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People

Graduate Students

Graduate students in the UMass English Department hail from all over the United States and around the world, and they are wonderfully diverse with respect to age, race, sexual orientation, and professional interests.

Our students also compete successfully for University Fellowships, national fellowships, and the university's distinguished teaching awards. They regularly present papers at both regional and national conferences, and many leave with at least one publication at the time of their doctorate. Students play an active role in program policy and governance, and they organize an annual conference, hosted by the English Graduate Organization.

 

Sarah Ahmad

Ph.D.
Literature

sarahahmad@umass.edu

Sarah Ahmad is a PhD student in Literature, working on the poetics of space in contemporary queer/diasporic texts. She was born in Delhi and grew up across the Indian subcontinent. She is Assistant Editor at Guernica (poetry) and Conjunctions, reads for Poetry, and writes in-between poem-prose beings.

Specilizations: poetics of space, global Anglophone, queer studies, feminist architectures

Dina Alqassar

Ph.D.
Literature

dalqassar@umass.edu

Dina is a PhD student in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and WGSS dept. Her researches incorporates religious studies, philology, and Latin lyric to explore the intersections between faith and sexuality in the poetry of Milton and Donne.

Specializations: Renaissance and Early Modern Literature

Photo of Crystal Baines Crystal Baines

Ph.D.
Literature

cbaines@umass.edu

Crystal is a doctoral candidate in colonial and postcolonial literature. Her dissertation focuses on twentieth-century narratives of secularism and secularization in South Asian literary history and Indian Ocean Anglophone literature. Her research incorporates religious studies, feminist theory, and eco-criticism perspectives. She is also interested in Buddhist influences on African American and Asian American literary representations. She is a digitization consultant for the American Institute for Lankan Studies Colombo which specializes in the preservation and digitization of rare archives. She received her BA in English from the Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka.

Specializations: Comparative Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Translation Studies, Digital Humanities

Olivia Barry

MA
Literature
Alejandro Beas-Murillo Alejandro Beas-Murillo

Ph.D.
Literature

abeasmurillo@umass.edu

Alejandro--or Ale--(he/him/él) was born in Madrid, Spain. He is a second year English PhD student. His research is in conversation with Marxist queer and trans* spacetimes of displacement in contemporary utopian, dystopian and apocalyptic narratives. Alejandro's work pays close attention to the figures of the climate migrant, the refugee, and the fugitive in postcolonial and transnational narratives, as well as the relation between the body-as-consciousness, the land, and alternative, non-Newtonian temporalities. Currently, his analyses engage with authors like K. Sello Duiker, Octavia Butler, Marlene van Niekerk, Omar El Akkad, Rita Indiana, Ling Ma, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Alejandro works as a Teaching Associate and a Graduate Assistant Director in the Writing Program, and has been teaching for 8 years in Spain and the United States, including at Williams College and Thrive Scholars.

Specializations: American Studies

Headshot of Ashley Canter Ashley Canter Meredith

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

avcanter@umass.edu

Ashley is a PhD candidate in Composition and Rhetoric. She earned an Advanced Feminist Studies Certificate in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. She currently teaches Writing & Society. Her dissertation research explores the ways that Appalachian women's community literacies at one non-profit organization connect to global political economic rhetorics that have led to extractive economies in the region. When she isn’t on campus, Ashley enjoys hiking, finding new houseplants, and admiring how cute her dogs are.

Shwetha Chandrashekhar Shwetha Chandrashekhar

Ph.D.
Literature

schandrashek@umass.edu

Shwetha is a fifth year doctoral candidate and a teaching associate in the Department of English at UMass Amherst. Her research interests include global Anglophone literatures and cultures, postcolonial studies, affect studies, and disaster studies. She is currently working on her dissertation tentatively titled "Feeling Unpleasant: Affect, Violence, the Everyday in Contemporary South Asian Anglophone Fiction". In her project, she explores how writers such as Manu Joseph, Indra Sinha, Mohammed Hanif, Anuk Arudpragasam, Mirza Waheed, and Arundhati Roy mine unpleasant feelings to problematize the victim-perpertrator equations and shed light on the oft-ignored temporalities and spatialities of unexceptional violence in contemporary South Asia. Her research has been published in South Asian Review.

