Graduate Student Profiles
Kate Boudreau, Ph.D. Candidate
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. Candidate
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bayard Clark, Ph.D. Candidate
Raised in the Carolinas, Bayard graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American history. There, he was a John M. Morehead Scholar and the recipient of a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship. After four years service as a lLieutenant in the United States Navy, he attended Emory University School of Llaw, and thereafter, transferred to St. Louis University School of Law, where he obtained a Juris Doctorate in 1975. He is a member of the Missouri Bar. In 1972, he began a thirty-eight year career in commercial banking, first as a commercial loan officer with Boatmen's National Bank, and then, for the last thirty-four years with Commerce Bancshares before retiring in 2010. At Commerce, he served as the company's Chief Financial Officer for thirteen years before retiring. In August 2012, he was appointed chief financial officer for the Missouri History Museum. Bayard has served on numerous civic and community boards, including Saint Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts, Boys and Girls Town of Missouri, Confluence St. Louis, Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis County, and FOCUS St. Louis. He is a past participant in Leadership St. Louis and currently serves as a trustee of Webster University and on the leadership council of Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Bayard is presently in what he labels the "revisions" phase of writing his dissertation, entitled "Forgotten Eyewitnesses: English Women Travel Writers and the Economic Development of America's Antebellum West." He hopes to defend in Fall 2012.
Michelle L. Cordone, Ph.D. Student
After receiving a B.A. in professional writing from Wheeling Jesuit University, in Wheeling, West Virginia, I spent 10 years working in the field of college admissions. I made the extremely difficult decision to quit my job and become a full time graduate student at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. I graduated with an M.A. in popular culture after completing a thesis on vernacular architecture. Although I assumed that vernacular architecture was going to remain my primary focus as I worked toward a Ph.D. at SLU, I somehow stumbled onto fandom and new media and never looked back. When I am not reading up on those topics, I love to take road trips in order to take pictures of bizarre roadside attractions. In spite of the change in my academic direction, my love of kitschy architectural forms is still very strong. I also volunteer for the HALO Foundation, which offers art therapy and life skills workshops to homeless and foster youth in Kansas City. HALO has several branches in the United States, and in five other countries, and yet only has three paid employees. Everything else is done by volunteers, so one of my primary functions is to recruit volunteers. I also had the unique opportunity to create an Apprenticeship Program which provides not only jobs, but an orientation on basic professionalism, clothing and supplies, and mentors from both HALO and the business to enable the youth to build a network of trusted adults. After all of my years as a student, and as an employee in the world of academia, this one experience has me rethinking my choices and, as much as I love academia, convincing me that my place is in the non-profit world.
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: email@example.com
Brian W. Greening, Ph.D. Candidate
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. Candidate
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!
Elizabeth Herbert, M.A. Student
First-year M.A. student. She received her B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007 where she majored in Spanish and Psychology. Since 2007 she has traveled solo across the United States, received her TESOL certification in Costa Rica, taught ESL at a private academy in Leon, Nicaragua, and worked as a paralegal for far too long at a law firm in Richmond, Virginia. While she is inclined to assert that her interests in the field of American Studies rest primarily with the exploration of the Central American immigrant experience in the United States, she acknowledges that this may change/morph/adapt/be completely abandoned as her studies progress. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jackie Kirouac-Fram, Ph.D. Candidate
After seven years of work in the non-profit sector, I came to SLU in the fall of 2006. Having worked for several years raising funds for programs that serve low-income families, my interests in the American Studies program are greatly informed by what I saw as the practical daily challenges faced by poor and working class individuals. Much of my work over the past four years at SLU has dealt with race, class, and social policy in St. Louis, which for students interested in urban studies is one of the best case study cities to explore in the United States. My forthcoming dissertation examines racial connotations of the American urban bus through the lenses of critical race theory, the politics of public space, and visual culture theory. Feel free to email me: email@example.com.
