Graduate Students

Literature Graduate Students

Abdul Aijaz

Abdul Aijaz

Graduate Student

My research explores different ideas of water and rivers in the Indus Basin. Using postcolonial ecocritical and new materialist theories, I try to understand the simultaneous instantiation of the Indus rivers as gods and machines in colonial and postcolonial India and Pakistan while also asking the crucial questions of knowledge production and power relations on local and global scales. By using fiction, folklore, and scientific texts together, the research destabilizes the fact-fiction and word-world binaries to make the deity in the machine visible. Interests are: Postcolonial theory, ecocriticism, vital materialism, south Asian literature.

Jerrell  Allen

Jerrell Allen

Graduate Student

My work focuses on descriptions of cephalophoric Saints in Middle English literature, with particular attention paid to representations of persecuting societies of the past. My research explores the question of how Catholic Europe imagined itself as belonging to a lineage of persecuted religious minorities while simultaneously holding social and political hegemony in the High and Late Middle Ages. My other research interests include hagiography and devotional literature of Western Europe, critical race theory, psychoanalysis and the history of Judaism.

Sami Atassi

Sami Atassi

Graduate Student

Sami H Atassi is a native Houstonian and PhD candidate in English Literature. Sami's primary research is on the aesthetic use of terror in American satires written during the antebellum period. His other interests include studying Arabic, dissolving the line between "low" and "high" meme art, and indulging in the mysteries of Agatha Christie.

Jaclyn Bitsis

Graduate Student

I work on 20th century British literature and culture with a particular interest in pop culture. My dissertation investigates constructions of Englishness through representations of popular music in film and the novel; its primary texts range from dub reggae to popular wartime cinema to the modernist novel. I argue that these texts' representations of music make possible a re-imagining of the spaces that determine the meanings of Englishness, but that these experiments in form greatly vary in their degree of success.

Molly Boggs

Molly Boggs

Graduate Student

My research theorizes the Victorian lodging, rather than the Victorian house, as a key cultural influence on ideas about domesticity, sexuality, and space in nineteenth-century England. I’m interested in the relationship between interior space and literary form, especially in fiction about spaces considered marginal to the middle-class home—for example, drafty garrets where sisters huddled in a shared bed, dormitories where shopgirls slept bunk to bunk, and stuffy back bedrooms where bachelors hid their tea from snooping landladies. My interests also include Victorian ghost stories and detective fiction, and I’m an avid reader of George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, and Anthony Trollope.

Jon Booth

Jon Booth

Graduate Student

Jon Booth is a doctoral candidate studying Romanticism and 18th Century literature with an interest in phenomenology, aesthetics, and medical theory.

Rory Boothe

Rory Boothe

Graduate Student

I came to the Department of English in the fall of 2016 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where I completed research on the black queer aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance as I read it in Wallace Thurman's novel Infants of the Spring. My research interests revolve around 20th-century American and transnational queer narratives and the ways in which they deal with aesthetics, environment, and regionality, in general. I am also interested in late 19th and 20th-century continental philosophy and its connections with theory of visual culture.

Shannon Boyer

Graduate Student

Shannon Boyer is a Teaching Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in English literature. Her focus is on early twentieth century American and British literature particularly literary modernism and its intersection with the sexual and mental sciences of the period.

Anne Boylan

Anne Boylan

Graduate Student

I am a Literature M.A./Ph.D. student minoring in Victorian Studies. My research interests center on Victorian women writers and feminist narratology, and specifically questions around the productive uses of silence, withholding, and equivocation. 

Jordan Bunzel

Jordan Bunzel

Graduate Student

Jordan received his B.A. in English literature with a correlate in classics at Vassar College. He is a Literature M.A./Ph.D. student interested in nineteenth-century novels, classics, disability studies, and embodiment. Currently, Jordan studies depictions of the classicist’s body in late Victorian works by Mary Augusta Ward and George Gissing.

Bronwen Carlisle

Bronwen Carlisle

Graduate Student

A native Hoosier, Bronwen is an M.A./M.L.S. student in Literature and Library Science (dual degree with the department of Information and Library Science). She received her B.A. in English Literature, Writing, and TESOL from Huntington University in 2016. In addition to pursuing graduate studies, she works for Indiana Humanities, the state humanities council, and is particularly interested in using this dual degree to strengthen her work in the public humanities. Her research interests include medieval literature and manuscripts, theological approaches to literature, the history of the book, and archives management.

Julie Chamberlin

Julie Chamberlin

Graduate Student

Julie Chamberlin is a medievalist pursing her Ph.D. in English literature. Her research interests focus on the intersection of medieval law and literature of the 12th and 13th centuries and how this intersection illuminates premodern understandings of subjecthood and agency. She has taught three sections of a self-designed composition course, W170: Dystopia in Popular Culture, and won the first-year Teaching Portfolio Award in 2015. Julie currently serves as a member of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, which organizes the IU Interdisciplinary Conference in March.

Michael Chambers

Michael Chambers

Graduate Student

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Literature with a concentration in Victorian Studies.  Broadly, my research interests span nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British and American literature.  My dissertation explores how Victorian realist conceptions of reality and the human experience of it evolved through an engagement with aspects of the period’s empiricist thought, specifically regarding limits to knowledge, and the nature of reality and human consciousness.

Sam Chirtel

Sam Chirtel

Graduate Student

Sam is an MA/PhD student, science fiction writer, and former biophyicist. His research will probably focus on late twentieth century and early twenty-first century British and American science fiction, particularly space-noir, the Singulatiy, and cosmic horror, but who can predict the future? He is also developing an interest in Victorian Spiritualism to round things out. Before coming to IU, Sam received a B.A. in Biophysics from The John Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The University of Colorado Boulder. A lifelong animal lover, Sam dreams about the giant squid, misses the moose in Colorado, and is the proud parent of a three-year-old American Bulldog named Panda Bear. 

