Makena Mezistrano is a PhD student in the Department of History. She is interested in conceptions of Jewish femininity in the Ottoman Empire during the modern period reflected in Ottoman rabbinic literature, the Ladino press, and the writings of Sephardic women themselves. Makena earned a BA in English literature and an MA in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation, both from Yeshiva University. After finishing her master's degree, Makena returned to her native Seattle and served as the Assistant Director of the Sephardic Studies Program in the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. Among her responsibilities as Assistant Director she designed digital and physical exhibitions and wrote essays for the program website. Makena's writing has also appeared in The Forward, AJS Perspectives, and local Seattle magazines.