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My Arts and Sciences

Bilinski Fellowship

Russell and Dorothy Bilinski believed that education was a means to obtain independence. Their significant gift enables this legacy to be passed on to others.

About the Bilinski Educational Foundation

Russell and Dorothy Bilinski were true intellectuals, as well as being adventuresome, independent and driven. They believed in people being self-sufficient, ambitious and above all responsible. Russell was a researcher, academician and an entrepreneur. Dorothy was an accomplished artist and patron of the arts. They died leaving a significant gift in the formation of the Bilinski Educational Foundation. They believed that education was a means to obtain independence and this is the legacy they wished to pass on to others.


Eligibility

Each Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship is worth $30,000; a modest stipend of $1,250 will also be provided to each fellow to support dissertation research and completion. Students enrolled in any of the College’s Doctor of Philosophy programs in the humanities and social sciences may be nominated.  Nominations for 2020-2021 fellows is now open. Learn more about how to apply.


Bilinski Fellows

Select a year below to view the fellowships awarded and learn about the individual fellows and their research.

Ms. Blevins Jennifer Blevins, English

Jennifer Renee Blevins is a PhD candidate in American Literature at the University of South Carolina. She holds a BA in English and Theatre and an MA in English from Wake Forest University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of South Carolina. Her first book, Limited By Body Habitus: An American Fat Story (which began as her MFA thesis), received the 2018 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Award and will be published by the press in September 2019.

Jennifer’s work was recognized by a 2016 Breakthrough Graduate Scholar Award from the USC Office of Research, and she is a past recipient of the Bruccoli-Myerson Fellowship in American Literature, Dickey Fellowship in Creative Writing, and Rhude M. Patterson Fellowship. During her time at USC, she has served as Assistant Director of the Writing Center, Managing Editor (reviews) of the academic journal Modernism/modernity, and Editor of Yemassee, the official literary journal of the University of South Carolina. Additionally, she developed and taught two courses (“Researching and Writing About Fat” and “Mothers and Daughters in Literature and Culture”) for the USC Capstone Scholars Program. Her dissertation, “That confusion of who is who, flesh and flesh”: Mothers, Daughters, and the Body in Postwar and Contemporary American Literature, investigates how the body limits, disrupts, ruptures, or recuperates the mother/daughter relationship in postwar and contemporary texts by twentieth-century U.S. women writers. She reframed portions of the first chapter of her dissertation into an article titled “‘I Ain’t You’: Fat and the Female Body in Flannery O’Connor,” which has been accepted for publication by Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature. Jennifer is very grateful for the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship, which will give her the freedom and support she needs to complete her dissertation.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Ms. Chandler

Victoria Chandler, English

Victoria Chandler is a Ph.D. candidate in Twentieth-Century American Literature in the English Department. She received her B.A. from Gordon College and her M.A. from the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation examines the ways in which marginalized groups seek the means to resist dominant power structures. Victoria is the past recipient of the Edward Nolan Endowment Fund Award, the American Literature Fellowship, and the Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, which have helped fund her scholarship. She has presented her research at both regional and national conferences, and she has served as the President of the Graduate English Association. She has taught several composition and literature courses including themed courses with an emphasis on trauma and mourning, on women writers, and on utopian and dystopian fiction. Victoria is thankful for the support of the Bilinski Fellowship.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Ms. Dempsey

Sunshine Dempsey, English

Sunshine Dempsey is a Ph.D. candidate in 21st Century American Literature, whose research focuses on the politics of language and aesthetics in the contemporary poetry of the U.S. South. She received an M.F.A. in poetry from Colorado State University in 2010, and an M.A. in English from Lynchburg College in 2014. Her creative work has been published in a variety of literary journals, and in 2010 she was the recipient of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice’s Emerging Writers Grant. While at USC, she has taught a number of first-year English courses and was awarded the Cile Moise First-Year English Teaching Award for 2016-2017. For the past two years she has served as the Managing Editor of Modernism/modernity, the flagship journal of the Modernist Studies Association. Sunshine is grateful for the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Ms. Galkina

Elena Galkina, Linguistics

Elena Galkina is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics Program, focusing on second language acquisition and phonetics. Her research focuses on acoustic analysis of non-native speech, most-notably, whether the presence or absence of certain sounds found between a native language and a second language affect the language learner's ability to learn and produce the sounds of the second language.Elena’s dissertation will contribute toward a better understanding of the discrepancies between native and non-native speech, explaining whether complete phonetic mastery of another language is attainable.

Originally from Russia, Elena earned her B. A. in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication from Southwest State University in Kursk, Russia in 2012. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to come to the University of South Carolina, where she received M. A. in Linguistics in 2015. Over the last four years at USC she taught Introduction to Linguistics, Introduction to Language Sciences, and English Composition courses.

Elena is overwhelmingly appreciative for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship, and she wishes to extend her most profound thanks to the award committee, and her advisors and mentors at the University of South Carolina.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Andrew Gutkowski, History

Andrew Gutkowski is a History Ph.D. Candidate at the University of South Carolina, where his research addresses how the combined effects of Jim Crow-era segregation, neoliberal policymaking, and industrial boosterism have historically contributed to the uneven distribution of hazardous and toxic waste facilities throughout much of the U.S. South. His dissertation, “Reclaiming Nature and Community,” follows the histories of three African-American neighborhoods plagued by the presence of local hazards – such as hazardous waste landfills, abandoned factories, and chemical manufacturers – across the twentieth-century, demonstrating how interlocking struggles over civil rights, municipal reform, and labor made them into convenient repositories for undesirable land-uses. In addition, his research also traces the rise of the environmental justice movement by studying how these communities have also fought to challenge their political marginality, to revitalize their neighborhoods, and to democratize the environmental decision-making process. Andrew earned his B.A. in History at Macon State College in Macon, Georgia in 2012 and his M.A. at Georgie College and State University in Milledgeville in 2014. His first case study on the Re-Genesis project in Spartanburg, South Carolina won the History Department’s Clyde Ferrell Award in 2016 and was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of American History. Andrew is extremely grateful for the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program and is looking forward to completing his project this year.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Mr. Heiserman

Nicholas Heiserman, Sociology

Nicholas Heiserman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. He holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Iowa. His research agenda centers on the social psychological origins, dynamics, and consequences of social inequality. His dissertation uses a novel survey experimental design and innovative statistical methods to investigate how stereotypes of gender, sexuality, age, race, and class intersect across hundreds of unique combinations of those social categories. Nicholas has published research in the American Sociological Review and Social Psychology Quarterly and frequently presents at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association as well as the annual Group Processes Conference. He taught Social Advocacy and Ethical Life as a SAEL Fellow and has taught Introductory Statistics for Sociologists. His service activities include peer reviewing research, contributing to the management of the Laboratory for Sociological Research in the Department of Sociology, and co-editing the newsletter of the ASA Section on Social Psychology.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Ms. Jones

