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Nine Students Named Deans' Faculty Fellows

May 17, 2018

Nine doctoral students secured Deans' Faculty Fellowships (DFF) in the fourth year of the program. The fellowships give advanced graduate students the opportunity to strengthen their teaching portfolios through the development of their own courses in consultation with a faculty mentor. It is a joint initiative of the Graduate School and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. This year’s fellows are eager to hone their teaching skills and gain additional experience as they prepare for the job market. Read more.

Benjamin Chilson-ParksBenjamin Chilson-Parks

“I hope to use my course to take stock of my abilities as an independent instructor who must prepare for and adapt to the various situations that arise in a course of my own design,” says Benjamin Chilson-Parks, a doctoral candidate in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences.

He will teach a first-year seminar course called Assembling Rhode Island. It will introduce students to concepts in geology while piecing together the narrative of the geological history of Rhode Island. Students will learn the local geology as they develop the ability to make field-based observations and will visit several local outcrops in the area.

Mamikon GulianMamikon Gulian

“The timing was perfect for me and will help me make the most of my time before job applications,” says Mamikon Gulian, a doctoral candidate in Mathematics.

Gulian will teach a course on machine learning to develop scientific models, with an emphasis on data-driven discovery of differential equations. Teaching this course affords him the opportunity to further expand his knowledge of machine learning.

“This will be of mutual benefit, as it will give me practice in distilling these results for a wider audience. I hope to teach the students exciting material every week so they leave with a very up-to-date knowledge of machine learning and fractional equations,” says Gulian.

Alyssa AndersonAlyssa Anderson

Alyssa Anderson, a new fellow from American Studies is excited to be able to support developing scholars in the same way she was as an undergraduate. She is also eager to try new a new teaching method, called "gameful learning," which allow students more autonomy and ownership over the material they learn. 

“I hope to use this as an opportunity to both hone pedagogical skills I have been working to develop, and to continue to experiment with different approaches to student learning,” says Alyssa Anderson, an American Studies doctoral candidate.

Anderson will teach a course on memory and popular culture. Students will examine the portrayal of memory in popular film, television, and works of fiction for what these representations reveal about our belief in—and anxieties towards—human memory.


The 2018-2019 recipients are:

  • Alyssa Anderson, American Studies
    Dissertation: Violence and the Repertoire: Coming of Age in the Age of Mass Shootings
  • Claudia Becerra-Mendez, Hispanic Studies
    Dissertation: Persons, Animals and Things in Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry
  • Benjamin Chilson-Parks, Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences
    Dissertation: Probing the Mantle Keels of the North and South American Continents Using Alkaline Lavas and Mantle Xenoliths
  • Mamikon Gulian, Mathematics
    Dissertation: Discovering and Solving Fractional Partial Differential Equations: Machine Learning and Monte Carlo Methods
  • Rebecca Haubrich, German Studies
    Dissertation: Mourning (M)others: Images of a Maternal Education
  • Brian Horton, Anthropology
    Dissertation: Queer Timeliness: Playful Pasts and Contested Modernities in India
  • Tavid Mulder, Comparative Literature
    Dissertation: The Peripheral Metropolis: The City, Montage and Modernity
  • Brian Stankus, Chemistry
    Dissertation: Ultrafast Chemical Dynamics
  • Joseph Skitka, Physics
    Dissertation: Generalized Dynamical and Statistical Frameworks for Modeling Planetary Boundary-Layer Turbulence

To be eligible for a Deans' Faculty Fellows (DFF), the fifth-year applicant (not including BioMed students) must have a record of excellence in teaching and scholarship and commit to completing, defending, and submitting the dissertation by January 15 of the sixth year. The DFFs are offered full fellowship support without any teaching responsibilities during the Fall semester. In the Spring semester, those who meet the thesis deadline are appointed as Visiting Assistant Professors with assignments to teach or co-teach a course in their areas of expertise.