Graduate Student Directory | Department of English | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Graduate Student Directory
Graduate Student Directory
Photo of Erin M. Bertram

Erin M. Bertram

Erin M. Bertram is a doctoral candidate and Maude Hammond Fling Fellow in Creative Writing with a specialization in Women's & Gender Studies. They are the author of thirteen chapbooks, including from The Vanishing of Camille Claudel (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016) and Relief Map, a winner of C&R Press's 2016 Summer Tide Pool Chapbook Competition. The recipient of a 2016 Scholarship from the National Association for Poetry Therapy, they have received awards and fellowships from UNL, Prague Summer Program, the Frank O'Hara Chapbook Series, Washington University in St. Louis, Augustana College, and the Academy of American Poets. Their poems and lyric hybrid texts have appeared in Diagram, South Dakota Review, Cream City Review, Leveler, Uprooted: An Anthology on Gender & Illness, and elsewhere. A Zen practitioner, they have been a college English teacher and writing tutor for the past decade, and have led creative writing workshops and done LGBTQ advocacy work for a variety of organizations.

Jonathan Cheng

Jonathan Cheng is a direct-admit doctoral student specializing in digital humanities and new media studies. He came to UNL after majoring in English with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign. Jonathan has worked on several text-analysis projects including “Mapping Mutable Genre in Structurally Complex Volumes”. Currently, he works at the Walt Whitman Archive and writes about computer/videogames in terms of literary theory.

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Adrienne Christian Andrews Hall

Adrienne Christian is the author of two poetry collections, 12023 Woodmont Avenue (Willow Lit 2013), and A Proper Lover (Main Street Rag 2017). Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including the Los Angeles Review as The Editor’s Choice. She was a finalist for The 2016 Rita Dove International Award for Poetry. She was also awarded the 2016 Parent Recognition Award, for her outstanding contribution to students. Adrienne is also the new Assistant Poetry Editor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's literary journal, Prairie Schooner. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at

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Daniel Clausen

353 Andrews Hall

Daniel Clausen is a Ph.D. student specializing in nineteenth-century American literature and literature and the environment. His dissertation analyzes georgic writing from the period of the Civil War to uncover and understand the diverse desire to farm. His work and reviews have been published in Full Stop Quarterly,, Western American Literature, and ESQ. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Graduate Student Assembly.

 Daniel teaches courses in Literature and Environment, American Literature, Science Fiction, and composition. He is a Center for Great Plains Studies graduate fellow, a member of the department's Place interest group and the 19th-century studies interdisciplinary program, and blogs with the Watershed blog collective.

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Rachel Cochran

312 Andrews Hall

Rachel is a Ph.D. student in creative writing (specializing in fiction and creative nonfiction) and 19th-century studies. She studies Victorian and neo-Victorian writing, focusing on the Gothic and crime genres, and is particularly interested in postcolonial, feminist, and queer responses to and reworkings of Victorian history. She has taught classes in composition, creative writing, children's literature, and women's literature.

Short stories and essays by Rachel have appeared in New Ohio Review, Deep South Magazine, Glassworks, Literary Orphans, and others, and have won the Margaret McKinney, George Mahan, and Virginia Grabill awards in fiction and the New Ohio Review nonfiction contest. She currently serves as Assistant Director of Creative Writing, co-advisor to Laurus, UNL's undergraduate literary journal, and the coordinator of the No Name Reading Series. Before coming to Nebraska, she received her B.F.A. from the University of Evansville in 2012 and her M.A. from the University of Missouri in 2014.

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Ángel García

350 Andrews Hall

Ángel García is the author of Teeth Never Sleep, winner of the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, which will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in the Fall of 2018. Currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Ángel has earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Redlands and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Riverside. His work has been published in the  American Poetry Review, Miramar, McSweeney’s, Huizache, and The Good Men Project, among others. He has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers-Squaw Valley and Vermont Studio Center. In addition to his creative work, Ángel is also the cofounder of a non-profit organization, Gente Organizada, that works to educate, empower, and engage communities through grassroots organizing.

Linda Garcia Merchant

Linda Garcia Merchant is a second year Ph.D. scholar concentrating in U.S. Latina and Chicana Literatures, and Digital Humanities. Linda focuses on the restoration and reconstruction of the counter narrative as an aid in rehabilitating the discourse of resistance and social movement.