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Phil Choong

Graduate Student

My research argues for rhetorical education's centrality to contemporary defenses of the humanities. In the face of demagoguery and neoliberalism's encroachments in both the university and civic life, I theorize a rhetorical education that emphasizes reading and listening as complementary yet distinct practices capable of cultivating students' ethical attitudes. At Indiana University, I have taught a range of courses including first-year composition, public speaking, detective fiction, science fiction and rhetoric, and podcast analysis and production.

Mallory Cohn

Mallory Cohn

Graduate Student

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Literature, specializing in nineteenth-century Britain, childhood studies, and disability studies. My dissertation explores the construction of precociousness within and across Victorian religious, medical, educational, and eugenic texts and discourses. I’m interested in the ways in which precocity emerges as a nineteenth-century disability or “disease of modernity” that many commentators attempted to pathologize and contain, as well as in the spaces where exceptional children were recognized as possessing authority and agency, complicating the usual narrative of the child doomed by her own capacity and independence. I eventually hope to connect my work to the contemporary discourse of “giftedness.”

Adam Coombs

Adam Coombs

Graduate Student

My research interrogates the role of entrepreneurship within African American literature and culture. I track how business ownership and culture provided a form of uplift and civic engagement during the Progressive Era that extended to and inspired writers of this period.

Dalia Davoudi

Dalia Davoudi

Graduate Student

Dalia Davoudi is doctoral candidate studying nineteenth-century American literature with specialization in Literature and Science. Her broad interests lie in the relationship between fiction, epistemology, and politics, and her dissertation focuses on abolition/women's reform movements of the antebellum period, studying their attachment to natural sciences like astronomy and geography. She has taught courses on the subjects of genre, visuality, science fiction and film, apocalypse fiction, and contagion narratives.

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Christie Debelius

Graduate Student

Christie Debelius is a PhD candidate studying British Romanticism. Her dissertation explores the role of Romantic women poets in theorizing media and mediation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, asking how ideas about gender and authorship affected poets’ notions of the means by which their texts were preserved and transmitted for their audiences. Christie is also interested in pedagogy, media studies, and popular culture; she has taught composition courses about representations of science and technology and about the formal qualities and gender politics of reboot films. She holds a dissertation fellowship from IU’s Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Benjamin Debus

Ben Debus

Graduate Student

Ben Debus is a Ph.D. student studying medieval literature in English. His research interests include allegory, dream visions, and aesthetics, and span the historical range of the medieval period. He also holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Indiana University, and he has taught courses in Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition.

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Samantha Demmerle

Graduate Student

Samantha Demmerle is a Ph.D. student and the Albert Wertheim Dissertation Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year. She is studying the phenomenon of minor characters in early modern drama, and her dissertation, entitled "Character at the Margins: Formulating Minor Characters on the Early Modern Stage" analyzes how Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights use minor, anonymous characters to shape and influence the character networks of the stage. 

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Derek DiMatteo

Graduate Student

PhD candidate, teaching fellow, and managing editor of Africa Today, Derek F. DiMatteo studies American literature and culture since 1945. Areas of interest include ethnic literature, globalization and the transnational, critical university studies, and pedagogy. His dissertation, titled “Academic Dissent: US Higher Education Protest Literature, 1985-2015,” is a mixed-methods analysis of cultural works, ranging from novels to films to sculptures, that protest against the corporatization of higher education institutions. Before coming to IU, he was Instructor of General Studies at Lakeland University Japan. He holds an MAT in English Education from Tufts University and a BA in English from Wesleyan University.

Zachary Engledow

Zachary Engledow

Graduate Student

Zachary Engledow is a native of Alabama where he received an Honors B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montevallo. While at Montevallo, he completed an Honors thesis exploring moments of beheading, penetration, and castration as queer, suggesting that the medieval romance is in itself a queer genre. He is a medievalist in the M.A./Ph.D. program and his research interests include: medieval romance, queer theory/history, and the relationship between modern queer identity and the medieval past. He is also interested in exploring Germanic and North Sea literature and culture in relation to queerness and transmission. 

Samuel Evola

Samuel Evola

Graduate Student

Samuel Evola specializes in Victorian fiction as a student in the M.A./Ph.D. program. He received a B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame, and is a former high school teacher. His research interests include narrative theory, cognitive science, and the social and moral changes that accompanied industrialization.

Daniel Fladager

Daniel Fladager

Graduate Student

My research centers around the relationship between mapping technologies, land policy, and literature in the colonial and post-colonial spaces of the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. I have taught a variety of courses, including Adventure Literature, Professional Writing, and a course entitled “Wilderness, What is it Good For?”  

Jessica George

Jessica George

Graduate Student

Jessica George is a doctoral candidate in English researching nineteenth-century American literature with a focus on environmental history. Her dissertation examines the ways early national and antebellum writers contemplated the environmental politics of slavery and abolition by imagining the American South as a place of material unfixity and environmental change. Her work in material ecocriticism and posthumanism informs her teaching and writing on climate change fiction and environmental art. 

Maggie Gilchrist

Maggie Gilchrist

Graduate Student

Maggie Gilchrist is a PhD student specializing in late medieval literature. Her work primarily deals with representations of death and the (un)dead, especially with regards to the ways in which dead and dying bodies convey meaning to and for the living​. In addition, her research explores the corpse as a site for working through both personal and cultural traumas.  

Tess Given

Tess Given

Graduate Student

Tess Given is a PhD student of English literature and associate composition instructor. They graduated Grinnell College with a BA in Biology and English, and have a MA from the University of Kentucky in English. They are mainly interested in the transatlantic eighteenth century, focusing on reproduction and futurity through the lens of queer theory, critical race theory, and trans- and post-humanism. They try to bridge contemporary theoretical conversations with eighteenth-century texts and with their pedagogical practice.  

Savannah Hall

Savannah Hall

Graduate Student

Savannah Hall is a Ph.D. Candidate and the Albert Wertheim Dissertation Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year. Her areas of focus include performance and theatre studies, American modernism, African diaspora studies, and 20th century African literature. Her dissertation, "Fashioning Africa: Racial Imagination in American Modernism and the African Diaspora", examines fashionable Africanist performances in literary and visual culture from the 1920s through the 1970s. Her project considers the stage as a contact zone on which various conceptions of a fashionable, modernist African subjectivity develop in the United States as well as in Western and Southern Africa during the 20th century.

