Graduate Student Directory
Want to know who's who among our graduate students? Browse our students' profiles and catch a glimpse of the breadth of research, writing, and teaching that takes place in our M.A. and Ph.D. programs.
Majed Alatawi is a Ph.D. student at the Department of English with a focus in Literary and Cultural Studies. He holds an M.A. in English from the University of Dayton and a B.A. in English from Majmaah University (Saudi Arabia).
Jamaica grew up in Santa Cruz, CA. She earned her B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College and her M.F.A. in poetry from Pacific University. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Prairie Schooner, Guernica, The Adroit Journal, World Literature Today, The Missouri Review, and TriQuarterly, among others. She is a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, the 2019 winner of the San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference Contest in Poetry, and a 2020 Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize Runner Up. Her work has been supported by Hedgebrook, Furious Flower, and the Jack Straw Writers Program. Jamaica currently lives in Lincoln, NE where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in English at the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a focus in Creative Writing (poetry), African Diasporan Literature, and Women and Gender Studies.
Chaun Ballard is a Ph.D. student in English from Alaska. Within the doctoral program, Chaun's area of specialization is creative writing, with a focus on poetry. From 2010-2018, Chaun and his wife lived in the Middle East and West Africa, where they taught in local area schools. He is an affiliate editor for Alaska Quarterly Review and a Graduate Teaching Assistant here at UNL. Prior to his arrival to UNL, he was a faculty member in the Department of Writing and the Department of Creative Writing & Literary Arts at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Chaun’s chapbook, Flight, was the winner of the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize and is published by Tupelo Press. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming inNarrative Magazine, Terrain, Rattle, The New York Times, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and other literary magazines. Chaun is the recipient of a 2019 Alaska Literary Award. His work has received nominations for both Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize.
Lecturer and Ph.D. student
Tara Ballard is a Ph.D. student in English from Alaska. Within the doctoral program, Tara's area of specialization is creative writing, with a focus on poetry. From 2010-2018, Tara and her husband lived in the Middle East and West Africa, where they taught in local area schools. She is an affiliate editor for Alaska Quarterly Review and a research assistant for the Charles Chesnutt Digital Archives here at UNL. Tara is the author of House of the Night Watch (New Rivers Press), which won the 2016 Many Voices Project prize in poetry. Her poems have been published in Consequence Magazine, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Spillway, and other literary magazines in the US and abroad. Her work received a 2019 Nâzim Hikmet Poetry Prize.
April Bayer is a first-year Ph.D. student in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She obtained her M.A. in English Literature from the University of South Dakota and recently published her thesis “Women of Myth and Modernity: The Feminine Dual Self in Willa Cather's Short Fiction.” In 2021, she had the pleasure of receiving the University of South Dakota's Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award. April’s creative work has previously been published in Capsule Stories. Her research interests include Willa Cather studies, modernism, intersections of literature and media studies, and the pedagogy of composition and literature.
Alexandra Bissell is a doctoral student in English Literary and Cultural Studies with an emphasis in Women’s & Gender Studies. Her current work centers on poetry & poetics, queer theory, trauma, and the affective role of literature in cultural archives. She holds an M.A. in English from DePaul University and a B.A. in English with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Northern Iowa. She served for two years as the executive editor of the literary magazine, Inner Weather, and has presented papers on the poetry of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Thom Gunn. Some of the accolades she has received for her critical and creative work include the Selina Terry Poetry Award, the James Hearst Award, and the James HiDuke Writing Award. She is also currently a recipient of the Crompton Fellowship.
Trevor Bleick is a first year M.A. student with specializations in ecocriticism and the environmental humanities. He earned his B.S. from University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh where he served as the Senior Editor for the Wisconsin Review.
Caroliena Cabada is a Ph.D. student in English with a focus in Creative Writing. Her writing has been published in online and print magazines and anthologies, and has been selected for Best Small Fictions 2021. Prior to attending UNL, she earned her B.A. in Chemistry from New York University, worked for science communication and advocacy nonprofits in New York City, and earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University, where she was the 2018-2019 Pearl Hogrefe Fellow in Creative Writing. When not writing, reading, or teaching, you can find her procrasti-baking vegan cupcakes and playing Stardew Valley.
