Email a Current Student

Core

Communicating with current students is another great way to learn about the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) and the larger University of Chicago community. You are welcome to contact any of the current students profiled below.

Marrissa Ballardmarrissab@uchicago.edu
Marrissa graduated from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island with a degree in English Communications and minors in Gender, Film, and Literature. Moving from a small state, Chicago has been a big but welcome transition! On campus you can find her at the Film Studies Center during her desk shift or singing with the Women’s Ensemble every Monday. As a MAPH student, she takes courses in the Cinema and Media Studies and Gender & Sexuality Studies departments. For her thesis, she is focusing on gender theory and video games and hopes to write about “Undertale” and empathy. After MAPH, she wants to get involved in the games community in Chicago and apply for a PhD in the future. Lastly, she’s a vegetarian and has many recommendations for great food spots around the city!

Megan Beckerich | mbeckerich@uchicago.edu
Megan graduated from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies, and minors in Japanese, Chinese, and Ancient Civilization Studies. At NKU, Megan did her senior thesis on Japanese ghosts and monsters in folklore. At the University of Chicago, Megan is a second year TLO student studying Japanese art history. Megan’s MAPH thesis focused on morality and supernatural bodies in 19th century Japanese prints, and after finishing her thesis she spent the summer working in Cincinnati as a photography curatorial/conservation intern working with 19th century Japanese photographs. Megan's hobbies are playing board/video games, trying new baked goods, and sharing her numerous cat pictures with anyone who will look.

Sabrina Castillo | scastillo1@uchicago.edu
Hello! My name is Sabrina Castillo! I'm a Creative Writing MAPH-TLO student! I graduated Vassar with an English degree, and I'm here to hone my skills as a writer. Though, I'm very interested in anime and video games and bridging the gap between the STEM fields and the humanities! I'm also doing TLO for Japanese. Outside of MAPH, I work at a non-profit a few blocks south of campus called Experimental Station. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Nancy Chen nanxic@uchicago.edu
Nancy decided to return to school after working for 8 years as a program and engagement manager for arts and culture organizations in Philadelphia. She holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia 2009. Nancy is completing the MAPH program part-time in the Creative Writing track. She was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of the program and will take courses in Modern/Contemporary English Literature, Art History, and Public Policy. Outside of being a student, Nancy is an events specialist for UChicago’s Department of Art History and takes on freelance writing assignments on arts and culture topics. Her art reviews and longform stories have been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, PlanPhilly, the Artblog, Grid Magazine, and the UChicago Arts Magazine.

Jackson Cyril | jcyril2@uchicago.edu
I’m a TLO (two-year language option) student focusing on Tamil and Sanskrit. I worked on Math and British History as an undergrad and am now interested in exploring the intellectual and artistic world of the Tamil country, especially in the pre-modern period. In my free time, I drink coffee, go on long walks and read Dante. 

Annie Diamond | anniediamond@uchicago.edu
Annie Diamond is a Connecticut native who loves watching the sunrise at Lake Michigan. She earned her BA in English and creative writing from Barnard College. Before coming to Chicago she also earned her MFA in poetry from Boston University. At Chicago she plans to work on poetics and modernist literature, and will perhaps write a thesis involving James Joyce, Jamaica Kincaid, and a poetics of home. Outside of MAPH, she works at Grounds of Being (the Divinity School Coffee Shop) and the Seminary Co-op bookstore, watches reruns of The West Wing, and cooks herself breakfast.

Shelby Marie Edwardssmedwards@uchicago.edu
Shelby is a current graduate student in the MAPH Program who will be declaring a concentration in Theatre and Performance Studies. Shelby is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University where she was a theatre major and general business minor. Before joining MAPH, Shelby completed Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Professional Leadership Program and worked as a freelance actor, poet and writer. Shelby's research interests include: theatre and performance studies, musical theatre, ritual poetic drama, theatre of the African diaspora, blackness and theatre as a mechanism to combat trauma.

Kaesha Freyaldenhoven | kaeshamarie@uchicago.edu
Kaesha is a BA / MA student at UChicago. Contrary to popular belief, Kaesha is not a huge 'Bama fan (Roll Tide?). She is pursuing a joint degree in Art History and Cultural Policy through The College and MAPH. Her thesis focuses on contemporary, Chicago-based public art and  corresponding policies catalyzing implementation. On campus, she serves as the Executive Director of Festival of the Arts and choreographer in Apsara, a classical Indian dance group. Kaesha spends her free time biking Lake Shore Drive, munching on cookie dough and propagating succulents.

Nash Jenkinsnashjenkins@uchicago.edu
Nash received his B.A. in 2015 from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied in the Writing Seminars, the university's creative writing program, with additional emphasis in English and cinema studies. His research there centered on masculinity and heteronormativity in 20th-century American literature, film, and politics. Before coming to the University of Chicago, he spent three years working as a correspondent for TIME Magazine in Hong Kong and Washington. At Chicago, he is studying the role of new media, especially the internet, in fostering political radicalism in the contemporary United States. When he's not in the library, he enjoys cooking, running, and scoping out the city's best dim sum.

“Mew” Lingjun Jiangmewj@uchicago.edu
Mew graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio arts and art history and a minor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Mew’s senior thesis looked into how Western science and art influenced Maruyama School’s figure paintings and anatomy illustrations in late 18th and early 19th century. Before coming to Chicago, Mew was an artist working with illustrations, paintings and performances, active in the Urbana-Champaign community. Mew is now a first-year graduate student in the MAPH-TLO program, studying art history and Japanese. Mew’s art history study focuses on Japanese visual culture and works by contemporary artist Fuyuko Matsui. In addition, Mew is interested in East Asian cultural exchange, early 20th century Japanese literature, and Japanese pop-culture. Mew has an imaginary friend named MewMew. During their free time, they work on illustration projects and watch anime together.

Weronika Malek | wmalek@uchicago.edu
Weronika graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017, with Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Art History, Theory, and Criticism. As a second-year student in the MAPH Two-Year Language Option, she is learning German and Russian, and continues her studies in Art History. Weronika wrote her MA thesis on the peasant and female representation in Stanisław Wyspiański’s self-portrait, exploring the gender and class dynamics in the fin de siècle Polish artistic scene. In her free time, she loves going to opera and theatre, taking advantage of Chicago's cultural scene. She will be happy to answer questions about Art History in MAPH, writing a thesis, Two-Year Language Option, and living in Chicago.

Yuanjin Xiaxiayj18@uchicago.edu
I received my BA in philosophy and sociology at Tsinghua University, Beijing. My field of interest is in political philosophy, especially the state-individual relationship, democracy, gender equality, and human right issues. Plus, I am a TLO student, and I am learning German in MAPH as well. I enjoy Japanese comics and anime in my free time, and I like to watch documentaries on historical events and public issues in different countries. As a student who did not have much educational background in North America, I find MAPH a perfect choice for me to get started and explore the system. I want to help all of those who share the same background-issues as me.