Literature Graduate Student Profiles

Sarah Afzal

Sarah Afzal is a PhD student in Literature focusing on Postcolonial literature and Gender Studies. She is particularly interested in exploring the marginalized, othered, and socially and politically repressed voices and identities in postcolonial societies and the shift from grand narratives to individual voices. Sarah has an MA in Literature from Florida State University and a Bachelors in Humanities from Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. She currently teaches composition and literature courses in the English department.

Heather Bailey

Heather Bailey is a PhD candidate in Literature who focuses on early modern literature. She holds a BA in Political Science from SUNY Oneonta and an MA in Renaissance Literature from the University of York in the United Kingdom. Her specific areas of interest include medicine and classical reception. She teaches composition and literature courses in the English department.

Anna Bighta

Anna Bighta is a PhD student in Literature. She studies Romantic and Victorian literature and is part of the History of Text Technologies program. She received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Georgia in Athens. Her interests are book illustration, realisms, and the development of the 19th century British novel.

Kristy Cherry-Randle

Kristy is currently a PhD student in the English Department at Florida State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication: Journalism, a Bachelor of Arts in English, and a Master of Arts in American Studies from the University of Alabama. Her speciality area is early American literature focusing on first contact narratives. She also enjoys Civil War narratives of women who cross-dressed to fight in battle. Placing scholarship in digital mediums is one of Kristy’s passions, particularly digital interactive maps, which allow more diverse information to be in conversation with static texts. She has presented research scholarship at the 2013 National Association of African American Studies conference, the 2012 McNair Undergraduate Research Conference at the University of Buffalo SUNY, in 2012 at the the Alabama Higher Education and Diversity Conference at Auburn University pertaining to racial media frames in campus news papers. She also presented “She Went To Battle: Women Cross-dressers of the American Civil War” in 2016 at the 1st Annual LGBT+ Symposium at the University of Alabama. Her publications include: “Focus and Frames in Campus Newspaper Coverage of Racial Incidents Involving African Americans, 1997-2009” in the 2013 McNair Scholars Journal and in 2014 by the National Association of African American Studies in the Conference Monograph Publication. More recently, she presented her digital humanities project at the 2018 South Atlantic Modern Language Conference, “The Cabeza Matrix: Incorporating Indigenous Voices in First Contact Narratives.”

Ashley Christensen

Ashley Christensen is a PhD student specializing in 20th century British Literature with an emphasis in Contemporary Literature. Her research interests include adaptation theory, popular culture, and current female authors, such as Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Pat Barker, and Geraldine Brooks. She received her BA in English with a minor in Psychology in 2012 at Northern Arizona University, followed by her MA, with distinction, in Literature in 2015, also at Northern Arizona University. She was the vice-president of the Graduate English Organization at NAU and presented various papers titled "Isolation and Censorship in Pat Barker's Regeneration" and "Testimonies of Sexual Violence in Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things and Laura Gray-Rosendale's College Girl" at the Peaks Interdisciplinary Conference in 2014 and 2015. She recently presented "Adapting Jane Austen: Through a (Post) Traditional Lens" at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.

Keegan Cooper

Keegan Cooper is a second-year PhD student studying early modern literature and computational stylistics. He holds a BA in creative writing, an MA in literature, and a graduate certificate in professional editing from Indiana University in Indianapolis, where he served as Senior and Managing Editor of the undergraduate literary and arts magazine. Since August 2013, Keegan has been doing editorial research on New Oxford Shakespeare's publication projects, the fifth of which is still in progress. His work has been published in genesis, The OUTsiders Ally, and Shakespeare Survey, and he's been awarded the Eric Sharp Creative Writing Award, the Marie Louise Rea Short Story Award, the IUPUI "Best of" Poetry Scholarship, the Outstanding English Major Award, and L'Alliance Française d’Indianapolis Student of the Year Award. A Detroit native, Keegan enjoys Tallahassee, though he plans to start a career in southern Florida or on the east coast.

Amber Cresgy

Amber Cresgy is a PhD candidate in African American Literature and Cultural Studies. Her research interests include slave narratives and neo-slave narratives, Black speculative fiction, and pop culture studies. Most recently, she has presented her work at the National Association of African American Studies, the Southern American Studies Association, and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. She earned her MA in English from FSU.

Philip Grech

Philip Grech is a PhD student specializing in American literature and culture before 1900. His research interests include politics, revolutions, insurgencies, philosophy, social sciences, affect theory, and crowd theory. His article, “The Science of Psychopathy and Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd,’” is forthcoming in The Edgar Allan Poe Review. He has presented papers at the Northeast Modern Language Association and others. He teaches composition and American Literature courses. Philip has an MA in English from Florida State University and a BA in English and philosophy from Flagler College (St. Augustine, FL).

Antonio Hamilton

Antonio Hamilton is a first-year Master’s student with a literature focus. His main area of interest is medievalism, with interests also in ancient literature and the study of comic books/graphic novels. Specifically, he is drawn towards Chaucerian texts and wishes to study the Beowulf Manuscript further. He has presented at the Comic Arts Conference (2015) attached to the San Diego International Comic Arts Convention and the Pacific Rim Conference of English Studies (2017). Antonio received his Bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Spring 2017, and received the English Department’s award for Outstanding English Major.