Jordan Charlton is a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a focus in creative writing, specializing in poetry. He earned his M.A. in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and his B.A. in English from Oklahoma State University.
Avee Chaudhuri is a Ph.D. Student in Creative Writing. His stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Necessary Fiction, Maudlin House, Always Crashing, and elsewhere. He has taught writing and literature at Stephen F. Austin State University, Upward Bound PDX and the Louisiana Governor's Program for Gifted Children. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in English Literature from McNeese State University, as well as a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. He used to coach Ultimate Frisbee.
Jocelyn is an M.A. student studying Composition and Rhetoric, with an interest in writing transfer. She graduated from Park University in May 2021 with a B.S. in English and a B.S.E. in Secondary Education - English. Other English-y interests include The Gothic, Medieval literature, and any good mystery novel. With a passion for teaching writing and helping students comprehend the interwoven aspects of literature, she aims to work as a middle school or high school English educator upon graduation
Victoria Davis is a doctoral student in English Literary and Cultural Studies. She holds an M.A. in English from Lehigh University and a B.A. in English and in gender & diversity studies from Slippery Rock University. Her current work centers on narrative and textuality in stories of apocalypse. Her other academic interests include 19th-century British women writers, environmental literary criticism, and critical theory. She has spent the last year processing the newly digitized Gloria Naylor Archive and designing the archive’s website. She is currently a recipient of the Crompton and Pulos Fellowships.
Andrew Del Mastro is a Ph.D. student in Literary and Cultural Studies, and is also pursuing a certificate in Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies. He received his B.A. in English Education at Illinois State University and, after working as a high school English teacher in Illinois for four years, returned to ISU for his master's degree in English. His research interests include Gothic literature, Victorian science, monster studies, and transatlantic Romanticism.
Alexandra DeLuise is a doctoral student in Composition and Rhetoric with a concentration in Digital Humanities. Her research interests center on composition pedagogy, including the ways technology can be most effectively used in the writing classroom to facilitate increased student agency. Prior to her work at UNL, Alex taught as an adjunct instructor at various Connecticut colleges and universities, focusing primarily on first-year writing and Accelerated Learning Program courses. She earned her M.A. in English from Southern Connecticut State University, where she focused on the importance of space and place in novels by Virgina Woolf and E.M. Forster. Her work has been published in the South Carolina Review and the Virginia Woolf Miscellany.
Cass Diaz is an M.A. student concentrating on creative writing, with auxiliary interests in critical theory, theology, as well as Latine and Native literatures. They hold a B.A. in English with a minor in creative writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Their writing and research focus on the intersection of spirituality and struggle, with an eye toward how the collision of the two might help us break through to new horizons of life.
Kathleen (she/her/hers), who originally hails from Manistee, Michigan, is an activist, educator, and second-year Ph.D. student in Composition & Rhetoric who is interested in how writing classrooms can prepare our students to be thoughtful, empathetic, values-driven community members. Kathleen is also interested in slow pedagogy, mental health rhetorics, dismantling classism in higher education, and researching the ways in which rhetoric is used to frame political conversations and movements, particularly how dualistic, simplistic, and adversarial rhetoric dilutes and debases political discourse and what we believe is possible for the future. Before coming to UNL, Kathleen worked for five years as an Academic Advisor and Program Coordinator for a TRIO Student Support Services program at Loyola University Chicago, where she previously received a Master’s in English, on the ‘teaching track’. Kathleen also earned a Bachelor’s in English, with a minor in Politics & Government, from North Park University in Chicago. Kathleen hopes to teach one day full-time at a community college, where she will be active in campus and community life.
Serenity Dougherty is a doctoral student in Composition and Rhetoric. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an M.A. in English Creative Writing and Pedagogy from Northern Michigan University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (fiction) from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She also has a graduate certificate in Gender Studies and a Certificate in University Teaching, both from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Serenity has been performing stand-up comedy for a decade, and her research draws from her experience as a comedian to examine the intersections between writing and identity. She is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and serves as the Coordinator for the national Writing Across the Curriculum Graduate Organization (WAC-GO).
