This year, the College of Arts & Letters welcomes 28 new faculty and staff members. They include the following:
Sara Allison, Administrative Business Professional/Supervisor, Department of English, comes to the College from MSU’s College of Social Science Dean’s Office, where she was an Administrative Business Professional. Allison has experience reviewing and approving grant proposals and budgets; serving as a liaison for the College of Social Science for research administration; and managing the College’s Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure process. She received a Bachelors in Applied Science with an Emphasis in Management from Siena Heights University in 2008.
Brian Buccola, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, specializes in formal and experimental semantics and pragmatics. His research explores how human languages encode meaning, how humans put linguistic meanings to use, and whether non-human animals have similar capacities. His work has appeared in Semantics and Pragmatics, Journal of Semantics, Linguistics and Philosophy, Frontiers in Psychology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He comes to MSU from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, where he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique (a CNRS laboratory). Before that, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Language, Logic, and Cognition Center at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from McGill University in Montreal.
John-Paul Chalykoff, Instructor, Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, has a B.A. in Anishinaabemowin from Algoma University/Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and both a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with qualifications to teach Native Studies and History. He also completed additional qualifications to teach Ojibwe and French as second languages and is an Ontario Certified Teacher in Good Standing through the Ontario College of Teachers. His academic interests are Ojibwe/Anishinaabe language revitalization, second language acquisition, Anishinaabe history/history of the Great Lakes region, Indigenous Studies, and finding ways to combine music, language, and education. One of his main focuses while working on his Master of Education was writing new and original Ojibwe children songs. This work debuted at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Conference at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, in June 2019.
LaDonna Croffe, Citizen Scholars Program Coordinator, Dean’s Office, has advised and provided social, emotional, and academic support to students of diverse backgrounds for the past 13 years. Her career began at the Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where she was an Admissions Counselor and later the Dean of Women. In 2012, she became an Academic Advisor at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she advised and supported freshmen, transfer, adult-learners, professional, and other non-traditional students. Croffe also has provided guidance to at-risk and high-achieving students, as well as those with mental and physical disabilities. Since 2017, she has worked as an Academic Specialist-Advisor for MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences. She has an M.B.A. in Strategic Leadership from Amberton University.
Karthik Durvasula, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, is a linguist that researches the nature of phonological representations and features and the techniques linguists can use to probe them. He received both his M.A and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Delaware. His other research areas include speech perception, neurolinguistics experimentation, statistical modeling, fieldwork, and Malay linguistics. Durvasula’s research has been published in a range of academic publications, including the Journal of Phonetics, Brain & Language, and Language Sciences.
Hannah Ensor, Assistant Professor, Department of English, is a poet and essayist living in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Along with Laura Wetherington and Jill Darling, she co-wrote the collaborative poetry chapbook at the intersection of 3, and with Natalie Diaz she served as associate editor of Bodies Built for Game, an anthology of contemporary sports literature. In September 2018, Noemi Press published her first book of poetry, Love Dream With Television. Ensor received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry from the University of Arizona and a B.A. in English and History of Art from the University of Michigan.
Haixia Liu, Assistant Professor of Master of Arts in Foreign Language Teaching, Center for Language Teaching Advancement, received her Ph.D. in Education Psychology and Education Technology in the School of Education at Michigan State University in 2019. She earned an M.A. in Applied Linguistics in 2005 and another M.A. in Japanese Language and Culture in 2010. She received her B.A. in English Language and Culture in 2002. Her research focuses on foreign language teachers’ technology integration and professional development. Her work has been published in a number of journals including Computer Assisted Language Learning, Journal of Educational Computing Research, and British Journal of Education Technology. Before MSU, she taught both English and Japanese to Chinese students in Beijing Normal University at Zhuhai.
Alejandra Marquez Guajardo
Alejandra Márquez Guajardo, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, earned her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018. She also has an M.A. in Spanish from Texas A&M International University. Her research interests span a wide range of topics, including contemporary Latin American literature, contemporary Mexican chronicle, gendered narratives of northern Mexico, gender identity and transgressions, depictions of state-sponsored violence, and Latinx literature and culture. Márquez has completed fellowships with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale University. She also is a recipient of the Mellon Dissertation grant.
