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

Current Graduate Students

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Faune Albert
Faune Albert received her BA in Cultural Studies, Literature, and Creative Writing from Hampshire College and completed her MA in English at UMass Amherst.  She is currently working on her PhD in American Literature and developing a focus in the literature and history of the U.S South.  She is interested in exploring the intersections between race, class, gender, and sexuality, and thinking about the relationship between psychological and physical experiences of embodiment.  Other related interests include, broadly, Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, utopian thought, spatiality and temporality, and the relationships between history, memory, and the body.  She is also currently completing the Certificate in Advanced Feminist Thought through the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at UMass. 

Joshua Barsczewski
Joshua Barsczewski came to UMass to study Composition and Rhetoric after first getting a degree in English literature at University of Pittsburgh. His interests are many, but include: cultural studies pedagogy, performance studies, queer theory, biopolitics, and histories of writing instruction. He is particularly interested in studying the way(s) writing is valued or not in the so-called knowledge economy or Information Age.

Sohini Banerjee
Sohini Banerjee received her M.A. in English Literature from Jadavpur University, India. She is currently in the first year of the PhD program, finishing coursework towards her degree. Her research interests include 20th century British literature, modernism and modernity, contemporary world literature, the Novel, feminist, narrative and transnational theory.

Leslie J. Bradshaw
Leslie is interested digital writing and cultures of the Web. Her dissertation project looks at online food writing to consider how technologies of power influence expressions of subjectivity and subject formation. She is specifically interested in how attention-structures and communicative capitalism impact the circulation and valuation of writerly subjectivities online.

Eli Bromberg
Eli Bromberg received his BA from Amherst College and his MA from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English. After working in college admission, he is now pursuing his PhD in English with a concentration in American Studies, and a focus on Jewish American studies. His current research interests include trauma theory, literary narratives involving intermarriage and incest, and feminist theory.

Michelle Brooks

Michelle is a doctoral student studying medieval literature. Her research interests include Middle English literature, Chaucer, literary negation in later medieval prose and poetry, and medieval theories of affect. She is currently at work on her dissertation prospectus. Prior to attending UMass Amherst, Michelle received a BA and MA in English from California State University, Long Beach. Michelle is the Editorial Assistant for the Old English Newsletter. She also serves as Treasurer for the English Graduate Organization. Michelle has presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, the Medieval Association of the Pacific Conference, and the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference.

Research Areas: Medieval Literature, Poetry and Poetics, Theory and Culture

Dan Biegelson

Emily Campbell
Emily Campbell holds a BA in History and English, with a concentration in Creative Writing, from Hollins University. She is an MA-PhD candidate in English at UMass Amherst, with a focus on contemporary (cross)genre texts. In addition to theories of genre, her research interests address the interplay between gender, performance, affect, and temporality. Emily is co-chair of the 2014 English Graduate Organization interdisciplinary conference "Close Encounters: Remapping Discipline through Genre." She is also a Graduate Student Senate representative for the English Department.

Amanda Carr

Greg Coleman

Adam Colman

Hayley Cotter

Hayley studies the literature and culture of early modern Britain. Her dissertation, ‘On Neptunes Watry Realmes’: Maritime Law and English Renaissance Literature, probes the intersection of early modern legal rhetoric and the oceans of English Renaissance poetry and drama (Spenser’s Faerie Queene; Drayton’s Poly-Olbion; and Shakespeare’s Merchant of VeniceThe Tempest, and Pericles).  It places these literary oceans in the context of both the international law of the sea and the domestic battle for admiralty jurisdiction fought in the English courts.  Hayley is also interested in Middle High German literature and the poetry of Tang and Song China.  

Adam Daniell
I am currently studying towards an MA/PhD in English Literature (American Studies). My primary interest lies in discerning the manner in which historical and contemporary violence is represented in various forms of media; my goal, in this regard, is to draw modern scientific sources (from psychology and neurobiology) into conversation with more traditional theorists in the humanities.

Research Areas: American Literature, American, Atlantic & Hemispheric, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational, Theory and Culture


Matthew J. Donlevy
Matthew Donlevy earned his BA in History from The University of Virginia's College at Wise, and his MA in English from UMass Amherst.  He is currently an English doctoral student at the latter institution where he follows the American Studies concentration.  Matthew's work traces the development of traditional, subversive and aloof masculinities in 19th century American literature. In particular he investigates the ways by which the Black and Working Class laboring body informs, resists, and subsumes white bourgeois masculine norms.

