Graduate Student Profiles
Alan Blair, Ph.D. Student
Originally from eastern New Mexico, Alan studied English and Political Science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he earned his B.A. in 2001. After a stint in corporate America, he returned to academia, studying literature and film at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, earning his Master's degree in English in 2011. Alan came to SLU in the fall of 2011, entering the field of American Studies as a means of broadening the scope of his research. His primary scholarly interest is popular music in American culture, and he designed and instructed a course on that subject in the fall of 2013. Alan's other research interests include film, visual culture studies, American literature, and post-World War II U.S. history. But more than anything else, he really wants to talk to you about your favorite band. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Boudreau, Ph.D. Student
I am a doctoral candidate. My proposed dissertation will explore the presentation and the perception of teachers in American society. I received my undergraduate degree in English and Secondary Education at Washington University in St. Louis. After teaching high school English for six years and completing my M.A. in English and American Literature at Georgetown University, I returned to St. Louis to complete my doctorate.
Brandy Boyd, Ph.D. Student
I am a PhD candidate in the American Studies program, and I have also obtained my certificate in women's studies. I have BA and MA degrees in political science from Eastern Illinois University, emphases in international relations and comparative politics, and an MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. My research interests include Southern history and culture, women's studies, and American country music. My dissertation centers on the politics of American country music, specifically women's representations and struggles within the country music genre. In the summer of 2008, I completed an internship with the Oral History department at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. Recently, I presented research regarding Tammy Wynette and feminism at the SLU Feminist Epistemologies colloquium.
Aretha D. Butler, Ph.D. Student
I am a first year Ph.D. student originally from the Bronx, NY. I graduated from DePauw University with a Bachelor's Degree in Black Studies and Women's Studies. My Black Studies thesis focused on Hip-Hop feminism, generational strife among feminist waves and explored how women use rap music to advance feminist theory. After graduating from DePauw, I became a Teach For America Corps Member in Harlem, NY where my interest in educational inequities was sparked. My current scholarly interests include media representations of Black women, hip-hop and Black feminisms, Black women in the criminal justice system and hair politics in the African Diaspora. I can be reached at email@example.com
Kimberly Cowan, Ph.D. Student
After finishing my undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education, I became both teacher and student, which keeps me connected to life in front of the desk as well as behind it. While teaching high school English, I have completed my M.A. in English and the Gateway Writing Project certificate in the teaching of writing. Although I lean in certain directions when it comes to my studying/teaching literature, my interests for my dissertation research vary by the day; therefore, I have no focus (this sums me up pretty perfectly).
Sabrina Davis, Ph.D. Student
After receiving my B.A. in History from CUNY-Baruch College in 2003 and my M.A. in English from Florida Atlantic University in 2005, I came to SLU's American Studies department to study film adaptations of Jewish American literature (specifically investigating Jewish identity as portrayed on the page vs. on the screen). Immediately following the completion of my coursework, I spent a year as a visiting full-time instructor in the English department at East Central College and I currently teach full-time at Nassau Community College in New York. I am slowly finding a way to balance my faculty responsibilities and my graduate work, and I hope to complete my literature review by the end of this year and become ABD in Spring 2010.
Melissa Ford, Ph.D. Student
I am a St. Louis native, is in my third year in the program. I graduated with a B.A. from Wellesley College in 2009, focusing on political theory. At SLU I have continued my passion for theory and do my best to incorporate it into American Studies. I am now focusing on black Marxism, radical social movement, and possibly transnational feminism or Diaspora studies or Pan-Africanism. It changes every day, so feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian W. Greening, Ph.D. Student
I received my B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota and my M.A. in English from the University of Saint Thomas. I'm currently a PhD candidate in SLU's American Studies program, where my interests have ranged from hip hop to southern history to race relations and resistance movements. My dissertation research focuses on New Orleans, the Louisiana Superdome, and other spectacular projects planned and completed in the 40-year span between two of the most disastrous hurricanes-Betsy and Katrina-to hit the Crescent City. Essentially, I use these building projects and mega events to answer a simple question: What represents contemporary New Orleans? In addition to my work on the dissertation, I serve as the assistant director for Augsburg College's McNair Scholars program. I also design and teach literature courses at the St. Thomas. My recent courses, titled "Revolution in Texts," "Gender, Race and the City in Literature" and "A River and its City: Tales of New Orleans," enable me to tap into lessons learned at SLU on the interconnectedness of history, journalism, English and various other disciplines housed in the humanities. I'm accompanied in Minneapolis, MN by my wife, Laura, my son, Adam, and a number of dogs and cats.