Parisa Ghaderi, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, is a visual artist, curator, and filmmaker who earned her B.A. in Visual Communications from Art & Architecture University (Tehran, Iran) in 2006. After moving to the United States in 2009, she received an M.F.A. in Art and Design from the University of Michigan. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at the South Asian Women Collective (Shirin Gallery, New York), ExperimentoBio (Spain), Fadjr International Visual Arts Festival (Tehran, Iran), the Red Bull House of Art (Detroit, Michigan), the 6th International Media Arts Award (Queensland, Australia), A “Womanhouse” or a Roaming House? (A.I.R. Gallery, New York), and ArtPrize (Grand Rapids Museum of Art). Ghaderi has made four short films: Still, Broken Glass, The Ones Who Loved Me Are Gone, and One Way. She has completed artist residencies at Darkroom Detroit, Lattitude Chicago, Red Bull House of Art, and Ox-Bow School of Art. She will be an artist in residence at Harpo Foundation and Swatch Peace Art in 2020.
Viridiana García Hernández
Viridiana García Hernández, Assistant Professor, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish from Western Michigan University. She previously has worked as a Teaching Assistant for Western Michigan University (WMU) and a Visiting Professor of Spanish for Grand Valley State University (GVSU). She was the recipient of WMU’s University President’s Scholarship, the Gwen Frostic Doctoral Fellowship from WMU’s Graduate College, the Department-Level Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Award from WMU, and the College of Arts and Science Graduate Research Assistantship Award from WMU.
Natasha N. Jones, Associate Professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, received her Ph.D. in Technical Communication from the University of Washington and a Master of Philosophy from Auburn University with a focus in Technical and Professional Communication. Jones is a co-author of the book Technical Communication after the Social Justice Turn: Building Coalitions for Action (2019). Her research interests include activism, social justice, narrative, and technical communication pedagogy. Her work has been published in a number of journals including Technical Communication Quarterly; the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, and Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization. She currently serves as the Vice President for the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) and the chair for the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC) Diversity Committee.
Teresa Milbrodt, Assistant Professor, Department of English, specializes in writing realist and fabulist fiction. Her critical research focus is in Disability Studies, including humor and sexuality in disability communities. Milbrodt’s scholarly work has appeared or is forthcoming in Disability Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, and Western Folklore. She is the author of two short story collections – Bearded Women: Stories and Work Opportunities; a novel, The Patron Saint of Unattractive People; and a flash fiction collection, Larissa Takes Flight: Stories. Her fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary magazines. She earned her M.F.A. in Fiction and M.A. in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri.
Karen-Elizabeth Moroski, Associate Director, The Writing Center, joins Michigan State University after spending several years coordinating the Undergraduate Writing Center at Penn State University, where she also was an Assistant Teaching Professor in the English Department. In 2017, she completed her Ph.D. at Binghamton University, where she studied the intersections of affective neuroscience, critical theory, trauma studies, queer studies, and writing. Her scholarship was most recently published in Pre/Text and WPA Journal, and she delivered the keynote address at the 2019 Southeastern Writing Centre Symposium in Toronto, Ontario. Moroski also serves on the board of the International Writing Center Association and is an Associate Editor for WAC Clearinghouse.
Carmen Octavio, Assistant Professor, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, is a translator, interpreter, and researcher interested in heritage language programs and ideologies. Octavio earned her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at Purdue University. Her dissertation was titled Hispanic Children Thrown into Limbo: Language Ideologies of Spanish Heritage Speakers and their English Peers. She earned her M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and a B.A. in Translation and Interpreting from Nebrija University, also in Madrid.
Grace Pregent, Associate Director, The Writing Center, is completing a Ph.D. in English from Loyola University Chicago. Her dissertation, Interpreting Minorness, investigates minor character systems and peripheral voices across narratives. She has a background in leading study abroad programs and has taught composition, literature, and education courses in the United States and Europe. She holds an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Dayton and an M.A. in English from the University of Dallas. Her recent work has been published in Evenlyn Waugh Studies and The Hardy Society Review.
Lina Qu, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, comes to MSU from Rutgers University, where she received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literatures with a Certificate Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. Additionally, she received an M.A. in English Language and Literature from Peking University, Beijing. Her research focuses on modern Chinese literature and cinema, women’s and gender studies, and new media and popular culture. She has taught extensively in humanities and is the author of several journal articles and books of translation, with features in publications like CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, Exit 9: The Rutgers Journal of Comparative Literature, and Frontiers of Literary Studies in China.
Stacia Rigney, Specialist-Teacher, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Middle Tennessee State University. Her research interests include writing center theory, higher ed administration, general education as social justice, prison education, writing program administration, composition pedagogy, and pop-cultural studies. She has previously worked at higher education institutions like Lipscomb University, Shandong University in China, and Middle Tennessee State University. Her articles have been published by Writing Lab Newsletter, Southern Discourse in the Center: A Journal of Multiliteracy and Innovation, and Southern Discourse. She is the Immediate Past-President of the Southeastern Writing Center Association, Co-Chair of the Writing Lab Newsletter Mentor Matching program, and on the board of the International Writing Center Association.
Garth Jerome Sabo, Assistant Professor, Center of Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, received his M.A. in English from Kent State University and his Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University, where he has taught English, IAH, and WRA classes since 2013. His research explores narratives of waste and symbiosis, particularly in light of growing scientific knowledge of the human microbiome. His recent article in Arizona Quarterly, “’Onward and Inward!’: Through the Fecological Body with Twain and Chappell,” traces the entanglement of imperialist discourse and microbial health in texts that sit inside the human body at the turn of the 20th century. He has previously taught at Jackson College and Kent State University.
Luis Sahagun, Visiting Assistant Professor and Artist-in-Resident, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, is a multidisciplinary artist whose work embodies a visual language of cultural resistance that counters the traditional white, male, heterosexual art historical canon. His practice metaphorically represents contradiction – indian/conqueror, violence/unity, and ancient/contemporary. Sahagun has exhibited at several venues in Chicago including the MCA, National Museum of Mexican Art, and International Exposition of Contemporary Art (expo) as well as at Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, New Mexico, amongst many others. Additionally, his work has been covered in publications such as ArtForum, ChicagoMag, NewCity Magazine, MundoFOX, New American Paintings, and the Chicago Tribune. He has worked as a Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago and a Teaching Artist for the MCA-Chicago. He holds an M.F.A. in Paintings from Northern Illinois University and a B.F.A. in Industrial Design from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Paul Schauert, Assistant Professor, Center of Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, is an interdisciplinary scholar, educator, musician, and composer. He holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University (2011). His major areas of expertise are world music, nationalism, urban studies, African studies, and African diasporic culture. In addition to his numerous articles and reviews, he published a book Staging Ghana (Indiana University Press) in 2015, which explores issues of nationalism and artistry within state dance ensembles. While continuing to release original music, he also is an active member of various professional associations, including the Society for Ethnomusicology, American Musicology Society, and African Studies Association. He also has taught for Oakland University, the State University of New York, Metropolitan State University, and Indiana University. Additionally, he proudly serves as an advisor for the Detroit Sound Conservancy, a nonprofit music preservation organization.
Jordan Schonig, Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Department of English, received his Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago in 2017. Schonig is broadly interested in the intersections between philosophical aesthetics and film theory, phenomenological approaches to film studies, and genealogies of modernism in film and the other arts. His work on such topics has been published in Synoptique, Discourse, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and New Media & Society. He currently is working on a book manuscript on the aesthetics of cinematic motion.
