DFW17 Presenter Bios

Barbara  Balfour

Professor, York University, Toronto, Canada

Barbara Balfour, a Toronto-based artist, is Professor and Graduate Program Director, MFA/PhD Program in Visual Arts, York University. Her research involves print and text-based art practices. Other activities include artist residencies, curatorial projects, and critical writing. Her book The Inkiest Black is a textual/visual response to Infinite Jest.

Antonio Aguilar-Vazquez

Ph.D. Student, University of Glasgow

Antonio Aguilar-Vazquez has a BA (Honors) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and an MSc in Literature and  Modernity from the University of Edinburgh.  He is a present Phd candidate at the University of Glasgow and a member of a the David Foster Wallace Research Group.

Corrie Baldauf

Assistant Professor of Art, Eastern Michigan University

Corrie Baldauf knows that humor is the best form of intelligence. She believes that admitting what you don’t know is the best way to learn more. Baldauf is an Assistant Professor of Art at Eastern Michigan University and Secretary of the International David Foster Wallace Society.

Ross Barnes

Independent Scholar, N/A

Ross Barnes lives in Galesburg, Illinois.

Andrea Berns

Master's Student, Illinois State University

Andrea Berns is a recent graduate of Illinois State University, having completed her Master's degree in English Studies: Creative Writing - Fiction in May 2017. After working as a graduate assistant in the Publications Unit and assistant teaching an introductory creative writing course, she plans to pursue a career in the publishing industry.

Martin Brick

Associate Professor, Ohio Dominican University

Martin Brick is Associate Professor of English at Ohio Dominican University.  His primary research agenda explores the intersection of religion and modernist and postmodern literature.  He has published on James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, David Foster Wallace, and Mark Z. Danielewski in journals such as James Joyce Quarterly and Christianity and Literature.  

Matt Bucher

Independent Scholar

Matt Bucher is the President of the International David Foster Wallace Society. Since 2002 he has administered the wallace-l listserv and is the co-host of The Great Concavity podcast. His work has appeared in Electric Literature, The Dublin Review of Books, The Chicago Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Jeffrey Calzaloia

Creative Writer

Jeffrey Calzaloia is an author whose ambitious work may not achieve commercial success but whose investment in producing high-quality literary fiction remains strong. Inspired by novelists such as John Crowley, Toni Morrison, Gene Wolfe, Cormac McCarthy, Junot Díaz, Samuel R. Delany, Marcel Proust, and (of course) David Foster Wallace, as well as poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wallace Stevens, Leonie Adams, and John Brooks Wheelwright, Mr. Calzaloia lives in Massachusetts.

Jane L. Carman

Creative Writer, Festival of Language / Lit Fest Press

Jane L. Carman, author of Tangled in Motion (JEF Books 2015), is the founder of the DFW Conference, the reading series Festival of Language and a reading eXperiment, and Lit Fest Press. Carman holds a PhD in English Studies from ISU. She is currently writing manuscripts on Alzheimer’s and suicide.

Grace Chipperfield

Ph.D. Student, Flinders University of South Australia

Grace Chipperfield is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Flinders University in South Australia. She is researching what it is to be an American citizen and how this relates to adolescence and adulthood in the works of David Foster Wallace. She also tutors in English Literature at Flinders University.

Peter Christensen

Independent Scholar, NA

Peter Christensen is the manager of technology commercialization at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  While not an academic, he is an avid student and reader of David Foster Wallace’s work.  He has a B.S. from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Vernon Cisney

Assistant Professor, Gettysburg College

Vernon W. Cisney is a visiting assistant professor of philosophy at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Derrida’s Voice and Phenomenon: An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide (Edinburgh, 2014); as well as Deleuze and Derrida: Difference and the Power of the Negative (Edinburgh, 2018). He is also the co-editor of Biopower: Foucault and Beyond (University of Chicago Press, 2015); The Way of Nature and the Way of Grace: Philosophical Footholds on Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life (Northwestern, 2016); and Between Foucault and Derrida (Edinburgh, 2016).

Tristan Cooley

Master's Student, Brooklyn College

Tristan Cooley is currently earning his MA in English at Brooklyn College. He also holds a BA in English from Brooklyn College and a BFA in Jazz Performance from the Newschool. He plays flute, saxophone, first base, and, on occasion, right field.  

Ryan Edel

Instructor, Illinois State University

Ryan Edel is the current chair of the DFW Conference.  He recently earned his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Rhetoric at Illinois State University.  His research interests center upon autobiography, both as a creative tool of self-realization and a rhetorical tool of cultural metanarrative.  Naturally, he would never admit that he also writes science fiction writer, or that he has not yet finished reading Infinite Jest.  These are not the narratives you’re looking for.

