In recent years, Bowdoin College has been fortunate to create positions for a number of postdoctoral teaching fellows. These fellowships are connected to a variety of programs, including the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, endowed positions such as the Doherty postdoctoral fellowships in marine biology, and grant-funded positions, such as the National Science Foundation-funded Mathematics and Climate Research Network position. In 2011-12, we welcomed the first cohort of postdocs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Postdoctoral fellows form an important part of our faculty, allowing Bowdoin to offer exciting new classes in emerging fields or new sub-disciplines, as well as creating important connections to graduate programs and advisors for many of our students contemplating graduate study. The Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs works closely with academic departments and programs to provide support for our postdoctoral fellows by fostering research, mentoring teaching, and helping them prepare for academic employment following their time at Bowdoin.
Cassandra Borges, B.A. (Indiana), Ph.D. (Michigan), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Classics, a classicist and an inveterate Midwesterner, received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Cassandra’s research deals with classical scholarship in antiquity (primarily on Homer) and Greek papyrology.
Dana Byrd, B.A. (Yale), M.A. (Delaware), Ph.D. (Yale), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History, specializes in nineteenth-century American art and focuses on the northern depiction of the Southern plantation during the Civil War and Reconstruction. During fall semester, Dana will teach an art history first-year seminar entitled “Material Life in Early America.”
Megan Cook, B.A. (Michigan), M.A. (New York), Ph.D. (Pennsylvania), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in English, will teach courses on Middle English literature and Chaucer, as well as a freshman seminar. She received her Ph.D. in 2011, specializing in medieval and renaissance literature, and has previously taught at Pennsylvania University and Rutgers University.
Jonathan Combs-Schilling, B.A. (Columbia), M.A., Ph.D. (California-Berkeley), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Italian, specializes in Italian literary culture of the late medieval and Early Modern periods, with a particular focus on the history of pastoral. Jonathan will be teaching introductory Italian, advanced Italian through music, and a course on representations of the sea.
David Howlett, B.S.E. (Central Missouri), M.A. (Missouri-Kansas City), Ph.D. (Iowa), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion, is a historian of religion in North America and researches pilgrimage in the modern world and Mormon history and culture. He serves on the board of editors for the Journal of Mormon History and has worked as a visiting assistant professor of religious studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.
Lisa Mangiamele, B.A. (Colgate), Ph.D. (North Carolina-Chapel Hill), Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience has studied the neural basis of female mating preferences in Central American tungara frogs. She is a postdoctoral fellow working with Prof Richmond Thompson in the Psychology department, and funded in part by the National Science Foundation, interested in researching the rapid effects of sex hormones on brain and behavior and in working with Bowdoin students in both the lab and classroom.
Aba Mbirika, B.A. (Sonoma State), M.S., Ph.D. (Iowa), Postdoctoral Fellow in Mathematics, finished his Bachelor’s degree at Sonoma State University in Northern California, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in Spring 2010. He is a combinatorial representation theorist, using combinatorial methods to study intrinsic properties of certain mathematical objects, such as the topological properties of an abstract algebraic variety, in which the particular combinatorial method he uses involves polynomial ring ideals generated by symmetric functions.
Nyama McCarthy-Brown, B.A. (Spelman), M.F.A. (Michigan), Ph.D. (Temple), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Performance, is originally from San Francisco, but comes to Bowdoin from Philadelphia, where she completed her Ph.D. at Temple University. Her current research interests include people of color in American concert dance, and cultural diversity in dance departments.
Casey Meehan, B.S. (Wisconsin-Madison), M.Ed. (Minnesota-Twin Cities), Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Education, arrived in Maine from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and 5-month-old son. His Ph.D. explores how U.S. high school curricula and teachers conceptualize the topic of global warming.
Durba Mitra, B.A. (Washington University-St. Louis), Ph.D. candidate (Emory), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender and Women's Studies and History, is completing her Ph.D. at Emory University in the department of history. Her project, entitled Restraining Desire: Women and the Regulation of Sexuality in Colonial East India, focuses on the idea of the prostitute in social and political thought in modern India.
Sarah Montross, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Museum of Art.
Edward Muston, B.A. (Toronto), M.A., Ph.D. (Princeton), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in German, focuses his research on German and Austrian literature written after 1945, particularly new forms of autobiographical writing. Ed will be teaching courses on advanced German culture, contemporary Austrian literature, as well as a lecture course on his second research area, namely, the intersections between sport and society in German speaking countries throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Laura Premack, B.A. (Wesleyan), Ed.M. (Harvard), M.A., Ph.D. candidate (North Carolina-Chapel Hill), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies and Latin American Studies, will be teaching seminars on Afro-Brazilian culture; global Pentecostalism; and demons and deliverance in the Atlantic world. A global historian who does comparative and transnational work, Laura will be continuing her work on the global Pentecostal movement in Brazil and Nigeria, as well as beginning new projects on the Spiritist publishing industry in Brazil and on the cultural history of exorcism.
Trevor Rivers, B.S. (Western Washington), Ph.D. (Cornell), Doherty Marine Biology Postdoctoral Scholar, is interested in the role vision plays in the environment, especially in marine systems. At Bowdoin, Trevor will be looking at how bioluminescence affects survivorship to predation in scale worms, as well as how man-made light pollution affects near-shore fouling community structure.
Rajarshi Saha, B.S. (Bates), Ph.D. (North Carolina-Chapel Hill), Ed Lorenz Postdoctoral Fellow in the Mathematics of Climate Change. After graduating from Bates College, he went to UNC Chapel Hill where he studied how the Earth's climate behaved in the past. Raj is interested in understanding processes that take place in very long time scales.
Elizabeth Shesko, A.B. (Bowdoin), Ph.D. (Duke), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Latin American Studies, teaches courses on Latin America and is currently working a manuscript that explores the effects of military conscription on state formation and indigenous identity in early twentieth-century Bolivia.
Wendy Thompson-Taiwo, B.A. (California-Riverside), Ph.D. (Maryland-College Park), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies, was awarded a postdoctoral associateship at the University of Minnesota after receiving her Ph.D. She spent the last academic year as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Clarkson University. Wendy’s current research project focuses on the everyday lives of Nigerian traders in China.
Kristina Toland, B.A., M.A. (Ohio State), Ph.D. (Northwestern), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Russian, worked at the American University of Central Asia where she has taught courses on Russian literature, cultural history and visual culture. Her scholarly interests include autobiographical writing, visual arts, Russian modernism, and literary theory. Kristina is currently working on projects concerning contemporary identity politics in the post-Soviet space.