Tiffany Jones, Anthropology

Tiffany Marquise Jones is a PhD Candidate of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). She received her first Masters in Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University, where her thesis explored the in-group rejection of African American Vernacular English. This research motivated her to pursue a second Masters in Linguistics at UofSC and ultimately a doctorate in Linguistic Anthropology. While at UofSC, she has had the pleasure to work as a Presidential Teaching Fellow for the Social Advocacy and Ethical Life (SAEL) program (2014-2017), where she used her interest in language, identity, and culture to prompt students’ investigations of ethical quandaries deemed relevant to society. Currently, Tiffany is concluding her dissertation research, which delves more into the cultural practices within African American Language (AAL) and AAL Verbal Art Traditions (VATs). Particularly she has immersed herself in a tight-knit community of D.C. poets, observing the interactive model of Spoken Word poetry and how performances embody, reflect, and preserve “home” – i.e., local language, culture, and folklore – and reaffirm a sense of belonging that is threatened by gentrification (aka cultural genocide). Her work on AAL has been showcased at various regional and national conferences, including the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics (SECOL) and the Symposium About Language and Society - Austin (SALSA). The latter resulted in a conference proceeding on Spoken Word’s transformative and performative abilities. Overall, Tiffany’s long-term interests for advocacy research is to promote diversity inside academe, foster inclusive pedagogies and public scholarship, as well as create visual artifacts that showcase the richness of AAL VATs for diverse audiences. Tiffany is extremely grateful for the Bilinski Foundation’s assistance, as the support will only propel her towards these career endeavors.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Ms. Parada

Anais Parada, Anthropology

Anais Parada is a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of South Carolina.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Maurice Robinson, History

Maurice Robinson is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina, working on his dissertation titled “Asphalt Politics in the Deep South, 1953 – 1980.” His research on infrastructure and transportation history focus on how race influenced interstate route selections, as well as urban renewal targets. His 20th century historical study of the Interstate Highway System examines how racialized social engineering and urban planning shaped, and continues to affect, urban communities across the U.S. South. Maurice earned a B.A. and M.A. in History from Auburn University. Before attending the University of South Carolina, he worked in Washington D.C. for the Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives. Maurice has presented his work and research at the annual meetings of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and National Council for Black Studies. Over the last four years, he has taught history, social advocacy, rhetoric, and ethics courses as a past fellow of the USC SAEL Fellowship Program. Maurice is grateful and very appreciative to the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship Program for the opportunity to focus exclusively on writing and finishing his dissertation.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 

Ms. Zarenko

Kristina Zarenko, Anthropology

Kristina Zarenko is a Ph.D. candidate with an emphasis on biological anthropology in the Department of Anthropology. Her doctoral research focuses on skeletal evidence of disease to investigate the impacts of racialization on migrants to historic St. Louis, Missouri. Kristina’s dissertation research has previously been funded by a SPARC Graduate Research Grant. She has presented research at multiple national and international conferences, including the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, the Paleopathological Association, and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA). Kristina earned a B.A. in Anthropology and International Relations from The George Washington University and an M.A. in Anthropology from California State University, Chico. During her time at Chico State, she worked as a member of the CSUC Human Identification Lab forensic anthropology team to assist local law enforcement in the recovery and identification of human remains. While at the University of South Carolina, Kristina has worked as a senior teaching assistant for courses in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, has guest lectured for several biological anthropology, gross anatomy, genetic counseling, and high school science courses, and served as an inaugural AAPA Ethics Fellow. As an Ethics Fellow, she sat on the AAPA Ethics Committee, developed and lead workshops on professional ethics and mental health at the AAPA national meetings, and developed a case study as an educational resource that is publicly available on the AAPA website. Kristina is immensely grateful for the support of and honored to receive the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

Kristen Brown, English

Kristen Brown is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of South Carolina, where her primary field of study is late nineteenth-century American Literature. Her dissertation, “A Return to Turtle Island: Eco-cosmopolitics in American Indian Literature, 1880-1920” explores how American Indian authors at the turn of the twentieth century created their own forms of expression through a blend of literacies, based on both languages and landscapes. She hopes her research can contribute to an interrogation of the colonial discourse that continues to direct many federal policies in Indian Country, where questions of sovereignty and jurisdiction continue to complicate issues of environmental justice. She has presented her work at a variety of conferences, including the last two biennial meetings hosted by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Most recently, she shared her work at The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists conference. A recent recipient of the Richey Teaching Award, she has designed and taught Capstone courses and a section of American Literature at the University of South Carolina. Before attending USC, Kristen earned her M.A. in English from Gannon University, where she taught courses in composition and literature as an adjunct instructor. She is immensely grateful for the opportunity to turn full attention to her dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Stephanie Gray, History

Stephanie Gray is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History, where she focuses on twentieth-century U.S. cultural history and the development of the national historic preservation movement. Her dissertation, "Restoring America: Historic Preservation and the New Deal," examines the federally-funded restoration of historic landmarks during the Depression years, an overlooked facet of the New Deal's cultural agenda. Before arriving at USC, Stephanie earned a B.A. in History from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. in Public History from the University of South Carolina. While at USC, Stephanie has taught U.S. History since 1865 and the Practice of Public History. She has received the History Department's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Darrick Hart Award for her contributions to the field of Public History. Prior to receiving the Bilinski Fellowship, Stephanie was a Presidential Fellow and received a SPARC Grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research to conduct research for her dissertation. Outside of USC, Stephanie is involved in preservation consulting projects in the capital city and is a reading tutor for the Midlands Reading Consortium. She is extremely grateful for the support of the Bilinski Fellowship, which makes possible the completion of her dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Amber Lee, English

Amber Lee is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition. She received her BA in English from Clemson University and her MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Emerson College in Boston. Her dissertation problematizes traditional conceptions of rhetorical memory and reframes memory as a nonlinear, generative force. While at USC, Amber has taught English 101, 102, and themed courses. Additionally, this past year she served as Assistant Director of the First-Year English program, in which she edited the custom English 102 textbook, The Carolina Rhetoric. She is an active member of RSA@USC, and was previously secretary, vice president, and president of the organization. Her wider interests include the ethics of temporality, narrative dissonance, and public engagement with history. Amber is very grateful for the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship program.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Joshua Lundy, English

Joshua Lundy is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of South Carolina focusing on 19th and early 20th century U.S. Literature and Culture. Broadly, his research interests cluster around the different ways in which various strains of post-humanist thought help us to reframe and rethink representations of labor, industry, and capitalist social relations in an array of cultural forms. Prior to attending South Carolina, Josh received a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland and an M.A. – also in English – from the University of Mississippi. He has presented papers on a variety of topics at several literary conferences, including ALA, SCMLA, and the Marxist Reading Group Conference, and was a past recipient of the Joel Meyerson Fellowship in American Literature. Over the course of his academic career, he has had the opportunity to teach courses in Composition, Rhetoric, U.S. Popular Fiction, and British Literature. Josh is indebted to the Bilinski Foundation for providing resources that will be extremely helpful in ensuring the successful completion of his dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Samuel Nielson, Geography

Samuel P. Nielson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, focusing on immigrant integration in Europe. His interest in the subject derived in part from previous volunteer work with an international non-governmental organization in Belgium and France. At the University of South Carolina, Sam has served on the Graduate School’s Committee for Professional Development and the Presidential Fellows Advisory Council. He was awarded a Presidential Fellowship in a successful effort to recruit him into the doctoral program in Geography and this past June received a short-term Donald J. Puchula Graduate Fellowship in International Affairs from the Walker Institute. Sam has taught introductory world regional geography courses (both in person and online), an introductory human geography course, and also a course on the “Geography of Europe.” His efforts resulted in his receiving the Geography Department’s Graduate Instructor Award. Prior to beginning his Ph.D., Sam practiced law full-time for six years and received multiple honors, including recognition as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine and as one of California’s “Top 40 Attorneys Under 40” by The National Advocates. He earned a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and a B.S. in geography from Brigham Young University. Sam is extremely grateful for the generous support provided by the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Patrick O’Brien, History

