MA in LCS Student Profiles-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Karthik Balasubramanian

Karthik Balasubramanian

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: kbalasu1@andrew.cmu.edu

Karthik Balasubramanian graduated with honors from the National University of Singapore with a degree in the English Language, after which he worked as a journalist for four years in various prominent news outlets in India. During that period, he developed a passion for reading medieval texts, especially Dante's Inferno and the Icelandic sagas. His other interests include playing the violin and 3D sculpting. During his time at CMU, Karthik hopes to better understand texts in their social and cultural context.


Kanika Bhandari

Kanika Bhandari

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: kbhandar@andrew.cmu.edu

Kanika Bhandari has recently relocated to Pittsburgh from her hometown of Singapore, where she received her BA in English Literature and Public Policy & Global Affairs from Nanyang Technological University. She is fascinated by the ways in which the human subject interprets and imposes a narrative on the external world to create an ordered sense of self, other and reality. She is excited to begin her graduate studies at CMU but fears that this avid interest in literary and critical theory, and the ways in which the changing digital landscape alter perceptions of reality and the self, will lead her right into the dark underbelly of modernity.


Brittany Brown

Brittany Brown

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: bbrown@andrew.cmu.edu

Brittany Brown ventures to Pittsburgh after graduating from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio this past spring. She received a BA is Psychology and Sociology while minoring in English and Philosophy. Her focus in theory expanded her love of literature and its interdisciplinary uses. During her time at Carnegie Mellon she hopes to research the intersection of the social sciences and literature during the Romantic and Victorian periods. Brittany hopes that both her work during her M.A. program as well as future Ph.D plans allow for a better understanding of the complex interaction of disciplines and their applications in an academic setting.


Leah Butterfield

Leah Butterfield

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: lbutterf@andrew.cmu.edu

Leah Butterfield graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a B.S. in Media, Culture and Communication and a minor in English and American Literature. After spending several years working as a writer and editor for publications like Bustle, Time Out New York and UrbanDaddy, she is eager to shift her focus back to literature and culture. Areas of interest include realist fiction, memoir, feminist and queer theory, and working class studies.  


Victoria Glavin

Victoria Glavin

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: vglavin@andrew.cmu.edu

Victoria graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Honors Program at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and American Studies in 2016. She graduated with Distinction in the Field of English Literature. During her undergraduate career, Victoria was awarded both the Annual Emmanuel College Travel Fellowship and the Honors Research and Creativity Award to pursue research on identity politics and transnationalism. She also held positions at Emmanuel as a Teaching Assistant, Peer Tutor, and Resident Assistant. At Carnegie Mellon, Victoria looks forward to studying 20th and 21st century American texts and critical theory. She also hopes to develop research and pedagogical skills that will prepare her for pursuing a Ph.D. in the field and teaching at the collegiate level. Beyond literature, Victoria greatly enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploring.

Jacqulyn Graber

Jacqulyn Graber

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jgraber@andrew.cmu.edu

Jacqulyn, a Buffalo native, graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Honors and Philosophy, in addition to a Certificate in Irish Studies from the the National University of Ireland Maynooth. As an undergraduate, Jacqulyn worked extensively with English language learners and speakers of minority dialects of English, at both the elementary and collegiate level. Additionally, she works as a freelance writer for a Buffalo publication, submitting a column that focuses on feminist sexuality and body image. She's written several theses regarding the cultural effects of learning English, as well as the philosophical implications of writing in a second language. These experiences, along with her strong passion for travel, have inspired her to pursue an M.A in Literary and Cultural Studies at CMU. After graduation, Jacqulyn plans to pursue a PhD in English while continuing to focus on the intimate connections between language, literature, and culture

Charles Gunn

Charles Gunn

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: cgunn1@andrew.cmu.edu

Charlie graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with a B.A. in History and Political Science. He is primarily interested in the relationship between atheism, identity, and the subject. At CMU, he plans to study literary and critical theory in preparation for pursuing a PhD in the field.


