College of Liberal Arts


Meet the Graduate Fellows


The doctoral students selected for Cohort II of the Engaged Scholar Initiative in Spring 2018 have inventively embraced the social responsibilities of the contemporary Humanities  scholar. The Fellows’ disciplines include History, Comparative Literature, the Classics, Latin American Studies, and English. Cohort II, like their ESI predecessors, demonstrates commitment to the democratizing ethos of shared public education. Each of the selected Fellows’ dissertation research incorporates a methodology that enables and encourages public access to history, information, testimony, and both written and performed practices of social documentation. Their objects of study include a wide range of archival materials, survivors’ testimonies, the digital reading public’s discourses and debates, legal and Human Rights tribunals, and the literatures of the ancient world. The scholars’ areas of specialization range from Animal Studies and Animal-Human Relations, education and child advocacy, memory and trauma, prison reform and social justice, and elaborating the practice of empathetic history. The scholarly achievements of ESI Cohort II feature curation, exhibition, the promotion of multimedia and technology-enhanced public dialogue, mutually beneficial collaboration, and encouragement of the lifelong venture of learning. 

ESI Cohort II will be selecting the second cohort of ESI Undergraduate Fellows in Spring 2019.

Micah Bateman

Micah Bateman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English and researches digital humanities and American poetry from 1776 to the present. His dissertation, "Old Poetry | New Media," examines how and to what political ends reading publics remediate poetry into social media environments. Micah co-developed the University of Iowa's first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in literature and creative writing after his time as a MFA student in the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His writing appears in several anthologies and venues including Boston ReviewThe Iowa Review, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He has received the Poetry Society of America's Lyric Poetry Award, and his poetry chapbook, Polis, is published by the Catenary Press. Supervisors: Drs. Chad Bennett and Gretchen Murphy.

Colin MacCormack is a Ph.D. candidate in Classics. His dissertation project, Animals and Popular Science in Classical Literature, examines the intersection of poetic and early scientific depictions of animals in ancient Greek and Roman literature and how authors interweave poetics with technical theory. With the Engaged Scholars Initiative, Colin aims to cultivate broader engagement with Classics through the exploration of animals in the ancient world. Alongside his dissertation, he will work to create an interactive database of animals in ancient literature and art to serve as a research tool and resource available to the wider public, accompanied by public-facing scholarship exploring ancient and modern treatments of animals (both real and imaginary). As both classicist and animal-lover, Colin firmly believes animals lend themselves to exploring cultural and intellectual forces at play in literature and film. Through his work, he hopes to broaden our understanding of animals, the tradition of knowledge about them, and how they inform concepts such as empathy, anthropocentrism and science in creative thought. Supervisor: Dr. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov. 

Michael Reyes

Michael Reyes studies abolitionism and penal colony heritage in the Caribbean by focusing on transnational carceral narratives and histories of French Guiana. His dissertation: Writers with Rap Sheets—informed by archival research conducted in France’s Archives National d’Outre-Mer—examines the intersectional liberation struggles of imprisoned writers through a literary analysis of their memoirs and auto-fictional texts. Joining the scholarly and activist movement against the carceral state, he aims to create public historical memory projects that challenge prevailing punitive carceral logic with the long-term goal of reversing the prisonization of our landscapes. A GED recipient, community college transfer student and UCLA alumni (B.A. 2014), he obtained a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 where he now pursues a PhD in Comparative Literature with a portfolio in African Diaspora Studies. As a Mellon ESI fellow, one way he will make social inquiries from his dissertation accessible to youth impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline is by working as an advisor for Barrio Writers. Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Wilks