Ranae Selmeyer, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, received her B.F.A. in Theatre from Chadron State College and her M.F.A. in Scenic Design from the University of Montana. She spent five years as a freelance Scenic Designer, Scenic Artist, and Props Artist in Missoula, Montana. Her notable projects include Props Master for the Montana Repertory Theatres production of Streetcar Named Desire; Scenic Designer for Richard III, Rocky Horror Show, and Much Ado About Nothing for the University of Montana; and Scenic Designer for Alpine Theatre Projects production of K2. During her time in Montana, she designed and painted musicals for Bigfork Summer Playhouse. For the past five years, she has served as the University of Northern Colorado’s Resident Charge Artist, painting on every show that comes through the shop.
Yumi Soeshima, Assistant Professor of Japanese, Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, comes to MSU from the Siberian Federal University in Russia, where she was a Professor teaching Japanese language and literature. She received her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature with a minor in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.A. in English/American Literature from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has taught at a variety of institutions, including Rice, Brown, Vanderbilt, and Duke as a lecturer and a Visiting Assistant Professor, and she has received a number of grants and fellowships. She is an expert on Miyamoto Yuriko, a Marxist-feminist writer and critic, and her primary research field is narrative and modernity in Japanese literature. Her recent research focuses on women and labor, especially on a progressive Japanese women’s journal, Hataraku Fujin (Working Women), published in 1932-1950.
Jackie Sumell, Visiting Assistant Professor and Artist-in-Residence, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, is a multidisciplinary artist and prison abolitionist inspired most by the lives of everyday people. Her work, which explores the intersection of social sculpture, mindfulness practices, and prison abolition, has been successfully anchored at the intersection of activism, education, and art for more than a decade, and it has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. She is a recipient of multiple residencies and fellowships including an A Blade of Grass Fellowship, Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, Soros Justice Fellowship, Eyebeam Project Fellowship, and a Schloss Solitude Residency Fellowship. Her collaboration with Herman Wallace (a prisoner-of-consciousness and member of the “Angola 3”) was the subject of the Emmy award-winning documentary, Herman’s House (Best Artistic Documentary 2013). Her work with Wallace has positioned her at the forefront of the public campaign to end solitary confinement in the United States.
Blaire Topash-Caldwell, Post-Doctoral Fellow, American Indian and Indigenous Studies, specializes in Indigenous science fiction, museum studies, anthropology of place and space, environment and ecology, anthropology of knowledge production, digital heritage, geographic information systems, and tribal historic preservation. She received her M.A. from the University of New Mexico and is working on completing her Ph.D., also at the University of New Mexico. Topash-Caldwell is an enrolled citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians where she serves as the Archivist for the tribe’s Department of Language and Culture as well as on the Tribal Art Committee and the Pow Wow Committee.
Kate Topham, Digital Archivist, Digital Humanities, recently graduated from the University of Michigan School of Information with a Master of Science in Information, where she focused on Digital Curation and Archival Science. Topham specializes in metadata, data migration, and digital collections. Her past projects include the “Michigan Latin Archive,” a digital archive of materials on Latin education at Michigan; “Kane in Continuity,” a digital exhibit showcasing on the sets of Citizen Kane; and “Music Time in Africa,” visualizations of record data from recordings of the Music Time in Africa radio program.
Elizabeth Tuttle, Assistant Professor, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, earned a master’s degree in 19th and 20th century French literature at Université Lille-III in Lille, France, where she conducted research on 19th-century women writers’ literary engagement with feminism. She then taught English at the high-school and university levels before returning to Penn State in 2013 to pursue a second M.A. and her Ph.D. Her current research is on feminist and anti-colonial movements in 1920s and 1930s France through the lens of material culture studies with a particular focus on the ways in which activists used tracts and political pamphlets to spread ideas and build networks. Tuttle is the recipient of the Humanities Without Walls Fellowship, Legacies of the Enlightenment Fellowship, Western Society for French History Millstone Research Fellowship, and the Chateaubriand Fellowship.
Marc White, Specialist, Department of Theatre, is a skilled carpenter and project manager who has worked in carpentry for 20 years and has even designed and constructed a recording booth for MSU’s Department of Theatre. He will be working in the MSU Scene Shop as a teacher and specialist for scene and set designs.