COHORT #1: 2022-2023



Associate Professor of American Studies
Affiliate Faculty – Asian Studies Program

Professor Bhalla’s research focuses on the social, cultural, and community-building uses and values of multiethnic literatures. Other research interests include Asian American and South Asian American literary and cultural studies, Afro-Asian feminisms, ethnic American reading communities, and literary reception.

Professor Bhalla teaches both introductory and upper-level core courses in the American Studies department on Asian American literature and culture, multiethnic literatures and cultures, and post-1965 narratives of immigration to the United States. She received her PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.

You can learn more about Dr. Bhalla here:


Associate Professor of Spanish

Dr. Hogan studies the cultures, words, and images of contemporary Spain and Latin America. Within such diverse cultural production, she is most fascinated by the articulations of power, observing how symbols and narratives travel and shape-shift across texts, temporalities, and terrains. Her research specializes in contemporary Iberian cultural production with particular interest in the child and the patriarchal corpse as biopolitical figures, gynocentric filmic representations of and by women, and the uses of comedy and satire for social justice. Dr. Hogan’s broader areas of inquiry span time, place, discipline, and media from 17th century Spain to contemporary Latin American and involve transnational screen arts, intercultural pedagogy, and videographic criticism.

You can learn more about Dr. Hogan here:


Associate Professor
Chair, Theater Department

Eve Muson is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Theatre at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her professional directing credits include Inexcusable Fantasies (Strand Theater, Prague Festival Fringe, FringeNYC), Speech & Debate and Las Meninas (RepStage), Venus, Big River, and Peter Pan (Olney Theatre Center,) and many productions at Boston Playwrights Theatre, American Stage Festival, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is the principal director for GRRL Parts – UMBC’s festival of new plays by women and serves as a director in new play development at WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory.

She has been cited three times  for Outstanding Direction by the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for her work on Un Tango En La Noche(Boston University) and Las Meninas (UMBC,) and Girls on a Dirt Pile (UMBC.)

You can learn more about Professor Muson here:


Associate Professor
Media and Communication Studies

Elizabeth Patton is an Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the author of Easy Living: The Rise of the Home Office (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Her research focuses on discourses of gender, race, and class in the history of media, representations of urbanism and suburbanism in popular culture, and the impact of communication technologies on space and place. Liz’s current book project, Documenting Black Leisure as a Form of Resistance, examines the history of Black leisure and tourism in the US through media of the Jim Crow era. Recent research can be found in edited volumes such as Media Crossroads: Intersections of Space and Identity in Screen Cultures (Duke University Press, 2021) and Race and the Suburbs in American Film (SUNY Press, 2021). She currently serves as managing co-editor of Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture.

You can learn more about Dr. Patton here:


Associate Professor of English
Graduate Program Director
Affiliate Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies

Dr. Orianne Smith is Associate Professor of English, Graduate Program Director, and Affiliate Associate Professor of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, Her book, Romantic Women Writers, Revolution and Prophecy: Rebellious Daughters, 1786 -1826, was published with Cambridge University Press (2013; paperback 2015). This book received the First Book Award from the British Association of Romantic Studies in 2015. She is the editor of Mary Robinson’s Hubert de Sevrac (1796), published by Pickering & Chatto in 2009. Her current book project traces the gendered and socio-historical significance of the Romantic preoccupation with magic and witchcraft.

You can learn more about Dr. Smith here:





Associate Dean for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
College of Arts and Humanities

Dr. GerShun Avilez is a cultural studies scholar who specializes in contemporary African American and Black Diasporic literatures and visual cultures. His scholarship explores how questions of gender and sexuality inform artistic production. In addition, he works in the fields of political radicalism, spatial theory, gender studies, and medical humanities. He has published several books, and is currently working on a third project, which focuses on documenting queer history.

Throughout his work and teaching, Dr. Avilez is committed to studying a wide variety of art forms, including, drama, fiction, non-fiction, film, poetry, visual and performance art among others. He was the recipient of the Poorvu Award for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Teaching in 2011 (Yale University).

GerShun received his PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned a Graduate Certificate in Africana Studies. Dr. Avilez has held professorships at Yale University, UNC Chapel Hill, and a post-doctorate Fellowship at the University of Rochester.

