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Muir College Writing Program

Instructor Biographies

Spring 2020




Jennifer Carter completed an MA in Liberal Arts & Sciences, focusing her research on gender, popular culture, sociology, ethnic, and LGBTQ studies. She also holds a BA in English Literature and Women's Studies and is a German-English translator. In addition, Jennifer has taught for several college campuses and her writing has appeared in various publications, which culminated in the founding of The California Journal of Women Writers

Bias Collins is a current graduate student the PhD in Literature program, Cultural Studies emphasis. His primary research focus is on analyzing adaptations of fictional dis/abled figures from literary to visual mediums, particularly in the genres of science fiction, horror, & the gothic. He is particularly interested in exploring the hybridity of morality & mortality in figures of the cyborg, zombie, & vampire and their reliance on dis/ability in their dis/configurations of the human body. His wider areas of research interests include Disability, Queer, Feminst, & Film Studies.  

Thomas Conner is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication and Science Studies, studying the cultural histories and media effects of holographic imagery. He holds a master’s in Communication from the Univ. of Illinois-Chicago and a BA in Mass Communication from the Univ. of Oklahoma. He was a professional newspaper journalist for more than 20 years, working as a features editor and music critic, most recently as the music columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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 writer, curator, and Ph.D. Candidate in Art History, Theory, and Criticism in the UCSD Department of Visual Arts. Her dissertation, tentatively titled, "Don't Need You: Conceptual Art, Feminism, and Estrangement" focuses on the work of curator Lucy R. Lippard and artists Lee Lozano and Adrian Piper during the 1960's and 1970's. She specializes in Postwar American Contemporary Art and Feminist Theory. She has also published essays and presented on panels in other areas including socially engaged art criticism, art & technology, urban studies, social movements, DIY culture, and humor as a critical device.

Erik Homenick Ph.D. Program, Literature. Erik's scholarly interests include representations of monstrosity in literature and films as well as the narrative/semiotic potential of music in films. Erik's doctoral dissertation will focus on the outstanding narrative importance of music, especially by the composer Akira Ifukube, in Godzilla films. Erik also holds an M.A. in French and has taught the language at various institutions of higher learning, including San Diego State University.

Ayden LeRoux is an artist and writer hailing from New England. She is the author of Odyssey Works and Isolation and Amazement, and her work has been published by Electric Literature, Los Angeles Review of Books, Cosmonauts Avenue, and edibleManhattan. Her artwork has been exhibited in China, Cuba, Greece, New York, San Francisco, and Austin, among others.  

Yi Lui is a Ph.D. student in Art History at the University of California, San Diego since 2016. Her research concentrates on the visual culture of China since the 19th century with an evolving interest in photography in relation to the social formation and knowledge production. 

Shelton Lo, Master's of Public Health, UCSD Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. He is originally from San Francisco, and graduated from UCSD with his Bachelor's in Public Health. He is currently focusing his studies on population health behaviors and their relation to prevalent chronic diseases in the community. 

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.

Laurie Nies, Ph.D. Literature.  Laurie’s interests include Native American and Indigenous studies, early U.S. literature and culture, and post-colonial studies. Recent research has focused on 18th century and early 19th century women who appropriate “popular” literary genres to craft narratives that critique America’s political views and subvert ethnic stereotyping.

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. 

Kelly Silva recently completed her PhD in History from the University of California San Diego. Her dissertation, "To Serve and To Heal: Native Peoples, Government Physicians, and the Rise of a Federal Indian Health Care System, 1832-1883," charts the origins, expansion, and bureaucratization of a federal Indian health care system throughout the nineteenth century. She is currently researching and writing about medical interactions between the Ho-Chunk and U.S. army surgeons during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Jonathan Walton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Communication Department at UCSD. Jonathan 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.

Jada Wiggleton-Little is a PhD student in the Philosophy Department, studying philosophy of pain, mind, and medicine. She also holds a BA in Philosophy from Davidson College, with a minor in Health & Human Values. She is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Michael Witte is an art historian, theorist, and translator, currently earning his PhD in Art History, Theory & Criticism at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). His research lies at the intersection of literature and the visual arts, juxtaposing the histories of aesthetic theory with the development of late 19th and 20th century modernisms.