About Us

Class Biographies

Dee Bakker, Editor
Dee Bakker lives in San Diego, California, and works as a technical writer/editor at a local San Diego company. A graduate student in the Humanities program at Mount St. Mary’s, she hopes to finish class requirements fall 2013 and begin her thesis spring semester 2014. Her contribution to the digital humanities project is writing about the history of the western. Although Whispering Smith is the first western novel she has read, it dovetails nicely with her longtime interest in hard-boiled detective novels. She finds the characteristics of the hero in western fiction and in American detective fiction very similar, and notes that both genres were popularized in the pulp magazines (e.g., Black Mask [detective fiction] and Western Story Magazine [western fiction]) of the early 1900s. Both genres and their heroes share similarities with another of her reading interests, which is Arthurian legend.

Breanna Bello, Social Media Manager
Breanna Bello is from the San Gabriel Valley. She is the eldest of four children and the first in her family to pursue higher education. In 2010, she earned her BA in both English and History from Mount St. Mary’s College. She is currently working on her MA in Humanities with an emphasis in History. Breanna hopes to become an archivist and later pursue a doctorate degree in Latin American Studies. She currently lives in Covina, California.

Lynnel Bryson-Davis, Launch/Advertising Manager
Lynnel Bryson-Davis was born and raised in Western Canada in the province of Alberta. She grew up in a small city but had aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents “on the farm,” all of whom were enthusiasts of the western genre. She holds several degrees and teaching credentials from various institutions in the United States and Canada. She is in her final class at MSMC and will complete her thesis in the fall. She currently teaches eighth-grade U.S. history and government at the middle school level and looks forward to teaching at the college level after earning her MA degree.

Lauren Buisson, Teaching Assistant
Lauren Buisson studied English literature, with an emphasis on world literature in translation, as an undergraduate. She is a Mount St. Mary’s graduate student in Humanities at the thesis stage. A member of MLA and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Lauren’s research interests are genre, film, popular culture, and the impact of the city on literature. Her thesis research examines a popular author’s work during the Cold War. About those rock stars of the Ivory Tower, Lauren admits to having academic crushes on Mulvey, Barthes, and Žižek.

Liz Goumas, Teaching Assistant
Liz Goumas was born in Beverly Hills, Illinois, and lived in the southwest suburbs of Chicago for most of her childhood. She received her MS in Theater from Illinois State University and has resided in Chicago and Brooklyn, New York. She has recently completed her coursework in the Humanities program at Mount St. Mary’s College, and she is in the process of writing her thesis on the theatrical and moral communities in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Corpus Christi Cycle Plays. Liz intends to receive her MA degree in fall 2013, and then either continue doctoral work in Medieval and Renaissance studies or work for a local nonprofit organization such as Homeboy Industries. She lives in Altadena, California.

Veronica Guardado, Project Manager
Veronica Guardado was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is in her third semester in the graduate Humanities program at Mount St. Mary’s College. Being the first to do so in her family, Veronica received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and English from Mount St. Mary’s College in 2012. She will pursue English literature as her emphasis in the graduate program. Veronica hopes to complete her coursework in summer 2014, and then begin working on her capstone project. She is interested in exploring literature in which characters attempt to form their own identities but are inevitably affected by outside factors, such as prejudice. Veronica believes that her skills and fifteen years of experience as an application analyst in Information Technology will enhance her ability to carry out her duties as project manager on the Whispering Smith project. She currently lives in Maywood, California.

Rosemary Irvine, Documentarian
Rosemary Irvine was born and raised in California. A child of immigrant parents and the first generation in the United States, she provides a distinct perspective on life in Los Angeles. She attended Mount St. Mary’s College where she earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business. She is currently working on her Master’s thesis in Humanities with an emphasis in Cultural Studies. She has eight years of work experience in higher education, where she has served first-generation and underserved communities. She hopes to continue her studies with an MBA degree in 2014.

Lauren Lees, Web Master
Lauren Lees was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended Los Angeles Valley College before transferring to UC Irvine where she earned a BA in English and a minor in Film and Media Studies. Currently, she is finishing her third semester at Mount St. Mary’s MA in Humanities program, with interests in children’s literature and literary theory. She hopes to travel back to UC Irvine to obtain her doctorate in English. She works at Cal State Dominguez Hills as a supplemental instructor, working with lower income kids in remedial English. Her dream job would be to return to her community college, Los Angeles Valley College, as an English instructor.

Jessica Record, Communications Manager
Jessica Record grew up along the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. With a particular interest in post-Civil War westward expansion, she is enjoying the opportunity to study the history of the railroad and its relevance to western novels such as Frank Spearman’s Whispering Smith. Jessica taught world history, American history, and government at the middle and high school levels in south Los Angeles. She is finishing her graduate coursework in Humanities at Mount St. Mary’s College and is beginning her thesis. She hopes to teach history at the community college level upon completion.

Jennifer Tran Smith, PhD, Course Instructor and DH Project Director
Jennifer Tran Smith earned her BA from UC Berkeley in 2003 and her PhD from UCLA in 2012. She is fascinated by the intersection of language and learning and uses that interest to inspire her work as a teacher and researcher. She has taught a wide variety of classes in medieval and Early Modern history and literature (including Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare), poetry, and writing composition at both MSMC and UCLA. This class on Whispering Smith is her first with a digital humanities focus.

She is currently working on a book that analyzes the pedagogical style of Reginald Pecock, a fifteenth-century English bishop and linguistic innovator. She has published or presented papers on Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and St. Katherine of Alexandria. Jennifer has also served for two years as a committee member for the Medieval Academy of America, worked on multiple digital humanities projects, and catalogued manuscripts for the Charles E. Young Library Department of Special Collections.


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