Amber Brooks has lived anywhere and everywhere in the tri-cities area of Virginia since birth. With three amazing kids and two goofy pups, she and her husband planted their roots in King William in 2010. After graduating with her BA in English from VCU in December of 2016, Amber continued her scholarship on Victorian women writers and presented her research at the Virginia Humanities Conference on Marion Bernstein’s poetry regarding gender equality. She has also continued to support plain china, the national anthology of undergraduate writing housed at VCU. Shortly after graduating, she used her finely tuned communication skills and experience with plain china to start her own business as a digital business support specialist with a specialization in content management. As a life-long learner and master of chaos, she plans to focus her studies during her time as a graduate student on Victorian writers and the early influencers of feminism.
Kayleigh Conner received her BA in English with a minor in creative writing and her MT in Secondary Education in the Spring of 2017. She was born and raised in Sterling, Virginia, but has been living in Richmond for five years and likes to pretend that she isn’t actually from NoVA. Her passions include reading anything she can get her hands on, writing poetry, playing video games, traveling as much as her wallet allows, and hanging out with her 16 lb. cat, her 5 ft. ball python, and her Leopard gecko, Hades. Although Kayleigh loves teaching high school English, her ultimate dream is to pursue English literature through the PhD level and become a professor. Her principal academic interests lie in Gothic literature and mythology.
Paige Deans moved to Richmond to attend VCU in 2012, where she graduated with her Bachelor’s in English with a minor in religious studies in May of 2016. Her primary academic interest is in 18th to early 20th century American Literature, with a focus on women writers and religious content. Her long-term plan is to pursue a PhD, but in the meantime she enjoys working as a full-time dog handler by day, bartender by night—with some music, art, and reading thrown in. She’s also the proud fur-mom of a rabbit named Punkin, and if you hold still for more than 30 seconds you will probably be shown at least one photo of said rabbit.
Michael Drake is a long-time Richmonder hailing from the bustling nowhere of nearby New Kent County. He recently completed his BA in English here at VCU and hopes to sharpen his critical skills in the MA program to pursue a career in literary research and teaching. His primary passion is graphic novels, but he loves reading everything from military history to Vonnegut and all that lies between. Focusing his research on comic books as a medium, he hopes to strengthen the place they hold in literature and get more people talking about them seriously. When he is not cooking, absorbing 80’s culture, or at the gym, he can usually be found reading a stack of DC back issues with his faithful cat/butler Alfred by his side.
Kaitlin Harris graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in English and Psychology with a writing minor. She is coming from The University of Northern Colorado, so VCU will be a long way from home, but she has lived in Colorado her whole life and is ready for a change as well as a chance to participate in a program with knowledgeable and friendly faculty in a town that appears to be full of hospitality. Beyond her love for Romantic and Gothic Literature, she is also a Sigmund Freud aficionado and very interested in psychoanalytic literary theory. Furthermore, she has an eclectic music collection of 11,000 songs, loves makeup art, and is a pluviophile!
Jane Harwell was raised in Virginia Beach. She received her BA in August 2016 majoring in English with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. She currently works at the Virginia Historical Society teaching children how to use primary sources. Her academic interests include 18th century British literature, especially women’s writing, travel writing, and post-colonial studies. She was recently married to her best friend; together they have two adorable dogs and a house full of plants.
Meghan Kern is a native of Roanoke, Virginia who graduated from VCU in December of 2016 with a BA in English and a minor in British Studies. She is excited to return to school for her MA before hopefully entering a PhD program. Meghan is interested bibliography, paleography, and the materiality of Early Modern texts. She plans to study Early Modern literary manuscripts and is fascinated by how scribal transmission and publication influenced the content of these documents. Her area of study has spawned odd hobbies which include making iron gall ink from manuscript recipes as well as curing and cutting quill pens. These activities fit in well with her other interests such as foraging, making dyes, and scouring thrift shops and estate sales for vintage items and antiques.
Emily Sloan is originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She received her BA in English from VCU in December 2016. As an undergraduate, one of her favorite experiences was being an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Focused Inquiry Department. As a graduate student, Emily plans to further strengthen her writing and rhetoric skills so that she may teach others the importance and art of college-level writing and research. Emily also has a strong interest in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and looks forward to having more access to researching the intersection of GSWS and literature. Outside of academia, Emily enjoys going to shows, spending time with her friends and family, her cats, and reading about women writers who are often ignored in the literary canon.