Previous Graduate Student Fellows

The Engaging Humanities Initiative brings together UC Santa Barbara Graduate Student Fellows invested in learning and humanities education. The Fellows for 2019-2020 are:

Courtney Applewhite's portrait

Courtney Applewhite

Religious Studies

Ranjani Atur portrait

Ranjani Atur

Religious Studies

Alesha Claveria portrait

Alesha Claveria

Theater and Dance

Nicole Dib portrait

Nicole Dib

English

Jeremy Edwards portrait

Jeremy Edwards

Education

Roberto Macias portrait
Daniel Martini Portrait

Daniel Martini

Comparative Literature

David McIntosh portrait
Jamaal Muwwakkil portrait

Jamaal Muwwakkil

Linguistics

Nicole Strobel portrait

Nicole Strobel

Film and Media Studies

Maite Urcaregui portrait

Courtney Applewhite portrait

Courtney Applewhite

I am an MA/PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB. I study death rituals and afterlife beliefs in the contemporary United States, and I am currently doing ethnographic research for my master’s thesis that will compare the death practices of three spiritual communities in Santa Barbara. Prior to coming to UCSB, I graduated with a BA in religious studies and cognitive sciences. I worked for several years as an assistant editor and then as a death investigator at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office in Houston, Texas. In my future research I would like to determine ways in which religious studies scholarship can bridge the gap between scientific institutions, like the Medical Examiner’s Office or hospitals, and families’ death practices. Using my own experience, I look forward to working with other graduate students and faculty in the Engaging Humanities Initiative to think through the many ways that skills gained from a humanities degree can be applied in future careers.

Ranjani Atur portrait

Ranjani Atur

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB, with an emphasis in Ancient Mediterranean Studies. I specialize in Greek and Roman religion, Early Christianity, and comparative polytheistic structures. I am particularly interested in the ways that archaeology can help us understand the rituals and beliefs of the ancient Mediterranean populations, and how we can bring together archaeological and literary approaches in the study of religion. My dissertation research examines the rich dynamics of ancient polytheistic cultures and seeks to challenge western, colonial views of polytheism. I completed my MA here at UCSB, and prior to that I received my BA in Classics and History from Georgetown University. I am very much looking forward to working with the Mellon EH scholars and brainstorming how to involve diverse voices and students of color in humanities disciplines.

Alesha Claveria portrait

Alesha Claveria

I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Theater and Dance, and I study Contemporary Native North American drama and performance using Indigenous theory. I also have an MS in Public Relations and an MFA in Creative Writing-Fiction. For the past four summers, I have been Director/Instructor for Nuestra Voz, a summer theater camp program to serve the teens of the Isla Vista Teen Center. I have also served as Associate Dramaturg for UCSB's production of Venus and appeared as an actor in Santa Barbara Dramatic Women's One Night Stands short plays. I am president of the American Indian Grad Student Alliance (AIGSA). As an active member of UCSB's American Indian and Indigenous Collective (AIIC), I am currently working with them to support their efforts to create an American Indian and Indigenous Studies PhD emphasis and major/program at UCSB. I was born and raised in the wilds of Montana, so my interests are influenced by the peoples and places of the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest.

Nicole Dib portrait

Nicole Dib

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at UCSB. I specialize in contemporary U.S. ethnic literature, and I am currently writing my dissertation on multiethnic road trip narratives in American novels from the 20th and 21st centuries. I’ve had the opportunity to teach as a Teaching Assistant and Teaching Associate in classes that include U.S. Minority Literature, Native American Novels and Narratives, and U.S. Southern Literature. I’ve organized discussions and workshops on pedagogy in my department through the Critical Pedagogy Initiative, which I founded with a colleague three years ago. I’m looking forward to participating in the Engaging Humanities Initiative and continuing to improve my own teaching practices!

Jeremy Edwards portrait

Jeremy Edwards

I am a PhD Candidate in Education with an emphasis in Cultural and Developmental Studies. My current work involves capturing the cultural and historical practices of access to higher education for black students in a U.S. context, while also highlighting and providing a narrative for students’ experiences in their preparation for and completion of college. My general research interests include access and equity issues within a socio-educational context, urban education, adolescent youth development and self-concept, and community cultural wealth/capital frameworks. As I continue to develop as a scholar and nurture my own curiosities about the world, I hope to learn about new perspectives within the humanities and related disciplines while participating in the Mellon Pedagogical Institute.