Amy L. Eggert

Instructor, Bradley University

Amy L. Eggert is the author of Scattershot (Lit Fest Press 2015), a hybrid collection that redefines and re-envisions the trauma narrative. Eggert has a PhD in English Studies from ISU and teaches for Bradley University. She’s working on a book that explores the mindset, stigma, and aftermath of suicide.

Danielle Ely

Professor, Hudson Valley Community College

Danielle S. Ely completed her Master’s Thesis called “Into the Womb of Solipsism: The Entertainment as ‘Speculum’” in 2011. She has presented instantiations of her thesis at conferences like Sex…or Something Like It in Madrid and the David Foster Wallace Conference. Her complete thesis is available on Proquest and her work can also be found in LitFestPress’ Normal 2014 and Normal 2015. She is an adjunct English instructor at Columbia-Greene Community College and Hudson Valley Community College.

Aaron Geiger

Ph.D. Student, Northern Illinois University

As a creative writer and digital rhetorician, Aaron Geiger draws upon his experiences as a former U.S. Navy search and rescue operative, wilderness first responder, technologist and book lover.  He is a Ph.D. student at Northern Illinois University, where he studies the rhetoric and language of algorithms, the New Aesthetic, bots, and digital pedagogy.

Shelley Grieve-Zerkel

Independent Scholar, Ohio State University

Shelley Grieve-Zerkel is a nondegree student in English at Ohio State University, where she also received an MA in Communication. A central Illinois native, she loves Wallace for his humor and his sense of place. Her love of adaptation began as a Kabuki theatre student under Shozo Sato at the University of Illinois. Shelley is also an Info Designer for IBM.

David Hamme

Independent Artist,

David Hamme is a film and theater artist, having studied Method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, the dramatic arts (traditional/experimental) and film & television production at New York University.  His career has largely been defined by post-production work and his position as a motion picture colorist in New York City.

Rich Hanson

Independent Scholar, University of Minnesota/Duluth graduate English/philosophy

Rich Hanson is recently retired and enjoying the freedom to read and write, unfettered by wage slavery.  He and his wife Nancy reside in Monmouth, Illinois.

Clare Hayes-Brady

Assistant Professor, University College Dublin

Clare Hayes-Brady is a lecturer in American Literature at University College Dublin. She is the author of The Unspeakable Failures of David Foster Wallace, and has published and presented widely on aspects of contemporary literature and culture.

Natalie Helberg

Ph.D. Student, Governors State University

Natalie Helberg is a graduate of the Master’s in English program at Governors State University, near Chicago, Illinois. Her thesis focused on themes presented in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. She was a Writing Fellow for undergraduate students, is a published author and is pursuing doctoral studies in contemporary literature.

Kyle Henrichs

Ph.D. Student, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Kyle Henrichs is a fifth-year doctoral student in English at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  His research interests include contemporary American fiction, narratology, and ecocriticism.  He presented at the 2013 Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment Conference and at last year’s Third Annual David Foster Wallace Conference.

Yonina Hoffman

Ph.D. Student, The Ohio State University

Yonina Hoffman is a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University whose dissertation examines the career arc of David Foster Wallace: its dominant narrative voices, their ethics and aesthetics, and their corresponding influences. Yonina’s interests include post-45 American literature, narrative theory, stylistics, literary form, and phenomenology.

Jeff Jarot

Creative Writer, Plainfield South High School

Jeff Jarot is a writer who teaches high school English.  He holds a BA in English from Illinois Wesleyan University, a BA in English Education and MA in English from Illinois State University, and an MA in English from Northern Illinois University.  His short story “Home Movies” appeared in Festival Writer.  In addition, Jarot’s previous Wallace scholarship was featured in Normal 2014: Selected Works from The First Annual DFW Conference, as well as Normal 2015: Selected Works from The Second Annual DFW Conference.  His novella Zuzu’s Petals was published in February 2016 by Lit Fest Press.  Jarot lives in Plainfield, Illinois with his wife and three children.

Ashley Kjos

Creative Writer

Ashley Kjos graduated from Drake University with a degree in History. His work has appeared on Consequence of Sound, in the magazines gb&d and Profile and he has read at Live Lit series around Chicago where he lives with his wife.  

Ashlie Kontos

Master's Student, University of Texas at Tyler

Kontos studies English at the University of Texas at Tyler.  She published “Nomina Nuda Tenemus: Jonathan Safran Foer Finding Meaning Within Empty Names, or (re)Construction of Deconstruction” in Media, Technology, and Imagination and won the Darrell Borque Award.  She co-edited Normal 2014 and Normal 2015, which include her essays.