Patrick O’Brien is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department, where his work examines loyalist women during the Revolutionary Era. He earned a B.A. in history and sociology from Providence College in 2011 and received an M.A. in history from McGill University in 2012. Before coming to Columbia in the fall of 2014, he taught social studies and coached the basketball team at Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School in New York City. Since beginning his doctoral studies, he has been the recipient of the Newport Historical Society’s Buchanan-Burnham Fellowship, the Massachusetts Historical Society’s W.B.H. Dowse Research Fellowship, and USC’s SPARC Grant. Long interested in American Revolution in Atlantic Canada, O’Brien intends his dissertation, “Unknown and Unlamented: Loyalist Women in Exile and Repatriation, 1775-1800,” to contribute to the growing literature on the loyalist diaspora by examining how women experienced and understood their own place as refugees in British Nova Scotia. He is both humbled and grateful for the generous support of Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Anna Rogers, Sociology

Anna Sheree Rogers is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology. She was the first ever student in the Sociology program to graduate with Distinction when she received her B.A. in 2012. Already as an undergraduate Anna began to develop her research interests in gender and popular culture, writing her Distinction paper on sexism in the lyrics of various kinds of popular music. In 2015, Anna received her M.A. in sociology on the basis of a thesis on gender dynamics in the heavy metal subculture, focusing in particular on the changing role of, and perceptions about, women as fans and practitioners of heavy metal. Anna’s current research centers on gendered, and sometimes deviant, identity formations in various forms of popular culture, such as in music, television, and film. Her dissertation involves an examination of the dynamics of women’s self-empowerment through the development and adaptation of cultural symbols among women who are self-described 'witches'. She investigates how this role is adopted to navigate the stigma associated with a traditionally deviant status. Anna was a recipient of the Sociology Department's Graduate Teaching Award in 2017 as well as the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from the USC Graduate School in 2018. She has taught Introductory Sociology and Society Through the Lens in the Sociology Department. She has presented her research at various international conferences, including meetings of the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Social Problems, and the Southern Sociological Society. She has also published some of her work, including a book chapter on the use of surveillance in popular culture, and is presently working on publishing results from her M.A. thesis. Anna is very grateful to have received this fellowship from the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship program and is looking forward to finalizing her research and hitting the academic job market!

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Matthew Wagner, Political Science

Matthew Wagner is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota-Morris and an M.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University. His dissertation “The Dynamics of Vote Buying: Party System Change in Developing Democracies” examines patron-client relationships and party competition in Southeast Asia. As the former recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, from 2016 to 2017 he was a visiting researcher in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, at the University of Malaya. From 2007 to 2009 he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Southern Thailand. He has completed extensive fieldwork in Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Matthew is grateful for the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Caleb Wittum, History

Caleb Wittum is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina, currently completing a dissertation entitled “The Chasquis of Liberty: An Indigenous Vision of Independence, 1778-1825.” Prior to his doctoral studies, he earned his B.A. in Global Studies and History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His research explores a group of itinerant revolutionaries from South America and the intellectual impact they had on the ongoing debates about race, nation, and human rights in the early nineteenth-century Americas. As a graduate student at USC, Caleb has taught courses on Latin American and United States History. In addition, Caleb has presented his research at numerous academic conferences including: The Southeastern Conference of Latin American Studies, the Florida Conference of Historians, the Transatlantic Studies Association Annual Conference, and the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era. His research has previously been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of South Carolina, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, and the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Caleb is grateful for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Samantha Yaussy, Anthropology

Samantha Yaussy is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology with an emphasis in biological anthropology. Born and raised in North Carolina, she earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Wake Forest University in 2013, an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina (USC) in 2015, and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Applied Statistics from USC in 2016. Her dissertation research compares multiple skeletal collections dating to England’s period of industrialization, to examine the effects of socioeconomic status, demographic characteristics, and exposure to physiological stressors on health and mortality in the context of this economic transition. Samantha’s doctoral research has previously been funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant and a SPARC Graduate Research Grant. Samantha has also previously received a Rhude M. Patterson Graduate Fellowship, an Eve Cockburn Student Presentation Award, and a Discover USC Graduate Student Poster Award in recognition of her excellence in research and dedication to scholarship. She has presented portions of her research at multiple national and international conferences, including the annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and the Paleopathology Association. Her previous research has been published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Bioarchaeology International, and the International Journal of Paleopathology. While at USC, she has been the lead teaching assistant in the Department of Anthropology’s introductory biological anthropology course, has guest-lectured for several biological anthropology courses, and has served as the lead human osteologist for an archaeological field school in Ashland, Wisconsin. Samantha is immensely grateful for the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship, which will allow her to focus on writing her dissertation and earn her doctoral degree ahead of schedule.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

Jada Ach

Jada Ach, English

Jada Ach is a Ph.D. candidate in Nineteenth-Century American Literature at the University of South Carolina, currently working on a dissertation titled Sand, Water, Salt: Managing the Elements in Literature of the American West, 1880-1925. Her research focuses on the often messy relations between humans and environments in literature set in the so-called wasteland spaces of the Western United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Her ecocritical examination of desert spaces in the novel McTeague appears in a 2016 issue of Western American Literature. Jada is the past recipient of the Richey Teaching Award, the Rhude Patterson Trustee Fellowship, the Western Literature Association's J. Golden Taylor Award, and a North Carolina Arts Council grant. She has presented her research at various academic conferences, including the Modern Language Association Convention and C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists Conference. In addition to teaching courses in composition and American literature at USC, Jada also leads wilderness writing workshops at South Carolina's Congaree National Park. She greatly appreciates the Bilinski Fellowship's support in helping her complete her dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Tiffany Beaver, Philosophy

Tiffany Beaver is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. She completed a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Erskine College, and a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. She worked as a licensed social worker for nearly five years before returning to USC to pursue her Ph.D. in philosophy. Because of her background in Social Work, Tiffany desires for her philosophical work to have a practical, actionable component. Her dissertation research in applied ethics focuses on issues of responsibility and obligation surrounding modern slavery. Put simply, it asks who is responsible for the current enslavement of millions of people around the world, and what are everyday global citizens obligated to do given the reality of modern slavery? Her dissertation especially presses readers to question their own involvement in the enslavement of global people. Tiffany hopes that her dissertation research will prove valuable to a wide audience including philosophers, practitioners and advocates in the modern anti-slavery movement, and average global citizens. At USC, Tiffany developed a special topics in ethics course (PHIL 103), teaching students about the reality of modern slavery, and empowering them to join the modern abolitionist movement. Tiffany also served as a teaching assistant for several contemporary ethics courses, as well as deductive logic. Tiffany has presented papers at the 2nd Global Conference: Slavery Past, Present, and Future in Prague, Czech Republic, and at the Evangelical Philosophical Society Southwest Regional Meeting. She has also done several presentations on modern slavery issues for campus and community groups and organizations. Her article "Synthesizing ideal and non-ideal theories into a cohesive theory of justice: The case of human trafficking as modern day slavery" can be found in the Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security (2015).
Tiffany is truly grateful for the support offered by the Bilinski Fellowship.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Brandon Boesch

