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).
Ber Anena is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing. The Ugandan-born writer, editor and performer is interested in indigenous African feminisms, the body as a voice, vulgarity in women’s resistance and orature. Anena holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Columbia University in the City of New York, an M.A. in Human Rights, and a B.A. in Mass Communication from Makerere University in Uganda. Her debut poetry collection, A Nation in Labour, was joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2018. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2018) and longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize (2017 & 2018). Anena’s prose and poetry have been published in The Atlantic, adda, The Caine Prize anthology, Brittle Paper, The Plentitudes journal, the New Daughters of Africa anthology, 2019, The Kalahari Review, among others. As a performance poet, Anena has graced the stage in New York, Berlin, Kampala, Nairobi, Edinburg, Antwerp, Lincoln, among others. She’s the Graduate Assistant for American Life in Poetry and an Editorial Assistant for Prairie Schooner.
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. Her first book, Bone Language, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2023. She is a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, the 2021 RHINO Editor's Prize winner, and the 2019 winner of the San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference Contest in Poetry. 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.
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.
M.A. Student and Instructional Technology and Media Specialist
Erin Chambers is an M.A. student whose interests include queer theory, digital humanities, children’s and young adult literature, creative nonfiction, community forestry, and science communication. Erin also works full-time for the Department of English as its resident Instructional Technology and Media Specialist, which is another way of saying “one who wears many hats.” Erin holds a Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities from UNL and a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
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.
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.
Akua Agyeiwaa Denky-Manieson holds a Master of Philosophy from the University of Ghana. She graduated from the University of Cape Coast with a Bachelor of Arts in English and History (Hons). Akua specialises in teaching African literary studies, film criticism, and comparative literature. Akua is a member of the Linguistics Association of Ghana, African Literature Association, and African Oral Literature Association. Akua was the graduate student’s Africa representative for the Canadian Association of African Studies (2019-2022). Her research interest is in the area of the Gold Coast Novel (1885-1943).
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 third-year Ph.D. student in Composition & Rhetoric who is interested in how writing classrooms can prepare our students to be thoughtful, empathetic, and values-driven community members. Kathleen is also interested in slow pedagogy, disability studies, and dismantling classism in higher education. Kathleen is an Assistant Director in the Writing Center, Co-Director of the Writing Lincoln Initiative, and on the Steering Committee of the graduate student worker union, Unionize UNL. Before coming to UNL, Kathleen worked for five years as a Senior 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).
Bahamian native, Lyette Erin, is an English Literature M.A. student specializing in Literary and Cultural Studies. She graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Publishing with a minor in Small Business Management from Hastings College. Her research interests include book design, fat studies, print culture, and digital humanities. At UNL, she works as a research assistant in the Willa Cather Archive.
Chinụa Ezenwa-Ọhaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria, and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has a chapbook, The Teenager Who Became My Mother, via Sevhage Publishers. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, Flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and also the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to MFA Program. In 2019, he was the winner of Sevhage/Angus Poetry Prize and second runner-up in 5th Singapore Poetry Contest. His works have appeared in Isele Magazine, AFREADA, Poet Lore, Massachusetts Review, Frontier, Palette, Malahat Review, Southword Magazine, Vallum, Mud Season Review, Salamander, Strange Horizons, Anmly, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Spectacle Magazine, Ruminate, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Lincoln, NE where he is pursuing his Ph.D. in English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a focus in Creative Writing (poetry).
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.
Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War (YesYes Books 2020), winner of the Pamet River Prize. Forever War also won a 2021 Nebraska Book Award in the category of Poetry Honor. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, Guernica, Pleiades, The Southern Review, 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, and in 2022 she was a recipient of the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award sponsored by Poets & Writers. Currently, she is a poetry editor for The Adroit Journal. She grew up in a small town in central Alabama and currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
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.
Syble Heffernan is an M.A. student in Creative Writing specializing in poetry, with interests in Women's and Gender Studies, queer theory, mental health and trauma, and creative writing as an instrument of collective healing and community development. She studied Portuguese and Psychology as an exchange student in Brazil, then went on to earn Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and International Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Her work has appeared in Gnashing Teeth, Prometheus Dreaming, Masque and Spectacle, and Blanket Sea Press, and she was nominated by Blanket Sea Press for the Best of the Net prize in 2021.
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.
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.
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. candidate in Composition and Rhetoric. Her research interests include place studies, ecocomposition, and first-year writing. At UNL, she has held positions as an Assistant Director of Composition and an Assistant Director of the UNL Writing Center, and she frequently collaborates with the Nebraska Writing Project and the National Parks Service. Her academic work has been published in Writing on the Edge and Reflections: A Journal of Community Writing. Previously, she was the prose editor for Barstow and Grand, a Midwestern literary magazine. Originally from Wisconsin, she earned her B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, followed later by an M.A. in English-Writing.
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 Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Ruminate Magazine, and BirdFeast Magazine, among others. She was awarded the 2022 Wilbur Gaffney Poetry Prize, and is a Banff Art Centre fellow. She works as the Book Prize Coordinator for Prairie Schooner, and teaches at the University of Nebraska where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Lincoln.
Tina Le is a Ph.D. student in Composition & Rhetoric. She holds a B.S. in Secondary English Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has taught high school English for Lincoln Public Schools, including 9th grade and creative writing courses. She works for the Nebraska Writers Collective as a Core Teaching Artist and serves on the Nebraska Writing Project advisory board. She has been a Husker Writers fellow and evaluation team member. Her research interests include composition pedagogy at the secondary and college levels, the social dimension of writing, and the relationship between community-building and writing.
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.
A graduate of both undergraduate and graduate programs from Presidency University, Kolkata, with majors in English Literature, Arka Maitra is primarily interested in Literary and Cultural studies pertaining to early Colonial and Anglophone literature and Postcolonial theory.
