Graduate Students 2018-19

French PhD

Emma Ben Hadj

Emma, native speaker of French coming from Cannes, is a PhD student in the French and Film program. She graduated from Université Paris 10 and worked as an audiovisual translator for French television. She was also a Fulbright Foreign Language Assistant in Wisconsin for a year. Later she received her MA in French from the University of North Texas where she taught French as a Teaching Fellow and an Adjunct for three years. Her work focuses on cinema with an emphasis on horror films in France and in the United States. She occasionally writes movie reviews for journals.

Maxime Bey-Rozet

Maxime Bey-Rozet is a Ph.D. candidate in Film Studies with a concentration in French. He holds a BA in English and Spanish Literatures from the Université catholique d''Angers, and an MA in Film Studies from the Université de Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne. His current research interests lie in the representation of bodily violence in French cinema and literature during the first half of the 20th century.

Matthew Blair

Originally from the South, Matthew (Matt) Blair received his BA at the University of Tennessee in 2016 as a double major in French and History, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance studies. He is now at Pitt working toward a PhD with an MA en route in French Literature. His research interests include Medieval Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. When he isn''t studying, Matt likes to cook, read, watch films and explore new places around Pittsburgh.

Jennifer Boum Make
Grad Conference Coordinator

Jennifer is a French native speaker. She received both her BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. After a year of teaching in Shakespeare country, she first came to Pitt as an exchange in the fall of 2012 and is currently in the second year of the PhD in French literature with MA en route.

Her Master’s thesis is entitled: “The Individual in Space before and after 9/11”. Her primary interests in spatial aesthetics, urban spaces and the spatial construction of the individual continue with questions of temporal and spatial crossings and their impact on iterations of nationhood. Jennifer’s primary research interests are focused on the exploration of conceptual and theoretical intersections between Caribbean and Mediterranean literatures, especially Algerian and Moroccan.

Emily Bryan
Faculty Liason, FRIT GSO

Emily is a French PhD student with a concentration in Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Spanish, Italian). Her current research examines both literary and theoretical responses to historical moments of 'ethical rupture' in 20th-century French, francophone and Hispanic contexts. By putting certain writers and thinkers in dialogue with one another, Emily intends to explore the ways in which literature functions to (re)interpret, (re)construct, and (re)order social ideals of justice.

Yacine Chemsii


Cole Cridlin
Business Manager, FRIT GSO

Cole Cridlin is in the PhD program with MA en-route.  He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007 and holds degrees in English, French, and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies.  He is most interested in sexuality studies, more specifically the intersections of geography and identity formation.  When not studying, Cole can likely be found doing one of the following: binding handmade books, reading poetry, drinking a cup of tea, or growing something.

Caitlin Dahl
A&S GSO Representative
Caitlin Dahl received her BA in 2015 as a double major in French and German at Montana State University. She is now pursuing a PhD with MA en route in French Literature. Her research interests include Gender and Sexuality studies, specifically Women’s studies and the construction of identity. Outside of reading and studying, she spends time traveling, looking up the etymologies of words in the dictionary, socializing, dancing, cooking, gardening, and writing. 

Jonathan Devine
Graduate-Faculty Seminar Coordinator

Jonathan originally hails from sunny Brisbane, Australia, and graduated with an honors degree in French linguistics (with minors in Classics and International Relations) from the University of Queensland in 2012. He then completed his M.A. in French Language and Literature from Miami University in Ohio in 2015, after which he spent a year in France as a lecteur d’anglais, where he taught spoken English at the Université de Nantes. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D., and is particularly interested in Film Studies, namely the role of psychoanalysis and gender in films from France and the Francophone world. Jonathan is also a keen traveler, and hopes to further explore the many facets of North America during his time at Pitt.

Allison Dorman
Allison Dorman is studying for the French PhD. She is from Columbia, South Carolina. She has a Master''s in French from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Bachelor of Science in International Business from the College of Charleston. She is interested in 20th century theater and film and collective memory of political events. She taught English in the TAPIF program in Franche-Comté in 2012-2013 and studied abroad at l''Ecole de Management Strasbourg in 2011. Last summer she assisted in elementary school English teaching in Magdeburg, Saxon-Anhalt.  She enjoys cooking and travelling in her spare time.

