Muir College Writing Program

Instructor Biographies

Spring 2017

Neethi Bathula, Ph.D Program, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Thomas Conner, Ph.D. Program, Communication and Science Studies. Thomas reached academia after a 20-year career in arts journalism, chiefly as a music critic. His research investigates the cultural histories and media effects of performative holograms and hologram-simulation technologies.

Nur Duru, Ph.D. Program, History. Nur’s research focuses on European Jewish immigration to Ottoman Palestine. 

Amy Forrest, completed an MFA in the Program in Writing (Fiction) in 2012. She has taught for Muir Writing since 2011 and has taught MCWP 40, 50 and 125. In addition to written analysis, Amy's academic and creative interests include immigration, humor theory, and the social, medical, and historical management of mental illness.

William Given, Ph.D. Program, Theatre. Will Given is a photographer, writer, and instructor. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre & Dance at UC San Diego. His research focuses on how individuals created hyperreal performative identities utilizing the new mediums of photography and film during the belle époque in Paris.

Megan Haugh, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in English (Poetry Concentration) from the University of California, Irvine. She has been teaching courses in poetry, rhetoric, and composition since 2011. Her research interests include form in free verse poetry, translation and translation theory, and the use of words in visual art.

Melinda Guillen, Ph.D. Program, Visual Arts. Melinda Guillen, Ph.D. Program, Art History, Theory, and Criticism. Melinda's areas include conceptual art, socially engaged art, feminist and critical theory, public space, art & technology, and social movements. Her current research analyzes the political systems and structural dynamics of the institutionalization of conceptual art in the United States during the Vietnam War era, 1966-1972.

Jennifer Huerta, Ph.D. Program, History. Jennifer's research interests focus on the instruction and development of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century female copyists at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. Using methodologies from social and intellectual history, she seeks to identify ways in which the Academy's interactions with other prominent art academies of the period in Manila and Havana influenced the copies female students produced and how, in turn, those shared ideas shaped social constructions of Mexican identity.

Alex Kershaw, Ph.D. Program, Visual Arts. Alex’s research focuses on the dialectic between the camera and the subjects/objects it transforms through practices of representation. The written component of his dissertation uses ethnographic methods in a comparative study of the way cameras instigate the production of theatrical time through the practices of photographers and their subjects in photographic events.

Jennifer Marchisotto, Ph.D. Program, Literature. Jenni’s research focuses on mental disability in Irish, British, and Francophone modernist literature. She is interested in the play of language in experimental fiction to facilitate communication involving mental disabilities.

Elizabeth Miller, Ph.D. Program, Art History, Theory, and Criticism. Elizabeth specializes in American art of the 1960s and 70s.

Vincent Pham, Ph.D. Program, Visual Arts. Vince is an art historian whose work and research focus on the visual culture surrounding portraiture in the long eighteenth century in Britain. Recent ideas that have been of interest include the sociability of portraiture, social practices within art spaces, and the experience of viewing in the eighteenth century. 

Luis Sanchez-Lopez, Ph.D. Program, History. Luis Sanchez-Lopez is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and is currently writing his dissertation, "Since Time Immemorial: Zapotec Pueblos and State Formation in Oaxaca's Central Valley, 1857-1929." He is interested in social movements, state formation, indigenous politics, historical memory, and decolonization. 

Gabi Schaffzin, PhD Program, Art History, Theory, and Criticism, Art Practice Concentration. Gabi's art and research consider the visual representation of pain and illness in a technologically mediated world dominated by a privileging of data over all else. The emerging dialog between his research and artistic practice draws heavily on the imagery and rhetoric of advertising and product design.

Kelly Silva, PhD program, History.  Kelly is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of History and is currently working on her thesis, "To Heal the Wounds of Empire: Government Physicians, the Winnebago, and the Development of Federal Indian Health Care Policy in the Nineteenth Century."

Yi Hong Sim, Ph.D. Program, Communication. Yi Hong specializes in the political economy and sociocultural organization of the arts. She is currently studying how classically trained musicians in the United States shape ideologies of artistic labor through the ways they communicate about the value of their work.

Matthew Sitek, Ph.D. Program, Anthropology. Matthew specializes in archaeology. His current research takes place on the south coast of Peru where he is investigating how households and communities were affected by the presence of the Tiwanaku polity - the first state-level society in the south central Andes. 

Haydee Smith, Ph.D. Program, Literature.

Sara Solaimani, Ph.D. Program, Visual Arts.

Cameo Lyn West, Ph.D. Program, History. Camielyn is a PhD candidate with the Department of History. Her dissertation concerns the "Southern" genre of film during the interwar era in the United States.

Suzy Woltmann, Ph.D. Program, Literature. Suzy’s research interests focus on identity construction and the signifying binary “other,” especially as articulated in portrayals of people of color, the subaltern, and divergent genders and sexualities. She is particularly interested in the contemporary novel, Americana, women writers of color, and folklore.

Office & Contact Info

Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) 2346
Mon-Thurs, 9am-noon & 1-3:30pm 
Fri, 9am-noon & 1-3pm 

Phone 858-534-2522
Fax 858-534-3219


Drop Box

A black drop box is available outside of the office for your convenience when the office is closed.