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Akins, Adrienne: Ph.D.
When fellow graduate students ask Adrienne where she is from, the most common response she gives them is “around here.” Adrienne grew up in the Central Texas area. Adrienne is currently most interested in modern and contemporary American literature, but her literary interests are far-reaching and subject to change at any time. Some of her favorite writers currently include Sandra Cisneros, Ernest Gaines, Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, Lorna Cervantes, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Li-Young Lee. Adrienne’s extra-literary interests include spending time with her family (especially her Meemaw), basketball, learning and speaking Spanish, all kinds of music, and playing duck-duck-goose with children of all ages. Adrienne is cognizant of the lack of parallelism in the last sentence. Adrienne’s past occupations have included tour “guiding” at a cave, working at a camp for special needs children, and teaching high school students.
Anderson, Dianna: Ph.D.
Dianna has managed to transplant herself from a town no one has ever heard of to a town everyone’s heard of, but is actually smaller than her original town. She is from Sioux Falls, SD, and got her undergraduate degree in Theology from the University of Sioux Falls, which, unlike what the name implies, is actually a small, private, Baptist college. Her interests tend to stay close to her own living time period, mainly focused on 20th Century British authors, though some Americans have managed to sneak in there from time to time. She particularly like C.S. Lewis and the rest of his Oxford cohort, and hopes to spend a good deal of time reading about them, likely for the rest of her life.
Baker, Tanya: M.A.
Tanya Baker is a first-year M.A. student, fifth year Baylor student from…somewhere you’ve never heard of (aka Rockdale, TX). She is interested in any and everything, but sold her soul to British literature years ago when she first discovered the works of Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. Tanya plans to focus on the Victorian era, with side projects in science fiction and fantasy, contemporary British and American literature, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and…other stuff. Eventually she wants to earn her PhD and teach unsuspecting college students of the joys of English and literature, planning on becoming the ‘cool professor’ who drives an El Camino lovingly called “The Beast” and wears hoodies and flip-flops in the stark Texas winters.
Bear, Bethany: Ph.D.
After eighteen years growing up in Indiana and four years attending college in east Tennessee, Bethany has returned to her native Texas to begin Baylor’s Religion and Literature program. When she’s not reading the compelling literature of the rising generation (read: grading freshman essays), Bethany spends her days pondering the complexities of British literature in the last decades of the nineteenth century (read: stressing out about her dissertation topic). If the academic world succeeds in disillusioning her, she plans on starting a commune in Appalachia. You’re invited.
Bilbro, Jeffrey: Ph.D.
Jeff was born and raised in the great state of Washington, and he still misses the mountains, rivers, and fish of the Northwest. He attended community college for two years, then spent one year at Capernwray Bible School in England, and finally finished his BA in Writing and Literature at George Fox University. He met his wife, Melissa, at George Fox, and she helps to remind him that research is not the telos of life. Speaking of research, though, Jeff has written several papers on Wendell Berry and hopes to continue researching him and other American nature writers. Of particular interest are their attempts to develop ecological ethics from widely varying belief systems.
Blanch, Anna: M.A.
A second year M.A. candidate, from Tamworth, Australia, Anna initially attended the Australian Defence Force Academy as an undergraduate, and served as an Officer in the Australian Army, before transferring to the Australian National University where she graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in English. She then completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 2007 while working in the Research School of Humanities, College of Arts and Social Science at the ANU. It was while Anna was writing her Honours thesis, Myth, Typology and Hermeneutics in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, that she became intensely interested in the field of religion and literature. Her great passion is examining the relationships and interaction between literature and theology, especially in the work of C.S. Lewis, E.Nesbit, George McDonald, and Hannah More, as well as the interdisciplinary field of literature and law. Anna is the alternate representative for EGSA to the Graduate Student’s Association, of which she is the Secretary/Historian for 2008-2009. Anna is Graduate Assistant to Prof. David Lyle Jeffrey, and a Head Graduate Fellow of the Honors Residential College. Her blog, Goannatree, explores faith, the Bible, and theology, in the context of literature, popular culture and current affairs.