Grayson Chong

Ph.D.
Literature

gchong@umass.edu

Grayson Chong is a transhistorical Caribbeanist. As an artist-scholar, she creates visual art to articulate how processes of colonialism and creolization beginning in the early modern period influence interracial relations in the Caribbean. In particular, her research uses transhistorical, feminist, and diasporic approaches to explore how family structures and womanhood are expressed in visual and musical performances within Jamaica and the Caribbean diaspora. Her works have been featured in Contemporary Media Arts Journal (2021) and in the Small Axe Salon special issue on textiles (2021).

Specializations: Caribbean studies, Performance studies, Renaissance visual and material culture

Rowshan Chowdhury Rowshan Chowdhury

Ph.D.
Literature

rjchowdhury@umass.edu

Rowshan Chowdhury earned her BA and MA in English from the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh, and completed her second MA from North Dakota State University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate with a concentration in American Studies and a Teaching Associate in the English Department at UMass Amherst. As a nineteenth-century Americanist, she is particularly interested in the interrelationships among various empires. Her current project investigates the investment of the United States in the colonial history of British India, focusing on the place of Indianness in the U.S literary imagination in the long nineteenth century, particularly via figurations of uprisings and rebellions.

Specializations: Long Nineteenth-Century American Literature; Asian American and Transnational Literature; Black Studies; and Serialized Literature.

Tyler Clark Tyler Clark

Ph.D.
Literature

tdclark@umass.edu

Tyler Clark's Website

Tyler Clark earned his BA and MA in English at Northern Arizona University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate with a concentration in Victorian literature and Queer theory, as well as a Teaching Associate in the Writing Program. His focus lies primarily on gender deviance found in the sensation novel genre and its contemporary readership, as well as the homoerotic discourse of the Cambridge Apostles. Currently, he is researching “camp” as an underground, ritual expression of sexual deviance in late-nineteenth-century British men. Recent research of his has been published in South Central Review and The Riverside Quarterly.

Specializations: Nineteenth-Century British literature, British Modernism, Queer theory, Homosocial studies, Victorian sensation

Sam Davis Sam Davis

Ph.D.
Literature

samdavis@english.umass.edu

Sam Davis is a trans critical theorist, literary scholar, filmmaker, and musician. His research is at the intersection of Trans studies, Black studies, and Disability studies, with a focus on the relationship between social abjection and prosthesis. His auto-ethnographic documentary thesis, "In Our Own Words: On Being Trans at Smith" (2017) has received various awards, including the Valeria Dean Burgess Stevens Prize at Smith College, as well as being the Feature Film at GLAAD’s Spring Film Festival in 2018. Sam is currently a doctoral candidate in the English department as well as an instructor in the writing program.

Research Interests: Trans studies, Black studies, Disability studies, object-oriented-ontology, Critical Social Theory, Queer studies, Modern American Literature

Jarrel De Matas headshot Jarrel De Matas

Ph.D.
Literature

jdematas@umass.edu

Jarrel De Matas's Website

Jarrel earned his MA in Literature from the University of West Indies. He is currently a PhD candidate in the English Department and Teaching Associate in the Writing Program. His research interests focus on the intersections between Caribbean Science Fiction and Post/human studies. He has published in the Journal of West Indian Literature, Anthurium Journal of Caribbean Studies, and The Researcher: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Jarrel is also the producer and host of a podcast; The Caribbean Science Fiction Network.

Waverley Doherty
Literature
Photo of Jesse Farris Jesse Farris

MA
Literature

jfarris@umass.edu

Jesse is an MA student in English Literature. Her research interests largely surround long eighteenth century poetry and prose as informed by the transatlantic slave trade. Through her work, she confronts questions of empire, race, and the instability of the subaltern category. Beyond academics, she enjoys performing stand-up comedy and creative writing.

Specializations: Long 18th Century Literature,  Postcolonial Theory

Oscar Garcia Oscar Garcia

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

oigarcia@umass.edu

Oscar Garcia's Website

Oscar Garcia is a current PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition. His interests lay within the gatekeeping of Critical Literacies that inform past and current education hierarchies. His research lies within amplification rhetorics that implements hip hop pedagogy as a mediation to inform the intercalation that informs a evolutionary critical literacy that brings together CRT, multimodal, and multilingual concepts together to inform professional communication standards in Junior Year Writing that better serves socially transformative pedagogy  relevant to students immediate and future communicatory needs. When he isn’t working or lost on campus, you can find him in the gym or out and about.

