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Graduate Fellows

VIDL Graduate Fellows for 2014-2015:

Sandra Arch
Sandra is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology.  Supported by a Vanderbilt Dissertation Enhancement Grant and Sociology Department Small Research Grant, her dissertation research examines meanings of work and the formation of community in post-bureaucratic organizations, in particular co-working spaces.  Sandra is interested in the future of work and the ways in which digital technologies connect people offline and facilitate in-person interactions.  Through her fellowship with VIDL, she hopes to investigate how digital technologies might foster collaboration, intellectual community, and productive dialogue among students.

Bradley Kiddie
Brad is a Ph.D. student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department under the mentorship of Dr. William H. Robinson. His research as part of the Radiation Effects and Reliability group focus on the effects of radiation in space and other harsh environments on the operation of electronic circuits, and how new technologies can be designed to withstand or mitigate those effects. In his undergraduate thesis, Brad explored connections between philosophy and engineering design and the implications these have on technology development. Understanding the intense specificity of many of today’s research fields, he is interested in seeing how digital learning can be used to encourage more collaboration between engineering and the humanities, for richer results within both areas.

Zoe LeBlanc
Zoe is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of History at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation examines the relationships between pan-Arabism and pan-Africanism in the late 1950s and 1960s. Zoe’s research interests include 20th century diplomatic history of the United States and the Arab World, American Protestant missionaries in the Third World after 1945, and the history of modern Islamic international organizations and Islamic law. Zoe is also focused on researching the best practices of digital pedagogy in Higher Education, especially around the use of geospatial tools; social media; and online databases and exhibits in the classroom. Zoe is a Vanderbilt HASTAC alumni and her research is supported by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. For information about Zoe’s projects, please visit her website at or follow her on twitter @Zoe_LeBlanc.

Kathleen McKissack
Kathleen is entering her second year in Vanderbilt’s M.Ed program in International Education Policy and Management.  While earning her BA in Psychology from Clemson University, she spent a semester living and working in rural Uganda with a community-based NGO, and is ultimately interested in working on education initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. Kathleen is most interested in the potential of digital learning to: 1) foster personalized learning experiences for students of all ages, 2) expand access to educational materials utilizing the ubiquity of cell phones (mLearning), and 3) change the nature of collaboration and access to social capital for disadvantaged youth.  Her previous work experience in education includes time with the Louisiana Department of Education, the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, and Worldreader.

VIDL Graduate Fellows for 2013-2015:

Bradley J. Daugherty
Brad is a Ph.D. candidate studying religion with a focus on the thought and practice of early Christians, particularly the Christians of Roman North Africa. His current research explores the diversity of understandings of clerical office among western Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries. A former Lilly Faculty Fellow in Theological Education, Brad is interested in the opportunities and challenges that online and digital learning present for theological education and for the study of religion more broadly. He is also interested in the use of digital technologies in classroom teaching - both in expanding his own repertoire of teaching tools and in exploring strategies for introducing colleagues to the use of digital technology in teaching. Brad is also a 2013-2014 HASTAC scholar, a community of students working at the intersection of technology and the arts, humanities and science.

Amanda Doody
Amanda is a Ph.D. candidate studying organic chemistry under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey N. Johnston. Her studies focus on the use of new reaction methodologies for the total synthesis of natural products and natural product analogs of biological importance and interesting structure. Amanda is interested in the creation and application of computer adaptive modules for skill development in the physical and natural sciences, particularly Organic Chemistry, which is a course that reaches students of many different majors within the School of Arts & Sciences and School of Engineering. Through the use of computer adaptive modules and digital technology, she hopes to create a personalized learning environment for both traditional and digital classrooms.

Laura Hieber
Laura is a first year Ph.D. candidate in the Clinical Psychology department under mentorship of Dr. Sohee Park.  Her research focuses on severe mental illness, particularly psychosis, and the cognitive and social processes implicated by the disorder.  She hopes to use digital technology to address mental health needs on campus in designing a potential widespread virtual intervention methods and training programs for stress reduction and improve well-being among students at Vanderbilt. Additionally she is interested in utilizing innovative techniques such as web apps to probe their experiences more deeply and individually to better understand the underlying issues that would be addressed most beneficially. A video report of Laura's research is here.

Please see the Graduate Fellows Program page for information on how to apply.