in Social Science, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Boston University. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication (with a focus on feminist rhetorical practices) from the Ohio State University. As a motherhood scholar who employs a communication lens, her research explores the various ways that contemporary motherhood is constructed rhetorically. She has published two single-authored books, one edited book, four co-edited books and various peer-reviewed journal articles and/or book chapters, while also presenting conference papers regularly at both communication and motherhood conferences. She is the mother of two adult children and a beloved family dog.
Amanda M. Hinson-Enslin, PhD, MPH, CHES®
Amanda M. Hinson-Enslin, PhD, MPH, CHES® is an Assistant Professor at the Boonshoft School of Medicine’s Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Hinson-Enslin teaches in the Master of Public Health Program where she focuses on health promotion and education. Her research interests include health promotion and education, public health, health disparities, health equity, project management, mental health, and advocating for individuals with various abilities.
Amanda joined the IAMAS Board to advocate and participate in addressing disparities among mother researchers and aid moms in identifying solutions to enhance their lives at work and with their family.
Hazel Katherine Larkin
Hazel Katherine Larkin is an Irish mother scholar whose first tertiary qualification was in Theatre, followed by a BA (Hons) in Psychology & Sociology; an MA in Sexuality Studies, and an LLM in International Human Rights Law (QUB). Her PhD – an autoethnographic piece focusing on the relationships between daughters and mothers in Ireland, where both have histories of child sexual abuse – is being examined at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia (UniSQ).
Hazel currently lectures on childhood abuse and neglect at the UniSQ, runs several programmes for women with histories of child sexual abuse, and conducts independent research in her areas of expertise. Her memoir was published in 2015, and she is currently seeking a publisher for a series of essays detailing the effect of child sexual abuse on her body. Slightly lighter in tone, her WIP is entitled ‘What’s The Point?’
‘Woman Up!’ Hazel’s podcast features women talking about the issues that matter to them. You can find it on her website, Trauma Recovery.
Dr. Jessica A. Leveto
Jessica A. Leveto, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Kent State University at Ashtabula, an executive coach and consultant. She is a champion for motherscholars in academia; her research examines the complexities of motherhood in higher education, focusing on fostering work-life integration for parenting students and faculty. She’s committed to shaping policies and pedagogies that support caregivers.
Founder of Ph.D. Mamas and Vice President of the Academic Mama Foundation, Dr. Leveto’s advocacy demonstrates a dedication to applied sociology and dismantling structural barriers. Most recently, her work as an executive coach and consultant works to provide tools and frameworks for caregivers in academia and beyond to find meaningful work/life integration.
As a first-generation graduate and mother of three (Liam (23), Ryleigh (9), and Lillian (7)), she embodies the synergy of academic excellence and familial commitment. Her teaching, research, practice, and personal journey underscore a commitment to navigating the complexities of motherhood and academic pursuits.
Dr. Gertrude Lyons
Dr. Gertrude Lyons is a leading coach and educator in women’s leadership development, parenting, and relationship satisfaction. As the founder of Rewrite the Mother Code, LLC, she inspires women to take control of their own personal transformations and has spent the last 21 years empowering individuals, couples, parents, and families to realize meaningful, successful lives. Dr. Lyons is a PCC certified coach through the International Coaching Federation and a Whole Brain Living certified coach through Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. She also holds a Level 3 Breathwork Certification through Global Professional Breathwork Alliance. Dr. Lyons received her B.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, her M.A. in Psychology from Antioch University McGregor School, and her Ed.D and M.A. in Transformational Leadership and Coaching at the Wright Graduate University. These certifications and trainings empower Dr. Lyons to provide an integrative approach focused on the individual, couple, or family needs. She firmly believes that we are all mothers. Together, we can support one another to be the best versions of ourselves through this nurturing energy we share. https://www.drgertrudelyons.com/
Abby is the inaugural Director of the Residential Commons Program at Colgate University. She holds a PhD in Literature (with a focus on Irish and Caribbean novels) with a graduate minor in Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her self-care practices include running (really, jogging at an excruciatingly slow pace), reading voraciously, and needlepointing. The joy of her life is raising a strong feminist teenager with her partner.
