Graduate Fellows

RCAH and the Graduate School at MSU jointly sponsor a graduate fellowship program for doctoral students with interests in teaching, learning, engagement, and assessment in higher education.

The primary goals of the RCAH Graduate Fellowship Program are to provide professional and career development opportunities outside of regular classroom instruction for a diverse group of graduate students as mentors, tutors, and group leaders in various aspects of RCAH and to contribute directly to the scholarship of teaching, especially in the areas of the humanities, the visual and performing arts, and community engagement.

Image is a collage of all the grad fellows in a 4x2 grid in alphabetical order.

2021 Graduate Fellows:

 

Cera Babb (Choral Conducting)

James Brinkmann (Flute Performance)

Nicolei Gupit (Art, Art History, and Design)

Jennifer Hansen Heder (Choral Conducting)

Hannah Mackey (Art, Art History, and Design)

Whitney Mayo (Music Education)

Juan Carlos Rico Noguera (Anthropology)

McKayla Sluga (History)

Graduate Fellow Biographies 2021

Cera Babb (Choral Conducting)

Cera Babb is third-year DMA student at Michigan State University where she works with choral ensembles, undergraduate classes, and volunteers with the Student Activities Board of the Michigan School Vocal Music Association. She is also a member of the music faculty at Alma College where she conducts the Chorale and teaches undergraduate courses in Music Education, Music History, Choral Pedagogy, and Vocal Pedagogy. A church choir conductor in Holt, Michigan, Cera started a virtual choir program which made its debut in the 2020 Michigan ACDA Virtual Showcase. Before returning to graduate school, Cera taught in Delaware and was honored with the Johns Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. Cera has a master’s degree from the University of Oregon, where she earned the Graduate Employee Award of Excellence in Ensemble Teaching, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.

James Brinkmann (Flute Performance)

James Brinkmann (he/him) is a DMA student in Flute Performance and a MA student in Musicology. His research interests include how listeners connect with music, flute pedagogy, and undergraduate music student belonging. He unites teaching, performance, and research by creating interactive music events to strengthen the listener’s connection with music. From concert halls to train stations, he has performed and given workshops across the country including at the University of Utah, Broad Museum Art Lab (MI), and with the Lakeview Orchestra (IL). James has shared his research around North America including at College Music Society conferences, National Flute Conventions, and the University of Toronto Graduate Music Conference. He gave a TEDx Talk called Collaborative Listening: Rethinking Your Connection with Music and was featured in the Chicago Tribune for his interactive concepts. Prior to his graduate studies, he was on faculty and the woodwind department chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. He is a Senior RCAH Graduate Fellow this year, and co-leading the Fellowship in Fall 2021. www.innovativeflutist.com

Nicolei Gupit (Art, Art History, and Design)

Nicolei Gupit (she/her) is multidisciplinary artist and third-year MFA student in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. After completing her BA in Studio Art from Williams College, she taught English abroad at K-12 public and private schools in Micronesia, South Korea, and Taiwan. Her creative research touches upon issues related to the American dream, US imperialism, and immigration and diaspora. Her current projects investigate the pressures that climate change puts on people who live in high-risk regions in the world. Her recent works have been shown at The Painting Center in New York City, NY, Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis, MN, and at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO.

Jennifer Hansen Heder (Choral Conducting)

Jennifer Hansen Heder is a third year DMA candidate in Choral Conducting at Michigan State University and is an active guest conductor, clinician, and presenter. Jennifer currently directs the choirs at Albion College and is the artistic director of the Ingham Festival Chorale. She recently provided research sessions at the Michigan Music Conference and looks forward to presenting her session “Empowered Leaders Empower Others” at the 2022 Western ACDA Conference. Previous to her studies, she was the director of choirs at Spanish Fork High School in Utah. Most recently, SFHS Singers were invited to perform at ACDA-Utah in 2018 and the Utah Music Educators Association Conference in 2019. Jennifer earned a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting (2016) and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education (2013) from Brigham Young University.

Hannah Mackey (Art, Art History, and Design)

Hannah Mackey is a third-year MFA candidate in the Department of Art, Art History and Design. She has taught as an instructor-of-record for foundational studio and graphic design courses at MSU. She served on the Graduate Committee and Foundations Ad Hoc Committee. She is a recipient of DCF, SCRAM, and AAHD Summer fellowships, and a two-time recipient of the Research/Professional Development Travel Fellowship. Hannah holds a B.S in Fiber Science with a minor in Fine Art from Cornell University, and continued her science education at MSU with the Natural Science Collections Summer 2021 Professional Internship at the university Museum. Her studio work spans graphic design, illustration and sculpture, and centers on the anthropological examination of a fictional human-fish hybrid species.   

Whitney Mayo (Music Education)

Whitney Mayo (she/her) is a third year Ph.D. Candidate in Music Education with a cognate in ethnomusicology. She holds a B.M.E. from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a M.M.-Music Education from Baylor University. She taught early childhood and elementary music for six year on Fort Hood, Texas, and continues to teach early childhood music at the Community Music School in East Lansing and Detroit. Whitney currently serves as an instructor of record at MSU teaching elementary music methods, and as a Lecturer 1 at the University of Michigan-Flint teaching Music in Early Childhood. She is a regular presenter and clinician at state, national, and international conferences. She recently presented at the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association Biennial International Convention, the Michigan Music Conference, Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention, Big Ten Academic Alliance Conference, the Desert Skies Symposium, and the Mountain Lake Colloquium. Her research interests include rural music education, early childhood and elementary music education, student voice, and teacher practice.

Juan Carlos Rico Noguera (Anthropology)

Juan Carlos Rico Noguera is a political scientist with a master's degree in Cultural Studies. He is also a 4th-year doctoral international student in the Anthropology Department. His areas of interest are collective memories, peace and justice studies, the theory of the state, and techno-politics. As a scholar, he likes to think he contributes to a better understanding of the nuances of common sense's production and its politics, a critical undertaking in cultural studies, and some branches of the anthropological discipline. Juan Carlos is part of an international organization of peacebuilders focusing on Colombia called Embrace Dialogue (ReD, for its Spanish initials). He was a recent fellow of the Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) initiative and the Cultural Anthropology Methods Program (CAMP).

McKayla Sluga (Senior Fellow, History)

McKayla Sluga (she/her) is a 5th-year doctoral candidate in the History Department. Her fields focus on US Cultural History, European/Soviet Cultural and Intellectual History, and Film History. She researches relationships between modern and avant-garde art, film, and leftist groups of the early twentieth century, particularly the formation of independent cultural-political organizations in New York City. Originally from New York, she received her B.A. in History and American Studies with a minor in Philosophy from Elmira College. At MSU, McKayla is currently a teaching assistant in the Social Science Scholars Program. This program centers interdisciplinary and liberal-arts-style teaching that guides students through their own research projects. As a returning RCAH Graduate Fellow, she is interested in trauma-informed teaching, emotional labor in education, relationships between social justice and pedagogy, and how historians can draw on interdisciplinary research to create communities of care. She is a Senior Fellow this year, and co-leading the Fellowship in Fall 2021.