Graduate Students

Computer Science | University of Iowa

Peter Likarish graduated from the University of Iowa with his PhD in Computer Science. After teaching at Drew University, Peter returned to the private sector and is now a software engineer with Google.

Communication Studies | University of Iowa

Audrey is a doctoral candidate in the Communication Studies department.  She received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa in Communication Studies and Sociology in 2013.  She studies power and social justice issues in communication, as well as discourse and identity development of young adults.  She is most interested in identity development of people who hold many stigmatized features, claim characteristics that others tend to see as contradictory, or feel caught between multiple identities.

Printmaking | University of Iowa

Anna is an MFA candidate in Printmaking. She explores visual gestures of care and empathy that help us cope with crises. In 2008, Anna earned her BA in English from Smith College, with additional coursework at Université de Paris IV, Sorbonne and Trinity College at Oxford University. She then trained as a bookbinder at the Arion Press in San Francisco, and as a studio assistant at the Women's Studio Workshop in upstate New York. Issues around gender and femininity remain a constant in her work. Anna strives not only to address these subjects in her art, but to encourage young women to learn artistic skills from which they have been excluded, such as wood, metalworking, and robotics....

Higher Education and Student Affairs | University of Iowa

A Second Year ACT Scholar, pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs, DaVida continues to be an advocate for the voiceless, and all representations of diversity and working on research teams which empower others to reach beyond the status quo. She has a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in African American Studies from Purdue University, and also worked in corporate America for over six years. She has an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Loyola University, and is Founder/Executive Director of Strong Sister, Silly Sister, Inc. Non-Profit since 2004. The CEO of DaVida L. Anderson LLC, she also enjoys writing motivational poetry.

School of Library & Information Sciences | University of Iowa

Kelly Grogg is a MA candidate in the School of Library and Information Sciences. Before attending the University of Iowa, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cambodia for two years. In addition to her coursework, Kelly works as the Olson Graduate Research Assistant for the University of Iowa Special Collections and Archives, and works with Librarians for Social Justice, a group she founded in the fall of 2015. Kelly's passion is using social media, instruction sessions, and exhibits to highlight the manuscript collections found in the library. This prompted her interest in researching and creating a primary resource-centered approach to history education for K-12 students.  

Immunology | University of Iowa

Mohanad Nada is a Ph.D. candidate in Immunology at Carver College of Medicine with research interests primarily in developing cancer immunotherapy for cancer patients. Mohanad graduated from Tikrit Medical School in Iraq in 2008. Prior to his arrival in Iowa City, he worked as an assistant lecturer in Tikrit Medical School for two years. He also served as an editor for Tikrit Medical Journal (TMJ) in 2010. In August 2010, Mohanad received a scholarship from Iraqi government to pursue his doctoral study in Immunology at the University of Iowa. Mohanad also is pursuing a certificate in public health. Outside his academic study, Mohanad is actively involved in several student and professional organizations....

Religious Studies | University of Iowa

Rachel Winter is a first year M.A. student in Religious Studies. Her research focuses on the intricate network between jihadism, Orientalism, terrorism, and Islamophobia, and how it is discussed through art. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Iowa with University Honors and Honors in Art History. During her undergraduate career, her art history research focused on Middle Eastern artists who identify as Muslim, but use their art to speak out against acts of terrorism that perpetuate Islamophobia....

Communication Studies | University of Iowa

Bailey Kelley is a PhD student in Communication Studies. Her scholarly work explores issues of media convergence within television studies such as the relationship between online content production and traditional cable and broadcast industries. More broadly, her research is located in critical feminist media studies with degrees in both cultural studies and communication. She is committed to political engagement in both academic and community settings; questions of media literacy and public intellectualism underscore her research and service. In addition to her work as a Presidential Graduate Research Fellow, Bailey has served her department and the Johnson County community by facilitating public conversations about how to coordinate resources for social justice activism....

