Literature (English MA, PhD)

Student Profiles

 Image shows Anca Garcia standing in front of a wall of leaves

Anca Garcia

PhD literature

I grew up in a small Transylvanian city in Romania, and I still love long snowy winters and tall mountains. In early 2000s, I graduated from Transilvania University in Brasov, Romania, with a dual degree in Romanian and English. Three years later, I received a master's degree in Romanian from the same university. I published a series of articles in various Romanian literary journals and short story book in Romanian. For a few years, I worked as a Romanian literature lecturer at Sapientia University in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania.

After I moved to the United States, I became an English as a second language instructor at Valdosta State University, in Georgia. I loved working with international students, but as my interests still revolved around literature, I decided to go back to school and eventually I received a master's degree in English. Valdosta was good to me and it helped me transition towards an English composition instructor, so now I am looking forward to working on my teaching skills at USF while I will also be working on a PhD in English with a concentration in literature.

 Image shows CJ Harris standing in front of a restaurant doorway with a woman who is holding an infant

Connor (CJ) Harris

MA literature

My name is CJ Harris. I am from Largo, FL (just across the bay) and I got my BA in English with a concentration in literature at USF. I am a GA and I'm working on my MA in English with a concentration in literature. My scholarly interests are post-WW2 American literature, post-structuralism, and Marxism. I have had scholarly work published in the "thread Undergraduate Literary Journal," and I presented a paper at USF's Graduate Student Colloquium. Ultimately, I would like to incorporate both post-structural criticism and Marxist criticism into my work--I know that making those ends meet is going to be hard, if not impossible, but I love the philosophical underpinnings of post-structuralism and see Marxism as the best means by which we can accomplish radical political and social change. Outside of the academy, I love my family to pieces (my wife, Leejah, is working on becoming a PA at USF, and my son, Silas, is ten months old and super rad), and am wild about music. My tastes vary widely, ranging from Built to Spill to Chance the Rapper, from The Mountain Goats to The Coup.

 Image shows Briget Horne standing in front of a tree trunk and large glass windows

Briget Horne

PhD literature

Literacy is what I do: how I speak, how I perform, how I think. Perhaps my undergraduate career at FAMU as an English & French double major best convinced me of this truth when my professors exposed me to the Black Francophone world of writers and artists. These pivotal moments taught me that I, too, could find myself within a book, appreciate the diverse experiences of others, and express myself via writing. My experiences also revealed a necessity for more exploration of and exposure to Africana & Black studies within scholastic institutions. Hence, my interest in English literature with a focus on Africana studies allows me to continue exploring the jewels of Black literacy in an effort to excavate these narratives from the shadows. I am a first year, PhD student from Tallahassee, FL, and I am looking forward to this new adventure at USF.

 Image shows Meghan Hutton with buildings in the background

Meghan Hutton

MA literature

Hello! My name is Meghan Hutton and I am very excited to be starting the English masters program at USF. I graduated in May of 2018 with a bachelor's degree in English from Christian Brothers University located in my hometown of Memphis, TN. I will be on the literature degree track and the area of study that I am particularly interested in is nineteenth-century American literature.

 Image shows Rick Reisinger in front of a gray studio background

Richard (Rick) Reisinger

MA literature

My name is Richard (Rick) Reisinger, and I'm originally from Rochester, New York. I attended Monroe Community College for 2 years, then transferred into SUNY Brockport to complete my degree in English literature and education. Immediately upon graduating, my wife and I decided to move to the Tampa Bay area, where I took up a high school teaching position at Chamberlain High School that I still hold.

I am currently on track to earn a masters degree in English with a concentration literature, and it is my intention to carry my studies forward into a doctorate in the same major. With that degree, I intend to take up a position teaching college and contribute to ongoing literary research. I have a deep-seated love and respect for all forms of literature, but I am particularly interested in the writing of the 1920s; to be more specific, I find that my studies often revolve around the American expatriate authors who lived and worked in Paris during that time period. Amongst my favorite authors are Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 Image shows Mike Stowe, arms oustretched into a Y shape, standing in front of a store as snow falls

Michael (Mike) Stowe

PhD literature

In 2013, I moved from Indiana to Florida to pursue an MA in English at USF. I've been with the English department in some fashion ever since – as a graduate student, an adjunct, and most recently, an academic advisor. While I worked as an advisor over the last two years, I earned a second master's degree, this time in English education. In that program, I had the opportunity to build on my theoretical knowledge from the English degree and explore how the literature I studied could be used to affect change in the world. Now that I'm entering the PhD program in English with a concentration in literature, I'm hoping to build on both degrees.

I focus on the intersections of twentieth century and contemporary literature, ecocriticism, and critical pedagogy. I intend to work with Indigenous literatures of the Americas as the foundation for a dissertation that will connect traditional literary analysis to classroom teaching and environmentally based service learning with the hope of promoting critical consciousness in undergraduates. My previous research has looked at ways Florida place-based literature can both model a solution to the social stratification resulting from urban development and preserve the rich contributions of immigrants to both this state and the city of Tampa. My current current research agenda is both the product and extension of this work.

 Image shows close-up of Chondell Villines smiling at the camera

Chondell Villines

PhD literature

My name is Chondell Villines. I'm a first year PhD student in English with a concentration in literature. I'm from no place in particular, having traveled the Southern US extensively as a child, but if you ask me where I'm from, I'll usually say St. Louis. I've recently found a place in the area that has St. Louis-style pizza (thin crust with provel cheese) and it's made me more nostalgic for the place I lived before moving to St. Pete six years ago. I received my BA in literature at the University of Missouri Rolla (Now Missouri University of Science and Technology), my MA in literature from Southern Illinois University, and I recently graduated (June 2018) from the University of Tampa with my MFA in creative writing.

While working on a research project for my MFA I became interested in how writers use food in their stories. Particularly how it's used as a way to exact revenge on or to punish someone. This has led me to want to study American literature, particularly early 20th century American lit. and how alcohol was or wasn't used in stories by American writers. I want to investigate how the depression, and most especially prohibition, caused writers to shift how they used food and alcohol in their writing.