Davies, Noelle: M.A.
I am a second year Master’s student from New Jersey with a BA from Grove City College. I worked as a GA in the Baylor writing center and am currently employed as a TA teaching freshman composition: both have taught me a lot. (For instance, one of my freshman taught me that JBO stands for Jonas Brothers Obsessed). My research interests include the Victorian and early modern religious writers, and my most recent pet project involves their use of Jewish symbolism. I enjoy my fellow graduate students, and although I intend to do doctoral work elsewhere, I know that I will keep in touch with many of them for years to come. Though my northern blood (or else a looming seminar paper) makes me hide from the Texas sun, I find hideaways like Common Grounds and the Dancing Bear to be great places to rock myself in the fetal position until the anxiety passes. On the positive side, my time in Texas has given me recourse to wear big belt buckles and say “y’all.”
Epps. Peter: Ph.D.
Peter G. Epps is an English teacher (Composition Instructor at Baylor, EFL / writing / lit prof in Japan), graduate student (BA-English 1999,TMC; MA-English 2002, Baylor; PhD-English expected 2009, Baylor), and poet (published in Penwood Review and Reflections, among others) whose life as a preacher’s kid, self-taught programmer, philosophy enthusiast, avid reader, and lover of words is a gift too gracious for him. Traveling Europe for a semester and living in Japan for three years was a shocking surplus. He owes a great deal, and wants more. His MA Thesis is entitled “A Knocking at the Door: Christian Hope in the Horror Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft,” and his dissertation contemplates Coleridge’s hermeneutics of Scripture and poetry and their mutual implications. Areas of specialized study or experience include Religion and Literature Studies, 19th-Century British poetry, literary theory, and EFL/writing instruction.
Galloway, Denise: Ph.D.
I came to Baylor from the Great White North (Michigan), attracted by the idea of a Christian university with a competitive graduate program. I went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, a beautiful little town on Lake Michigan, where I majored in English and Secondary Education. I went on to teach high school in Maryland, then returned to Michigan to run my own private tutoring business. I decided to pursue an M. A. at nearby Grand Valley State University and rediscovered my love of British and religious-themed literature. I am interested in studying Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Dorothy Sayers. I’m also interested in film and pop culture. I look forward to pursuing these and finding new interests through my coursework at Baylor.
Gonzalez, Yolanda: Ph.D.
Yolanda Gonzalez is a 6th year Religion and Literature Ph.D. student from Southern California. Her dissertation is entitled “The Coleridge: Notes Towards the Literary Biography of a Family” and examines the life and work of the children of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who have, critically speaking, lived in the shadow of their father despite their not inconsiderable literary and intellectual contributions. Yolanda’s dissertation seeks to put together material scattered over a variety of sources that has not as of yet been assembled into any coherent pattern.
Iluzada, Christina: M.A.
Christina graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Majoring in English, she also obtained South Carolina teacher certification. After graduation, she worked fulltime for a Christian college ministry, Campus Outreach, for four years at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She then worked in adult education for two years before moving to Texas to pursue her M.A. in English at Baylor. She hopes that her passions for learning, college students, and teaching will intersect in the future. Her husband, Evan, is also at Baylor in the Health, Human Performance, and Recreation M.A. program. They love doing life together in graduate school and hope to have a big family someday.
Jarrell, Virginia: M.A.
Virginia is a second year M.A. student from Ft. Worth, Texas. She earned a B.A. in Letters from the University of Oklahoma in 2006. For many years she dreamed of being a lawyer, but at the last minute decided she wanted a career that would allow her to keep her soul. She decided to pursue an advanced degree in English literature, her first and greatest love. Virginia’s research interests mostly center on the Victorian period. She especially loves the work of William Makepeace Thackeray, Charles Dickens, and George Meredith. She also has a deep and abiding love for the 18th century satirists, especially Fielding, Swift, and Sterne. She wonders if these two interests can combine into an M.A. thesis. (Although, she also loves the work of Victorian women writers like Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Elizabeth Gaskell). In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends, baking, and making silly faces to earn a laugh from her adorable nieces Abigail, Hannah, and Olivia.