Brandon Boesch, Philosophy

Brandon Boesch is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy. His work centers on the nature and use of representations in science (including models, equations, figures, diagrams, scale models, simulations, etc.), specifically describing how an account of human actions can be of use in understanding the nature of representational actions in scientific settings. He has been published in Philosophy of Science, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The American Journal of Bioethics, and a volume forthcoming with Oxford University Press. He has presented at national and international conferences in the US, Finland, the UK, Denmark, Serbia, and Germany. While at USC, Brandon has taught a number of courses in the Philosophy Department, including Philosophy of Emotions, Introduction to Philosophy, Contemporary Moral Issues, and Introduction to Logic. He has also served on a few university committees, including three years on the Committee for Curricula and Courses. Prior to receiving the Bilinski Fellowship, Brandon was a Presidential Fellow and had received a SPARC Grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research (and matched by the Philosophy Department), which he used to study for a semester in Europe at the University of Helsinki and the Complutense University of Madrid. Prior to his studies at USC, he received his Bachelor of Arts from Benedictine College in Philosophy, Biology, and Spanish, with minors in Chemistry and Theology.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

 Gerad GentryGerad Gentry, Philosophy

Gerad Gentry is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy. He was a 2016-17 Fulbright Research Fellow at Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Potsdam. He was also a DAAD, SPARC, and Walker recipient, Lilly Fellow, and USC Presidential Fellow. He received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and B.A. from Houghton College. He is the primary co-editor for a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press on the Imagination in German Idealism and Romanticism. Other publications include several peer-reviewed journal and chapter contributions on Kant and Hegel. He has presented six distinct APA (American Philosophical Association) papers at the Central, Eastern, and Pacific APA, ranging in subject from the transcendental structure of the imagination in Kant, Fichte, and Hegel, to the function of art in understanding, and pedagogical methodologies in current philosophy. Other work includes presentations at the North American Kant Society, North American Fichte Society, American Society for Aesthetics, as well as several book reviews including for the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is particularly grateful for the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship, which makes possible the completion of his dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Kelly Goldberg, Anthropology

Kelly Goldberg is a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at USC, focusing on historical archaeology of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Raised in New Hampshire, she received her B.A. in Anthropology at Hofstra University in 2009, her M.A. at USC in 2014, and is also currently pursuing a certificate in Museum Management. Her dissertation research investigates historic sites associated with the "illicit" slave trade period in coastal Guinea and seeks to understand how continuation of the trade affected the social, economic, and political environments of local Guinean communities. Kelly recently completed a Fulbright Student Research Fellowship, and was also the recipient of the Institute for African American Research Graduate Fellowship, the Ceny-Walker Graduate Fellowship, and the SPARC Graduate Research Grant. She has presented findings related to her research at national and international academic conferences, including meetings of the Society of Historical Archaeology, the Society of American Archaeology, the Society of Africanist Archaeologists, and the Southeastern Conference on Historic Sites. Her work has been published in the Nyame Akuma archaeological journal, and she recently designed and opened a temporary exhibit at the National Museum of Guinea. While at the University of South Carolina, she has taught courses on the Introduction of Biological Anthropology and instructed an Archaeological Field School. Kelly is extremely grateful to the Bilinski Education Foundation for the resources and time this Fellowship will enable her to apply to the completion of her dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Antony Keane-Dawes, History

Antony Keane-Dawes is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina. He earned a M.A. in History from Florida International University and a B.A. in History from St. Johns University. Antony works on themes of nationalism, race, and empire in mid-nineteenth-century Santo Domingo and its place in the larger Caribbean and Atlantic worlds. His research in the Dominican Republic, Spain, and the United Kingdom have previously been funded internally from the Walker Institute for International Studies and the Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina, as well as externally from the Conference on Latin American History. Antony has published an article with Traversea: The Journal of Transatlantic History and presented at conferences such as The American Historical Association, Southern Historical Association, and the Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies. Lastly, he has taught Latin American history courses for the History Department as a part of the "On Your Time Initiative" here at the University.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Samuel King

Samuel King, History

Samuel C. King is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina, where his research explores the historical relationship between Chinese restaurants and Chinese American immigration and integration. His dissertation, "Exclusive Dining: Immigration and Restaurants during the Era of Chinese Exclusion, 1882-1943," interrogates how luxury Chinese restaurants positively commodified Chinese culture in order to improve the sociopolitical status of Chinese American immigrants. Before entering the graduate program at USC, Samuel earned a B.A. in History from New York University, with a minor in East Asian Studies. His research has previously been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of South Carolina, the USC History Department, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, as well as a Presidential Fellowship from USC. Samuel is very grateful for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Adam Lerner

Adam Lerner, English

Adam S. Lerner is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Composition. He received both his B.A. and M.A. from Purdue University’s Brian Lamb School of Communication. His dissertation research focuses on how uncertainty is strategically deployed in health and medical settings. While at USC, he has taught both writing and speech courses, often with explicit or implicit medical, scientific, or technological themes. Additionally, he has spent the last two years as an assistant director of the first-year English program at USC. His wider interests include public engagement with science, user experience design, and technical writing. Adam is grateful for the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship program.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Daniela Negraia

Daniela Negraia, Sociology

Daniela V. Negraia is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of South Carolina. Currently, she is working on her dissertation, which sets to further our understanding on how parenting (i.e., raising children) vs. not parenting, affects adults’ subjective well-being (i.e., positive and negative emotions like happiness and stress). More broadly, her research interests include: family, population health, the life course and human development, social demography and social psychology. Daniela has presented her work during the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association and the Population Association of America. At USC, she has taught “Introduction to Sociology” and “Sociology of the Family” and has provided teaching assistance for “Introduction to Statistics for Sociologists”. At the University of Groningen, Daniela has taught “Research Practicum for Social Sciences”. Before attending USC, Daniela earned a M.Sc. in Sociology from University of Groningen, the Netherlands; a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Psychology, from the University of Bucharest, Romania.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Stephen Ruxton

Stephen Ruxton, Political Science

Stephen Ruxton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina. His research interests focus on American politics, public opinion, and political theory, with specific attention being paid to the conceptual construction of representation in American institutions and the public. Previously, Stephen had been awarded a University SPARC Grant to conduct an original survey towards his dissertation research, allowing him to combine the empirical realities of what the public considers representation to be, with the normative implications of representation on democratic principles. He has presented his research at numerous conferences from New Orleans to San Diego. Over the last two years, Stephen has successfully taught courses ranging from Introduction to American Politics to Contemporary Political Theory, being given the Best Graduate Student Teacher Award from the Department of Political Science in 2016-2017. Before attending USC, Stephen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Religious Studies at Randolph-Macon College. Stephen is deeply appreciative for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program and its contribution towards the successful completion of his dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Holly Smith

Holly Smith, Geography

Holly L. Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. Prior to studying Geography at the University of South Carolina, Holly earned her B.A. in Intercultural Communications from Eastern University and her M.A. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation, “Ammani Youth: Urban Experiences, Regional Changes, and Uncertain Futures” explores how youth living in the “eye of the storm” in Amman, Jordan are experiencing geopolitics in an urban setting dramatically impacted by the consequences of the Arab Spring. Her research is inspired by living in Tunisia immediately after the Jasmine Revolution and witnessing nascent youth movements challenging entrenched state power in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. By using ethnographic methods she first illuminates daily experiences and dreams from the often over-looked perspectives of Urban Youth in the Middle East, which she then juxtaposes with narratives about youth in the region using critical discourse analysis. More broadly Holly’s research interests include the Urban Geographies, Social Geographies, and Youth Geopolitics. While at USC Holly discovered her passion for teaching and was awarded an “Outstanding New Teacher” award by her department. Holly is most grateful to the Bilinski Foundation for the privilege of being able to focus exclusively on completing her dissertation.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Jillian Weber

