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Current Students

Student Profiles

MA Students

Caitlyn Caldwell
I am a second year MA student with a BA in English Literature from Hiram College (2013). My research interests focus on the transition from the nineteenth century into the twentieth century. I am particularly interested in how identity is constructed as cultural perceptions change (due to medical and scientific discoveries; advances in technology; and political and military conflict). I am also interested in archival work, and questions concerning how cultural identity is preserved and shared.

Elizabeth Elmore
I am a first year MA student with a BA in English Literature and Writing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. My research interests include feminism and gender in contemporary media and popular culture, with a particular focus on the roles of women and gender and sexual minorities in recent novels, comic books, television, and film.

Molly Hunter

Mark Mowls
I have BAs in English and in Film Studies from Ohio State University (2002) and interests in film studies, visual culture and rhetoric, and British and expatriate American modernism. I am a second year MA candidate with academic interest in poststructuralism, film, queer theory, and the effects of technology. I hold a BA in English from Ohio University  (2011).

Aaron Perine
I am a first year MA student. I have a BA in English from CWRU (2012). My research interests include visual rhetoric, 21st-century material culture, print culture, journalism, and identity formation.

Cammy Sray
I am a second year Master’s student with a BA in English from Cedarville University (2012). My research focus is on perceptions and portrayals of gender, mental illness, and the body in both Victorian literature and twentieth-century American literature. I am also interested in the theory and practice of second language writing.

Hayley Verdi
I am a first year MA student with a BA in English from Grove City College (2010) and an MEd from the University of Missouri – St. Louis (2012).  My research interests include transatlantic studies and intercultural exchange,19th- and 20th-century British and American novels, immigrant narratives, and representations of childhood and innocence in literature.

PhD Students

Varsha Balachandran
A fifth year PhD student, I am working on my dissertation tentatively entitled Ethnic Metafictions: Authorial Consciousness in Philip Roth and Toni Morrison. My research explores how and why ethnic-American writers like Roth and Morrison have employed the metafictional technique in their works of fiction. It also attempts to understand how self-reflexivity has evolved in form and use since its first use in Cervantes’ Don Quixote in 1605. More broadly, I am particularly interested in theories of identity construction, the novel, and the cross-cultural experience. Other interests include life-writing and autobiography studies and ESL pedagogy. I hold a BA in English from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India (2006), and an MA in English from The University of Akron, Ohio (2009).

Drew Banghart
As a third year PhD student, I am preparing for my qualifying exams and beginning work on my dissertation which will explore the ways Victorian literature and psychology theorized the body’s role in the growth of the mind.  I focus on such major Victorian authors as Robert Browning, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.  More broadly, my research interests include medical humanities, science studies, issues of embodiment, posthumanism, and composition and technical communication.

Erin Blakeslee
I am a second-year doctoral student in the Writing History and Theory (WHiT) program. Prior to beginning my studies at CWRU, I taught writing for several years at Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. I earned my BS in Cinema and Photography from Ithaca College and my MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Purdue. My research interests include writing pedagogy; genealogical writing, storytelling, and archival conventions; American regional literature; and queer feminist disruptions of our reading, writing, and teaching practices.

Cara Byrne
I am a PhD student whose academic interests include children’s literature, African-American literature, gender studies, feminism and ESL pedagogy.  I earned my BS in Education and my BA in English from Bowling Green State University (2009) and my MA in English from Case Western Reserve University (2011). I am also licensed to teach middle school and high school integrated language arts in Ohio.

Evan Chaloupka
I am a first year PhD student whose research interest include disability in literature, medical rhetoric and disability, and contingent labor issues in higher education. In 2012, I earned my M.A. in English  from The University of Akron. In 2010, I earned my B.A. in English from The Ohio State University. I am a member of the Ohio Part-time Faculty Association’s organizing committee and have taught composition at Lakeland Community College, Lake Erie College, and Ursuline College.

Michael Chiappini
I am a first year PhD student interested in a cluster of questions surrounding sexualities, HIV/AIDS, pornography, visual culture, camp, and “love” in conjunction with performance theories, queer theories, affect theories, and medical rhetoric. I am invested in a pedagogy that undoes the harms of normalization and assimilation by being public about privacy.

Thom Dawkins
I hold an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Chatham University and an MTS from Vanderbilt Divinity School. My research interests include early modern literature, theological studies and expressions of illness and disease in the period, as well as poetry and poetics in general.

Kate Dunning
A PhD candidate focusing on 19th- and 20th-century American poetry, my interests include ecocriticism, W. S. Merwin, Emily Dickinson, feminism, and creative writing. Currently, I’m collaborating on the Digital Dickinson Manuscript Project, a Digital Humanities project that seeks to text encode all of Dickinson’s poem and letter manuscripts through an innovative crowd-sourcing platform. I hold a BA in English and French with a minor in Spanish (2008), as well as a Master’s in Library Science (2009) from the University at Buffalo. I also spent the 2009-2010 academic year teaching English at the University of Maroua in Cameroon (Central Africa) as a Fulbright grantee.

Eric Earnhardt
I hold a BA in English from Geneva College (2006) and an MA in Literary History from Ohio University (2011). I am a second year PhD student focusing on ecology and literature, critical theory, and issues of environmental and social justice in American literature.

Andrew Field
I am a first year PhD student interested in studying the intersection between poetry (primarily 20th century American) and mourning.  I am interested in the questions, How do poets from the 20th century think and talk about loss and mourning in poetry? Does mourning involve a kind of grief-work, is grief ultimately inconsolable, or is there another way of thinking about grief and loss separate from these formulations? What is the relationship between mourning, modernism and postmodernism?  I am particularly (and primarily) interested in the work of John Ashbery, but I’m also partial to Elizabeth Bishop, James Schuyler, Jay Wright, and Anne Carson. Theoretically, I lean towards the work of Richard Rorty, though am beginning to study thinkers like Jacques Lacan, Walter Benjamin, Julia Kristeva, and Jacques Derrida.

Catherine Forsa
I received my MA in English from Seton Hall University and my BA in English from Fairfield University. My research focuses on early American literature, nineteenth-century American literature, and the intersection of medicine, science, and literature. I am now working on my dissertation, which examines how developments in science in the nineteenth century generated new aesthetic forms for American authors. As a teaching assistant at Seton Hall and Case Western Reserve, I have taught undergraduate courses in literature, first-year writing, foundational writing, and professional and technical communication.

Miriam Goldman
I am a PhD student focusing on Post-War, primarily American literature. My research foci are narrative and rhetorical theory, technical and professional writing, and issues of agency, identity, and the body. My teaching is as important to me as my own work. In the classroom, I undertake to deploy experiential methods and create classroom communities based on trust and co-decision making whenever possible.

Megan Griffin
As a second-year PhD student, I am focusing on completing my coursework and preparing for my qualifying exams.  My main area of specialization is in Early Modern literature, with a particular focus on issues of genre and on the development of the rhetoric of sovereignty from the English Reformation to the English Civil War.  I also have a secondary interest in 20th and 21st century sci-fi /fantasy literature and television.

Raymond Horton
I am a second year PhD student in the department of English at Case Western Reserve University. My areas of specialization are 19th- and 20th-century American literature, contemporary fiction, and interdisciplinary connections between critical theory and the philosophy of religion. Within these focus areas, my research interests include the intersections of literature and religion (particularly with regard to how phenomenology, aesthetics, and competing accounts of secularism / post-secularism influence the work of criticism in accounting for the religious within ostensibly nonreligious texts), as well as the influence of globalization and transnationalism on multi-ethnic and immigrant literatures of the United States.I am also interested in interdisciplinary approaches to teaching American literature, critical pedagogy in teaching composition, ESL pedagogy, and the relationship between social justice issues and the politics of scholarship and teaching in the Humanities.

Lara Klaber
I am a first-year PhD student in the Writing History and Theory (WHiT) program, with BAs in Communication, Film & Digital Media, and English, and a MA in English, from Cleveland State University. I take a cross-disciplinary approach to my work, combining elements of rhetoric and composition, literary theory, film theory, and communication theory in my analyses. My Master’s thesis focused on “the Monster as Romantic Hero in Contemporary Fiction,” and I am particularly invested in the use of popular fiction and media to interrogate cultural norms and values. Additional interests include multimedia narratology, technical communication, interactive composition, and the use of contemporary young adult fiction to promote higher literacy rates. I also harbor a great love of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery genre writing.

