Research Interests

My research interests centrally include discussions of the environment as they pertain to environmental humanities projects. For example, my dissertation looks at bodies of water in eighteenth-century British literature and some of my publications include discussions that engage animal studies (particularly on the simian, after which I designed a summer course called “Chimp Lit”), drought conditions in Southern California, and fraught socio-political issues instigated by social media.

Mentoring Experiences

For the majority of my doctoral career, I have assumed an informal mentorship role for graduating students writing an honor’s or senior thesis. While my department and the university don’t have the infrastructure to enable graduate students to mentor undergraduate theses, it has been the most rewarding part of my doctoral career. The students with whom I’ve worked are intellectually curious, thoughtful, dedicated, and interested in growing their research and writing skills. The students I have mentored have written on fairy tales, horror films, Native American literatures, speculative fiction, environmental justice, maternity, critical race studies, biopolitics, trans-studies, and eroticism, to name but a few topics. The challenge is, of course, keeping up with these brilliant minds. But we remain dedicated to growing together, learning and unlearning things together, and maintaining an open mind to feedback and constructive criticism.

What the Award Means to ​Him

As I near the end of my doctoral career, I count myself fortunate to have been able to mentor a number of outstanding undergraduate students who constantly remind me why I love teaching, and why I now love the collegiate environment. My undergraduate years were spent without a mentor—someone who saw me as a person with aspirations, experiences, and a lived history—and in reflecting on this, I have dedicated my years at UCSB to ensuring that my own students don’t ever experience that. The award acknowledges this work and motivates me to continue it. But more importantly, this award is first, foremost, and always, for those students.