As the Technical Director of the Chicana Por Mi Raza Digital Memory Collective, Linda and Dr. Maria Cotera of the University of Michigan have produced over 125 filmed oral history interviews and collected more than 7,000 documents and ephemera from iconic figures of the Chicana and Feminist movements. In April 2012 Linda, coordinating an effort with Dr. Andrea ‘Tess’ Arenas of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin State Historical Society began the Somos Latinas Oral History project to collect and archive the historical narrative of Wisconsin Latina activism. In January 2014, Linda partnered with Dr. Elena Gutierrez of the University of Illinois Chicago to launch the Chicana Chicago/MABPW Collection project, collecting the histories of Latina leadership in Chicago.

An award winning Chicana filmmaker, her films Las Mujeres de La Caucus Chicana (The Women of the Chicana Caucus), Palabras Dulces, Palabras Amargas (Sweet Words, Bitter Words), Yo Soy Eva, and Thresholds are shown in courses on women of color feminism, global feminisms, queer and social movement both nationally and internationally. In 2014, Palabras was featured in Dr. Bill Johnson González’s article, "The Limits of Desire: On the Downlow and Queer Chicago Film" for GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Linda is currently working on An Evening with La Tess, an experimental documentary on the life of award winning Chicana poet, activist and scholar Andrea "Tess" Arenas.

Linda continues to write, guest lecture, and present on Chicana Feminism, Chicana Filmmaking, community archiving, visual historiography, and short form filmmaking. She has written articles and blogposts in Dialogo, Mujeres Talk, The Chicago Reporter, Viva La Feminista and La Bloga.

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Madhumita Gupta

101 Andrews Hall

An English teacher, freelance writer, and administrator in her previous life in India, Madhumita Gupta is currently a Masters student with specialization in 19th century studies. Though writing for children is Madhumita's passion and she writes for many children's magazines, her work has also appeared in most major newspapers and magazines in India (The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, Mail Today, Femina etc.) and in some publications in the US (India Currents, SAWF). Apart from indulging in creative writing and fiction, she has conceptualized and written English text-books for Macmillan's, Future Group and Pearson. Her translation of Bangla stories in English was published as Tuntuni's Tales Retold a few years ago. Some of her fiction also found place in anthologies by Children's Book Trust and National Book Trust. 
She is currently enjoying her role as a TA immensely as the system here encourages innovation. The liberty to innovate and reinvent her classes according to the students in them makes teaching a pleasure for her.

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Matthew Guzman

Matthew Guzman is a Ph.D. student focusing on nineteenth-century American literature with an emphasis on critical animal studies. His work takes an interdisciplinary approach - often incorporating history, philosophy, science, cultural anthropology, and literary studies - in order to further understand not only the literature, but the actual nonhuman animals of the nineteenth century as well. Matthew holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

MacKayla Kelsey

MacKayla is currently a first year 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.

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Gina Keplinger

Gina Keplinger is a first year M.A. student who studies the relationships among composition studies, incarceration, place, and restorative justice programming. Her poetry and essays have appeared, or are slated to appear, in Young Scholars In Writing, Leopardskin & Limes, Shot Glass Journal, and Black Heart Magazine. Once a nationally competitive performance poet, Gina now uses her creative writing in service to her composition work, blending the lyrical with the rhetorical, blurring the lines of genre distinction. Her work with Writers’ Block, a non-profit program offering the arts to inmates, has allowed her to facilitate creative writing workshops in Nebraska jails and juvenile detention centers. She holds a B.A. in English with minors in Psychology and Communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Gabrielle Kirilloff

Gabi Kirilloff is a doctoral student interested in digital humanities, new media studies, and early 20th century American literature. She has worked for several digital projects including the William Blake Archive, the Willa Cather Archive, and the Walt Whitman Archive. In addition to her work on archival projects, Gabi has also worked on several large scale text analysis projects. Gabi currently works as the coordinator for the Nebraska Literary Lab, an organization that facilitates student research in the digital humanities.

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Courtney Lawton

Courtney Lawton is a Ph.D. candidate in American Literature who specializes in Willa Cather, modernism, and digital humanities. She has collaborated to produce both a digital map of Nebraska's literary heritage, and a digital edition of Cather's April Twilights. She received her B.A. in French and English from the University of New Mexico, and her M.A. from St. John's College-Santa Fe.

