Literature Graduate Student Profiles

Sarah Afzal

Sarah Afzal is a PhD student in Literature focusing on Postcolonial literature and Gender Studies. She is particularly interested in exploring the marginalized, othered, and socially and politically repressed voices and identities in postcolonial societies and the shift from grand narratives to individual voices. Sarah has an MA in Literature from Florida State University and a Bachelors in Humanities from Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. She currently teaches composition and literature courses in the English department.

Anna Bighta

Anna Bighta is a PhD student in Literature. She studies Romantic and Victorian literature and is part of the History of Text Technologies program. She received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Georgia in Athens. Her interests are book illustration, realisms, and the development of the 19th century British novel.

Brooke Bradley

Brooke Bradley is a current PhD student in the Literature, Media, and Culture program who specializes in Post-1900 American Literature with an emphasis on Gender and Feminist Studies. Her research interests include multi-ethnic literature, queer studies, ecocriticism, science fiction and fantasy, speculative fiction, borders (both corporeal and noncorporeal), and popular culture. Brooke obtained her MA degree in Literature, as well as a graduate certificate in Gender Studies, at Murray State University in Murray, Ky in 2015 where she also received a BA in Literature with a History minor in 2012. In 2016, she presented her paper “The School Yard Town: Juvenility in Pudd’nhead Wilson,” at Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association’s annual conference in Salt Lake City, Utah; later that year at Midwest Modern Language Association’s conference, she presented “Mountain Borders: Femininity, Masculinity, and Sex in Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven” in St. Louis, Missouri. Brooke has always possessed a passion for literature, education, and books which she has kindled throughout her academic career as well as during her former position as a library cataloger at Murray State University’s library. Brooke continues to pursue her interests through her research and by teaching literature and composition courses at FSU.

Kristy Cherry-Randle

Kristy is currently a PhD student in the English Department at Florida State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication: Journalism, a Bachelor of Arts in English, and a Master of Arts in American Studies from the University of Alabama. Her speciality area is early American literature focusing on first contact narratives. She also enjoys Civil War narratives of women who cross-dressed to fight in battle. Placing scholarship in digital mediums is one of Kristy’s passions, particularly digital interactive maps, which allow more diverse information to be in conversation with static texts. She has presented research scholarship at the 2013 National Association of African American Studies conference, the 2012 McNair Undergraduate Research Conference at the University of Buffalo SUNY, in 2012 at the the Alabama Higher Education and Diversity Conference at Auburn University pertaining to racial media frames in campus news papers. She also presented “She Went To Battle: Women Cross-dressers of the American Civil War” in 2016 at the 1st Annual LGBT+ Symposium at the University of Alabama. Her publications include: “Focus and Frames in Campus Newspaper Coverage of Racial Incidents Involving African Americans, 1997-2009” in the 2013 McNair Scholars Journal and in 2014 by the National Association of African American Studies in the Conference Monograph Publication. More recently, she presented her digital humanities project at the 2018 South Atlantic Modern Language Conference, “The Cabeza Matrix: Incorporating Indigenous Voices in First Contact Narratives.”

Amber Cresgy

Amber Cresgy is a PhD candidate in African American Literature and Cultural Studies. Her research interests include slave narratives and neo-slave narratives, Black speculative fiction, and pop culture studies. Most recently, she has presented her work at the National Association of African American Studies, the Southern American Studies Association, and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. She earned her MA in English from FSU.

Farrah Hersh

Farrah Hersh is a second year PhD student in Literature, Media and Culture with a focus in Screen Studies. She is particularly interested in the Western, Film Noir and Sports genres. Farrah has an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Florida State University. She received an honorable mention for her script The Main Attraction from the Writers Network Screenplay and Fiction Competition.

Holly Horner

Holly Horner is a third-year PhD student in Literature focusing on British Romantic literature and Digital Humanities. Her research interests include the nineteenth-century gothic novel, Romantic women poets, and digital applications to literary studies. She holds a B.A. in English from Flagler College and a M.A. from Florida State University. Most recently, her work on Charlotte Smith has been featured in Tokyo, Japan for The Japanese Association for Digital Humanities (JADH) and Birmingham, Alabama for South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA).

Kenneth L. Johnson

Kenneth L. Johnson, II is a 3rd year PhD student in English with a concentration in African American Literary and Cultural Studies from Gainesville, FL. He defended his master’s thesis, “Low-cut Caesar with a Shadow Fade: Black Hair Politics and The Canterbury Tales’ Function as Barbershop Space,” in April 2016 and began doctoral study at FSU during the summer of 2016. His research interests include 20th and 21st Century African American narrative, Black masculinity studies, Black queer theory, and Hip-Hop studies, with a specific interest in how Black men use self-writing to reclaim and reconstruct identity. His research has been accepted for presentation at multiple conferences such as Southern American Studies Association (SASA), South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA), and the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). He is a member of the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program, and is the former Vice President of Marketing and Outreach and Vice President of Membership for the National Black Graduate Student Association and former Vice President of the Florida State Black Graduate Student Association. Currently, he serves as a Peer Reviewer for Words, Beats, and Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop. Beyond academic pursuits, Kenny is actively involved at his local church, freelances photography and graphic design, and claims to be the Next Food Network Star. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @kennys6cents.