Jillian Weber, English

Jillian Weber is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. She completed her B.A. at the University of Illinois in 2009 and received her M.A. from the University of South Carolina in 2013. Since returning to USC for her doctorate, Jillian has been the recipient of a Presidential Fellowship, an Institute for African American Research fellowship, and a SPARC Grant to fund her research. Over the last six years she has taught literature, rhetoric, and composition classes at the University, as well as contributed to several digital humanities projects about South Carolina literature and culture. Her current focus is on 19th Century American Literature, with an emphasis on African American Literature. Her dissertation deals with athletic female characters during the 19th century and the ways in which they are represented in literature and periodicals. Jillian is incredibly grateful for the support of the Bilinski Fellowship.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

Craig Bacon headshotCraig E. Bacon, Philosophy

Craig E. Bacon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His dissertation addresses interpretative issues surrounding Kant’s idea of the highest good, uncovering structural similarities in Kant’s discussions of the highest good from 1785-1793 and arguing for the important, though limited, role that God and the immortality of the soul play in relation to the highest good. Craig’s broader research interests include the connection between morality and happiness in non-utilitarian, non-eudaimonistic moral theories, the moral foundations of religious belief, Philosophical hermeneutics, and Neoplatonism. He has presented his research at meetings of The International Kant Congress, The North American Kant Society, and the regional South Carolina Society for Philosophy. Prior to studying Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Craig earned his B.A. in Religion from Columbia International University and his A.A. in Liberal Arts from Tidewater Community College. At USC, he has taught introductory courses in Philosophy, in Logic, and in Ethics.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Derek Bedenbaugh, English and American Literature

Derek Bedenbaugh is a Ph.D. candidate in 19th Century British Literature at the University of South Carolina. He graduated from Newberry College with a B.A. in English and Religion in 2011. During his time at USC, he has taught courses in Critical Reading and Composition, Rhetoric, and British Literature. He is the recipient of the Cile Moise Teaching Award, the Richey Teaching Award, and the Edward Nolan Graduate Fellowship. His research explores the interplay between disability and gender in the Victorian novel. His article on the American suffragist and novelist Julia Ward Howe appears in the Spring 2015 edition of Victorian Studies. Derek is grateful for the Bilinski Fellowship’s assistance in helping his dissertation reach its full potential.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Megan Bennett, History

Megan Bennett is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina, where she also is completing a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. She earned a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Megan’s research examines the intersections between the culture of anti-communist repression during the Cold War and post-war attitudes towards children and family, with a specific interest in American Jewish history. Her dissertation focuses on the children of convicted Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and the public and legal battles which emerged over their care following their parents’ arrests. Megan is grateful for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Christopher J. Farina, Linguistics

Christopher J. Farina is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics Program. His research focuses on the processing and acquisition grammatical tenses by instructed, adult nonnative speakers of English, with particular focus on the present perfect (e.g., have written). A common theme found in his work is the application of formal linguistic theory to nonnative speaker data, which he uses to investigate language development and the psychological factors that constrain it. Following this theme allows him to investigate and advance linguistic theory and to develop and assess research-based teaching tools. He has presented his research at several conferences, including the Second Language Research Forum and Southeastern Conference on Linguistics. Prior to becoming a Bilinski Fellow, he received the Carol Myers-Scotton Award for his contributions to the Linguistics Program, was a USC Presidential Fellow, and chaired the organizing committee of an international conference in his field. Christopher received a M.A. in Linguistics here at USC and an H.A.B. in Classical Philology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. While at USC, he has taught courses in Language Science, Language Conflicts and Language Rights Issues, English as a Second Language, and English Composition; he has also served as a language tutor for native and nonnative speakers of English and an accreditation consultant.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Erin Holmes, History

Erin Holmes is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina, presently completing a dissertation entitled “Within the House of Bondage: Constructing and Negotiating the Plantation Landscape in the British Atlantic World, 1670-1820” under the direction of Dr. Woody Holton. She completed her B.A. in History at the College of William and Mary, along with a certificate in Early American History and Museum Studies, before beginning her doctoral work at USC. In addition to working on her Ph.D., she has completed a certificate in Historical Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management through the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Holmes’s work compares the built environment of the plantation in Virginia, South Carolina, and Barbados during the long eighteenth century, exploring how slavery shaped those landscapes and their inhabitants, paving the way for the creation of a distinctly American identity and the American Revolution itself. She utilizes the extant and archaeological landscapes of the plantation she studies to challenge traditional narratives about their evolution and significance. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of South Carolina, the Department of History at USC, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


 Andrew Kettler, HistoryAndrew Kettler headshot

Andrew Kettler is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina. Prior to entering the Graduate School at South Carolina, Andrew received his M.A. in History from the University of Nebraska-Omaha for his thesis, “The Deconstruction of European Odorphobia on the Sensory Border of the American Frontier.” He continues to research the use of olfactory language in the making of racial, class, and gendered metaphors that were used to assert forms of state, religious, and patriarchal power during the Enlightenment. Andrew has recently published some of these original findings in Senses and Society and has a forthcoming essay in the Journal of American Studies. He has also published numerous book reviews relating to his historical interests in the slave trade, colonial Latin America, and the five senses. In recent years, Andrew has presented at numerous academic conferences including: the Popular Culture Association, the British Association for American Studies, the History of Science Society, the Southern Historical Association, and the American Comparative Literature Association. His research has been funded through an Atkinson-Wyatt Fellowship, a Ceny Walker Fellowship, and a Wilfred and Rebecca Calcott Award. His forthcoming dissertation, “Odor and Discipline in the Americas,” focuses on the importance of an aromatic subaltern class consciousness in the making of Atlantic era resistance to the racialized olfactory discourses of state, religious, and slave masters.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Sam Lackey, English and American Literature

Sam Lackey is a Ph.D. candidate in Nineteenth Century American Literature at USC. His research interests include depictions of crime on the early American frontier and the development of specific frontier bandit character types in antebellum U.S. fiction. He received B.A. degrees in English and Film Studies from USC in 2006 and a M.A. in English from the College of Charleston in 2009. Since returning to USC to pursue his doctorate, he has been the recipient of the Myerson Fellowship in American Literature and the Richey Teaching Award. Over the last seven years, he has taught courses in Critical Reading and Composition, Rhetoric and Composition, American Literature, and Technical Writing as a graduate student at USC and an adjunct instructor at Coastal Carolina University and Trident Technical College. He is greatly appreciative of the opportunity granted by the Bilinski Educational Foundation to devote more time to his dissertation.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Trevor C. Meyer, English

Trevor C. Meyer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, focusing on Rhetoric and Composition. His research focuses on the rhetorical problem of violence, and his dissertation examines the theory and pedagogy of martial arts to develop an affirmative, global-material approach to conflict in argumentation, writing pedagogy, and writing program administration. Other projects in this vein include the rhetoric of jihad and performative agency in professional wrestling. He has presented his work at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, International Society for the History of Rhetoric, and the Rhetoric Society of America. Before attending USC, Trevor earned a B.A. in English, a minor in Film, a B.A. in Philosophy, and a M.A. in English from the University of Northern Colorado, where he taught composition and worked as a writing tutor. At USC, he has taught composition, business writing, and information literacy, and he has served for two years as an Assistant Director of First-Year English. He is deeply grateful for this fellowship.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

