NeMLA Staff


Executive Director

Carine Mardorossian.

Carine Mardorossian is professor of English at the University at Buffalo, SUNY where she specializes in Caribbean studies, feminist studies, creative nonfiction and the medical humanities. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Northeast Modern Language Association since 2014. When asked about her belief in service to the profession, Professor Mardorossian simply quotes Toni Morrison: "When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game."  Her scholarship has been driven by a similar desire to give voice to those for whom coming into the self entails a questioning of every term involved in that process (becoming, self, voice, identity). Her first book Reclaiming Difference: Caribbean Women Rewrite Postcolonialism  (New World Studies, University of Virginia Press, 2005) showed how Caribbean women writers have helped reframe the identities of race, gender, and nation in their fiction as contingent and interrelated sites of difference. Her second book Framing the Rape Victim: Gender and Agency Reconsidered (Winner of the 2016 Nonfiction Category from The Authors' Zone, Rutgers University Press, 2014) finds in Caribbean literature the answer to the impasse that has defined contemporary approaches to sexual violence (including in anti-rape discourse). Her most recent book is co-authored: Death is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End (Penguin 2020), is a work of narrative nonfiction through which Professor Mardorossian set out to show the centrality of the humanities to other fields of specialized knowledge like medicine. Professor Mardorossian is currently completing a manuscript on Caribbean literature and the environment entitled Creolized Ecologies. Email:

Associate Director


Ashley Byczkowski holds a PhD in French Literature from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Her book project analyzes the psychological effects of the complex mother-daughter relationship on women's sense of self in French and Francophone women's life-writing. Her research explores elements of feminine selfhood and subjectivity through various genres of self-representation and considers the ethical potential in feminine connection and creative subversions. She is also the French teacher at Nardin Academy in Buffalo, NY. Email:


Graduate Assistants

Jiwon Ohm.

Jiwon Ohm is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University at Buffalo. Her research focuses on the formation of the modern fantasy genre, as well as the imagining and forming of national identities in/through 20th- to 21st-century neo-medievalist fantasy. She is particularly interested in the history behind the publications of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and the ways in which these works have shaped the trajectory of the fantasy genre in popular culture.

Kailey McDonald.

Kailey McDonald (she/her) is a PhD student in UB’s department of Gender and Sexualities Studies. Her research interests include decoloniality and theories of matter. In her spare time, she plays Dungeons and Dragons and shares long walks with her dog, Peter. 

Exhibits and Professionalization Coordinator

Claire Sommers.

Claire Sommers is the Post-Doctoral Fellow of Early Modern British Literature in the English department at Washington University in St. Louis. Her forthcoming book, Chimeras, Centaurs, and Satyrs: Creating Hybrid Texts in Antiquity and Early Modern England, focuses on the deployment of hybrid creatures in what she has termed “hybrid texts,” works that combine multiple literary genres, styles, and conventions in a mode of metatextual engagement. Her study reframes the hybrid as a positive generative force that serves as a marker of hermeneutic innovation and as a vehicle for creative transcendence. Claire’s articles have been published in Renaissance Drama and Arion. She was also the Creator and Founding Director of the Critical Theory Certificate at CUNY and has previously taught at Fordham, Hunter and Baruch. Claire serves as the Exhibits and Professionalization Coordinator at NeMLA, where she oversees several convention initiatives including the Job Clinic, the Publishing Mentorship, the Book Exhibit, the Elevator Pitch, and the Undergraduate Research Forum. Email:

Managing Editor

Derek DiMatteo.

Derek DiMatteo is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Gannon University (Erie, PA). His research and teaching interests include: 20th and 21st century American literature; transnational, immigrant, and ethnic literature; protest literature; pedagogy and methods of teaching English; and young adult literature. He is a former managing editor of the academic journal Africa Today (IU Press). He was a Visiting Lecturer at Indiana University - Bloomington, where he earned his PhD in English literature with a minor in American Studies. During 2003-2012, he lived in Japan and taught first at Kaichi Jr/Sr High School (Saitama) and later at Lakeland University Japan (Tokyo). During that time, he was very active in the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT). Outside of academia, he enjoys training in jiu-jitsu, cooking with friends, playing Catan, and catching up on pleasure reading or recent Netflix series. Email:

NeMLA Graduate Fellows

The NeMLA Graduate Fellows Program is operated through the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo, NeMLA's administrative host. This program provides graduate students with a unique opportunity to get practical experience in the working of a large academic convention and non-profit organization, as well as to establish professional connections with scholars across the Northeast. Students gain insight into one of the most important forms of knowledge production and dissemination in the humanities.