Molly Hamer

Molly Hamer

Graduate Student

Molly Hamer's work focuses on late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American literature, with a particular emphasis on women's writing and discourses of modernity. She is writing a dissertation exploring the publication of women writers of color in the mainstream American periodical press at the turn of the century.

Sami Heffner

Sami Heffner

Graduate Student

Sami Heffner received her BA from Trinity University in San Antonio, where she majored in English as well as History. She is now an MA/PhD student with interests mostly to do with the poetry of the long nineteenth century, ranging from William Blake to Wilfred Owen. She also likes to think about homesickness, nostalgia, and feelings of displacement as they developed throughout the nineteenth century, with a particular interest in how war plays a role. She also likes to think about how texts can be queered, and the role poetry played in a century that would become dominated by the novel.  

Zoë Henry

Zoë Henry

Graduate Student

Zoë Henry is a journalist and MA/PhD candidate in Literature at Indiana University, where she focuses on modernism and psychoanalytic theory. In particular, she explores how marginalized artists—namely, queer women (H.D., Virginia Woolf)—have used language to map a creation of the ‘self’ onto paper and, thus, in the world. She earned her BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University in 2014, and spent her years prior to IU covering the intersection of politics, business and technology for publications including Inc. magazine, Slate, Business Insider and the Huffington Post. She is enthusiastic about her cats, Ginsberg and Mapplethorpe; tearing down Donald Trump’s fascist vision for America; and transgressive cinema, particularly the work of directors Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch. Find her on Twitter @ZoeLaHenry, where she is sad in all the right kinds of ways.

Milo Hicks

Milo Hicks

Graduate Student

Milo Murphy Hicks is a PhD candidate in English, with a minor in Cognitive Science, who studies 20th and 21st century writing that exists at the limits of genre. Their master’s work at McGill University was in British modernism but has recently shifted to a Post45 American context with the stories of Diane Williams and other writers influenced by Gordon Lish. Milo's research is informed by the phenomenology of reading; consciousness, affect, perception, and sensation; philosophies of mind, language, and embodiment; the unit of the sentence in short stories; as well as formal experimentation.​ Milo is also part of Fritz Breithaupt's Experimental Humanities Lab.

Stephen Hopkins

Stephen Hopkins

Graduate Student

My research interests center on medieval literature. I practice comparative philology, so Anglo-Saxon as well as Old Norse, Middle Welsh, Medieval Irish, and Latin. I also work on the philosophy of hermeneutics, eschatology and theology, cognitive approaches to literature, Late Antique Apocrypha, and medievalism (especially J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and M.R. James). I explore all but the last of these in my dissertation, "The Infernal Dialectic Laboratory: Vernacular Infernal Apocrypha and Early Medieval Theological/Cognitive Experimentation." Check me out on academia.edu: https://ucf.academia.edu/StephenHopkins

Tracey Hutchings-Goetz

Tracey Hutchings-Goetz

Graduate Student

Tracey Hutchings-Goetz is a doctoral candidate specializing in long eighteenth-century British literature, and a dissertation year fellow through IU’s Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Her dissertation, Touchy Subjects: An Eighteenth-Century Anatomy of Haptic Sensation, offers a corporeally structured revaluation of the sense of touch—and, by extension, the other senses—in eighteenth-century Britain. Organized around four forms of touch (nerves, skin, hands, and invisible hands), her project suggests connections between the experience of embodiment and the narrative and epistemological structures of the period.

Aaron Kessler

Aaron Kessler

Graduate Student

I study nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature and culture. My work engages with scholarship on modernism and modernity, critical race theory, temporality, place and space, new southern studies, and eco-criticism. I’m also interested more broadly in American cultural and intellectual history. My dissertation, “Wary Travelin’: The Antimodern Impulse in African American Literature, 1890-1918,” examines black American writers’ critical engagement with processes and narratives of modernization at the century’s turn. My teaching interests include American and world literature, children’s literature, composition, analytical and creative writing, technical communication, and service learning.

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JiHae Koo

Graduate Student

JiHae's dissertation analyzes fiction’s representation of the role played by mass photography in the formation of the modern mediated subject. She explores how late nineteenth to early twentieth Anglo-American fiction imagines ways in which “counterpublics,” or interpretive communities that challenge readerly practices which reinforce the status quo and the traditions supporting it, can be formed via the re-mediating of pre-existing forms (such as photography). Her project also examines how photography understood as media form is inextricable from the anxiety which stems from the recognition of the fragility of the cultural imaginary required for the founding of any community.  In addition to her dissertation, JiHae has several interdisciplinary projects in progress which examine how right wing politics intersect with feminist agendas in online spaces within South Korea. Her first essay on this topic is forthcoming in Feminist Media Studies. 

Kristina Krasny

Kristina Krasny

Graduate Student

My primary area of study is Early Modern literature and drama, although I also have an interest in the Victorian Era and modern adaptation. My secondary interests include existential and natural philosophies, particularly with regard to how philosophical discourse shapes both literary culture and the broader academic community. Additional areas of focus in my work include psychology, disability studies, and pedagogy. More specifically, I am deeply interested in the pedagogical practices used at all levels of education to teach literature to underrepresented groups, including the Deaf community and first-generation students.

Hoi Na Kung

Hoi Na Stephanie Kung

Graduate Student

My research examines the intersections between embodiment and citizenship in twentieth-century century African American and Asian American literature. Drawing upon affect theory, theory of the senses and critical race theory, I investigate the ways in which embodied subjects maintain desire, attachment, and sense of belonging to the national body-politic in the face of ongoing material, political, and psychic exclusion. I am also interested in considering alternative models of citizenship that do not deny and disavow embodied existence, but turn to embodied acts as contestations of exclusion. My research also asks after the political significance of American ethnic texts beyond their representative value. To this end, I attend to ethnic texts with modernist and postmodernist aesthetics in order to explore how the materiality of sights and sounds of a text can express political agency and resistance.

