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VMNS Graduate Students 2020-2022

Medieval Icelandic Studies & Viking and Medival Norse Studies orientation meeting August 29, 2020. This year's group photo taken (in the rain) with the appropriate social distancing in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. — See also our graduate students in Medieval Icelandic Studies.

Alyse Marie Leonard (US)

  • Medieval Studies, BA, University of Chicago, 2020

As an undergraduate, I came from an interdisciplinary background that approached the Vikings from external contexts. For further research, I am interested in how the Vikings and their medieval successors had their own social paradigms influenced by the cultures they interacted with.

Audronė Gedžiūtė (Lithuania)

  • Philology, Humanities, Ph.D., Vilniaus universitetas, 2014
  • English Linguistics, MA, Vilniaus universitetas, 2009
  • English Philology, BA, Vilniaus universitetas, 2007

In my earlier studies, I focused on perception of death in Celtic mythology and its reflections in various literary genres. I intend to deepen my knowledge of Norse mythology, explore the possible impact of Christian notions of death on early Scandinavian literature and study interaction between oral and literary traditions.

Bridget Catherine Leary (UK)

  • Classics, BA, University College London, 2010

My background is in Latin and Ancient Greek language and literature, and combining this with Modern Greek led me to an interest in comparative linguistics. An interest in medieval Norse literature and Germanic philology brought me to Iceland, where I want to extend my linguistic knowledge by studying Old Icelandic.

Cecily Fleur Warrilow (UK)

  • History, BA (Hons.), King’s College London, 2019

At undergraduate level, I studied history; with special emphasis on the decline of the Roman Empire and emerging successor states. This led to an interest in the development of language alongside structures of law, religion and ideas of nationhood; which I am hoping to explore further for my master’s thesis.

Ceilidh Elisabeth Burdick (US)

  • History, BA, Salem State University, 2019
  • Art + Design, BA, Salem State University, 2019

My undergraduate concentration was on museum studies and European history, specifically focusing on Northern Europe, with my thesis exploring the various roles of women in the Viking Age. I am interested in further exploring that topic, as well as regional identity, religion, trade, expansion into eastern Europe, and archaeology.

Colin Beowulf Mostert Fisher (US)

  • Folkloristics, BA, Háskóli Íslands, 2020
  • Medieval and Early Modern Studies, BA, Binghamton University, 2014

I received my undergraduate degree in medieval and early modern studies from Binghamton University. I have spent the past four years studying Icelandic and folkloristics at the University of Iceland. The early medieval north has always fascinated me as a locus of tension between the historical record and the (sometimes intentional) misreading of it. I am interested in reception studies, medievalisms, the abuse of the image of the medieval North by modern right-wing movements, and the gulfs between textual and archaeological evidence in medieval and Iron Age depictions of Óðinn.

Connor Bradley (US)

  • Anthropology, BA, University of Florida, 2018
  • Spanish, BA, University of Florida, 2018

As an undergraduate, my interests revolved primarily around sociolinguistics, archaeology, and medieval history. Through this program, I hope to investigate the merging of physical and mythological landscapes, the political and social organization of Viking-Age Norway and Denmark, and the settlement patterns of northern Norway between the 9th and 12th centuries.

Dillon Christopher Martone (US)

  • English, BA, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 2020

My undergraduate work was centered primarily on creative writing, particularly that of fantasy-fiction. Since Norse mythology serves as the basis for my genre of preference, I am eager to study the fornaldarsögur as well as medieval Nordic religion and witchcraft in order to craft more impactful fantasy epics.

Ema Grey Bushnell (US)

  • Archaeology, BA, University of Washington, 2015

My academic interests surround the archaeology of subarctic island communities and application of queer theory in archaeological practice. My BA thesis studied the effects of insularity on tool production in the North Pacific, and I now hope to study the intersection of cosmology and human-environment interaction in the North Atlantic.

Emilie Christina Colliar (UK)

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, BA, University of Cambridge, 2020

At undergrad, I studied medieval Germanic languages as well as their respective literatures. I enjoyed looking at the interdisciplinary connections between these and medieval European history. I am keen to continue exploring these connections in Scandinavia, particularly in regard to the origins and potential destination of the Lewis Chessmen.

Erik Wilhelm Pomrenke (US)

  • German Studies, MA, University of Michigan, 2018
  • German Literature, Anthropology, BA, University of Virginia, 2014

My background is in German literature and intellectual history. My interests are in questions of literary form and genre, in addition to the process of Christian conversion in the North. Tentatively, my thesis will concern representations of time, history, and the environment in the Icelandic literary corpus.

Frances E Ota (Canada)

  • Theology Research, Doctor of Ministry, University of Toronto, 2002
  • Theology, Master of Divinity, University of Toronto, 1995
  • Music, Bachelor of Music, University of Manitoba School of Music, 1970

I am an ordained minister in The United Church of Canada, with a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Master of Divinity. My major interest in this program is the movement of Christianity into the Scandinavian region, and how people, music, language and beliefs were affected by the new faith.

Genevieve Abigail Nielsen (US)

  • History, BA, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 2020

I am interested primarily in Norse mythology, how religion affected people on a day-to-day basis, and how people lived during the Viking Age. While these may seem like a fairly broad set of interests, I am of the firm belief that they pair together beautifully in the idea of creating a clearer and more relatable image of Viking society. I have had very little in the way of formal education on Norse related subjects, usually consisting of a small segment of a class, or the odd paper or research project. I have been primarily self-taught in most of the information I have learned (so it is beyond exciting to have full classed devoted to the study) and I look forward to expanding my knowledge.

