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College of Arts and Sciences


2016-2017 Bilinski Fellows

Craig E. Bacon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His dissertation addresses interpretative issues surrounding Kant’s idea of the highest good, uncovering structural similarities in Kant’s discussions of the highest good from 1785-1793 and arguing for the important, though limited, role that God and the immortality of the soul play in relation to the highest good. Craig’s broader research interests include the connection between morality and happiness in non-utilitarian, non-eudaimonistic moral theories, the moral foundations of religious belief, Philosophical hermeneutics, and Neoplatonism. He has presented his research at meetings of The International Kant Congress, The North American Kant Society, and the regional South Carolina Society for Philosophy. Prior to studying Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, Craig earned his B.A. in Religion from Columbia International University and his A.A. in Liberal Arts from Tidewater Community College. At USC, he has taught introductory courses in Philosophy, in Logic, and in Ethics.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Derek Bedenbaugh is a Ph.D. candidate in 19th Century British Literature at the University of South Carolina. He graduated from Newberry College with a B.A. in English and Religion in 2011. During his time at USC, he has taught courses in Critical Reading and Composition, Rhetoric, and British Literature. He is the recipient of the Cile Moise Teaching Award, the Richey Teaching Award, and the Edward Nolan Graduate Fellowship. His research explores the interplay between disability and gender in the Victorian novel. His article on the American suffragist and novelist Julia Ward Howe appears in the Spring 2015 edition of Victorian Studies. Derek is grateful for the Bilinski Fellowship’s assistance in helping his dissertation reach its full potential.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Megan Bennett is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina, where she also is completing a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies.  She earned a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Megan’s research examines the intersections between the culture of anti-communist repression during the Cold War and post-war attitudes towards children and family, with a specific interest in American Jewish history.  Her dissertation focuses on the children of convicted Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and the public and legal battles which emerged over their care following their parents’ arrests.

Megan is grateful for the support of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship Program.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Christopher J. Farina is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics Program. His research focuses on the processing and acquisition grammatical tenses by instructed, adult nonnative speakers of English, with particular focus on the present perfect (e.g., have written). A common theme found in his work is the application of formal linguistic theory to nonnative speaker data, which he uses to investigate language development and the psychological factors that constrain it. Following this theme allows him to investigate and advance linguistic theory and to develop and assess research-based teaching tools. He has presented his research at several conferences, including the Second Language Research Forum and Southeastern Conference on Linguistics. Prior to becoming a Bilinski Fellow, he received the Carol Myers-Scotton Award for his contributions to the Linguistics Program, was a USC Presidential Fellow, and chaired the organizing committee of an international conference in his field. Christopher received a M.A. in Linguistics here at USC and an H.A.B. in Classical Philology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. While at USC, he has taught courses in Language Science, Language Conflicts and Language Rights Issues, English as a Second Language, and English Composition; he has also served as a language tutor for native and nonnative speakers of English and an accreditation consultant.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Erin Holmes is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina, presently completing a dissertation entitled “Within the House of Bondage: Constructing and Negotiating the Plantation Landscape in the British Atlantic World, 1670-1820” under the direction of Dr. Woody Holton. She completed her B.A. in History at the College of William and Mary, along with a certificate in Early American History and Museum Studies, before beginning her doctoral work at USC. In addition to working on her Ph.D., she has completed a certificate in Historical Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management through the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina. Holmes’s work compares the built environment of the plantation in Virginia, South Carolina, and Barbados during the long eighteenth century, exploring how slavery shaped those landscapes and their inhabitants, paving the way for the creation of a distinctly American identity and the American Revolution itself. She utilizes the extant and archaeological landscapes of the plantation she studies to challenge traditional narratives about their evolution and significance. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of South Carolina, the Department of History at USC, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Andrew Kettler is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at the University of South Carolina. Prior to entering the Graduate School at South Carolina, Andrew received his M.A. in History from the University of Nebraska-Omaha for his thesis, “The Deconstruction of European Odorphobia on the Sensory Border of the American Frontier.” He continues to research the use of olfactory language in the making of racial, class, and gendered metaphors that were used to assert forms of state, religious, and patriarchal power during the Enlightenment. Andrew has recently published some of these original findings in Senses and Society and has a forthcoming essay in the Journal of American Studies. He has also published numerous book reviews relating to his historical interests in the slave trade, colonial Latin America, and the five senses. In recent years, Andrew has presented at numerous academic conferences including: the Popular Culture Association, the British Association for American Studies, the History of Science Society, the Southern Historical Association, and the American Comparative Literature Association. His research has been funded through an Atkinson-Wyatt Fellowship, a Ceny Walker Fellowship, and a Wilfred and Rebecca Calcott Award. His forthcoming dissertation, “Odor and Discipline in the Americas,” focuses on the importance of an aromatic subaltern class consciousness in the making of Atlantic era resistance to the racialized olfactory discourses of state, religious, and slave masters.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Sam Lackey is a Ph.D. candidate in Nineteenth Century American Literature at USC.  His research interests include depictions of crime on the early American frontier and the development of specific frontier bandit character types in antebellum U.S. fiction.  He received B.A. degrees in English and Film Studies from USC in 2006 and a M.A. in English from the College of Charleston in 2009.  Since returning to USC to pursue his doctorate, he has been the recipient of the Myerson Fellowship in American Literature and the Richey Teaching Award.  Over the last seven years, he has taught courses in Critical Reading and Composition, Rhetoric and Composition, American Literature, and Technical Writing as a graduate student at USC and an adjunct instructor at Coastal Carolina University and Trident Technical College. He is greatly appreciative of the opportunity granted by the Bilinski Educational Foundation to devote more time to his dissertation.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):


Trevor C. Meyer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, focusing on Rhetoric and Composition. His research focuses on the rhetorical problem of violence, and his dissertation examines the theory and pedagogy of martial arts to develop an affirmative, global-material approach to conflict in argumentation, writing pedagogy, and writing program administration. Other projects in this vein include the rhetoric of jihad and performative agency in professional wrestling. He has presented his work at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, International Society for the History of Rhetoric, and the Rhetoric Society of America.  

Before attending USC, Trevor earned a B.A. in English, a minor in Film, a B.A. in Philosophy, and a M.A. in English from the University of Northern Colorado, where he taught composition and worked as a writing tutor. At USC, he has taught composition, business writing, and information literacy, and he has served for two years as an Assistant Director of First-Year English. He is deeply grateful for this fellowship.
Link to Dissertation Abstract (PDF):