Ryan Lally

Ryan Lally

Graduate Student

I am a Literature M.A./Ph.D. student with a B.A. in English from Samford University. My research interests include genre conventions in twentieth century American poetry, with a particular focus on odes. Prior to enrolling at IU, I was a Writing Coach and developmental English lab instructor at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika, Alabama.  

Sarah Le

Sarah Le

Graduate Student

I focus primarily on 16th and 17th century British drama and poetry, with emphasis on texts that deal with intersecting issues of colonialism, race, gender/sexuality, subjecthood, power, and agency. I am also interested in pop culture Shakespeare and theories of adaptation, cultural commodities, performance, and visual culture.

Evan Leake

Evan Leake

Graduate Student

Evan Leake is an M.A./Ph.D. student specializing in twentieth century American literature. He is specifically interested in studying imperialist cultures through the ideological frameworks of collective identity, individualism, progress, and historicity. His other research interests include postcolonialism, mass media, and the intersection of art and politics. Prior to attending IU, Evan graduated from West Point in 2014 and served as an Army officer for five years.  

Meg Lebow

Meg Lebow

Graduate Student

Meg Lebow is an MA/PhD candidate focusing on the Victorian novel. She is especially interested in early detective fiction and nineteenth-century narratives of crime and criminality. She received her B.A. from Sewanee: The University of the South, where she primarily studied Shakespeare (before she picked up the copy of Middlemarch that changed everything). When she is not reading, she is probably out walking her beloved hound dog, Josie (not the Dalmatian puppy in the photo. That's just another great dog). 

Mi Jeong Lee

Mi Jeong Lee

Graduate Student

Mi Jeong Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in English, specializing in modernist literature. Her areas of interest include literary geography, the aesthetics of world, globe, and planet, cosmopolitanism, new formalism, and cultural studies. In addition to modernism, she is also interested in twentieth and twenty-first century Global Anglophone literature. Her dissertation, World Form and the Aesthetics of Distance in the Modernist Novel, investigates how modernists attempt to represent the vast world through experiments with physical distance and perspectival weakness. She argues that these works produce “world forms” that stand in synecdochally for the world while resisting a totalizing vision, historically contextualized within a decline in British imperial dominance. Mi Jeong has taught a variety of writing courses, including freshman composition and professional writing, and has designed and taught courses on the rhetoric of travel and transformation, literature of the house and the home, the politics of re-writing stories, and the experimental temporalities of coming-of-age narratives. Her work is forthcoming in the Journal of Modern Literature.

Sarah Line

Sarah Line

Graduate Student

Sarah Line is a literature M.A./Ph.D. student who focuses on medieval literature. Her research interests include anything and everything Viking, particularly legendary sagas. She focuses primarily on perspectives of heroes and monsters and how these perspectives change throughout various medieval texts. She also spends a great deal of her time daydreaming about Valhalla.

Jennifer Lopatin

Graduate Student

Jennifer Lopatin is a PhD student specializing in medieval literature. Her dissertation focuses on instances of secular prophecy in medieval narratives, such as Merlin, and investigates how those instances put pressure on various types of authority as they invoke wonder. Her broader research interests include Arthurian and Celtic literatures, temporalities, and prophecy.

Sara Loy

Sara Loy

Graduate Student

Sara Loy is an M.A./Ph.D. student in English Literature with a minor in Rhetoric/Composition. She is a Victorianist interested in constructions of childhood and the bildungsroman, particularly during the Golden Age of children's lit. Broader interests include imagination studies, fairy tales, contemporary YA, and composition pedagogy. Currently, she is Assistant Book Review Editor for Victorian Studies​. 

Stephanie Luke

Stephanie Luke

Graduate Student

Stephanie Luke is a Ph.D​. candidate whose concentration is in nineteenth-century American literature. Her research interests include special collections and archival research, science and medicine, criminality and asylum culture, and the history of mass media and sensational journalism. Her dissertation questions the concepts of public and private by exploring liminal spaces that decentered the era's ideology of separate spheres as well as the traditional model of the self-determined, liberal subject. 

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Elizabeth Maffetone

Graduate Student

Elizabeth Maffetone is a medievalist whose work focuses on Chaucer, gender (especially masculinity), narrative, and the violence of language. She is an award-winning teacher, having received two departmental teaching awards and the Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award for excellence in teaching among graduate students across Indiana University. In addition to her research and teaching, she has also served as an Assistant Director of Composition for the department’s first-year writing program. Her other research interests include: medievalism, gender theory, genre and form, and pedagogy.  

Caitlin Mahaffy

Caitlin Mahaffy

Graduate Student

Caitlin Mahaffy is a fourth-year Ph.D candidate who works at the intersection of late medieval and early modern English literature. Her particular interest is in texts that engage with the topics of animals and animality. Much of her research investigates the relationship between animal studies, posthumanism, and queer theory. Her first article, "Melodious Madrigals: A Study of Animal Musicians in Early Modern England" is forthcoming in The Ben Jonson Journal. 

Trevor McMichael

Trevor McMichael

Graduate Student

Trevor McMichael (tamcmich@indiana.edu) is a Ph.D. Candidate who specializes in Romantic and Victorian literature and culture. His dissertation, Revenge and British Romanticism, examines the ways in which Romantic writers like Joanna Baillie, William Wordsworth, Letitia Landon, and William Hazlitt formally and aesthetically conceptualize types of revenge that accord with everyday life around the turn of the nineteenth century, and that consequently depart from conventional generic and thematic elements found in revenge literature, such as plot, violence, spectacle, and tragedy. He was Book Review Editor of Victorian Studies for two years, and he currently holds a dissertation fellowship through IU’s Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Sean Mier

Sean Mier

Graduate Student

Sean Mier received his MA in English from University of Colorado-Boulder and is currently pursuing a PhD with emphases in Victorian literature and studies in the history of the book. His past work has considered the intersection of nineteenth-century print technologies and conventions with more embodied modes of communication, like handwriting. 

