IMH Graduate Program Current Students

Kenneth Alewine, BA, MA, MS
Program: PhD
Advisor: Anne Hudson Jones, PhD

Kenneth Alewine received his BA in English from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri and a MS in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A & M - Texarkana. Recently he received his second master's degree (MA in Humanities) from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. His academic interests include music and melancholy, art and medicine, poetry and medicine, and phenomenological narratives of illness, particularly those featuring connections with creativity and healing. His poems have appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary JournalPoetry QuarterlyUCity Review, and Psychic Meatloaf.  Kenneth is a multimedia designer and composes electronic music for interactive projects.


Jonathan Banda, BA,BS
Program: PhD
Advisor: Rebecca Hester, PhD

A native Texan, Jonathan earned a BA in Latin American Studies and a BS in International Economics from Texas Christian University.  He comes to the IMH from UC Berkeley where he worked as an analyst and education coordinator in the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, which led to his interest in bioethics and medical humanities. Jonathan’s current interests include social medicine, health care ethics, and research ethics.

 Banda, Jonathan

Alina Bennett, BA, MA
Program: PhD
Advisor: Jason Glenn, PhD

Alina earned a Bachelor degree in Gender and Feminist Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California and comes to the Institute for Medical Humanities from The Ohio State University (OSU) where she completed her Masters in Women's Studies with a graduate minor in Disability Studies. After graduating, Alina worked as a Lecturer at OSU, teaching both introductory and advanced women's health courses. Teaching women's health helped solidify Alina's commitment to the field of feminist health studies and her research focuses on healthcare ethics, health policy and the history of medicine with a focus on disability.  Here at the IMH, Alina is interested in the role of public mental health and its connection to the prison industrial complex.  Alina is simultaneously completing a second masters degree in public health (MPH) through the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at UTMB.  She is gearing up to bring the worlds of the medical humanities and public health together in her dissertation work which will focus on mental health and one day hopes to find a work home in an academic medical or university setting with interludes into public and private sector work, health policy development and disability activism. Alina can currently be found reading on her cozy porch with her beagle named Floyd, a grrl dog committed to undermining gender binary systems.

Stephanie (Stevi) Darrow, BA
Program: PhD
Advisor: Jason Glenn, PhD

Peggy Determeyer, MBA, MDiv, BCC
Program: PhD
Advisor: William J. Winslade, PhD, JD, PhD

Peggy has a diverse background, confirming that learning is a life-long process, traveling through various disciplines. She earned an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and worked for more than twenty years in various segments of the energy industry. In 1998, she began working towards a Master's Degree in Divinity at Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University), completing the requirements in 2004. To fulfill the internship requirement, she completed a one-year term as a chaplain resident in Clinical Pastoral Education at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, where she became interested in health care ethics and end-of-life issues. She is presently employed as a staff chaplain with the Memorial Health Care System, assigned to Memorial City Medical Center. In addition to chaplaincy duties providing emotional and spiritual support to a variety of patients, Peggy serves on the hospital's bioethics committee, where she is involved in ethics consultation as well as education for medical staff members. As a PhD student, Peggy continues her interest in end-of-life issues, brain death, and donation after cardiac death, as well as numerous other issues in the health care venue. She is majoring in health care ethics, with a minor in health care policy.

Michael Drab, BA
Program: PhD
Advisor: Howard Brody, MD, PhD

Born and raised in Houston, Michael earned a BA in Philosophy with minors in Classical Studies and Medicine & Society from the University of Houston. A lifelong patient with severe hemophilia A, Michael works closely with his community by serving young people affected by hemophilia. His goal is to help foster a sense of community by creating a safe space for education and camaraderie. He speaks throughout Texas to families and young adults affected by bleeding disorders on topics relating to disclosure in the different contexts of school, work and personal relationships. Much of his research is informed by his life growing up with hemophilia, his struggles acquiring medication without health insurance, his extended stays in hospitals and his long history of interacting with the various arms of the health care industry. Academically, Michael is interested in the intersection between literature, history of medicine, and philosophical ethics. 