Nicole Haggard, Ph.D. Student
Before coming to SLU I received my B.A. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. My scholarly interests revolve around the representation of race and gender in popular media. I finished up my coursework at SLU and am now working on my dissertation which explores the intersection of black masculinity and white femininity in Hollywood Cinema. While serving as a Graduate Assistant for the Department I had the opportunity to design and teach my own class, "Rated R: Race Sex and Hollywood." This was an amazing experience both personally and professionally that not a lot of other Universities offer to their graduate students. This fall I am presenting a paper at the annual Film and History conference. I currently live in LA, work in Entertainment, and escape to the Academy of Motion Pictures library and archive every chance I get!
Robert Hansee, M.A. Student
Born in the St. Louis area, Robert completed his undergraduate work at DePaul University in 2008 with a Bachelor's in American Studies and in English. After a five year absence from the world of academia, he is currently enrolled in the Master's program at St. Louis University. His area of interests include mid-to-late 20th century popular culture as well as subversive political and social movements within multi-media; particularly those found in super hero comic books. He may be reached at email@example.com
Trevin Jones, Ph.D. Student
I am a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies and my research interests are African American male prison writers: masculinity, enlightenment, and spirituality. I am an avid reader of nonfiction and after I read Soul on Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver, followed by The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I continued reading prison narratives by African American males. My research on African American male prison writers explores the dehumanizing effects of incarceration, as well as the different spiritual paths males in this study embark on in their quest for emotional / psychological freedom. In addition to studying at Saint Louis University, I am a full-time English professor at Saint Louis Community College, where I teach courses in creative writing, composition, and literature. I am a native of Oklahoma and I completed my BA in English at the University of Oklahoma. After completing my undergraduate degree, I moved to Virginia where I received my MA degree in English from Old Dominion University. Also, I received a certificate in creative nonfiction from Washington University, St. Louis.
Adam Kloppe, Ph.D. Student
Adam is a Ph.D. student at St. Louis University. He earned his B.A. from Westminster College, and his M.A. in American Studies from SLU. He is currently developing a dissertation topic. He has interests in: technology and culture; US imperialism in the twentieth century; and the use of space and place in theme parks, malls, World's Fairs, and other places of consumption. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Koschmann, Ph.D. Student
Mark is a PhD student in American Studies with an emphasis in twentieth-century urban social and cultural studies, race and identity, and religion in America. He presented a paper titled "Lutherans as Civil Rights Activists in Chicago" at the MAASA conference (spring 2012) and a second paper at the Lutheran Historical Conference titled "The Impact of White Flight on Urban Lutheran Congregations" (fall 2012). Before coming to SLU, he earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Valparaiso University and studied the Humanities in their interdisciplinary honors college, Christ College. He completed a Master of Divinity at Concordia Seminary in 2011 where he studied Christian theology, ethics, and religion in America. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and serves as assistant pastor at Chapel of the Cross in North County St. Louis. He can be reached at email@example.com
Susan S. Lee, Ph.D. Student
Susan Savage Lee has a Bachelor's in Creative Writing from Webster University, a Bachelor's in Spanish from SLU, a Master's in Spanish from SLU, and a Master's in English from the University of South Florida. Susan also has a certification in Comparative Literary Studies. She is currently working on her Ph.D. Her interests include: the connections between Native American and Arab-American identity in literature and film, transnationalism, and cultural studies.
