The NVSA Diversity Mentorship Program seeks to enrich the field of Victorian studies by paving the way for a more inclusive professoriate that is representative of the populations we teach and serve. The program is especially geared towards graduate students of color, first-generation college students, students with disabilities, and trans/non-binary scholars whose work engages with critical race theory, postcolonial and transatlantic scholarship, disabilities studies, or related topics. Each cohort of mentors and mentees will provide a mutual support network while offering a platform to discuss professionalization issues and working towards equality in the field.

The program pairs graduate students with a faculty mentor in October. Students will receive feedback on a piece of scholarship and attend the annual NVSA conference in April with registration, travel, and lodging expenses defrayed. Students should submit one conference- or article-length paper and will receive comments from their mentor prior to the conference.

Applicants must be currently enrolled in an M.A. or Ph.D program, and the work submitted must be in the field of long nineteenth-century studies. Please note that an application to the Mentorship Program is wholly separate from a submission to present a paper at the NVSA conference itself. Graduate students are most welcome to apply to both, and their applications will be considered independently.

Click here for complete details of the NVSA Mentorship Program for 2023. Applications for 2023 are due October 1, 2022. Send inquiries to Mary Mullen at 


MENTEES 2022-2023

Mosunmola O. Adejo
(University of Florida)
Scholarly interests: Black Atlantic studies, empire studies, Victorian studies, and nineteenth-century studies

Sourav Chatterjee
(Columbia University)
Scholarly interests: Critical gender and sexuality studies, multimodality studies, material culture, South Asian literary and visual cultures, literary theory and cultural studies, global Anglophone and postcolonial Studies.

Jonathan Dick
(University of Pennsylvania)
Scholarly interests: The history and theory of the novel; realism; the history of rhetoric; the practice of literary criticism; Marxism; the environmental humanities

Anneliese Ng Ka Man
(University of Hong Kong)
Scholarly interests: Radicalism, utilitarianism, disinterestedness, socialism

Emma Mincks
(University of New Mexico)
Scholarly interests: Covid mask politics and invocation of 18th century racialization of orality in anti-mask discourse, Lakota and Irish transatlantic solidarity movements in resistance to extractivism.

Meghna Sapui
(University of Florida)
Scholarly interests: Nineteenth-century Anglophone literature; postcolonial studies; food Studies; affect studies; nineteenth-century ecologies

Haley Suh
(University of California, Irvine)
Scholarly interests: The history of novel and narrative theory in the nineteenth-century British context; psychoanalysis and critical Theory; empire Studies

Olivia Xu 
(Northwestern University)
Scholarly interests: Nineteenth-Century British literature; Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature; History of the Novel; Translation Theories; Literary Theory; Postcolonial Studies; Visual Arts and Nineteenth-century Aesthetic Theories.



Jungah Kim (Texas A&M)

Cherrie Kwok (U of Virginia)

Oishani Sengupta (U of Rochester)

Joisip Martincic (U of Exeter)

Shyam Patel (UC Irvine)

Dana Shaaban (Texas Christian U)

Olivia Xu (Northwestern U)


2020-21 Mentees:

Jong-keyong Kim is a PhD candidate at Texas Christian University, where he is working on a dissertation titled “Gothic Ontography: Changing Materialisms in the British Ghost Story, 1764-1913.” His research interests include Romanticism, Victorian ghost/detective stories, British Gothic literature, speculative realism, the material turn, posthumanism, digital humanities, genre studies, and character studies. His pedagogical interests lie in cognitive rhetoric, multimodal composition theory, and global citizenship education.
Samantha Merz is an MA student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include postcolonial theory, with a focus on decolonization and criticism of imperialism within the African continent and diaspora; critical race theory; editorial theory; authorship; gender and sexuality studies; and travel narratives, especially Victorian women’s travel writing.
Cheyenne Symonette is an MA student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include the fin-de-siècle, decadence, queer theory, and postcolonial theory. Her MA project traces how Ronald Firbank uses nineteenth-century Orientalist and anti-Black rhetoric to indicate deviant sexuality in the Afro-Caribbean setting of his Sorrow in Sunlight.
Tyler Talbott is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University. His dissertation project, “Plotting Ethno-Nationalism: Race and Novel Theories of the Nation in Victorian Fiction,” argues for the centrality of Victorian literature to constructing a genealogy of enthonational thought and feeling: rather than understanding ethnonationalism merely as a force outside of or surrounding literature and occasionally entering into its representational content, Talbott reads Victorian novels as agents which provide their own theories of the ethno-nation.