Simone Droge is a second-year M.A. student in Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests are the rhetoric of isolation, the emotional dimensions of archival research, digital rhetoric and digital archives, and anti-abortionist legal rhetoric. She holds a B.A. in English and History with minors in Women’s & Gender Studies and Digital Humanities from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the university, teaching first-year writing.
Born in Minna, Nigeria, Saddiq Dzukogi is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press 2021) named one of 29 of the best poetry collections by Oprah Daily. His chapbook Inside the Flower Room was part of the New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His poems have appeared in POETRY, Cincinnati Review, World Literature Today, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Oxford Poetry, Poetry Society of America, Prairie Schooner, and others. He was a finalist of Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a recipient of fellowships and Grants from Nebraska Arts Council, Pen America, Obsidian Foundation, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is a Ph.D. student and serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Prairie Schooner.
Briar Essex is from Philadelphia, PA, and is an M.A. student with specializations in Women's & Gender Studies and Poetry. Their academic research and creative work uses trans and queer theory to examine relationships to power, and how it operates in both national and local scales. He is also interested in coalition analyses, alternative care, and kinship structures. They are a Teaching Artist with the Nebraska Writers Collective, and a reader for Prairie Schooner. Before UNL, Briar earned a B.A. in English and Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Hailey Fischer is an M.A. student studying Literary and Cultural Studies with interests in Women's Literature, Gender Studies, and Film Studies. She is originally from Colorado and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with her B.A. in English and Film Studies and a minor in Business. Academically she is interested in studying Feminist writers and theory, specifically looking at Intersectional Feminism. She also has an interest in the publishing industry and has interned for Brandt and Hochman Literary Agency in New York City, as well as Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska Press.
Cassie wrote her first book when she was six years old about a fat cat named Stephanie who wandered around the city looking for her family, and she never looked back. As a writer, Cassie’s goal is to continually move forward, learning from her past self, as well as others, in an effort to become the best she can at her chosen craft. She is blessed with a wonderful, loving family—Mom, Dad, six brothers, one sister, and five sisters-in-law—that has supported her every step of the way, even if they don’t always understand what she’s trying to do. And while she believes life is education, not everyone always agrees, so Cassie has made pursuing a formal education a huge priority. Currently, she has an MFA in Creative Writing, an MA in Mass Communications, and she is working on her Ph. D. in Creative Writing with an emphasis in narrative communication. Eventually, she plans to settle down to teach creative writing to undergrads.
Lauren Franken is an M.A. student focusing on Women’s and Gender Studies. She holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Technical Writing from South Dakota State University. Her research interests include poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism, and women’s studies. At UNL, she works as a research assistant for the Willa Cather Archive.
Derek Funk is an M.A. Student in Creative Writing and Fiction. He completed his Bachelor's of Education and Human Sciences with a concentration in English at UNL in 2011. Since then, he has been teaching in public schools around the state of Nebraska, with his most recent, and longest, stop here in Lincoln for the last seven years. Derek is originally from Ewing, Nebraska and is particularly interested in creating fiction that depicts people from rural settings in an authentic way.
Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War, winner of the 2018 Pamet River Prize (YesYes Books). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Guernica, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Blackbird, and The Rumpus, and her work has been anthologized in the 2019 Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. In 2017 she won The Pinch’s Literary Award in Poetry. She grew up in a small town in central Alabama and has also lived in Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Florida.
Samantha Gilmore is a doctoral student, concentrating on Nineteenth Century Studies, and an Othmer Fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her scholarship focuses on early-to-mid nineteenth-century American literary and historical studies, digital humanities, archival research, and manuscript culture, specifically surrounding journals/diaries and commonplace books. Samantha holds a B.A. in English from Penn State University and a M.A. in English from West Virginia University, where she taught first-year composition and research writing. Currently, she works as a research assistant for The Walt Whitman Archive and The Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive at UNL, as well as for The Almanacks of Mary Moody Emerson: A Scholarly Digital Edition with Northeastern University’s Women Writers Project.