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Regan Levitte

Regan Levitte is a first year M.A. studying Composition & Rhetoric. She is interested in writing center studies, language acquisition, working with English-language learners and beginning writers, and writing as a social activity. She graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a B.A in English Language & Literature, and French Language, with a minor in Writing.

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Ilana Masad

Ilana Masad is a fiction writer and book critic, with work published in The New Yorker, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Joyland FictionStoryQuarterly, and many more. She's the founder and host of The Other Stories, a podcast featuring new, emerging, and established fiction writers.

Photo of Keshia Mcclantoc

Keshia Mcclantoc

Keshia Mcclantoc is a first year M.A. student focusing on Composition and Rhetoric. She is is particularly interested in the intersections of gender studies, popular culture, and rhetoric. She earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature, with double minors in philosophy and technical writing, from University of Montevallo in Alabama.

Kevin McMullen

Kevin McMullen is a Ph.D. student specializing in 19th century American literature, with a particular focus on Walt Whitman and literary responses to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. He is also pursuing a specialization in Digital Humanities. Kevin hails from the far-away land of Bettendorf, Iowa, and received a B.A. in both English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, and his M.A. from UNL. Kevin is a Senior Assistant Editor at the Walt Whitman Archive, and the editor of Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, an online project working to digitize the newspaper writings of 19th-century columnist Fanny Fern.

Katie McWain

Katie McWain received her Ph.D. in English with a specialization in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2018 (supervised by Professor Shari Stenberg). Her scholarly interests include writing program administration, composition theory and pedagogy, teacher development, and literacy studies. She received her B.A. in English and Writing from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri and her M.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her research has been published in Teaching English in the Two-Year College and the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. This summer she will begin a new faculty position as Assistant Professor of English and Director of First Year Composition at Texas Woman's University.

Anne Nagel

Anne Nagel is a Ph.D. student whose interests include nineteenth-century British literature and literary theory. She holds a master of arts degree in English and a certificate in nineteenth century studies from UNL. Her master’s thesis invoked Deleuzian affect theory and historical conceptions of dreaming to explore the intensity of the Gothic dream in nineteenth-century British novels. Her dissertation will expand this project beyond the Gothic. As an undergraduate at UNK, she double-majored in English and philosophy, minored in French, and earned a second bachelor's degree in secondary education.

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Xavier Navarro

Andrews 302

Xavier Navarro Aquino was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His fiction is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and has appeared in Guernica, The Literary Review, and Day One. He has published poetry in The Caribbean Writer and is forthcoming in an anthology that will be realized by Peekash Press. He was a work-study scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2014 and received a travel scholarship to Ghana, Spain, and Morocco in 2014 from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras where he earned an M.A. in English Caribbean Studies. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Maria Nazos

Maria Nazos is a Ph.D. student in Creative Writing-Poetry. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, and has an M.F.A in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry engages the natural landscape, the people who inhabit it, and the question of what it means to be human. She has received fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Marge Piercy selected her chapbook “Trailer Park heart” as runner up for the Providence Philbrick Poetry Project Award. Wising Up Press published A Hymn That Meanders, her first full-length collection of poems, in 2011. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Southern Humanities Review, The Florida Review, The New Ohio Review,  Poet Lore, and elsewhere. In addition to poetry writing, her interests include gender studies.

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Raul Palma

Raul Palma is a diversity fellow at Ithaca College. He is also a fifth year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is pursuing a specialization in ethnic studies. His research areas include Narratology, Chicana/Latina Theory, Americanity and the American Novel, and Creative Writing Pedagogy. He serves as fiction editor for Prairie Schooner. Most recently, his work appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewAlimentum, and Sonora Review. His fiction was distinguished/notable in Best American Short Stories 2016. Additionally, his work has been supported with fellowships and scholarships from the CubaOne Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Santa Fe Writer's Conference, Sewanee Writer's Conference, and Sundress Academy for the Arts. He is currently completing his dissertation, Manteca, a novel set in 1980s Miami at the tail-end of the race riots and drug wars, and just as the HIV/AIDS surfaces. He is also at work on a collection of stories, In This City of Ultraviolet Light, which was a runner-up in the Indiana Review Blue Light's Book Prize, and notable in others.

Katherine Pierson

Katherine Pierson is a first-year M.A. student 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.

