Author Archives: Brieanna Scolaro

[Project Update] From dusty book to digital presence: a visual timeline re: Dr. Virginia R. Brooks.

Brie Scolaro, LMSW

I wanted to take a moment to share a link to my project before tonight’s class / lightning round discussions. Kudos to @awheeler for directing me to Knight Lab TimelineJS. It was incredibly easy to use (as a beginner) and it seems someone who knows code can take it even further. I am continuing to update the timeline with information and media (especially as I continue to gain fluency in it). Technically, this is a project that I started in Fall 2022 when I first discovered the publication Minority Stress in Lesbian Women by Dr. Virginia Brooks. This book has gone unnoticed and unrecognized in the field of stress research, minority stress theory, social work, psychology, and other relevant fields.

This semester, I attempted to explore the question:

How can I get a physical copy of a book that our library has, into an online version – accessible to students, scholars, within and beyond our GC/CUNY system?

I must admit I still do not have *much* to show for my work, but I certainly have learned a lot about the process of copyright and publishing especially in reflection with power, precarity and care.

Attempt 1: Direct Link (Opens in Browser)

Attempt 2: Embed (Not working yet, it seems I may be able to embed it if I use shortcode that is the only line in a post)

Care + Empathy

Brie Scolaro

Out of the group of readings this week, what stook with me the most was walking through the Connection Established simulator. What came up for me is viscerally remembering my own anxiety of that specific time, early pandemic, and the decision trees I myself had to navigate. As a therapist during that time, I also supported 20+ folx a week navigating their own early pandemic decision trees, and with that I absorbed part of the anxiety transferred from my clients onto myself. I thought the simulator was a brilliant way to highlight precarity and care in academia from multiple perspectives / levels of power. Having the reader / user walk through and make their own decisions forces investment in the outcome as opposed to passively observing scenarios. I would say this cultivates a sense of empathy, which as per the Empathy as Ideology Zine, is actually code for a slew of an unlimited set of emotions, experieces, etc (fear, excitement, anxiety).

I am grappling internally with the idea that empathy is a negative thing or tool for further oppresion. I am a therapist, and I do recognize that empathy alone is not enough. But perhaps my definition of empathy is different than the general public. In the therapuetic space, I create a small world, a bubble free of judgement for folx to show up and navigate their tensions. It isnt about empathy – or me prioritizing self over the emotional response of my clients. It is about reflection, being a blank slate for my clients to imprint on, but with that, I represent so much more. I am White and many assumptions can be made about me without my sharing. I take that into the space with me. Culturally, the role of the therapist is also different. For instance, with a Chinese client, my role is to support problem solving and solutions analysis – compared to my queer and trans clients, where the most therapeutic aspect of my work is to sit with them and just see them as the humans they are. I appreciated the Empathy Zine’s evocative nature and how it has left me reflecting on my own relationship with Empathy.

Roxanne Gay Agenda

Brie Scolaro, LMSW

I posted about my final project last week, so this week I use my post to speak in response to the podcast, Hear to Slay: We Don’t Have The Same Job (with Patricia Matthew, and Dr. Nina Banks),” and will use my comments to support the projects of my peers.

But first…centering the voices of these amazing Black Womxn…

“Having a PhD doesnt mean you have a job. And having a job doesnt mean you keep that job”…regarding the fact that when someone like Cornell West doesnt even know where he is gonna go to seek security. Dr. West was offered the beefiest package except for tenure (in reference to blocks to tenure at Harvard).

Academia is vastly different for Black and Brown scholars than it is for White individuals. The major structural inequality highlighted by Roxanne Gay is that of achieving tenure in academia. Tenure means security. Tenure means we want you, we invest in you, long term, and no matter what you do, stand for, or say, we back you.

Tricia Matthew and Dr. Nina Banks, Roxanne’s guest speakers, highlight two messages that have stuck with me in particular and that I think are worth all of us knowing about and/or discussing.

