Graduates of the University of Michigan Department of English graduate programs have gone on to successful careers in a variety of fields, including tenure-track faculty, higher education administration, libraries, and non-profits. View recent placements or explore our featured alumni below.
Featured PhD Alumni
Amy Rodgers – Assistant Professor, Mount Holyoke College Department of English
Amy Rodgers completed her PhD in English at the University of Michigan under the direction of Professor Valerie Traub in 2009. During the 2009-2010, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Kalamazoo College. She is an assistant professor at Mount Holyoke College Department of English. Her primary field of research and teaching is early modern drama and prose, mass and popular culture (both early modern and contemporary), film history and film theory. Her dissertation, "The Sense of an Audience: Spectators and Spectatorship in Early Modern England," argues that as the commercial theater developed and prospered in Renaissance England, a concomitant cultural preoccupation arose with the theatrical spectator and the processes of engagement that the theater both cultivated and demanded. These ideas in turn led to new theoretical discourses about spectators and spectatorship in the period. She has published essays in The English Renaissance in Popular Culture: An Age for all Time and in U.S. Popular Print Culture.
Gregory Dandeles - Senior Program Manager, Strategy and Planning, Amazon
Greg is a Senior Program Manager on the Strategy and Planning team for Amazon Logistics. In his current role, he designs transportation networks, including special handling networks in the UK, Germany, and the US. He also developed the three year plan for an Amazon delivery service recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, and has worked on projects in Japan, Brazil, and Australia.
Greg completed an Executive MBA while finishing his Language and Literature PhD, and was hired through Amazon’s MBA recruiting upon graduation. “It may seem like an odd path to get to Amazon from a PhD in Language and Literature,” he shared, “but I spend so much of my time at Amazon finding creative solutions to really ambiguous problems, that I'd say my work is more similar to writing a dissertation than any other job I've had. Also, at Amazon, ideas are always presented in the format of research papers, so my PhD really gives me a leg up there! From data collection, through deep-dive analyses, and the structuring of sound, convincing arguments, I'm using my PhD on a daily basis here at Amazon.”
Aaron McCullough - Interim Director, Mason Publishing Group and George Mason University Press
Aaron McCollough is the Director (interim) of the Mason Publishing Group and the George Mason University Press, a division of the University Libraries at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia. He has worked at the State Department, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan Library, and the University of Michigan Press. Aaron is the author of several poetry volumes, the most recent of which, Rank, was published by University of Iowa Press in 2015.
Pavitra Sundar - Assistant Professor of Literature, Hamilton College
Pavitra Sundar is Assistant Professor of Literature at Hamilton College. She received her doctorate in Women’s Studies and English from the University of Michigan in 2007. Her dissertation, “Sounding the Nation: The Musical Imagination of Bollywood Cinema,” examined the construction of gender, sexuality, and national identity in contemporary Hindi film and film music. Her essays have appeared in the journals Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism andSouth Asian Popular Culture. Sundar’s research and teaching interests span Indian cinema, postcolonial literary and cultural studies, and U.S. third world and transnational feminisms. Sundar has previously taught at the University of Michigan, Oberlin College, and Dartmouth College.
Elspeth Healy - Associate Librarian for Special Collections, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas
Elspeth Healey is an Associate Librarian for Special Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, where she curates holdings for the Americas, the UK, and Ireland. Her position entails building the collections through purchases and donation, teaching with special collections materials, proposing and participating in digital projects, engaging in public outreach (from exhibitions to blog posts), providing reference assistance for on-site and remote researchers, and collaborating with colleagues in conservation and cataloging to enhance access to the library’s collections. After completing her dissertation, "Writing Communities: Aesthetics, Politics, and Late Modernist Literary Consolidation," in 2008, she earned a Master of Science in Information Studies from UT Austin. Her coursework at Michigan offered a strong grounding in book history and textual studies, and the archival research she conducted for her dissertation confirmed her passion for working with special collections and archives. She relishes the variety—in activities and collections (from medieval manuscripts, to nineteenth-century Central American political ephemera, to science fiction writers’ papers) —that a career in special collections librarianship affords.