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Lydia Presley

Lydia Presley is a Ph.D. student studying English Literature and Cultures. Lydia's research is on Native American literatures and boarding school narratives. Her current projects are working with the gossip columns in the Genoa Indian School's newspaper, The Pipe of Peace, and the creation of a digital humanities project that will allow for the preservation and accessibility of stories told by the students at the Genoa Indian School.

Lydia is both an Othmer Fellow and a Great Plains fellow. She received her B.A. in English Literature and Music Performance from Eureka College and her M.A in English Literature with specializations in Great Plains Studies and Ethnic Studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also completing her specialization in Digital Humanities and her Certificate in the Teaching of Writing.

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Emily J. Rau

322 Love Library South

Emily J. Rau is a doctoral student in the English Department and a Graduate Fellow in the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She works full-time in the library as the Assistant Editor of the Willa Cather Archive, and also serves as an editorial assistant for Western American Literature. She has published an article in two parts in the Summer 2016 and the Fall/Winter 2016 issues of the Willa Cather Newsletter and Review, and a co-written piece with Gabi Kirilloff in the collection In the Country of Lost Borders: New Critical Essays on My Ántonia, published in 2017 in France. Emily's research focuses on American literature of the long nineteenth century, interweaving those texts with the work of contemporary ecocritics and spatial theorists. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities from UNL and an M.A. in English from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

Edwardo Rios

Edwardo Rios is a Ph.D. student focusing on late-twentieth century American literature with a specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies.  His research interests include porn studies and aesthetics. He earned his M.A. in English from Texas State University.

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Linda J. Rogge

Linda Rogge 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.

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Shawn Rubenfeld

Andrews Hall 323

Shawn Rubenfeld is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing-Fiction. A native New Yorker, he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Idaho, where he received a Writing in the Wild Fellowship and the university-wide 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. His fiction appears in such journals as Columbia Journal, Portland Review, REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, Thin Air Magazine, and Pine Hills Review. He has an essay in the journal Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture. Outside of writing, his research interests include composition and creative writing pedagogy, Jewish-American literature, and graphic literature.

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Christian Rush

Christian Rush is a first year MA student in Literature Studies. He focuses on the deployment of sexuality and the body in written, visual, and digital media examining intergroup conflict in marginalized spaces. He currently serves as Managing Editor for Western American Literature. Christian earned his BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in English with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.

Stevie K. Seibert Desjarlais

Stevie K. Seibert Desjarlais holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Pepperdine University, a master’s degree in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century American literature, women writers, film and popular culture. Stevie has held departmental positions on the English Graduate Student Association's executive board (2014-2017), Watershed's executive board (2016-2017), the Graduate Committee (2016-2017), the Chair's Advisory Committee (2017-2018), and also served as Co-Coordinator of Composition (2017). Stevie uses the lens of Critical Media Literacy when teaching first-year composition courses (ENGL 150 & 151). She has also taught cross listed courses with Women's and Gender Studies (ENGL/WMNS 215 Intro to Women's Lit and ENGL/WMNS 315B Women and Pop Culture).

Rosamond Thalken

Rosamond Thalken is a first year M.A. student interested in digital humanities, postcolonial studies, gender studies, and new media theory. She specifically focuses on the usage of digital literary analysis techniques, such as text mining, as well as the ethics behind such a methodology. Rosamond is also passionate about supporting community literacy, as she serves as the Malone Community Center site coordinator for the Writing Lincoln Initiative. She is the research assistant on an ongoing project analyzing reading and affect with fMRI technology. Rosamond received her B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with majors in English and Film Studies, as well as a minor in Digital Humanities.

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Michelle Trantham

Michelle Trantham is a first year M.A. student in Literature, specializing in 19th Century Studies. Her academic interests include British Romanticism, Victorian Studies, women poets, and memory. She earned her B.A. in English, with minors in Music and History, with Honors at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

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Ivan Young

340 Andrews Hall

Ivan Young is a doctoral student in creative writing (poetry) and a recipient of the Othmer Fellowship.  He holds and M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of South Carolina, as well as a B.S. in Zoology from Clemson University. He is the author of Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain (Brick House Books, 2015) and A Shape in the Waves (Stepping Stones Press, 2009), and won the 2008 SC Poetry Initiative's Chapbook Contest, received a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award (2011), and won the 2013 Norton Girault Literary Prize. His work has been published in Passages North, Southeast Review, North American Review, Cream City Review, The London Magazine, Fourteen Hills, Hayden's  Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Zone 3, among others.