Jeremy Geragotelis

MA
Literature

jgeragotelis@umass.edu

Jeremy Geragotelis' Website

Jeremy Geragotelis is an MA/PhD student in English with a concentration in American Studies. Their research focuses on sites of failure, the performative repercussions of reiteration/repetition, and issues of embodiment relating to technologies of recording. Along with their scholarly work, they are a performance-maker, playwright, and composer. They recently graduated with an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Jude Hayward-Jansen Jude Hayward-Jansen

Ph.D.
Literature

j.haywardjansen@english.umass.edu

Jude Hayward-Jansen is a doctoral candidate in Literature where they are completing their dissertation, Save Our Children: Queer Discourse Formation in the U.S. and South Africa. Jude received their MA from the English department and a graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from WGSS at UMass. Positioned at the intersections of Queer and Feminist Studies, South African Studies, and American Studies, Jude’s dissertation examines the role of queerness in literature and culture during the rise of the religious right in the U.S. and the collapse of apartheid in South Africa. They have presented work on queerness, queer children in South African post-apartheid fiction, white trash figurations of the U.S. South, and transness.

Caroline Heafey

Ph.D.
Literature
Molly Hennigan

Ph.D.
Literature
Jonathan Hoel Jonathan Hoel

Ph.D.
Literature

jhoel@umass.edu

Jon Hoel is a PhD student in literature. His focus is on 20th century North American poetry and political philosophy. He earned his B.A. in English at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and an MA in literary and cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of a monograph on Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker, with Liverpool University Press, and has published essays and poems with Joyzine, Lumina, Black Lawrence Press, and elsewhere.

Specializations: 19th century poetry, 20th century poetry, cultural studies, Marxist theory, poetic cinema, Faulkner studies

William Holt

MA
Literature

wholt@umass.edu

Specializations: American studies, sports studies, antebellum New England

Maria Ishikawa

Ph.D.
Literature

mishikawa@umass.edu

Maria Ishikawa is a PhD candidate and a Fulbright and REAL Fellow. Her research and teaching focus on the ways of knowing afforded through literary forms and representations in nineteenth-century U.S. writings. Supported by a departmental dissertation fellowship, her dissertation Archiving the Unknowable in Nineteenth-Century American Literature explores how authors, from Martin Delany to Emily Dickinson to Frederick Douglass, investigated the limits of knowledge in the speculative areas outside the reach of empiricism and positivist epistemology. In conversation with philosophy and science, these authors used distinct literary methods to archive their own inquiry process, while contesting the ages’ dominant understanding of what can be known without “proof” — about deprived self-knowledge under slavery, lost histories of ancient intelligence, or untraceable origins of the starry universe. Maria has delivered papers at the MLA, ASA, and the EDIS conferences. 

Specializations: nineteenth-century American literature; lyric poetry, novel, autobiography; new formalism; history of ideas; literature and philosophy

Nirmala Iswari

Ph.D.
Literature
Image of Elena Kaldoner-Martin Elena Kalodner-Martin

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

ekalodnermar@umass.edu

Elena Kalodner-Martin's Website

Elena is a current PhD candidate in Composition and Rhetoric with specializations in technical communication, the rhetoric of health and medicine, and feminist rhetoric. She currently teaches writing in the disciplines courses in computer science and informatics and in engineering. Her dissertation theorizes user-generated healthcare content in online spaces as a form of technical and technological expertise. You can find her latest work in the Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, the peer-reviewed proceedings of the 2022 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, Programmatic Perspectives, and more.

Specializations: Technical communication, rhetoric of health and medicine, feminist rhetoric, digital rhetoric

Sunmi Kang

Ph.D.
Literature
Dyala Kasim Dyala Kasim

Ph.D.
Literature

dkasim@umass.edu

Dyala Kasim earned her BA in English and Communication from Villanova University and MA in American Studies from Columbia University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the English Department and a Teaching Associate in the Writing Department at UMass Amherst. Dyala's research focuses on contemporary Arab American fiction, Postcolonialism, hyphenated-American identity and homeland. When she isn't on campus, you can find her admiring her houseplants and her cat, Val.

Angela Kim

Ph.D.
Literature

angelakim@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Studies

Anna Klebanowska

Ph.D.
Literature

aklebano@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Studies

Stacie Klinowski

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

sklinowski@umass.edu

Stacie is a PhD candidate in Composition and Rhetoric and is currently Assistant Director of the Writing Center. She is also an editorial assistant for Peitho, the journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, and is completing a graduate certificate in public history at UMass. Her research focuses on community literacy work, writing ideologies, writing center studies, and archival histories. In her free time, Stacie likes to hang out with her cats, knit, and listen to podcasts.