Brendan Ezvan

Brendan Ezvan is in his third year of the PhD with an M.A. en route. He received his B.A. in French and English (with a concentration in British literature) from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri (2014). His principal research interests include issues of gender and performance in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century novel and theater as well as the traditions of the fantastic and the absurd.


Donald Joseph
President, FRIT GSO
Grad Conference Coordinator
Donald (Don), originally from Texas, received his BA at the University of North Texas as a double major in cognitive psychology (neuroscience focus) and French. He is a first year PhD with MA en route in French Literature. His research interests include Francophone Literature, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and queer male identity in the Maghreb. In his free time he likes to travel, watch films, learn languages and discover Pittsburgh.


Phoebe Marshall

Phoebe Marshall is a PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh in Film and Media Studies with a concentration in French. After earning her BA in French from Wellesley College, she received her first MA from the University of Chicago in the Humanities in Film and Media Studies and her second MA from the University of Pittsburgh in French Language and Literature.  Her interest in political and activist cinema focuses on experimental documentary, alternative moving-image logistics models, and political philosophy. Phoebe adores her dog, Henry.


Patoimbasba Nikiema
Student/Faculty Conference Coordinator

Patoimbasba Nikiema is in the French and Francophone PhD program. He graduated from West Virginia University in 2016 and holds an MA in French. His areas of interest are among others Maghreb, Antilles and Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa Feminist Literature, Postcolonial and Francophone Africa war literature, African diaspora literature. He is also a student in the program of Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies where he is interested in the questions of Identity and Intersectionality. In a previous life, Patoimbasba Nikiema was interested in Renaissance and Seventeenth Century Literature.


Eleonor Remacle

Eléonore is a French native speaker. She is in Pitt for the year 2018-2019 as an exchange student. She received her BA from a Cinema School in Nantes in 2014 where she specialized in Cinematography. She spent one year in Cork, Ireland teaching French in a Language School. Last year, she was in her first year of Master in the University of Paris-Nanterre studying the teaching of English as a foreign language. 


John Trenton

John is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, but received his BS in the Recording Industry from Middle Tennessee State University where he minored in French, Mathematics and Electro-Acoustics.  During his studies at MTSU, he participated in an exchange program and interned as an engineer for France Bleu Cotentin.  After graduating he was a language assistant at Lycée Boissy d’Anglas in Annonay, France.  During his travels, John nourished a taste for the culinary world and a strong interest in colonial politics and post-colonial identity. After working in the culinary field for several years, he decided to resume his studies and graduated from Arizona State University with his BA in French and is currently examining the rural and urban spaces affect the figuration of Algerian national identity and nationalism in Algerian literature of French expression.

Paul Wallace

Originally from the small town of Fairmont in West Virginia, Paul studied Foreign Languages (French and Spanish) at West Virginia University and received his BA in 2009. He stayed on at WVU for another two years during which he finished his MA in French Literature. He is interested by almost everything to do with French literature and culture and is making a mighty effort to coalesce these varied curiosities into a more focused corpus. In his spare time, Paul enjoys reading (obviously), camping, and dabbling in creative fiction.


Italian MA

Larissa Acres

Larissa, a native of Washington D.C., is an MA student in the Italian program. She graduated from Saint Lawrence University in New York with a BA in Studio Art and Art History, and later received an MA from Middlebury College in Italian Culture, where she did her coursework in California and Italy. Her interests are in the intersection of text and image, specifically during the novecento. 

Eliza Jermyn


Eric Johnson

Eric, a native of Pittsburgh, is in his first year of the Italian MA program. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a BA in Economics and Italian. After graduating, Eric spent two years overseas—primarily in Italy—before moving back to Pittsburgh. Once back, he worked for a start-up for an additional two years before coming to Pitt. When he’s not in the classroom, Eric enjoys watching and playing all sorts of sports, going to shows, and playing various instruments.


Matteo Talotta
Vice President, FRIT GSO
Matteo Talotta is a Master’s student in the Italian program. He is an Italian-Canadian from Woodbridge, Ontario, just north of Toronto. He received his HBA in Italian studies and Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2017. He is interested in Italian politics and culture. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and listening to music.