Chelsey Moler Ford

Chelsey Moler Ford

Graduate Student

Chelsey Moler Ford is a M.A./Ph.D student specializing in eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature. She currently serves as the Assistant Managing Editor of Victorian Studies. Her interests include theories of trauma and violence, narratology, the rise of the novel, amatory fiction, and women’s literature of the eighteenth century. Chelsey has taught several first-year composition courses centered on feminism, race, and gender.

Joseph Morgan

Joseph Morgan

Graduate Student

Scholarly interests: Medieval literature from England, in particular works touching on Marian piety from 1350-1500. Teaching Interests: Middle English language and literature; history of the English language; digital humanities; writing pedagogy and composition.

Steve Nathaniel

Steve Nathaniel

Graduate Student

My research interests include twentieth century poetry and poetics, and their correspondence with science. Specifically, I try to explain how poets negotiate the scientific developments that underpin modernism’s most fruitful aesthetic problems. Currently, I am studying the theories of sound that often furnish modern aesthetics, such as in Gertrude Stein’s invocation of rhythm. In the past I have drawn on my experiences as a mechanical engineer to investigate the effects of idealized efficiency in 19th and 20th century poetics.

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Brooke A. Opel

Graduate Student

Brooke A. Opel is an English Literature Ph.D. candidate focusing on nineteenth-century American and transatlantic literature with research interests in gender and sexuality, feminism, early psychology, sentimental and domestic fiction, and theories of reading. Her dissertation explores the ways in which American sentimental novels engaged with early nineteenth-century mental sciences, such as phrenology, mesmerism, and physiological psychology. She is a Teaching Fellow at IU and former Book Review Editor for Victorian Studies (2016-2018). Brooke also represented Region 4, Great Lakes as a regional delegate on the MLA Delegate Assembly from 2016 to 2019.

Sarah Parijs

Sarah Parijs

Graduate Student

Sarah Parijs is a Ph.D. student and Associate Instructor with a concentration in American literature specializing in Literature and Science. Sarah received her B.A. in English minoring in Creative Writing from West Texas A & M University and her M.A. in English from the University of Texas-Arlington. Her research interests focus on issues of ecocriticism, new materialisms, and animal studies in 19th century nature writing and contemporary science fiction.

Maddie Parker

Maddie Parker

Graduate Student

I am an M.A./PhD candidate and a fellow of Indiana University’s Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies.  While I focus primarily on the poetry and prose of the Romantic era, I am also interested in exploring how eighteenth-century events like the French Revolution shaped the ideologies of Europe’s literati.  This correlation between literature and political thought encourages my further interest in the expatriations of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European writers to the new milieu of early America.

Matthew Robinson

Matthew Robinson

Graduate Student

Matthew Robinson is a PhD student with interests in 20th-century American poetry. Particularly, he researches queer poets’ relationships to visual culture, transnational aesthetics, and the historical avant-garde.

Eric Rosenbaum

Eric Rosenbaum

Graduate Student

My research is in late 19th and early 20th century American literature. I am especially interested in the sociology of literature, or how literary genres target and help to cohere different kinds of social groups. Authors I focus on include Herman Melville, Maria Ruiz de Burton, William James, Frances E.W. Harper, Mark Twain, and Frank Norris.

Nathan Schmidt

Nathan Schmidt

Graduate Student

Nathan Schmidt is a Ph.D. student who works on American literature in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. As a scholar of the environmental humanities, he works at the intersections of critical theory, animal studies, and the history of science. Specifically, he engages with the critical paradigms of biopolitics and new materialism to investigate the relationship between the development of environmental consciousness and material infrastructures in America across the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Key literary figures for him include Whitman, Melville, John Muir, and Nikola Tesla; important critical figures include Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Giorgio Agamben, and Karen Barad. He has also taught and designed the W170 course "From Dog Tales to Bear Necessities: Human and Animal Relationships in Arts and Culture."

Sarah Schmitt

Sarah Schmitt

Graduate Student

Sarah J. Schmitt is a PhD student at Indiana University, with an MA from Michigan State University. She is interested in both early modern and Victorian conceptions of morality and virtue, with specific attention given to Milton and his influence on later women writers. 

Anushka Sen

Anushka Sen

Graduate Student

Anushka got her BA and MA in English Literature at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She spent two more years in her home city brooding, teaching some very energetic children, and coming to the conclusion that she wanted to work on modernism--specifically, on how narratives of urban modernism are complicated, enriched and made strange by the presence of the nonhuman. She loves taking courses outside her field, and is always hungry for new poetry from about any period or place. She spends most of her spare time (loosely defined) listening to music, thinking about ethical, effective pedagogy, and trying to maintain rigorous politics in relation to her homeland as well as her current habitat.

Evan Sennett

Evan Sennett

Graduate Student

Evan Sennett is a first-year graduate student in Literature, hailing from Louisville, Kentucky. In 2019 he received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toledo, where he double-majored in English Literature and Film. His research interests include nineteenth-century American non-fiction and environmental literature. Following this theme, Evan has also been known to venture into the twentieth-century to explore Kentucky and Ohio River Valley Agrarianism. 

Katie Shy

Katie Shy

Graduate Student

I am an M.A./Ph.D. candidate focusing on 20th century British literature. Before coming to Bloomington, I completed a B.A. in English and Classics at Yale. Over the next few years, I am excited to spend time with modernist novels and realist novels, particularly exploring the depiction of domestic life, family relations, and women writers. 

Whitney Sperrazza

Whitney Sperrazza

Graduate Student

Whitney Sperrazza is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in early modern poetry and drama, with secondary research interests in digital humanities and gender studies. Her dissertation, titled  "Perverse Intimacies: Reading the Early Modern Female Body," examines the triangulation between reading, intimacy, and violence in English poetry and drama (1560-1660). Framing these literary inquiries within the theories and practices of early anatomy, her project constructs a mode of formalist literary analysis rooted in the textured and somatic emphasis of early modern anatomical representations.

