Recent Graduate Student Achievements
Kesla Elmore was awarded a 2022 Milton B. Dolinger Graduate Fellowship in Writing from the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State. This fellowship recognizes graduate students who produce excellent written work. Congratulations, Kesla!
Carmin Wong has been awarded a 2022-23 Graduate Voices in Diversity & Inclusion (GVDI) grant by the Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion and BRIDGE Diversity Alliance at Penn State. GVDI grants help fund College of Liberal Arts graduate student initiatives aimed at improving the recruitment, retention, and leadership training of graduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. Carmin will use the funding to hold a literary arts festival celebrating the voices of Black women poets and writers; the festival will emphasize community-building through writing and performance, while providing necessary support for underrepresented creatives of all ages. Congratulations, Carmin!
Pheolyn Hayes and Courtney Murray have been named 2023 Junior Fellows with the Library of Congress. Junior Fellows work with the Library's extensive special collections, bringing awareness to parts of the archive that have historically been underrepresented or marginalized.
Hayes will work with the Library's Archive of Public Broadcasting Online Exhibit Curation program, where he will curate a new exhibit on public broadcasting's coverage of the histories and cultures of Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, and/or communities of color over the past 70 years as part of ongoing efforts to recover, digitally preserve, and make accessible public broadcasting programming.
Murray will work on the Library's Researching the 19th and Early 20th Century Black Press project, performing research and writing essays to increase discoverability of African-American newspaper titles as part of a major initiative to digitize a collection of miscellaneous 19th- and early 20th-century newspapers from the Black American press while expanding collection access and providing context for many individual newspaper titles.
Congratulations, Pheolyn and Courtney, on being awarded these exciting fellowships!
Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar has accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he will serve as an assistant professor in the Technical Writing and Professional Design program. The position will begin in Fall 2024 to enable him to complete his fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars Program. Congratulations to Gabe (and his advisor, Stuart Selber) on this outstanding success on the job market!
Ray Rosas has accepted a tenure-track position at Northern Arizona University, where he will serve as Assistant Professor in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies and direct the university writing program. He looks forward to the opportunity to research and develop Latinx perspectives in writing program administration at NAU, which recently became a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Congratulations, Ray, on this phenomenal job-market success!
Sabrina Evans, winner of the 2022 CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship, has accepted a faculty position at Howard University, where she will serve as an Assistant Professor of English specializing in African American Literature. Howard is home to the Moorland Spingarn Research Center, whose archives are central to Sabrina's research. Congratulations, Sabrina, on this outstanding job market success!
Yolanda Mackey has been awarded a Beinecke Library Research Fellowship to support her dissertation project, “Harlem Re-Imagined: Social Movements, Allyship, and The Politics of Black Diasporic Network.” She will spend several months at Yale University's Beinecke Library conducting research on Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Carl Van Vechten, and Alain Locke. Congratulations, Yolanda, on this exciting research opportunity!
Justin Smith, a past CALS Graduate Research Assistant and recipient of CALS travel funding, has accepted a position at Randolph-Macon College, where he will serve as an Assistant Professor of English and Black Studies. Congratulations, Justin, on this fantastic job market success!
Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar has been awarded the 2023 student scholarship from the Society for Technical Communication. This award honors graduate students whose work—like Gabe's, which centers on undocumented migrants, refugees, and asylees— contributes to technical communication's strive for excellence and diversity. Congratulations, Gabe, on this well-deserved recognition!
Robert Nguyen and Gabriel Lorenzo Aguilar have been awarded the Raymond E. and Roberta Lombra Outstanding Graduate Research Award from the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. This award acknowledges "high-quality contributions" by graduate students in the humanities and social sciences whose work has been published in peer-reviewed journals or books. Rob was recognized for his article "Middle-out from Bottom-up: Engineering and Close Reading Code in HBO’s Silicon Valley," recently published in Configurations. Gabe was recognized for his article "World-Traveling to Redesign a Map for Migrant Women: Humanitarian Technical Communication in Praxis," recently published in Technical Communication. Congratulations, Rob and Gabe, on this great achievement!