His second major field of interest interrogates the interactions between literary Afro-Futurism, theories of Artificial Intelligence, and Political Theory.  He maintains that mobilizing Octavia Butler's visions of a queer, racially mixed and non-hierarchical political body can (and will!) have broad restorative implications.

Research Areas: African, African American & African Diaspora, American Literature, Critical Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality, Marxist Literary Studies, Theory and Culture

Chris Edwards
Chris is a MA/PhD student in Composition and Rhetoric. His current interest is learning effective pedagogy, which he can use in his own classroom and also work to improve it on a larger scale in our country. One area he plans to explore is classical models of rhetorical training, specifically the Greek Progymnasmata, and seeing if/how they can be blended with more modern theories to create a more effective writing classroom. Aside from in-classroom pedagogy, he is also fascinated with writing centers and writing center theory. Chris hopes to support the writing center at UMass as well as join the larger national community and further educate himself about writing centers today.

Catherine E. Elliott
Catherine E. Elliott is a PhD candidate in the English Department specializing in Renaissance Drama. Her dissertation, "Adaptive Transformations: Stranger Fictions on the Early Modern Stage" reimagines the cultural and social effect of alien, foreign, and stranger characters on the early modern stage and how they contribute to, alter, and imaginatively build the spaces of alien settlement in and around London. This project proposes and utilizes a new theory of adaptive transformation as a mode of engagement underway in the period, one that did not depend on galvanizing English nationalism or on relegating such characters to the station of issues that need fixing, defining, containing, absorbing, or assimilating, but that explored desirable, resistant, and often failing transformations of the as generative sites of unpredictable hybridity. Catherine is the recipient of the 2014 Folger Institute Grant-in-aid for "Mastering Research," and the 2017-18 Folger Institute Grant-in-aid for yearlong dissertation seminar "Researching the Archive," with Peter Stallybrass and Ann Blair. Catherine received her BA(hons) from Union College (NY) in 2012 and her MA in Renaissance Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015.

Research Areas: Drama & Performance, History of the Book, Medieval Literature, Renaissance Studies

Isabel Espinal
Isabel is in the American Studies PhD program and is also a full time librarian in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library here at UMass. Her interests are Latino studies, Dominican writers, healing in literature of people of color, and participatory action research. She has an approved prospectus titled “Using Participatory Action Research to Study Dominican Women Writers in the United States.” An early paper she wrote for a class in the program, "A Bridge to Brown: The Politics of Latin@ Reading," was published in the book Technofuturos: Critical Interventions in Latina/o Studies. She hopes to finish her dissertation in the coming year. But she will also be busy as Vice President/ President Elect of REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. Isabel is also Co-Chair of the Latino Caucus of the Green Party of the United States. She has three teenage children.

Daniel Ehrenfeld
Dan Ehrenfeld is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on public rhetorics, textual circulation, media theory, genre, digital composing, basic writing pedagogy, and the rhetoric of health and medicine. In 2014, he was awarded the department’s Walker Gibson Prize and in 2016 he was awarded the Conference on College Composition and Communication Chairs' Memorial Scholarship. Before coming to UMass, Dan received an MA (Secondary Education) from Loyola Marymount University, where his research focused on culturally responsive pedagogies and theories of second language acquisition. He received a BA (English) from Wesleyan University. Currently, he is working on a chapter for an edited collection focusing on methodologies in the rhetoric of health and medicine (under contract with Routledge) and a webtext interview (under review with Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy). In 2016, he will present a paper entitled "Material Circulation and the Networked Public Sphere: Rethinking the Social and Spatial Politics of the 'Public Turn'" at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) and a paper entitled "The Circulation of Rhetoric and the Question of Change: Networks, Systems, and Ecologies on a Historical Timescale" at the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Conference. In addition, he serves as the Basic Writing and Placement Coordinator for the Writing Program.

Research Areas: Composition and Rhetoric

Nicole S. Erhardt
Nicole Erhardt completed her BA in Poetry and Visual Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013. She is currently in the American studies MA/PhD concentration, focusing on contemporary American poetry and poetics. Her current research interests include feminist and political theory, visual art, and the ways in which creative and critical works overlap. She is an Assistant Director for the Juniper Institute for Young Writers.

