The 2011 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award Winners

Pesented at AAC&U's 2011 Annual Meeting
January 26-29, 2011, San Francisco, California

AAC&U is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award:

Adam Bush, American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California
Edmond Chang, English, University of Washington
Keary Engle, Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute
Michelle Gaffey, Literature, Duquesne University
Sam Potolicchio, American Government, Georgetown University
Chera Reid, Higher Education, New York University
Cara Robinson, Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Delaware
Jennifer Veilleux, Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

The Cross Scholars will be introduced to the AAC&U audience at the Opening Plenary at AAC&U's 2011 Annual Meeting. We invite you to attend the following session, 10:45-12:00 noon, for an in-depth discussion with the Cross Scholars, introduced by K. Patricia Cross, on "Faculty of the Future: Voices from the Next Generation."

We are pleased to provide (below) more information about these outstanding individuals, and we hope you will have a chance to speak with them at the Annual Meeting.

Adam BushAdam Bush
University of Southern California

B.A., Psychology, Columbia University
Ph.D. (expected 2012) in American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Dissertation: "Passing Notes in Class; Listening to Pedagogical Improvisations in Jazz History"

Adam Bush is a Doctoral Candidate in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department at the University of Southern California completing his dissertation, “Passing Notes in Class.”  Adam’s writing, based around archival research and extensive oral history interviews with students, musicians, and community leaders, seeks to position a history of black music around practice and pedagogy through an examination of the origins of institutionalized jazz education.

Adam is also the founding Director of Curriculum of College Unbound (, a college degree program based in Providence, RI working to create a more just higher education for first generation college students and influence higher education policy by incorporating voices outside of the academy in the teaching of its student body in an outcomes-based program built around internship work and civic engagement. With this, both student and program evaluation are shared between college faculty, professional advisers, and community members to create a vibrant learning community that grows directly out of student research passions and local, actionable interests.

Adam also serves as board president for the Studio for Southern California History (, as a member of the Next Generation Engagement research collective of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (, and as the Director of Imagining America's Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program ( Grown out of IA’s national consortium of colleges and universities committed to reciprocal campus-community partnerships, PAGE is dedicated to developing and recognizing new types of graduate training and professionalization centered around access, inclusion, and civic engagement required for a new generation of graduate students.

Edmond Y. ChangEdmond Y. Chang
University of Washington

B.A., English, University of Maryland
B.A., Classics, University of Maryland
Ph.D. Candidate in English, University of Washington

Dissertation:  “Technoqueer: Re/con/figuring Posthuman Identity and Subjectivity”

Edmond Y. Chang is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Washington in Seattle writing a dissertation tentatively entitled "Technoqueer: Re/con/figuring Posthuman Identity and Subjectivity."  Prior to UW, he graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in English, a BA in Classics, and his MA in English.  His main areas of interest are contemporary US fiction, technoculture, digital studies, cultural studies, queer theory, teaching, video games, role-playing games, and popular culture. Currently, he is a key organizer of the Critical Gaming Project and the Keywords for Video Game Studies graduate interest group at UW and is a 2010-2011 Humanities, Arts, Science, Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) Scholar. His article "Gaming as Writing, Or, World of Warcraft as World of Wordcraft" was published in the Fall 2008 Computers & Composition Online Special Issue on "Reading Games." He has taught at the university level for over twelve years, with course topics ranging from the cultural studies of video games to the literature of cyberspace to Harry Potter, and was the recipient of the UW Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009. For more information, go to and

Keary EngleKeary Engle
University of Oxford and The Scripps Research Institute

B.S., Chemistry, Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics, University of Michigan
D. Phil in Biochemistry (expected 2013), University of Oxford
Ph.D. in Chemistry (expected 2013), The Scripps Research Institute

Keary Mark Engle is a third-year graduate student in Chemistry and Biochemistry, currently pursuing a joint Ph.D./D.Phil. at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the University of Oxford as a Skaggs-Oxford Scholar. His scientific research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including The Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, and Science. At TSRI, Keary serves as a mentor for the Life Sciences Summer Institute, a prestigious high school internship program for students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. He is also a co-founder of the TSRI Student Sustainability Initiative, which works to lessen the environmental impact of research at TSRI through sustainable laboratory practice, green chemistry education, and community activism.

Prior to beginning graduate school, Keary attended the University of Michigan, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with concentrations in Chemistry, Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics. A Fulbright Scholar, he then studied catalysis at the Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research in Germany and Stockholm University in Sweden. Presently, Keary’s academic work is supported by an NSF Graduate Fellowship, an NDSEG Fellowship, and a TSRI Deans’ Fellowship. Outside of lab, Keary is an ultramarathon runner and avid international traveler. Following graduation, Keary plans to pursue postdoctoral training and then to become a professor at a major research university.

