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 Aerial veiw of Main Quad of Stanford University. Credit: spvvk / Deposit Photos

2024 HAL Fellows

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Francesca Bini smiling into camera

Francesca Bini 

Francesca Bini has a BA degree in Modern Italian Literature and an MA in Modern Philology (Italian Studies) from Università degli Studi Roma Tre. She received her first Ph.D. in Romance Literatures from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich with an interdisciplinary thesis on Italy's leading art critic and historian Roberto Longhi ("Ekphrasis and Formalism in Roberto Longhi": publication expected in 2024). Her areas of research include Italian Literature, Literary Criticism and Theory, Art History and Criticism, Aesthetics, and Visual Culture Studies. She co-authored the volume “Arte e Letteratura nel nome di Roberto Longhi. Bassani, Pasolini, Testori” (with Sgarbi V. and Gnocchi A., 2023, Fondazione Ferrara Arte, Ferrara), which includes her essay "Tra immagini e parole. Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giorgio Bassani e Giovanni Testori allievi di Roberto Longhi". The volume was used as a catalog for an exhibition with the same title which she curated in Ferrara (Biblioteca Ariostea, April - June 2023).  

lewis esposito smiling into camera

Lewis Esposito

Lewis Esposito is a PhD candidate in the Linguistics Department at Stanford. As a sociolinguist, Lewis studies how social factors relate to the ways we use language. His dissertation examines the relation between linguistic change and linguistic style in California English, and he argues that distinctions in style play a central role in how linguistic changes spread and are adopted. In other publications, he has examined how linguistic style underpins gender and sexuality differences in language use. Over the course of his time at Stanford, he has helped teach courses in sociolinguistics, language and gender, semantics, pragmatics, discourse, and psycholinguistics. During the 2022-2023 academic year, he was a Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellow, and in 2016, he earned his B.A. in Linguistics & Languages at Swarthmore College.

Daniel friedman smiling into camera

Daniel Friedman

Daniel Friedman is a fifth-year PhD student in Philosophy, writing a dissertation about shared inquiry under the co-supervision of Michael Bratman and Krista Lawlor.  He was born in Budapest and grew up in and around New York City. His main philosophical work is in epistemology, the philosophies of action and science, as well as social philosophy, with newer research and teaching interests in political philosophy, and tech ethics.​ When not doing philosophy, he enjoys exploring the Bay Area with his wife, meeting dogs, reading Hungarian poetry, drinking Scotch, and watching Chelsea F.C. and the Yankees.

Alexia Hernandez smiling into camera

Alexia Hernandez

Alexia is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Linguistics. She studies Latino varieties of English, which are Hispanic/Latinx accents spoken by native English speakers. Her research lies at the intersection of the fields of sociophonetics, psycholinguistics, and ethnic studies. Before Stanford, Alexia graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University, where she majored in Linguistics.

Melissa Hosek smiling into camera

Melissa Hosek

Melissa A. Hosek is a Lecturer in program for Civic, Liberal, and Global education (COLLEGE) at Stanford University. She received her PhD in Chinese from Stanford's department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in 2022. She researches ecocriticism and science fiction in an effort to understand the intersection of technology and environmentalism. In addition to the COLLEGE curriculum, she has taught courses in Mandarin Chinese and East Asian studies.

sarang jeong smiling into camera

Sarang Jeong 

Sarang Jeong is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Linguistics, primarily working on Korean, Russian, and English. Her research encompasses phonology, phonetics, pragmatics, and psycholinguistics, using experimental and computational methods. In addition to linguistics, she also studied political science and Russian literature for her Master's and Bachelor's. Currently she is working on negative strengthening, or how people interpret negated adjectives such as "not good" depending on the social context. Besides her doctoral studies, she also translates webtoons from Korean to English.

Richard Mcgrail smiling into camera

Richard Mcgrail

Richard is a PhD candidate in anthropology. His dissertation is about the foster care system here in California. It describes what everyday, mundane life is like for the kids and staff who like and work in group homes. Richard’s research provoked a change in his career goals and ambitions. In the past, he wanted to become a faculty member in an anthropology department. But not anymore. Now, he wants to work in the political domain to help prevent child maltreatment from happening in the first place. He wants to help to chip away at the social determinants of the problem, namely, financial inequality and insecurity. 

Umniya Najaer smiling into camera

Umniya Najaer

Umniya Najaer is an artist, scholar, visionary, and a doctoral candidate in the Program in Modern Thought and Literature with a PhD minor in Theatre and Performing Arts. Umniya’s dissertation Worldbuilding at the End of the World explores what possibilities for worldbuilding—outside of the dominant episteme of western modernity—exist for us in the present and the near future. Umniya's aim as a writer, scholar, educator and artist is to offer critical and contemplative modality of hope, healing, and futurity as we collectively explore and begin to arrive at a new innerstanding of what it means to be human. Her recent publications include “Dear Alice: for the Murder of {your} Bastard Child of the Starry-Eyed Tribe Born to Children” appears in the Haymarket Anthology So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth (2023). In addition to her scholarly research in Black Studies, Umniya is a writer of poetry, essays, journalism, and experimental cross-genre texts. Her poetry chapbook Armeika was published in 2018 by Akashic Press as part of the First Generation African Poets series. Her recent publication “Spinning: Zuihitsu Fragment on Planetary, Ecological and Cosmic Consciousness” appears in Mizna: The Black SWANA Takeover Issue.  Here is a recording of the Mizna SWANA launch at the 2023 American Writers Association off-site programing. Umniya is currently a DARE Fellow (2023-2025) and a Susan Ford Dorsey Innovation fellow with the Stanford Center for African Studies. She is also a Cave Canem Fellow and a co-founder of the Black Studies Collective.

Serena Soh smiling into camera

Serena Soh

Serena Soh is a third-year PhD Candidate in Communication studying media psychology. Her research broadly examines digital media use, identity development, and well-being among young people. She studies the ways in which digital media may promote and/or hinder identity development and is particularly interested in developing digital interventions to promote positive identity development. Soh holds an M.A. and B.A. in Communication from Stanford University.

Mitch Therieau

Mitch Therieau

Mitch Therieau is a writer and PhD candidate in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University. You can find his writing in Paris Review, Pitchfork, n+1, The Drift, and Chicago Review, among other places.

Anthony Velasquez smiling into camera

Anthony Velasquez

Anthony R. Velasquez is a fourth-year PhD candidate in Linguistics at Stanford. His work focuses on the creation and signaling of identity through the semiotic resources of language. He is particularly interested in the ways ideology works in the creation and uptake of social meaning, and the role of perspective in these processes. Outside of academia, he explores the interaction of individual experience and the social world through his fiction.

Anissa Zaitsu smiling into camera

Anissa Zaitsu

Anissa Zaitsu is currently in her fifth year as a PhD candidate in Linguistics at Stanford. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz and served as a Baggett Fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research is rooted in formal linguistic theory, focusing on the sound-to-meaning mapping process, which asks: how are strings of sound parsed into words, constituent chunks, and ultimately, into sentences, to relay a particular meaning? Her dissertation work is engaged in documentation and analysis of contemporary varieties of African American English, utilizing fieldwork methodologies to study various linguistic phenomena that center around the structural and semantic status of negation. She hopes to serve the communities impacted by this research, aligning theoretical advancements with tangible benefits for African American English speakers in educational settings and beyond.