Harrison Middleton University
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Past FEllowship in Ideas REcipients

The HMU Fellowship in Ideas is a writing and discussion project in the humanities designed for a recent university graduate from any field who has an interest in the humanities, interdisciplinary dialogue, and intellectual and professional enrichment. The Fellowship offers emerging scholars exposure to the history of ideas in Western civilization, networking opportunities amongst an array of academicians, lifelong learners, readers, and thinkers from a broad range of disciplines, and credited authorship in two university publications. Except for conference attendance, all activities of the HMU Fellowship in Ideas may be carried out from any location with adequate telephone and internet access.

2023 Fellowship in Ideas Recipients

Aaron Ducksworth

Aaron Ducksworth

Aaron Ducksworth is a second year PhD student in Christian Ethics at Southeastern Seminary. He is interested in Social Ethics, broadly conceived, and some of his research interests include, political and public theologies, tech and bioethics, race and democracy, African American theological ethics, the Civil Rights Movement, and the social imaginary. Currently, Aaron is working on retrieving the ethics and political and public theology of pre-Civil Rights ethicist, George D. Kelsey, for use in the contemporary public square. Aaron earned a Master of Theology from Southeastern Seminary, a Master of Divinity, and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Mississippi State University.

Ally Zlatar

Ally Zlatar

Ally Zlatar is an artist and activist. She is the founder of The Starving Artist; an artist initiative that utilizes creative voices as a way to create advocacy and systemic reform. Her “This Body of Mine” campaign explores migrant experiences through creative voices and has helped support individuals and artists from refugee-seeking backgrounds globally. Ally Zlatar has received the highest accolade a young person can achieve for their humanitarian work; winner of The Princess Diana Legacy Award 2021, King Hamad Award for Youth Empowerment 2022, Y20 Award Finalist for Diversity and Inclusion (Youth 20 by G20 Summit) and also special recognition from The British Citizen Award 2022. She holds a BFA in Visual Art & Art History from Queen’s University & an MLitt Curatorial Practice and Contemporary Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Her Doctorate of Creative Arts is with the University of Southern Queensland focusing on embodied experiences of eating disorders in contemporary art. Zlatar is a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow (Anderson College) and has taught at KICL London, and the University of Essex (UEIC).

Chad Greene

Chad Greene

Chad Greene is a lifelong learner fascinated by portrayals of utopias in imaginative literature, from ancient classics to modern comics and movies. A recent convert to the Great Books tradition, Greene completed the class “Race, Power Dynamics, and Oppression in Black Panther” through the University of Chicago last semester. He has also taken classes through the Great Books Program at Monterey Peninsula College. Earlier, Greene earned an undergraduate degree in English at the University of Minnesota, a graduate degree in creative writing at the University of Southern California, and tenure at Cerritos College, where he teaches world literature and mythology. 

David Kirichenko

David Kirichenko

David currently works in engineering for a large technology company and is an editor at Euromaidan Press, an online English language media outlet in Ukraine. He speaks four languages, has traveled to nearly thirty countries and has lived in regions such as the Caribbean, Europe and North America. In his free time, he enjoys skydiving, playing soccer (also a supporter of FC Dynamo Kyiv), reading and writing. David enjoys writing about philosophy, psychology, and time perception, among many other subjects. He also served on Seattle’s Community Technology Advisory Board.

Eden Tesfaslassie

Eden Tesfaslassie

Eden is a first-generation American born in Dallas, Texas; her family comes from the east African country Eritrea. Reading any chance she gets has nurtured her creativity, empathy, and curiosity. She pursued her bachelors degree in Literature, with a certificate in creative writing, at the University of Texas at Austin. During her time there, she worked as a research assistant, interned at a scholarly journal, obtained an ESL certificate, and volunteered teaching English at a refugee center. After graduating from UT, she spent nearly two years in Shanghai, China teaching literature and history at an after-school program preparing students to study abroad.

Nuhaa Soeker

Nuhaa Soeker

From Cape Town, South Africa, Nuhaa attends the University of Cape Town. She is currently doing her MPhil specializing in Justice and Transformation after completing her Honours degree in English Studies in 2021. Her multifaceted background as well as the highly politicized, diverse reality of her home country has led to a keen interest not only in how language is used to transport ideas but the political barriers that exist between languages.