Kristin Kondrlik
As a fourth year PhD student participating in the WHiT program, my research interests include medical rhetoric, literature of the period between 1880 and 1920, and gender studies. My dissertation focuses on the ways British writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries used various genres of print culture – specialized periodicals, popular periodicals, and novels – to bolster the rhetorical ethos of female physicians. I received my BA in English and Political Science from Canisius College (2008) and my MA in English from Case Western Reserve University (2011).

Michelle Lyons-McFarland
I hold a BA in English and Humanities from the University of Washington (2010) and an MA in English from Case Western Reserve University (2012). My area of focus is 18th-century British literature. Academic interests for me include thing theory, gender and sexuality studies, gothic literature, games and new media, reader/author/publisher communities and relationships, and composition. student focusing on 18th-century British literature.

Marcus Mitchell
I earned my BA in English from Illinois Wesleyan University (2008) and my MA in English from Case Western Reserve University (2011). I am currently a fourth-year PhD student focusing on Victorian and Edwardian literature and culture. My research examines attitudes toward women’s muscularity and athleticism in Victorian fiction and non-fiction, as well as the significance of those attitudes in relation to the gender ideologies underpinning Victorian physical culture.

Andrea Nienstedt
I am a second year PhD student, with both a BA and MA from Oakland University in Michigan. My research interests are primarily in 19th-century transatlantic literature (mostly British/Irish and American). Within this period, I’m especially interested in representations of things like female stereotypes, womanhood, femininity, female sexuality, spinsterhood, etc. I like to utilize information from traditionally non-literary period documents, like advertisements and newspaper articles. I’m currently researching the use of gendered mermaid imagery in 19th-century literature and culture.

Monica Orlando
I am a fifth-year PhD student finishing my dissertation, which examines autobiographical writing about autism, specifically the role of relationality in the construction of narratives and personal identities.  My broader academic interests include the intersections of American literature, life writing, and disability studies.  I received a BA (2005) and MA (2008) in English from John Carroll University, and I have taught at both the high school and college levels, including composition, public speaking, general and American literature, ESL, and professional writing.

Michael Parker
I am a PhD student focusing on queer theory and Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Utopian literature. My primary areas of interest are queer temporalities, utopias, aesthetics, and orientations. I received my BA in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 and my MA in English from Case Western in 2011.

Melissa Pompili
I am a PhD student whose research has historically focused on late nineteenth and early twentieth century transatlantic women’s writing. My theoretical interests include gender and sexuality studies, affect theory, and biopolitics. I am especially interested in the intersection of these theoretical approaches as they relate to conditions of embodiment and social organization. I hold a BA from Lourdes University, and an MA in Literature from Eastern Michigan University.

Jessica Slentz
I am a third year PhD fellow focusing on rhetorical experience, haptic and locative media, and rhetorics of display and exhibition. I have secondary interests in new media and digital literacies, digital writing research, multimodal composition, visual rhetoric, and technical and professional writing. I hold a BA in Professional Communication and Information Design from Nazareth College, an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University, London, UK, and an MA in English Literature from the University of Rochester.

Matthew Trammell
I’m a second year doctoral student specializing in Victorian literature and culture and Modernism. I hold a BS in English from Troy University (2009) and an MA in English from CWRU (2013). In studying the Victorian period, I’m most interested in how objects and art objects influence and structure phenomenological and aesthetic experience, as well as how they mediate interpersonal relationships. I’m also interested in Victorian psychology, evolution and eugenics, and the role of memory and dreams in society. In the Modernist period, I’m primarily concerned with issues of class and aesthetics, particularly as these relate to fascist and Marxist ideology.

Megan Weber
I am a first-year PhD student with a BA from Wittenberg University and an MA from the University of South Florida. My focus is Restoration and 18th-century British Literature. My primary research focuses on the development of language through the period, examining shifting gender roles and definitions of masculinity. Using plays and novels, I explore the gap between the public and private, and the different language used in each.

Scott Weedon
I graduated from Loyola University of Maryland with a BA in English and from Case Western Reserve University with an MA in English. I am a PhD student and I focus on professional communication, rhetorical theory, and narratology.