Research Areas: American Literature, Creative Writing, Gender and Sexuality, Poetry and Poetics, Visual Culture

Andrew Fox
Andrew Fox received a BA in English and an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature from University College Dublin, and an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. He is currently at work on a dissertation focusing on the twentieth century Irish short story. Other research interests include postcolonial and narrative theories, modernism and empire studies. Forthcoming articles include: “Transnational Displacement: ‘Native American Material’ in Paul Muldoon’s New Weather” in New Hibernia Review, and “Samuel Beckett: The Last Naturalist” in Writing from the Margins: the Aesthetics of Disruption in the Irish Short Story, Ed. Catriona Ryan. Andrew presents regularly at the American Conference for Irish Studies, and has published fiction in the Dublin Review, Prairie Schooner and the Massachusetts Review. His first play won the 2012 RTE PJ O’Connor Award for radio drama.

Liz Fox
Liz Fox received her BAs in English and Drama from Ithaca College and completed her MA in English at UMass Amherst.  She is currently working on her PhD in English Literature with a focus on early modern drama.  Her current research interests include representations of audiences on stage and the codes of signification through which early modern drama was made and understood.

Becky Friedman

Alejandro Garrido
Alejandro is a student in the M.A./Ph.D. Program and a recent alumnus of The University of North Texas, where I double majored in English (with a focus in Literature) and Social Sciences with a minor in Chinese. As a McNair Scholar, he has conducted research on the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, focusing on an interpretation of the exoteric/esoteric levels of meaning that link the author’s prefaces to his romances. Alejandro presented this research project at several different conferences and is interested in continuing to work on this project, but also considers himself open to taking up new projects in the general area of American Literature that engages with politics and citizenship.

April A. Genung
April studies women and the household 17th century British literature and culture. Her work considers the drama of the period alongside quasi literary texts such as household recipe books and manuals, letters, and other domestic papers in order the claim the household as a site of women's authority and competence. She is also interested in the transmission of knowledge through networks of women, particularly the exchange of culinary, medical, and scientific knowledge that originates in the household. April is an editorial assistant for the Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture book series, and one of several Graduate Employee Organization Stewards for the English department. She lives in the Mt. Toby woods with her husband, baby boy, and two cats.

Sean Gordon
Sean Gordon received his BA in English Literature from Boston University. He is currently in his third year of the MA/PhD program in English Literature with a concentration in American Studies and a period focus on the nineteenth century. His interdisciplinary research interests include the cultures of US imperialism, literature as political theory, the history of US democracy, and transnational and postcolonial American Studies. Sean has taught many sections of College Writing. In the spring of 2012, he co-taught the writing workshop, "Writing as Social Action," a course that he co-designed. He co-chaired the UMass-Amherst English Graduate Conference, "Citizenship and Its Discontents: Belonging in a Global World" (2012-13) and is currently the co-chair of the English Graduate Organization.

Travis D. Grandy
Travis Grandy is a Doctoral student studying Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research areas include discourse & genre studies, queer & disability studies, writing in new media, and writing across the curriculum. As a graduate student, Travis has taught courses on composition, writing in social media, and writing center studies. Travis is Assistant Director at the UMass Amherst Writing Center, and he also works as a coordinator for the UMass Junior Year Writing Program.  Read more about him at his website,

Rebecca Griffin
Rebecca Griffin received her BA in English-journalism from the University of New Hampshire. Rebecca worked a newspaper reporter for nearly a decade, prior to earning her MA in English from the University of Maine. At UMass, she is working on her PhD in English Literature with a focus on modernist American literature. Her current research interests include proletarian poetry and fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Rebecca has presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, the Southern Connecticut State University Graduate English Conference, and the UMass English Graduate Conference.

Andrea Griswold
Andrea is an 8th grade middle school teacher. She earned her BA and MA in English literature at UMass Amherst and is slowly working on her doctorate in Comp/Rhet. She is particularly interested in critical pedagogy, writing workshop and writing assessment. She has five children and one husband with whom she lives in Shelburne Falls.