Kilpatrick, Nathan: Ph.D.
Nathan Kilpatrick is wondering what convinced him to move to Waco, TX. Originally from Oxnard, California, he graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2006 with a double major in English and Theology. Though he took two years off to prepare for grad school, he decided that the world of paperwork is no place for him! Thus, he has entered the Ph.D. program in religion and literature here at Baylor, because, really, he is unable to separate the two fields in his own head. As a result, he is drawn to those similarly wacky writers like Flannery O’Connor and Nathaniel Hawthorne who also have religious issues. He hopes to focus on how religious experience is portrayed in the works of these kinds of writers as well as how these portrayals have influenced the general religious culture in America. At least, that’s what his statement of intent says.
Meurer, Kristin: M.A.
Kristin is originally from Austin, but has spent the last eight years living in the Sandhills of North Carolina. While living in North Carolina, Kristin earned her B.A. in English and a Minor in British Studies from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Her scholarly interests include the works of the Brontës, Austen, Forster, Blake, Keats, Tennyson, and Dickens, and she is primarily focused on Nineteenth Century English literature (though she does enjoy reading medieval works as well). Kristin is also learning to appreciate American literature, particularly Mid-Eighteenth to Nineteenth Century works, and just might have to reconsider her thesis topic in the very near future. In her “spare” time, Kristin enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two cats, traveling, eating good Tex-Mex, and watching just about anything produced by (and/or having anything to do with) the BBC (she’s a BIG fan of British comedies and PBS’ Masterpiece series).
Miller, Kathleen: Ph.D.
Kathleen is in her third year of the PhD program. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the ever-popular Texas A&M University in a year which starts with “19.” After twice adding to the overpopulation of the globe, Kathleen decided to pursue a lucrative career as an English professor. She now divides her time between focusing on her own research in Victorian literature (with a sneaking side-interest in the Metaphysical poets), and tutoring her daughters in math (a task for which she is vastly ill-equipped). She always enjoys a good argument between Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning partisans, though she tends to throw her support behind the former. Non-academic interests include hiking (and trying to convince her daughters that camping really isn’t dangerous), making pilgrimages to the Kimbell Museum, and increasing the annual revenues of local coffee shops.
Mills, Jennifer: PhD
After graduating from Spring Arbor University with a BA in English, Jennifer, a WA State native, proceeded with her itinerary to “see the world.” During her two years abroad in Nicaragua and Thailand, Jennifer instructed eager young minds in the joys of the multiplication table and the construction of complete sentences. After Central America and South-East Asia, she decided to try a really exotic locale and came to Texas. Jennifer began a five-year (she hopes) career as a graduate student at Baylor in 2002. She is delighted with the quality of the professors at Baylor and is impressed by the library-which she has the opportunity to visit so extensively each week that the library may soon be charging rent. She plans to write her dissertation on the prefaces to anonymous travelogues written during the English Restoration. Jennifer enjoys evaluating the deep truths contained in “Calvin and Hobbes.”
Moore, Cameron: Ph.D.
After a week’s worth of job training backing in the Utah desert with troubled teens, Cameron decided that there simply wouldn’t be enough time to read at Red Cliff Ascent’s wilderness therapy program, so he came to Baylor instead. He had graduated from Spring Arbor University in Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature and a very large love for the very large person of G.K. Chesterton; thus, the Ph.D. in Religion and Lit seemed tailored to fit. Currently, he is working as a Graduate Assistant at the Writing Center and reading lots of Sigrid Undset. His other interests include Wendell Berry, 20th cent. Catholic authors, the assumptions inherent in technology, and splitting wood.
Moore, Mollie: M.A.
