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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 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.  


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 to complete a field exam on postcolonial economics in literature. 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).

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.


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.


photo of Matthew Gannon

Matthew Gannon

Matt’s research takes critical theory approaches to modernist and contemporary literature, as well as visual, material, and popular culture. His main theoretical interests are in Marxism, psychoanalysis, and continental philosophy. Drawing on dialectical aesthetic theories, he seeks to uncover how literary and cultural texts are sites of ideology, political resistance, philosophical inquiry, and historical tension. Matt’s work aims to provide insight into topics such as collective memory, fantasy, and desire; the experience of temporality and spatiality; and the political and material unconscious of literature and culture. Matt has written criticism for the Los Angeles Review of Books and Jacobin, and is the co-founder of The Vonnegut Review. He received his BA from Bowdoin College and his MA from the University of Chicago.


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.

Most recently, she presented work on Liminality and Poetics in Wordsworth's Miscellaneous Sonnets, at the Wordsworth Summer Conference in Grasmere; Emma has also presented on the unpublished travel journals of Mary Wordsworth. 

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

Kristin Imre is a student of American and British Modernism with a particular interest in theories of the everyday, bodies, and narrative.  She is currently working on a dissertation project that explores manifestations of the everyday in the Modern and contemporary American novel. Kristin has experience teaching English as a foreign language, introductory literature and writings courses, and upper-level literature electives.  She also mentors first time teachers in the First Year Writing Program.


Kiara Kharpertian

Kiara is a 7th year doctoral student studying American literature from 1850 through the present. Her dissertation is on representations of labor, class, and space in Western American Literature from roughly the late 1880s through the present. She is also interested in contemporary American literature, popular literature and culture, environmental literature, space and geographic theory, history and politics of the American West, and the medical humanities. She has taught courses on Place in American Literature, the American Western, Ethics and Justice, and Popular Culture and Writing at BC and elsewhere. When she is not working, Kiara enjoys rock climbing, horseback riding, and generally doing anything 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 Linda Martin

Linda Martin

Linda studies Modernism and early 20th century British literature, and her research interests include cognitive literary theory, the history of psychology, and first-wave feminism. She is currently working on her dissertation, examining intersections between psychological and feminist discourses in the works of Modern women writers. Before coming to Boston College, Linda received her BA from Illinois Wesleyan University. At Boston College, she has taught the Freshman Writing Seminar, Literature Core, Studies in Narrative, and British Modernism.


Alex Moskowitz

Alex studies nineteenth-century American literature, and has a particular interest in Marxist philosophy. His research tends to focus on using Marxist thought to examine the construction of nationality and community in the context of nineteenth-century America.

Alex received his M.A. in English from Boston College and his B.A. in Literature from the State University of New York at Purchase College.

photo of Kelsey Norwood

Kelsey Norwood

Kelsey specializes in early modern literature, with a particular interest in Shakespeare, queer theory, and the history of sexuality.

Most recently, her research/writing has focused on erotic anxiety, queer affect, and early modern procreation politics. In September 2015 she completed a minor field exam entitled "Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Drama, 1585-1635."

Kelsey graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she wrote her undergraduate thesis on lesbian invisibility in Shakespeare's Othello.

She is currently serving as the co-director of the interdisciplinary Graduate Theory Colloquium and an assistant director of the pedagogy seminar. She will TA an undergraduate Shakespeare class in Spring 2016.

You can visit her website here (

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

Laura studies early modern literature, focusing on poetry and non-dramatic texts.  She is interested in the relationship between Christianity and literature in the early modern period, looking at the cultural forces at work and their impact on authors' representations of spiritual experience.  Laura also focuses on intertextuality and reader-response among early modern authors and readers, as well as post-modern reader response to early modern texts.

Laura graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in comparative literature.  Subsequently she earned a Master of Christian Studies degree from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada and a M.A. in English literature from Boston College.  At Boston College Laura has taught the First Year Writing Seminar and has tutored writing at the Connors Family Learning Center.

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. Her minor field exam is in feminist theory, and she is currently researching lesser-known works written by women in the wake of the Act of Union.

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 Nell Wasserstrom

Nell Wasserstrom

Nell Wasserstrom's research interests include British and American modernism, continental philosophy, and theories of temporality. She has published book reviews in Modern Language Studies and has forthcoming reviews in Twentieth-Century Literature and The Modern Language Review. Nell is currently working on a minor field exam on the problem of time in philosophy and critical theory.

Nell received an M.A. in English from Boston College and B.F.A. in Theatre Studies, with Departmental Honors, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

photo of Lauren Wilwerding

Lauren Wilwerding

Lauren specializes in nineteenth-century British literature with a focus on the Victorian novel. She completed her minor exam "Gender and the Rise of the Novel: The Long Eighteenth-Century Novel 1720-1820" in September 2014. She is currently working on a major exam, entitled "Nineteenth-Century Literature, Gifting, and Philanthropy," which she expects to complete in Fall 2015. 

Lauren has served as a TA for British Literature II, and will teach First-Year Writing Seminar and Literature Core in 2015-2016. Lauren is also the Director of the Pedagogy Seminar. 

Lauren graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College, where she majored in English and minored in economics. Before returning to graduate studies, Lauren worked as a marketing consultant. 


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.