2018 Graduate Institute

Headshot of Jacki Rand
Co-director , University of Iowa , History
Jacki Thompson Rand is an associate professor in the History Department and co-directs the American Indian and Native Studies Programs. Her courses focus on federal Indian law and policy, museums and memory, and public history. Her current research focuses on violence against Native women in the context of a southeastern American Indian community. 
Co-director , University of Iowa , Communication Sciences and Disorders
Zebrowski studies the problem of stuttering, from onset through treatment. During her residence at Obermann, she worked on the application of the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change (TTM) to develop relapse prevention strategies for adolescents who stutter. Building upon basic and applied research using the TTM to develop interventions for a wide range of clinical populations, the specific aim of her exploratory project was to develop and validate three new measurement scales for the key constructs of the TTM.
Chris Taylor
Senior Fellow , University of Iowa , School of Library & Information Science / Center for the Book
Chris Taylor is a master's candidate in Information Science and is pursuing a certificate in book arts and technologies. He received his bachelor's degree in Russian and Eastern European history from Middlebury College. His current research is in community place-making and the role of information exchange in the creation of publics. Chris has owned and operated an Internet consulting firm for more than ten years and since 2014 has served as mayor of the city of Swisher, Iowa.
color headshot of Aiden Bettine wearing baseball cap, glasses, and collared shirt
Participant , Obermann Center for Advanced Studies , Humanities for the Public Good Graduate Fellow
Aiden M. Bettine is concurrently pursuing a Ph.D. in History and a Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa, working at the intersection of public history and archival science. He holds both a Bachelor’s in History and African & Black Diaspora Studies and a Master’s in Critical Ethnic Studies from DePaul University. His public facing doctoral work is grounded in interdisciplinary methodologies with an emphasis on developing local oral history projects and companion archives.
Headshot of Ailey Picasso
Participant , University of Iowa , Dance
Ailey Picasso is currently an MFA candidate in Dance & Choreography. She received her Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and Dance from Hampshire College. Her choreographic research is intentionally collaborative; a collaboration of communication, ideas, and physicality. Through the process of collaborative movement making, she endeavors to facilitate the creation of empathic micro-communities. She believes this work has potential for positive implications beyond the dance community and is looking forward to continuing her research. 
Headshot of Chenthu Jayachandiran
Participant , University of Iowa , Communication Studies
Chenthu is a doctoral candidate in the Communications Studies Department at the University of Iowa. He received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Legal Studies in 2005 and his Master's Degree in Community Counseling with an emphasis in Higher Education Counseling in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Before starting his doctoral work, Chenthu was a professional in higher education administration for almost a decade. He is most interested in understanding how everyday conversations and narratives contribute to our understanding of marginalized identities.  
Headshot of Don Brathwaite
Participant , University of Iowa , Business Administration & Public Health
Don Brathwaite is a joint degree student pursuing both a Master’s in Business Administration and Masters of Public Health. He holds a BS in Physiology and Health from Maharishi University. Don considers social justice his lifelong goal. “Personally, being from an underserved community, I have always wanted to give back,” he says. “It gives me a sense of fulfillment. It gives me a purpose, being able to take what I have learned…to give others a chance to experience health, wellness, and happiness.”
Participant , University of Iowa , Microbiology
Jessica is a PhD candidate in microbiology. She received a BA in evolutionary biology from Mount Holyoke College, where she learned the value of a good science metaphor. She spent time in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer before getting her MS in molecular biology from New Mexico State University. While her current research focuses on the role of viruses in cystic fibrosis, science communication is her passion. Her goal is to make scientific research accessible to everyone. 
Headshot of John Jepsen
Participant , University of Iowa , History
John W. Jepsen is a PhD student in the Department of History, specializing in environmental, energy, and labor history, with an eye toward understanding state-formation in the Western Hemisphere. Jepsen received his B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana. A former laborer in the oilfields of the Intermountain West, he is concerned with the toll extractive industries take on laborers and the rural and indigenous communities that are often the sites of intensive extraction.