Jennifer Gaboury

Robin Garabedian

Mary Griffis

Catherine Grygorcewicz

Courtney Gustafson

Josephine Hardman
Josephine Hardman received her BA in English from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently in the MA/PhD program at UMass Amherst, working on the comparative study of English and Spanish Renaissance dramas. Josephine is also interested in translation theory and the diachronic development of literary genres. She recently co-translated a Golden Age play by Tirso de Molina, which premiered at UMass's Curtain Theater in 2011, and has presented conference papers at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies.

Annaliese Hoehling
Annaliese Hoehling holds a BA in English (Henderson State University), MA in English Literature, and MFA in Literary Translation (University of Arkansas).  After receiving her MFA, Annaliese worked in the nonprofit sector before returning to pursue her PhD, with a focus on British and Atlantic Modernisms, fin de siècle and twentieth-century fiction.  Her interests include narrative and feminist theories; transnational inquiries and methodologies; global modernisms; and textual facilitation of encounter.  She has served as Communications Officer ('14-15) and Co-Chair ('15-17) of the English Graduate Organization at UMass.  She is the recipient of the John Hicks Essay Prize ('15), the LeeAnne Smith White Essay Prize ('15), and the Postcolonial Studies Association Post-Graduate Essay Prize ('15).  Her current research combines feminist phenomenology with neobaroque aesthetics to describe literary manifestations of Atlantic Modernisms.

Research Areas: 20th Century British Literature, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational, Theory and Culture

Thomas Hopper
BA, Honors, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2009; MA, UMass Amherst, 2011. Interests include poetry and prose of British Renaissance, especially the reception of classical ideas and transmission of classical texts in the period.

Carly Houston Overfelt
Carly uses her background in Linguistics to study American fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her dissertation, The Fiction of Dialect: Character Speech in American Letters, deconstructs the notion of character "dialect" in works by Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, and Sarah Orne Jewett, among others, in order to emphasize the politics of surface representation. Spelling, punctuation, and other surface variations carry social meaning that sometimes has little to do with American dialects, but everything to do with the construction of race, class, and gender.

Research Areas: African, African American & African Diaspora, American Literature

William Hrusovsky
William Hrusovsky received his BA in literature from Kent State University and his MA with a focus in Renaissance Literature from Texas Tech University. He is currently working on his PhD in Renaissance Literature with research focusing in Early Modern poetry and prose, Textual Studies and Book History, and Digital Humanities. William is currently the Editorial Assistant for English Literary Renaissance housed at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies.

Casey Hayman

Gayathri Madhurangi Hewagama
She received her BA in English in University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and her Mphil in English from the same university. She also worked as a lecturer in English in the Department of English, University of Peradeniya before enrolling in a PhD in English in UMASS-Amherst. She is currently working on African American women's narratives of the 19th century.

Research Areas: African, African American & African Diaspora

Melissa Hudasko

Nirmala Iswari
Nirmala Iswari received her BA (2007) and MA (2009) in English Literature from Stella Maris College, Chennai, India. She is currently in the PhD program at UMass Amherst. She is still working on defining a focus for her dissertation in which, broadly put, she will be situating some early twentieth century African-American texts in a transnational context where ideas about blackness and democracy circulated, reading them as a body of political thought. Her broader interests include approaches to reading American literature in transnational contexts, postcolonial approaches to reading literature, with particular attention to the literatures of South Asia and the South Asian diaspora (primarily those written in English), and intersections between (creative / non-theoretical) literature and political theory (particularly those with special attention to democracy in global contexts).

Joy Hayward-Jansen
Joy Hayward-Jansen is a doctoral student working in the intersections of queer and postcolonial studies with a particular interest in South African literature. Inspired by work being done in queer of color critique in the U.S. and transnational feminism(s) at large, her research revolves around questions of temporality, homonationalism(s), and futurity. She won the Postcolonial Studies Association postgraduate essay prize, and her article "Ibn Fadlan: Crossing Over and the Nature of the Boundary" was published in The Postcolonialist June 2014.

Research Areas: African, African American & African Diaspora, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational, Gender and Sexuality

Florianne Jimenez
Florianne is currently in coursework towards the PhD in Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests lie in Philippine studies, transnationalism, migration, and Filipino rhetoric. She has most recently presented at the Thomas R. Watson Conference on Composition and Rhetoric and the UMass Boston Conference on Teaching.

