College of Liberal Arts
and Social Sciences

The University of Houston
402 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3000
Phone: 713-743-4002
Fax: 713-743-2990

News & Events

Dissertations done, doctorates awarded

Doctoral candidates who received Dissertation Completion Fellowships among the Fall 2011 graduates

Three graduate students among the College’s first class of Dissertation Completion Fellows fulfilled their commitments to the program and graduated on December 19, 2011.

The fellowships provide stipends of $20,000 to cover students’ expenses for up to a full academic year while they complete their dissertations. Fellowship recipients are not allowed to teach or do other wage-earning work while holding the fellowship.

These three recipients - Sampada Chavan, Cecilia Marrugo-Puello and Kyle Solak – only needed one additional semester to finish writing and defending their dissertations and were awarded $10,000 stipends.

“These fellowships were established to reward excellence, persistence and hard work,” said Dean John W. Roberts. “These three students demonstrate the success that comes from investing in our students’ potential and proven skills.”

Below is more about each of the newly minted doctoral program graduates and his or her research:

  • Sampada Chavan Sampada Chavan is originally from Thane, India. She graduated from the University of Mumbai in 2001 with an English degree and her master’s in English there as well in 2003.

    Her English Literature dissertation is entitled ““A Study in Diversity: Single Mothers in African American and Postcolonial Indian Fiction.” Her work was supervised by W. Lawrence Hogue, John and Rebecca Moores Professor in the Department of English.

    “Sampada’s dissertation, ‘A Study of Diversity: Single Mothers in African American Postcolonial Indian Fiction,’ brings together complex theoretical skills to study ways in which very divergent literary traditions in Indian and African American literature converge,” said English Department Chair Wyman.” Her work uses postcolonial theory to re-examine canonical readings of very different traditions.”
  • Cecilia Marrugo-Puello Cecilia Marrugo-Puello is originally from Barranquilla, Colombia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and French written translation from the University of Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia. She completed her master’s degree in Spanish Literature at the University of Arkansas in 2007.

    Her Latin America Literature dissertation is entitled “Croniqueñas (1950-2009): La cronica costeña del Caribe colombiana.” Her work was supervised by Anadeli Bencomo, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies.

    “Cecilia Marrugo-Puello is one of the most outstanding graduates in Hispanic Studies in recent years,” Bencomo said. “As a Teaching Assistant at UH, Cecilia taught a wide range of classes, being the first instructor to teach in the Spanish program at the Honors College. She was awarded a UH Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.”
  • Kyle Solak relocated to Houston from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He graduated with an English degree from the University of Texas in Austin in 2001 and finished a master’s in literature at the University of New Orleans in 2005.

    His English Literature dissertation is entitled “Every Day is Judgment Day: The Veilied Ambiguity of Flannery O’Connnor’s Narrative Structure.” His work was supervised by Maria C. Gonzalez, Associate Professor and Director of Upper Division Studies in the Department of English.

    “Kyle Solak’s dissertation undertakes a revisionist approach to the fiction of Flannery O’Connor,” Herendeen said. “Kyle confronts head on the critical tradition that locates her work comfortably within foundational Catholicism, and he repositions her within what he terms a ‘neo-secular’ paradigm, thus opening the way for a radically new assessment of her work.”

Related Links