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 literary translator. Her work has appeared in North American Review, Guernica, Waxwing, Salamander, Fence, among other literary magazines, and has been featured on The Slowdown Podcast hosted by Ada Limón. Marya was awarded the James Dickey Poetry Prize at Five Points in 2017 and has received fellowship support from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Nebraska Arts Council. Sugar Work, her first full-length collection, was the Editor's Choice for the 2020 Alice James Book Award.
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.
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. candidate in Composition and Rhetoric within the UNL English Department. She is interested in community and rural literacies, queer and feminist rhetorics, and digital archives and communities. She typically writes on how those with marginalized identities interact within digital and rural spaces and is currently working on a dissertation dedicated to exploring queer literacies in the rural South. In teaching, which she does both in the UNL English and Women and Gender Studies departments, Keshia often uses pop culture as a pedagogical tool, encourages multimodal writing, and cultivates accessible and inclusive classroom spaces. Keshia has previously published on these scholarly and pedagogical interests in Transformative Works and Culture, Spark: A 4C4Equality Journal, and the Routledge Handbook of Queer Rhetoric. In her time at UNL, she has held positions in EGSA (2017-2019), the UNL Writing Center (2017-2019), the Watershed Executive Board (2019-2021), and has served as Assistant Director of Composition (2020-2021). At present, Keshia acts as Co-Director for the Writing Lincoln Initiative and is currently a writer and the social media manager for Watershed, the English department's graduate student blog.
Jason McCormick is a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, studying Rhetoric and Composition. Their studies focus on issues of disability and identity, access, and developmental education. In addition to their PhD studies, they are also a full-time instructor of English at Southeast Community College.
Jason also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The New School (2013) and an M.A. in Literature from Hunter College (2019). Their fiction has appeared in F(r)iction Magazine and Bloody Key Society and has been nominated for prizes, including the Bram Stoker award for short fiction and Critters “Best of the Net.” Their scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Creative Writing Studiesand Teaching English in the Two Year College (forthcoming).
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.
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.
Hannah is an M.A. student studying Literary and Cultural Studies. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December 2020 with a B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her research interests include women’s and gender studies, queer studies, theory, and film and television.
Ph.D. student, Administrative Technician, and Assistant to the Graduate Chair
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.
Nathaniel Nelson is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English with a focus in Creative Writing. As a writer and scholar, their interests include poststructuralist and queer theory, as well as the intersections of culture and place. They hold a B.A. in English from Sewanee: The University of the South and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon. They have previously served as an associate poetry editor for Northwest Review and their poems have appeared in The Southern Review and Birmingham Poetry Review.
Alina Nguyễn was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her B.A. in English Literature and Asian American Studies from the California State University-Northridge and her M.F.A in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the California State University-Long Beach, where she was awarded the Gerald Locklin Writing Prize. She is the author of the risograph-printed chapbook, Before There Were More Ghosts, from Tomorrow Today. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with interests in Poetics, Ethnic Literature, Queer Theory, and Printmaking.
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.
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.
Kimberly Reyes is the author of the upcoming poetry collection vanishing point. (Omnidawn 2023), and of the collections Running to Stand Still (Omnidawn 2019) and Warning Coloration (dancing girl press 2018). Her nonfiction book of essays Life During Wartime (Fourteen Hills 2019) won the 2018 Michael Rubin Book Award. Her work is featured in various international outlets including The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly, Time.com, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Alternative Press, ESPN the Magazine, Film Ireland, The Irish Examiner, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland, RTÉ Radio, NY1 News, The Irish Journal of American Studies, The Best American Poetry blog, poets.org, American Poets Magazine, The Feminist Wire, and The Stinging Fly. Kimberly Reyes has received fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, the Fulbright Program, CantoMundo, Callaloo, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Tin House Workshops, the Irish Arts Council, Culture Ireland, the Munster Literature Centre, the Prague Summer Program for Writers, Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya, the Community of Writers, and other places. Kimberly is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English (poetry) at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
Teo Shannon 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.
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.
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
Ashlyn is a doctoral candidate concentrating on nineteenth-century American literature and digital humanities. She has a dedicated research interest in periodicals from nineteenth-century America, particularly national publications like Harper's Weekly. At UNL, she works at the Walt Whitman Archive and the Charles W. Chesnutt Archive.
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.
Bianca Swift is a 23-year-old African American Omaha Native who has been writing poetry for nearly 10 years (but only well for 5). She has a degree in English with minors in French and African American Studies and is currently working towards her Masters.
Bianca has performed in countless competitions in Philadelphia and Houston for the College Union Slam Poetry Invitational (CUPSI), as well as many local stages in her hometown, such as MAHA an Omaha music festival along with many other local events. She works for the Nebraska Writer’s Collective as an ERG Director and Core Teaching Artist. She also works as a graduate Researcher on the Charles Chesnutt Archive.
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.
Sunday Elliott Uguru is an M.A. student in Literary and Cultural Studies. His research interest is African Literature and Postcolonial Anglophone Literature. He has a bachelor in English and Literature obtained from Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria and an M.A. in Literature Studies from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. He is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria.
Hanna Varilek is a first year M.A. student specializing in Literary and Cultural Studies. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December of 2019 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Education Studies. Her research interests include Native American Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, Popular Culture, Education, and Pedagogy. Hanna currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant for the UNL Writing Center.
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.
Ava Winter is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing specializing in poetry. They wrote the chapbook Safe House (Thrush Press, 2013), and their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Baffler, Grist, Meridian, Muzzle, New Poetry From the Midwest, Ninth Letter, and Poetry International, among others. Ava received their 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.