Religious Studies | University of Iowa

Gwendolyn Gillson is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies. She received her B.A. in Religion from Gustavus Adolphus College, M.L.I.S in Archives from the University of Oklahoma, and M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa. As a Presidential Graduate Research Fellow, her research focuses on Japanese religions, particularly Pure Land Buddhism. She is interested in the connections and relationships among religion, culture, and society. For her dissertation research, she is utilizing a transnational feminist lens to study women’s grassroots social activism in the Japanese Jōdo Pure Land Buddhist sect....

College of Education | University of Iowa

Mary Nyaema is a student at the University of Iowa pursuing her PHD in Science Education. She is originally from Kenya where she has taught high school mathematics and science for seven years. As a graduate assistant, she has been involved in many K-12 outreach activities targeting under presented minorities to pursue STEM based careers. Her research interests include cultural responsive teaching, teacher knowledge and beliefs and problem based learning. She is also a member of I-fellows, Multi-Ethnic Engineering and Sciences Association (MESA), Graduate Students in Science Education (GSSE) and National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)

Theatre Arts | University of Iowa

William Goblirsch is an MFA Acting candidate in the Department of Theatre Arts, and currently teaching Basic Acting for non-majors. Prior to coming to Iowa, William worked as an actor in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon. During his time at Iowa, and previously at Portland State University, he participated in and led high school workshops ranging from basic acting technique to classical text and Shakespeare. His goal after graduation is to cultivate more diversified theatre audiences.

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies | University of Iowa

Dellyssa Edinboro is a Doctoral student in the College of Education's Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program with an emphasis in Schools, Culture, and Society. She is currently a TA in the College of Education and a recipient of The William Duffy Schools, Culture and Society Doctoral Fellowship. She received her B.A in Humanities and Justice (Summa cum Laude) and her A.A in Liberal Arts (with Honors) from the City University of New York (CUNY). Dellyssa is mostly interested in how race, ethnicity, and gender historically shaped the educational experiences of students.

Urban and Regional Planning | University of Iowa

Emily Seiple is a second-year Master’s student in Urban and Regional Planning, with a focus on equity, housing policy, and the impact of disaster and recovery planning on underserved communities. She has a deep love of interdisciplinary collaboration and contested spaces, stemming from a project exploring Iowa City’s mysterious Mesquakie Park and missing links between the built environment and sense of community belonging. She is interested in bridging her background in creative writing and literacy with civic education, finding new ways to expand community choice and involvement in the plans that impact their futures.  

Health Management & Policy | University of Iowa

Joy Woods is a first year MPH in Health Policy student from Fort Worth, Texas. She earned her B.S. in Political Science from Texas Wesleyan University. In the near future she hopes to focus her research on mental health and sports, especially football. She is also interested in breaking the stigma of mental health in the African American community. 

Journalism & Mass Communication | University of Iowa

Subin Paul is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He received his master’s degree from the Asian College of Journalism in India where he also coordinated a course on rural reporting. At Iowa, Subin studies journalism history as well as media and globalization. His first graduate research project examined the media coverage of endangered Meskwaki language in Iowa, and the article is forthcoming in the refereed Newspaper Research Journal.

Political Science | University of Iowa

Michael's research focuses on elections, election reform laws, voting behavior, political participation, representation, political behavior/psychology, public opinion, media and politics, campaigns and parties, and state politics and policy. Recent research  has centered on the impact of voting reform laws on participation and campaigns. In May 2017, he will defend his dissertation, "Accessible Voting and Political Inequality: Voting Reform Laws and Reshaping Voter Turnout in the American States, which focuses on how early voting, no-excuse absentee or mail voting, and Same Day Registration laws shape the turnout of the poor across all the American states.

Community and Behavioral Health | University of Iowa

Lauren Pass is a first-year MPH student in the department of Community and Behavioral Health. She holds a B.A. in Medical Anthropology and Philosophy from the University of Iowa. In the past, she performed bioethical research examining Deaf communities, technology, and informed consent practices. Her current academic interests focus on the intersection of community relationships, marginalized LGBTQ identities, and mental health. Lauren aims to incorporate ethnographic methods into mental health research and public health practice. 