Ashlie Kontos

Master's Student, University of Texas at Tyler

Kontos studies English at the University of Texas at Tyler.  She published “Nomina Nuda Tenemus: Jonathan Safran Foer Finding Meaning Within Empty Names, or (re)Construction of Deconstruction” in Media, Technology, and Imagination and won the Darrell Borque Award.  She co-edited Normal 2014 and Normal 2015, which include her essays.

Ryan Lackey

Master's Student, Oregon State University

Ryan Lackey is a graduate student at Oregon State University seeking his M.A. in American Literature and Culture. He received his B.A. in English from George Fox University, and has presented at regional and national conferences on the works of David Foster Wallace, Chad Harbach, and Charles Baxter.

Dave Laird

Co-Host, Great Concavity Podcast

Dave Laird is a high school humanities teacher, co-host of The Great Concavity podcast, and an avid Netrunner enthusiast from Victoria, BC. He completed his MA in English last summer, with a thesis on Infinite Jest’s engagement with Christian soteriology. He was also a weekly contributing guide for Infinite Winter.

Bill  Lattanzi

Independent Scholar, Self

Bill Lattanzi is an independent video editor, writer, and producer from Boston. His work on Wallace includes the occasional walking tour of Wallace’s Boston, an essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, talks at the DFW Conferences 1 and 2 in Bloomington, and at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Daniel Leonard

Independent Scholar, Independent Scholar

Daniel Leonard is a poet and independent scholar from the Philadelphia area. He holds graduate degrees in poetry and philosophy from Boston University and the University of Leuven, respectively. Daniel has presented at every DFW conference since its inception and supposes he'll do it again.

Ben Leubner

Assistant Professor, Montana State University

Ben Leubner lives and teaches in Bozeman, Montana.

Matthew Luter

K-12 Teacher, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Jackson, MS

Matthew Luter is on the English faculty at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Jackson, Mississippi.  He is the author of Understanding Jonathan Lethem (University of South Carolina Press, 2015).  His articles, on authors including Don DeLillo, Ellen Douglas, Willie Morris, and Bret Easton Ellis, have appeared in journals including Critique, The Southern Literary Journal, Genre, and Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon.

Tanner Lyon

Undergraduate Student, University of Nevada, Reno

Tanner Lyon is an honors student from the University of Nevada, Reno, specializing in both Continental philosophy and literature. At the Western Regional Honors Conference in 2016, he presented a paper that analyzed contemporary capitalism through the theoretical lenses of Karl Marx, Herbert Marcuse, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and Slavoj Žižek.

Michelle Martin

Undergraduate Student, University of Victoria

Born in British Columbia and raised in South Florida, Michelle Martin returned to BC to complete her honours degree in English Literature at the University of Victoria. She is an aspiring DFW studies and Contemporary American Literature scholar who is also interested in film and religious studies.

Brian May

Professor, Northern Illinois University

The author teaches English at a university near Chicago.

Rob Mayo

Ph.D. Student, University of Bristol

Rob Mayo is a PhD researcher at the University of Bristol, due to undertake the viva in September 2017. His thesis explores the presentation of depression and other mood disorders and malaises in David Foster Wallace’s fiction. Other research interests include speculative fiction, video game narrative and contemporary cinema.

James McAdams

Ph.D. Student, Lehigh

James McAdams has published fiction in decomP,  Superstition Review, Amazon/Day One, Literary Orphans, and B.O.A.A.T. Journal, among others.  Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Lehigh University, where he also teaches and edits the university's literary journal, Amaranth. His work can be viewed at jamesmcadams.net.  

Julianne McCobin

Ph.D. Student, University of Virginia

Julianne McCobin is a PhD student studying modern and contemporary American literature at the University of Virginia. Her current research focuses on literary form in relation to aesthetics, affect, and disability theory.

Laurie McRae Andrew

Ph.D. Student, Royal Holloway, University of London

Laurie McRae Andrew is a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London. His thesis explores David Foster Wallace’s fiction through geocriticism, literary geography and spatial theory. He lives in London.

Marco Meneghelli

Independent Scholar, Università degli studi di Milano

He was born in Fiorenzuola (Italy) the eight of January 1971. He is graduated in Philosophy with a thesis on the concept of infinite and continuity in the thought of the great American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce. His field of interest is infinity, continuity, recursion and so on. He loves David Foster Wallace ad infinitum and more.

Kathleen E. Miller

Instructor, Illinois State University

Kathleen E. Miller has a PhD from Illinois State University and teaches writing and literature courses at ISU. Miller has previously published with Ave Maria Press and Jaded Ibis Press, among others. She has an innovative, genre-bending manuscript under review, as well as a traditional fantasy novel she co-authored.

Thomas Moore

Master's Student, Marquette University

Thomas D. Moore earned an English MA from Marquette in May and will begin Ph.D. studies at University of Illinois at Chicago in the fall. His work on experimental fiction often examines issues of ethical obligations and irreducible alterity. He recently began an extended project on the Infinite Jest drafts.

Alexander Moran

Ph.D. Student, University of Birmingham

Alex Moran has recently completed his PhD with the University of Birmingham, with a focus on cultural reproduction in the work of Wallace, Franzen, Chabon, Egan, and Whitehead. He has published on Wallace in "Orbit: A Journal of American Literature," and has presented on contemporary literature at numerous conferences.

Nicolas Noble

Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto

Nicolas Noble is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. He has won numerous awards and scholarships for his research focusing on the intersections between philosophy and literature. He is currently working on his dissertation which explores Nietzschean aesthetics in contemporary American literature.

Lauren Nurse

Visual Artist,

Lauren Nurse is a visual artist working in printmaking, sculpture, horticulture and installation. She holds an MFA from York University and has exhibited and lectured in Canada, the United States and internationally. She has taught printmaking, design, drawing, and contemporary art practice at OCAD University, University of Toronto in Mississauga and York University.

Michael O'Connell

Assistant Professor, Siena Heights University

Michael O’Connell is Assistant Professor of Humanities at Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. His research focuses on contemporary American literature and religion and literature; publications appear in Christianity and Literature, Religion and the Arts, and Renascence. He is working on a study of violence in contemporary American Catholic fiction.

Philipp Ohnesorge

Master's Student, University of Münster, Germany

Philipp Ohnesorge, aged 29, is a student and graduate assistant at the department of German literature at University of Münster, Germany. After his Bachelor‘s degree in German literature and philosophy in Münster and Bonn, he is currently writing his thesis in the master‘s program “cultural poetics” and preparing his dissertation.

Ross Owens

Ph.D. Student, University of Sussex

Ross Owens has been an analyst, a bookseller, a barista and a stripper. Now he's a Phd candidate at the University of Sussex studying ludic literature and the medical humanities. He likes writing contrived [comic?] rhymes, but prefers to defer to your better judgement on that matter.

Paolo Pitari

Ph.D. Student, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Paolo Pitari is a PhD student at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy). He’s worked on DFW since he was an Undergrad. His research now focuses on the concept of free will and its existential consequences by employing an interdisciplinary approach that mixes literary criticism, philosophy, and sociology.

Philip Sayers

Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto

Philip Sayers is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Toronto. He holds a BA in English from Cambridge and an MA in Comparative Literature from University College London, and specializes in twentieth century and contemporary Anglophone prose, psychoanalysis, and continental philosophy.

Ross Sellers

Independent Scholar, Montana State University December Graduate

Ross Sellers is a December graduate from Montana State University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts: major in Writing, and minor in Literature. He first encountered Infinite Jest in Ben Leubner’s class for major authors, and is now entrenched in David Foster Wallace’s writing because it’s nice to read serious art.

Nathan Seppelt

Independent Scholar, The International DFW Society

Nathan Seppelt is an independent scholar & artist based in Adelaide, Australia. Nathan is the Publications Chair for the International David Foster Wallace Society and an Associate Editor of their peer-reviewed journal, both of which he urges everyone to check out (and get involved!) at dfwsociety.org.

Danny Sheaf

Ph.D. Student, Murdoch University

Danny Sheaf holds an Honours Degree in English & Creative Arts and Philosophy awarded by Murdoch University (Perth, Australia). He is currently a PhD candidate at Murdoch University. Danny’s research concerns a philosophical engagement with the fiction of David Foster Wallace via Martin Heidegger and Jan Patočka.

Rob Short

Ph.D. Student, The University of Florida

Rob Short is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida. His work on Wallace has appeared in Normal 2015: Selected Works from The Second Annual David Foster Wallace Conference and on the website for James Ponsoldt’s film The End of the Tour. He is also the webulizer for dfwsociety.org.

Jacob Singer

Independent Scholar, Writer and Adjunct Professor

Jacob Singer is a professor of writing whose critical and creative works can be found at The Quarterly Conversation, Colorado Review, and Anobium. He authored “The Hysterical Realism Reading List” and founded the blog Hysterical Realism.  