In December 2007, Mollie Moore graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a B.A. in English. Not wanting to stray from her native Texas, she moved from Abilene to Waco in pursuit of her M.A. at Baylor this fall. Although she thoroughly enjoys writing poetry, as evident by her chapbook of original poems from her undergraduate Honors Thesis, she would like to study American Literature here at Baylor. Mollie is particularly interested in American Realism and the works of Southern American women. This is not to say she doesn’t indulge in a little Faulkner from time to time, though. When not reading or writing, Mollie enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also loves to travel and spread Christ’s love through mission trips across the globe.
Noble, Alan: Ph.D.
Alan Noble received his master’s degree in English from California State University, Bakersfield in 2007. He wrote his master’s thesis on Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. For two years Alan taught composition at Antelope Valley College in his home town of Lancaster, California. His area of specialty is 20th Century American Literature, particularly the works of Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. Alan hopes to study the various ways theodicy appears 20th Century American Literature. When not teaching or preparing for class, Alan enjoys spending time with his wife (a math graduate at Baylor) and their lovely English bulldog, Gertrude.
Nydegger, Mandy: Ph.D.
Mandy attended Milligan College in East Tennessee. There she met her wonderful husband, David, who soon after their marriage began his Masters at Duke University. Fearing the GRE, Mandy spent the next three years in the role of sugar mama. A bank teller and waitress in Tennessee, financial secretary and program coordinator in North Carolina, and barista in Texas, Mandy finally decided that making cappuccinos for the rest of her life was scarier than the GRE. Therefore, she applied to Baylor and is now pursuing her PhD in English. She is interested in Shakespeare and Mark Twain, but mostly the Victorian period (she has an enormous crush on Charles Dickens). More than anything else in her life, she loves Christmas and the Indianapolis Colts. Combine those two loves in any way, and you’ll top her list of favorite people.
Ooms, Julie: M.A.
For years, Julie has frustrated both her high school English teachers and undergrad professors with an apparently unhealthy interest in science fiction, graphic novels, and not-so-literary writing in general. They must have conspired against her, though, because they brought around eventually and, before graduating from Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA in 2008, she added Eliot, Hardy, Dante, Yeats, Greene, and Eliot to her list of favorite authors (a list that keeps growing). If she had to choose a thesis topic now, she’d probably panic briefly before electing to write about Thomas Hardy, but she’s also fascinated by 20th century dystopian novels and that swarthy English terrorist who keeps showing up in literature, Guy Fawkes. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, nursing a CSI habit as unhealthy as the aforementioned sci-fi addiction, and learning how to cook.
Pattison, Kalani: Ph.D.
Kalani Pattison graduated from high school in Indonesia. She loves reading and SCUBA diving and anything having to do with the ocean, which is partly why she decided to go to college at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where she majored in Literature and could see the ocean from her dorm room for two of her four years there. She is a little overwhelmed by her first year of graduate school at Baylor so far, but is actually enjoying it anyway. Her interests are varied and scattered — she likes contemporary children’s literature, seventeenth century poetry, short stories, and random other books that are seemingly unconnected. She has a slight tendency to talk too much, but really does enjoy hearing about the things other people are reading or writing or thinking about. And she is another one of those people who cannot remember a time when she didn’t know the stories in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Reiter, Geoffrey: Ph.D.
A Geoffrey (referred to as Reiter)
Reads books and makes student lives brighter;
His wife and his daughter
Read what he has wrought (or
At least they and other folks try to).
Schaefer, Eric: Ph.D.
Eric has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in English from Baylor, where he completed his thesis on contemporary Irish writer William Trevor. Eric enjoys teaching freshmen English students and is pursuing a Ph.D. His current research interests include Twentieth-Century American writers, particularly Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Katherine Anne Porter. For relaxation Eric enjoys playing golf, watching movies, and listening to music.
Thomas, Margy: Ph.D.