Adam Kloppe, Ph.D. Candidate
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
I am a PhD student in American Studies with an emphasis in religion in America, urban issues, African American studies, and the intersection between the Christian church and American culture. I 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." Before coming to SLU, I earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Valparaiso University and studied the Humanities in their interdisciplinary honors college, Christ College. I completed a Master of Divinity at Concordia Seminary in 2011 where I studied Christian theology, ethics, and religion in America. I am an ordained Lutheran pastor and serve as assistant pastor at Chapel of the Cross in North County St. Louis. I can be reached at email@example.com
Susan S. Lee, Ph.D. Candidate
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
California All the Way. I received my B.A. in Humanities from San Francisco State University, and my M.A. in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton. I am a first year Ph.D. student, and have come to SLU to study the various approaches to music 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 environment have on issues of gender, class, and ethnicity. My other research areas include radical thought and postmodern literature in America. I am very happy to be the recipient of both the Sally Casanova California Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and SLU's own Graduate Diversity Fellowship. On a personal note, I'd like to say thanks to the American Studies faculty/staff and graduate students for making me feel so welcome in this great city. Feel free to read my current articles and music reviews at diginmag.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 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 centrury to the present. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Preiss Odom, Ph.D. Candidate
After working in the museum field as an educator, a curator, and a consultant, I came to SLU in 2008 to pursue my Ph.D. Previously, I earned a bachelor's degree in history from Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania and a master's degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Cooperstown, New York. In my dissertation, I examine German ethnic identity and cultural practices during World War I through the lens of transnationalism and photography. I will soon be conducting research in Washington, DC as a Dissertation Fellow at the German Historical Institute. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessie Renata Roth, M.A. Student
I am a second year graduate student with a BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an emphasis in violin performance and history. During my undergrad years I enjoyed classical music history and tutored an undergraduate music history course. I am interested in religion's role in music through the field of music therapy. I am also interested in evangelical Christianity's role in non-profit charity organizations transnationally today. Mostly recently I am directing my focus toward Christianity and its foodways. I am exploring Christian eating traditions in America and the resulting cultures formed around these traditions. I am also interested in these traditions' connection with the transnational urban agricultural movement today.
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 ever-evolving but are currently focused on: the study of poetry from cultural studies perspectives, comparative multiethnic literature, and the diverse practices of religion in American culture. I'm in my third year as a PhD student and am finishing my coursework and preparing for oral exams. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
Laura Shields, Ph.D. Candidate
I earned a B.A. in American History and Spanish from Willamette University in 2004. Since joining the department in 2006, I've focused primarily on studying the intersection between race, critical animal studies and prison studies within American Studies. I am interested in the study of institutions and policies that contain and control populations based on race and species identities. My upcoming dissertation proposal explores the history of the Animal Rights movement in the United States and the role prison discourses play in creating human and animal American identities. 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 am currently an associate editor for the Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) and recently published the July 2012 JCAS Special Issue: Prison and Animals. 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.
Brenda Joy Smith, Ph.D. Student
I am a Ph.D. student who enjoys studying urbanism, visual culture, and rhetoric. I received a Masters degree in Communication from SLU in 2010, and a B.F.A. in Illustration and Graphic Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1983. I worked as a graphic designer for 25 years, specializing in print and publications. I retired from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, where I was Volunteer Program Coordinator at a very large mental health clinic in Watts. I examine African American culture and urban visual rhetoric.
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, Texas led her to write her 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 is leaning towards writing more on Twilight for her dissertation. Maybe. Karen is very interested in how popular culture and religion, specifically American religion, intersect, and also how those subjects are seen through a feminist lens. She is a third year PhD student studying for the following orals fields: American religious history from 1830-present, women and gender history from 1970s to present, and popular culture and cultural theory post WW2. She loves to answer questions so please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Stiebel, Ph.D. Student
I have completed my coursework in American Studies at Saint Louis University and am looking ahead to becoming ABD. My current scholarship focuses on Cold War gender ideologies as represented in post Cold War apocalypse films. I possess an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing, both from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I was co-editor of the 2009 anthology Are We Feeling Better Yet: Women Speak About Health Care in America, published by PenUltimate Press. My poetry has appeared in Georgetown Review, White Pelican Review, Natural Bridge, Coe Review, Blueline, A Chaos of Angels, The Familiar, and Rockhurst Review, among others. Currently I am on the road to tenure in the English department at SUNY Orange. I live in Middletown, New York with my husband and son.
Cathryn Stout, Ph.D. Student
Fusing a background in journalism and the arts with research on the American South, I began my work in American Studies at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. There, I studied at the British American Dramatic Academy in London, and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and American Studies in 2003. After Wellesley, I began my current roles as a consultant for Echoes of Truth youth arts program in Memphis and writing teacher for Choate Rosemary Hall summer programs in Wallingford, Conn. From 2003-2009, I also worked as a fulltime reporter and columnist for my hometown newspaper, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. The highlights of my journalism career include writing a confessional journalism column called Chick Chat and covering the Inauguration of President Baraka Obama. A challenge from the newspaper's editor to discover feature stories that were "uniquely Southern" led me to the Southern Studies Master's program at the University of Mississippi in the fall of 2009.
While enrolled at Ole Miss, I presented on culturally sustainable tourism at the Southern American Studies Association 2011 annual conference; studied school desegregation policies abroad at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa; and received my Master of Arts degree in Southern Studies in May 2011. Through my doctoral work at Saint Louis University, I hope to continue my research on the complex and evolving contemporary American South and its portrayal in popular culture.
Corinne Wohlford Taff, Ph.D. Candidate
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 created and now teach in an American Culture Studies minor program at Fontbonne. I am now in my tenth year of teaching at Fontbonne, my third as chair of the newly formed Interdisciplinary Studies department. I continue my creative work when time allows. Although I currently focus on transnationalism, race, and public memory, my research interests also include literature, visual culture (especially photography), the family, and the Cold War.
Maurice Tracy, Ph.D. Candidate
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.