Farrah Hersh

Farrah Hersh is a PhD student in Literature, Media and Culture with a focus on Film and Gender Studies. She is particularly interested in exploring the role women play in sports films and literature. Her other interests include the Modern Western, Romantic Comedy and all things British. Farrah has an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Florida State University. She received an honorable mention for her script The Main Attraction from the Writers Network Screenplay and Fiction Competition.

Christopher Jensen

Christopher Jensen is a PhD candidate in medieval literature with research interests in text reception, adaptation, and the construction of national and personal identities through narrative tradition. He has presented research on Boethius, Margery Kempe, and the Arthurian legend--among other subjects--at numerous international conferences and has forthcoming publications on performative subjectivities and C. S. Lewis's rendering of Merlin. He lives in Tallahassee, FL with his cats, Arthur and Margery.

Kenneth L. Johnson

Kenneth L. Johnson, II is a 3rd year PhD student in English with a concentration in African American Literary and Cultural Studies from Gainesville, FL. He defended his master’s thesis, “Low-cut Caesar with a Shadow Fade: Black Hair Politics and The Canterbury Tales’ Function as Barbershop Space,” in April 2016 and began doctoral study at FSU during the summer of 2016. His research interests include 20th and 21st Century African American narrative, Black masculinity studies, Black queer theory, and Hip-Hop studies, with a specific interest in how Black men use self-writing to reclaim and reconstruct identity. His research has been accepted for presentation at multiple conferences such as Southern American Studies Association (SASA), South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA), and the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). He is a member of the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program, and is the former Vice President of Marketing and Outreach and Vice President of Membership for the National Black Graduate Student Association and former Vice President of the Florida State Black Graduate Student Association. Currently, he serves as a Peer Reviewer for Words, Beats, and Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop. Beyond academic pursuits, Kenny is actively involved at his local church, freelances photography and graphic design, and claims to be the Next Food Network Star. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @kennys6cents.

Heejin Kim

Heejin Kim is a PhD student in English literature focusing in early modern plays. He received his BA and MA in English Literature from Seoul National University.

Samantha Kohlhorst

Samantha Kohlhorst is an MA student in Literature with a primary interest in British Romantic poetry and prose. She holds a BA in English from the Ohio State University with research distinction from her thesis on biblical allusions in Shakespeare's Richard II. She taught math throughout her undergraduate career which initially sparked her interest in learning how to integrate math and other STEM fields into the study of literature.

Molly Marotta

Molly Marotta is a PhD candidate in Literature with a focus on Restoration and 18th century British literature. Her research interests include women’s travel, gender studies, and the stage. She received her MA in English from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her BA in English and Philosophy from Boston College. Most recently, her work has been featured at the SEASECS, SCSECS, and SAMLA conferences. Her work has appeared in Gender Forum and is forthcoming in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era.

Margaret S. Mauk

Margaret S. Mauk is a third-year PhD specializing in 20th-century transatlantic literature and modernism. Her work has been featured in publications such as Mythlore, Marginalia, and The Modernist Review. Her research interests include motherhood, violence/eugenics, and political identity formation. Her work has been presented at Feminisms and Rhetorics, the North American James Joyce Conference, and the University of Portsmouth. She is a recipient of the May Alexander Ryburn fellowship. Margaret received her MA in English from the College of Charleston and The Citadel after earning her BA in English and Communication + Media Studies from Fordham University.

Emilie Mears

Emilie Mears is a PhD candidate in post-1900 American literary and cultural studies with a concentration in Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies. Her research interests include bioregionalism, apocalyptic rhetoric, environmental disasters, and the ecological deep South. She has work published in Confluence and the American Studies Journal. She has most recently presented work at the following conferences: American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2018, South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) 2017, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) 2017, and the Southeastern American Studies Association (SASA) 2017. She is a recipient of the May Alexander Ryburn Fellowship. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Humanities and her master’s in Liberal Studies from Rollins College.

Danielle Mercier

Danielle Mercier is an MA student in nineteenth-century American literature. Her research focuses on women's literacy along with their participation both within the private sphere and the public sphere. In addition, she focuses on the issues surrounding the segregation narrative and the portrayal of mixed-race characters in literature. She is presenting a paper at the 2016 SAMLA Conference. She has a BA in History from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Chris Michaels

Chris Michaels is a fourth-year PhD student in post-1900 literature with a focus in modernism, ecocriticism, and critical theory. He recently attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell and is currently at work on his dissertation entitled Terraforming Modernism. He also has a piece forthcoming in the book Understanding Flusser, Understanding Modernism.

Rita Mookerjee

Rita Mookerjee is a PhD candidate specializing in contemporary literature of the Caribbean with a focus on gender and food studies. Her current research deals with the fiction of Edwidge Danticat and Shani Mootoo. She received the 2017-2018 Edward F. and Marie C. Kingsbury Award and the May Alexander Ryburn Fellowship in 2015. Her recent critical work has been featured in the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory, the Routledge Companion to Food and Literature, and Palaver Journal.

