Patrick Watson, Neuroscience, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Born in Missoula MT, Patrick Watson grew up surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. He attended the University of Illinois as an undergraduate and graduated with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Fascinated by his classes on ethology and computational brain theory, he applied and was accepted to the U of I Neuroscience program. For the last year he has worked with members of the history department on a new interdisciplinary project comparing individual
and collective memory.

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Kristen Ehrenberger, History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kristen Ehrenberger is in her fourth year in the Medical Scholars (MD/PhD) Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation will look at the creation and transmission of knowledge about health and nutrition in Germany during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933), and she hopes to practice pediatrics and teach the history of medicine after she graduates. She represents one-fourth of the 2006-2007 Memory Analogies Group at the Beckman Institute.

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Caroline Rueckert, Educational Studies, University of British Columbia

Caroline Rueckert is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her research interests are in a hybrid cultural studies, critical multiculturalism, and postcolonial & feminist approaches to diversity and pedagogy. Her thesis work focuses on affect and the ways in which emotions are bound up with stories of justice and injustice. Caroline completed her MA in Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leeds, UK.

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Kim O'Neill, English, UIUC

Kim O'Neill is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her primary emphases are Ethnic Studies and twentieth-century African-American and Latina/o literatures. She is also currently serving as the Assistant Editor for the scholarly journal American Literary History.

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Dawna Schuld, Art History, University of Chicago

Dawna Schuld is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Art History, University of Chicago. Her research is concentrated on the perceptual and cognitive intersections between viewer and art and, at a broader level, between art history, philosophy, and the biological sciences. Her dissertation on California minimal art (in preparation) is entitled “Nothing to Look At: the neuropsychological implications of art as situation.”

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Daniel Estrada, Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Daniel Estrada is a fifth year PhD candidate in the Philosophy Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside. He is primarily interested in the philosophy of technology as it relates to the philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, and the foundations of cognitive science.

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Jameson Bell, German, Media and Cultural Studies, Pennsylvania State University

Jameson Bell is currently a PhD Candidate in German Literature, Media & Culture Studies at The Pennsylvania State University as well as a graduate assistant on the men’s soccer team. From 2001-2006, he taught English/German and coached soccer for a local high school in South Bend, Indiana. In 2001, while on a Sparks Fellowship, he completed a Masters degree in German Languages and Literature. His undergraduate majors were diverse though they converged in two areas: German and philosophy. Through a Liberal Arts degree at Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN, he accomplished majors in Philosophy, German, and English literature. Thereafter, he spent a year in Germany where he played soccer for the city of Bad Dürkheim/Sinsheim and studied the German language, culture and history for a semester at the Ruprecht Karls Universität, Heidelberg.

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Michael Simeone, English, UIUC

Michael Simeone is a Ph D candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The emphases of his research include late 20th century American literature and film, science fiction, the history of consumer electronics, and the development of the cognitive sciences.  Michael is currently an assistant for the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.

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Rebecca Kraus, English, Boston College

Rebecca has a B.A. in English from Boston College. Her primary interest is literary theory, especially trauma theory. Her undergraduate senior thesis, "Inherited Trauma in Second Generation Holocaust Literature," explores the content, form, and tone of literature written by children of Holocaust survivors. She is also interested in the representation of trauma. Her essay, "Morality and Memory: Schindler's List and the Ethics of Representation," which received third prize in the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay Contest, discusses the ethical issues
involved with Holocaust representation. She is currently working on expanding the scope of these projects to examine the representation and trans-generational transmission of other traumatic events.

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I-Ju Ruby Chen, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, SUNY Stony Brook University


Ruby Chen is currently a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at SUNY at Stony Brook. She has also studied at Tamkang University in Taipei and Winona University in Minnesota. She is an experienced editor and translator in English-to-Chinese publications. Her areas of interest include travel literature, personal essays, consumerism studies and contemporary Chinese literature.

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Marta Bladek, English, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Marta Bladek is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Program at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her interests include trauma theory, questions of cultural memory and cultural translation, and contemporary life writing. She is currently working on her dissertation tentatively titled “Pilgrimages to the Past: Place, Memory, and Return in Contemporary
Life Writing.”

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The Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
608 South Wright Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801 | Phone: (217) 333-2581
email the director | graduate assistants