Caroline Giordano – Associate Lawyer, Miller Canfield
Caroline Giordano attended law school after completing her Ph.D from Michigan and is currently an Associate Lawyer at Miller Canfield, where she practices a variety of commercial and governmental litigation in both state and federal courts. Since joining Miller Canfield, Caroline has been active in the firm's class action defense practice, and she has had extensive experience working on cases representing governmental clients at the trial and appellate level. Caroline has also worked on numerous matters involving business torts, contract disputes, non-compete and trade secret disputes, and copyright and trademark law.
Alice Tsay -Director for Library Programming and Public Affairs, Pepperdine University
Alice Tsay serves as Director for Library Programming and Public Affairs at Pepperdine University. In this role, she oversees public programming, marketing, outreach, and fundraising for the university libraries. She has also worked previously in the Education Division at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. While completing her PhD in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, she also received a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies and coordinated the Reorientations Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop. Her dissertation, Absorbing Fare: Food, Bodies, and Social Attention in Modern Britain,was written under the direction of Andrea Zemgulys.
Majorie Rubright, Assistant Professor of English, University of Toronto
Marjorie Rubright is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD in 2007 in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan where she wrote a dissertation under the direction of Professor Valerie Traub.
Among her publications is Doppelganger Dilemmas: Anglo-Dutch Relations in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). She argues that the English imagined their proximate relations with the Dutch (their nearest Continental and Protestant neighbors) by means of a cultural double vision: one which holds difference and sameness together in its scope. This relational thinking manifests itself in ideas of cultural approximation. The theme of Anglo-Dutch approximation is evident on the English stage, particularly in city comedies of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, in London’s commercial architecture, and the role it plays in civic and royal pageantry, on the playbook and dictionary page, where type becomes a tool for experimenting with how difference and sameness literally can be pressed into a page, and in travel writing, pamphlet debates, and Restoration tragedy, which focus on the emerging colonial relations of the English and the Dutch in the East Indies. Across these sites of cultural production, various operations (including puns, double-entendres, visual palimpsests, typographic arrangements, and representations of mistaken identity) work to render English and Dutch identity, Englishness and Dutchness, approximate to one another.
Marjorie's recent work is published in the journals English Literary Renaissance and Dutch Crossing: A Journal of Low Country Studies. In her teaching life, Marjorie lectures on Shakespeare and teaches seminars and graduate courses on dramatic comedy, cultural identity in early modern England, and feminist and ethnic studies approaches to Renaissance literature.
Jocelyn Stitt - Program Director for Faculty Research and Development, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan
Jocelyn Stitt is the Program Director for Faculty Research Development at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. After spending a decade as a faculty member and earning tenure in the gender and women’s studies department at Minnesota State University, Jocelyn spent a year of leave as a Visiting Associate Professor in the Women’s Studies department at Michigan. During that time she was offered the position of Program Director at IRWG and decided to stay in Ann Arbor permanently. Research development uses many of the same skills Jocelyn honed as a professor. As Program Director, Jocelyn uses her scholarly, teaching, and editing skills to peer mentor faculty. Instead of teaching undergraduates, Jocelyn now works with established scholars and rising junior professors on their gender studies related research agendas, and how create the best possible applications for grants to fund that research. Subject knowledge, project management, research guidance, and team building are all necessary to create the conditions for excellent research and for its funding. More information about research development as a career can be found at NORDP. In addition to working on 17 million dollars in grants in 2017, Jocelyn also chairs the committee that award IRWG’s internal grants. She continues to be an active scholar in the fields of Women’s Studies, Autobiography Studies, and Caribbean Studies. Her book project, “Dreams of Archives Unfolded: Absence and Caribbean Life Writing,” is under contract and will be published in 2020.
Juliet Fiebel - Executive Director, ArtsWorcester
Juliet is the Executive Director of ArtsWorcester, a non-profit contemporary art center that advances the careers of regional artists while offering free, high-quality art and educational programs to the public. As the director of a relatively small non-profit, Juliet oversees every aspect of their work, from exhibition content and events planning to marketing and financial reporting. Her primary responsibility is fundraising, and is currently running a $1.25m capital campaign to relocate ArtsWorcester to new galleries in 2019. She also supervises a growing staff team and is responsible for representing the organization, an enormously fun part of the job which includes giving press interviews and attending community events. Since her time at Michigan, Juliet has worked in a variety of positions related to the arts or higher education, including running the consortium membership for Imagining America, a public scholarship project that started at Michigan, working as a handicraft consultant for highland tribes in Vietnam, and advising the Museum of Russian Icons on social media. She is also them mother of two teenagers, and finds that the juggling one does as a PhD student – with coursework, teaching, and research – is not bad preparation for the juggling one does as a parent.