Paul Grosskopf is an English Ph.D. student in Literary and Cultural Studies. He graduated with a B.S. from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and an M.A. from Northern Illinois University. At UNL, Paul splits his time between teaching in the English Department and working as an editorial assistant in the Willa Cather Archive. His research interests include fat studies, print culture, transnationalism, and modernity in American literature and culture.
Leah Hedrick (she/her/hers) is a first-year M.A. student in Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests include trauma-informed pedagogy, especially as it pertains to the teaching of creative writing and composition at the community college level. She is also interested in medical rhetoric surrounding women, and how it effects fertility as a biomedical and socio-political status. Originally from Indiana, where she earned a B.S. in Plant Biology from Purdue University, she came to Nebraska in 2015 to persue her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Creighton University in Omaha. Before coming to UNL, she worked for 4 years as an English instructor and writing center consultant at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. She is the author of Run Off: Poetry of Changing Places, a micro-chapbook from Ghost City Press, and her creative work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Sugar House Review, Manifest West Anthology, and other places.
David Henson is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing. His stories have won numerous awards. He writes and records music under the name Shadows on a River.
Jeff Hill is an M. A. student studying creative writing. He holds a B. S. in education and a certificate in teaching of writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has returned to the classroom after teaching for Lincoln Public Schools for nearly a decade. He currently works as a graduate research assistant for the Walt Whitman Archive and serves as a chapter advisor for the Nebraska Alpha chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity (for which he received the David S. and Julia N. Jenkins Graduate Fellowship). Jeff is also a faculty member of the Writer’s Hotel writing conference in New York City and a freelance writing tutor.
Mark Houston is a doctoral student in composition and rhetoric. His current research focuses on pedagogy, ecocomposition, material rhetorics, theories of entanglement, food justice, and place-based education. His teaching practice centers on helping students think and write in ways that challenge binary dualisms and isolated subjectivities by exploring their place in the world’s complex intra-relations. Mark has contributed to the Husker Writers Project, conducting a class partnership in 2019 between a UNL writing class and a local high school class. He and his teaching partner received Husker Writers Teaching Excellence awards for their collaboration. Mark has also worked in UNL’s writing center and currently serves as an associate director there. In 2019, Mark received the English department’s John Robinson Award for Scholarly Papers for his “Monstrous Entanglement and Deep Time in Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God.” Before coming to UNL, Mark taught composition at Blinn College and a variety of courses at York College, including composition, world literature, and American literature. Mark has also been active in the Nebraska Writing Project, where he helped lead a chapter of the Nebraska Warrior Writers, assisting veterans to develop their own writing projects. He holds B.A. degrees in English and religious studies from York College and a master’s degree in literature from Texas A&M University.
Phillip Howells is pursuing a Ph.D. in English with a focus on Digital Humanities. He received his B.A. from Westminster College in Pennsylvania and his M.A. from Kansas State University. At K-State, he focused on Cultural Studies, receiving a graduate certificate in Gender/Women/Sexuality Studies. He works as a TA in the English department as well as an RA in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities located on the third floor of Love Library.
Liz Husmann is an M.A. student in literary and cultural studies. She earned her B.A. in English and Art from UNL.
Claire Jiménez is a Puerto Rican writer who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York. She is the author of the short story collection Staten Island Stories (Johns Hopkins Press, December 2019), which received the 2019 Hornblower Award for a first book from the New York Society Library. Jiménez is a Ph.D. student in English with a concentration in ethnic studies and digital humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She received her M.F.A. from Vanderbilt University. Recently, she was a research fellow at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. In 2020, she and Raquel Salas Rivera were awarded a Mellon Foundation grant from the U.S Latino Digital Humanities Program at the University of Houston to create a Puerto Rican Literature Digital Archive. Currently, she is an assistant fiction editor at Prairie Schooner. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in Remezcla, Afro-Hispanic Review, PANK, The Rumpus, el roommate, Eater, District Lit, The Toast and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.
MacKayla is a Master of Arts in English student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she also received her Bachelor of Arts in English, and currently works as a Project Coordinator for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Academically, her current interests include narratives of displacement/resettlement in relation to place, immigrant/refugee literature, global education, pedagogies in developing nations surrounding literacy comprehension, literature, and creative writing, as well as human rights and humanitarian affairs. Professionally, her interests and experiences surround community outreach, public policy creation, international relations, transnational literature, human rights, and education. Personally, she enjoys devoting her time to the creative development within local communities by volunteering.