A current semi-finalist for the Mandela-Washington Fellowship, she hopes to continue breaking barriers and creating safe, inclusive spaces for representation and empowerment. She believes that communication and expression through sharing is the key to human connection, and believes in the creative arts as a key political tool of diversity and inclusion. She believes that the Harrison Middleton Fellowship in Ideas is a beautiful reflection of that.

David Yamada

David Yamada

When it comes to the Great Books, David Yamada is a latecomer to the party. During the pandemic and deeply into an academic career, he enrolled in the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults at the University of Chicago’s Graham School. This experience drew him to HMU’s Fellowship in Ideas. David has also started a blog on lifelong learning and adult education, More Than a Song (https://muchmorethanasong.home.blog). When not wrestling with books long neglected, he is a law professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where his scholarly and public education activities center on workplace bullying and on the intersection of law, psychology, and human dignity.

Alexander Calhoun

Alexander Calhoun

After childhood in a Navy family, Alex Calhoun attended Columbia University, majoring in English and Creative Writing. While there, he entered the Catholic Church and met his future wife in a seminar on William Blake.

After spending a summer in Kolkata, he moved into St. Joseph’s House, a Catholic Worker community of Christian anarchists. He then married and began an M.A. in Education at Seton Hall University and taught high school literature.

When his first daughter was born (first of three), Alex began Montessori teacher training in Illinois and began working at Carmel Montessori Academy teaching ages 6-18.

Minha Nisar

Minha Nisar

Minha hails from the Indian Occupied Kashmir, which is a disputed territory, nestled between three of the nuclear powers of Asia. The need to make sense of living in a place which is highly politically charged led her to pursue a Master’s in Political Science from Central University of Kashmir and a Postgraduate Diploma in Liberal Studies from Ashoka University. At the end of each course she had more questions than she had at the start of the course, which she is hoping is a good thing and wishes to bring this spirit in the HMU fellowship. She has long abandoned the desire to find meaning in life and instead tries to focus on the little pleasures of life, the little things she can change and understand.

Jaya Upadhyay

Jaya Upadhyay

Jaya Upadhyay, a Ph.D. in English Literature, is an observer of the world outside and the world inside her, and her writings are a recollection of the interactions between the two. As a learner fascinated by the idea of consciousness, she is fond of reading, listening and discussing on the subject, and as a teacher who is also an unabashed feminist and an existentialist, she teaches her female students in India to walk with their heads held high and behave as if without borders. Her only weakness, like Tennyson’s Ulysses, is “roaming with a hungry heart.”

Gabriel Etienne

Gabriel E. Etienne (Gabriel Evans)

Gabriel is a Portland, Oregon native and a second-year Master’s student at the University of Arkansas. He completed a BA in Anthropology and Sociology at Swarthmore College and has an Associates in Behavioral and Social Science from College of the Redwoods. At Swarthmore College, he worked closely with deans to build a more substantial transferring process for students. He is also a Rubin Scholar. At College of the Redwoods, he became the first Black Student Union president and worked with faculty and administration to create critical conversations and event planning around cultural diversity. Gabriel’s research is influenced by his interest in identity/subject formation and how that process is linked to buildings and fostering sustainable communities. Gabriel is specifically interested in social structures such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion and their effect on identity formation. In his free time, he enjoys writing and reading fiction and believes that social and cultural texts such as films, theater, and novels offer a unique perspective of our social world as a sociologist.

