Lilly Graduate Fellows - The Eighth Cohort


Chelsea Chamberlain is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States with sub-fields in law, culture, medicine, and disability. Her dissertation explores how families with so-called “feebleminded” children sought institutionalization to meet their complex emotional, medical, and material needs. These families’ intimate experiences of impairment, she shows, transformed the bounds of medical and legal possibility in Progressive Era struggles over eugenics, education, and citizenship. Chelsea received a BA in History from Whitworth University (2012) and an MA in History from the University of Montana (2015).

Sidney Christman is a Ph.D. candidate in Classics at the University of Virginia. She earned her B.A. in Classics at Loyola University Maryland in 2013 and her M.A. in Greek at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2015. She studies archaic Greek literature, and she is particularly interested in the Homeric epics and the Homeric Hymns. Her dissertation explores the role of divine emotion in the Homeric Hymns, and it seeks to understand how divine emotions serve to define the gods and the Olympian hierarchy and to forge a reciprocal relationship between divinities and mortals. Sidney Christman is unable to attend this year’s LFP National Conference because she and her husband are both currently Regular Members at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Nathan Cornelius teaches musicianship and music theory at Towson University and Johns Hopkins University, and he lives in Philadelphia with his wife. He received his D.M.A. in Guitar Performance and M.M. in Music Theory Pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in 2018. He enjoys sharing with students his enthusiasm for the patterns underlying the structure of Western music, and he pursues new ways to understand and play with those patterns through his work as a composer and music theorist. He is interested in classical music, for guitar and otherwise, of the 20th and 21st centuries, and how it reflects cultural conceptions of time and memory. Nathan also holds a B.Mus. in Guitar Performance from Bethel University and an M.M. with a dual concentration in Composition and Guitar Performance from the University of Denver.

John-Paul M. Heil is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Chicago. He studies late medieval and early modern European history, focusing on issues of intellectual history, premodern ideas of virtue acquisition, and political realism before Machiavelli. His dissertation examines the development of humanist conceptions of the role of virtue and vice in politics in the early modern Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on Naples and its close allies: Milan, Ferrara, Hungary, and Aragon. He has taught a core European and non-West modern history survey course, a core freshman seminar centered on questions of human existence and the fundamentals of college writing, a freshman writing course on the Italian Renaissance, and has TA’ed for elective classes on the Crusades, censorship, European intellectual history, and the history of skepticism. He will be teaching a core European and non-West ancient and medieval history survey course in the winter. He has a BA in History, Philosophy, and Italian Studies from Mount St. Mary’s University (2015, summa cum laude and honors), a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago in History (2016), has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Liberal Arts, serves as a copy editor for the editor-in-chief of Dante Studies, and is currently an adjunct professor of History at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD.

Sarah Horton is a Ph.D candidate in Philosophy at Boston College. She specializes in ethics and 19th-20th century European philosophy, focusing on the themes of embodiment, language, and fidelity to others. Her dissertation, which she will defend on March 13, 2020, investigates the nature of friendship and concludes that friendship is suited to humans because of our finitude, which is itself a positive good. She has published four peer-reviewed journal articles on figures including Sartre and Levinas, as well as a book chapter on Kierkegaard (in Authorship and Authority in Kierkegaard’s Writing, ed. Joseph Westfall, Bloomsbury, 2018). She coedited the book Somatic Desire: Recovering Corporeality in Contemporary Thought (eds. Sarah Horton, Stephen Mendelsohn, Christine Rojcewicz, and Richard Kearney, Lexington Press, 2019). She has given eight conference presentations on topics ranging from language and justice in Plato’s Cratylus to embodiment in Sartre and Beauvoir. In addition, she has translated six articles by authors including Emmanuel Falque and Jean-Luc Marion from French to English, and her French to English translation of Stanislas Breton’s Poetics of the Sensible (Poétique du sensible) is currently under review at the University of Notre Dame Press. From fall 2016 through spring 2019, she taught Philosophy of the Person I and II, a two-semester introduction to philosophy that uses primary texts and covers the history of philosophy from ancient to contemporary. In 2018 she received the Donald J. White Teaching Award, with which Boston College recognizes the best Teaching Fellows from each department. She has a B.A. in Philosophy from Grove City College (2015, summa cum laude) and an M.A. in Philosophy from Boston College (2017). She is spending the 2019-2020 academic year as a pensionnaire étrangère at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Camille Kennedy is a PhD candidate in French at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey. She studies 19thcentury literature, focusing on French–language translations of British works. Her dissertation argues that a good understanding of the history of translation in France and its relation to other modes of writing can yield fascinating perspectives on such varied works as the earliest French adaptations of Austen to canonical Balzac novels to François-Victor Hugo’s Shakespeare translations. She has taught beginning and intermediate French courses and has a BA in Philosophy and French from the University of Dallas (2013, summa cum laude, 2nd Honors), a Master’s in Philosophy from the University of Dallas (2015) and a Master’s in French from Rutgers University (2017). She most recently studied at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.

