M.A. Students

Profiles of the MA students in the English Department at the University of Louisville

Kylee Auten

children's literature | American literature | contemporary fiction 

Kylee Auten, a Louisville native, is an M.A. student interested in children’s literature, American literature, and contemporary fiction. She completed her B.A in English at the University of Louisville in 2020. In her free time, Kylee enjoys reading for pleasure, cross stitching, re-watching Parks and Recreation, and spending time with her dog, Merlin.

Edward Donovan

creative writing | writing center | short stories

Edward Donovan is interested in pursuing creative writing and looking forward to working within the writing center to help their fellow students grow and develop as writers. Originally from rural Illinois they look forward to further exploring the city and campus. In their free time, Edward likes hiking, reading just about anything they can get their hands on, and writing short stories with a dash of magical realism.

Braydon Dungan

cultural rhetoric | queer and feminist theory | ESL writing pedagogy

Braydon Dungan is a graduate student seeking his Master's in English. Upon culmination of this program, he hopes to continue his studies to obtain his Ph.D. in order to become a university professor. Braydon is a 2018 graduate from Morehead State University where he was a part of the George M. Luckey Honors Program. Academically, Braydon is interested in a variety of topics.  Aside from academics, Braydon enjoys spending time with his Goldendoodle, watching and playing soccer, and binge-watching Netflix series. Braydon is passionate about writing and believes everyone is capable and enjoying it as well as long as they are given the means and inspiration to succeed.

Cecilia Durbin

queer theory | humor studies | poetry

Cecilia Durbin is an MA student. Her research focuses on cringe comedy through the lens of queer and feminist theories. In addition to academic writing, she composes poetry, music, and is currently working on a long-form creative nonfiction piece.  

Curtis Ehrich

pre-Renaissance literature | Tolkien | linguistics

Curtis Ehrich is an M.A. student whose research interest primarily include pre- Renaissance literature, the works of Tolkien, and Linguistics. Currently, he is taking Intro to English Studies, Writing Center Theory and Practice, and Cities and Monsters. Outside his coursework, Curtis defines his personality with three things: Star Wars, video games, and table top role-playing games.

Katie Fritsche

19th Century American Literature | feminist theory | Kate Chopin

Katie Fritsche is currently following the path God has put her on by studying a Master of Arts in English at University of Louisville. She recently finished her undergraduate degree in English, with a French minor at Jacksonville University and studied abroad in France her last semester of college. She continues to fulfill her love for traveling and hopes to someday pursue a PhD in either Canada, England, or Scotland. In her free time, you will either find Katie halfway across the world in an exotic place, reading a book, or quietly sampling the latest Boba tea. 

Mahde Hassan

composition studies | cultural rhetoric | digital rhetoric 

Mahde Hassan is pursuing his master’s degree in English at the University of Louisville. He is from Bangladesh and he received a B.A. in English from East West University in 2021. His research interest primarily lies in composition studies, cultural rhetoric, digital rhetoric and writing program administration. He enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and watching cricket and soccer in his free time. 

Wendell Hixson

rhetorics | mythopoeia & glossopoeia | writing studies

Wendell Hixson is an M.A. of English student at UofL currently wanting to focus on rhetoric and composition. Having received his B.A. in English from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, a liberal arts college, he has a wide-reaching curiosity for many subjects and how they all utilize communication, especially writing, when expressing themselves to the public. He specifically finds interest in the art of persuasion as it pertains to comedy, world-building, climate science, and extremist politics. He previously served on the editorial boards of both his university's academic and creative journals. In his free time, he enjoys playing & watching hockey, practicing bass guitar, and trying to be funny.

Akira Mattingly

creative writing | interpretive theory | feminist rhetoric

Akira Mattingly is a M.A. student pursing a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. She previously earned a B.A. in English with minors in creative writing and philosophy from University of Louisville. During a brief hiatus from academia, she kickstarted her professional career drafting and editing legal documents at a law firm and then ventured into fundraising. Her current research interests focus on aesthetics, specifically interpretative theory, and the application of concepts of New Historicism in the analysis of literature and poetry. A self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady,” in her free time, she enjoys reading webcomics, playing video games, and cuddling with her four sweet cats.

