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College of Arts & Sciences
First-Year English


Director: Holly Crocker

Holly Crocker is Professor of English, and her research interests include medieval and early modern literature, feminist-, affect, and posthumanist theory. She recently completed a book, The Matter of Virtue: Women’s Ethical Action from Chaucer to Shakespeare, and she’s currently co-editing an essay collection (with Glenn Burger), Affect, Feeling, Emotion: The Medieval Turn. Holly also authored Chaucer’s Visions of Manhood, and edited Comic Provocations: Exposing the Corpus of Old French Fabliaux. She co-edited Medieval Literature: Criticism and Debate (with D. Vance Smith), and a special issue of postmedieval, entitled “Premodern Flesh” (with Kathryn Schwarz). Her articles have appeared in The Chaucer ReviewExemplaria (twice), The Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern StudiesMedieval Feminist ForumNew Medieval Literatures, Shakespeare QuarterlyStudies in the Age of ChaucerStudies in English Literature, 1500-1900, and numerous edited collections. Holly believes that FYE is the most important introduction students can get into the value of a humanities education—by learning to read and write at the college level, students gain the opportunity to approach difficult, cross-disciplinary problems in new and dynamic ways that will serve during and beyond their university careers. Accordingly, she enjoys working with the excellent FYE team of administrators and instructors to find new ways to enrich the intellectual experience for everyone involved!!

Associate Director: Nicole Fisk 

Nicole Fisk has worked as Associate Director of First-Year English since graduating with her Ph.D in 2007. She specialized in 19th-century British Literature and has published on the Brontës and their relationship to women novelists of the 18th century. She has a particular fondness, though, for teaching freshmen the critical thinking, reading and writing skills they'll need to be successful in college and beyond. For the past few years, Nicole has taught themed ENGL 101 and 102 courses for Capstone Scholars, often rotating between pop culture series like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter or Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games as subject texts. Each Halloween, you may see her or her students in costume (e.g., Dr. Fisk as Effie Trinket).

Assistant Director: Katelyn Porubsky


 Katelyn Porubsky (M.A. University of Iowa, 2011) is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in English with a focus on 19th c. British literature. As an AD for FYENGL, she constructed the English 101 syllabus for fall 2016 and is helping to edit The Carolina Reader for English 101 for fall 2017. Her dissertation focuses on what she calls “sympathetic barriers;” sympathetic barriers, she posits, read as narrative failures, since the reader’s identification with the text’s protagonist has been obstructed. But through this very obstruction, she argues, readers come to better understand the ins and outs of sympathy, or why they feel compelled to sympathize at all. More generally, she approaches Victorian literature from the theoretical perspectives of Marxism, feminism, and affect studies. Katelyn has presented papers at the British Women Writers Conference, the Victorian Institute Conference, the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, and the Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference. 

Assistant Director: Hannah Huber

Hannah Huber is a doctoral candidate in English with an emphasis in American Literature. Her research interests include American realism and naturalism from 1865-1914, medical studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Specifically, Hannah is interested in how modernity redefined conceptions of sleep phenomena in relation to space, time, identity and genre. She serves as the Executive Coordinator of the Frank Norris Society and has presented her work in the study of literary naturalism at the American Literature Association's annual conference. As Assistant Director of First-Year English, Hannah primarily specializes in online content and technical support. 

Assistant Director: Ethan Knight

Ethan Knight (M.A. Texas A&M University, 2013) is a third-year Ph.D. student in English with a focus on 19th-century American literature. As an Assistant Director of First Year English, he works primarily with English 101 materials and instruction. His research interests include the intersection of gender and violence, particularly in the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as transatlantic constructions and representations of masculinity. Ethan has presented papers at the American Literature Association Conference, the Southeastern Women's Studies Conference, and the Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference. Ethan is also the co-host of a podcast focusing on the AFI's 100 Best Movies list, called "There Will Be Spoilers: 100 Films... 100 Podcasts." He has a spunky little dog named Queequeg.

Assistant Director: Amber Lee


Amber Lee obtained her undergraduate in English from Clemson University, and her MFA from Emerson College in fiction. She is currently a fourth-year Phd candidate in Rhetoric and Composition. She has served as the secretary, vice president, and president of RSA@USC (Rhetoric Society of America at USC) for the past three years, respectively. She has co-coordinated the annual Carolina Rhetoric Conference, most recently held at University of South Carolina in February 2017. Her academic interests include memory and rhetorical theory. She is currently working on her dissertation and serving as one of the Assistant Directors of First year English at University of South Carolina.