School of Library & Information Science | University of Iowa

Katheryn Lawson is a second-year Master’s student in Library and Information Science, with a focus on the ways in which archives are powerful agents in suppressing or empowering unexplored narratives in the historical record. She holds degrees in music performance, English, and historical musicology, and has attended the University of Iowa and McGill University in Montréal, Québec. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her research investigates the intersections between childhood, music, and birds in American culture.

English | University of Iowa

Corey is a doctoral candidate in English and a certificate student in GWSS. Her dissertation examines mental illness and psychiatric disability in literature and contemporary women writers. Corey is committed to working against the stigmas around mental illnesses--in her scholarship, teaching, and everyday life. Building on the knowledge she gains at Obermann, Corey plans to organize a #StopStigma walk this Spring at the Johnson County Poor Farm.

Dance | University of Iowa

Jesse maintains a diverse career in theatre and dance. Raised in Ecuador and Thailand, Jesse brings a cross cultural awareness and international sensibility to his work as a performer, choreographer, and teacher. He received teaching certification in the Martha Graham Technique after attending the Martha Graham School on scholarship. Current areas of scholarship include accessorizing the body, high fashion as cultural barometer, and the phenomenon of the diva.

History | University of Iowa

Mary Wise received a B.A. in History from Ohio University in June 2012. In September 2012, Mary moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to study with the Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Library and Information. She completed her M.A. in Library and Information Studies in May 2014. Realizing that a firm grounding in humanistic training was an imperative for her to acquire in order to truly ground her work on the history of public parks in the Midwest, Mary sought out humanities programs that offered training in the public humanities; she applied to the University of Iowa because of the plethora of opportunities in the public humanities provided by the Obermann Center and the Obermann Center Working Group History Corps....

Library & Information Science | University of Iowa

Ben Schmidt is a first year Library and Information Science student with an interest in the digital humanities. His interests in the digital humanities includes GIS mapping, large-scale digitization, and access issues related to scholarly research. Ben Schmidt is also interested in interdisciplinary methods and collaborations across the humanities, seeking to develop effective digital means for communicating research, both within and beyond academia. As an undergraduate, he studied Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Brandeis University.

Art & Art History | University of Iowa

Jessica Pleyel is an MFA candidate in the UI's Intermedia Art Department and a conceptual artist and curator. Her studio practice is multi-faceted, and includes sculpture, costume design, performance, social practice, video, and playwriting. She explores familial relations, intersectional feminism, gender activism, and the performative nature of hunting in her art. She is currently working on an exhibit entitled We Are Survivors in which she collaborates with other artists who create work as a means to raise awareness, educate, and heal from sexual assault. She has exhibited internationally and is the recipient of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, the Virgil M. Beall Scholarship, and the Ana Mendieta Memorial Scholarship. 

English | University of Iowa

Stefan Schöeberlein is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Iowa and works as a research assistant for the Walt Whitman Archive. Between semesters, he teaches classes on US American literature at TU Dortmund University in Germany, where he earned his M.Ed. in Special Education in 2013. Stefan’s current research focuses on the intersection of the natural sciences and literature in the long nineteenth century. Having published on Walt Whitman and Darwinian evolutionary theory, he is currently writing an environmental history of paper-milling in Massachusetts as fictionalized in a short story by Herman Melville.  

Theatre Arts | University of Iowa

Melissa Gilbert is a MFA candidate in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Costume and Scenic Design. She received her BFA in Theater Arts: Costume Design in 2010 from Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia. During Summer 2014, she completed a University of Iowa funded research project on the application of bespoke tailoring techniques on non-traditional garments and materials used in England’s Notting Hill Carnival. University of Iowa credits include She Stoops To Conquer, the Iowa Partnership in the Arts production of MakeoverQuiet WitchesFour Stories (New Play Festival '14) and scenic design for Order Now.

