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Doctoral Candidates

english department

There are currently over 30 doctoral candidates in English at Boston College. Along with students in our M.A. program, doctoral students are the sponsors of a year-long colloquium in literary and cultural studies, they place representatives at our Graduate Student Association, and they teach regularly in the English department.

Doctoral Candidates at BC have provided their own listings below.

photo of Emma Atwood

Emma Katherine Atwood

Emma graduated summa cum laude from Kalamazoo College, where she majored in English and Classical Studies and minored in Theatre History. She has studied history, literature, and acting at The Athens Center and College Year in Athens in Greece and at Charles University in Prague.

Emma specializes in Renaissance and Restoration drama. She completed her minor oral exam, "Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama, 1660-1737" in May 2010. She completed her major oral exam, "Renaissance Drama, 1550-1660" in February 2012.

Emma has published a book review in Early Theater 14.1 and has an article on Marlowe's Edward II forthcoming in The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 43.1.

Emma has presented papers on early drama at NeMLA, the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, and ATHE/AATE, among others.

Emma has served as a Writing Fellow, a TA for British Literature I, and has taught First-Year Writing, Literature Core, Studies in Poetry, and Shakespeare's Later Plays at BC. She tutors writing at Framingham State University and has taught Intro to College Writing and Expository Writing at FSU. You can contact Emma at and visit her website.


photo of Alyssa Bellows

Alyssa Bellows

Alyssa graduated from Messiah College in 2010 with a BA in English Literature and Writing. She spent the following two years in China where she taught writing and communications to first-year university students before returning to the states to pursue graduate studies.

Pursuing her major interest in British Victorian Literature, Alyssa hopes to complete a minor field exam in Romanticism. She will also TA Brit Lit I this fall.


Anne Marie Blum






Richard Ford Burley

Richard studies medieval literature, focusing primarily on Old English texts and culture. He is interested in questions of rhetoric and speech, and what oral and residually-oral texts can tell us about the cultures that produced them. He is also infatuated with remix culture and the ways it can be used to make old texts culturally and pedagogically relevant in the internet age.

Richard is the co-founder of the Societas Daemonetica, which organizes yearly sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on the topic of various "things demonic."

Prior to joining the PhD program at Boston College, Richard earned a BA in English and history at the University of Toronto (Canada), and an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of York (UK).


photo of Rowena Clarke

Rowena Clarke

Rowena studies literature and film from the mid-twentieth century to the present day, with a particular focus on popular genre, and urban history. Her research looks at post-war urban and suburban development and the ways that popular forms work to understand the changes taking place in the built environment during this period. She has presented her research at conferences including those of the Northeast MLA, The American Comparative Literature Association, The Popular Culture Association and The American Literature Association.

At Boston College, Rowena has taught classes on suburbia in literature, and the literature and culture of the Atomic Age, as well as Studies in Narrative and the Freshman Writing Seminar.

Before coming to BC, Rowena studied at the universities of Oxford and Essex, in the UK.  


Irene Ruiz Dacal

Irene Ruiz Dacal

Irene is a student of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature, with an emphasis on theories of empire, aesthetics, and visual culture. She is currently working towards an exam that brings together provincial nineteenth-century English novels and postcolonial criticism to explore how a critical methodology might further incorporate matters of literary form to an analysis of empire. Her current research interests include alternative religious histories, ritual and visuality, and colonial miscegenation.

Irene completed part of her undergraduate studies at the University of Southampton and the Universidad de Salamanca, but she received her B.A. in English Writing from Lake Forest College, where she also worked for a year as Writing Programs Fellow. Before all that, she spent seventeen years in her native Caracas reading books by Enid Blyton.


photo of Amelie Daigle

Amelie Daigle

Amelie specializes in postcolonial literature and theory, working at the intersection of literature, ethics, and politics. She is currently working on a minor field exam on colonial trauma. She also serves as an assistant director of the Biennial English Graduate Conference.

Amelie holds a BA in English and philosophy from Loyola University New Orleans (2013).