Nataliya Kostenko

Ph.D.
Literature

nkostenko@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Studies

Benjamin Latini

Ph.D.
Literature

blatini@umass.edu

Specializations: American Studies

Jeremy Levine

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

jeremylevine@umass.edu

Jeremy Levine is a PhD student from Long Island, New York. His main research interests involve the intersection of education policy and literacy development in high schools and colleges. He is particularly interested in how writing assessments create definitions of writing for students and teachers. Outside of academics, he is a musician, below-average bicyclist, and amateur breakfast chef.

Specializations: Writing Development, Education Policy

Merita Ljubanovic

Ph.D.
Literature

mljubanovic@umass.edu

Specialization: Renaissance

Sally Luken

Ph.D.
Literature

sluken@umass.edu

Specialization: Renaissance

Photo of Miranda Lutyens Miranda Lutyens

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

mlutyens@umass.edu

Miranda (she/her) is an MA/PhD student in Composition and Rhetoric. She teaches College Writing and is also a Graduate Assistant Director in the Writing Program, where she mentors first-year teaching associates. Prior to coming to UMass, Miranda spent fifteen years teaching secondary English Language Arts, first in the Boston Public Schools and then at the American School of Lima, Peru. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has two Master's in Education. Her research and praxis interests include: leveraging the study of multilingualism for enacting social justice pedagogy; rhetorics of voice and the aural; and freewriting as reflective practice.  

Joe Mason

Ph.D.
Literature

jmason@english.umass.edu

Specializations: Post-Colonial Literature

Patricia Matthews

Ph.D.
Literature
Kevin Morris

Ph.D.
Literature

kevinmorris@umass.edu

Kevin Morris is a PhD student on the American Studies track focusing on 19th and 20th century African American literature and culture. Kevin's current project looks to connect slave narratives and prison literature along a continuum of African American writing from the "front lines," and addresses concerns around black masculinity, black male sexualities, class, citizenship, and the law. 

Specializations: American Studies, 19th & 20th c. African American Literature, Political Theory, Black Male Studies, Carceral Studies, Law & Literature

Christina Muoio Christina Muoio

MA
Literature

cmuoio@umass.edu

Christina (she/her) is a first-year MA/PhD student in Literature with a Renaissance specialization. She is also a Teaching Associate in the Writing Program, where she teaches writing to first-year undergraduate students. Her research interests focus on mixed-race studies, critical race theory, queer studies, and Renaissance/Early Modern drama, emphasizing Shakespeare and his plays.

Robert Murray

MA
Composition and Rhetoric
Celine Nader

Ph.D.
Literature

cnader@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Studies

Mitia Nath

Ph.D.
Literature
Nha Chi Nguyen

MA
Composition and Rhetoric
Nicole O'Connell

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

nmoconnell@umass.edu

Nicole (she/her) is a PhD student in Composition and Rhetoric. She teaches College Writing and is the Graduate Assistant Director of Assessment and Technology in the Writing Program. Nicole earned an MA in professional writing and communication. She is interested in intersections between technical communication and public history.

Timothy Ong headshot Timothy Ong

Ph.D.
Literature

tong@umass.edu

Tim is a PhD student in English with a concentration in American Studies. He is interested in the ecological imagination of the US empire during the American colonial period in the Philippines (1898-1946). He is one of the managing editors of the Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism.

Specializations: American Studies

Jade Yeen Onn

MA
Composition and Rhetoric
Jaclyn Ordway

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

jordway@umass.edu

Jaclyn received her BA in English/Communications and BS in Education from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Currently, she is PhD candidate in Composition and Rhetoric, whose interests include writing instructor training, digital literacies, and writing centers. She is also a Teaching Associate in the English Department, the office manager of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, and a tutor in UMass's Writing Center.

Lauren Ottaviani

Ph.D.
Literature
Photo of Danielle Pappo Danielle Pappo

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

dpappo@umass.edu

Danielle is a current PhD candidate in Composition and Rhetoric, focused in community literacy studies. She is a Writing Fellow for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, where she provides full-time writing support to both instructors and students in the major. Danielle is also a 2021-22 Herstory / CCW Fellow, in which she works alongside a cohort of scholars and activists to practice and develop empathy-based writing pedagogy. Danielle is also a runner, a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, and a home-baker.

