JESSICA AGUILAR | Department of Literature

Jessica Aguilar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Literature Department at UC San Diego. She completed her BA in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies at UCSD and earned an MA in Spanish at New Mexico State University. Before starting her PhD program, Jessica worked at a shelter for unaccompanied minors where she conducted family reunifications of migrant youth. Jessica worked with children as young as six years old who sometimes only spoke indigenous languages, and young girls and boys who had experienced trauma during their journeys. As a Case Manager, Jessica saw how language and racial differences served as tools for systematic discrimination and barriers to access resources. She also witnessed the prejudice against indigenous minors and children of African heritage who would continuously pronounce that they felt as if their voices didn’t matter. This experience prompted Jessica to go back to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature. 
In addition, Jessica’s experiences as a first-generation, transfronteriza student from the San Ysidro – Tijuana borderlands, also informs her understandings of border relations, [im]migration, social mobility, language studies, and education access. Her current research interrogates how fictional narratives of Central American transmigration contribute to a production of migrant identity/ies. Her main question explores how literature and cultural productions challenge and assist the construction of racializing assemblages” to fit the [im]migrantbody into categories of the human.

HENRY ARGETSINGER | Department of Philosophy

Henry Argetsinger is a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy Department at UC San Diego. His research focuses on moral responsibility and the ethics of blame. His dissertation and recent publications are concerned with the gaps between our day-to-day practices of judging and holding one another responsible and the way in which philosophical theories of responsibility ground these judgments. He is particularly interested in the failures of traditional theories to account for systemic biases (of racism and sexism, for example) and dynamics of social power. Henry has a BA from Beloit College, an MA from UW-Milwaukee, and has taught at the high-school and college level for over a decade. He is excited to explore teaching at the community college level and to continue to center issues of marginalization and power in his pedagogy.

MEAGHAN BARIL | Department of Literature

Meaghan Baril is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Literature Department at UC San Diego. Before beginning her doctoral degree in 2017, Meaghan was an undergraduate at the University of Alabama where she received her B.A. in Psychology and English. Her dissertation, titled “Together Through the End: Theorizing Community in Apocalypse Literature,” explores the intersections between religious, racial, and gender identities and those relationships to community formation. This project shows how different perspectives on apocalypse allow for alternative understandings of the formation and importance of community and the social justice opportunities that community is capable of and has been supported by Institute of Arts and Humanities at UCSD. In addition to her academic work, Meaghan has been a long-time teaching assistant for the Making of the Modern World program at UCSD where she has also served as the Senior and Administrative Support TA. Meaghan has further experience as an educator and mentor teaching upper-division Literature courses at UCSD, volunteering for the Everyone-A-Reader Program, and mentoring through the Access Youth Academy. Her focus on building community through education is also reflected in her organization of several graduate student conferences at UCSD. As an IFI fellow, Meaghan looks forward to continuing learning how to create, facilitate, and participate in vibrant educational communities in San Diego that strive towards social justice, equity, and support.

SEAN COMPAS | Department of Literature

Sean Compas is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Originally from Orange County and San Diego North County, Sean holds his B.A. in Political Science from UC San Diego, an A.M. in Cultural Studies from Dartmouth College, and a C.Phil. in Literature from UC San Diego. He is also an alum of the University of Virginia’s inaugural Semester at Sea voyage through the Institute for Shipboard Education. His academic interests are in disability theory, cultural studies, queer theory, critical gender studies, and media. Sean’s dissertation, “Surviving Dystopia: Desiring Disability and Deliberate Cripping in Apocalyptic Film, explores the ways in which disability is recentered in dystopian films as a valuable and necessary embodiment for survival. More specifically, his work looks at how disability is reconfigured as a requirement for futurity/world building or the ways in which able-body/mind people must “crip up” their lives as a modality for survival or what he calls the Apocacrip. His dissertation asks how it is advantageous to theorize the body and human experience to desire disability in moments of catastrophe. Sean has previously taught in the Dimensions of Culture (DOC) and Culture, Art, and Technology (CAT) programs at UC San Diego. He has previously received funding from PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and his work has been presented at The Futures of American Studies Institute, Dartmouth College (2018, 2022). As a Mellon PATH Fellow, Sean is elated to be working with and support students at the San Diego Community College District transfer to four-year institutions and to explore career paths teaching at SDCCD.

ROSIE DWYER | Department of Music

Rosie Dwyer is a Ph.D. candidate in Music with a concentration in Critical Gender Studies. She researches how popular music cultures are implicated in the gendered and raced relationships of domination that characterize life under neoliberalism. In her dissertation project, tentatively titled “Work It: Popular Music, Neoliberal Crisis and the ‘Hype-Up Work Ethic,’” she explores race, gender and the work ethic in post-Great Recession popular music. Rosie is also a teacher, and she has taught subjects ranging from sound art to classic literature as a teaching assistant in the music department and the Humanities Program at Revelle College. In her teaching, Rosie uses equitable and evidence-based pedagogy, especially active learning activities, to engage her students and promote a non-hierarchical classroom culture. Outside of the classroom, Rosie is active in the San Diego chapter of the UC Academic Student Worker’s Union, where she serves as Head Steward. Rosie also makes experimental pop music, which she has performed at venues in San Diego and Tijuana. As an Integrated Fellow, Rosie wants to learn about diversity and inclusion efforts in campus arts programming. She also looks forward to guest lecturing on topics in popular music and gender, and to facilitating a reading and creative practice group.

LAUREN WOOD | Department of History

Lauren Wood is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UC San Diego. She completed her BA in History at Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky before moving to California and obtaining her MA in History from Cal State Fullerton in 2015. Since arriving at UCSD, Lauren has taught a variety of courses as a Teaching Assistant and as an Associate-In, for both the Making of the Modern World writing program and for the History Department. In 2018, she became a Summer Graduate Teaching fellow and worked alongside faculty to craft a history course that concentrated on using equitable pedagogical practices and has become a staple during the summer sessions for the last five years. She was awarded the Don Tuzin TA excellence award for the 2020-2021 academic year and recognized for her work in helping students transition into the online learning environment that was required as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lauren’s research is heavily guided by feminist studies and an impulse to bring agency back to those who are generally overlooked or consigned to stereotypes in medieval history. In her dissertation, “From the Devil We Came: Reimagining Female Agency with the Monstrous Mélusine,” Lauren analyzes the particular ways in which two various houses in the High Middle Ages used the fictional character of Mélusine in a competitive form of social memory. By emphasizing monstrosity and gender as categories of analysis, her dissertation assesses the ways in which a highly religious and misogynistic society was able to justify its support of a sexualized, maternal demon as an ancestress.
As a community college transfer student herself, Lauren was the second in her family to go to college and the first to complete a graduate degree. In addition to her experiences as a student and teacher, she is also a parent, an added obstacle as a student but one that brings with it its own learning experiences and perspective. As a fellow of the Mellon Integrated Initiative, Lauren hopes to bring her understanding as a former community college student, transfer student, and graduate student together with a pedagogical philosophy that centers on equity and inclusion.
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