2019-20 Mentees:

Jacqueline Barrios is a PhD Candidate at UCLA’s Department of English studying London and 19C-British/American literature.  Her current project investigates London-Pacific transurban imaginaries—geographies of East Asian Pacific Rim entanglement with the British capital. She is also a member of UCLA’s Urban Humanihties Initiative, a research program linking architecture, urban planning and humanities scholars on city-based inquiry. Her interdisciplinary interests connects her research to her other role as a veteran public school teacher of underrepresented youth in South Los Angeles, for whom she directs LitLabs, fusing visual performing arts and public humanities to imagine new pedagogy for the 21st-century urban teen reader of the 19th century novel.

Xinqiang Chang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Rhode Island. He is currently working on his dissertation titled Fantasizing Reproduction: the Biologization of the Desire for Progress in Victorian Literature. His doctoral project investigates the significations of reproduction in Victorian literature through the lens of temporality.

Sara Chung is a third year Ph.D. student in English at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on the long nineteenth century and examines how the “human” is imagined with depictions of otherness in realist novels and gothic fiction. She is interested in finding possibilities of re-conceiving human ontology in fiction through critical race theories and lenses of the body and flesh, affect, and ghostliness. She has presented her research at several conferences, which include INCS, Victorian’s Insitute, and MLA.

Beth Jung Hightower is a Ph.D. student in English at Rutgers University specializing in the Victorian novel. Her research interests constellate around character, narration, psychoanalysis, trauma studies, and ethics.

Jessica Horvath Williams is a Ph.D. candidate in English at UCLA, and an affiliate of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and the co-chair of the Critical Disability Studies Collective at the University of Minnesota. She teaches and researches at the crossroads of 19th-century U.S. Literature and feminist disability studies, with emphases on questions of women’s writing, ableism, domestic labor, and literary form. She is a disability activist and educator in the Twin Cities who trains healthcare professionals on disability, race, class, and gender issues. Her work has appeared in Studies in American Fiction. 

Haejoo Kim is a PhD candidate in English at Syracuse University. Her dissertation focuses on “alternative” practices of health and wellness in nineteenth-century Britain, such as vegetarianism, hydropathy, and anti-vaccinationism. Her work on Walter Besant is published in Walter Besant: The Business of Literature and the Pleasures of Reform (Liverpool UP, 2019).

Sungmey Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University, having previously completed her MA at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Her dissertation examines mid- to late- nineteenth-century novels that nostalgically look backward to the pastoral mode to engage with shifting conceptions of Englishness in the period. Relying on anthropological and psychological discourses that gave rise to the Victorian novel’s continued imagination of the pastoral revival in the 1850s to 1890s, her project identifies the nostalgia for the pastoral as the site where racial, national, and imperial attitudes are expressed. She was awarded the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship to teach the course “Mind, Body, and Materialist Science in Victorian Literature.” She has also taught “The Literature of the Fallen Woman” in the English Department and courses in the Expository Writing Program.

Yangjung Lee is interested in the formation of national and imperial identity in nineteenth-century literature, especially in terms of Britain’s informal empire in Latin America. Her current research investigates the legacies of Britain’s compensated emancipation (1833) in the Atlantic world.

Christian Lewis is a Ph.D. student at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work mostly explores the intersections of disability, gender, and sexuality in Victorian literature, with a special focus on sensation fiction. He teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Christian is also a theater critic published in Huffington Post, Medium, Broadway World, and American Theatre Magazine. 

Eun (Sam) Shim is currently based in Seoul, Republic of Korea. She is undertaking an M.A. at Sogang University (Seoul), and is a Fulbright scholar. Her research interests include Victorian literature, gender and sexuality studies, Postcolonialism, and race, and she is passionate about challenging Eurocentrism within Victorian studies. Shim’s research lies at the intersections of gender and sexuality, and race and empire.

Sezen Unluonen is a PhD candidate at the Harvard English department. Her research is located at the intersection of nineteenth-century theories of art, novelistic practice and historiography. She is also the author of the Turkish novel, Kiymetli Seylerin Tanzimi (The Arrangement of Worthy Things).

Krithika Vachali is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at Cornell University. Her work looks at the interplay between collection practices, natural history, and British imperialism in the long nineteenth century. Recent projects have included creating an index for The Foreign Quarterly Review using digital text analysis methods to make the category of “the foreign” more legible to modern readers and work on botanical classification, gender, and imperialism situated in British botanical gardens in the nineteenth century.

2018-19 Mentees:

Xinqiang Chang; Beth Hightower; Sungmey Lee; Yangjung Lee; Christian Lewis; Austin Lim; Tani Loo; Margaret A. Miller; Leslie Pearson; Bianca Perez-Cancino; Eun (Sam) Shim; Yumi Dineen Shiroma; Sezen Unluonen; Krithika Vachali