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Stephanie Boone Mosher, English

Stephanie Boone Mosher is a Ph.D. candidate in English, Composition and Rhetoric at USC. Her research focuses on how competing language ideologies influence writing instructors’ teaching and assessment practices, particularly when working with linguistically diverse students. In conjunction with her Ph.D. studies, she is also pursuing a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate through USC’s Linguistics program. She has presented her research at regional, national, and international conferences, including the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Watson Conference, the Rhetoric Society of America, and Writing Research Across Borders. Prior to receiving the Bilinski Fellowship, she received USC’s Presidential Fellowship. Before pursing her Ph.D., Stephanie earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Nonfiction, from the University of Arizona, and a B.A. in History and English from Hiram College in northeastern Ohio. She previously worked as a freelance writer while teaching literature, composition, and creative writing in western New York. At USC, she has taught composition and advanced writing courses. She spent two years as an Assistant Director of First-Year English, and earned the Dr. William Richey Student Mentor Award in 2014.Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Adam Griffey, English

Adam Griffey is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of South Carolina focusing on novels that address themes of religion, violence, and young people, under the direction of Dr. Sara Schwebel. He received a B.A. in English from Berea College and M.A. degrees in English and History from Appalachian State University. He has taught courses in Rhetoric and Composition, American Literature, World Literature, Religious Literature, and Young Adult Literature at USC and Appalachian State. He was a USC Presidential Fellow from 2011-2015 and has presented at conferences for the Society for the Study of Southern Literature and the Children’s Literature Association. He is grateful to the Bilinski Education Foundation for the resources and time to complete his dissertation. Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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David W. Hancock, Spanish/Portuguese

David W. Hancock is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Culture’s (DLLC) Spanish/Portuguese Program. His research interests include representations of gender performance in Brazilian and Mexican crime/detective fiction from the 1980’s to the present. Last fall he presented his research in Mexico City at the Conferencia Internacional de Literatura Detectivesca en Español. He plans on presenting again at CILDE and at the Congreso de novela y cine negro held in April 2016 in Salamanca. He also looks forward to interviewing author Rubem Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro. David has interpreted/translated in local courts and in Southeast Florida, and he has taught Spanish at Crestwood High School in Sumter, SC. At USC, he teaches Spanish and Portuguese language classes that range from basic to advanced levels. He recently won the DLLC Teaching and Dissertation Awards for graduate students. As a research assistant for Dr. Rachel Davis in the Department of Public Health in 2014, David collaborated in writing short stories, translating documents, and conducting interviews used in Dr. Davis’ study titled Crafting health promotion narratives: Childhood obesity prevention among Mexican-origin mothers of preschool-aged children, with his name included as part of the study’s authorship. He was also the Spanish 121 Course Coordinator during the 2014-15 academic year.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Irina Vasilyeva Meier, Comparative Literature

Irina Vasilyeva Meier is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature. Originally from Russia, she completed a Specialist degree in Translation and Theory of Translation at Vyatka State University of Humanities in Russia before moving to the United States to earn a B.S. in Political Science and then an M.A. in English from Eastern New Mexico University. Her main academic interests focus on interdisciplinary studies including terrorism in Russia, terror and literature, national identity and exile, women's issues in Russia and the Soviet Union, and connections between literary theory and practical politics. At the University of South Carolina, Irina taught course sections of Beginning Russian, Intermediate Russian (an intensive online eight-week summer course), and Advanced Russian; 19th Century and 20th Century Russian Literature in Russian; Conversational Russian; and World Literature. Prior to receiving the Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship, Irina’s research was funded through teaching assistantships, Rhude Patterson Graduate Fellowship, Ceny Walker Graduate Fellowship, and the Cantey Fellowship in Liberal Arts from the University of South Carolina. Irina is very grateful for the generous financial support provided to her by the Bilinski Foundation, as it will enable her to devote all her time and effort to her dissertation and, after completing her doctoral degree, to continue pursuing her professional goals in both university teaching and research.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Page Headshot

Douglas Page, Political Science

Douglas Page is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science who studies European Union politics. He focuses on the democratic legitimacy of the EU, the EU’s anti-discrimination policies regarding women and LGBT people, and the reasons behind public support for the EU. He received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 2010. He presented his research at leading national conferences, including the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association, International Studies Association, Midwest Political Science Association, and Southern Political Science Association. In USC’s Political Science Department, he taught courses on European Politics, European Union Politics, and the Politics of National and International Courts. He was a Presidential Fellow of USC’s Graduate School before receiving the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Neal Polhemus, History

Neal Polhemus is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at USC. He received a B.S. in Psychology and Master’s degree in History from the College of Charleston. Polhemus has been a recipient of several grants and awards for his research, such as a SPARC Graduate Research Grant, the Atkinson-Wyatt Fellowship, and grants from the USC Institute for Southern Studies and the USC Institute for African American Research. Polhemus has presented his research at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Southern Historical Association and published articles in the Transactions of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina and (forthcoming) in Atlantic Studies: Global Currents. In addition to traditional publication venues, Polhemus has curated and developed two digital humanities exhibits for the Lowcountry Digital Library. Since 2011, Polhemus has served as a graduate liaison for the Latin American and Caribbean Section (LACS) of the Southern Historical Association.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Sueanna Smith, English and American Literature

Sueanna Smith is a doctoral candidate in Colonial and 19th Century American Literature in the English Department at USC. She received her B.S. in Social Science from Saint Thomas Aquinas College and her M.A. in English from California State University Stanislaus. As a specialist in early African American literary history, her doctoral research examines the social and cultural contexts surrounding the production, dissemination, and reception of early black writing. Sueanna has held research fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Her research has also been funded by the Omohundro Institute for Early American Literature and Culture and USC’s Institute for African American Research. Her work has been published in The Sigma Tau Delta Review, The San Joaquin Valley Journal, and most recently in African American Leadership: A Concise Reference Guide. Additionally, Sueanna served as Senior Editor for Southern Humor Periodical Repository, a digital collection sponsored by the South Caroliniana Library. Sueanna enjoys teaching for USC’s First Year English Program, where she has recently taught courses on American sports culture and on the representation of race in popular culture.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Charlton Yingling, History

Charlton Yingling is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina. He earned his M.A. in Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University and B.A. in History at Marshall University. He works on themes of radicalism and counterrevolution, popular religion, race, and nation in colonial Spanish Santo Domingo during the Haitian Revolution amid broader Caribbean and Atlantic connections. He has published articles in History Workshop Journal, Early American Studies, and Sociales, and a chapter in the book Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transnational World. His research in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Spain, the Vatican, and the United Kingdom has been funded externally by the Ministry of Culture and Education of Spain, the Academy of American Franciscan History, Conference on Latin American History, Harvard University Atlantic History Seminar, and internally by the Institute for African American Research, the Walker Institute for International Studies, and the Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina. Chaz is extremely grateful for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

Ash Headshot

Kevin Ash, Geography

Kevin Ash is a doctoral candidate studying environmental hazards and disasters in the Department of Geography. His research interests include risk perception and communication, evacuation behavior, social vulnerability, and disaster resilience. He worked for the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at USC from 2010-2014 and contributed to several projects including vulnerability to flood hazards in southeastern Louisiana, long-term recovery in Mississippi and New Jersey after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and community disaster resilience metrics for the contiguous United States. He is also interested in how people understand and act upon warnings for rapid-onset weather events. Specifically, Kevin’s dissertation is investigating the intended tornado sheltering of manufactured home residents in South Carolina. Kevin’s educational background includes a BA in Geography from the University of Oklahoma and a MS in Geography from the University of Florida. Prior to graduate school, he was employed with Weathernews, Inc. as a risk communicator and with the US Geological Survey as a geographic information systems technician. He is a native of Oklahoma and became interested in disasters after a tornado struck his neighborhood near Oklahoma City in 1999.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Clement Headshot

Dean Clement, English and American Literature

Dean Clement is currently a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of South Carolina where he studies the imaginative literature and political philosophy of the English Renaissance. After earning his BA from the University of Mississippi and his MA in English Literature from the University of Montana, he crossed the country once again to study at the University of South Carolina. During his time at USC, Dean has taught multiple courses in Critical Thinking & Writing and Rhetoric & Composition. He has also taught upper-level surveys of British Literature, World Drama, and the English Renaissance. The time and money that the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship has generously provided him will enable Dean to finish out the program with a strong dissertation and a foothold into his academic future.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Erica Fischer, Rhetoric and Composition

Erica Fischer is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition in USC’s English Department where her areas of research include composition-rhetoric, contemporary poetics, and writing pedagogy. During her time at USC, Erica has had the opportunity to develop her research and pedagogical theories in her Advanced Writing courses and as an Assistant Director for First Year English. Erica plans to defend her dissertation in the spring and credits the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship for the time and resources to reach her academic goals.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Ashley Harrell, Sociology

Ashley Harrell is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology department. She has also earned a BA in Psychology and an MA in Sociology from the University of South Carolina. While at USC, she has taught a broad Introductory Sociology course as well as courses in Statistics for the social sciences. She was named Distinguished Graduate Scholar in 2013 from the University of South Carolina, and has won both departmental and national-level awards for a paper developed from her MA thesis, “Do Religious Cognitions Promote Prosociality?” She has published sole- and co-authored work in Rationality and Society and Social Forces. Aside from religion, she is also interested in studying cooperation and prosocial behavior more broadly. Her dissertation focuses on the role of leadership in enhancing cooperation in groups.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Evan A. Kutzler, History

Evan A. Kutzler is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department under the advisement of Dr. Mark M. Smith. He received his Bachelor of Arts at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, in 2010 and his Master’s degree in Public History at the University of South Carolina in 2012. As a doctoral candidate, Kutzler has taught courses for the Institute of Southern Studies that explored the U.S. South from an interdisciplinary approach. He has also published in academic and public history formats. The forthcoming article, “Captive Audiences: Sound, Silence, and Listening in Civil War Prisons,” will appear in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Social History. Kutzler’s other publications include a co-authored piece on slavery and public history, “Breaking the Silence: Telling the Story of Slavery at a Public University in the South,” which appears as a short series on History@Work, a joint imprimatur between The Public Historian and the National Council for Public History online publications. In addition to the Bilinski Education Foundation, Kutzler’s research is funded through institutions that include the University of South Carolina, the Virginia Historical Society, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Filson Historical Society, the Friends of Andersonville Organization, and the National Park Service. Funding provided opportunities to expand his work on the sensory history of captivity during the American Civil War through research trips to more than twenty-five libraries and archives between 2011 and 2014. He is currently set to defend his dissertation in spring 2015.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Julia McKinney, Linguistics

Julia McKinney is a doctoral candidate in Linguistics specializing in sociolinguistics. A native of California, she earned her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of South Carolina. At USC she has taught classes in the Linguistics and First-Year English programs, served as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center, and tutored writing for the Student Success Center. Julia’s research focuses on how older speakers actively construct identities in interaction using linguistic resources, with a particular interest in the intersection between interpersonal and popular discourses. While completing her M.A., Julia conducted ethnographic research at an traditional, older women’s hair salon in Columbia, examining the connections between discourse, the body, and age. Her dissertation research was conducted at a senior center and examines the relationship between language, identity construction, and understandings of temporality. Julia has presented her research at leading national conferences, including the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Ways of Analyzing Variation, and Georgetown University Round Table, and at regional conferences such as the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


Minella HeadshotTimothy K. Minella, History

Timothy K. Minella is a Ph.D. candidate in History who specializes in the history of science in early America. He received his B.A. from Hamilton College in 2009. His dissertation examines the connections between the Enlightenment and scientific practice in the United States from 1789 to 1860. He conducts several case studies of such topics as agriculture, natural history, print culture, and political philosophy. He has served as an instructor and a teaching assistant for courses in the history of science, American history, and Western civilization. He enjoys sampling local microbrews, cheering for Carolina athletic teams, and jogging.

Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Anthony Stagliano, Rhetoric

Anthony Stagliano is a filmmaker and scholar of rhetoric, and currently a PhD candidate at the University of South Carolina, studying the digital and material contours of public rhetoric. After a BA in Classics from SDSU, Stagliano earned an MA in English at DePaul University in Chicago. His films and media art pieces have been shown in festivals and galleries around the country. His feature narrative film, Fade, was released theatrically and on DVD by Cinema Epoch. Stagliano’s academic research is in contemporary rhetorical theory. Specifically, a posthumanist study of the materiality of digital forms of public rhetoric, and its concomitant political risks and possibilities. The aim is to articulate robust conceptions of rhetorical tactics and rhetorical encounters useful for the production, circulation, and analysis of rhetoric in the current historical moment.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]


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Michael C. Weisenburg, English

Michael C. Weisenburg is a PhD candidate in the Department of English, focusing in Colonial & Nineteenth-Century American Literature. His research interests deal with the transition between the late colonial & early national period. He is currently working on a dissertation about the British American Loyalists and the question of loyalty as it extends throughout the nineteenth century in American literature, with Dr. David S. Shields as his director. His other research interests include cartography, aesthetics, & affect. For the past few years, he has been a research assistant for Dr. Joel Myerson, collating & reading proofs for the Tenth Volume of the Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as Dr. Myerson’s Supplemental Bibliography of the Works of Walt Whitman. He frequently works for the Irving Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, most recently compiling meta-data and designing a website for Dr. Myerson’s collection of nineteenth-century American literary manuscripts. Michael has taught a variety of English courses in the University’s common core curriculum, including Fiction and Themes in American Writing. In 2011, Michael’s service, research, and teaching was acknowledged through a William H. Nolte Graduate Assistant Award. He is grateful for the opportunities that being a Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellow will afford him this academic year.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf]

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Anna Bennion, English

Anna Bennion is a doctoral candidate in the English department here at USC. She is originally from the state of Washington and loves this chance to study and live in South Carolina. Anna has long been a lover of literature, and her graduate studies have focused her on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British novels. She has presented papers on gothic literature, Jane Austen, and Romantic-era prose. She is also interested in film adaptation and has published a paper on literature and film pedagogy.
Dissertation Abstract [pdf] 


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Jennifer Karash-Eastman, Comparative Literature