Trista Doyle

Trista studies twentieth-century Irish literature with particular interest in modernism and representations of memory and trauma. She has completed a minor field exam on “Trauma and the Family in Contemporary Irish and American Fiction, 1965-2010,” and her major field exam, “Memory, History, and Identity: Twentieth-Century Narratives of Britain and Ireland,” will take place this winter. Trista has taught the First-Year Writing Seminar and Literature Core and is currently teaching Studies in Narrative. She will design an elective course on contemporary Irish literature and culture in the coming year. Trista also co-directs the Pedagogy Seminar and works as the Curriculum Integration Graduate Assistant at the Office of International Programs. She holds a B.A. with Honors in English from the University of Michigan, where she completed a senior honors thesis on preservation and mortality in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.


photo of Rachel Ernst

Rachel Ernst




photo of Alison Cotti-Lowell

Alison Fanous

Alison holds an M.A. in English from New York University and a B.A. with Honors in English from Brown University. At Boston College, she specializes in British Romanticism, and has completed a Minor Field exam, "Orientalism and the Place of Ireland," and a Major Field Exam, "Romantic National Literatures of the British Isles and India." She is currently at work on a dissertation that deals with articulations of Citizenship in a Global Romanticism. To date, Alison has been a TA for British Literature I and she has also taught First Year Writing, a Literary Forms section of the Literature Core, an elective entitled "Gothic Women Writers," and Studies in Poetry. Alison is also the director of the Pedagogy Seminar (2012-2013 academic year) and the Managing Editor at Boston College's interdisciplinary Journal of Religion and the Arts.


Matthew Gannon





Emma Hammack

Emma Hammack

Emma focuses on Transatlantic Romanticism, with specific interest in the intersections between philosophy, science, and the Romantic "Imagination." Her work has revolved around the poetry of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the concept of "walking" and "imagining" in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Emma looks to enlarge this research to include American writers, including the Transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau, and Walk Whitman, as well as current neurological theories on imaginative creativity. 

Emma received her B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara, and her M.A. from the University of Oxford, Lincoln College. Most recently, she presented work on the unpublished journals of Mary Wordsworth at the Wordsworth Summer Conference. 

Kristin Imre




Kiara Kharpertian

Kiara studies American literature with an emphasis on contemporary American fiction and literature of and about the American West. Broadly, she is interested in the environmental, cultural, and geopolitical intricacies of place and how these issues register as literary habits and tensions. In December 2010, she completed a doctoral exam entitled “Roaming and Reimagining the American West, 1970-2010” that interrogated how migration and mobility can act as vehicles for an amplified environmental consciousness, which in turn shapes a Western ecopoetics. Currently, she is at work on her second doctoral exam, “Writing the West: Cultural Politics, Labor, and the Land, 1850-1970,” which reads literature that grapples with the politics surrounding land management, ownership, and cultivation as a series of texts that respond to and disrupt racialized class and labor patterns.

Before coming to BC, Kiara earned a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MA from New York University. She has taught composition courses that focus on ethics and justice at both community college and BC. In the upcoming school years, she will teach literature courses at BC on environmental literature, the American novel, and the wild West in American fiction. She’s also really into her cats, horses, cooking, and generally anything that involves going outdoors.

photo of Andrew Kuhn

Andrew Kuhn

Andrew A. Kuhn is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at Boston College, studying twentieth-century Irish literature and print culture. His current research is on the private press tradition in Ireland and the role of the material book in literary interpretation. Andrew received a MA in English Literature from the University of Kansas and a BA from Creighton University.


photo of Deanna Malvesti

Deanna Malvesti Danforth

Deanna earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA from San Francisco State University.  At Boston College, she has taught courses on Shakespeare, British Literature & Culture from Beowulf to Aphra Behn, poetry, history and literature, and composition. She is currently at work on a dissertation that explores theories of adaptation in early modern English drama.


photo of Linda Martin

Linda Martin

Linda studies Modernism and early 20th century British literature, specializing in the novel, cognitive literary theory, Freudian psychoanalysis, and the history of psychology. Her research focuses on meditations of scientific and psychological advances in the Modern British novel. 

