Student Profiles

MA Students

Ciarra Bona
I am a first year MA/PhD student and hold a BA in English with a speciality in Advanced Literary Studies from Saint Leo University (2016). My main interest is in 18th-century British Literature, particularly the rise of the novel.

Alexis Colucy
I am a second year MA student and hold a BA in English and Adolescent to Young Adulthood Education from Walsh University. My primary academic interests are in using specific critical lenses such as Feminine and Psychoanalytical to explore Renaissance/Early Modern British Literature. I have also become fascinated with exploring gender roles in 19th- and 20th-century American Literature.

Yasmin DaSilva
I am a second year MA student with a BA in English with minors in Creative Writing & Classical Studies from Earlham College. My research interests circle around intersectionality, mystery & detective fiction, and contemporary literature.

Rachael Frances
I am a second-year MA/PhD student with a BA in English Literature, Film, and Culture from Penn State Behrend (2016). My main interest is in deindustrialization literature, especially concerning the American steel industry and the authentic representation of evolving Rust Belt culture.

Madeleine Gervason
I am a first year MA student and hold a BA in English and a BSEd in Integrated Language Arts for Adolescent to Young Adults from Ohio University. My academic interests lie in 19th century British literature. Specifically I am interested in the development of the science fiction novel alongside scientific developments of the 19th century.

Amber Kidd
I am a second-year MA/PhD student with a BA in English and Human Rights from Agnes Scott College (2019). My research primarily focuses on Modernism and the intersections between trauma, identity, and narratology.

Michelle Koski
I am a part-time MA student and hold a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio University. I am interested in modernist and postmodern literature, and the theory and practice of poetry, fiction, and prose.

Francesca Mancino
I am a first year MA student and hold a BA in English literature from John Carroll University. My academic interests lie in Lost Generation and forgotten female Modernist literature. I am also interested in referencing manuscripts to aid in my research.

Andrew Petracca
I am a second-year MA student with a BSEd in English from Central Connecticut State University.  My research explores the intersections of narratology, philosophy, and the environmental humanities in twentieth and twenty-first century American literature—especially in the works of Sam Shepard.

Micah Stewart-Wilcox
I am a first year MA student with a BA from Lindsey Wilson College. I am interested in 20th century American literature and post-structuralist critical theory.

Allyson Wierenga
I am a second year MA student with a BA in English literature and writing from Calvin University. My research focuses on intersections between children’s literature and the fields of medicine, disability studies, and psychology.

PhD Students

Leah Davydov
I am a second-year PhD student focusing on 19th century British literature and its relationship to medical history, particularly with regards to trends in psychiatry, medical hypnosis, and the understanding and treatment of trance-like states. I hold a BA in Classical Civilization from Oberlin College and an MA in English Literature from Cleveland State University.

Charlie Ericson
I am a first-year PhD student with an MA from the University of Chicago. My research focuses on aesthetics and the novel, especially in the early twentieth century. My BA is from the University of Evansville.

Lara Klaber
I am a PhD student in the Writing History and Theory (WHiT) program, with BAs in Communication, Film & Digital Media, and English, and an 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 PhD project focuses on pedagogical practices in use in Writing Centers, and I hope to run a University Writing Center after I complete my PhD. 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.

Camila Ring
I am a third-year PhD candidate focusing on expressions of theological inquiry and embodied religious experience in nineteenth- and twentieth-century poetry. I hold a BA in English from Cedarville University and an MA in English from CWRU.

Brita Thielen
I am a 5th-year PhD candidate with an emphasis in Writing History and Theory and Creative Writing (poetry). My dissertation takes a rhetorical approach to exploring how identity is represented and constructed by authors of food writing texts, particularly cookbooks, food blogs, and food memoirs. I see these texts as sites where food writers evoke and negotiate the individual and social identities of themselves and their readers in order to create an ethotic relationship. Other scholarly interests include intersections between composition and creative writing pedagogies, social privilege and diversity in the writing classroom, and the shifting roles played by writers, readers, and genres in the process of meaning-making. This year I am also serving as Writing Program Assistant/Graduate TA Peer Mentor. Before coming to CWRU, I earned my MA in English Literature with a Certificate in the Teaching of Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2016) and my BA in English with a minor in Hispanic Studies from the College of Saint Benedict in MN (2011). Prospective PhD students: if you have questions about what the program is like, feel free to email me at

Hayley Verdi
I am a third-year PhD candidate. My primary research areas are in literature and medicine and19th-century British literature with a specific focus on illness narratives. My other research interests include composition and creative writing pedagogy. I hold a BA in English from Grove City College (2010), an MEd in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (2012), and an MA in English from Case Western Reserve University (2018).