Blake Kinnett (they/them) received their undergraduate degree in English from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, their M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and are working toward a Ph.D. in English here at UNL. Their specializations are in creative writing with an emphasis on fiction writing, queer monstrosities as represented in media, and representations of mental illness as depicted in popular culture.
Tom Knoblauch is a Ph.D. student in Literary and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He studies the intersection of political theory, gender studies, and literature/film. Knoblauch earned a master's degree in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also hosts the public radio show Riverside Chats, teaches rhetoric/film in Omaha, and has three beautiful cats.
Celie Knudsen is an M.A. student in composition and rhetoric. She is specifically interested in queer and feminist rhetorics and the intersection between writing pedagogy and fat studies. Celie works as a Core Teaching Artist for the Nebraska Writers Collective, where she helps run the largest youth poetry festival in the state. She graduated with highest distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in English and Women's and Gender Studies.
Khadizatul Kubra is a first year M.A. in English language and Literature. Her research interest includes African American Literature and American Literature. At UNL, she works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Walt Whitman Archive. She holds a B.A. in English and a Masters in English Literature from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
John Kuligowski is a M.A. student specializing in creative writing, with other interests lying in critical theory. His work has previously been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s May/June 2018 Short Story Award for New Writers contest. He holds a B.A. in English from UNL.
Charlotte Kupsh is a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric. She’s interested in place studies, place-conscious education, first-year writing, and composition pedagogy. Her academic and creative work has been published in Writing on the Edge, The Madison Review, Pleiades, and The Los Angeles Review, and she has written for the serial radio drama Bend in the River. Previously, she was the prose editor of Barstow and Grand, a Midwestern literary magazine. She holds an M.A. in English-Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Nicole Lachat was born in Edmonton, Canada to a Peruvian mother and Swiss father. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Alberta and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing (poetry) from New York University. Her poetry appears in Palimpsest Magazine, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Ruminate Magazine (forthcoming), among others. She won second prize in the Short Grain 2018 poetry contest, and is a Banff Art Centre fellow. She currently lives in Lincoln, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska.
Erika Luckert is a Ph.D. student in Composition and Rhetoric. A poet, writer, and educator, her research interests lie at the intersection of creative writing, composition studies, and pedagogy. Originally from Edmonton, Canada, Erika earned her B.A. in English and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta before moving to New York City. There, she completed an M.F.A. in Poetry at Columbia University, and spent several years teaching creative and critical writing at Hunter College and in New York City public schools through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Erika's poetry, translations, and essays have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, CALYX, Room Magazine, Tampa Review, F(r)iction, Entropy, Boston Review, and elsewhere. In 2017, she was a winner of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize.
Rasaq Malik is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is a cofounder of Àtẹ́lẹwọ́, the first digital journal devoted to publishing work written in the Yorùbá language. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks Home In This Land, selected for Chapbook Box edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, and The Other Names of Grief, published by Konya Shamsrumi. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in African American Review, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, LitHub, Michigan Quarterly Review, Minnesota Review, New Orleans Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Rattle, Salt Hill, Spillway, Stand, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. He won Honorable Mention in 2015 Best of the Net for his poem “Elegy,” published in One. In 2017, Rattle and Poet Lore nominated his poems for the Pushcart Prize. He was shortlisted for Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2017. He was a finalist for Sillerman First Book for African Poets in 2018.
Photo credit: Santi Femi
Katie Marya is a writer and translator originally from Atlanta, GA. Her work has appeared in North American Review, Guernica, Waxwing, and other literary magazines. She was the recipient of the 2018 James Dickey Prize for Poetry at Five Points and has received fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and Nebraska Arts Council. Her first full-length poetry collection Sugar Work was the Editor's Choice for the 2020 Alice James Award and will be published in June 2022. She earned an M.F.A. from Bennington College and a B.A. in Spanish from Westmont College.