Research Areas: Asian American & Asian Diaspora, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational, Composition and Rhetoric, Critical Race and Ethnicity

Sunmi Kang
Sunmi received her BA and MA in English literature from Seoul National University in South Korea. Sunmi is currently a PhD candidate in English at UMass Amherst, with a focus on nineteenth century British literature. Her research interests include Victorian studies, Gothic fiction, monster/spectre studies, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, queer theory, affect theory, critical theory, and psychoanalysis.

Research Areas: 18th & 19th Century British Literature, American, Atlantic & Hemispheric, Gender and Sexuality, Theory and Culture

Jenny Krichevsky
Jenny Krichevsky received her BA in English Literature and her MA in English with a specialization in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Jenny is the Assistant Director of the UMass Amherst Writing Center, has served as co-chair of the annual UMass English Graduate Conference, and is currently the co-chair of the English Graduate Organization. Entering her last semester of coursework, she is working in Critical University Studies scholarship to engage with the ways representations of nation and citizenship collide with literacy practices and inform pedagogical, administrative, and disciplinary structures.

David Katz

Carl Kelleher

Amanda Lagji
Amanda Lagji is a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Her articles include "Revising the Narrative of Failure: Reconsidering State Failure in Nuruddin Farah's Knots" in ARIEL (2014); "'Willing Liberates': Nietzschean Heroism and Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions" in Pacific Coast Philology (2011), and "Cosmopolitan Commitments: Beyond the 'Nation' and the 'Meantime' in Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup" in Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism (2011). She has an article forthcoming in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal on Mayra Montero's Dancing to 'Almendra'. Her dissertation, 'Waiting for Now: Postcolonial Fiction and Colonial Time' theorizes a 'temporality of waiting' in postcolonial fiction. The Postcolonial Studies Association awarded two of her essays special mention for the postgraduate essay prize in 2011 and 2013. She has presented papers at the Modern Language Association's annual conference in 2014, 2015, and 2016. More information can be found at her website:

Ruth A. H. Lahti
Ruth A.H. Lahti is a graduate fellow and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her dissertation, “Transnational Gestures: Rethinking Trauma in US War Fiction,” remaps the ethics of American war writing through a focus on characters’ bodily gestures as they evince the transnational dimensions of war. Her research interests include American war fiction, transnational fiction and theory, feminist theories of embodiment, and trauma theory. At UMass Amherst, she teaches classes on American literature and culture, the modern novel, and gender and sexuality in global literature. Her articles have appeared in The Journal of Transnational American Studies and Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa.

Amy Lanham
Amy is a PhD student in the English Department. Recently, she spent a year in the School of Education earning her Secondary Education License as well. Her research interests include trauma and memorial sites in WWI, writing under the influence of alcohol and opium in Victorian Literature, and social justice in education.

Rohit Lanez-Sharma

Rohit Lanez-Sharma received his BA in Creative Writing from Hunter College, City Universities of New York and completed his MA in English, with a concentration in Eighteenth-Century British Literature, at Fordham University.  He is currently working on his PhD in English Literature with a focus on British literature of the long eighteenth century.   His current research interests include eighteenth-century British women writers, materialism and consumer culture of eighteenth century Britain, satire, and the colonial literature.

Katelyn Litterer
Kate Litterer is a poet and feminist scholar who focuses on historiography and rhetorics of 20th Century queer women's experience in the US. She received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh (2009), an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers (2013), and an MA in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts (2015). She is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Massachusetts, where she focuses on feminist research methods, butch-femme lesbian history, and queering the archive. Kate's poetry has been published widely online and in print, including in the anthology "Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation." Her first collection of poetry, Ghosty Boo, is forthcoming in January 2016 from A-Minor Press. Kate's website is

Research Areas: Composition and Rhetoric, Creative Writing, Gender and Sexuality, Poetry and Poetics

Kelin Loe
Kelin Loe received her MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2012) and her BA in Literatures in English and in Asian Studies with a concentration in China area studies from St. Olaf College (2008). She is currently working on her MA/PhD in Rhetoric and Composition. Her current research interests are in the crossover between rhetoric and poetics, creative writing and composition. She is the author of the chapbook The Motorist, published by minutesBOOKS (2010). Her poetry can be found online in jubilat, H_NGM_N, and Jellyfish Magazine.