  • President, Texas Bleeding Disorders Camp Foundation
  • Community Youth Representative, National Hemophilia Foundation’s Ethics Working Group
  • Second Year Member, National Youth Leadership Institute

  • 2009 Terry Scholar (4 year Academic Scholarship) - The Terry Foundation
  • 2014 Matthew Thomas Memorial Scholar - Lone Star Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) 

Drab, Michael
Erica Fletcher, BS
Program:  PhD
Advisor: Jerome Crowder, PhD

Born and raised in Texas, Erica earned a BS in Anthropology and Sociology and a BS in Psychology at the University of Houston. During her time there, she also dabbled in international and local community development, nonprofit management, and ethnographic filmmaking. Marianismo, her first film, dealt with cultural factors surrounding the disproportionate spread of HIV/AIDS among Latinas living in Houston. As a part of an undergraduate thesis, her second film Pack and Deliver explored the roles and collaborative practices of local social service agencies aiding survivors of human trafficking. Erica's current research interests include women's issues, visual studies, public anthropology, and immigrant health, particularly among the Latino community. Visit my website:


Shannon Guillot-Wright,
Program: PhD
Advisor: Rebecca Hester, MA, PhD

Shannon received an MA in Human Rights from Columbia University, a BA in Urban Studies from Southern Nazarene University, and most recently was trained in digital storytelling at the University of California, Berkeley. In the past, Shannon oversaw Prevention and Outreach services for Family Service Center of Galveston County, has served as an Americorps volunteer in Baltimore, traveled the United States as a "pioneer" for the organization Pioneer Living and worked at Human Rights Watch, as well as various international aid organizations. Her current research interests at the Institute for the Medical Humanities include imprisonment issues, voice and narrative studies, and health disparities within the United States. Shannon is also co-founder of TWELVE ( and is an advocate for storytelling via pictures, voice or video. 
Guillot-Wright, Shannon

 Wilmon "Dwayne" Jones
Program: PhD
Advisor: Jason Glenn, PhD


David Kozishek, MA, BCC
Program: PhD
Advisor: Michele A. Carter, PhD

David comes to us from Minneapolis, Minnosota. While there he finished two years of Clinical Pastoral Education Residency at Hennepin County Medical Center. David is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains, endorsed by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). In addition to several years of clinical experience in Iowa, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, David has a BA degree in Philosophy, Psychology and Theology, and holds a four year graduate degree in Religious Studies from the University of Louvain (Leuven) in Belgium. David plans to pursue specialization in clinical and research ethics, and the role of the humanities in medical education while at UTMB.

2007 Update:
David Kozishek is pleased to announce that he has recently moved to Lansing, Michigan, to begin work as an assistant professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. After completing his dissertation, David will be teaching, conducting research, and engaging in community outreach for the College of Human Medicine's Department of Family Medicine and the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences. David's primary responsibilities will be in the areas of Spirituality in Health Care and teaching Humanities and Ethics in the Life Sciences.

2005 - Chester R. Burns Institute for the Medical Humanities Alumni Award (Inaugural Recipient)
2005 - Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges
2005 - The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

Julie Kutac, BS, MA
Program: PhD
Advisor: Mark Clark, PhD

Julie, a native Texan, most recently taught in Prague, Czech Republic. Julie obtained a B.S. in Molecular Biology from Texas Lutheran University, and continued her interdisciplinary focus at Rice University, earning a M.A. in Religious Studies. Her academic interests lie in the consideration of ethical issues at the juncture of science, medicine, religion, and philosophy. She also has a specific interest in geriatrics and the lived experience of cognitive degeneration. A coloratura soprano, Julie loves to spend her free time singing.

2006 - William Bennett Bean Scholarship in the Medical Humanities
2006 - The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
2007 - Dean's Service Scholarship Award
2007 - Peyton and Lydia Schapper Endowed Scholarship Award
2008 - Peyton and Lydia Schapper Endowed Scholaarship Award
2009 - 2009 John D. and Mary Ann Stobo Award in Oslerian Medicine

Susan McCammon, MD
Program: PhD
Advisor: Mark Clark, PhD

Susan McCammon graduated from Columbia University in 1988 with a B.A. in Music History. She then went on to complete an M.F.A. in Historical Musicology at Princeton University. After several years of teaching and researching the role of the surgically altered voice, Dr. McCammon matriculated at the University of Alabama School of Medicine where she received her M.D., magna cum laude, and continued into her chosen field of head and neck surgery, with an internship in General Surgery and a residency in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. 

In 2005, Dr. McCammon completed her advanced fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In March 2006, Dr. McCammon joined the UTMB full-time faculty, where she serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Cancers of the Head and Neck. 

  • 2014 - Recognized as William Osler Scholar, The John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine 

Rimma Osipov, BA
Program: MD/PhD
Advisor: Jason Glenn, Ph.D.