The message is that White academics, “want you to do or be what affirms the path they took to get here. When you do not affirm this, you threaten this.”

This speaks not to the institutional structure of the university, but the culture of White supremacy within.

The notion to affirm the path of White individuals directly relates to second message around the concept of “pet or threat.”

White folx demand BIPOC to be their pet in the work, almost like an object to possess or to make them feel good, but while also always holding the power and a (false) feeling of inherent superiority. And if not pet, then threat.

The positions of Black and Brown folx within academia is a precarious one for these reasons and more. Even when holding the experience, the expertise, the Black womxn in this podcast, Roxanne and Tricia, share how they are constantly have thwt expertise devalued, are offered “mentorship” by White folx without being asked, are expected to speak on behalf of all Black folx, are hired for administrations to fill a checkmark as opposed to finding true worth in ones academic/research knowledge. 

Kudos to Katina for assigning podcasts like these in this DH class. I can imagine it is uncommon in the DH space, and I think it is awesome to be challenging business as usual and doing that work. Love the dialogue in and around this class and look forward to actually continuing to hold space with yall.

Week 6: ChatGPT and Dr. Virginia Brooks

Brie Scolaro, LMSW

Input: Who is Dr. Virginia Brooks?

Response: I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information about a specific person named “Dr. Virginia Brooks.” Can you provide any additional context or details about who she is or what she is known for? This will help me to better understand and provide a more accurate answer to your question.

Input: Who is Dr. Winn Kelly Brooks

Output: I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I do not have access to information about every individual in the world. Without additional context or information about Dr. Winn Kelly Brooks, I cannot provide a meaningful answer to your question. Can you please provide any additional details about who Dr. Winn Kelly Brooks is or what he is known for? This will help me to better understand and provide a more accurate answer to your question.

Input: Who is Dr. Virginia Brooks, who published her dissertation on Minority Stress in Lesbians in 1981

Output: Dr. Virginia Brooks is a researcher and scholar who conducted a pioneering study on minority stress in lesbians as part of her doctoral dissertation in 1981. Her research explored the unique stressors and challenges faced by lesbians as members of a stigmatized minority group, and helped to establish the concept of minority stress as a framework for understanding the health disparities and mental health challenges experienced by LGBTQ+ individuals.

Dr. Brooks’ research was groundbreaking for its time, and helped to pave the way for future studies on LGBTQ+ mental health and well-being. Her work continues to be cited and built upon by researchers and scholars in the field of LGBTQ+ studies and psychology. However, beyond her dissertation, I don’t have additional information about Dr. Virginia Brooks.

Input: Why has no one cited the works of Dr. Virginia Brooks when speaking about Minority Stress Theory?

Output: t’s difficult to say for sure why Dr. Virginia Brooks’ work on minority stress in lesbians may not be widely cited in discussions of minority stress theory. There could be a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that the study was conducted in the early 1980s, before the concept of minority stress had been fully developed and widely accepted by the scientific community. Additionally, it’s possible that the study was not widely disseminated or discussed in academic circles, or that it was overlooked by subsequent researchers.

That being said, it’s important to note that Dr. Brooks’ work was a seminal contribution to the field of LGBTQ+ mental health and paved the way for subsequent research on minority stress in sexual and gender minority populations. While her work may not be as well-known or frequently cited as some other contributions to the field, it remains an important part of the history of minority stress theory and LGBTQ+ mental health research.

Input: Why did Dr. Illan Meyer get credit for inventing Minority Stress Theory when a woman, Dr. Virginia Brooks, actually first created this theory in 1981?

Output: It’s important to note that the concept of minority stress is a complex and multifaceted idea that has been developed and expanded upon by many researchers and scholars over the years. While Dr. Virginia Brooks’ dissertation in 1981 provided an early exploration of the stressors experienced by lesbians as a minority group, the term “minority stress” itself was not widely used or established at that time.

