Meet Current Graduate Students

A graduate student wears a violet blouse.
María Carvajal Regidor
María Carvajal Regidor is a PhD candidate in English and Writing Studies. Her dissertation centers the experiences of Latinx students at UIUC with an emphasis on understanding how their literate and language practices help them navigate a historically and predominantly white university. As a writing center consultant since her freshman year in college, María’s research agenda also includes writing center research. She is, along with a fellow graduate student in Writing Studies, currently conducting research to help writing centers support graduate writers more holistically, particularly as it pertains to how writing centers can more carefully engage graduate writers’ complex feedback networks.
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Meg Cole
Megan Cole is a PhD candidate researching gender and sexuality in literature of the long eighteenth century. She has a BA from the University of Alabama and did her MA here at Illinois. This will be her fifth year in the department. Her dissertation explores the role of convents in early feminist British literature. She won the department's 2020 Peer Essay Prize for an article on queerness and pregnancy in Margaret Cavendish's The Convent of Pleasure which is currently under review. Meg is the current chair of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies Graduate Student Caucus. Follow her on Twitter @meg_e_cole.
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Anna Flood
Anna Flood is originally from Washington State and earned her Bachelor’s degree from the illustrious Fisk University, a historically Black college, in Nashville, Tennessee. Majoring in English allowed her to discover a passion for literature that she had never previously explored. After becoming a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Anna began to investigate the relationship between slavery, race and the Gothic. Currently, she is interested in exploring the gothic experiences of Black women, beginning with chattel slavery to then draw connections with the present- the present in which the gothic past still lingers. She is inspired to pursue the PhD in Literature Studies because she wants to mobilize the work she does as a form of activism. At the University of Illinois, Anna is very involved with the Graduate Employees’ Organization on the Solidarity Committee, the Black Graduate Student Association and also enjoys working or volunteering for the Graduate College.
A current graduate student in front of a body of water.
Fiona Hartley-Kroeger
Fiona Hartley-Kroeger is a PhD candidate in literary studies researching adaptation in children's and young adult (YA) literature. Her dissertation focuses on female heroism in transformational YA retellings of myth, folklore, and canonical classics. One of her chapters, entitled "Re-visioning Rosaline: or, Romeo and Juliet Are Dead," appears in Adaptation in Young Adult Novels: Critically Engaging Past and Present (Bloomsbury, 2020), and other work has been published in Children's Literature in Education. She is also a reviewer for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Fiona earned an MA in children's literature at Simmons University, and the wonderful Center for Children’s Books at UIUC is one of her favorite resources for research and teaching.
A current graduate student smiles.
Neal Liu
Born and raised in Taiwan, Neal attended National Taiwan Normal University and earned his B.A. in English with a concentration in TESOL and Linguistics. Before coming to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Neal received his M.A. in English/Applied Linguistics and TESOL certificate from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Neal’s theoretical and methodological home in research resides in the marriage of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) and dialogic semiotics (Prior & Hengst, 2010). One overarching research question that characterizes his research undertaking pertains to better understanding how transnational (Vieira, 2016, 2019) and intersectional identities (Crenshaw, 1991; Carastathis, 2016) are semiotically laminated across spatiotemporal scales and ideological regimes. Neal’s additional research interests include graduate student acculturation, teacher-student conferencing, transnational citizenship, social justice, queer studies, and indexical relations in English deictics. Neal has two single-authored manuscripts now being peer-reviewed and two research projects being undertaken. Outside the academic work, he self-identifies as a coffee (Latte) aficionado and a fitness fanatic.
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Helen Makhdoumian
Helen Makhdoumian is a PhD candidate in English (literary studies). Her dissertation focuses on Armenian American, Palestinian American, and American Indian/First Nations literatures and their respective representations of memory work in the afterlives of removal. Helen came to UIUC by way of Westminster College, where she was a McNair Scholar and where she earned a BA in English and Art. At UIUC, Helen has had plenty of ways to learn, teach, laugh, and smile among amazing students and colleagues whom she feels lucky to have met. Her articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and the Journal for the Society of Armenian Studies. She regularly contributes to Days and Memory, the blog for the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies (HGMS) at UIUC. Finally, she has loved organizing Armenian Studies events and bringing scholars, artists, and creative writers to campus.