Ilana Masad is a queer fiction writer, essayist, and book critic whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Paris Review, NPR, BuzzFeed, Catapult, StoryQuarterly, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and more. Masad's debut novel, All My Mother's Lovers, came out in 2020.
Caitlin is an M.A. student in English Literary and Cultural Studies. Her research interests include digital humanities, women and gender studies, and American literature. At UNL, she works with the Walt Whitman Archive, One More Voice Archive, and COVE Consortium. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Belmont University.
Ian Maxton is a doctoral student in creative writing with a focus on experimental fiction and the novel. His research interests include theory-fiction, communist poetics, Marxist literary criticism, surrealism, the western, and the gothic.
Keshia Mcclantoc is a Ph.D. student in Composition and Rhetoric. She currently holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Montevallo and a master's degree in English and certification in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her areas of interest include rural and community literacies, especially of women and queer peoples in those spaces. Additionally, she is interested in digital rhetorics and popular culture; her current research focuses on the ways digital communities interact with marginalized identities in rural spaces. Keshia has held positions on the EGSA Executive Board (2017-2019) and within the UNL Writing Center (2017-2019). Currently, she is on the Watershed Executive Board and is a Coordinator for the Writing Lincoln Initiative.
Jason McCormick (he/him/they/them) is a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, studying Rhetoric and Composition. Previously, they were awarded an M.F.A. from The New School in Creative Writing (2013) and then an M.A. in Literature from Hunter College (2019). Their current research centers on pedagogy for developmental composition courses, and the way that identity, assessment policy, and other factors shape that educational experience. Jason has also written about Zombies and Pop Culture and has published fiction in F(r)iction Magazine and other publications. They have previously taught at Hunter College and Westchester Community College as an adjunct and recently worked as a Lecturer at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. They have taught courses in composition, creative writing, literature, and children's literature, and they currently teach Writing as Argument at UNL. In addition to teaching, Jason is excited to be serving as a Research Assistant for the Whitman Archive.
Zoe McDonald is a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and composition with a specialization in women's, gender, and sexuality studies. She holds B.A. in English and gender studies from the University of Wyoming and a M.A. in English from the University of Vermont.
Lecturer and Ph.D. student
Tim Meadows is a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric. His interests include first-year composition, writing centers, place-conscious teaching, and literacy studies. Since 2016, he has been a lecturer with Programs in English as a Second Language (PIESL) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During this time, his interest in teaching writing developed as he taught composition courses to international students. He has presented about the use of writing histories to improve instruction in first-year writing courses designed for international students and ways in which instruction about human rights can be integrated into writing curriculum. He received a Bachelor of Music with a major in church music from Carson-Newman University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics from Old Dominion University, and a Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also has a teaching license from the Virginia Board of Education with endorsements in ESOL k-12 and choral/vocal music k-12.
Elva Moreno Del Rio is an M.A. student in literary and cultural studies. Her research interests include American literature, African American literature, and Latinx Literature. At UNL, she works at The Walt Whitman Archive and The Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE). Elva received her Associates of Arts degree from St. Charles Community College and her Bachelor of Arts in English from Truman State University.
Teo Mungaray is a queer, chronically ill, latinx poet. He holds an M.F.A. from Pacific University of Oregon and is pursuing his doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a co-founder and co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph. His poems can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, Prelude Magazine and The Bellevue Literary Review. He has a cat named Lysistrata.
Ph.D. student and graduate assistant
Anne Nagel is a Ph.D. candidate interested in 19th-century British literature and affect theory. She was the 2019 speaker for the Big Ten Emerging Scholars lecture series, received the Robert L. Hough Lecturer Teaching Award in 2019, and served as EGSA president in 2016. She has written for the Watershed Theory Blog, and she has worked on the Central Online Victorian Educator website as well as the George Eliot Archive.
Anne's dissertation explores the potential for affective intensity in dreams, dreamlike spaces, and sleep disorders in Romantic and Victorian novels and poetry. She holds an M.A. in English literature and a certificate in Interdisciplinary 19th-century Studies. Her undergraduate degrees include majors in English, philosophy, and secondary education, with a minor in French.