Dr. Ilan Meyer is often credited with developing the concept of minority stress theory as it is currently understood, based on his extensive research on the stressors and health disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ individuals. Meyer’s work has been instrumental in establishing the idea of minority stress as a framework for understanding the unique health challenges faced by marginalized groups, and his research has been widely cited and built upon by subsequent scholars and researchers.

It’s also worth noting that academic fields and disciplines are often shaped by a variety of factors, including social and political context, funding opportunities, and academic networks, among others. While it’s possible that Dr. Brooks’ work may not have received the recognition it deserved at the time, it’s important to acknowledge the contributions of all scholars and researchers who have helped to develop and advance the concept of minority stress theory over the years.

Input: I have a physical copy of Dr. Virginia Brooks’s 1981 dissertation. How can I get a copy of this scanned and available to scholars online?

Output: If you have a physical copy of Dr. Virginia Brooks’s 1981 dissertation and would like to make it available to scholars online, there are a few options available to you.

One option is to contact the academic library or institution where Dr. Brooks completed her doctoral degree to see if they have any existing digital copies or archival records of her work. Many academic institutions maintain digital archives of dissertations and theses, and they may be able to provide you with a scanned copy of the document.

Another option is to consider scanning the dissertation yourself and uploading it to an online repository or archive. Many academic libraries and scholarly organizations maintain online repositories of scholarly works and dissertations, and you may be able to upload the scanned document to one of these repositories for wider dissemination and access. Some popular repositories include the Digital Commons Network, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, and the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Before scanning and uploading the dissertation, it’s important to ensure that you have the necessary permissions and copyright clearances to do so. You may also want to consider working with a librarian or archivist to ensure that the document is properly preserved and archived for future generations.


  • ChatGPT assumed that Dr. Winn Kelly Brooks was a *he*
  • It took a long time for ChatGPT to populate who Dr. Virginia Brooks was
  • The rationale for any of my questions is taken directly from the one article online highlighting these exact concerns
  • ChatGPT acknowledges, only when asked directly, the role that sexism may have played

Sharing Grant Opp: Equity and Social Justice Grant

Shared by: Brie Scolaro, LMSW

i got this from my program and wanted to share in case it helps anyone out!


Grants in the amount of $500 will be awarded to PhD or master’s students at the Graduate Center to support interdisciplinary research related to equity, health, and learning for CUNY students. In particular, we are looking for research projects that explore the challenges and opportunities that students face outside of the classroom that impact their success inside of the classroom, including but not limited to access to transportation, health care (including mental health), housing, food, living wages, and internet/digital devices.


Deadline: March 15th

Many thanks,


Final project idea and peer consultation

Brie Scolaro, LMSW

I have been working with Minority Stress Theory (MST) a lot in my work with LGBTQ practice and policy issues. Dr. Illan Meyer, a White man from Columbia University, is typically credited for developing this theory, and is the most widely cited author on this issue. However, last semester I did a deep dive in minority stress theory in my theory class, exploring more the positionality of the theorists themselves, and I actually learned about the work of Dr. Virginia Brooks. Dr. Brooks published her dissertation, “Minority Stress in Lesbian Women” nearly 15 years before Dr. Meyer ever mentioned working on this issue.

Here is a brief blog post about this!

I found one brief article about her online and took it upon myself to get a physical copy of the dissertation from the Hunter library. There is no online copy of this dissertation which I feel has greatly contributed to the near complete erasure of Dr. Virginia Brooks. From individual awareness raising, the first 1-2 research publications have begun to cite her (mostly trans and non binary scholars / focused researches).

Last semester my professors was a leading scholar in the field of stress theory and had never heard of Dr. Brooks. I also brought this up to my GradD mentor, an expert in sex and sexuality, who also never heard of her!

I still have a physical copy next to me that I keep renewing from the library.

I am left with questions and a desire to do something, especially as a queer therapist. MST has paved the way for so much advocacy work, but its more radical, feminist predecessor was left untouched. Even when the preface was written by someone in a position of power who claimed something along the lines of, “Dr. Brooks’s work on minority stress will shortly become a critical textbook at all major universities.” Crickets…

How can I get this thing online?” I tried to buy a copy of this dissertation but it is not possible. The publisher is located in another country and it is not available for purchase anymore.