Margy Thomas brought her mini dachshund Madeline all the way from Florida to attend Baylor. Her interests include George Eliot novels, seventeenth-century British Lit, and a random assortment of other authors and books. Besides teaching Composition and reading, she enjoys drinking tea. That’s about all she can fit into life at the moment. She hopes to complete her PhD in 2012.
Tober, Naomi: M.A.
Naomi Tober graduated from Northwestern College in Minnesota with a B. A. She then taught English for three years at a large, suburban secondary school in the Twin Cities area. Although she has lived in Minneapolis and lives now in Waco, Naomi has somehow avoided any accumulation of street smarts. Prone to daydreaming and meandering poetry, she is hopeful that graduate school will provide her with a channel for some of her passions in life, which include but are not limited to 19th-century British novels, modernist American poetry, Clive Staples, good coffee, interesting people, and X, which is the presently undiscovered research interest that will shape the rest of her productive working years. If anyone has heard anything about the mysterious X, Naomi would be delighted to know.
Wheeler, Jared: M.A.
Jared graduated from LeTourneau University (in Longview, Texas) in 2006 with a degree in English and History/Political Science. After more or less unplugging from academia during two years on the public library scene, he began graduate studies at Baylor and is very glad to be back. His primary interest is in 20th-century American literature, film, and culture, but he remains aware that, as Flannery O’Connor pointed out, “fiction is a subject with a history.” In his spare time (which he hand-carves from available raw materials), Jared enjoys spending time with his wife and friends, playing video games, reading about film criticism and history, watching movies, and writing about them for his website, Moviegoings (http://moviegoings.wordpress.com/).
Williams, Danielle: M.A.
Danielle Williams originally hails from Glendora, a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, California. She earned an English degree from Azusa Pacific University in 2004. She considered pursuing a career in television after participating in Act One, an intensive screenwriting program; however, her love of literature overwhelmed her desire to be the next Tina Fey. (Okay, her desire is not entirely overwhelmed… she still has a screenplay or two in the works.) Danielle has many research interests, but she is currently most excited about studying Virginia Woolf and modernism. She enjoys spending time (on the phone, but preferably in person!) with her husband, exploring exotic locales, and photography.
Wilson, Bethany: Ph.D.
Bethany Wilson is a fifth-year Ph.D candidate student studying modern/contemporary British and Irish poetry with Dr. Richard Russell. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Houghton College in Western NY in 2003 with an honors thesis on William Blake. After a year teaching full-time at her alma mater, she has returned to focus on her dissertation, which studies the ethics of representation in the ekphrastic poetry of W.B. Yeats and Eavan Boland. She continues to pursue interests in Romantic poetry, modern and contemporary Catholic writers, and the relationship between literature and the visual arts in addition to teaching Freshman Composition as a fourth-year T.A.
Wolfe, Elizabeth: Ph.D.
When Elisabeth Wolfe was a junior at Baylor, both Dr. Klingman and Dr. Fulton asked her repeatedly, “Are you sure you don’t want to be an English major?” She wrestled with the question for the next two years before finally deciding that she did want to study literature after all. By this time, Elisabeth had earned a B.A. in Chemistry and German, but she had already started plugging away on two books on Tolkien’s tales of Middle-earth, so the next logical step was to pursue a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature. Preferring to study what Tolkien taught rather than what his contemporaries were writing, she has fallen in love with medieval literature and theology all over again-and finds herself with more ideas to explore than she knows what to do with, including at least one more book on top of her dissertation. In her spare time (HA!) she makes lap robes for Soldiers’ Angels Blankets of Hope.
Zelazny, Vivien: Ph.D.
Vivien Zelazny is a second-year PhD student in English, concentrating in religion and literature. She is a native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, where she graduated from St. Thomas University with a BA in English and interdisciplinary Liberal Arts. Her academic interests include Medieval English literature, Medieval theology, especially Bonaventure, and the connections between modern and Medieval literature. Vivien teaches Freshman Composition at Baylor. She shares her home in Waco with her husband and several beloved house plants.