Miriam Gonzales, a past CAL Graduate research assistant, has accepted the position of Associate Director of will (a nationally recognized gender and social justice program) and affiliate faculty in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at the University of Richmond. In her administrative role, Miriam will mentor and advise student leaders and supervise will's internship program; in her faculty role, she will help expand WGSS course offerings to include queer studies and environmental humanities, among other areas. As a founding co-coordinator of Penn State's English Grad Futures initiative, Miriam has helped prepare graduate students for diverse career opportunities just like this one—congratulations, Miriam, on your own job market success!
Shannon McClellan Brooks, Ray Rosas, and Lauren Barnes were collectively awarded a Diversity & Inclusion Initiative grant from the Graduate Alliance for Diversity & Inclusion (GADI) in support of their project, “Graduate Community in Conversation: Negotiating the Norms of Academic Writing,” a series of writing workshops for graduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. Shannon, Ray, and Lauren will oversee the inaugural series of workshops starting in Fall 2022. Congratulations to Shannon, Ray, and Lauren!
Akash Belsare has accepted a tenure-track job beginning in Fall 2022 at University of Illinois—Springfield, where he will serve as Assistant Professor of English. Akash earned his PhD at Penn State in 2021 and he completed his dissertation--Humanimal Narratives: Genre and Animality in Contemporary Ethnic Literatures--under the direction of Tina Chen while being supported by a CALS Dissertation Support Award. Congratulations to Akash, and to Tina, for this outstanding success on the job market!
Leland Tabares has accepted a tenure-track position beginning in Fall 2022 at Colorado College, where he will serve as Assistant Professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. Leland earned his PhD in 2018 under the direction of Tina Chen. While completing his dissertation--now his first book project entitled Professionalizing Asian America: Race and Labor in the Twenty-First Century--Leland earned funding support from CALS in the form of a CALS Graduate Research/Training Award. Congratulations to Leland, and to Tina, for this job-market triumph!
Nathaniel Windon, a former CALS Dissertation Fellow, has accepted a tenure-track position beginning in Fall 2022 at Xavier University, where he will serve as Assistant Professor of English (specializing in pre-1900 American literature). Nate earned his PhD in 2018 under the direction of Christopher Castiglia. In addition to serving as a CALS Dissertation Fellow, Nate was also awarded a CALS Graduate Research/Training Award to support research for his dissertation, now his first book project, entitled Superannuation: The Making of Old Age in Nineteenth-Century America. Congratulations to Nate, and to Christopher, for this job-market success!
Courtney Murray has received an honorable mention for the C19 Rising Scholar Prize, awarded by C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists to recognize the top paper presented at its biennial conference by an early-career scholar. Courtney’s paper, “Rebirthing of Henry Box Brown: Interstitial/Feminine Infused Spaces, Places, and Structures in Nineteenth-Century Narratives” was praised by prize judges as “an original and evocative new way of reading Henry Box Brown’s narrative [that] demonstrates a sophisticated engagement with Black feminist and trans studies.” Congratulations, Courtney!
Carmin Wong was awarded a 2022 grant by the Africana Research Center at Penn State to support her research travels abroad in West Africa. The Center provides funding for scholars whose work focuses on the African Diaspora, particularly utilizing an interdisciplinary approach. Congratulations, Carmin!
Carmin, along with higher education graduate student Gabriel Pulido, was also awarded multiple university sponsorships to support her and Gabriel's digital interdisciplinary archival project, TRACING: Black Women's Poetry from 1895 to the Present. This project invites contemporary Black women poets to engage with and (re)interpret the writings of late 19th- and early 20th-century Black women poets to illuminate the voices of Black women writers often underrepresented or overshadowed in history. By upholding the lives, legacies, and interiority of these Black women poets, TRACING positions oral poetry within literary studies and gives space to Black women whose intellectual and artistic contributions and/or personal identities have not historically been recognized in academic discourse. Congratulations, Carmin and Gabriel!