Ellen Stenstrom

Ellen Stenstrom

Graduate Student

Ellen Stenstrom is a M.A./Ph.D student planning to specialize in 20th and 21st century American literature. She earned her BA from Miami University of Ohio in May 2019 with double majors in Literature and Creative Writing and minors in Rhetoric and Education. Her general research interests include experimental fiction, postmodernism, critical theory, and classroom pedagogy, and extend more specifically into mental illness narratives, trauma theory, and narratology. Besides reading and writing, Ellen enjoys visiting coffee shops, doing craft projects, organizing and cleaning, music and musical theater, and all things Disney and Harry Potter. 

Kortney Stern

Kortney Stern

Graduate Student

Kortney Stern is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in medieval literature. Her persistent focus has been on gender and sexuality throughout the Middle Ages. More specifically, her scholarly work assesses sound--both bodily and non-linguistic, female speech acts and silences, (female) authority, trauma and (female) acts of resistance. 

Sam Tett

Sam Tett

Graduate Student

Sam Tett is a PhD candidate specializing in the long nineteenth century. Her dissertation project, Paramnesiac Selves, is broadly concerned with (not) feeling at home in nineteenth-century British and American literature. Taking a psychological approach and intersecting with nostalgia studies, her project examines representations of alienation in contexts of ostensible belonging--that is, of being at home, but not feeling at home--delving into some uniquely Victorian psychological phenomena, such as deja vu and (its opposite) jamais vu. Her other academic investments are wide-ranging, and include queer theory (particularly queer kinship patterns), gender studies, cultural studies, and cosmopolitanism. She is also teaching a self-designed course on romantic love, which begins with Jane Austen and ends with Call Me By Your Name. In addition to mentoring incoming students and serving as the representative for Graduate Funding on the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, she also founded and directs a Victorian Studies Critical Reading group, and has served as the Managing Editor for Victorian Studies.  

Gregory Tolliver

Gregory Tolliver

Graduate Student

Gregory Tolliver is a medievalist and Ph.D. student in English literature. His research focuses on developing alliances among ecomaterialism, queer theory, and late medieval literature. He is especially interested in developing a theory for reading the relationships between time, temporality, and non/human identities and relationships in premodern genres. Gregory received M.A. degrees in English literary history from Ohio University and English literary and cultural studies from West Virginia University.

Mary Helen Truglia

Mary Helen Truglia

Graduate Student

Mary Helen Truglia is a PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow in Literature, focusing on Early Modern English women's writing with an interdisciplinary minor in Renaissance Studies. Her dissertation examines the interplay of gender and genre, using feminist and queer theory to investigate these intersections in Early Modern lyric poetry, prose romance, & epics. In addition to her undergraduate teaching, she also served as an Assistant Director of Composition from 2017-2019. Her other academic interests and specialties include poetry and poetics, the epic and romance tradition, Shakespeare, Milton, gender and women's studies, literary and filmic adaptation studies, YA literature, teaching composition, and teaching Early Modern literature.

Laura Tscherry

Laura Tscherry

Graduate Student

I joined the department in 2018 after receiving a BA in German and English from the University of London and an MA in English and Gender and Women’s Studies from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. My research interests include the twentieth-century novel, the relationship between literature and visual art, and the baffling and elusive figures of collaboration and collective life. When I’m not thinking about modernist writing, I’m likely cooking, hiking, or handling manuscripts at the Lilly.

Emer Vaughn

Emer Vaughn

Graduate Student

Emer Vaughn is a nineteenth-century Americanist. Her dissertation argues that simulations of individual material encounters with the environment found in popular nonfiction texts are important to understanding the reckoning with Nature in nineteenth-century America. The project includes natural history texts by John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, Louis Agassiz, and Mary Treat, as well as travel writings and memoirs by Caroline Kirkland and Louise Clappe. Methodologically, the project combines ecocritical interrogations of Nature, cognitive studies of embodiment and affect, the history of science, and original archival research. Emer’s additional research interests include transatlantic literary culture and social reform, particularly capital punishment reform. Her writing on these subjects can be found in the journal Partial Answers. She has taught courses on animal studies and pop culture. 

Denise Weisz

Denise Weisz

Graduate Student

Denise is a Literature M.A./Ph.D. student who came to Indiana with a B.A. in English and Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. Before starting her doctorate, she earned a TESOL certificate and taught English in the Czech Republic. She specializes in late nineteenth-century American fiction, especially dialect literature written by immigrants and African Americans, depictions of speech disorders in text, the role of orthography and lexicography in the formation of American nationalism, and ecocritical conceptions of the American frontier. 

Miranda Wojciechowski

Miranda Wojciechowski

Graduate Student

Miranda Wojciechowski is a second-year Ph.D. student in the program. She is interested in 19th and 20th century British literature, Victorian Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies, and her current research focuses on the figurations of reading and disease as entangled social phenomena during the Victorian period.

Shannon Zellars-Strohl

Graduate Student

Shannon Zellars-Strohl specializes in late-Victorian fiction and is completing her dissertation on the relationship between religion, science, and the supernatural during this period. She has presented her work at such conferences as NAVSA, ACLA, NCSA, and INCS. Shannon currently serves as a Lecturer at RISD in Rhode Island, teaching classes on Victorian fiction, Literature of the Supernatural, and Horror Films.

M.F.A. Graduate Students

Janan Alexandra

Janan Alexandra

Graduate Student

Janan Alexandra is a Lebanese-American poet in her second year at Indiana University. Born in Nicosia, Cyprus, Janan has spent her life creating home in many different places—a central theme and preoccupation of her work. She is interested in how poems can help us write more truthful histories: personal/political, familial, and collective. Janan is the recipient of fellowships from the Martha's Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. She currently works as Associate Director of the IU Writers' Conference. You can find her work in PloughsharesThe Adroit JournalMizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab-AmericaCosmonauts Avenue, and Rusted Radishes, a literary journal coming out of Beirut, Lebanon. 

