Muir College Writing Program

Instructor Biographies

Spring 2017


Michael Berman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC San Diego and holds an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the complex relationship between empathy and alienation in contemporary Japan.

Stephanie Fairchild, Ph.D. Program, History. Stephanie’s research interests include labor and community organizing as well changing economic and immigration patterns in the twentieth century. Her dissertation explores the history of the Justice for Janitors campaign in the context of neoliberal restructuring and its effects.

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.

Melinda Guillen, is a Ph.D. Candidate in Visual Arts in the Art History, Theory, and Criticism Program and holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from University of Southern California. Melinda's dissertation research is focused on radical feminism in post-war American Conceptual Art from 1966-1980. Her other research areas include socially engaged art, feminist and critical theory, public art, urbanism and land use, and social movements. 

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.

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

Michael Morshed writes crime novels around bringing opportunities to the disenfranchised. He also created and writes for a website ( that tells narrative and analytical stories about soccer.

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. 

Mallory Pickett is a freelance journalist. Her writing, mostly on science and technology, has been published in The New York Times Magazine, WIRED, and many other publications. She holds a masters degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and a masters and bachelors in chemistry from UC San Diego. 

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."

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.

Jonathan Walton analyzes games as sociotechnical systems, looking specifically at the conceptual, social, and material infrastructure that allows "serious games" to make sense and be able to operate as forces for change in the world. He previously spent 7 years in the foreign policy world, where he studied Chinese policing and social policy.

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.