Ashley Cheyemi McNeil

color headshot of Ashley Cheyemi Rae McNeil
HPG Postdoctoral Fellow
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

As the 2019–2021 Postdoctoral Fellow for the Andrew W. Mellon–Funded Humanities for the Public Good initiative, McNeil serves as HPG's lead project manager, collaborating closely with faculty, staff, and graduate student members of the HPG Advisory Committee and with the Obermann Center to design institutes and workshops, conduct research and interviews with stakeholders, and assess and document program activities. She also provides project management support for the HPG program and participates in meetings with other Obermann Fellows-in-Residence to share work-in-progress.

Erin Hackathorn

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Director of Operations
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Erin Hackathorn is the Obermann Center Director for Operations. She served as the Administrative Services Coordinator for the English Department for seven years. Erin is an active reader and vegetarian cook. A graduate of the University of Iowa, she lives in Oxford and enjoys spoiling her nephew.

Jenna Hammerich

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Communications Specialist
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Jenna assists with Obermann's web presence and communications. Previously she served as Deputy Managing Editor of The Iowa Review and as a writer for the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She has an MFA in nonfiction writing and an MA in English literature, and she serves on the UI Sustainability Charter Committee. She lives on a blueberry farm near Iowa City with her husband, daughter, and two llamas. 

Jennifer New

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Associate Director
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Jennifer oversees the Center's communications and plays a major role in facilitating the programs, community engagement, and event planning. An accomplished writer, she is the author of three books, Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life (Chronicle Books, 2011) being the most recent. She has curated several exhibits and co-directed two short documentaries. Jennifer is a lifelong student of yoga and teaches locally.

Lisa Ortiz-Guzmán

color headshot of Lisa Ortiz-Guzman
Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

As the Postdoctoral Fellow for the 2019–2020 Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar, "Imagining Latinidades: Articulations of National Belonging," Ortiz-Guzmán conducts research that juxtaposes media representations of Puerto Rican migration with narratives of intergenerational individuals engaging in rural-to-rural migration between Puerto Rico and the U.S. She also provides project management support for the Seminar and participates in meetings with other Obermann Fellows-in-Residence to share work-in-progress.

Taylor Newby

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Undergraduate Communications Assistant
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Taylor helps with Obermann’s communications in any way she can. She is a senior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and mass communications with a certificate in cultural competence. She writes for the Daily Iowan as a columnist and serves on the editorial board. Along with storytelling, she is a big fan of dance parties and caffeine of any kind.
Her Obermann work schedule for Fall 2019 is as follows: Mondays: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Wednesdays: 2:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. | Thursdays: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Teresa Mangum

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Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

A Professor in the Departments of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies and English and Affiliate Faculty with the Public Policy Center, Mangum was appointed as Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies in 2010. She is the author of Married, Middle-brow, and Militant: Sarah Grand and the New Woman Novel (1998); editor of A Cultural History of Women: Volume 5: The Age of Empire, 1800–1920 (Berg 2013); and guest editor of special issues of Philological Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Victorian Periodicals Review, and the Journal of Aging Studies. With Anne Valk of Brown University, she co-edits the book series Humanities and Public Life for the University of Iowa Press. A full bio appears at

Torie Burns

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Humanities for the Public Good Graduate Research Assistant
University of Iowa

Torie is an English PhD candidate studying American literature from 1900 to the present. Her interests include memoirs, food studies, and embodiment. Prior to attending Iowa's program, she earned a BA in English and Psychology at Duke University and worked at Vanderbilt University's business school. When she's not reading, she's most likely taking pictures, traveling, or taking pictures while traveling.