Austin Araujo

Austin Araujo

Graduate Student

Austin Araujo is a poet from Northwest Arkansas, where he graduated with degrees in English and Spanish from the University of Arkansas in 2018. Now an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University, he aims to catalog family history in as many interesting ways as possible.

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Soleil David

Graduate Student

Soleil David was born and raised in the Philippines. She received her B.A. with high distinction in English from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a 2017 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow and a Graduate Scholars Fellow. Her poetry and prose have been published in Our Own Voice, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Santa Ana River Review and The Margins.

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Noah Davis

Graduate Student

Noah Davis’ manuscript Of This River was selected for the 2019 Wheelbarrow Emerging Poet Book Contest from Michigan State University’s Center for Poetry. Davis' poetry is published in Orion, North American Review, Atlanta Review, Water~Stone Review, and Chautauqua among others, and has received Pushcart Prize nominations from Poet Lore and Natural Bridge. Davis was also a Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the recipient of the 2018 Jean Ritchie Appalachian Literature Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University.​

Laura Dzubay

Laura Dzubay

Graduate Student

Laura Dzubay is an MFA candidate in fiction. After growing up mostly in Bloomington, Indiana, she got her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she received multiple Hopwood Awards for short fiction and a prize for her senior thesis, a collection of short stories. She is interested in journalistic writing as well as fiction, and currently writes freelance music and film reviews following three years of arts writing and interviews for The Michigan Daily. Her other recent projects include working with literary magazines Midwestern Gothic and The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, and co-writing and filming a full-length dramedy TV pilot in the fall of 2018. Her fiction has previously appeared in Bad Pony, Blue Earth Review, Belle Ombre, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, she loves good food, hiking, and haunted places.

Shreya Fadia

Shreya Fadia

Graduate Student

Shreya Fadia is an MFA candidate in fiction. Originally from Mumbai, India, she grew up in New Jersey, earned her B.A. in English and history at Cornell University, and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.  Prior to attending Indiana University, she practiced civil litigation at a law firm in New York City.  Her recent writing has focused on isolation, terror, and the natural world.

Michelle Finkler

Michelle Finkler

Graduate Student

Michelle Finkler is a second-year MFA candidate in fiction. Her narratives tend to be situational and domestic in nature, and through her writing she’s interested in subverting the traditions of masculinity and femininity. She’s also interested in exploring characters’ use of sexuality and beauty as currency and the use of gendered objects as instruments of empowerment—false or otherwise. A native of Chicago, Michelle holds a BA in journalism from Columbia College. Her fiction has been published in Joyland Magazine, and she was a summer 2019 writer in residence at Art Farm Nebraska. Her BFF is a rescue dog named Rita.

Cameron Forrest

Cameron Forrest

Graduate Student

Cameron Forrest is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry from North Carolina. He received his BA in English from Lincoln University of Missouri where he was a recipient of the Lock-Heinen Scholarship in English and the Cecil A. Blue Award for Creative Writing. His work combines the mystery inherent in the personal and the use of the body as an anchor in descriptions, both those of violence and of remembrance.

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Mariah Gese

Graduate Student

Mariah Gese is a musician and MFA candidate in fiction at Indiana University, where she is also the Editor in Chief of Indiana Review. She is from a historic village in New York known for making wooden toys, so as you can imagine, she mostly writes horror. You can find her work online at The Offing and Cleaver Magazine.

Sabrina Ghaus

Sabrina Ghaus

Graduate Student

Sabrina Ghaus is a Pakistani-American poet, gardener, and community organizer working to elevate grassroots power for social change. They graduated from Tufts University in 2014 with a BA in International Relations, studying and creating South Asian feminist, anti-colonial historiography. As a first-year MFA candidate in poetry, they are interested in archiving life at the margins, ​cataloguing the collusion between nature and the precious experience of our lives, and understanding the relationships between memory, imagination, and belonging.  

Joseph Hohman

Joseph Hohman

Graduate Student

Joseph Hohman is an MFA candidate in Fiction at Indiana University. He received a BA in Biochemistry with a minor in Anthropology from the University of North Texas in 2015. His work explores art, science, dreams, mythology, and nature, with a focus on experimental structures. His writings can mainly be classified as magical realism.

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Meredith Irvin

Graduate Student

Meredith Irvin is a MFA Candidate in Poetry and Instructor of Creative Writing & Composition at Indiana University. She served as Web Editor of Indiana Review, as MFA Representative, on the English Department Graduate Student Advisory Committee, and is currently an AI Consultant for W103. She was awarded scholarships to attend residencies at Chautauqua Institution, Martha’s Vineyard, and Provincetown Fine Arts Center. Her poetry has appeared in Ink&Nebula and was the 2011 Winner of Washington University’s Academy of American Poets Prize. Her recent work focuses on climate change, myth making, and environmental landscape. Her secondary research interests include sociolinguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and gender & sexuality studies. You can follow her online @meredith626. 

M. Caroline McCaulay

M. Caroline McCaulay

Graduate Student

M. Caroline McCaulay is a second-year MFA candidate in Fiction at Indiana University. She received a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she completed a minor in Conflict Studies and participated in the Media Fellows Program. Her writing reflects an interest in complicated families, mental health, restorative justice, and international experiences. She previously worked for Universal Cable Productions and is an avid consumer of all things television.  

L. Renée

L. Renée

Graduate Student

L. Renée is a poet from Columbus, Ohio. She is a second-year MFA candidate at Indiana University, where she serves as the Nonfiction Editor of the Indiana Reviewand as Associate Director of the Indiana University Writers' Conference. Her poetry often explores how trauma – its physical, historical and emotional wounds – shapes the way we see and speak to ourselves and others. She also writes about Black family narratives, including what is passed down, what is lost to history and how imagination acts as a stand-in for what we’ll never know. L. Renéewon the 2018 Alumni Award Fellowship in poetry from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and a National Silver medal in poetry at the 2002 NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics. Her work has received support from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference and Green Mountain Writers Conference. For nearly a decade in another life (and with a different byline), she worked as a staff reporter at the Chicago Tribune and Newsday. She has previously earned a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she received a Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Fellowship, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with honors from Roanoke College, where she received a David S. Bittle Scholarship. In her free time, L. Renée is probably singing, listening to jazz, gospel and R&B, or making up a new recipe. 