Aisling Smith

Ph.D. Student, Monash University

Aisling Smith is a PhD candidate in Literary Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Her dissertation explores the works of David Foster Wallace through affect theory. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Colloquy: text, theory, critique and is also an editor of the 2017 Monash Verge Anthology.

Peter Gus Sparacio

Creative Writer, Bizurich Media

Peter Gus Sparacio graduated from Illinois State University ('06) with degrees in Political Science and Government and Psychology, and from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management with an MBA ('15). Since 2006, he has worked at medical and manufacturing companies, specializing in quality, regulatory and engineering. He currently resides in Chicago, and is heavily influenced by the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and David Foster Wallace.

Peter Spaulding

Master's Student, Marquette University

Peter Spaulding grew up in the Philippines, where his parents did missionary work. His undergraduate studies were in English Literature at John Brown University, and he is now a first year Master’s student at Marquette University. His literary interests are the English Renaissance and Postmodern American fiction.

David Spencer

Independent Scholar, Ball State University

David Spencer graduated with a Master's degree in Literature from Ball State University in 2014, presenting his Master's thesis paper at the 2014 DFW Conference (“Post-Postmodern Didacticism”). He continues independent scholarship and teaches high school English in Columbus, Indiana, including instilling the curriculum with Wallace’s works whenever possible.

Toon Staes

Independent Scholar, The Ohio State University

Toon Staes is a postdoctoral researcher with Project Narrative at The Ohio State University, sponsored by the Belgian American Education Foundation. He received his PhD at the University of Antwerp. He has published various essays on American fiction and narrative theory, and is currently preparing a book on David Foster Wallace and Richard Powers.

Maxwell Suechting

Ph.D. Student, Stanford University

Max Suechting is a doctoral candidate in Stanford University’s Program in Modern Thought & Literature, where he studies twentieth-century popular culture. His dissertation traces alternate formulations of human and posthuman subjectivity forged at the intersection of music and technology in Black Atlantic culture.

Andrew  Sutcliffe

Ph.D. Student, King's College, University of London

Andrew Sutcliffe is a Doctoral Researcher in Comparative Literature at King's College, University of London. His focus is on the Medical Humanities, particularly the intersection between mental illness, psychiatry and literature. He is also confident swimmer.

S. Hamed Tayebi

Ph.D. Student, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz & Paris-Diderot

Hamed Tayebi wrote his master’s thesis on Oblivion Stories by making a Baudrillardian critique. Currently he is a PhD candidate at universities of Graz and Paris-Diderot completing a dissertation on the oeuvre of Wallace from the perspective of Roland Barthes, Herbert Marcuse, Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio.

Alessandra Tedesco

Independent Scholar, University of Bologna

Alessandra Tedesco holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from University of Bologna, in Italy. Her research interests include Twentieth-Century and contemporary Anglo-American literature, postmodern literature, literary theory, geocriticism, philosophy, Vladimir Nabokov and David Foster Wallace. She has an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature, seen as an interpretational key of actual social, economic and cultural aspects of  the real world.

Bojana Totovic

Independent Scholar, Independent Scholar

Bojana Totovic is an interpreter, translator and ESL teacher from Belgrade, Serbia. She holds a BA in English from University of Belgrade, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University.

Samantha Wallace

Ph.D. Student, University of Virginia

Samantha Wallace studies English literature at the University of Virginia. Her current research concerns questions of experimental form, focusing on American 20th and 21st-century novels, as well as intersections of art and violence. Before beginning her PhD, she was involved with art education at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and open-access publishing in San Francisco.

Suzanne Webb

Creative Writer, Southwestern College

Suzanne Webb tells stories. Her stories mix, mesh, and merge alphabetic texts and images with her "plain-talkin' self." Her works have been featured in Computers & Composition, Calliope, and Harlot of the Arts. She seeks to reach academic and nonacademic audiences alike as she discusses the professional by using the personal.

Christopher White

Associate Professor, Governors State University

Christopher White is an Associate Professor of English at Governors State University, located south of Chicago. He has published articles on William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy in the Journal of Modern Literature, Southwestern American Literature, The Cormac McCarthy Journal, and Studies in the Novel.

Tom Winchester

Professor, Ringling College of Art and Design Department of Photography and Imaging

Tom Winchester has presented papers titled, "Himself's Figurants" and "Infinite Jest as an Art Object" at previous DFW Conventions. He currently teaches photography at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

Carly Yingst

Ph.D. Student, Harvard University

Carly Yingst is a first-year PhD student in English at Harvard University, studying 20th century American literature and the novel. She received her BA in English from Indiana University, where she wrote her thesis on motion and (dis)orientation in David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon.