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2019-2020 Research Fellowship Cohort

Bisher Akel is a senior at the University of Tulsa studying psychology and biology premed. His professional interest in play stemmed from his work with children at Peace Academy, the St. Jude Clinic, and his community youth committee. These experiences developed into a desire to go into medicine, particularly to work in pediatrics or child psychology. As a research fellow, he will explore the theme of “Play” in the context of psychology, more specifically, through the lens of play therapy. In studying play therapy, he will analyze the uses and effects of play therapy in the clinical, educational, and public settings while working to investigate the stigma behind mental health.

Mark Brewin is Associate Professor of Media Studies at The University of Tulsa, working at the intersection of politics, media, and popular culture. His current project focuses on the political implications of modern sport. Dr. Brewin’s interest in sport dates back to a childhood on the Canadian Prairies. He was a hockey fan as a young boy, which was more or less a cultural requirement in that place, at that time, and his earliest sporting hero was Bernie Parent, the goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers. Later, as the only basketball fan in Purple Springs, Alberta, he rooted for Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers. He has no relationship with the city of Philadelphia, which is approximately 2,000 miles from Southern Alberta, outside of these two sporting allegiances: although he did live in Philadelphia during the late 1990s, long after both Parent and Erving had retired. Most recently, he has been conducting historical research on an early modern version of the Olympic Games, and on media coverage of a famous hockey riot in Montreal, in 1955.

David Chandler is an Assistant Professor of English at Tulsa Community College. He received his PhD from the University of Tulsa in 2015 where his research focused on the intersection of literature and media, specifically videogames. His dissertation explored the origins of “glitch” aesthetics as moments disruption in modernist literature brought on by a fascination with the new technologies of the Machine Age–an artistic trend harnessing the creative, playful energy of mechanical malfunction that materializes in early film and contemporary videogames. David’s work on literature and videogames led him to publish articles on digital games in academic journals and online magazines, most notably the former arts and culture magazine Kill Screen. He has taught several courses in writing and literature that used games (both tabletop and digital) as core components of his classes. He is currently developing a freshman composition curriculum that uses boardgames and the experiences of playing them as the basis for understanding narrative and exposition.

Helen Douglass is an assistant professor in the Department of Education. She teaches math and science teaching methods to pre-service elementary teachers, Introduction to STEM Education and Design Thinking in Schools and Communities. Her research interests are the intersection of formal and informal learning spaces, inclusive and equitable teaching and learning and gender equity in science and STEM contexts. Her most recent research projects include investigating collaborative high school mathematics, the language of makerspaces and leveraging informal science experiences in teacher preparation.

Lars Engle is Chapman Professor of English and chairs the English Department at TU.  A past president of the TU Phi Beta Kappa chapter, he was educated at Harvard, Cambridge, and Yale, and is the author of Shakespearean Pragmatism: Market of His Time (Chicago, 1993), coauthor of Studying Shakespeare’s Contemporaries (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), and an editor of English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology (New York: 2002).  An essay collection he has coedited, Shakespeare and Montaigne, is forthcoming in 2020.   His articles have appeared in such journals as PMLA, Modern Philology, SEL, YJC, English Studies in Africa, Pretexts, Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Survey, Exemplaria, Shakespearean International Yearbook, and 3pR, and he has essays in many edited collections.  He’s won three teaching awards at Tulsa, has lectured widely around the world, and has been a Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America.  A Bread Loaf teacher since 1999, with Holly Laird he currently co-directs the Bread Loaf School of English’s summer program in Santa Fe. In terms of the particular concerns of the 2019-20 seminar, Lars plays semi-competitive tennis and has acted and sung in public as well as private venues.  He likes most games but is not a gamer.  He regards himself as a playful person and appreciates playfulness in others.

Edgar Fabián Frías, MA MFT is a nonbinary, queer, indigenous (Wixárika) and Latinx interdisciplinary artist, curator, educator, and psychotherapist. Their work traverses academic, social, historical, and relational planes, building bridges and weaving webs. Their practice is amorphous and expansive, rooted in multivalent forms of connection and in the magic that emerges from it. Born in East Los Angeles, Frías earned dual BA degrees in Psychology and Studio art from the University of California, Riverside and completed an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Consequently, Frías’ work is often collaborative and engages with the intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of consciousness and the continuing effects of colonial and patriarchal structures on the health and resiliency of marginalized communities.

Layne M. Farmen is a PhD student at the University of Tulsa and a Graduate Assistant for the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. His research interests include Modernism and James Joyce, particularly the spaces in which they intersect with film and adaptation, as well as contemporary Rap as part of the African American poetic tradition. He’s published a book review for JJLS concerning Samuel Beckett and popular culture, conference reviews for JJQ and JJLS, and a good deal of online content for The Institute for Bob Dylan Studies and The Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and serves on the board of the Tulsa Chorale.

Katie Moulton is a writer, editor and music critic. Her creative and critical writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Playboy, Oxford American, Tin House, Catapult, Consequence of SoundBoulevard, Tulsa Voice, Village Voice, and elsewhere.  Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Hub City Writers Project, the Jentel Foundation, Tin House Workshop, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Writers OMI. She holds degrees from Boston College and Indiana University, where she was the editor of Indiana Review. Originally from St. Louis, she is a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellow. She’s at work on her first book, which combines memoir and music criticism.

Piper Prolago is a sophomore at the University of Tulsa studying art history. She is from Wichita, Kansas. In addition to playing the viola in the university orchestra, Piper is part of the Global Scholars and Honors programs and works as the editor of the Variety section of The Collegian. As a research fellow, she will reflect on the theme of “Play” in relation to site-specific art. In examining public art, she will research how play in public spaces forges communal identity by creating a shared visual vocabulary. She hopes to organize an exhibition of student art on TU’s campus as part of this project.

Akram Taghavi-Burris, instructor at the University of Tulsa, is an award-winning designer, writer, and educator, whose goal is to inspire you to Get Creative Today. Akram has over 15 years experience teaching game development and design, along with computer graphics, animation and web development in higher education. Her current field of study is in the development of games for emerging technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality. Currently, she holds the title of Instructor of Computer Simulation and Gaming at the University of Tulsa and is the coordinator of the Computer Simulation and Gaming Conference (CSGC) which takes place annually at the university. Throughout her career, Akram has been awarded several prestigious awards for her work such as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Award and, the Davinci Fellows Award for innovation in teaching.