Rebecca Thacker

Rebecca Thacker

Rebecca Thacker is a doctoral candidate and Charles Phelps Taft Fellow in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She also has earned a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from UC and an MA in English Literature from Xavier University. Rebecca’s research interests include contemporary American multiethnic fiction, feminist speculative fiction, and critical theory. Rebecca is the author of “Franz Kafka’s The Trial: Psychoanalysis, and the Administered Society,” International Journal for Žižek Studies — Vol 14, No 1 (2020) and “Feminist Science Fiction and Social Justice: The Emancipatory Affordances of the Sci-Fi Genre,” in Teaching Science Fiction in the Literature Classroom: MLA Options for Teaching series, forthcoming from MLA Press. Rebecca also is a State of Ohio master teacher and former Cincinnati Public Schools lead teacher, with a certification in 7-12th grade English Language Arts and professional certificates in Montessori and Paideia educational methods. She is a long-time practitioner of Mortimer Adler’s Paideia teaching method and looks forward to the opportunity to participate in Socratic seminars as a Harrison Middleton University Fellow in Ideas.

Kyle Williams

Kyle Williams

Kyle Williams is an engineering graduate who, by happenstance, stumbled upon the Great Books of the Western World at a local library and fell in love with the idea of a liberal education. He is currently pursuing a Master’s of Liberal Studies degree at Rollins College. He is presently researching how the quality of relations between the student and teacher primes the brain for learning and using Complexity Theory to build a better pedagogy for 21st-century education. If he is not reading Seneca or Harry Potter, you may find him running or wakeboarding!

Minette Bryant

Minette Bryant

Minette Bryant is a novelist, playwright, and general pop culture nerd, having raised three amazing nerds of her own, along with carrying twins as a surrogate mother. Minette has seen 102 Michael Caine films, and can name all the Osmond brothers (and Marie!) in chronological order. There is not a Barry Manilow song she can’t quote. Minette holds a Master of Science in Counseling Studies from Capella University, as well as a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Arts from Harrison Middleton University. Rather a child of the cosmos, Minette currently resides in Texas with her husband, Roger, and a menagerie of rescue animals.

Dean Coslovi

Dean Coslovi

Dean Coslovi is a recent graduate from the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies program at the University of Calgary. He holds a Master of Strategic Studies and a Master of Arts with a major in Philosophy. Although Dean grew up in rural Alberta, Canada, his interest in learning more about the world has led him to attend multiple Canadian universities and undertake studies abroad in the Czech Republic and Japan. In addition to academic pursuits, Dean has also been a lifelong practitioner and competitor in the martial art of Judo.

Taiwo Oguntuyo

Taiwo Oguntuyo

Taiwo Oguntuyo is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Public Service at Old Dominion University. She possesses a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration, from Babcock University Nigeria, and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom. As an international scholar, her areas of interest include diversity and inclusion, public policy, nonprofit management, environmental justice and coastal resilience. She is currently exploring the factors that contribute to the swift delivery of mission- based goals of nonprofit organizations, especially considering the use of information technology.

Francisco Contreras

Francisco Contreras

Francisco Contreras has dedicated his life and career to two questions: what makes an individual thrive? How can this person benefit society? He has explored these questions in the classroom, teaching discussion-based English grammar and literature courses at various higher learning institutions in Mexico and in “Great Books” programs in China, England, and throughout the United States. Francisco is also a strong proponent of social entrepreneurship. Thus, he interned at the Academy of Thought and Industry in San Francisco, California and recently co-founded The Reeds (www.the-reeds.com), a Great Books related online publication and media platform. As graduation nears, he hopes to bring what he has learned at St. John’s College to other parts of the world, while at the same time providing value to Harrison Middleton University as a Fellow in Ideas.

Turkay Gasimova

Turkay Gasimova

As a Ph.D. researcher at European University Institute (EUI), Turkay Gasimova is currently working on the project that examines the conditions under which the first Azerbaijani intelligentsia emerged as a unique social stratum in the mid-nineteenth century, with a special focus on the cooperation between the intelligentsia and the oil industrialists in Baku. Before coming to EUI, she did a one-year MA Program in Comparative History at Central European University (CEU). Before that, during the academic year of 2014-2015 as a Fulbright Visiting Researcher, Gasimova was affiliated at the Department of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. She has received first two degrees from Baku State University where she studied at the Department of Modern and Early Modern History of Europe and America and later taught at the same department for three years between 2011-2014. Between 2009-2014 as a youth worker, she has also worked at numerous Human Rights Organizations and Youth NGOs where she was closely involved in the implementation of several projects that were focusing on women and young inmates.

Dylan O'Hara

Dylan O’Hara

Dylan O’Hara is a first year doctoral candidate in History at the University of Maine. She completed her M.A. at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and her B.A. at Connecticut College. Her work on urban renewal and racial segregation is part of a larger comparative series that explores urban land rights, the use of eminent domain, and resulting issues of continuing racial segregation. Dylan’s other areas of focus include the American Progressive Era, twentieth century Latino labor history, and gendered performance.

Ned Boulberhane

Ned Boulberhane

Ned Boulberhane is a recent graduate from California State University: Dominguez Hills. He has worked as an English teacher in Russia, China, the USA, and volunteered in Algeria. His academic background centers on African and Near Eastern Political History. In addition to education, he has been involved with creative writing and the arts for the last 20 years. Ned is a proud believer in the power of ideas and their ability to unite humanity as well as the entirety of the Planet Earth from the forests to the oceans. It is a pleasure to participate in the Fellowship of Ideas.

Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor is a teacher and artist from Ontario, Canada. She holds a BAH in Visual Arts and French Language from the University of Guelph, and a BEd from Queen’s University. As the daughter of two teachers herself, she strongly values a lifelong pursuit of learning. Currently, she teaches French as a Second Language to high school students, and through the Fellowship in Ideas she hopes to explore how the Shared Inquiry Method can be effectively implemented in Secondary classrooms.

Laken Brooks

Laken Brooks

Laken Brooks is a current English graduate student and teaching assistant at the University of Florida. Originally from the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, Brooks adopts an interdisciplinary interest in diversity in literature and education. Laken Brooks is a certified 6-12 English teacher, and she hopes to take on a career in publishing or teaching to ensure that more students — especially queer students and young women — see themselves represented in their curriculum. Currently, Brooks is interested in building her digital humanities knowledge through coding, archiving, and editing. 

George Hickman

George L. Hickman

George L. Hickman works as a paralegal near Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a Masters degree in English from Ball State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Classics from Bucknell University. His current work in fiction explores characters who have moved away from their birth country and characters who have moved away from their gender assigned at birth. Through the Fellowship of Ideas, George plans to explore the relationship between architecture, landscape, and characterization in art. His fiction has recently appeared in The Louisville Review, The Copperfield Review, and SAND Magazine.

Ben Peterson

Benjamin Peterson

Ben was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the son of a fisherman. He holds degrees in Film Studies and Russian Studies, and maintains that he had no involvement in the 2016 elections outside of his personal ballot. He currently travels around the country, housesitting, watching movies, and occasionally writing.

Sam Risak

Sam Risak

A graduate from the University of South Florida with a dual degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and Creative Writing, she questions those who are traditionally granted epistemic authority and any claims of universal or objective truths. She explores topics such as the social construction of gendered bodies to research whether women are biologically predisposed to require fewer calories than men or if the desire to maintain women as passive in a patriarchy informs such nutritional recommendations. In her writing, she undermines essentialist claims to illustrate why no results are unclouded from the lens of their founder.

James Keller

James Keller

James Keller received his BA in Philosophy and Religion from Harrison Middleton University in 2015. Currently, he is studying with Harrison Middleton University in pursuit of his MA, also in Philosophy and Religion. James is a proponent of The Great Books program and the process of shared inquiry.

 
 
Matt Phillips

Matt Phillips

Matt Phillips has studied at North Carolina Central University, The University of Texas-El Paso, and Antioch University-Los Angeles. He earned his MFA in creative writing at UTEP, and won the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize in 2016. He also writes crime and noir fiction. His books include Accidental Outlaws, Three Kinds of Fool, Bad Luck City, Redbone, and a forthcoming comedic noir called The Bad Kind of Lucky.

Vance Carter

Carter Vance

Carter Vance is a Masters candidate at the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. He holds a Honours Bachelor of Social Work from Algoma University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. Mr. Vance has worked in the offices of several members of Canada’s Parliament and as a policy analyst for governmental and non-profit organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom. His writing has appeared with such outlets as Jacobin, C2C Journal and the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is also a published poet, whose first collection, Songs About Girls, is currently available from Urban Farmhouse Press.

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