Leanne Simms received an AAUW Honolulu Branch award in 2014, in addition to a 2016-17 American Fellowship from AAUW national. She is a PhD. candidate in American Studies at University of Hawaii, Manoa. Her specialization is women in prison and the prison-industrial complex, women’s life writing, making the voices of Pacific Islander women heard, trauma and literary theory.
Her project’s name is “Hawaii’s Women’s Prison: The Role of the Kailua Prison Writing Project and the Prison Monologues as Expressive Pu‘uhonua”; Pu‘uhonua means “sites of healing” Leanne’s research in the women’s prison examines social justice failures and explores gender, race, and the nation-state through a multidisciplinary lens. She hopes to soon publish her dissertation, “A Cell of One’s Own.”