Literature Student Profiles | Department of English

Literature Student Profiles

Anum Aziz

Anum Aziz is a 5th-year Ph.D. student in postcolonial literature with a specialization in postcolonial Marxist feminism. Her paper, "Agency of Silence: An Intertextual Study of Identity Construction in Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven" was accepted for publication in 2022 by Pakistan Journal of American Studies. She loves cats, makeup, music, and cooking.

Ashley Balcazar

Ashley Balcazar is a First-year Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow. She earned her M.A. in Linguistics and her B.A. in Integrative Studies with foci in English, Linguistics, and Sociology and a minor in French at the University of North Texas. Ashley's research in the Master's program focused on the language of sexual violence, dialectical features of African-American English, and computational solutions for textual research. She has taught in the Linguistics department at UNT as an adjunct professor.

Ashley has created and authored an online column, Dallas Salsa Examiner, about salsa dancing in North Texas and has written for the Dallas Morning News as a Community Voices columnist. She has also been a contributor for the CBS Digital Arts and Entertainment section. Her academic work has been published in American Speech.

She looks forward to shifting from a concentration on the scientific study of language to the creativity of the written word.

Nicholas Brush

Nicholas A. Brush is a disabled queer veteran whose scholarly interests meet at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and food in early modern drama. His/Their dissertation is tentatively titled, "Dietary Deviants: Eating Queer in Early Modern English Drama." Nicholas received his/their B.A. in English (Creative Writing) from Cameron University and his/their M.A. in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Nicholas' poetry has been published in The Gold Mine, Cuento Magazine, Dragon Poet Review, and petrichor, among others, and has been anthologized in The 580 Mixtapes, Volume 1: An Anthology of Lawton Poetry. Nicholas' scholarly publications include articles in The Journal of the Wooden O, The Central Dissent, and Philological Review. His/Their extracurricular pursuits include reading and collecting comic books, building and collecting LEGO®, online gaming, and watching and writing about horror films.

Max Cannon

Max Cannon is a Ph.D. student at the University of North Texas where he previously earned a BA in Philosophy with a minor in English Literature. He aims to continue to keep the two disciplines in tandem during his education. His primary interest lies in modernist anglophone literature, and more particularly in the stream of consciousness writing that emerged from the movement by the likes of Faulkner, Joyce, and Woolf.

He currently resides in Denton with his wife and daughter, while working at Edison Coffee Co. in Flower Mound.

Shannon Couey

Shannon Couey is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British literature. She is working on her dissertation--tentatively titled, "Sonic Bodies, Sonic Sex," which explores the relationship between gender, sexuality, sound, and embodiment in non-realist texts at the turn of the twentieth century. When she is not teaching or working on her dissertation, you can find her at home snuggled up with her pug, Shakespeare, and her husband.

Staci Gentry

Staci Gentry is an M.A. student and Teaching Assistant at the University of North Texas. She graduated from UNT in 2022 with a B.A. in English Literature and a certification in Technical Communications. Her scholarly interests include rhetoric and composition, contemporary American literature, and queer theory. In addition to these scholarly fields, Staci is fascinated by emerging genres such as podcasts, graphic novels, and video games and their viability within academic studies. In her spare time, Staci enjoys reading gothic and fantasy novels, spending time with her two dogs, drinking coffee, and playing video games.

Jamini Hariharan

Jamini is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English literature. She graduated with an M.A. in Advertising from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has worked as a copywriter at various media companies, such as Young and Hungry, Globein, and Carol H. Williams Advertising. Her work focused on creating multicultural brand strategies and solutions to help companies better connect with their diverse audiences. Jamini aims to bring this experience to her research on the roles of the minority in media.

Frazier Johnson

Frazier Johnson received his B.A. in English with a certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from UNT in 2017. He is currently pursuing his M.A. in medieval literature. His novel, The Lost King, was published in 2020 through a Texas company, FyreSyde publishing, and he hopes soon to publish academic works. In addition to pursuing his graduate degree, Frazier works at UNT in the admissions office as a Graduate Recruiter.