Josh Lambert – Dorit Assistant Professor/ Faculty Fellow, Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, NYU
Josh Lambert completed his PhD in English literature at the University of Michigan under the direction of Anita Norich and Jonathan Freedman in the summer of 2009. His dissertation, "Unclean Lips: Obscenity and Jews in American Literature," examines the intertwined experiences of writers, publishers, lawyers, judges, and pornographers to explore the ways in which the explicit representation of sex and the freedom to use taboo words has mattered for American Jews. He is also the author of American Jewish Fiction(JPS, 2009), a reader's guide covering 125 novels and story collections published between 1867 and 2007. His articles have appeared in Cinema Journal, The Jewish Graphic Novel (Rutgers, 2009), and many newspapers and magazines. He is a Dorot Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.
Michelle Risdon - Vice President of Academic Affairs, Lake Tahoe Community College
Michelle Risdon began teaching at Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) in the fall of 1998, shortly after completing her graduate work, which included comprehensive study of Renaissance drama and modern literature, and her dissertation was about reality and identity in contemporary plays about true crimes. She received tenure as a full-time faculty member in 2003 and acted as the chair of the English department at LTCC for twelve years. She taught composition, research and critical thinking, and literature courses (including British and American Literature, Shakespeare, Women in Literature, Cross-Cultural Literature, Masterpieces of the Modern World, Literature into Film, and special courses on Toni Morrison and Virginia Woolf, among others). Her academic interests include modern and contemporary fiction; gender studies; women’s literature; dramatic literature, theater, and performance; Samuel Beckett; and film.
Michelle became the interim Dean of Instruction in 2014 and then the interim Vice President of Instruction in 2015 at LTCC. In 2016, she was selected to fill the permanent role of Vice President of Academic Affairs, a position she still holds.
Featured MFA Alumni
Tung-Hui Hu is the author of two books of poetry, "Mine" (Ausable/Copper Canyon, 2007), and "The Book of Motion" (University of Georgia, 2003). Described as a "contained surreal style that deftly shapes a philosophical argument" (Los Angeles Times), his writing has appeared in The New Republic, Ploughshares, and Martha Stewart Living Radio. In addition to receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, Hu holds a PhD in Film from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a native of San Francisco.
Sara Houghteling graduated from Harvard College in 1999 and received her master's in fine arts from the University of Michigan. Her novel, Pictures at an Exhibition, was published by Knopf in 2009. She is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to Paris, first prize in the Avery and Jules Hopwood Novel Contest, and a John Steinbeck Fellowship. She currently lives in California, where she teaches high school English.
francine j. harris
francine j. harris has recent work appearing in Rattle, Callaloo, Michigan Quarterly Review, and is the author of the recent chapbook, between old trees. She is a Cave Canem fellow, has also won the 2014 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest and was award a 2015 NEA fellowship. Her first collection, allegiance, was published in the spring of 2012.
Nami Mun was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up there and in Bronx, New York. She has worked as an Avon Lady, a street vendor, a photojournalist, a waitress, an activities coordinator for a nursing home, and a criminal defense investigator. After earning a GED from the Santa Monica Unified School District, she went on to get a BA from UC Berkeley, and an MFA from University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award for fiction. She has received a Pushcart Prize, as well as scholarships from Yaddo, MacDowell, Eastern Frontier, Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference, Tin House Writers’ Conference, and Key West Literary Seminar. Her stories have been published in the 2007 Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Iowa Review, Evergreen Review, Witness, and other journals, including Tin House, who named her an Emerging Voice of 2005. Miles from Nowhere, her debut novel, was recently short-listed for the Orange Award for New Writers. She currently lives and teaches Creative Writing in Chicago.