Psychology | University of Iowa

Amanda Ward is a PhD student in the University of Iowa Clinical Psychology program. She earned her B.A. in psychology from Truman State University. Her research interests focus on investigating early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Amanda’s current project involves examining future thinking in neurological disease. Through the Alzheimer’s Association, Amanda has educated the public about neurological disease and the importance of Alzheimer’s disease research. Amanda is committed to informing others about the indicators of neurological disease. 

College of Education | University of Iowa

Carla Gonzalez is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education's Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program with an emphasis in Schools, Culture, and Society. She received her BA in Spanish and Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa and her MSEd in Education with TESOL certification from Western Illinois University. She is an experienced K-12 and college-level teacher. She studied in Costa Rica during her undergraduate and graduate programs. Her research interests include the history of educational experiences of Midwestern Latinos in both K-12 and higher educational settings, the development and enrichment of Latino studies programs, and Latina women in education.

College of Public Health | University of Iowa

Steven Rippentrop is a resident physician and student at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. He is a MA candidate in Healthcare Administration in Health Management and Policy. Steven holds his MA from Wartburg Theological Seminary and his MPH and MD from the University of Iowa. He completed an internship, residency, and chief residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His research interests include community-based participatory research, population-based health interventions, and worker and environmental health. Rippentrop has been developing methods to advance the healthcare delivery system, which will decrease the cost of medicine while increasing its quality.

Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies | University of Iowa

Deirdre Egan is a post-comp Ph.D. student in Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies at the University. A native of Ireland, she has an eclectic but occasionally useful background in the health sciences, political science and feminist theory. She serves as the Assistant Director of the UI's Writing Center.

Communication Studies | Univeristy of Iowa

Raven Maragh is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Iowa in Communication Studies. Her research interests include social media and racial and gender performance. Her master's thesis focused on the phenomenon of 'acting white' on Twitter. She conducted in-depth interviews and content analyses of participants' tweets. She is particularly interested in the online presence and presentation of self in this respect. The focus on the internet as a fluid environment undergirds her approach to understanding technology and social media as an ever-evolving interface, experience, and space.

Language, Literacy & Culture | University of Iowa

Heather Draxl is a PhD candidate in Language, Literacy & Culture. Her research focuses on the intersection of public scholarship, civic engagement, first-year composition, and technology. She currently works as an instructional technology consultant at Iowa and teaches composition at Kirkwood Community College. She is also interested in social justice issues related to access to technologies, as well as flipping classrooms and making instructional videos, particularly those that teach language or literacy.

College of Engineering | University of Iowa

Robert Hart is a PhD student in the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa. He is a Department of Defense SMART fellow working in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC). His research interests include multifunctional composite materials, which have applications in aerospace and ground vehicles. Prior to the start of his graduate work, Robert worked for three years as an engineer in the plastics industry. During this time, he led a campaign to encourage interaction between fellow associates and local charitable organizations. Robert also holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa.

Center for the Book; School of Library & Information Science | University of Iowa

Kalmia Strong is an MFA candidate at the Center for the Book and MA candidate in the School of Library and Information Science. She worked at the International Dada Archive, as an Olson Fellow in Special Collections, and at the Grant Wood Art Colony. Her research explores contemporary and historical zines and alternative publications, as well as the role of book objects and practices in cultural resistance and social change. Kalmia is the Program Director at Iowa City's arts organization Public Space One; here she works to instigate and sustain experimental, cooperative, and community-based art practices and resources.

Geographical & Sustainability Sciences | University of Iowa
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Cristina E. Muñoz is a PhD candidate in Geography in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. Muñoz received her B.A in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies from Bryn Mawr College. She hails from South Central Los Angeles, California, where her family still resides. Muñoz’s passions include environmental and social justice advocacy, community engagement, and collaborating in diverse teams, which are reflected in her research endeavors. She is currently working on a research project involving property acquisition and whether there is equitable distribution of the recovery aid that resulted from the 2008 Midwestern floods. Muñoz also collaborates at the College of Public Health where she conducts community-based participatory research on issues of housing quality and health.
College of Education | University of Iowa

Peggy Valdés is a PhD student in Higher Education and Student Affairs in the College of Education and current manager of the Latino Native American Cultural Center. Prior, she was a graduate Fellow in the ENLACE Leadership program at Northeastern Illinois University that conducts research, compiles and disseminates information about best practices, and seeks to create leaders who will improve the pipeline to post-secondary completion for Latinos. Peggy earned her BA in Sociology at NEIU, during which she worked as the Executive Director of Mexico Solidarity Network where she helped founded an alternative high school, adult learning center, day-laborer co-op, and managed a study abroad program. 

