After years of living all over the country (Maryland, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Connecticut, and New Jersey) with a few different countries (Scotland and France) thrown in for good measure, Patricia Armstrong has finally settled down in Nashville, where her perfect day includes going to Arnold’s for lunch, Las Paletas for a late-afternoon popsicle, and the Station Inn for some smokin’ bluegrass! A specialist in seventeenth-century French literature with a Ph.D. from Yale University, Professor Armstrong has taught introductory, intermediate, and advanced French at Yale, Princeton, and Vanderbilt. She particularly enjoys teaching writing, which she most frequently does as an instructor of French 201w, and advising students as they take on intellectual challenges at Vanderbilt.
A reformed slacker from Northern California, Beau Baca gave up his dreams of playing music and sold his electric guitar to pay for graduate school applications, only to end up in Music City. Far from letting himself be oppressed by the weight of such existential irony, Beau completed his Ph.D. in August of 2010 and has taught as a Lecturer in the department of English for the past two years. While his dissertation explored aesthetic engagement in British theater of the long eighteenth century, Beau’s teaching interests are varied and he has taught classes on satire, the pastoral, and nostalgia in contemporary culture. The university environment affords a chance for intellectual exploration and personal reflection and Beau is here to enthusiastically encourage you to take advantage of these chances while also reminding you to meet your AXLE requirements.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Destiny Birdsong first came to Nashville as an undergraduate at Fisk University (2000-2004), and loved the city so much that she returned for graduate school at Vanderbilt in 2006. In the process of completing a Ph.D. in English, she also earned an MFA in creative writing, and is a poet, an essayist, a TV junkie (who loves crime shows and sitcoms), a dessert addict, and the owner of one of the bossiest animals in the world, a shih tzu named Gizmo. Her research interests include black women's literature, identity politics, and hip hop aesthetics. A proponent of student autonomy, Destiny looks forward to encouraging her advisees to follow their gut instincts, and to take risks.
A native of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Andrea Bradley Hearn came to Nashville in 2001 to do a Ph.D. in English at Vanderbilt specializing in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature. A lecturer in the English department since 2005, she’s taught writing courses in crime fiction, commodity culture, the Great War, the romantic comedy, and Jane Austen. A faculty pre-major adviser since 2007, she’ll be teaching upper-level British literature courses in both the fall and spring. She loves to walk dogs with her husband and cats and read mysteries, gardening memoirs, and children’s books with talking animals. Her favorite food is her mother’s chicken-fried steak.
Pablo Martínez Diente was born and raised in Valladolid, and soon after completing his undergraduate degree in English Philology, he arrived in Morgantown, WV, to pursue graduate studies in Latin American and Spanish literature. After teaching students on the Baltic coast of Poland, he returned to the US where he obtained his doctorate in Spanish at Vanderbilt in 2012. Having spent the last three years at the University of Notre Dame as Visiting Assistant Professor, he is thrilled to be back in Nashville and to get to know the diverse interests of Vanderbilt’s gifted students. A dedicated poetry enthusiast, a devoted book hunter and modernist researcher, he hopes to instill a sense of exploration and curiosity in the Vanderbilt student community.
John Morrell completed his Ph.D. in English at Vanderbilt. He studies American Literature from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, with a focus on environmental literature. His current project explores the intersections of science fiction and climate change, analyzing novels and films alongside scenarios in public policy documents and scientific literature. He has also recently developed an interest in film and photography work. During his time at Vanderbilt, John has been an instructor in the English Department and a fellow at the Center for Teaching. As a CASPAR adviser, John's goal is to help students pursue a broad range of interests and passions as they navigate their academic careers.
Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Jacob Sauer watched Raiders of the Lost Ark at a young age and decided to play in the dirt for a living. He received BA degrees in Anthropology and History from Brigham Young University, where he conducted research in southern Utah on the Fremont and Anasazi cultures. He then attended the University of Kentucky for a year before transferring to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Anthropology at Vanderbilt, from which he graduated in 2012. His research has focused on the Araucanian culture of south-central Chile, the only indigenous society in the Americas to expel the Spanish and maintain independence for over 300 years, as well as brief forays into work in Tennessee and Mexico. When not digging in the dirt, Jacob strives to finish crossword puzzles without cheating and watches dumb movies with his wife.
Melonie Sexton moved from Florida to Nashville in 2007 to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt. She recently received her Ph.D. in Psychology with a Cognitive Neuroscience focus. Her research examined the importance of visual working memory maintenance and attention. Melonie is a strong believer that student success goes beyond just research. She has participated in programs such as the Center For Teaching’s College Certification, acted as an ambassador for the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education program and been a Graduate mentor for several undergraduates in Psychology. As a CASPAR adviser, Melonie hopes to help incoming students identify and pursue their interests as they begin their journey as a Vanderbilt scholar. In her spare time, Melonie enjoys spending lazy days lounging with her husband and chasing her infant son around the house.
Jane Wanninger grew up in Wisconsin, and though she moved to Nashville in 2007, she will always consider the Midwest to be her true home - she has the accent (and finely honed connoisseurship for cheese) to prove it! She received her Ph.D. in English literature from Vanderbilt in 2012, and her research explores confession in Renaissance drama. She is particularly interested in how scenes of confession illuminate issues of power, performance, language and identity in Shakespeare's plays. Her interest in confession extends to her leisure time, too: she loves a good mystery novel and considers "Murder, She Wrote" a favorite guilty pleasure. She also enjoys cooking, pottery, and hikes around Nashville. Her favorite thing about working at CASPAR is having the opportunity to get to know Vanderbilt students as she supports them in exploring new intellectual opportunities.
A homegrown Kentucky lady, Jennifer Vogt has put her passions for exploring, collaboration, and diversity to work for her as an applied anthropologist. Her research interests lie in forms of community building, action and development among rural and indigenous populations across Latin America and in marginalized communities in the United States. Her Ph.D. work, recently completed at Vanderbilt, analyzes how cultural and economic policies to encourage grassroots development initiatives actually work in artisan communities in Peru. She is now looking forward to encouraging students to make deliberate and inspired choices about their academic and career paths at Vanderbilt. When wanderlust is not leading her to seek adventures in distant places, she spends her free time with a certain regal little wiener dog named Hadley Jo Vogt.
A native of Natchez, MS, Anna Catesby Yant is a Southern belle who doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. She completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Vanderbilt and her research focuses on the relationship between architecture, power and social change. She is a Maya archaeologist and no, she is not at all like Indiana Jones. During the fall, she loves to watch LSU football and in the spring, it’s “crawfish time”. In her spare time, she can usually be found chasing around two small children, her husband, and their dog.