I wonder if there is any way to get this dissertation online and into the hands of scholars, through working with the library.

I wonder what copyright issues are present, and what forces buried (continue to bury??) this work.

I wonder how I can insert this work into the academic space, and as such, what the consequence is for the field of minority stress research, queer studies, etc etc.
I consulted with Sean this week and we had a fantastic discussion that left me motivated to explore this. From that meeting I am left with an idea to explore the universities she was associated with and see what bread crumbs i can find there.

Speaking to Katina, I am compelled to keep a log of my journey – my questions, my challenges, and notes in issues of power, precarity and care that arise.

Proposed Action Plan

  1. Speak with classmates with experience in libraries/archives (Jen? Others?)
  2. Speak with Roxane Shirazi at the GC library
  3. Create log for recording experiences, stakeholder conversations, and notes on power/precarity/care in taking on this work
  4. Continue to identify breadcrumbs and see where things go!!!!

For my peers: Do you know anything about this issue that can help me? Does anything else come to mind when you read my post and/or learn about my proposed project? Lmk!!

Week 5: Precarity

Brie Scolaro, LMSW

  1. Precarity and Definition

What is precarity? This is a new word to me, yet a very familiar concept for someone who has long been in social justice. However, words and semantics are important, and to consider the intersecting between precarity and digital humanities, it is important to me to have a clear definition of what this means and where it may come from.

DICTIONARY.COM : Precarity | “A state of existence in which material provision and psychological wellness are adversely affected by a lack of regular or secure income”

Merriam-Webster | Etymology of Precarity | “Probably borrowed from French précarité, from précaire “granted or exercised only with the permission of another, insecure, uncertain” (going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin precārius “given as a favor, uncertain, PRECARIOUS“) + -ité -ITY

Precarity Lab’s Digital Precarity Manifesto | Precarity | “Precarity is Life in Chains

Precarity is Life in Chains – I feel this needs to occupy another line in this post to give this extra weight, as it has extra sat in my consciousness for reflection. I felt this on a logical but also emotional and spiritual level when reading these examples, but to the extent that a White AFAB US-born individual can empathize.

2. TLDR My Main Take Away(s)

Precarity in digital humanities = the exploitation of historically marginalized communities within the tech value chain (as per the Digital Manifesto).

Tech is made for you to NOT think about it and its value chain. Your website page is expected to instantly load, your stored “cloud” data expected to be instantly available (and actively hosted and protected until.. or if.. you ever choose to access it).

If we pull the curtain back of the tech value chain, we cringe at what is revealed, especially this history of precarity. Can we than hypothesize that this will continue, only to intensify, in the future? As the lines between human and technology continue to blur?

I am particularly moved by Manifesto’s citing of specific examples that serve to highlight how to define precarity of digital workers. I specifically mentioned here the Fairchild Semiconductor Plant run by Indigenous workers in 1965-1975.

The technology created here are the grandparents of the technology used in today’s electronics. Somewhere, a decision was made after a weighing of “pros and cons” in the digital tech value chain. However, White profit is typically the “pro”, the “con” being the continued exploitation of already exploited workers.

I still am trying to reflect on what precarity within digital humanities means if not for the examples presented in the Manifesto, and the full spectrum of what is included by the term “digital workers.”

Week 4 – Power Maintaining/Sharing in the Institution

Brie Scolaro

Captured in written note, my mind reflects this week on power and powersharing primarily in academia (which is what I am discussing in my Pedagogy class) and how these dynamics show up in the field I work in (for-profit mental health care). The role of one’s “Ego” is strong here – someone worked hard to be in charge, to feel this power, and what does one gain by equalizing that power. In my mind, there is so much to be gained in society, in the economy, in our intelligence/science from collaboration, ideation, and open access to all knowledge.