Liz Lengel Ogg is a teacher at Norris High School. This is her first year there. At Norris, She teaches speech and English 10, and is the assistant speech team coach and GSA sponsor. Before that, she taught at Southern High School in Wymore, NE for eight years and commuted from Lincoln. At Southern, she taught publications (yearbook), English 10, American Literature, English 12, and composition. She was also the speech team coach at Southern and the GSA sponsor. She was recently elected to the executive board for Star City Pride as their treasurer. Liz graduated from Wesleyan University in 2010 with and BA in English and a secondary education endorsement. She is currently studying English with a focus on Women's and Gender Studies for her M.A. at UNL.
Olufunke Ogundimu is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing (Fiction). She is a graduate of the University of Lagos and University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ MFA International program in fiction. She is a Caine Prize for African Writing finalist, a Miles Morland Writing Scholarship finalist, and a Pushcart Prize winner. Her work has been published in Transition Magazine, New Orleans Review, Red Rock Review, Johannesburg Review of Books, Asymptote Journal, Jalada Africa, and other places.
Uche Okonkwo is a Ph.D. student in English, with a focus in Creative Writing. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and has an M.F.A. in Fiction from Virginia Tech and an M.A. in Creative Writing from University of Manchester, UK. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in One Story, Ploughshares, A Public Space, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, Lagos Noir, Ellipsis, Saraba, and others. She has received residencies and scholarships from Writers Omi, The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She was the 2020-2021 George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy, and is a 2021-2022 Steinbeck Fellow.
Photo credit: Rohan Kamicheril
Zainab A. Omaki is a Ph.D. student in English, specialising in Creative Writing (fiction). She has a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was the recipient of the Miles Morland African Writers Award. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from Transition Magazine, Passages North, The Rumpus, and other spaces. She was a 2020/2021 fellow at the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, where she worked on a novel.
Linda J. Pawlenty is a doctoral student in English Literary and Cultural Studies, focusing on American working-class women writers of the early twentieth century, with a specialization in Ethnic Studies. A former truck driver, she is interested in the ways women function doing "men's work" and the ways in which labor is represented in literature and popular culture. Linda's research interests also include transportation, travel writing, and the language of locomotion.
Linda holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and UNO's Advanced Writing Certificate in Creative Nonfiction. Outside the university, she volunteers for organizations in Lincoln and Omaha, teaching adult literacy and English to non-native speakers. Before joining UNL, she taught undergraduate classes in composition, technical writing, writing for criminal justice, and truck driving. She currently teaches first-year writing at Lincoln.
Kasey Peters is an M.A. student specializing in creative writing, with interests in women’s and gender studies, and theory. She is a research assistant with Prairie Schooner and with COVE Electronic Editions development. Previously, she earned her B.A. in History with minors in English and Spanish from UNL. Her poetry can be found in the Pinch, and her fiction is forthcoming in the North Dakota Quarterly.
Caleb Petersen is a 1st year M.A. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a focus in Creative Writing, specializing in Poetry. He received his B.A. in Theology from Colorado Christian University.
Katherine Pierson is a Ph.D. student specializing in 19th-century studies. She has worked as a writing center consultant, a developmental English instructor, and an LPS student mentor. She is a volunteer with Lincoln Literacy Council and is married with two young children.
Ph.D. Student and Assistant Director of Creative Writing
Jessica Poli is the author of four chapbooks: Canyons (BatCat Press, 2018), Alexia (Sixth Finch, 2015), Glassland (JMWW, 2014), and The Egg Mistress (Gold Line Press, 2013). She earned her M.F.A from Syracuse University and her M.A. at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the founder and editor of the online journal Birdfeast, and also served as Editor-in-Chief of Salt Hill Journal. Originally from Pennsylvania, she also spent several years working on farms in Central New York.
Benjamin Reed is a Ph.D. student in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MRST) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research interests include early modern conceptions of childhood and child dramatic characters and performers. He earned an M.A. in English, Literary Studies from Boise State University in 2014. Following graduation, he taught for three years as a lecturer at Iowa State University in a variety of first-year writing and technical communication courses, including piloting the online version of their Business Communication curriculum. He currently teaches composition courses and serves as a graduate consultant and writing fellow at the UNL Writing Center. He plans on teaching early modern authors such as Shakespeare at the college level following graduation. Awards include the Robert Knoll Award for excellent writing in the MRST field and the Robert L. Hough Graduate Teaching Award for his work in online instruction.
