Student Spotlights

Charles Athanasopoulos, a Communication PhD student, was part of the 2020 cohort of Humanities Engage Summer Immersive Fellows. Learn how he expanded the scope and accessibility of his scholarship.


Samuel BoatengSamuel Boateng, an inaugural Humanities Engage Immersive Dissertation Research Fellow, Ghanaian pianist, composer, scholar, and Music PhD candidate. Read how he uses community-facing research into the stories of African Jazz musicians to challenge canonical jazz history and create a documentary film.

Felipe CastenedaFelipe Castañeda, a Hispanic Languages and Literatures PhD student, was part of the 2020 cohort of Humanities Engage Summer Immersive Fellows. Read how his research helped RefocusED, a nonprofit organization engaged in cutting-edge research on education, to develop an action plan to alleviate discriminatory practices exacerbated by COVID-19.

Rebecca GiordanoRebecca Giordano, PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture, was part of the 2020 cohort of Humanities Engage curricular development awardees. Learn how she used collaborative digital curriculum design to challenge students to think about art in the Black Lives Matter era and to simulate real-world museum work

Victoria LaFave, a Theatre Arts PhD student, built off her experiences as a Curriculum Development Opportunity Awardee and a Summer Immersive Fellow to create her own pathway to success. Read how she's working at the intersections of academic work and publicly engaged teaching.


Jackie LombardJackie Lombardfourth-year PhD candidate in the department of the History of Art and Architecture in 2018/19. A scholar of Medieval art, Jackie was a graduate research assistant in the department’s Visual Media Workshop, where she has learned about the digital humanities through hands on experience. How can a Medievalist use digital tools? Learn about Jackie’s research on race in the Middle Ages and how her assistantship has impacted her research. In AY21, Jackie Lombard held a Humanities Engage curricular development fellowship and blogged about her experience.

Ryan McMastersRyan McMasters, a PhD candidate in Music Theory and Composition, was part of the summer 2018 cohort of the Public Humanities Fellows program, coordinated by the Humanities Center. He worked with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. His research focuses on the concepts of accessibility and inclusion in music technology. Read his take on how music theory relates to the environment.

Sean Nonnenmacher, a PhD candidate in Linguistics, collaborated with GLSEN Phoenix in a summer 2020 immersive fellowship to create The StoryBank Project, an oral history archive. Learn how his experience changed the direction of his dissertation.


Ben OgrodnikBen Ogrodnika PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture Department whose research focuses on contemporary film in 2018/2019. He held a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2017, Ben was a member of the first cohort of Public Humanities Fellows and collaborated with the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Read how Ben merged his research methods with public outreachDr. Ogrodnik now serves as Lecturer in Cinema, Binghamton University.

Alyssa QuintanillaAlyssa Quintanilla, a scholar, digital artist, activist, English Ph.D., and an inaugural Humanities Engage Immersive Dissertation Research Fellow. Learn how Alyssa used her experience in the field to create a digital memorial as part of her dissertation, find her own voice in her writing and successfully launch her tenure-track career.

Nicole ScalissiNicole Scalissia sixth-year PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture in 2018/19. A contemporary art historian focused on the intersection of performance, violence, and identity, she has served as the Mellon Fellow in Curation and Education and in 2018/19 was a member of the "Humanities Careers" Planning Committee (NEH NextGen PhD Planning Grant). Dr. Nicole Scalissi now serves as Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History, UNC Greenboro. Read about her fascinating work and great career advice.