College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

2019 Dean's Doctoral Fellows

Alexandra Zax - Clinical Child Psychology​

Alexandra Zax is a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Child Psychology Program. In graduate school she hopes to explore how trauma exposure during childhood may confer risk for negative outcomes, and how interventions may mitigate these developmental pathways. Moreover, she is interested in the connections between cultural factors, adversity, and the resiliency that can underlie the human experience.

Julia Russell - Psychology​

Julia Russell is a Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology program. She graduated from Tufts University in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Her research interests include health behaviors and beliefs, particularly in women's health. In graduate school, she will focus on the impact of mood and anxiety symptoms on sleep hygiene and sleep disorders.

Rebecca Wetzel - French, Francophone, and Italian Studies

Rebecca Wetzel is a first-year PhD student in the French, Francophone, and Italian Studies department. She attended Miami University of Oxford for both her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in French. She hopes to continue studying early modern history with attention to the Renaissance and its changing depictions of the body in relation to medical science.

Margaret Speckman - Public Affairs and Administration​

Margaret is a first-year Dean’s Doctoral Fellow and Ph.D. student in Public Affairs and Administration. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at William Jewell College in Nonprofit Management, Psychology, and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry. She earned her MPA at University of Missouri Kansas City with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management. Margaret’s research interests focus on racial and geographic health disparities. She is also interested in collaborative efforts across sectors to address these disparities.


2019 Chancellor's Doctoral Fellows

Walter Tapondjou - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology​

Tapondjou studies the mechanisms of evolution and speciation within the Cameroon volcanic line in Central Africa. The mountain endemic Chameleons occurring there are his main study organisms.

Shawna Shipley-Gates - Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Shipley-Gates' academic interests include black feminist theory; women’s health, sexual and reproductive health; public health; psychology and mental health; health behavior change; critical race theory; and African American Studies. Her research interest highlights the cultural literacy of black women’s sexual health behaviors and how those cultural experiences can be translated into effective yet sex-positive education; healthcare and wellness practices; and policy and advocacy work. Shawna received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and a Master of Public Health degree from New York University.

McKenna Lohr - Anthropology​

McKenna Lohr is a first-year Chancellor’s Doctoral Fellow and Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kansas. She earned her B.S. in Biology along with minors in Biochemistry and Mathematics in 2018 and a M.S. in Forensic Science and Law in 2019 from Duquesne University. Her master’s research utilized osteological and DNA analysis techniques to study human skeletal material from an archaeological site in Rhodes. Her research interests include anthropological genetics, ancient DNA, bioarcheology, and human osteology. She is interested in utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach combining history, osteology, and DNA analysis in order to determine as much information as possible about the individual(s) at an archaeological site as well as how these individual experiences can speak to a broader sense of community amongst a population.

Brynn Fitzsimmons - English​

Brynn is a first-year PhD student in English - Rhetoric and Composition. Her work focuses on narrative rhetoric and narrative as point-of-transfer, especially in composition courses. She is particularly interested in developing narrative-based curricula that help at-risk students better connect and apply college-readiness skills, such critical thinking, research, argument, and writing, while also tapping in to storytelling as a means of self-expression, creativity, and healing.