Willard College Staff and Fellows

These are the individuals associated with Willard Residential College, including Faculty-in-Residence and Fellows!



Gary Saul Morson

Faculty Chair

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.


Christine Helmer

Associate Chair

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.


Matt Zellner

Assistant Chair


PhD Student and Clinical Research Fellow

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.


Ben Gorvine




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 members 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.


Eli Finkel

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.


Gary Galbreath

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.


Linda Gates

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.


Lester Greenman

Northwestern Information Technology


To be added.


John Haas

Department of Theatre


John Haas is a Lecturer and Undergraduate Academic Advisor in the Department of Theatre. He advises, mentors, and supports students in the Theatre major and Music Theatre Certificate Program to moments of self-discovery as they progress through their academic journey at Northwestern.


Daniel Immerwahr

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.


Amy Kehoe

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

University Archives


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.


Susan Osborn

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.


Carl Petry

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.)


Sheppard Shanley

Northwestern Admissions


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.


Scott Sowerby

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!

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 7.39.47 PM.png

Stacia Spencer

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.


Patti Wolter

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.


Brad Zakarin

Residential Services


As Director of Residential Academic Initiatives, Brad shapes academic programming and support for undergraduate students who live on campus. Beyond coordination of the Faculty-in-Residence and instructional offerings across the residential areas, Brad oversees the residential college program and its unique model of affiliation and engagement for students, faculty, and staff.