Michael McCollum. Ph.D. Student
I am a native of Atlanta, Ga. and I moved to St. Louis in August 2009. I am currently a fourth-year Ph.D. student. I earned a masters degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder and bachelor degrees in English and mass communications from Auburn University in Alabama. I worked as a general reporter for the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Co., and The Denver Post, as well as a TV reporter for Georgia Public Broadcasting. I was the assistant news editor for the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Miss., and prior to SLU I was the education and environment reporter for the Steamboat Pilot & Today in Steamboat Springs, Co. I also worked in radio, cable television, and as a video editor for Mountain Sports Media in Boulder, Co. My masters thesis was on the millennium generation's impact on the Peace Corps, a project that allowed me to travel throughout Costa Rica and Panama. My areas of academic interest include Southern Intellectual History and Rise of the "New Right." I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard A. Morales, Ph.D. Student
Down to Santa Rosa over the Bay, across the Grapevine to LA. I am a second year Ph.D. student, and have come to SLU to study the various approaches to music and cultural scholarship within the urban landscape. In doing so, I wish to expand on the current trends in American Studies and research the effects that sound and the built environment have on issues of gender, class, and ethnicity. My other research areas include American masculinity and postmodern literature. I received my B.A. in Humanities from San Francisco State University, and my M.A. in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton.
Alison Morrow, M.A. Student
Alison Morrow is a recent graduate from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she received her Bachelors degree in Africana Studies with a Music Industry minor. She is a native of St. Louis, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in American Studies. Alison has multiple interests which include African American history and culture, adaptations of slavery within new media, and the African Diaspora. If you would like to contact Alison, she can be reached at email@example.com.
Eva Navarijo, Ph.D. Student
As a seventh year doctoral student, I am busy with literature reviews, a comprehensive exam, and preparation for my dissertation. My areas of focus include Latino Studies, Migration Studies, historiography, and transnationalism. I came to SLU as a proud recipient of a Diversity Fellowship. Prior, I received a BA in English from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington where I also served as a McNair Scholar. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Preiss Odom, Ph.D. Student
Rebecca received her master's degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and her bachelor's degree in History from Haverford College. Her dissertation, entitled "Negotiating Hyphenated Identities: German-Americans during World War I," examines St. Charles, Missouri, and its German-American residents' experiences during the First World War. Her project uses photographs and documents to illuminate broader national and transnational relationships and to explore issues of ethnic identity, community, nation, and memory. She is the past recipient of a Dissertation Fellowship from the German Historical Institute and an Elizabeth Perkins Museum Education Fellowship from the Museums of Old York. She has delivered papers related to her dissertation research at conferences in the U.S. and in Germany. She has also worked as a museum professional in museum education, collections, exhibits, and research. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Nick Porter, Ph.D. Student
Originally from Eastleigh in the UK, I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Master's Degree in Popular Culture. My thesis analyzed representations of race within American professional wrestling, an area of study that has retained my interest since moving to St. Louis. Additionally, my scholarly interests extend to other forms of popular culture such as music from the late twentieth century to the present. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lou W. Robinson, Ph.D. Student
I am a Ph.D. student currently preparing for my oral exams. My current academic interests are Progressive era race riots, memory, and critical discourse analysis. Questions about race, class, and gender followed me from the South to the Midwest. Nevertheless, I pursued a career in occupational therapy and continue to teach in the field (B.S., occupational therapy, U of I, Chicago). I received an M.S. in mass communications from SIUE, seeking to understand the role of the media in health promotion and representation of racial and ethnic groups. Discovering that my family had resided on a site of the 1917 East St. Louis Race Riot ignited my current academic interests. I have made conference presentations on the riot and fashion, and the riot and commemoration. I integrate my diverse interests through creative writing and teaching. This summer, my script of racial events occurring in the metro area over the last hundred years served as the foundation for a dance performance, "Muddy River," produced by Gitana Productions, Inc. I also won first place in the UMSL E. Desmond Lee Playwriting Competition for my one-act play exploring southern Missouri vagrancy laws. Other award-winning and/or produced plays have explored interracial father-daughter relationships, sexual orientation, and the use of coded quilts during slave escapes. Another woman troubling American discourse. You can contact me at email@example.com
Anna Schmidt, Ph.D. Student
Prior to moving to St. Louis in 2010, I lived in Spokane, Washington, where I received a MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Eastern Washington University. While working on that degree, I served as Poetry Editor for Willow Springs Literary Magazine and taught creative writing workshops to adults in the community. I also have a BA in English Literature and African American Studies from Arizona State University. My research interests are in U.S. multiethnic and transnational literature, modern and contemporary American poetry, and practices of religion and spirituality in American culture. I'm in my fourth year as a PhD student and am preparing for my comprehensive exams. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Shields, Ph.D. Student
I earned a B.A. in American History and Spanish from Willamette University in 2004. Since joining the department in 2006, I've received my M.A. and am currently writing my dissertation, "A History of the Animal Rights Movement: 1865-2012." I hold a certificate in University Teaching Skills from the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning and taught the first animal studies course, "Animals in American Culture," at SLU. I received the 2010 Britches Graduate Scholar of the Year award from the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. I believe academic study should have practical social implications and have nurtured this ideology in the supportive and challenging environment of SLU's Department of American Studies.