In her book, Imagining Motherhood in Contemporary Irish and Caribbean Literature (2016, Palgrave Macmillan), she analyzes the ways that Irish and Caribbean women writers negotiate new understandings of the Good Mother; she has also published articles in a number of journals and Demeter Press publications. The most satisfying research projects she has completed have been the books she co-edited with dear friends and colleagues: Mothers, Mothering and Globalization with Dorsía Silva Smith and Laila Malik (2017, Demeter Press); Cultural Representations of Breastfeeding with Ann Marie Short and Dionne Irving (2018, Demeter Press); Feminist Responses to the Neoliberalization of the University: From Surviving to Thriving with Sonalini Sapra and Jamie Wagman (2020, Lexington Books), and Monstrous Mothers: Troubling Tropes with her mentor, Andrea O’Reilly (2021, Demeter Press). She and Mairi McDermott are developing a project that plays with the intersections among and boundaries between motherhood studies, intellectual activism, and genre writing like speculative fiction and hybrid memoirs.
Areas of Interest: literary and cultural representations of mothering practices, particularly the ways that rhetoric about motherhood shapes and influences women’s mothering practices; memoir writing and the ethics of writing about shared experiences.
Cindy Phu, Ed.D (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in Speech Communication in the department of Performing/Communication Arts at Pasadena City College (PCC). For many years, she served as the PCC Director of Forensic (Speech and Debate), PCC Coordinator of the Speech Tutoring/Learning Center, and was the executive board of the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association (PSCFA). In the past 14 years, she has taught at several community colleges, state universities, and private universities. Those courses were gender communication, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, argumentation and debate, propaganda and persuasion, public speaking, and communication studies theory. On the collegiate level, she has produced numerous local, regional, state, and national speech and debate champions. She has led professional development workshops for: workplace communication for professional organizations, best-practices for online education training for High School instructors, and public speaking workshops for the local women’s leadership organization. Her lived-experience of mothering an infant as a doctoral student sparked her dissertation research in examining the experiences of mothering-students of color at the community college.
Areas of interest: Mothering students of color in community college, critical race theory, intersectionality, mothering double-consciousness, intergenerational mothering, and healing centered engagement.
Dr. Nicole Willey
Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Professor of English at Kent State University, Nicole Willey also serves as the Faculty Mentoring Program Coordinator for the Tuscarawas campus. At Kent State University since 2003, she has moved her research from a more traditional literary focus on Nineteenth Century American novels, specifically sentimental novels and narratives of enslaved women, to intersectional research on mothering, memoir, and most recently fathering, parenting policies in academe, and mentoring practices. Her books include Feminist Fathering/Fathering Feminists, Creating a New Ideal of Masculinity for American Men:The Achievement of Sentimental Women Writers in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, and the co-edited collections Motherhood Memoirs: Mothers Creating/Writing Lives and Feminist Fathering/Fathering Feminists: New Definitions and Directions, both from Demeter Press. Nicole lives in New Philadelphia, Ohio with her partner of 20+ years, a feminist father and queer/comics studies professor; they have two almost grown sons, a hilarious dog and a sneaky cat.
Areas of interest: mothering sons/mothering against toxic masculinity and gender binaries, professionalization of mothers in academia, and mentoring.
Justyna Wierzchowska is Associate Professor at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of The Absolute and the Cold War: Discourses of Abstract Expressionism (2011) and co-editor of In Other Words: Dialogizing Postcoloniality, Race, and Ethnicity (2012), special issue On Uses of Black Camp (2018) and Texts, Images, Practices: Contemporary Perspectives on American, British and Polish Cultures (2020). She is currently working on two books: Related for Life: Mothering in Contemporary Art and Self-Writing: Critical Theory after World War II.
Prof. Wierzchowska is the recipient of the Fulbright Commission Senior Scholar Award and the NAWA Bekker Scholarship thanks to which she did research at New York University in 2019-2020 and 2022-2023. Her research is in motherhood studies, affect theory, psychoanalysis, attachment theory and visual art.
Dr. McKenzie Wood
McKenzie Wood is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Weber State University, in Ogden, Utah. A sociologist at heart, she has taught an array of classes, including Criminology, Victimology, Punishment and Society and Crime and the Media. Her pedagogy involves teaching theoretical tenets and then assisting students as they make theory connections to their own life experiences. McKenzie’s areas of research interest revolve around crimes against women, crime prevention strategies, and the help-seeking behaviors of survivors. Most recently she has studied active shooter and armed intruder policies in healthcare and hospital settings. She has been published in various outlets, including the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Race and Justice, and the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.
McKenzie is the mother of three amazing children, and you can often find her trying new flavors of herbal tea or hiking the beautiful Utah mountains.