Health & Sports Studies | University of Iowa

Cathryn Lucas-Carr is a PhD candidate in Health and Sport Studies. She is researching, teaching, and writing about sport and physical activity from an anti-racist, transgender perspective. In her dissertation, she examines the shifting definitions of transsexuality and transgender within the sporting context. She is currently working on a project in which she traces the use of spatialized metaphors in constructing transgender subjectivity. Cathryn is also busy queering the fitness industry through culturally & politically conscious personal training and working toward gender, race, and economic justice as an organizer for UE Local 896-COGS. 

Immunology | University of Iowa

Marie Kim is a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program for Immunology. She earned her BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Biomedical Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. She matriculated into the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Iowa to complete both her MD and PhD degrees. Her current research interests lie in therapeutic vaccine design. Her thesis works on the treatment of human malignancy. Her goal is to work with converting patterns of disease from the clinic into mechanisms of pathology in the lab, further influencing clinical therapies for patients.

Anthropology | University of Iowa

Natalie Luna-Renek is a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellow working towards her Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology with an emphasis on the Anthropology of Religion. In 2010, she received her B.A. in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton. She also earned her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton, in 2012. Her thesis research focused on the dream and spirit theories of Native Hawaiians living in Southern California. Natalie's dissertation research expands upon this previous work. She examines how Native Hawaiian animism is sustained away from the islands of Hawai’i and how Christianity changes when exposed to animism.

College of Dentistry | University of Iowa

Tariq Ghazal is a PhD student in the Oral Sciences at the College of Dentistry. A native of Baghdad, Iraq, he received his DDS from the University of Baghdad College of Dentistry in 2006. Then he moved to the United States of America to pursue his graduate program in Dental Public Health at the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry, and graduated with his Master’s in 2013. In the spring of 2014, Dr. Ghazal also earned a Certificate in Biostatistics from the College of Public Health. His research interest is in early childhood tooth decay and dental care among the elderly.

English | University of Iowa

Katie E. Wetzel is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Iowa, studying nineteenth-century literature and ecocriticism. She holds an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Kansas. Her work primarily engages with the intersections between social movements from the nineteenth century and representations of urban landscapes, but she is also interested in contemporary pedagogy, trauma studies, and social justice. Katie has taught both composition and literature courses, but currently teaches first-year Rhetoric at the University of Iowa. Her courses involve service-learning, the digital humanities, and collaborative student learning.

Human Toxicology | University of Iowa

Andrew Nelson is a PhD candidate and Presidential Graduate Fellow in Human Toxicology. He studies radioactivity associated with unconventional drilling of shale gas. Nelson earned his B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado in 2009, and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 2010. Much of his work to date focuses on developing methods suitable for monitoring levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials present in wastes generated by unconventional natural gas exploration. Nelson’s research has helped develop partitioning models to be used in the development of waste management strategies for unconventional drilling.

Cinematic Arts and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies | University of Iowa

Anna Swanson is a third-year MFA candidate in Film/Video Production in the Cinematic Arts Department, and is also pursuing a Certificate in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies, after earning her B.A....

Psychology | University of Iowa

Emily Kroska is a second year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Kansas, with a minor in Social and Behavioral Sciences Methodology. Her research interests include resilience, social support, and intervention and prevention work. Emily’s current research interests focus on stressful life experiences and cumulative risk factors. Her other passions include working with the Lupus Foundation of America as an advocate for awareness and patient’s rights. At the University of Iowa, Emily’s current project will work to engage the public with an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based intervention with at-risk adolescents.