fall 2018 DISSERTATION FELLOWSHIP AWARD BIOGRAPHIES

Texas A&M University’s Office of Graduate and Professional Studies recently awarded five dissertation fellowships as part of their Dissertation Fellowship Program. Developed in Fall 2011 by the Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies, Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, the Dissertation Fellowship supports doctoral students in the late stages of degree program completion, namely final research topics analysis and dissertation writing. Eligible applicants included U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, and international doctoral students.

The following students received the Fall 2018 Dissertation Fellowships:

Nazanin Afsar Kazerooni is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering. Her dissertation evaluates the mechanical behavior of soft materials under cyclic loading. Afsar Kazerooni seeks to study rubbery materials to better understand how skin works under mechanical loading. She plans to examine both rubbery materials and real skin, highlighting the similarities and differences. Through her research, Afsar Kazerooni aims to provide a better understanding of the damages that happen to fiber by aging, which causes softening in skin as it loses stiffness.  

Ali Albadran is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. His dissertation evaluates lethal and sub-lethal effects of Fipronil and Imidacloprid insecticides on various species of shrimp. Several recent studies have detected these pesticides in water exceeding the US EPA aquatic life benchmark concentration level. Through his research, Albadran seeks to determine the levels of Fipronil and Imidacloprid concentrations in the environment that affect the organisms that are relevant to the coastal environments in Texas.

Gisele Cardoso de Lemos is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts. Her dissertation explores acid aesthetics. More specifically, Cardoso de Lemos seeks to investigate the representations of disfigurement of women in India caused by acid attack. She uses literary and media analyses to contribute to the on-going discussion on the importance of representations of minority groups, one of the main concerns of the Women’s and Gender Studies. Through her research, she provides a unique look at the representations of disfigurement of women in India caused by acid attacks, shedding light on important issues to this group of individuals.

Kristina Chyn is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her dissertation focuses on the effects of roads on native island wildlife. Chyn examines the effects of roads on Australian wildlife to increase global impact and extend the range of her research. Additionally, Chyn aims to make novel contributions to landscape and road ecology that would be immediately applicable to real-world conservation problems. Her research will have immediate global impact based on the fact that she will be collaborating with researchers and managers in Taiwan and Australia who will utilize her predicted impacts for on-the-ground research.

Elizabeth Earle is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts. Her dissertation focuses on the rhetoric of Miguel de Unamuno’s journalistic writings. Earle’s research examines the work of 20th century intellectual Miguel de Unamuno, one of the most important thinkers in Spanish history. More specifically, she analyzes the rhetorical strategies Unamuno used in his articles to discover how those methods can contribute rhetorical theory. Using an archival-based approach, she explores the language, style, and devices used to illuminate new methods of resisting political ideologies today and challenge the traditional notion of the public intellectual.

Donghyun Kang is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development. Her research examines teacher-student relationships and student school engagement among Korean upper elementary school students. Through three independent studies, Kang will research how teacher-student relationships impact student school engagement. She plans to contribute to the extant literature by: (1) providing a review of how teacher-student relationships impact different dimensions of school engagement; (2) examining the psychometric properties of Korean-translated teacher-student relationships and student engagement scales that measure both teacher and student perspectives; (3) employing both teacher-perspective and student-perspective measures for gauging teacher-student relationships and student school engagement; and (4) examining the impact of teacher-student relationships on student school engagement.

Sueli Rocha-Rojas is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Hispanic Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. Her research examines Gitano film and photography in Spain from 1950-2001. Rocha-Rojas explores the role film and photography played in a particular construct of Gitano (Romany) cultural and social identity in Spain. She focuses mostly on the time period covering the mid-years of General Franco’s military dictatorship in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when the image of Gitano started to be engineered by the state to accommodate the then new mass-industry of tourism.  Through her research, Rocha-Rojas seeks to contribute to a renewal of the field of Gitano studies and visual culture, a field currently in need of new perspectives.

Bara Safarova is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture. Her research examines the relationship between housing improvement and neighborhood segregation in Brownsville, Texas. Through her research, Safarova will contribute to the research community of housing segregation studies, an interdisciplinary field; the Latinx Urbanism literature in the Urban Planning discipline; and to planning and policy professionals who are faced with resolving housing segregation in cities. The policy recommendations proposed in her study may impact the 10.7 million Latinx people in Texas or the 58 million across the United States.  

Nelson Shake is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts. His research examines how contemporary Anglophone novels levy a substantive critique of violent neoliberal economic practices when many of the same financial systems facilitate the circulation of those texts. Shake’s dissertation addresses two key questions: (1) how does neoliberalism’s transnational reach affect the textual circulation of the global literary marketplace? and (2) how do these novelists envision new forms of being, belonging, and meaning that resist the ubiquity of a neoliberal common sense? According to Shake, this topic merits study since neoliberalism has become a social form of “common sense” despite the financial, racial, and gendered inequalities it affects.

Kara Sutton-Jones is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development. Her research examines dual language policy and its implications for English learners. More specifically, Sutton-Jones writes a three-article, journal ready dissertation on dual language education, its efficacy, and the state and federal policies impacting its implementation. Through her study, she provides: a review of dual language studies to determine the state of the research on dual language, a meta-analysis on the efficacy of dual language programs for English learners in terms of academic and linguistic outcomes, and a state-by-state analysis and report of dual language policy.