Xavier M. Montecel is a Ph.D. candidate and Flatley Fellow in theological ethics at Boston College. His research considers the intersection of sacramental theology and Christian ethics, and in particular how sacramental and liturgical practices shape Christian moral identity. His dissertation proposes a Eucharistic ethics articulated in the key of virtue as a way forward for the field of liturgy and ethics in the twenty-first century. He has organized his teaching around major themes in Catholic theological thought, especially in sacramental theology, moral theology, and ecclesiology. Xavier holds a B.A. in theology and philosophy from Fordham University (2012, summa cum laude, in cursu honorum), an M.A. in ethics and society also from Fordham (2013), and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in religion, ethics, and politics (2015). He lives in Lakeville, MA with his husband, their two-year old dog, and in-laws next door.

Chase Padusniak is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Princeton University, where he specializes in medieval literature, late-medieval religion, and critical theory. His dissertation concerns itself with social and economic metaphors as a form of political critique in four 14th-century mystical thinkers, writing in four languages—Marguerite Porete, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, and Jan van Ruusbroec. Before arriving at Princeton, Chase attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where he graduated summa cum laude, with a major in English and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2015). In addition to presenting at a dozen academic conferences, Chase has published in Augustinian Studies as well as in the peer-reviewed volume Žižek and Christianity. He has assisted in teaching courses on Chaucer and the Bible as literature, as well as a survey of pre-modern literature.

Nathan Smolin is a PhD Candidate in Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Besides a broad interest in Greek and Latin philology, he focuses his studies on religion and philosophy in Antiquity and Late Antiquity, including both pagan and Christian works and authors. In 2018, his article titled “Divine Vengeance in Herodotus’ Histories” was published by the Journal of Ancient History. His dissertation, however, focuses on the 4th century AD, on the struggle of both Emperors and bishops, during the lengthy transition from paganism to Christianity under Constantine and his successors, to understand and define the religious and cosmic dimensions of the office of Emperor. Nathan received a BA in Classics from Samford University in 2015, and a MA in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017. 

Cara Welborn received her M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern History from the University of Chicago in 2018 and she now lives in northwestern Montana with her husband. She studies the history of Sasanian Iran and wrote her master's thesis on S. Ephrem, examining his political theory and using his hymn cycles to consider how he situated himself between two rival empires in the border city of Nisibis. Her focus has been on frontier theory and landscapes of power in Late Antiquity. At the moment, she is working to develop an ancient history curriculum for middle and high schoolers. Cara also holds a B.A. in History with a minor in classical studies from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. 

Mentors, Eighth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows

Patrick H. Byrne is currently Professor and formerly Chairperson of Philosophy at Boston College. He is the founder and first Director of the Boston College PULSE Program for Service Learning, and is a continuing teacher in the Program.. The Program hosted two LFP Exchange Conferences in 2015 and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. He was Senior Lilly Fellow (1995-96) as well as National Network Board Member for the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, and has served as mentor for two Lilly Graduate Fellow Cohorts. His teaching and research/publication interests include philosophy of service learning and social justice; the relationships between science, evolution and religion; environmental ethics; and the thought of Bernard Lonergan, Albert Einstein, and Aristotle. His recent publications include: The Ethcis of Discernment: Lonergan’s Foundations for Ethics (2016), “The Integral Visions of Teilhard and Lonergan: Science, the Universe, Humanity and God,” Teilhard’s Vision for the 21st Century (2014); “Universal Rights or Personal Relations?” in Christianity and Human Rights: Christians and the Struggle for Global Justice; “Foundations of ‘The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research,” (2008), The Dialogue Between Science and Religion: What We Have Learned from One Another? (2005); “The Good Under Construction and the Research Vocation of a Catholic University,” Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice (2003), Analysis and Science in Aristotle (1997). Forthcoming publications include “Desiring and Practical Reasoning: MacIntyre and Lonergan” and “Empathy, Insight and Objectivity: Edith Stein & Bernard Lonergan.” Patrick was also a mentor of the Third Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows.

Susan Emily VanZanten is Dean of Christ College—the Honors College of Valparaiso University, where she is also a Professor of Humanities and Literature.  She earned her BA from Westmont College and her MA and Ph.D. from Emory University.  She has held faculty positions at Covenant College, Baylor University, Calvin College, and Seattle Pacific University, where she founded and directed the Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development.  A frequent speaker and writer on African literature, American literature, and Christian higher education, Susan has published essays in Research in African Literature, Christianity and Literature, PMLA, and American Literature.  Her books include a memoir, Reading a Different Story: A Christian Scholar’s Journey from America to Africa; Joining the Mission: A Guide for (Mainly) New College Faculty; and Mending a Tattered Faith: Devotions with Dickinson. Susan was also a mentor of the Third Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows.

Noteworthy News

LFP office closed

The LFP office will be closed from December 23 to January 3 for the holiday break. We wish everyone a blessed Nativity!


November LFP Update

The Current LFP Update for November 2019 is now available. Click here.


2019 LFP Book Award Winner Announced

The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education by John Schmalzbauer and Kathleen Mohoney is the 2019 winner of the LFP Book Award. For more information and to learn about the 2019 LFP Book Award Finalists, click here.


Now Accepting Applications for the 2020-2022 Lilly Postodoctoral Fellowship

The Lilly Fellows Program is now accepting applications for the 2020-2022 two-year Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at Valparaiso University. For more information, click here.


Announcing a call for Nominations for the 2020 Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Music Performance

The National Board of the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities is proud to announce the 2020 Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Music Performance. For more information and how to nominate, click here.


Lilly Network of Church- Related Colleges and Universities

If you are interested in learning more about membership in the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, please contact us here.