Alex Sagona

Alex Sagona

Graduate Student

Alex Sagona, originally from Rockford, Ill., moved to Chicago at age 17 to pursue a career in video production, working for networks such as HGTV, TLC, G4, and Nickelodeon. He holds a B.A. in English from Loyola University Chicago, where he received The Gerrietts Prize. After undergrad, he spent two years working in clinical psychology as a research assistant for "Saving Lives, Inspiring Youth" and "The 3Ms Study." He is an MFA candidate in fiction.

Alison Stoos

Alison Stoos

Graduate Student

Alison Stoos is a first-year MFA candidate in Fiction. Originally from Southeast Texas, she received dual BAs in Theatre and English from The University of Texas at Austin. Her current literary interests include elements of the fantastic paired with emotional truth, and her recent work revolves around themes of place, belonging, and metamorphosis. Professionally, she has spent the past few years working as a barista and can pour some pretty sick latte art. She enjoys cooking, being outside, and any kind of dancing.

Alberto Sveum

Alberto Sveum

Graduate Student

Alberto Sveum is a second-year MFA candidate in Creative Writing, Poetry. He received his B.A. in English and Philosophy, with a minor in Creative Writing, from the University of Northern Iowa. He is the current Associate Editor at Indiana Review.

Rose Wehrenberg

Rose Wehrenberg

Graduate Student

Rose Wehrenberg was born in Akron, Ohio and is the author of the chapbooks Abracadabrachrysanthemum (2018), Hands (2015), and River (2014), co-written with Ross Gay. Their poems and writing have appeared or are forthcoming in The Ocean State Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Monster House Press, Peach Mag, Bad Nudes, & elsewhere. Rose co-founded Monster House Press—a writer-run, collective publisher & multidisciplinary, award-winning reading series, Monster House Presents—where they served as Art Director, Book Designer, Editor, & more from 2010-2019. They are an MFA candidate in Poetry at Indiana University and a book/graphic designer.

Jenna Wengler

Jenna Wengler

Graduate Student

Jenna Wengler is an MFA candidate in fiction at Indiana University and the Fiction Editor of Indiana Review. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, she earned a BS in Secondary Education and English from Vanderbilt University and taught high school English in Franklin, Tennessee. Her fiction explores the struggle and wonder of teenage girlhood.

El Williams III

El Williams III

Graduate Student

El Williams III is a St. Louis native. He received his BA in English with a minor in Black Studies from the University of Missouri, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, Tin House, and The Watering Hole. His poetry has been published in the Shade Journal, Vinyl and elsewhere. Previously, he worked in college access, assisting underserved families with the college admissions process and financial aid literacy. He currently lives in Bloomington, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University.

Rhetoric Graduate Students

Sarah Fischer

Sarah Fischer

Graduate Student

Sarah Fischer is a Rhetoric Ph.D. student interested in multilingual writers and writing centers. Originally from Miami, Florida, she earned her BA in English from the University of Florida in 2018.

Millie Hizer

Millie Hizer

Graduate Student

Millie Hizer entered IU’s MA/PhD Program in Rhetoric and Composition in the fall of 2018. She received her BA in English from The University of Florida in 2017. Her research interests include community writing and literacy, disability rhetoric, composition theory and pedagogy, and classical rhetorical theory.

Eryn Johnson

Eryn Johnson

Graduate Student

Eryn is a PhD student studying rhetoric and composition. She came to IU with a background in literary studies and communication studies. Eryn’s current research interests include the intersection of rhetoric and ethics as it comes to bear upon the narrative paradigm (and vice versa) and the role that ethics plays in rhetoric as a teaching tradition. ​ 

Benjamin Luczak

Benjamin Luczak

Graduate Student

Benjamin Luczak is a Rhetoric PhD student whose scholarly interests include the rhetoric of space and public memory as well as theories of the public sphere. He received an MA in English with a composition emphasis from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis.

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Rachel McCabe

Graduate Student

Rachel McCabe is a Ph.D. Candidate in Composition and Rhetoric. Her dissertation uses rhetorical theory to examine the ways in which productive discomfort with texts can be utilized to help students use affective engagement as a starting point for their writing. This relationship with texts allows students to transfer their reading experiences toward improved genre awareness in reading, viewing, and writing. Her work has appeared in Textshop Experiments and ROLE. For more information, visit: rachelmccabe.com.

Jason Michálek

Jason Michálek

Graduate Student

Jason Michálek entered IU’s doctoral program in rhetoric in the fall of 2018. His research interests have been historically broad with a BA in English language & literature and linguistics from Grand Valley State University, and an MA in American Studies from The George Washington University. His current foci are in semiotics, digital ontology, rhetorics of communion, and fragmented publics.

Becky Ottman

Becky Ottman

Graduate Student

My scholarly interests include multilingual pedagogy and placement practices, first-year composition theory, and classical rhetoric. I am intrigued by how multilingual students are categorized according to traditional placement practices and how such categorization affects the development of their writing processes. My research considers rhetorical approaches to current placement strategies for multilingual students entering college composition in efforts to evolve and improve these areas. My areas of interest in teaching include first-year composition and multilingual composition.

Laura Rosche

Laura Rosche

Graduate Student

Laura Rosche is a PhD candidate in English, with a concentration in Rhetoric. Her dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies women use when narrativizing their experiences as survivors of sexual violation. By prioritizing diverse female voices, Rosche's research focuses broadly on the enactment of feminist ethos, the development of rhetorical listening skills, and the theorization of empathetic communicative practices. Other interests include composition pedagogies, digital rhetorics, and autobiographical rhetorics.