Barbara "Krissy" McIntosh

literary tropes | genre conventions | creative writing

Krissy McIntosh is working toward a M.A. in English at UofL. She graduated from UofL in 2022 with a B.A. in English, minoring in Creative Writing. During her undergraduate career She was able to spend some time acting as a student editor for Miracle Monocle. She intends to focus her graduate studies on literary composition and creative writing genres. 

Elizabeth Megibben

personal narratives | diaspora and displacement literature | cultural and identify literature

Eli Megibben is an M.A. of English student at the University of Louisville. Eli graduated from Bellarmine University in 2019 with a Bachelors in English and Minors in History and Peace Studies. During her time as an undergraduate, Eli worked in the Bellarmine University Writing Center as a Writing Center Consultant, Interim Writing Center Coordinator, and Assistant Director of the Writing Center. As an undergraduate, she also completed an Honors Thesis that investigated the ways in which identity is affected when a young person becomes a refugee. In her free time, Eli likes to busy herself with antiquing, roller-skating, and art projects.

Andrew Messer

prose fiction | 20th-century Fantasy | contemporary Fiction
Andrew Messer is pursuing his master's degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing. He received his B.A. in English from UofL in 2022. His research interests lie in the form and thematic relevance of modern fiction, primarily in the realm of science fiction and fantasy. He is also interested in writing prose fiction in the fantasy genre; as well as writing more grounded creative non-fiction essays and hybrid stories drawn from life. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. He is an avid cinephile and lover of horror movies. Finally, he enjoys spending time reading and listening to music with his wife. 

Brice Montgomery

translingual literature | writing center | multilingual writing

Brice Montgomery earned both his B.A. and M.A. in Applied Linguistics, which revealed a love for translingual literature. He also taught ESL and Civics to refugees and secondary migrants for two years, and he’s fascinated by the intersection of linguistic and spatial identity.

John Morgan

 creative writing | historical fiction

John Morgan is a non-traditional student. John is married to his wife Kay, with two adult children: James, and Jennifer.

He is an Army Veteran, and thanks to the G.I. Bill, a first-generation college graduate with an accounting degree from Bellarmine, and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

He is a CPA, and as of January of 2022, a retired Humana executive.

John is looking forward to the MA English program, and devoting more time to reading, writing, and traveling during school breaks.

Derrick Neese

Derrick Neese

Assistant Director of Creative Writing

contemporary literature | experimental prose | fiction

Derrick is a graduate teaching assistant pursuing their Master’s in English at UofL. Their current academic interests include creative writing, composition, and queer-centric literature. Their writing pivots toward literary and speculative fiction, with a particular fondness for the short story. With over fifteen years of culinary experience, Derrick’s writing touches on themes of working-class struggle, morality, loss, addiction, and hope.

Benjamin Poe

Benjamin Poe is a GTA at UofL who studied Women's and Gender Studies and worked as a peer support specialist.

Justin Sturgeon

trauma theory cultural studies | academic writing

Justin is from Horse Cave, KY and earned his BA in both Business with an HR emphasis and English from Lindsey Wilson College. His research interests stemming from previous projects on NBC’S Superstore, Collin’s Hunger Games Prequel, and Spiegelman’s MAUS includes a variety of different introspective, critical topics relating to trauma theory and cultural studies. Likewise, Justin is intrigued by classics, yet is also a firm believer in decolonizing the canon. In his free time, Justin enjoys bowling, tennis, Phase-10, and of coursereading. His favorite quote is, “The axe often forgets what the tree remembers.”

Charlie Ward

Feminism | Anti-imperialism | horror

Charlie Ward is an English MA student with a focus in the attitudes toward women in contemporary literature, as well as class-focused analysis. They earned their BA at the University of Louisville as well, and they are enjoying the shift in content. In their free time, they enjoy horror movies and playing the Sims.


Yuan Zhao

literary theory | narratology | rhetoric and composition

Yuan Zhao is a M.A. student in English at the University of Louisville. He earned his other M.A. degrees in English (literary studies) at Shanghai International Studies University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His current research interests include literary theory, narratology, rhetoric and composition.