Headshot of Kathryn Heffner
Participant , University of Iowa , Library Science; Book Arts
Kathryn Heffner is a Masters of Library Information Sciences Candidate and a Center for the Book Certificate student at the University of Iowa. She earned her English bachelor’s degree with honors at the University of Iowa pursuing a multimodal thesis that explored the ways in which radical self-publishing methods can be implemented in K-12 classrooms. Her research interests focuses on how libraries can utilize print culture makerspaces as a mode of empowerment for patrons and community members.
Headshot of Kathryn Rittenhour
Participant , University of Iowa , Sociology
Kathryn is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, with an interest in gender, sexualities, applied sociology, and qualitative methods. Since completing her BS in sociology at Texas State University, she has worked as a sexual assault prevention educator, developing and facilitating programs that combat gendered violence in K-12 education. Informed by her advocacy, her research focuses on variation in consent negotiations across communities and sexual agency in sex as work.
Headshot of Lisa Covington
Participant , College of Liberal Arts & Sciences , Sociology
Lisa is an alumna of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Social Change, Communications, Women’s Studies, and Sociology. "All the Girls are White, All the Blacks are Male: Qualitative Experiences of Black Girls…" was research she published at San Diego State University. Lisa works throughout the country with youth development programs training teachers and staff best practices for working with young people of color and provides technical support to institutions on issues of diversity, gender equity, and cultural responsiveness.
Headshot of Lydia Maunz-Breese
Participant , University of Iowa , English
Lydia is a doctoral candidate in English specializing in Victorian literature and disability studies. She received her BA in English literature from Montana State University. She studies grief and mourning and the shared language of grief and disability. She is currently working on a doctoral dissertation about overlooked First World War-era women poets and their experiences of grief, the trauma of loss, and their connections to disability.
Headshot of Mariana Mazer
Participant , University of Iowa , Spanish Creative Writing
Mariana Mazer is an MFA Candidate in Spanish Creative Writing and an Iowa Arts Fellow. She received her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Buenos Aires and her work has taken her to the Caribbean, Canada, South East Asia and New Zealand. Her world travels ignited her passion for writing and for the past decade she has published various short stories and articles.
Melissa Kreider
Participant , University of Iowa , Art & Art History
Melissa Kreider is an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa and her photographic work examines sites of sexual violence against women and how the justice system archives these. Melissa explores these subjects by traveling to the addresses pulled from public police logs across the United States and steadily gaining access to police evidence rooms where backlogged rape kits are stored. Melissa is the founder and curator of Don’t Smile, an online space dedicated to showcasing photography by women artists.
Headshot of Raquel Wood
Participant , University of Iowa , Language, Literacy, & Culture
Raquel Wood is a second-year PhD student in Language, Literacy, and Culture. She received her BA in Speech Communication from Oregon State University and her MA in Applied Linguistics with an emphasis in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Between completing her BA and beginning her MA, she worked as an EFL teacher in Italy, Indonesia, and South Korea, where she became fascinated with teaching practices that value and incorporate the learners’ native language and different background and cultures.
Headshot of Rebecca Dickinson
Participant , University of Iowa , Social Work
Rebecca is a doctoral candidate in Social Work at the University of Iowa.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Criminal Justice in 2004 from Mount Mercy College and her Master’s degree in Social Work in 2005 from the University of Northern Iowa. Rebecca practiced as a mental health therapist since 2007 providing play therapy.  Her passion involves practical research that empowers individuals, families and communities through holistic and strengths-based interventions.
Headshot of Sefonobong Obot
Participant , University of Iowa , Community and Behavioral Health
Sefonobong Obot is a second year MPH student in Community and Behavioral Health. She earned her BA in biological chemistry and political science at Grinnell College. In the future, she hopes to earn her MD so she can practice as a preventative medicine physician (primary care), where her public health background will be advantageous in addressing underlying health disparity and inequity among her patients. She is also very interested in languages and hopes to continue learning Chinese.
Headshot of Suzanne Glemot
Participant , University of Iowa , Book Arts; SLIS
Suzanne Glémot is a dual Master’s candidate in Book Arts and Library and Information Science. She earned her Bachelor’s in Studio Art from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS in 2013. Influenced by her experience of living in the South, she founded Stoat and Heather Press in 2017. Under this imprint she offers a platform for individuals writing about social justice and civil rights to be published outside of the mainstream publishing industry. Her creative research blends historical traditions around craft with contemporary conceptual practices.