You can learn more about Prof. Avilez here:

Dr. James Butler III

Associate Professor
Behavioral and Community Health

Dr. James Butler’s research is anchored in an ecological framework that incorporates individual, social structure, and environmental influences in eliminating health disparities and those related to tobacco use. He builds ongoing relationships with community members when developing interventions where the community participates in all aspects of the research process. He has extensive experience conducting community engaged research and health promotion activities – e.g., helping African Americans quit smoking and remain smoke free.

Professor Butler’s teaching is highlighted by the numerous teaching awards he receives. He values diversity and creativity in the classroom so that an effective educational environment is developed, where students’ voices are incorporated along with the course materials.

Dr. Butler holds a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, and a M.Ed. from Temple University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention and tobacco control at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

You can learn more about Dr. Butler here:


Crystal U. Davis

Assistant Professor
Dance, Performance and Scholarship
Head of MFA Dance Program
School of Theater, Dance and
Performance Studies

Crystal U. Davis is a dancer, movement analyst, and critical race theorist.  As a performer her work spans an array of genres from modern dance companies including Notes in Motion to East Indian dance companies including Nayikas Dance Theater Company to her own postmodern choreography at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and Dance New Amsterdam.

Her creative work centers around the incongruities present between our daily behaviors and belief systems. She has conducted ethnographic research in Rajasthan, India on the relationship between religious beliefs and both creative and pedestrian movement. Her current research explores implicit bias in dance through a critical theory lens and how identity politics of privilege manifest in the body. Some of her recent publications include “Tendus and Tenancy: Black Dancers and the White Landscape of Dance Education” in the Palgrave Handbook of Race and Arts in Education and “Laying New Ground: Uprooting White Privilege and Planting Seeds of Equity and Inclusion” in Dance Education and Responsible Citizenship: Promoting Civic Engagement through Effective Dance Pedagogies.

You can learn more about Prof. Davis here:

Dr. Yi Ting Huang

Associate Professor
Department of Hearing and
Speech Sciences

Yi Ting Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Harvard University and trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Cognitive Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Huang’s research focuses on how young language learners acquire the ability to coordinate linguistic representations during real-time comprehension. She explores this question by using eye-tracking methods to examine how the moment-to-moment changes that occur during processing influence the year-to-year changes that emerge during development. She has applied this approach to examine a variety of topics including word recognition, application of grammatical knowledge, and the generation of pragmatic inferences. Other interests include the relationship between language and concepts, language comprehension and production, and language development and literacy.  She is currently a member of the Maryland Language Science Center and the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.

You can learn more about Dr. Huang here:

Dr. Sahar Khamis

Associate Professor

Dr. Sahar Khamis is an expert on Arab and Muslim media, and the former Head of the Mass Communication and Information Science Department in Qatar University. She is a former Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago.

She is the co-author of the books: Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace(Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Egyptian Revolution 2.0: Political Blogging, Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and the co-editor of Arab Women’s Activism and Socio-Political Transformation: Unfinished Gendered Revolutions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Additionally, she authored and co-authored numerous book chapters, journal articles and conference papers, regionally and internationally.

Dr. Khamis is a media commentator and analyst, a public speaker, a human rights commissioner in the Human Rights Commission in Montgomery County, Maryland, and a radio host, who presents a monthly radio show on “U.S. Arab Radio” (the first Arab-American radio station broadcasting in the U.S. and Canada).

You can learn more about Dr. Khamis at:

Dr. Nancy Mirabal

Associate Professor
American Studies

Nancy Raquel Mirabal is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies and Director of the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program. Mirabal is an historian who has published widely in the fields of  Afro-diasporic, gentrification, and spatial studies. She is the author of Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1823-1957 (NYU Press, 2017) and co-editor of Keywords for Latina/o Studies (NYU Press, 2017), winner of a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. She is currently working on two projects: Whiteness as Gentrification and a Radical Lens: Visual Culture and the Racial Politics of Place in Washington DC, 1973-1999.

She is a recipient of several grants and awards, including a Scholar in Residence Fellowship, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, University Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellowship, U.C. Berkeley; Social Science Research Council International Migration Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, and Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. In 2021 Mirabal was named a University of Maryland Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year.