Before coming to Boston College, Linda graduated summa cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University and worked at an instructional design company based out of Evanston, IL. At Boston College, she has taught the Freshman Writing Seminar and Literature Core, and will be teaching British Modernism and Studies in Narrative in the coming academic year. This year, Linda will also be co-director of the Biennial English Graduate Conference.

Alex Moskowitz





Kelsey Norwood

Kelsey graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in English. She specializes in Renaissance literature, focusing on psychology, sexuality, and intimacy in Shakespeare's dramas.

photo of Eric Pencek

Eric Pencek

Eric specializes in British Romanticism, with a primary research focus in working class culture, radical politics, and the construction of regional identities in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He takes a particular interest in writing on some of the more obscure or semi-forgotten figures of the period (with Robert Wedderburn and Gustavus Katterfelto being personal favorites). Eric currently serves as PhD assistant director for the Graduate Student Colloquium, and is working on a minor field exam on the construction of bourgeois cultural values in eighteenth century Britain.

Eric holds a BA (summa cum laude) in English and philosophy from the University of Scranton and an MA in English from Boston College.

Scott Reznick

Scott Reznick

Scott is a native of Connecticut and studies nineteenth-century American literature.  His interests include American Romanticism, literary realism and naturalism, political writing and oratory, political philosophy, and theories of justice.  He recently completed a minor field exam entitled “Slavery and American Literature,” which examined the ways in which “man’s foulest crime” was represented, examined, and debated across a variety of forms, including slave narratives, abolitionist writing, fiction, poetry, and political speeches.  

Scott received his M.A. in English from Trinity College in Hartford, CT where he wrote his master’s thesis on William Dean Howells. He took a particularly circuitous route to literary studies, earning his undergraduate degree in mathematics and working as a health actuary before leaving the business world to pursue the study of literature.

photo of Laura Sterrett

Laura Sterrett





Colleen Taylor

Colleen Taylor

Colleen studies 18th and 19th century Irish and British literature, with a particular focus on Irish women's writing and nationalism in the novel.  She wrote a master's dissertation on the gender and allegorical implications of the early-nineteenth century Irish national tale.

Colleen holds an M.Phil. in Irish Writing, awarded with distinction, from Trinity College Dublin, and a B.A. in English from Fordham University, where she was Valedictorian of the class of 2012.

She also writes a weekly column for the Irish Echo newspaper in New York.

Ben Walker

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate with interests in Anglo-American modernism and post-colonial literature and is currently completing an exam in the Literature of the Pacific. Previously, he has taught literature-focused freshman writing sections of "Argument and Exposition," as well as serving as a writing tutor and one interesting time as an exam reader for the AP Literature exam. In the spring of 2010 he will be a teaching assistant for "Introduction to British Literature and Culture (II)." He has published a student essay in Charles Bressler's Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice and has presented on J.R.R. Tolkien at the PCA/ACA National Conference in Boston (April 2007). Ben holds a BA in English and Writing from Houghton College (2007) and an MA in English from the University of Tulsa (2009).

photo of Lauren Wilwerding

Lauren Wilwerding

Lauren specializes in Victorian literature. She is currently working on a minor exam entitled "Gender and the Rise of the Novel: The Long-Eighteenth Century 1720-1820." Lauren will TA Brit Lit II in the spring. 

Lauren holds a BA from Bowdoin College (2011), where she majored in English and minored in economics.


photo of Yin Yuan

Yin Yuan

Yin is a student of nineteenth-century British literature, with particular focus in the intersecting areas of religion, aesthetics, and politics. She is currently working on a minor exam that examines the cultural negotiations between religious morality and nascent capitalism in the 18th century public sphere. Her other research interests include deconstruction, postmodern theology, and all things John Milton.

Yin is the current PhD director of BC’s English Department Graduate Student Colloquium. She is also a TA for an undergraduate Shakespeare course, and will be teaching FWS and Literature Core in the upcoming academic year. Yin holds double B.As in English and Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley.