Graduate Students 2017-18

French PhD

Emma Ben Hadj

Emma, native speaker of French coming from Cannes, is a PhD student in the French and Film program. She graduated from Université Paris 10 and worked as an audiovisual translator for French television. She was also a Fulbright Foreign Language Assistant in Wisconsin for a year. Later she received her MA in French from the University of North Texas where she taught French as a Teaching Fellow and an Adjunct for three years. Her work focuses on cinema with an emphasis on horror films in France and in the United States. She occasionally writes movie reviews for journals.

Maxime Bey-Rozet

Maxime Bey-Rozet is a Ph.D. candidate in Film Studies with a concentration in French. He holds a BA in English and Spanish Literatures from the Université catholique d'Angers, and an MA in Film Studies from the Université de Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne. His current research interests lie in the representation of bodily violence in French cinema and literature during the first half of the 20th century.

Matthew Blair

A&S GSO Representative

Originally from the South, Matthew (Matt) Blair received his BA at the University of Tennessee in 2016 as a double major in French and History, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance studies. He is now at Pitt working toward a PhD with an MA en route in French Literature. His research interests include Medieval Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. When he isn't studying, Matt likes to cook, read, watch films and explore new places around Pittsburgh.

Jennifer Boum Make

Jennifer is a French native speaker. She received both her BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. After a year of teaching in Shakespeare country, she first came to Pitt as an exchange in the fall of 2012 and is currently in the second year of the PhD in French literature with MA en route.

Her Master’s thesis is entitled: “The Individual in Space before and after 9/11”. Her primary interests in spatial aesthetics, urban spaces and the spatial construction of the individual continue with questions of temporal and spatial crossings and their impact on iterations of nationhood. Jennifer’s primary research interests are focused on the exploration of conceptual and theoretical intersections between Caribbean and Mediterranean literatures, especially Algerian and Moroccan.

Emily Bryan

Emily Bryan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in French Language and Literature with a concentration in Romance Languages and Literatures - a mouthful of words which indicates a few of her basic interests: reading, writing, and learning languages. Having graduated from Grove City College with a B.A. in French and Spanish, these are Emily's primary languages of study, with Italian as a minor language of study (perhaps one day Portuguese will be added to her repertoire!). When she is not attending to her academic interests, Emily can be found enjoying time with her friends, thinking too much, making music, playing soccer, running on the trails of Moraine State Park, or visiting her family in New Jersey.

Cole Cridlin

Cole Cridlin is in the PhD program with MA en-route.  He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007 and holds degrees in English, French, and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies.  He is most interested in sexuality studies, more specifically the intersections of geography and identity formation.  When not studying, Cole can likely be found doing one of the following: binding handmade books, reading poetry, drinking a cup of tea, or growing something.

Caitlin Dahl
Caitlin Dahl received her BA in 2015 as a double major in French and German at Montana State University. She is now pursuing a PhD with MA en route in French Literature. Her research interests include Gender and Sexuality studies, specifically Women’s studies and the construction of identity. Outside of reading and studying, she spends time traveling, looking up the etymologies of words in the dictionary, socializing, dancing, cooking, gardening, and writing. 

Jonathan Devine

Jonathan originally hails from sunny Brisbane, Australia, and graduated with an honors degree in French linguistics (with minors in Classics and International Relations) from the University of Queensland in 2012. He then completed his M.A. in French Language and Literature from Miami University in Ohio in 2015, after which he spent a year in France as a lecteur d’anglais, where he taught spoken English at the Université de Nantes. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D., and is particularly interested in Film Studies, namely the role of psychoanalysis and gender in films from France and the Francophone world. Jonathan is also a keen traveler, and hopes to further explore the many facets of North America during his time at Pitt.

Allison Dorman
Allison Dorman is studying for the French PhD. She is from Columbia, South Carolina. She has a Master's in French from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Bachelor of Science in International Business from the College of Charleston. She is interested in 20th century theater and film and collective memory of political events. She taught English in the TAPIF program in Franche-Comté in 2012-2013 and studied abroad at l'Ecole de Management Strasbourg in 2011. Last summer she assisted in elementary school English teaching in Magdeburg, Saxon-Anhalt.  She enjoys cooking and travelling in her spare time.

Brendan Ezvan

Brendan Ezvan is in his third year of the PhD with an M.A. en route. He received his B.A. in French and English (with a concentration in British literature) from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri (2014). His principal research interests include issues of gender and performance in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century novel and theater as well as the traditions of the fantastic and the absurd.

Anne Ganster

Anne Ganster is currently in her fifth year of the Ph.D. program in French literature.  Her dissertation, entitled “Entre Nous: Revealing the Private in Contemporary French and Québecois Women’s Autofiction,” argues that autofiction functions as a political tool for women writers that allows them to gain agency outside of a gendered framework by representing their lived, bodily experiences in a paradoxically impersonalized way.  They do so by reworking established forms of narration such as the tragic, erotic, and comedic genres.  Her research interests include 20th and 21st century French and Francophone literature, women’s writing, and autobiography.  Her article “Le Premier Homme d’Albert Camus: l’individu de l’autofiction et de la Méditerranée” was recently published in the Cahiers du GRELCEF.

Sylvia Grove

Sylvia Grove received her B.A. in French and Creative Writing from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, after which she served as an assistante d’anglais at the Lycée Gustave Eiffel in Talange, France. At Pitt, she focuses on questions of food and identity politics in 20th century French literature. She received her M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014.

Donald Joseph
Donald (Don), originally from Texas, received his BA at the University of North Texas as a double major in cognitive psychology (neuroscience focus) and French. He is a first year PhD with MA en route in French Literature. His research interests include Francophone Literature, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and queer male identity in the Maghreb. In his free time he likes to travel, watch films, learn languages and discover Pittsburgh.


Phoebe Marshall

Katie Moriarty

Katie double-majored in International Studies/Political Science and French at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (BA 04). As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she received a DEA in Etudes europeennes (politique, economique et societe) from the Institut europeen de l'Universite de Geneve. In the Fall of 2007, she began the PhD program in French Literature and Politics. Katie is particularly interested in the French nation of the late 20th and 21st centuries. For her dissertation, she hopes to explore the effects of the European Union on the French nation in literature during these times periods.

Patoimbasba Nikiema

Patoimbasba Nikiema is in the French and Francophone PhD program. He graduated from West Virginia University in 2016 and holds an MA in French. His areas of interest are among others Maghreb, Antilles and Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa Feminist Literature, Postcolonial and Francophone Africa war literature, African diaspora literature. He is also a student in the program of Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies where he is interested in the questions of Identity and Intersectionality. In a previous life, Patoimbasba Nikiema was interested in Renaissance and Seventeenth Century Literature.

Paulina Tomkowicz

Paulina received her BA and Masters degrees in Applied Linguistics, English and French, specializing in translation and teaching, from Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. After completing her Masters in French Literature at Pitt she is now working on her dissertation. Her research focuses on contemporary French literary and intellectual movements that can be traced back to Alfred Jarry’s pataphysics, namely Collège de ‘Pataphysique, Oulipo and Mouvement Panique, and their esthetic engagement with affect.

John Trenton

John is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, but received his BS in the Recording Industry from Middle Tennessee State University where he minored in French, Mathematics and Electro-Acoustics.  During his studies at MTSU, he participated in an exchange program and interned as an engineer for France Bleu Cotentin.  After graduating he was a language assistant at Lycée Boissy d’Anglas in Annonay, France.  During his travels, John nourished a taste for the culinary world and a strong interest in colonial politics and post-colonial identity. After working in the culinary field for several years, he decided to resume his studies and graduated from Arizona State University with his BA in French and is currently examining the rural and urban spaces affect the figuration of Algerian national identity and nationalism in Algerian literature of French expression.

Paul Wallace

Originally from the small town of Fairmont in West Virginia, Paul studied Foreign Languages (French and Spanish) at West Virginia University and received his BA in 2009. He stayed on at WVU for another two years during which he finished his MA in French Literature. He is interested by almost everything to do with French literature and culture and is making a mighty effort to coalesce these varied curiosities into a more focused corpus. In his spare time, Paul enjoys reading (obviously), camping, and dabbling in creative fiction.


Italian MA

Larissa Acres

Larissa, a native of Washington D.C., is an MA student in the Italian program. She graduated from Saint Lawrence University in New York with a BA in Studio Art and Art History, and later received an MA from Middlebury College in Italian Culture, where she did her coursework in California and Italy. Her interests are in the intersection of text and image, specifically during the novecento. 

Jenna Berardino
Jenna is a native of Pittsburgh and is in her second year of the Italian Master's program. She received her BA in Public Relations with a minor in Italian from Temple University in Philadelphia, where she also studied abroad in Rome. Her interests include women's studies and immigration. 

Matteo Talotta
Matteo Talotta is a Master’s student in the Italian program. He is an Italian-Canadian from Woodbridge, Ontario, just north of Toronto. He received his HBA in Italian studies and Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2017. He is interested in Italian politics and culture. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and listening to music.