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My Arts and Sciences

2014-2015 Bilinski Fellows

Ash Headshot

Kevin Ash is a doctoral candidate studying environmental hazards and disasters in the Department of Geography. His research interests include risk perception and communication, evacuation behavior, social vulnerability, and disaster resilience. He worked for the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at USC from 2010-2014 and contributed to several projects including vulnerability to flood hazards in southeastern Louisiana, long-term recovery in Mississippi and New Jersey after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and community disaster resilience metrics for the contiguous United States. He is also interested in how people understand and act upon warnings for rapid-onset weather events. Specifically, Kevin’s dissertation is investigating the intended tornado sheltering of manufactured home residents in South Carolina. Kevin’s educational background includes a BA in Geography from the University of Oklahoma and a MS in Geography from the University of Florida. Prior to graduate school, he was employed with Weathernews, Inc. as a risk communicator and with the US Geological Survey as a geographic information systems technician. He is a native of Oklahoma and became interested in disasters after a tornado struck his neighborhood near Oklahoma City in 1999.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Clement Headshot

Dean Clement is currently a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of South Carolina where he studies the imaginative literature and political philosophy of the English Renaissance. After earning his BA from the University of Mississippi and his MA in English Literature from the University of Montana, he crossed the country once again to study at the University of South Carolina. During his time at USC, Dean has taught multiple courses in Critical Thinking & Writing and Rhetoric & Composition. He has also taught upper-level surveys of British Literature, World Drama, and the English Renaissance. The time and money that the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship has generously provided him will enable Dean to finish out the program with a strong dissertation and a foothold into his academic future.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)


Fisher Headshot

Erica Fischer is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition in USC’s English Department where her areas of research include composition-rhetoric, contemporary poetics, and writing pedagogy. During her time at USC, Erica has had the opportunity to develop her research and pedagogical theories in her Advanced Writing courses and as an Assistant Director for First Year English. Erica plans to defend her dissertation in the spring and credits the generous support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship for the time and resources to reach her academic goals.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)


Harrell Headshot

Ashley Harrell is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology department. She has also earned a BA in Psychology and an MA in Sociology from the University of South Carolina. While at USC, she has taught a broad Introductory Sociology course as well as courses in Statistics for the social sciences. She was named Distinguished Graduate Scholar in 2013 from the University of South Carolina, and has won both departmental and national-level awards for a paper developed from her MA thesis, “Do Religious Cognitions Promote Prosociality?” She has published sole- and co-authored work in Rationality and Society and Social Forces. Aside from religion, she is also interested in studying cooperation and prosocial behavior more broadly. Her dissertation focuses on the role of leadership in enhancing cooperation in groups.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)


Kutzier headshot

Evan A. Kutzler is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department under the advisement of Dr. Mark M. Smith. He received his Bachelor of Arts at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, in 2010 and his Master’s degree in Public History at the University of South Carolina in 2012. As a doctoral candidate, Kutzler has taught courses for the Institute of Southern Studies that explored the U.S. South from an interdisciplinary approach. He has also published in academic and public history formats. The forthcoming article, “Captive Audiences: Sound, Silence, and Listening in Civil War Prisons,” will appear in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Social History. Kutzler’s other publications include a co-authored piece on slavery and public history, “Breaking the Silence: Telling the Story of Slavery at a Public University in the South,” which appears as a short series on History@Work, a joint imprimatur between The Public Historian and the National Council for Public History online publications. In addition to the Bilinski Education Foundation, Kutzler’s research is funded through institutions that include the University of South Carolina, the Virginia Historical Society, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Filson Historical Society, the Friends of Andersonville Organization, and the National Park Service. Funding provided opportunities to expand his work on the sensory history of captivity during the American Civil War through research trips to more than twenty-five libraries and archives between 2011 and 2014. He is currently set to defend his dissertation in spring 2015.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)


McKinney Headshot

Julia McKinney is a doctoral candidate in Linguistics specializing in sociolinguistics. A native of California, she earned her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and her M.A. in Linguistics from the University of South Carolina. At USC she has taught classes in the Linguistics and First-Year English programs, served as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center, and tutored writing for the Student Success Center. Julia’s research focuses on how older speakers actively construct identities in interaction using linguistic resources, with a particular interest in the intersection between interpersonal and popular discourses. While completing her M.A., Julia conducted ethnographic research at an traditional, older women’s hair salon in Columbia, examining the connections between discourse, the body, and age. Her dissertation research was conducted at a senior center and examines the relationship between language, identity construction, and understandings of temporality. Julia has presented her research at leading national conferences, including the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Ways of Analyzing Variation, and Georgetown University Round Table, and at regional conferences such as the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)

Minella Headshot

Timothy K. Minella is a Ph.D. candidate in history who specializes in the history of science in early America. He received his B.A. from Hamilton College in 2009. His dissertation examines the connections between the Enlightenment and scientific practice in the United States from 1789 to 1860. He conducts several case studies of such topics as agriculture, natural history, print culture, and political philosophy. He has served as an instructor and a teaching assistant for courses in the history of science, American history, and Western civilization. He enjoys sampling local microbrews, cheering for Carolina athletic teams, and jogging.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)


Stagliano Headshot

Anthony Stagliano is a filmmaker and scholar of rhetoric, and currently a PhD candidate at the University of South Carolina, studying the digital and material contours of public rhetoric. After a BA in Classics from SDSU, Stagliano earned an MA in English at DePaul University in Chicago. His films and media art pieces have been shown in festivals and galleries around the country. His feature narrative film, Fade, was released theatrically and on DVD by Cinema Epoch. Stagliano’s academic research is in contemporary rhetorical theory. Specifically, a posthumanist study of the materiality of digital forms of public rhetoric, and its concomitant political risks and possibilities. The aim is to articulate robust conceptions of rhetorical tactics and rhetorical encounters useful for the production, circulation, and analysis of rhetoric in the current historical moment.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)


Weisenburg Headshot

Michael C. Weisenburg is a PhD candidate in the Department of English, focusing in Colonial & Nineteenth-Century American Literature. His research interests deal with the transition between the late colonial & early national period. He is currently working on a dissertation about the British American Loyalists and the question of loyalty as it extends throughout the nineteenth century in American literature, with Dr. David S. Shields as his director. His other research interests include cartography, aesthetics, & affect. For the past few years, he has been a research assistant for Dr. Joel Myerson, collating & reading proofs for the Tenth Volume of the Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as Dr. Myerson’s Supplemental Bibliography of the Works of Walt Whitman. He frequently works for the Irving Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, most recently compiling meta-data and designing a website for Dr. Myerson’s collection of nineteenth-century American literary manuscripts. Michael has taught a variety of English courses in the University’s common core curriculum, including Fiction and Themes in American Writing. In 2011, Michael’s service, research, and teaching was acknowledged through a William H. Nolte Graduate Assistant Award. He is grateful for the opportunities that being a Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellow will afford him this academic year.
Dissertation Abstract (PDF)