Saumya Lal

Danbi Lee

Elizabeth D. Lloyd-Kimbrel
After many years as an ABD, I have returned to the fold to complete a dissertation.  My BA is from Connecticut College, and I did graduate and postgraduate work at Trinity-Oxford (UMass Summer Seminars), McGill, and York-Centre for Medieval Studies (UK), in addition to UMass Amherst proper. During the intervening time from when I was last a formal denizen of Bartlett Hall to now, I worked as project manager for a non-profit multimedia company and then, for nearly 15 years, as executive assistant to a college vice president.  Concurrently, I have been a freelance editor and writer with creative and critical work appearing in literary and scholarly journals, biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as presentations at various conferences.  My research interests are eclectic, with a non-exclusive tilt toward British literature, medievalism, biography, and film.  Serendipitously, my dissertation on the realistic historical fiction (which re-visions the Matter of Britain) by the once-lauded and now-neglected British novelist Bryher (née Annie Winifred Ellerman) incorporates aspects of all those interests.

Selected accomplishments: Summer 2015 Dissertation-Writing Retreat, Graduate School, UMass-Amherst (June 2015).

Darren Lonefight

Liane Malinowski
Liane is a PhD candidate in the Composition-Rhetoric program, a Teaching Assistant in the Writing Program, and a tutor at the UMass Writing Center. Her research interests include feminist theory, 19th century histories of rhetoric, archival methodologies, and community literacy. Liane's dissertation project explores the rhetorical practices of women who worked in settlement houses in major US cities between 1889 and 1915.

Kate Marantz

Kate Marantz is a doctoral candidate in English with a focus on twentieth-century American literature. She received her BA in English from Skidmore College and her MA in English at UMass Amherst. Her dissertation examines the politics of gender and race in four 1970s U.S. women's novels through their representations of bodily, geographic, and narrative spaces. Her article, "The Work of Ambiguity: Writerly and Readerly Labor in Carol Shields's The Stone Diaries," appeared in the October 2014 issue of Narrative. Kate has presented at the conferences of the American Literature Association, the Northeast Modern Language Association, and the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, among others. She also completed a Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies through the Women Gender Sexuality Studies department at UMass.

Research Areas: African, African American & African Diaspora, American Literature, Gender and Sexuality

Joe Mason

Rebecca Maillet 

Patricia Matthews
Patricia Matthews is a student in the PhD program with interests in 20th and 21st century experimental women’s writing and performance. She is drawn toward questions of form, namely the ways in which innovative and  experimental texts make unique demands upon the attentions and interpretive practices of their readers. Pat holds a BA in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Rhode Island and an MA from UMass Amherst.

Research Areas: Drama & Performance, Gender and Sexuality, Theory and Culture

Ashley Nadeau
Ashley Nadeau is a doctoral candidate in English with a specialization in nineteenth-century British fiction. Her current work examines the relationship between Victorian innovations in public architecture and narrative form. Her essay "Exploring Women: Virginia Woolf's Imperial Revisions from The Voyage Out to Mrs. Dalloway" appeared in volume 44:1 of Modern Language Studies. Ashley has been awarded a University of Massachusetts Amherst English Department Dissertation Fellowship (2015), an Institute of Historical Research Mellon Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship (2014), the Leanne Smith White Prize for best graduate essay on American culture and literary studies (2013), the John Hicks Prize for best graduate essay on English literature excluding Shakespeare (2013), and was named a runner-up with special mention for the Postcolonial Studies Association/Journal of Postcolonial Writing Postgraduate essay prize. She has presented work at the annual meetings of the American Comparative Literature Association, Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies, the North American Victorian Studies Association, the New England Modern Language Association, and the American Studies Association.

Research Areas: 18th & 19th Century British Literature, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational, Gender and Sexuality, Theory and Culture, Visual Culture

Celine Nader
Celine is an American Studies & English PhD student committed to bringing her own studies into the classrooms in which she teaches; fostering critical thought and deep engagement with students are priorities. Her paper "Myth, Medicine & Merriment: Maximo and Bartola, Mid-19th Century Othering, and the Curious De/Construction of Citizen-Subjects" was awarded the 2009 Book Prize in Cultural Studies at UMass, Boston. She will be presenting the paper "Puertorriqueño in the Classroom: Bilanguaging / Biculturing as Emancipatory Pedagogical Foundation" at a conference in the spring of 2014, and is currently developing a dissertation topic around the negotiation, critique, and exploration of citizenship and identity in Puerto Rican cultural productions. Celine has lived and taught in the U.S. and Spain.