Rimma comes to the Institute for Medical Humanities from UCLA, where she majored in history and minored in anthropology. As an undergraduate she interned with the division of medicine and science at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History. Some of her previous research interests have included the impact of the War on Cancer on the National Institutes of Health and the biomedical community at large, as well as the medical needs of adults with cerebral palsy. As an MD/PHD student, Rimma hopes to integrate her medical education as much as possible into her studies at the institute. When she returns full-time to the IMH in 2011, she hopes to pursue her primary interest in the history of medicine, as well as her interest in the interdisciplinary issues currently facing the medical and scientific communities.


Heather Carson Pearcy, BA, JD 
Program: PhD
Advisor: Rebecca Hester, MA, PhD

Heather comes to the IMH from New York via Lubbock, Texas.   Earning her B.A. in Legal & Policy Studies cum laude from Fordham University, she then went on to Texas Tech University School of Law and received her J.D. in December 2012. 

Heather’s professional background includes clinical research coordination, grant management, grant writing, project management, and legal research and writing. Her research interests include drug development, biodefense, clinical and research ethics and social medicine.  She recently published her first paper in the Journal for Biosecurity, Biosafety, and Biodefense Law
 Heather Carson Pearcy

Rachel Pearson, BA
Program: MD/PhD
Advisor: Anne Hudson Jones, PhD

Rachel Pearson has a B.A. from the Plan 2 Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin, where she received the Robert C. Solomon Scholarship in the Arts and Philosophy. She has worked variously as a journalist, a patient advocate, and an actress in a traveling children's theatre troupe, and her creative work has appeared in the Mid-American Review, the Indiana Review, and on the air through Chicago Public Radio's Third Coast Audio Festival. Rachel is currently an MD/PhD candidate at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, with a keen interest in issues of the mind, the brain, and narrative medicine.


Nicole (Nicki) Piemonte, BA, MA
Program: PhD
Advisor: Michele Carter, PhD

Nicki received a BA in English with a minor in communication studies from Arizona State University in 2008 before earning an MA in interpersonal communication in 2010. Her previous research focused on young adults who serve as primary caregivers for their dying parents, and she also assisted in a collaborative project with the Mayo Clinic that explored the ways in which mothers and daughters relationally cope with breast cancer diagnoses. Here at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, Nicki is pursuing her interests in medical ethics, end-of-life issues, literature and medicine, and the role of the humanities in pre-medical and medical education.

2012 - William Bennett Bean Scholarship in the Medical Humanities 
2012 - Zelda Zinn Casper Endowed Scholarship 
2013 - The John D. and Mary Ann Stobo Award

 Piemonte, Nicole (Nicki)

Imanni Sheppard, BA, MA
Program:  PhD
Advisor: Dr. Jerome Crowder

Imanni Sheppard comes to UTMB from the University of New Orleans and the University of Hawai’i at Hilo where she got her BA in Anthropology and participated in the National Student Exchange program, respectively.  Imanni is also an alumnus of the University of Houston where she got her MA and specialized in Medical Anthropology.  While and soon after acquiring her Masters degree, she became an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, Houston Community College, a contract Reviewer for Oxford University Press and an Executive Board Member of the Write!Nola Initiative.  In addition to the aforementioned, Ms. Sheppard has authored the texts Health, Healing and Hurricane Katrina: A Critical Analysis of Psychosomatic Illness in Survivors, The Autobiography of Illusion and was a supplemental author of the text Anthropology: What Does It Mean to be Human?  She has also written several articles for the Encyclopedia of Infanticide, the Encyclopedia of U.S. Government and the Environment: History Policy and Politics as well as chapter analysis of “Beyond Nature-Nurture:…Biology and Culture,” “Medical Anthropology: Health Illness and Culture,” and “Identity & Social Inequality …Race, Ethnicity and Class” in the Chumash Renaissance and Cultural Anthropology texts by Paul Gelles, Luis Vivanco and Robert Welsch respectively. 

While at UTMB, her focus will be on social medicine as she also analyzes the intersection of technology with cognitive and/or neurological processes. 

(2008) The Honors Society of Phi Kappa Phi
(2007) Golden Key International Honour Society
(2003) Rose Black Union Academic Award
(1997) Anna Sanchez Teaching Excellence Award



Rebecca "Amerisa" Waters, B.F.A., M.A.
Program:  PhD
Advisor: Mark Clark, PhD

Amerisa joins the Institute for the Medical Humanities with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and a double Master of Arts in Women's & Gender Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies in Bioethics & Medical Humanities from the University of Louisville. Her interests include the intersection of art and clinician education with a focus on palliative and end-of-life care. While at the IMH she hopes to further explore the development of educational tools and methods that utilize the arts for clinical learning.

 Waters, Rebecca Amerisa

Brenda Wilson
Program:  PhD
Advisor: Rebecca Hester, MA, PhD

 Wilson, Brenda
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