Ayesha Murtza

Ayesha Murtza is a Ph.D. student in English Literature at UNT. She moved to Denton from Pakistan to pursue a doctorate to study language, postcolonial literature, and cultural criticism. She is invested in exploring how language, poetry, linguistic signs, and storytelling shape and affect human existence.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson is a Ph.D. candidate in literature. She studies twentieth-century American women's literature using disability studies and mad studies frameworks. She also tutors graduate students in the UNT Writing Center.

Md. Saifur Rahman

Md. Saifur Rahman is a Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow at UNT. He completed both B.A. and M.A. from the Department of English at the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh. He taught as a faculty in the Department of English at Premier University, Chittagong, and at the Department of English at Chittagong Independent University. He was a Fulbright FLTA at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia. His research interests include postcolonial literature, climate justice, film studies, etc. He intends to use an eco-centric lens in postcolonial studies, focusing particularly on South Asian culture and literature.

Paria Rahmani

Paria Rahmani is a Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas. Her primary concentration is Modern and Postmodern Literature, with a specific focus in novels and novellas. Her secondary concentration is Persian- and Iranian-American Literature and Poetry. When she is not on campus, you can probably find her at a coffee shop nearby, writing articles and album reviews for her music criticism portfolio she has been updating for nearly a decade.

Christa Reaves

Christa Reaves is a Ph.D. candidate in English literature and a teacher of early British literature. Her specialization is in Renaissance drama with a secondary emphasis in modern American drama. In her own words, she works with "all plays, all the time." Her dissertation examines the influence of Ovidian mythology on Shakespeare's works and how that translates on the modern stage. She was the proud recipient of the UNT Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award in 2021.

Monique Sheppherd

Monique Sheppherd is an M.A. student in Victorian literature. She previously earned her B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from UNT and went on to earn her M.S. in Library and Information Science. Outside of her studies, she enjoys writing with a curated playlist on loop, large mugs of tea, and collecting Funko Pop figures from her favorite series.

Francesca Silva

Francesca received their B.A. in English from Sam Houston State University. They are pursuing their M.A. in Literature. Francesca was a McNair scholar as an undergrad, and their scholarly interests include Latin/o/a/x Literature, African-American Literature, Feminist/Women's Literature, and Literary Theory. Francesca aims to explore and learn more about their roots and ancestry through studying Mexican American Literature and Theory at UNT. When they're not researching, you can find them with a cup of strong coffee on their couch with a good book and their dogs, Bear and Sky.

Gayathri Sivaramakrishnan

Gayathri Sivaramakrishnan is currently pursuing an M.A. in medieval literature at UNT. They recently graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in Literature from UNT. In their free time, they enjoy going on roadtrips, making playlists, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Leslie Stewart-Gordon

Leslie Stewart-Gordon is a Ph.D. candidate studying literature. Her primary interest is modern and contemporary American drama. She has previously served on GSEA, GSC, and currently serves on the FYW team. She lives in Denton and has a daughter and three cats.

Rachel Sullivan

Rachel Sullivan is a first-year Ph.D. student and teaching fellow. She earned her B.A. in Literature from SUNY Empire State College in Syracuse, NY in 2016, and her M.S. in Library and Information Science from Texas Woman's University in 2020. Outside of her studies, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children, as well as trying to find time to read for fun.

Laura Yeck

Laura is a Ph.D. student and Teaching Fellow for the University of North Texas. She enjoys exploring symbolic connections between literature, art, and pop culture. She is delighted to continue her journey of teaching and learning at UNT.

Marissa Zerangue

Marissa A. Zerangue is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of North Texas. She received her Master of Arts degree in the Spring of 2019 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in English Literature. Her thesis centered on domestic noir in contemporary fiction, specifically in author Gillian Flynn's work. She plans to continue her research into true crime and crime noir across a wide array of media, including not only fiction and film but also podcasts and other emerging genres.