You can learn more about Dr. Mirabal here:

Dr. Catherine Steele

Associate Professor

Dr. Catherine Knight Steele is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland – College Park and was the Founding Director of the African American Digital Humanities Initiative (AADHum). She now directs the Black Communication and Technology lab as a part of the Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism Network. Dr. Steele also serves as the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Digital Studies in the Arts and Humanities.

Her research focuses on race, gender, and media, with a specific emphasis on African American culture and discourse and new media. Dr. Steele’s research on the Black blogosphere, digital discourses of resistance and joy, and digital Black feminism has been published in such journals as Social Media + Society,Feminist Media Studies, and Television and New Media. Her book Digital Black Feminism (NYU Press), examines the relationship between Black women and technology, and was the 2022 recipient of the Association of Internet Research 2022 Nancy Baym Book Award.

You can learn more about Dr. Steele here:





Associate Director & Curator of the Lillie Carroll Jackson
Civil Rights Museum

Dr. Iris Leigh Barnes is currently the Associate Director and Curator of the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum in Baltimore, which is an offsite unit of Morgan State University. She earned her doctorate in History with a concentration in African American and Twentieth Century United States History, her master’s degree in Museum Studies and Historical Preservation, and her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Art Education. She has received numerous awards: the Excellence in Exhibitions and Programming Award from the Maryland Historical Trust, a Diversity Fellowship from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the John Kinard SEMC JIMI Award from the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture, among them. Dr. Barnes’ scholarship interests range from Civil War to Civil Rights with a particular focus on the tenacity, resilience, and brilliance of African Americans who survived and thrived against the odds.


Associate Professor
History and Geography

Dr. Mark Barnes is a human geographer. His faculty appointment is in History, Geography, and Museum Studies at Morgan State University. Informing his scholarship and teaching are perspectival views from hazard, global environmental change, economic, urban, and transport geography subfields. Equity, mobility, sustainability, and environmental justice interventions relating to the causes and consequences of weather and climate extremes form the basis of his work. Dr. Barnes co-chairs the Geospatial Collaborative at Morgan and directs its Environmental Studies Program whose aim is to bridge the gap between social and physical science disciplines together for more robust solutions to environmental matters. His graduate degrees in Geography and Urban Studies are from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Temple University, respectively. He majored in Geography and Planning at West Chester University. Dr. Barnes is a proud Philadelphian and life member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.


Assistant Professor
History and Geography

Professor Herbert Brewer is an intellectual and cultural historian of eighteenth and nineteenth century African American life and culture. His research has focused on the African American Diaspora in the Atlantic World. He is currently writing a biography of the Virginia-born Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia’s first president. He has taught history at the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and at Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he now serves as an Assistant Professor of History and Coordinator of the African American and African Diaspora Studies Program. Dr. Brewer holds a PhD from the University of Maryland at College Park, and was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Mellon Fellowship for the Study of Slavery at Georgetown University. His scholarship has appeared in a variety of publications and he is a co-author of the Guide to the History of Slavery in Maryland.


Assistant Dean
Research and Community Partnerships
School of Education and Urban Studies

Tracy R. Rone, Ph.D. is Assistant Dean, Research and Community Partnerships, and Associate Professor in the Department of Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy in the School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State University. Since joining Morgan State University in 2007, she previously served as Interim Director of Innovation and Community Partnerships in the School of Education and Urban Studies, and as Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Urban Research, where she also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She is trained as a linguistic anthropologist.


Assistant Professor of History

Felicia Y. Thomas is an Assistant Professor of History at Morgan State University. Ms. Thomas has broad research interests in African American history, women’s and gender history, history of colonial slavery, labor history, and religious history. Her monograph, Everywhere, Nowhere: Black Women’s Emotional, Intellectual, and Spiritual Labor in Early New England is under review with the University of Massachusetts Press. Ms. Thomas has received research support from the New York Historical Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is also the recipient of an Innovation in Teaching Grant, multiple Benjamin Quarles Faculty Fellowships, and a Provost Innovation Grant from Morgan State University. Ms. Thomas’ honors include selection for the inaugural cohort of Academic Women Amplified: Faculty Writing Accelerator Program.