Russ Nurick

Gina Marie Ocasion
Gina Ocasion is a PhD candidate in English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She teaches and writes at the intersections of childhood studies, settler colonial studies, women’s studies, legal studies, and popular culture. Her dissertation titled, “Minor Subjects in America: Everyday Childhoods of the long Nineteenth Century,” is a study of popular children’s culture and the diverse texts shaping American and Native American literary and legal representation. She has presented pieces of this project at the American Studies Association's annual conferences and as a fellow at the Futures of American Studies Institute.

Research Areas: American Literature, Critical Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality, Native & Indigenous, Theory and Culture


Kate Perillo

Kate Perillo received her BA in studio art and English from Clark University in 2009, her MAT in English education from Clark University in 2010, and her MA in English literature from UMass-Amherst in 2015. She is currently working toward her PhD, studying British and global Anglophone modernisms, literary representations of urban space, and the intersections of global modernist studies with speculative fiction. During her time at UMass, Kate has also been active in the English Graduate Organization and has served as co-chair for the organization's annual graduate conference.

Research Areas: 20th Century British Literature, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational

Thomas John Pickering
Thomas John Pickering holds an M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Washington State University and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts. His work occurs broadly at the intersections of composition/rhetoric and marxism, and his interests include critical pedagogy, rhetorical ecology theory, basic writing, circulation, and digital writing theory and practice.

Research Areas: Composition and Rhetoric, Digital Humanities & Media, Theory and Culture


Tom Poehnelt
Tom Poehnelt received his dual-BA in English and Public Communications from Buffalo State College and completed his MA in English and American Literature at NYU. He is currently working on his PhD in English via the American Studies track, specializing in Asian American literature and graphic novels. His current research interests include American orientalism, critical race theory, diaspora, violence and war, and counter-hegemonic cultural practices. Tom has presented at the SUNY Stony Brook Graduate English Conference. He has also been the recipient of the Mary S. Morris Sterling Academic Scholarship and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.

Priscilla Page

Marlene Perez

Anne Piecuch

Marni Presnall

David Pritchard

Neelofer Qadir
Neelofer Qadir is a PhD candidate in the English department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her dissertation, Afrasian Imaginaries: Global Capitalism and Labor Migration in Indian Ocean Fiction, 1990 - 2015, argues for re-orientations in postcolonial, transnational, and global Anglophone literary studies by taking as its central focus relationships between African and Asian peoples to assert that turning to these Indian Ocean fictions provides fresh opportunities to engage with global capitalism both in its historical development and its contemporary manifestations. Neelofer has taught composition courses and literature courses at UMass, including College Writing, World Literature in Film, Later British Literature 1700-1900, and Film & Literature. She was also the co-chair of the annual graduate conference, Citizenship and Its Discontents: Belonging in a Global World, in 2013 and she is a co-organizer for Methods Symposium 2016: New Approaches in Queer, Postcolonial, and Black Studies.

You can learn more about her research, teaching, and service at

Research Areas: African, African American & African Diaspora, Asian American & Asian Diaspora, Colonial, Postcolonial & Transnational, Critical Race and Ethnicity, Theory and Culture

Lauren Rollins
Lauren Rollins received her BAs in Government and International Politics and English from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and her MA in English from Georgetown University. She is currently completing a PhD in Renaissance English literature. Her research interests include Tudor and Stuart drama, particularly the work of Thomas Heywood, diplomatic relations between England and Spain, and early modern naval piracy.

Katey Roden

Anshula Ravi Kumar

Shakuntala Ray

Stacy Reardo


Elise Swinford
Elise Swinford received a BA in English and Women's Studies from DePauw University and a MA in English from Miami University.  Her research areas include Virginia Woolf studies, British and global modernism, performance studies, and feminist theory.   She is currently working on her dissertation, preliminarily titled "Theatres of War: Queer Nationalism in Modernist Narratives."

Lauren Silber
Lauren Silber received her BA in English with a minor in Economics from the University of Connecticut and her MA in English and American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, she is a Ph.D candidate in English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst working on her dissertation entitled "The Politics of Feeling and the Work of Belonging: Popular US Immigrant Fiction in the Post-Cold War Era." Lauren has taught courses on Ethnic American literature, the American Experience, Gender, Sexuality, Literature, and Culture, as well as composition courses. Other interests include, broadly, immigrant and refugee narratives, 20th and 21st century American literature and culture, memory and trauma, comparative and critical ethnicity studies, gender and sexuality, affect and emotions, and popular culture.

Research Areas: American Literature, American, Atlantic & Hemispheric, Asian American & Asian Diaspora, Critical Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality, Theory and Culture

Anna-Claire Simpson Steffen
Anna-Claire Simpson Steffen received her BA in English Literature from UCLA. She is currently working on her MA/PhD in English Literature at UMass Amherst, with a focus on Renaissance drama. Her interests include representations of childhood onstage, child actors/acting troupes, marginalized figures (in terms of age, socioeconomic status, and race), and performance theory.

William Steffen
Will received his BA from Hampshire College in 2011. He is currently transitioning from finishing his MA coursework to beginning his PhD coursework. His primary research focuses on early modern English drama and travel writing, empire studies, and cannibalism.

Korka Sall

Gregory Sargent

Tori Sheldon

Sarah Stetson

Lisha Daniels Storey

Meghan C. Swavely

Steven Tagle
Steven Tagle received his BA in English and psychology from Stanford University. Supported by a 2013 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, he studies fiction writing in the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers. He has won the Harvey Swados Fiction Prize and the Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award in Fiction. His work explores power structures within Asian and gay male communities, blurring lines between folklore and memoir, intimacy and abuse, passivity and control. He has been published in Spork and The Rumpus, and his documentaries have aired on Current TV.

Research Areas: Creative Writing, Gender and Sexuality

Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson is a PhD candidate specializing in English Renaissance drama and theatre history. Her other areas of interest include performance studies, body studies, and affect theory. She holds an MA in English Literature from George Mason University. She is currently working on her dissertation, which studies the affective encounters between stage and spectator during moments of staged bodily violence in Tudor and Stuart tragedy. 

Research Areas: Drama & Performance, Renaissance Studies

Cynthia Tvelia


Anna E. Waltman

Anna researches the political economy of contemporary American poetry, with emphasis on the role of the university and its associated economies in shaping the political aesthetics of today's poets. Her dissertation will focus on the development of leftist poetics in northern California, especially Berkeley and Oakland. She has secondary interests in working-class poetry, Marxist critical theory, and critical university studies, as well as a strong background in post/colonial feminist theory. Anna has had papers accepted to the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Studies Association conference and the 2015 Northeastern Modern Languages Association (NeMLA) conference, and in 2012 presented at our own English Graduate Organization conference. She is a member of the AAUP Committee for Graduate and Professional Studies and serves as Communications Director for the NeMLA Graduate Caucus. From May 2013- May 2015, Anna was co-chair of the UMass Amherst Graduate Employee Organization (GEO-UAW) and served as co-chief negotiator on the union's 2015 contract campaign, which saw major gains in the form of paid parental leave, increased protections against overwork, and access to all-gender restrooms. She continues to serve on the union's Steering Committee as well as the Labor-Management Committee.

Research Areas: American Literature, Marxist Literary Studies, Poetry and Poetics, Theory and Culture

Heather Wayne
Heather Wayne received her BA in English and Art from Furman University and completed her MA in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies at the University of Central Florida. She is currently working on her PhD in Literature with a focus on nineteenth-century American fiction. Her current research interests include transnational approaches to American literature, studies of commodity chains and "thing theory," and intersections between the literary and visual arts. Heather has presented at the Conference for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, the British Women Writers Conference, and the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference.

Damien Weaver
Damien Weaver holds a BA in American Studies from Texas A&M University. He received his MFA in creative writing from The New School, and his MA in American Studies from NYU. He is currently working on a PhD in American Studies with a focus on jazz and blues literature of the mid-twentieth century.

Jessika Weise

Victoria Worth

Magdalena Zapedowska Eriken