Nicholas Smith, Ph.D. Student
Ordained as a priest in 1994 for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, I have been a faculty member at SLU since 1986 and teach Theological Foundations and American Christianity. I am also a part-time Campus Minister at SLU coordinating the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program. In addition to my teaching and campus ministry responsibilities, I am the faculty moderator for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi fraternities and the SLU Lacrosse Team. I am also the part-time associate pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in south St. Louis City. I received a bachelor of arts degree from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, a master of arts degree from Saint Louis University, and both master of arts and master of divinity degrees from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. I am focusing on Roman Catholicism in the United States. The topic of my dissertation is Roman Catholic military chaplains in the Iraq War.
Karen Smyth, Ph.D. Student
Karen Smyth received her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Women's Studies from Skidmore College in 2005. Her interests in both fields and her Mormon-heavy hometown of Houston led to senior theses on women in the Mormon church. Karen received a Master of Arts in American Studies from The College of William and Mary in early 2011, and her Master's thesis discussed the Mormon culture and doctrine prevalent in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga. She realizes this is the best topic ever and her work on Twilight will partly inform her dissertation on Mormon-Catholic relations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Karen is very interested in how popular culture and religion intersect in America, and also how those subjects are seen through a feminist lens. She is a fourth year PhD candidate working on the dissertation proposal, dissertation, and fellowship and grant applications. She loves to answer questions so please email her at email@example.com
Cathryn Stout, Ph.D. Student
Fusing a background in journalism with research on the Global South, Cathryn Stout earned a Bachelor's degree in Theater and American Studies from Wellesley College and a Master's degree in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. In her doctoral studies at Saint Louis University she is researching the ways in which narrative history is not just a genre, but also an essential methodological approach in ethnic and cultural studies. She has studied abroad at the British American Dramatic Academy in London and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In addition to her academic career, she formerly worked as a reporter for the daily newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, and taught writing at Choate Rosemary Hall.
Corinne Wohlford Taff, Ph.D. Student
After finishing undergraduate degrees in art history and English at Wittenberg University in Ohio, I moved to Japan for a year to teach English. I moved to Saint Louis in 1998 to attend Washington University's MFA program in poetry writing, and I finished that degree in 2000. Shortly thereafter, I began teaching English at Fontbonne University, across the street. After earning my MA in American studies from SLU in 2006, I began teaching American studies and history at Fontbonne. I am now an assistant professor of American history and culture and director of interdisciplinary initiatives at the school. I teach a wide variety of courses relating to my major fields in transnationalism, race, and public memory. My dissertation explores American popular responses to recent natural disasters abroad, especially in Haiti and Japan.
Maurice Tracy, Ph.D. Student
I received my B.A. in political science from Eastern Illinois University in 2005; in 2007 I received my M.A. in English. I began the path toward a doctoral degree in American studies here at Saint Louis University in 2007. I recently completed my oral exam and I am currently working on my dissertation proposal. My fields of interest include: queer studies, visual culture studies, and US citizenship studies, and in each field I tend to focus on the experiences of either gay and lesbian people or black queer people. I have found the faculty in this department to be very understanding and extremely helpful. I have cultivated a community of support here that would be hard to replicate elsewhere.
Joshua Woodard, Ph.D. Student
I am a first year PhD student originally from Mobile, Al. I attended the University of Alabama where I attained a B.A. in Business Management and an M.A. in American Studies. While at UA, I focused on 20th century history with a concentration on popular culture in the post WWII era. One of my projects examined the representation of 1960s American counter culture through the cinematic lens of the films Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music and Gimme Shelter, the films associated with Woodstock and Altamont. I also went on to design and teach a one hour freshman level course based on the same research. Now at SLU, I will continue to focus on post WWII popular culture with a concentration in the Cold War era.