Who We Are and What We Do
Student Responsibilities | Adviser Responsibilities | Meet Us | Director’s Message to Parents | CASPAR Policies

Meet Us


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.



birdsongA 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. 



Pablo Martínez DientePablo 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 mJohn 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.



jakeGrowing 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 SextonMelonie 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.



Jennifer VogtA 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. 



Jane WanningerJane 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 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.