Graduate Fellows

Ronald Berna, Medicine

Ron is a first year student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently graduated from Villanova University with a B.S. in Mathematics. His research interests include computational epidemiology and bioethics.

Devin Creed, History

Devin Creed is a second year MA student in History at Villanova University. He studies modern European history with a focus on the British Empire and Ireland. Before Villanova he completed degrees in English and Economics from Hillsdale College. His research interests lie in the intersections between Catholic thought, postcolonial theory, and Marxism. He loves cooking, hiking, learning languages, and traveling.

Conor Donnan, History

Conor Donnan is a doctoral student in the University of Pennsylvania’s History department. His research focuses on the intersections between labor, immigration, and culture in the United States. Originally from Ireland, Conor earned his B.A in History at Ulster University and subsequently obtained his M.A in Historical Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). HIs dissertation focuses on Irish Catholic interactions with Native Americans in the Midwest during the nineteenth century. This project explores issues of imperial and territorial expansion, access to citizenship, historical memory, religious identity, and cultural identity. Conor is interested in applying broad methodological approaches to the study of history, particularly the tools and methods of Political Science, Historic Preservation, Philosophy, and Urban Studies.

Gina Elia, Chinese Literature

Originally from Boston, Gina attended college in upstate New York and now has lived in Philadelphia for over three years, working on a PhD in modern Chinese Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She hopes one day to be a professor of Chinese literature and culture as well as a freelance writer and translator of Chinese to English. Her hobbies include reading everything she can get her hands on, most kinds of writing, learning foreign languages, listening to music, cooking, and baking. She is incredibly excited about this opportunity to learn more about Catholicism and its intellectual tradition.

Jacque Faylo, Chemistry

Jacque is a Ph.D Candidate in Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a National Institutes of Health Fellow in the Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics program. Her research is focused largely on the structural biology of enzymes synthesizing medicinally important products. She completed her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, where her research in the department of Immunology revealed the regulatory mechanism of pro-inflammatory proteins in cancer.

Rafael Fernandez, Medicine and Cell & Molecular Biology

Rafael Jesus Fernandez III is a 6th year MD-PhD student at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Biomedical Graduate Studies Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program. He studies how aging predisposes us to diseases using induced pluripotent stem cell disease models. He specifically studies how the rare genetic diseases of telomeres lead to pulmonary fibrosis. Before Penn, Rafael earned his B.S. at Yale University in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics. At Penn, he helps run Caritas, the Catholic Medical Student organization and is an active parishioner at St. Patrick’s Church in Rittenhouse.

Chris Fite, History and Sociology of Science 

A PhD student in History and Sociology of Science at Penn, Chris is also completing a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. His research focuses on botany and gardening in early modern Europe. More broadly, Chris is interested in the historical and theoretical entanglements of science, magic, and religion. In his spare time, he tends a small garden in South Philly and reads comic books. Find him online at

María Glikin, Hispanic Studies

María Glikin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a specialist in Hispanic Studies and focuses on the Hispanic Caribbean. Her research looks closely at gendered violence in literary works from cultures marked by the psychological consequences of colonialism such as Puerto Rico and Cuba, while bridging discussions between psychoanalytic and postcolonial theory.

Karl Hahn, Philosophy

Karl Hahn is a fifth year doctoral student in philosophy at Villanova University. He specializes in the history and philosophy of German Idealism, with a concentration in the philosophy of religion. Karl is currently researching a dissertation on the concept of creation in the late Schelling’s Munich lectures. In his free time, he enjoys singing in his parish choir.

Eammon Hart, Mathematics

As an undergraduate Eammon double majored in math and philosophy, while also taking several courses in ancient history including a course on theological development in the fourth century. He is currently a math PhD student at Drexel University, and still continues to enjoy exploring his interests in philosophy and history. His main areas of interest within these fields are classical antiquity, philosophy of time, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of free will. He is active in the St Agatha-St James Newman community.

Fariba Kanga, French & Francophone Studies

Fariba Kanga is a second year PhD student in the Department of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Penn, she completed her undergraduate and master’s in French at the University of Kentucky. Fariba’s research interests are in late medieval/early Renaissance hagiography and religious performance.

Rich Lizardo, History

Rich Lizardo is a History Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania. His focus in early-modern Spain, with research interests in intellectual, religious, and economic history; representations of violence; national, cultural, religious, and ethnic identities; and the Spanish Enlightenment. While still in the early stages of his dissertation, it is tentatively titled, “On Paupers and Prisoners: Debates and Reforms in the Poor Laws and Penal Codes of Early-Modern Spain,” which hopes to explore the intellectual and social shifts in approaches to poverty and criminality.

André Victor Luduvice, Economics

André Victor Luduvice is a sixth year PhD Student in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interest is on macroeconomics with focus on social insurance design, inequality and firm dynamics. Prior to Penn, he earned his Master’s in Economics from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (EPGE-FGV/RJ) and his Bachelor in Economics from the University of Brasília. He has been an intern in the Research Department of the Central Bank of Brazil (Depep) and is currently a part-time Research Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Anna Marion, Law

Anna is a first-year law student with plans to focus on public interest and government. Before coming to Penn, she earned a B.S. in Astrophysics & Planetary Science from Villanova University. Her research interests include applying computational modeling analysis to the structural issues surrounding homelessness, poverty, and incarceration.

James Shackelford, Art & Archaeology and Religious Studies

James Shackelford is a 3rd year PhD student in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World and Religious Studies programs at the University of Pennsylvania.  He completed his B.A. in Art History, Religious Studies, and Greek at the University of Minnesota in 2013. His research explores issues of cross-cultural interaction, sacred space, and imperial memory across Late Antique Mesopotamia and the Silk Road.  Prior to joining the academic community, he worked as a Geospatial Analyst for several years and has a strong interest in advancing research methodologies for the digital humanities.

Terence Sweeney, Philosophy

Terence Sweeney is a doctoral student in the Villanova University Philosophy Department. He holds the Theology-Philosophy Fellowship and works on philosophical theology in the Continental tradition. His focus is on St. Augustine and the Augustinian tradition as expressed in early Medieval intellectual life. His dissertation on Augustine and community draws on contemporary figures such as William Desmond, Hannah Arendt, and Jean Luc Marion. He has published articles on a range of thinkers such as: Plato, Augustine, Gabriel Marcel, and Soren Kierkegaard.

Michael Vazquez, Philosophy

Michael graduated from Villanova University in 2014 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Humanities, where he was awarded the Robert Russell, O.S.A. Medallion for Academic Excellence in Philosophy and the Karol Wojtyla Medallion for Academic Excellence in Humanities. He became involved with the Collegium Institute when he served as the Graduate Service Fellow during his post-baccalaureate studies in Classics at Penn. He is now a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Penn, and his interests include Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, intellectual history, and the relationship between contemporary analytic philosophy and ancient philosophy.