Rob Nguyen has received the David G. Hartwell Emerging Scholar Award given by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. The Award honors "an outstanding student paper" presented at the Association's annual conference. Rob's paper, "Cybernetics and Ancillary Justice: Embodiment, Crisis and Resistance," treats Ann Leckie's space opera Ancillary Justice and was originally written in Tina Chen's 2020 Speculative Fictions seminar. Congratulations, Rob!
Andrew Erlandson has earned an honorable mention for the inaugural C19 Rising Scholar Prize. The Rising Scholars Prize is given by C19: the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists to a scholar in the early stages of their career who presents the top paper at the Society’s biennial conference. Andrew’s paper, “Intemperate Reform: Crip Associations in Walt Whitman’s Franklin Evans,” treats the unexpected, queer associations formed through alcoholism in Whitman’s temperance novel and offers, through disability studies, a counter narrative to scholarly perspectives on nineteenth-century reform movements. The paper will serve as part of Andrew's dissertation on the relationships between disability and democracy in nineteenth-century America. Congratulations, Andrew!
Justin Mellette, Visiting Lecturer of English at Northeastern University and a former recipient of a CALS Travel Grant, has published Peculiar Whiteness: Racial Anxiety and Poor Whites in Southern Literature, 1900-1965 (University Press of Mississippi, 2021). Peculiar Whiteness engages key issues in contemporary critical race studies, whiteness studies, and Southern studies through discussions of authors including Charles Chesnutt, Thomas Dixon, Sutton Griggs, Erskine Caldwell, Lillian Smith, William Faulkner, and Flannery O’Connor. Congratulations to Justin!
Miriam Gonzales, the 2018-19 CALS Graduate Research Assistant, has won a Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion Service Award. The Service Award is awarded to a College of the Liberal Arts graduate student who has made a significant contribution to diversity, inclusion, and social justice in service of marginalized graduate students.
Liana Glew, the 2017-18 CALS Graduate Research Assistant, has been awarded the 2020-21 Early Career Prize from the History of the Human Sciences. Her essay, "Documenting insanity: Paperwork and patient narratives in psychiatric history" is currently under review for publication in the journal.
Eunice Toh, the 2020-21 CALS Graduate Research Assistant, has received the 2020 Katharine Rodier Graduate Student Travel Award from the Society of the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. Her paper, "Blackness, the Underground, and Quotidian Fugitivity in Pauline Hopkins's Winona," was presented at the Society's annual conference in March 2021.
Megan Poole, winner of a 2017-2018 CALS Travel Grant to support her research, has accepted a tenure track position beginning in Fall 2020 in the English department at the University of Louisville. In February 2020, Megan successfully defended her dissertation, Technical Beauty: Rhetorics and Aesthetics of Science, directed by Dr. Debra Hawhee.
Nathaniel Windon, a past CALS Dissertation Fellow and a recipient of a CALS Graduate Award for Research or Training Seminars, has been awarded a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Nathaniel, who defended his dissertation, "Gilded Old Age: Superannuation and the Making of Old Age in Nineteenth-Century America" (Dr. Christopher Castiglia, director) in December 2018, will be in residence at the Library Company of Philadelphia during 2019-20.
Patrick Allen, former recipient of the 2018 CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship, has accepted a tenure-track job beginning in Fall 2020 as Assistant Professor of English at Culver-Stockton College. His summer research on early Black women physicians' printed critical medical humanism resulted in an article titled "'We must attack the system': The Print Practice of Black 'Doctresses'" published by Arizona Quarterly.
Laura Vrana, Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Alabama, has published The Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas (Wesleyan UP), which she co-edited with Aldon Nielsen, the George and Barbara Kelly Professor of American Literature. Lorenzo Thomas (1944-2005) was the youngest member of the Society of Umbra, predecessor of the Black Arts Movement. The Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas is the first volume to encompass his entire writing life. In a career that spanned decades, Thomas constantly experimented with form and subject, while still writing poetry deeply rooted in the traditions of African American aesthetics. Congratulations to Laura and Aldon!