Jarmila Grimmová (Czech Republic)

  • Religious studies, BA, Univerzita Karlova, 2019

Doing religious studies as my Bachelor’s degree, enabled me to explore a number of ancient cultures both through primary sources and their interpretations. Beside Old Norse, my focus was Indian and Ancient Greek religions, and I hope to keep bearing comparative perspectives in mind while further exploring Old Norse mythology, ritual and language.

Jazmin Morales Guzman (Mexico)

  • Hispanic Linguistics, BA, Universidad de Guadalajara, 2017

I come from a BA focused on linguistics and literature. In my undergraduate thesis, I worked on comparative mythology, comparing the Nordic and the Pre-Hispanic cultures. I would like to keep that path, but I am of course open to new adventures.

Kiley Rhea Scheetz (US)

  • Linguistics, Hispanic Studies, BA, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2019

I come from a strictly linguistic background and studied modern Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese, as well as some Old English and Latin during my undergraduate studies. I hope to deepen my linguistic knowledge by studying Old Icelandic and I plan to focus on the internal aspects of Old Icelandic, as well as historical linguistics during my time in the program.

Kira Elaine Halonen (Canada)

  • History and Global Studies, BA, Tyndale University, 2020

Kornél Leonard Purkarthofer (Hungary)

  • Scandinavian Studies, MA, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, 2020
  • Germanic Studies: Scandinavian Studies, BA, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, 2017

Having a background in Scandinavian philology, I would like to further explore the pagan and early-Christian culture and literature of Iceland, a peripheral chapter but an abiding memory of my previous studies. My special interest lies in the literary qualities of the sagas and myths, and their contemporary reception.

Logan Scott Miller (US)

  • History, BA, Pace University, 2016

In my undergraduate work I studied various aspects of the Roman Republic and focused on the final ~100 years from the Gracchi to Julius Caesar and his murder on 15 March 44 BC. What I enjoyed most was looking at the findings of various scholars and spending time working on better arguments to refute them — a kind of ‘scholarly litigation’ I suppose. I am looking forward to studying Old Icelandic and delving more into the myths of famous figures in the sagas like Gunnarr and Egill.

Maria Bestman (Netherlands)

  • Celtic Languages and Culture, BA, Universiteit Utrecht, 2018

During my undergraduate studies, I focused on medieval Welsh literature. I am looking forward to exploring Old Norse literature and getting to know more about paleography and codicology.

Maximillian Albert Jesiolowski (Australia)

  • Archaeology and Ancient History, BA, Monash University, 2019

I started my undergraduate degree as a music composition student but somehow finished with a degree in archaeology and history. However, I am hoping to combine the two and study medieval Norse music in my thesis.

Michelle Chantal Rosas (France)

  • Archaeology, BA, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, 2020

My undergraduate research centered on archaeology, in particular iconography. My interests are experimental archaeology, food history, iconography, and perception studies. While in Iceland, I would like to use multidisciplinary research to get more information about the Viking Age and the day-to-day life.

Nicola Louise Nuttall (UK)

  • Ancient History, BA (Hons.), The University of Manchester, 2020

During my undergraduate studies, I took courses in Old English literature and language. After discovering a love for the medieval, I am now looking forward to an interdisciplinary study of the Viking Age. My primary interests are Anglo-Norse and Celtic-Norse relations, both historically and through comparative literature.

Paul Thorben Theißen (Germany)

  • History (Scandinavian Studies, Archaeology), BA, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 2020

Samantha Louise Cone (UK)

  • Archaeological Science, Master of Studies, University of Oxford, 2018
  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, BA, University of Oxford, 2017

I have a background in archaeological science, with a particular interest in animals and diet. I look forward to learning more about these topics in the archaeological record of Medieval Scandinavia.

Samantha Lynne Ayars (US)

  • Sociology and Anthropology, BA, Elizabethtown College, 2020

I completed my undergraduate degree in sociology and anthropology at Elizabethtown College. Throughout my studies, I had the opportunity to travel to Iceland and became enamored by the country and its history. I am especially looking forward to studying Icelandic medieval manuscripts.

Sandra Lynn Pratt (US)

  • English, BA, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 2016

I have always had an invested interest in studying the cultures and belief systems of the world. This graduate program is the perfect place to expand that knowledge and set the foundation for my anthropology studies.

Signe Læsaa (Denmark)

  • History, BA, Aarhus Universitet, 2020

I come from a historical background and have studied different aspects of the Viking period. I look forward to studying the early texts describing the Viking Age and investigate how these can be used in a historical context to illustrate life in the Viking and medieval periods.

Weston Michael-Julian Happy (US)

  • History, BA, University of Central Florida, 2019

In my undergraduate work, I concentrated on Middle English literature and folklore. I am intrigued in developing my historical knowledge of Scandinavia with a focus of food history.

William Johan Van Hemelryck (Belgium)

  • Archaeology, BA, KU Leuven, 2020
  • Language and Area Studies: Slavic and East European Studies, BA, KU Leuven, 2020

I have an undergraduate degree in archaeology and in Slavic and East European studies. I am particularly passionate about early medieval numismatics, which I focused on during my graduate studies. I have always been intrigued by ancient Germanic legends, folklore and sagas, and I am really looking forward to getting to explore the Old Norse literature. I am particularly interested in the way the first Icelanders interpreted the landscape.

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