Helin Park

Ph.D.
Literature
Katelyn Perillo

Ph.D.
Literature

kperillo@umass.edu

Specializations: Modernism

Kyle Piscioniere

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric
Ian Powell-Palm

MA
Literature
Photo of Nana Prempeh Nana Prempeh

Ph.D.
Literature

nprempeh@umass.edu

Chiefly informed by the literature and culture of the African diaspora, comparative race, and postcolonial studies, N. K. A Prempeh's research interests focus on Afro-diasporic fugitivity, migration, memory, comparative blackness, and being. 

David Pritchard

Ph.D.
Literature

dpritcha@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Literature

Raihan Rahman Raihan Rahman

Ph.D.
Literature

samraihanurr@umass.edu

Raihan Rahman is a PhD student in Literature, working in the field of environmental humanities. He earned his BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and his MA in English Literature and Cultural Studies from University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. His research incorporates climate precarity, environmental politics, and and political imagination in the Anthropocene. A bilingual writer, Raihan writes short fiction in Bengali.
 
Specializations: Environmental Humanities, Marxist Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Climate Fiction, South Asian Fiction, Bengali Fiction, Bangladeshi Literature

Manasvini Rajan Manasvini Rajan

Ph.D.
Literature

mrajan@umass.edu

Manasvini Rajan is a PhD student in Literature. She holds a BA in English from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and an MA in the same discipline from the University of Warwick. Her research interests lie in the fields of postcolonial studies and the environmental humanities, particularly in understanding what forms of writing can tell us about histories of development and hydrocolonialism in independent India.

Bukem Reitmayer

Ph.D.
Literature

breitmayer@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Studies

Nicholas Sancho-Rosi

Ph.D.
Literature
Tyler Smart

Ph.D.
Literature

tasmart@umass.edu

Specialization: Renaissance

Rachel Smith

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

racasmith@umass.edu

Rachel Smith is a third-year MA/PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition. Her research interests are in development, but she is preliminarily interested in the relationship between identity and digital circulation, as well as how to center these conversations in the first-year writing classroom. She also has a background in secondary English education and loves teaching writing. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts and hanging out with her cat.

Sharanya Sridhar

Ph.D.
Literature

ssridhar@umass.edu

Specialization: Renaissance

Photo of Chandler Steckbeck Chandler Steckbeck

Ph.D.
Literature

csteckbeck@umass.edu

Chandler Steckbeck is a PhD student in literature and is a Teaching Associate in the Writing Program. Through the use of Actor Network Theory (ANT) along with other object-oriented theories, Chandler's current work explores hierarchies of power and the relationality between personified characters and non-human entities on the early modern English stage. 

Anna Claire Steffen

Ph.D.
Literature

afsimpso@umass.edu

Specialization: Renaissance

Sarah Stetson

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric

sstetson@umass.edu

Sarah is a PhD candidate who specializes in composition and literacy studies. Her dissertation is a mixed-methods study of basic writing teachers' self-identified socially just writing assessment practices. Sarah's research and teaching interests include histories of basic writing, social justice in literacy studies, writing assessment, and qualitative methods.

Thakshala Tissera Thakshala Tissera

Ph.D.
Literature

ttissera@english.umass.edu

Thakshala Tissera is a PhD candidate specializing in the Environmental Humanities and Human-Animal Studies. Her doctoral research on narratives of Asian elephants examines the participation of non-human animals in political and economic networks that merge the ecological and the social in the construction of colonial modernity and complicates the positionality of this species of charismatic megafauna in the backdrop of the Sixth Extinction.

Photo of Janell Tyron Janell Tyron

Ph.D.
Literature

jtryon@umass.edu

Janell Tryon is a third year doctoral student with a concentration in American Studies. She received a Master of Public Health degree from University of California, Berkeley and later worked for both the San Francisco and New York Departments of Health. Her work traces the collaborative relationship between policing and public health policy, specifically, their joint response to those unhoused folks. Her doctoral research examines homelessness as a site of anxiety—anxieties regarding contagion, anti-capitalist rebellion, and queered notions of homemaking. Currently, her project focuses on New York’s Hudson River coastline, where the City continually relinquishes public lands to private sector interests. She is always learning from spatial and Black Marxism, discard studies, citizenship theory, queer theory, and anti-colonial ecocriticism.

Matthew Walsh

Ph.D.
Literature

mfwalsh@umass.edu

Specialization: Renaissance

Mitchell Wells

Ph.D.
Composition and Rhetoric
Jae Young Ahn

Ph.D.
Literature

jaeyoungahn@english.umass.edu

Specializations: American Literature