French Graduate Students

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Jillian Bruns

Jillian Bruns is a PhD student of Modern French Studies and is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland. She holds a Masters of Arts in Romance Languages and Literatures as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and Philosophy from the University of Missouri- Kansas City. Her current research explores the positionality of the author to its text as seen through the primary textual corpus of francophone feminist cinema and 21st century autofiction. Recent conference presentations include “The Medusian Gaze of the Exiled White Woman in Claire Denis’ ‘Chocolat’ and ‘White Material’ ” and “Le ‘cinéspace’ féministe de Claire Denis : la signification du paysage comme espace de marginalization”. 


Leandra Cormier 

Leandra is from Blois (Loir-Et-Cher, Region Centre), France. She graduated from the Universite Francois Rabelais, Tours, France with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Foreign Languages (L.E.A.) and from the University of Wyoming with a Master’s degree in French Literature, in which she acquired a two-year experience of teaching. Her research focuses on Francophone literature and Franco-African literature. She concentrates on the Mouvement de la Negritude, Malagasy literature in particular. 



Catherine Favier-Kelly

Catherine Favier-Kelly is a student in the French PhD program as well as an instructor in the French department. She holds a BA in International Relations (2009) and a Masters in International Politics (2012) from American University, Washington DC.  Prior to being in academia, Catherine worked extensively as a French translator and French instructor in the Washington region. Her most recent appointment was with the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington (VA). She also was the co-owner of a subtitling company, translating and captioning American movies for a French audience. Equally devoted to teaching (with a specialty in French Grammar) and to studying, Catherine research interests focus on women authors in the Maghreb region. Her most recent conference presentation at LSU was “De la femme guerrière à la femme militante: Représentation symbolique de la résistance dans les œuvres de Maïssa Bey, Assia Djebar et Yamina Méchakra.”


Cae Joseph-Massena

Cae Joseph-Massena is in the Ph.D Program of the Modern French studies department at University of Maryland. She obtained a Master’s degree in English from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris. Her thesis entitled "Signinfyin’ on love in Beloved, Jazz and Paradise" focused on Toni Morrison’s trilogy was already representative of one of her main research interest: critical perspectives linking the musical world with literary texts. A trained jazz singer songwriter, vocal instructor and cultural activist, she is a Fulbright grantee and a Berklee College of Music alumni and has toured extensively as a background vocalist and self-produced singer songwriter. Inspired by the field of voice and sound studies as well as feminist and queer of color critique, she is particularly interested in the lives and experiences of Black and Brown women from French and francophone worlds and their literary and musical texts. Her most recent work has been more particularly focused on the decentering of “the feminine” in Haïtian author Marie Vieux Chauvet’s novels and plays as well as contemporary diasporic queer and afrofeminist narratives, cultural productions and activism.


Morgan McMahon


Lauren Poon

Lauren is a Master of Arts candidate in French Studies at the University of Maryland. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College. Lauren received her American Bar Association paralegal certification from Georgetown University. She also holds a Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification.



Charlee Redman
Charlee M. Redman is in the Masters program in French Studies. Before coming to Maryland, she received her B.A. in English and French and Francophone Studies at Penn State University, where she also worked as an editorial assistant at the Penn State University Press. Her interests include early modern travel literature and culture, as well as late nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature from France and the Francophone world, and particularly the intersection of cultural politics, place, and identity. She is also interested in translation, and has worked on translating a French-language novel by Cameroonian author Angèle Kingué.



Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth Robinson is a student in the French PhD program. She completed her BA in French and Spanish at SUNY Geneseo, and her MA in French with a concentration in Canadian Studies at SUNY at Buffalo. She received grants from the AIEQ (Association Internationale des Études Québécoises) and ACQS (American Council for Quebec Studies) to study at McGill University in Montreal. Liz’s primary research interests include Quebec, French Canada, les filles du roi, historical literature, feminism and women’s studies. Liz has also volunteered as social media coordinator for the ACQS as well as currently serving ACSUS (Association for Canadian Studies in the US). And in the summer of 2016 Liz participated as an historical reenactor (a fille du roi) in the St Jean parade in Montreal. Her most recent conference presentation was entitled, “Narrating History: Exchanges between an Historical Character and actual Ancestor, Marie Major by Sergine Desjardins” at the biennial ACQS conference in November 2016.


Callan Roten

Callan is a PhD student in Modern French Studies at the University of Maryland. Before coming to Maryland, Callan received a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, and a Master of Arts in French Literature from the Florida State University. Callan also served as a legal aid, interpreter, and French language instructor for asylum seeking refugees through the organization France Terre d’Asile in Stains, France. As a former circus performer/aerialist, Callan’s main research interests include circus, theater, spectacle, the female body, and dance. Her other research interests include the 19th and 20th centuries, feminism, gender studies, and identity. 


Francesca Roth
Francesca Roth is a student in the PhD program.  Francesca completed her undergraduate degree in French Literature and Art History and a MA in Humanities with a French concentration, both at Hood College in Frederick, MD.  She also studied for a year in France at Paris III,  L’Institut  Catholique, and L’Institut de Touraine. Francesca’s research focuses on creating an image of the trauma that the French suffered on a societal level during the Reign of Terror by following its effects on French literature— a form of collective memory— during the event itself and for the following century :  specifically, from 1789-1889.