Sarah Idzik

Sarah Idzik

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: sidzik@andrew.cmu.edu

Sarah Idzik is delighted to return to her hometown of Pittsburgh for graduate study at CMU. She received her BA with Honors in English Language & Literature from the University of Chicago, completing a creative thesis, and has worked in higher education for the last five years. Her interests include narratives and representations of race and gender in popular culture, the creation and utility of cultural criticism, and international adoption and racial identity among adoptees in the United States. After completing the LCS program, Sarah plans to write and continue her work in education, either at the secondary or post-secondary level or through nonprofits.


Jesse Jack

Jesse Jack

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jjack1@andrew.cmu.edu

Jesse graduated from Duquesne University in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and English Writing. She received several senior awards including general excellence in English studies, fiction writing and poetry writing, and she was among five students nominated for the university general excellence award. Throughout her undergraduate career, Jesse has worked as a copy editor, a preschool instructor, an ESL tutor, a resident assistant and more. She is an avid LGBT activist and spent many hours working with Duquesne's Residence Life to promote positive transgender reforms.

While attending Carnegie Mellon's program, Jesse hopes to continue working with diverse populations and strengthen her knowledge of woman and gender studies. She hopes to travel, write and teach in that order.


Shawn Kang

Shawn Kang

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: seunghwo@andrew.cmu.edu

Shawn completed his B.A. in English at the University of California at Berkeley. As an undergraduate student, he was a recipient of the CNMI Honors Scholarship. Upon receiving his degree, he subsequently taught English courses at the high-school level in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth with a prominent Pacific Islander population from which he was born and raised. As the product of a relatively obscure environment with a unique cultural history and ethnic diversity, Shawn is fascinated by the process of defining (or attempting to define) an identity -- in both wholistic and singular contexts -- through a synthesis of varied perspectives and subjective perceptions. He is particularly fond of literary works from the 19th and 20th centuries that involve similar explorations of identity and being. As a graduate student in the LCS program at CMU, Shawn plans to expand his literary knowledge and solidify his pedagogical skills to ultimately fulfill his aspirations of becoming an effective educator at the collegiate level.   


Andrew Kruske

Andrew Kruske

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: akruske@andrew.cmu.edu

Andrew Kruske graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in English from the frozen, tundra-like climate of Northern Michigan University. Besides frequently shivering and developing a love/hate relationship with all things related to snow and ice, Andrew developed a strong interest in British Literature in his undergraduate studies, specifically Romanticism and the 18th/19th centuries. His main literary obsessions include utilizing a vaguely New-Historical lens to analyze the way that literature interacts with the past, present, future, and the way that untangling these often overwhelming layers can lead to a better understanding of a text. Besides literature, Andrew enjoys collecting vinyl, recording his own music and a plethora of other musical activities.

Anna Posbergh

Anna Posbergh

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: posbergh@cmu.edu

Anna graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, and minors in Mathematics and Coaching. In studying three very diverse fields at Minnesota, Anna worked as a Community Advisor and an intern for The Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, while exploring the relationships and gender conflicts in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land for her summa thesis. At CMU, she is looking forward to focusing her energy on British Literature, primarily Romanticism and the 18/19th centuries. Outside of academics, Anna is an avid pole vaulter and coach, competing and coaching for Fuzion Athletics, workout fanatic, kitten and puppy aficionado, and people watcher.


Indigo Recker

Indigo Recker

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: irecker@andrew.cmu.edu

Indigo received a B.A. in History from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.  She has done previous research on the intersection of historical, cultural, and literary movements and has developed a strong appreciation for interdisciplinary approaches to studying literature. She was awarded "Senior Thesis with Distinction" for her research on World War I and was the Humanities Department Graduate of the Year in 2013. After graduating, she worked for the library system at Portland Community College serving a diverse student community and learning how support systems outside the classroom can foster academic discovery and promote student success. She is fascinated by the relationship between myth, literature, and cultural identity and hopes to pursue this sort of work at Carnegie Mellon.

Scott Riess

Scott Riess

M.A. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: sriess@andrew.cmu.edu

Scott Riess is an MA LCS student who received his undergrad degree in English and Secondary Education from Keene State College. After graduating, Scott taught English at the high school level for two years in rural New Hampshire and Vermont. In the summer of 2015, Scott traveled to Montana as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar program, where he studied Indigenous literature and pedagogy. Scott is fascinated by the duality of text-as-culture and culture-as-text and has come to CMU to further understand this complex relationship.