Jennifer Karash-Eastman is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature. Her academic formation is in contemporary transnational literature with a focus on Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as contemporary African American and migrant writing in the United States. In addition to an interdisciplinary doctorate degree, Jennifer is also completing a graduate certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies.
Dissertation Abstract


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Sandra Keller, Linguistics

Sandra Keller is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics program, where her research areas within sociolinguistics – including interactional discourse analysis, performance studies, and linguistic ideologies in France – have been motivated by her interest in how speakers of Gallo, a regional language of France, use verbal performance to integrate local traditions into the cultural practices of modern life. Sandra earned a B.A. in Psychology and French from Rhodes College (Memphis, Tennessee), where her senior honors thesis examined the creation and circulation of storytelling motifs in two preschool classrooms. Sandra then spent an academic year working as an English language teaching assistant at a small-town high school in Brittany, France, where her interest in verbal performance and community found a new focus in the storytelling and conversational practices of speakers of the local language of Gallo. After this year of attending performances and Gallo classes and participating in daily life in Brittany, Sandra was inspired by the sociolinguistic richness of this context to study at the University of South Carolina, earning an M.A. in French and pursuing her doctorate in Linguistics. She is very grateful for USC’s Ceny Walker travel fellowship, which enabled a preliminary return to Brittany in 2012 to establish research contacts, and for the Bilinski Foundation fellowship, which has permitted her to conduct one year of ethnographic fieldwork among Gallo-speaking residents of Upper Brittany.
Dissertation Abstract


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Sara Lide, Linguistics

Sara Lide is a native Southerner working on her PhD in Linguistics. She attended Rice University (BA) and Lancaster University, UK (MA), before starting her doctoral work at USC. Her academic interests are in the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, both of which address social aspects of language use, including how and why language varies from person to person and from group to group. Inspired by her own experience growing up in the South, Sara’s research examines the ways that language is tied to regional identity.
Dissertation Abstract


Michael Odom

Michael Odom, English

Michael Odom is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of South Carolina where he studies religion and literature in the U.S. South. After receiving a B.A. in English at Auburn University Montgomery and a M.A. in Theology at Southwestern Seminary, he taught secondary English, Philosophy, and Religion for several years. Fascinated by the profound impact evangelical religion has upon the social, economic, and political spheres in the South, Odom came to the University of South Carolina to study under the direction of Distinguished Southern Studies scholar, Robert Brinkmeyer. The Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship has afforded Michael Odom the opportunity to devote full attention to a cultural and literary topic that has interested him for many years, enabling him to bring his dissertation to completion and emerge into the academic job market with a compelling scholarly agenda.
Dissertation Abstract


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Tyler D. Parry, History

Tyler D. Parry is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department under the advisement of Dr. Daniel C. Littlefield. He received his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2008, and attained his Master’s degree in History at the University of South Carolina in 2011. At USC he has held positions in the History department; African American Studies Program, and the Institute for African American Research. As a doctoral candidate Parry has taught classes for the History Department and African American Studies Program that emphasize the African Diaspora and slavery in the colonial and Early Republican periods of the United States. His publication record includes book reviews on various subjects of slavery and servitude; encyclopedia entries of noteworthy African Americans; and chapter-length contributions to edited volumes that examine the cultural history of slavery and the impact of race and economics upon the transatlantic slave trade. He also served as an Associate Editor for the 2011 issue of The Southern Historian: A Journal of Southern History, published through the University of Alabama. In addition to the Bilinski Foundation, Parry’s research was funded through institutions that include Harvard University, Duke University, the University of South Carolina, and Florida International University. The funding provided opportunities to expand his work on slave marriage and the African diaspora through research trips to Senegal, the Gambia, Bermuda, Jamaica, England, and Scotland. He is currently set to defend his dissertation on April 7, 2014.

Dissertation Abstract


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Aubrey Phillips, Linguistics

Aubrey Phillips is a PhD candidate in Linguistics specializing in Second Language Acquisition. She has a BA in French from Francis Marion University, an MAT in French and a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of South Carolina. As a middle school teacher and a university instructor, Aubrey has won recognition for her teaching, including commendations from the American Association of Teachers of French and the Michael Montgomery Award for Excellence in Teaching Linguistics from the University of South Carolina. Aubrey’s research interests include second language attention and syntactic processing, semantic and syntactic priming, and foreign language teacher training. Previous research projects have examined the effects of false cognates on second language processing and syntactic priming of English phrasal verbs. Aubrey has presented at conferences of the South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers Association, the American Association of Teachers of French, the Southeast Conference of Language Teachers, the International TESOL Convention, the TESOL and Applied Linguistics Graduate Students and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.
Dissertation Abstract


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Sarah Scripps, History

Sarah Scripps is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. She earned a BA in History and French Studies from the University of Minnesota and an MA in Public History-Museum Studies from the University of South Carolina. As a trained public historian, Sarah is dedicated to interpreting history to a general audience. From 2009 to 2011, Sarah worked for Historic Columbia Foundation’s award-winning neighborhood history initiative, Retrace: Connecting Communities through History. Sarah also curated Imaging the Invisible at McKissick Museum, an exhibit that surveyed the history of scientific imaging to investigate the changing meaning of data representation. This project served as inspiration for an article she coauthored that evaluates the role of collaboration in the work of public historians and scientists that was published in The Public Historian in 2013. These projects were supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as the National Science Foundation. Most recently, Sarah served as a content advisor for the Erector at 100 exhibition at the Eli Whitney Museum. In addition to her research on science fairs, Sarah is also interested in the visual and material culture of nanotechnology, the development of amateur rocketry, and the history of the Erector set. A Minneapolis native, Sarah enjoys camping, yoga, and spending time with her family.
Dissertation Abstract


Bethany Tisdale

Bethany Tisdale, English

Bethany Tisdale is a doctoral candidate in English and holds a M.A. in American literature and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from USC. She received an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. While at USC, she has taught courses in English and Women’s and Gender Studies including Composition and Rhetoric, Themes in American Literature, and Sexual Diversities. She served last year as the Assistant Director of the University Writing Center and has three years of experience as a writing tutor. In addition to her graduate work, she is a Speakers Bureau volunteer with Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. She is also a facilitator for the $tart $mart program, a joint effort of the American Association of University Women and the WAGE Project that promotes educating college women about fair pay.
Dissertation Abstract


Luci Vaden

Luci Vaden, History

Luci Vaden is a Ph.D. candidate in modern United States history at the University of South Carolina. Her research examines African American civil rights activism following the apex of America’s civil rights movement in 1965, with a particular emphasis on black student and community activism that emerged due to continued racial inequalities in public schools systems following federally mandated desegregation. Central to her research are the ways in which local activists used newly won civil rights legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, to demand quality public education for black and minority students in their communities, particularly in the American South, and the processes whereby their continued activism transformed state and federal education policy in the post-Jim Crow Era. Vaden earned a M.A. in education from the University of Tennessee and a M.A. in United States history from the University of South Carolina. Her forthcoming publication, “High School Students, The Catholic, And The Struggle For Black Inclusion And Citizenship In Rock Hill, South Carolina,” In Color and Transcendence: Contested Post-Racialism and Conflicted Churches in the U.S. and South Africa, with the University Press of Mississippi, examines the ways in which the Catholic Church in one South Carolina community supported black student activism and protest following the implementation of discriminatory policies in South Carolina’s desegregated public school system. Vaden’s research has been supported by the Bilinski Foundation and Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.
Dissertation Abstract


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