Roberto Macias portrait

Roberto Macias

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My research interests explore the interrelation between existential guilt, Chicanx masculinity, and the concept of the political in primarily Chicano (male) non-fiction and semi-non-fiction. Through phenomenology and post-phenomenology, my dissertation revisits the Chicanx literary canon, prioritizing moments of self-negation rather than self-actualization in order to explore how existential masculine guilt allows for reconceptualizations of the political as such. I am a 2018 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow.

Daniel Martini portrait

Daniel Martini

I’m a PhD student in the Comparative Literature Program where I study philosophical and cognitive approaches to memory, temporality and meaning. I work in interdisciplinary ways with colleagues from psychology, neuroscience and art. Thanks to my European upbringing, I’m lucky to have access to a range of languages, mainly French, German and Danish through which I research poetry, fiction and film from the 20th century. I also study and conduct translation. My greatest wish is to become a wonderful professor and teach until I’m in my 80s (at least!). Prior to joining UC Santa Barbara, I completed degrees in philosophy, creative writing, and comparative literature in London and Oxford.

David McIntosh portrait

David McIntosh

I am a PhD candidate in the History Department where I study the history of science. I am an experienced information technology professional-turned-graduate student, with Master’s degrees in anthropology and history, and emphases on archaeology and public history. My dissertation research at UCSB focuses on the intersection of comparative race and ethnicity, archaeology, and museum representation of non-Western peoples, specifically Indigenous Americans. In addition, I am particularly interested in thinking critically about pedagogy in ways that are innovative and engaging, as well as furthering the development of how we as humanists leverage digital technology in our research and publishing. I firmly believe that training in the humanities affords students the maximum potential to engage creatively and consciously with an ever-evolving world.

Jamaal Muwwakkil portrait

Jamaal Muwwakkil

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Linguistics here at UCSB. My work focuses on discourse, specifically within politics and educational contexts. I am specifically interested in how Black community college transfer students engage with the UC, and vice versa. Prior to coming to UCSB, I was a community college transfer student from Los Angeles City College to UCLA, where I served as a mentor helping students navigate the transfer process. I have continued that work as a graduate student, and, through my involvement in the Engaging Humanities Initiative, hope to develop skills and competencies that I can use to benefit this community.

Nicole Strobel portrait

Nicole Strobel

I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Film and Media Studies. My research examines contemporary popular media for what they reveal about current political, cultural, and industrial dynamics in new media industries. In my dissertation, I use Vice Media as a way to trace the odd and often precarious relationships between diverse creative work and global digital media cultures and economies from the 1990’s until the mid 2010’s. Before UCSB, I earned two BA’s, one in Comparative Cultures and Politics and one in Spanish, from Michigan State University. Because of this interdisciplinary background and my experiences as a first-generation college student, I’m very interested in how humanities courses can provide students critical thinking skills that can transfer across vastly different contexts. While here at UCSB, I’ve also had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant in both Film and Media Studies and the Writing Program, which has sparked my curiosity about how to use writing to build students’ own critical voices within and beyond the classroom. I’m looking forward to exploring these questions (and of course many others) over the course of this collaborative project!

Maite Urcaregui portrait

Maite Urcaregui

I am a PhD student in the department of English and am also completing coursework for the Feminist Studies and Black Studies graduate emphases. I study twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literature and comics and graphic narrative, specializing in theories of gender, race, and sexuality. My dissertation project investigates the relationship between visuality and citizenship in multiethnic American literature. Prior to coming to UCSB, I completed my Master’s in English with a certificate in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Here at UCSB, I co-direct the Interdisciplinary Comics and Graphic Novels Reading Group. I am also actively involved in thinking about teaching theory and practice as the English department’s Co-Lead TA and as a graduate teaching fellow with the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s “Foundation in the Humanities” Prison Pedagogy Program. I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with faculty and graduate students to think about innovative teaching practices in the humanities with the Engaging Humanities Initiative.

Megan Williams portrait

Megan Williams

I am a PhD student in the musicology department here at UCSB. My interests include representations of gender, voices, bodies, and music on stage. My work deals with opera histories, and character representations of women. In addition to my research, my passions lie within post-secondary education and accessibility. Prior to my work at UCSB I completed graduate degrees at the University of Tennessee in flute performance and musicology. After performing in a wide range of musical ensembles, and teaching in many different undergraduate music classes, I look forward to seeing how music departments and humanities programs foster innovative student interests. As a performer and educator, I believe that practice and research go hand in hand. I look forward to working with the Engaging Humanities program to spark and develop practices within humanities education.