Heejin Kim

Heejin Kim is a PhD student in English literature focusing in early modern plays. He received his BA and MA in English Literature from Seoul National University.

Emilie Mears

Emilie Mears is a PhD candidate in post-1900 American literary and cultural studies with a concentration in Ecocriticism and Environmental Studies. Her research interests include bioregionalism, apocalyptic rhetoric, environmental disasters, and the ecological deep South. She has work published in Confluence and the American Studies Journal. She has most recently presented work at the following conferences: American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2018, South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) 2017, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) 2017, and the Southeastern American Studies Association (SASA) 2017. She is a recipient of the May Alexander Ryburn Fellowship. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Humanities and her master’s in Liberal Studies from Rollins College.

Danielle Mercier

Danielle Mercier is an MA student in nineteenth-century American literature. Her research focuses on women's literacy along with their participation both within the private sphere and the public sphere. In addition, she focuses on the issues surrounding the segregation narrative and the portrayal of mixed-race characters in literature. She is presenting a paper at the 2016 SAMLA Conference. She has a BA in History from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Oluwafunke Brinda Ogunya

Oluwafunke Brinda Ogunya is a PhD Student specializing in African-American Literature and cultural studies. Her research interest focuses on African/Africana folklore, Motherhood, and African/Africana women’s fiction. She received her M.A in African Literature from the University of Ibadan, and a B.A in English Studies from Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut as Foreign Language Teaching Assistant where she taught the Yoruba Language. Currently, she teaches composition and literature courses in the English department.

David Potsubay

David Potsubay is a PhD student in Literature focusing on post-1900 American literature, and more specifically on modernism and postmodernism. Other research interests include Japanese modernist literature, East Asian religion, politics, continental philosophy, post-human studies, and ecocriticism. He has presented papers for the Pennsylvania Association of State System Higher Education’s (PASSHE) Interdisciplinary Association of Philosophy and Religious Studies, the International David Foster Wallace Conference, and the Northeast Modern Language Association, along with several others. He holds a bachelor’s in Creative Writing from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in English from West Virginia University.

Daniel Raschke

I’m a first-year PhD student born and raised in Germany focusing on American modernism, ludo-narratology, and post-humanism. My other research interests include early American literature, utopias, and the Western. I have presented papers at New Voices and the Southern Studies Conference. I earned my BA and MA in American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany and studied English Literature at Georgia State University on a year-long exchange scholarship. I am also the recipient of the Elliot Butt Loyless Doctoral Fellowship, and was awarded a DAAD stipend and Hans Galinsky Memorial Prize.

Alex Ruhsenberger

Alex Ruhsenberger, a PhD Graduate TA at FSU, studies World Literature (1945-present), Post-Colonialism, and Critical Theory. Additional research interests include Revolution, Media studies, and Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics as a method for reading history and literature. Ruhsenberger got his MA from Montana State University, and did his thesis on the problems of American happiness and irony in popular culture in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The thesis, in part, is published in Normal 2016: Selected Works. Ruhsenberger has just completed a project on Revolution, the Will, and Hannah Arendt, which will soon be out for review. Ruhsenberger is also working on a project that deals with media, violence, and ideology, and its relationship in Western Culture to the Roman Colosseum.

Camille Vilela

Camille Vilela is a Brazilian PhD student in Literature who focuses on 20th Century British Modernism. A Fulbright scholar, Camille has earned her MA from Texas Tech University in Applied Linguistics. She's interested in building bridges between literature and linguistics through the fields of comparative literature, British Modernism, codeswitching, and bilingualism. She has presented in several conferences in Brazil, Texas and Florida in both fields of Applied Linguistics and Literature.

Cocoa M. Williams

Cocoa M. Williams is a PhD student in African American Literary and Cultural Studies with a minor concentration in American Modernism and Black Diasporic Modernism. Her research interests include African American women's literature, black modernity, modern African American art, folklore, and African American writer's relationships with the classics, among other interests. She has a BA in English (2005) and a BA in Philosophy (2005) from Valdosta State University. She completed an MA in English at Clemson University in 2007. Cocoa Williams is the recipient of the Ruth Yost Memorial Scholarship, the Leslie N. Wilson-Auzenne Assistantship, and the Bryan Hall Teaching Award. Cocoa's scholarship is forthcoming in the MLA Options for Teaching: Teaching the Harlem Renaissance. Ms. Williams is also a published poet. Her poetry is forthcoming in Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose and december magazine. Cocoa serves on the Graduate Student Library Advisory Board and also the Graduate English Student Organization (G.E.S.O).