Willard College Staff and Fellows
These are the individuals associated with Willard Residential College, including Faculty-in-Residence and Fellows!
Gary Saul Morson
Department of Slavic Languages and Literature
The Faculty Chair is a faculty member that provides intellectual leadership for the college; nurtures the fellows program of the college; engages student members of the college; and, where appropriate, cultivates the college theme and draws in campus resources to promote that theme via fellow appointments and programming.
Gary Saul Morson is the Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities and professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Northwestern University. His many books include Narrative and Freedom: the Shadows of Time, Anna Karenina in Our Time and The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture.
Department of German & Religious Studies
The Associate Faculty Chair is a faculty or full-time staff member that assists the Faculty Chair in all aspects of guiding the programming and culture of the college with a particular focus on ensuring Fellows well-represent both the breadth of students at the college and developing cultural and academic programming for residents.
Christine Helmer is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of the Humanities at Northwestern University, and Professor of German, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Religious Studies. In 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Helsinki for her work on German reformer Martin Luther, as well as for her commitment to theology as an important contributor to the intellectual life of the university.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
The Assistant Faculty Chair is a graduate student who serves as the Formal Advisor of the college's Executive Board, in addition to performing administrative duties for ORAI, and coordinating with Residential Life Staff. The Assistant Chair holds weekly office hours for college members and serves as the main point of contact for both students and Fellows at the college.
Matt is a proud Willard Residential College and Northwestern University alum. He completed his undergraduate studies in psychology and radio/television/film at Northwestern, and his master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Texas at Austin. Matt is a member of the Early Intervention Research Group in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern where his research centers around developing and implementing social communication interventions for children with autism.
Department of Psychology
The Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) is a member of Northwestern’s faculty who lives with their family in an apartment attached to the dorm. They host dinners and other events regularly for Willard residents.
My research interests center on two broad areas: (1) pedagogical research on the best practices for instruction in psychology in general, and statistics (as it is taught in psychology) more specifically; and (2) fathers and children's socio-emotional development.
Meet the Fellows! The Willard Fellows are faculty and staff with unique ties to Willard Residential College. They come to events planned by the dorm, engage with Woos, and even host exclusive classes and events for Willard residents.
Department of Computer Science
I’m Connor Bain and I’m an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Computer Science Department. I’m originally from South Carolina though lack any of that delightful southern accent you hear bandied about. I teach many of the introductory computer science courses and try to make them engaging and fun with the idea that computers can help us express ourselves in different ways: from visual arts and music, to mathematics and data science. My research mainly focuses on how learning to program changes how people think about problem solving and learning. I have an eclectic set of interests from getting too invested in various sports teams, trying to find Chicago’s best pancakes, and building huge Lego sets.
Department of Mathematics
I am a Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction in the Department of Mathematics, and currently serve as the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. I am originally from Nogales, Arizona and joined the faculty at Northwestern in Fall 2012. I am passionate about mathematics education at all levels, and differential geometry as well. Specifically, my work focuses on symplectic geometry and mathematical physics, and seeks to understand the types of geometric structures which underlie physics on non-smooth spaces.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Tracy Conner is an interdisciplinary linguist who combines theories and methodologies from formal and socio-linguistics as well as sociology and psychology to address issues of linguistic (in)justice and (in)equity. As an experimental syntactician, Conner studies the syntax and morphosyntax of African-American English and ellipsis phenomena. She’s interested in how theoretical descriptions of dialects of English can be extended to impact broader areas such as education, speech pathology and social justice for dialect speakers. A new stream of research focuses on describing the linguistic properties of gaslighting using tools from semantics and pragmatics as well as theories of language and power.
Department of Psychology
I'm a social psychology professor who studies romantic relationships (e.g., initial attraction, marital dynamics, shared goal pursuit), American politics (e.g., political polarization), and their intersection. I work at Northwestern University, with appointments in psychology and Kellogg. My undergraduate degree is also from Northwestern (1997), and I earned my MA (1999) and PhD (2001) degrees with Caryl Rusbult at UNC Chapel Hill. I live in Evanston, IL, with my wife, two kids, and various pets. I am curious, but not querulous.