Leland Tabares, winner of a CALS Award for a Research or Training Seminar, has been named the 2019-2020 Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary American Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Leland's research and teaching interests center on literature, labor, and racialization in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American culture, and he recently defended his dissertation under the direction of Tina Chen. Entitled _Professionalizing Asian America: Race & Labor in the Twenty-First Century_, the project traces how Asian Americans’ increasing representation in a diverse range of contemporary industry professions enculturate new conceptions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and belonging. Well done, Leland!
Sarah Adams, winner of a 2016 CALS Award for a Research or Training Seminar, has accepted a position as the Writing Program Administrator and Summer Bridge Program Coordinator Berea College (KY). Sarah recently defended her dissertation, entitled _Learning to Listen: A History of Listening Pedagogies and Practices in Music and Rhetoric_, which was directed by Debbie Hawhee.
Derek Lee, a former CALS Graduate Research Assistant, has been awarded the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His recently defended dissertation, Parascientific Revolutions, examines the paranormal mind and traces how unorthodox theories of consciousness have evolved from occult modernism into contemporary speculative fiction, Asian American ghost narratives, and other genres by analyzing a variety of traditional and untraditional scientific discourses. Congratulations, Derek!
Jason Maxwell, 2013 CALS Summer Dissertation Fellow, has a new book, The Two Cultures of English: Literature, Composition, and the Moment of Rhetoric, out now from Fordham University Press. Jason will also transition onto the tenure track beginning fall 2019, serving as Assistant Professor of English at the University at Buffalo. Jason credits his time spent as a CALS Fellow as an important moment in his professional maturation at Penn State: "The CALS award gave me the space and time to develop the material in my dissertation in a way that wouldn't have otherwise been possible. The award supported me at a crucial moment in my professional development as a scholar, and its effects can still be felt many years later."
Aaren Pastor has received a Hemingway Research Grant from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for Summer 2019. Aaren will travel to Boston to work with the manuscript for Hemingway's posthumously published The Garden of Eden. Her project, which originated in Sandra Spanier's Fall 2017 Hemingway & Boyle graduate seminar, and continued during the 2018 International Hemingway Conference, focuses on gender performativity and gender masquerade in The Garden of Eden.
Jo Hsu, winner of the grand prize for the 2015 CALS writing contest, has accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of Arkansas. Their research interests concern the use of personal narratives for different political and institutional motives, particularly in the context of diversity and multiculturalism. Jo also holds an M.F.A. in creative writing (fiction) from Penn State.
Michelle Huang, former CALS Graduate Research Assistant, has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of English and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, beginning in Fall 2017. She completed her dissertation, entitled "Molecular Aesthetics: Race, Form, and Matter in Contemporary Asian American Literature," in spring 2017.
Laura Vrana has accepted a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in African American Literature for 2017-2018 at Rutgers University. Laura recently defended her dissertation on black women's poetry and the politics of publication, literary prizes/awards, and academic institutions entitled "Writing Transgressions: Publication Contexts and the Politics of Recognition in Contemporary Black Women's Poetry."
Sarah Salter has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of 19th Century Literature at the Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, where she served as a Visiting Assistant Professor for the 2016-2017 academic year. Salter completed her dissertation, entitled "Patterns of Recognition and Imagination from Italy and the United States" in 2014.
Michael New, recipient of a CALS Graduate Award for a Research or Training Seminar, recently completed his dissertation on jazz and African American poetry under the direction of Aldon Neilsen. Dr. New was a lecturer in English and American Studies at Keene University, but in fall 2016, he began a tenure-track assistant professorship at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, where he will teach in the areas of African American literature, poetry, and cultural studies.
Micah Donahue, winner of a CALS Graduate Award for a Research or Training Seminar, defended his dissertation, “The Whirlpool and the Mountain: Scenes of Cannibalistic Worlding in American Literature” (Sean Goudie and Thomas Beebee, Co-Directors), in summer 2015. In Fall 2016, Donohue began a tenure-track assistant professorship at Eastern New Mexico University where his teaching duties will focus on Latin@ literature, film, and Western regional literatures
Robert Birdwell, winner of a CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship, completed his dissertation entitled "The Radical Novel: Utopian and Scientific. A Study of Genre and Recognition," and began a post-doctoral fellowship at Michigan State University in fall 2016.