Oluwafunke Brinda Ogunya

Oluwafunke Brinda Ogunya is a PhD Student specializing in African-American Literature and cultural studies. Her research interest focuses on African/Africana folklore, Motherhood, and African/Africana women’s fiction. She received her M.A in African Literature from the University of Ibadan, and a B.A in English Studies from Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut as Foreign Language Teaching Assistant where she taught the Yoruba Language. Currently, she teaches composition and literature courses in the English department.

David Potsubay

David Potsubay is a PhD student in Literature focusing on post-1900 American literature, and more specifically on modernism and postmodernism. Other research interests include Japanese modernist literature, East Asian religion, politics, continental philosophy, post-human studies, and ecocriticism. He has presented papers for the Pennsylvania Association of State System Higher Education’s (PASSHE) Interdisciplinary Association of Philosophy and Religious Studies, the International David Foster Wallace Conference, and the Northeast Modern Language Association, along with several others. He holds a bachelor’s in Creative Writing from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in English from West Virginia University.

Wayne Reed

Wayne Reed is a PhD student studying the cross-section of literature and politics in the early republic and antebellum periods of the United States. He has presented papers at the Southern American Studies Association and the Charles Brockden Brown Society Conference. He is researching the figure of the demagogue and how it is featured in the cultural imagination in the US during the early republic. He received his MA in Literature from University of New Mexico.

Alex Ruhsenberger

Alex Ruhsenberger is a PhD student studying American literature with an interest in Postmodernism, irony, and digital culture. He completed his MA in literature at Montana State University and his BA at Western Washington University. His latest publication was for the Normal 2016 David Foster Wallace Conference and is titled “Infinite Jest, Postmodernism, and Irony: A Brief Guide to Happiness in Our Contemporary Age.” He teaches composition at FSU and is currently writing the next great American book about existential desire, romance, and living in the twenty-first century.

Emily Scott

Emily Scott is a MA student in Literature specializing in early modern literature and working towards obtaining FSU’s Publishing and Editing Certificate. She earned her BA degree in English Literature and Classic Civilizations from Florida State University and her AA degree from the College of Central Florida.

Rosalyn Stilling

Rosalyn Stilling is a first-year Master's Student. She received her B.A. In English Literature from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Her areas of interest are: 18th and 19th Century Gothic literature, Romanticism, fairy tales/ folklore, gender studies, and modern feminist poetry. She is a 2017 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship recipient (The Honors Society of Phi Kappa Phi).

Thomas Tooley

Thomas Tooley is a PhD candidate in English Literature, specializing in post-1900 transatlantic/transnational fiction. His research interests include modern/contemporary fiction, gender and sexuality studies, cinema, literary/cultural theory, and postmodernism/postmodernity. Thomas earned his BFA in film studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and his MA in English literature from the University of Colorado Denver, where he graduated with an emphasis in modernism and gender studies. He is the recipient of the Rex Burns Essay Award for critical research, the Elliot Butt Loyless Doctoral Fellowship, the George Harper Travel Award, the Harmon-Bickley Graduate Fellowship Endowment, and a tuition bursary award from Trinity College Dublin for their annual Samuel Beckett Summer School. Currently, he is at work on his dissertation, where he seeks to reexamine the nature of the simulacrum in post-1960s novels and film.

Camille Vilela

Camille Vilela is a Brazilian PhD student in Literature who focuses on 20th Century British Modernism. A Fulbright scholar, Camille has earned her MA from Texas Tech University in Applied Linguistics. She's interested in building bridges between literature and linguistics through the fields of comparative literature, British Modernism, codeswitching, and bilingualism. She has presented in several conferences in Brazil, Texas and Florida in both fields of Applied Linguistics and Literature.

Nathan Walters

Nathan Walters is an MA candidate in Literature specializing in Southern literature and culture, particularly the expression and representation of gender, sexual, and racial identities within these contexts. He is also interested in Victorian, Romantic, and early American fiction. He received a Bachelor's degree in Literature from Florida State University.

Kelsey Ward

Kelsey Ward is an MA student specializing in post-1900 American literature. Her research interests include the correlations between expatriation and gender. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Florida State University.

Cocoa M. Williams

Cocoa M. Williams is a PhD student in African American Literary and Cultural Studies with a minor concentration in American Modernism and Black Diasporic Modernism. Her research interests include African American women's literature, black modernity, modern African American art, folklore, and African American writer's relationships with the classics, among other interests. She has a BA in English (2005) and a BA in Philosophy (2005) from Valdosta State University. She completed an MA in English at Clemson University in 2007. Cocoa Williams is the recipient of the Ruth Yost Memorial Scholarship, the Leslie N. Wilson-Auzenne Assistantship, and the Bryan Hall Teaching Award. Cocoa's scholarship is forthcoming in the MLA Options for Teaching: Teaching the Harlem Renaissance. Ms. Williams is also a published poet. Her poetry is forthcoming in Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose and december magazine. Cocoa serves on the Graduate Student Library Advisory Board and also the Graduate English Student Organization (G.E.S.O).