Program in Biological Sciences
Conducts evolutionary and Conservation biology research in Southeast Asia. Provides scientific advice to wildlife protection organizations there, and to organizations that conserve rainforests in Peru. Recent publications include An apparent hybrid wild bear from Cambodia, co-authored with M. Hunt, T. Clements, and L.P. Wait. Teaches 103-0 Diversity of Life.
Department of Theatre
Linda Gates is Head of Voice in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University where she teaches voice, speech, text, dialects, and specializes in teaching, coaching, directing Shakespeare’s plays. As a professional voice and dialect coach, she has worked both on and off-Broadway, in Chicago, regional theatre, opera and film.
Department of History
Daniel Immerwahr is a professor of U.S. history. Having dedicated his meager career to higher learning, he is almost entirely unequipped to face the vicissitudes of life on the cold Evanston streets. Should you see him, he will probably require assistance swiping his card (oddly, a laminated library card from 1982) to get into the dining hall. It is not advisable to engage Prof. Immerwahr in conversation, or indeed to acknowledge him at all, if you are in a rush. But once he is seated and fed, he is by and large affable, so long as you like stories about Woodrow Wilson's cabinet. Approach with caution.
Office of Fellowships
Amy manages many fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students, with the majority being international opportunities. She has worked in higher education, philanthropy, and global engagement for over 20 years, including positions with the Open Society Institute, the University of Michigan International Institute, and the Peace Corps. She holds a BA in Latin American studies from the University of Michigan and an MA in international and comparative education from Columbia University. Amy has traveled to more than 20 countries and loves helping Northwestern students study and work abroad. When not in the office, Amy enjoys hiking with her husband, sailing with her daughters, and visiting art museums.
Janet Olson was the Assistant University Archivist at Northwestern from 1998 until her retirement in May, 2020. She happily continues her engagement as Faculty Fellow at Willard Residential College, an honor she has enjoyed since 2013 or so. Since 2007, she has also been the part-time Archivist for the Frances Willard House Museum and WCTU Archives in Evanston, and continues in this role. She knows way too much about Northwestern’s history, including its connection with the real Frances Willard, about whom she also knows way too much. She has an MA in History from Loyola University-Chicago, with a research focus on 19th-century social reform, the more utopian the better.
Piano in Bienen School of Music
In addition to studying at Northwestern, Susan Ramey Osborn '95 DMus has studied at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Smith College, and The New School for Music Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. Osborn is also on the piano faculties of Northwestern University's Music Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp. Her teaching experience includes both private and group instruction for students of all ages and levels. As a performer, she has presented numerous recitals and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras. She is active as a performer and adjudicator in the Chicago area, a member of the honorary music society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and a member of Music Teachers National Association.
Min Park graduated from Northwestern University with a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance and Pedagogy under the guidance of Almita Vamos and Stacia Spencer. She received a BM in Violin from University of Texas at Austin under Brian Lewis and the Miro Quartet. Passionate as a teacher, Min has been teaching since she was a high school student. In addition to pedagogy coursework at NU, she completed additional teacher training under Mimi Zweig and Nancy Locken. In addition to teaching, Min is active as a chamber musician, founding the Aoide Quartet at NU and the Houndstooth String Quartet – a group that collaborates with living composers. She has participated in masterclasses with the St. Lawrence Quartet, Lynn Harrell, Philharmonia Quartett Berlin, and Shmuel Ashkenasi to name a few. In her spare time, you can find her in bikram yoga classes.
Department of History
Carl Petry (Ph. D., Michigan, 1974), Hamad bin Khalifa Chair in Middle East Studies and Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, specializes in the Middle East (Nile Valley: Northeast Africa through Southwest Asia: Iran) from the advent of Islam to the late medieval period (6th-16th centuries C.E.)
I worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admission for a long time and retired in June, 2020 as Senior Associate Director after helping to recruit and choose the class of '24, my 50th class. A few years after I started, one of the students I met and interviewed was in Willard and got me to join. Undergrads already thought Willard was a totally cool place to live, so I was excited to be part of it and still feel a strong tie to Willard. Besides work, I've been in different choruses over the years, some at Northwestern, and have gone to France to see friends almost every year. Both of these got suspended by the pandemic, but they'll come back. I've made many friends at Willard and look forward to getting to know the group that's there now.
Department of History
I'm Scott Sowerby, and I'm an associate professor in the Department of History. I was born in Vancouver, Canada, where I learned to spell “colour” with a “u” and to say my alphabet with a “zed” instead of a “zee.” Other than that, I had a fairly typical childhood. I enjoy traveling, hiking and walking my four-year-old beagle. If you're interested in Caribbean pirates or British kings and queens, you might want to take a course with me. I'm looking forward to seeing you all in Willard!
Strings in Bienen School of Music
Stacia Spencer is a senior lecturer in string pedagogy at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and string coordinator for the Northwestern Music Academy. She also has been on the faculty of the Northwestern National High School Music Institute teaching violin, viola, and chamber music. Ms. Spencer has a special interest in contemporary music, working with composers and performing new pieces. An eclectic musician and performer, she has been a vocalist and jazz singer in the Jon Eaton Pocket Opera Company in Chicago and New York. As a singer and electric violist she has also performed and recorded in the rock genre.
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Michał is Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and has been at Northwestern and Willard since 2021. When you meet him, he will immediately ask you if you want to learn Polish and enroll in his language courses, so you should just do it to save him the trouble. Otherwise, he teaches courses on Polish literature, film, history, and culture, and sexuality in Eastern Europe. When he’s not teaching, you can usually find him wandering the halls of Kresge. Come say hi!
Wolter’s teaching focuses on the magazine industry, fact-checking, science writing and narrative, especially in relationship to feature writing and multimedia storytelling. She teaches courses in magazine editing, feature writing, health and science reporting, and narrative structure for undergraduate and graduate students. Wolter regularly partners with consumer media in her classes, and students in her courses have placed their reporting in a wide range of national media outlets. She has also co-taught Medill’s investigative journalism course, taught advanced science writing to master’s students, and worked with Medill's Knight Lab instructors integrating digital storytelling with narrative feature writing.
Meet the Graduate Associates! The Willard Graduate Associates are graduate students with unique ties to Willard Residential College. They come to events planned by the dorm, engage with Woos, and even host exclusive events for Willard residents.
Department of Communication Science & Disorders
Murielle is a Ph.D. student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program and part of the Child Language Lab. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Developmental Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies (with a focus on Linguistics) from Northeastern Illinois University. Originally from Switzerland, she speaks multiple languages (Swiss German, German, English, and French) and studies bilingual language development, with a focus on children with language impairments. She is interested in how bilingualism affects cognition and learning; her goal is to conduct culturally relevant research that contributes to how early markers of developmental language disorder are identified in bilingual children.
Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
Anele Villanueva is a PhD student at Northwestern University in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders working with Dr. Adriana Weisleder at the Child Language Lab. Anele's research interests involve understanding how different aspects of the social context influences young dual language learners' home language maintenance, sociolinguistic identity formation, and children's understanding of language as a social category. She is also interested in engaging with community stakeholders to support their needs and questions related to language development and literacy. Anele is a first-generation college student, bilingual in Spanish and English, and holds a Bachelor in Child and Family Development with two minors in Counseling & Social Change and Interdisciplinary Studies from San Diego State University. Anele aims to conduct culturally responsive research and support multilingual communities by addressing their questions and needs.
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Newlin is an astronomy PhD student. He studies gravitational dynamics in star clusters using numerical simulations run on Northwestern’s Quest computing cluster. He focuses on the impact of central black holes on star cluster evolution and methods to infer the presence of black holes in observed clusters based on their influence on surrounding stars. Newlin started working with Professor Rasio as an undergraduate at Northwestern, where he majored in Integrated Science, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering.