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.

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 fifth-year PhD candidate specializing in American literature and culture before 1900. His research interests include politics, revolutions, insurgencies, philosophy, social sciences, affect theory, crowd theory, and psychoanalysis. His article “The Science of Psychopathy and Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’” is published in the spring 2018 edition of The Edgar Allan Poe Review. He has presented papers at the Northeast Modern Language Association, the Southeastern American Studies Association, and others. He teaches American Literature and composition courses. Philip has an MA in English from Florida State University and a BA in English and philosophy from Flagler College (St. Augustine, FL).

Farrah Hersh

Farrah Hersh is a second year PhD student in Literature, Media and Culture with a focus in Screen Studies. She is particularly interested in the Western, Film Noir and Sports genres. 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.

Holly Horner

Holly Horner is a third-year PhD student in Literature focusing on British Romantic literature and Digital Humanities. Her research interests include the nineteenth-century gothic novel, Romantic women poets, and digital applications to literary studies. She holds a B.A. in English from Flagler College and a M.A. from Florida State University. Most recently, her work on Charlotte Smith has been featured in Tokyo, Japan for The Japanese Association for Digital Humanities (JADH) and Birmingham, Alabama for South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA).

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.

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.

Daniel Raschke

I’m a first-year PhD student born and raised in Germany focusing on American modernism, ludo-narratology, and post-humanism. My other research interests include early American literature, utopias, and the Western. I have presented papers at New Voices and the Southern Studies Conference. I earned my BA and MA in American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany and studied English Literature at Georgia State University on a year-long exchange scholarship. I am also the recipient of the Elliot Butt Loyless Doctoral Fellowship, and was awarded a DAAD stipend and Hans Galinsky Memorial Prize.

Alex Ruhsenberger

Alex Ruhsenberger, a PhD Graduate TA at FSU, studies World Literature (1945-present), Post-Colonialism, and Critical Theory. Additional research interests include Revolution, Media studies, and Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics as a method for reading history and literature. Ruhsenberger got his MA from Montana State University, and did his thesis on the problems of American happiness and irony in popular culture in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The thesis, in part, is published in Normal 2016: Selected Works. Ruhsenberger has just completed a project on Revolution, the Will, and Hannah Arendt, which will soon be out for review. Ruhsenberger is also working on a project that deals with media, violence, and ideology, and its relationship in Western Culture to the Roman Colosseum.

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.

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).