Rosemary Sekora is a M.A. student in the creative writing program. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and is currently the publicity manager at the University of Nebraska Press where she supervises book publicity for 150 new books a year. She is on the board of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, currently serving as president. Originally from Colorado, she now calls Nebraska home.
Danielle Shumaker Page is a first year M.A. student studying Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests include First Year Writing, Composition Pedagogy, and Writing Center Theory. She holds a BA in English Writing from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Bonnie Smith is an M.A. student pursuing a degree in English with a Concentration in Teaching English. She graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2017 with a degree in Elementary Education and she is currently a fifth-grade teacher for Lincoln Public Schools. Her interests include Ethnic Literature, Women's Literature, and English Pedagogy.
Ashlyn is a Ph.D. student concentrating on nineteenth-century American literature and digital humanities. She has a dedicated research interest in periodicals from nineteenth-century America, particularly early national publications like Harper's Weekly. At UNL, she works at the Walt Whitman Archive and the Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive. Ashlyn holds a B.A. in English and History from the University of Denver and an M.A. in English from UNL.
Jaclyn Swiderski is a Ph.D. student in Literary and Cultural Studies. She is pursuing a certificate in both Interdisciplinary 19th Century Studies and Women and Gender Studies. She received her M.A. in British and American Literature from Northern Illinois University, and her B.A. in English with a minor in Linguistics from SUNY New Paltz. Her research interests are 19th and 20th century female novelists and disability studies.
Melissa Tayles is a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric. Her interests include trauma-informed writing pedagogy, Basic Writing (BW), First Year Composition (FYC), and community college writing instruction. Since 2003, she has taught writing at the community college level and continues to serve as a full-time English instructor at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. During this time, her work has focused on teaching, course assessment, and curriculum development. She has presented on accelerated learning placement (ALP), teaching circles, and trauma-informed writing pedagogy. Her work has been published in TETYC. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from Fort Hays State University.
Matt Whitaker is a doctoral student in Composition and Rhetoric and a graduate fellow with the Center for Great Plains Studies. His work explores environmental activist rhetoric in the Great Plains, focusing specifically on the interrelationships between discourse and space. Matt’s research pulls from a broad range of disciplines and subdisciplines, including critical geography, spatial theory, ecocriticism, animal studies, and material rhetorics. His teaching practices are informed by his commitment to public affairs and community engagement. He contributed to the Husker Writers Project in 2018 and serves as a counselor with the Missouri State Public Affairs Academy. Matt was a recipient of the Robert L. Hough Teaching Award in 2018, as well as the Husker Writer Teaching Award. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Master’s degree in Writing at Missouri State University.
David Winter is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing specializing in poetry. He wrote the chapbook Safe House (Thrush Press, 2013), and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Baffler, Grist, Meridian, Muzzle, New Poetry From the Midwest, Ninth Letter, and Poetry International, among others. David received his M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and a 2016-18 Stadler Fellowship from Bucknell University.
Jonathan Wlodarski is a graduate of the Northeast Ohio M.F.A. and pursuing a Ph.D. in creative writing (fiction) here at UNL. His work as a writer and translator has appeared in FLAPPERHOUSE, Fairy Tale Review, Third Coast, and Fiction International, among other venues.
Jamison Wyatt is an M.A. student focusing on 20th century American literature, including works by Mari Sandoz and her literary contemporaries. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society. He also works as an editorial assistant for the Willa Cather Archive. From 2013 to 2018, he served as an aide in the Nebraska State Legislature and wrote the legislation which elected Ponca Chief Standing Bear and Willa Cather to be the Nebraska representatives in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in history.
Tryphena Yeboah is the author of the chapbook A Mouthful of Home, selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. Her stories have appeared in Narrative Magazine and Commonwealth Writers, among others. She is a Ph.D. student in English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.