Michelle B. GaffeyMichelle B. Gaffey
Duquesne University

B.S., Secondary Education, Duquesne University
B.A., English, Duquesne University
M.A., Literature, Duquesne University
Women’s and Gender Studies Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Duquesne University
Ph.D. Candidate, Literature, Duquesne University

Dissertation: “Subjects of Economy: Social Documentary Poetic Traditions and Contemporary Poetry of Work”

Michelle B. Gaffey is a 2010 dissertation fellow in the Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University.  Her dissertation, “Subjects of Economy,” examines five contemporary photo-poetic projects that engage with the social documentary book tradition, and it considers strategies for teaching these texts, particularly within service-learning frameworks.

For the past nine years Michelle has taught composition and literature courses at the college level.  She has received two Wimmer Family Foundation grants to support her development of service-learning projects within the College’s learning communities, and she has co-developed and co-taught Carlow University’s 300-level interdisciplinary course, Women v. Sweatshops.  She has also served as the assistant director of Duquesne’s University Writing Center, worked closely with undergraduates to form Duquesne’s Gay-Straight Alliance, and taught twelfth grade students in Pittsburgh’s Project Upward Bound.  She has served on teaching, service, and conference-organizing committees at Duquesne and in her community, and in 2010 she received Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence’s Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching.  In spring 2011 she will be awarded the Center’s Advanced Certificate of University Teaching.

Michelle has also worked with grassroots activist organizations in Pittsburgh, including the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance, which she helped found.  She coordinated with the National Labor Committee in 2004 to bring the Bangladeshi Workers’ Tour to Duquesne University and Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District.  In 2007 she was invited to participate in Carlow University’s annual Women’s History Month program as a guest speaker on working conditions in the global apparel industry and on worker-consumer solidarity. 

Michelle was a first-generation college student, originally from St. Marys, PA.  Her parents, brother, and working-class roots have been the inspiration for her scholarship, pedagogy, and activism.

Sam PotolicchioSam Potolicchio
Georgetown University

B.A. Georgetown University, Government and Psychology
M.A. Georgetown University, American Government
M.T.S. Harvard University, Christianity and Culture (Program in Religion and Secondary School Education)
Ph.D. (expected 2011), in American Government/Minor, Religion and Politics, Georgetown University

Sam Potolicchio teaches American Politics and Public Affairs and Research Methods for the Semester in Washington Program at Georgetown University. At Georgetown, Potolicchio has taught courses on Presidential Rhetoric, Religion and Politics, Constitutional Law, and the United States Political System. His dissertation examines presidential rhetoric.

He is a decorated teacher, winning three "Teacher of the Year" awards at Georgetown. Potolicchio also teaches during his summers for The American Institute of Political and Economic Systems and The International Institute of Political and Economics Systems, where he has taught students from 60 different countries. He is the lecturer on American Federalism for the Open World Leadership program at the Library of Congress, where he speaks weekly to visiting dignitaries from the post-Soviet republics. Potolicchio’s book chapters with Clyde Wilcox on Religion and Politics have been published in volumes by Congressional Quarterly Press and Oxford University Press. He has delivered keynote lectures internationally in the Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and Bulgaria. Potolicchio has been involved throughout the educational system, as a public school history and law teacher in Belmont, MA, a middle school coach, a high school administrator, and an elementary school Latin teacher. Potolicchio also coaches a junior high school basketball team (the Hoyas) in Washington D.C. that has had 6 undefeated championship seasons.

Chera ReidChera Reid
New York University

B.A., English and African American Studies, University of Virginia
M.A., Higher Education, University of Michigan
Ph.D. Candidate in Higher Education, New York University

Dissertation: "Joyful Obligation: Listening to Black Doctoral Students in the Academy"

Chera Reid is a PhD candidate and Steinhardt Fellow in the Higher Education program at New York University.  Her interests include access and equity in the academy, academic transitions, and cross-sector educational partnerships.  She has taught in a number of educational settings, most recently in the City University of New York (CUNY) community college system and at New York University. As a member of the CUNY new community college planning team, she addressed simultaneously issues of learning, degree attainment, and career planning.

Chera previously was a faculty member at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, where she directed the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), a national program that recruits to graduate study and teaching careers outstanding students of color and other scholars who are committed to educational diversity. There, she advised 500+ students through the graduate school application process and advocated for their funding for advanced study. She has presented extensively to students and faculty on the graduate school planning and application process.

Her dissertation, which addresses graduate education and the process of the joining the academy, bridges her academic studies and professional expertise. She also has published on higher education philanthropy at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and presented work on undocumented students and adult undergraduates.

Cara RobinsonCara Robinson
University of Delaware

B.A., Political Science and Sociology, Concord College
M.A., Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Delaware
Ph.D., Urban Affairs and Public Policy (expected 2011), University of Delaware

Dissertation: "Informing Democracy?: Election Coverage by Cable News Networks in the 2008 Presidential Election"

Cara Robinson is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware completing her dissertation in the Urban Affairs and Public Policy program. She is the current recipient of the George and Renee Raffel Award—awarded for exceptional commitment to scholarly achievement and service to the academic community. Cara serves as an instructor in the University of Delaware's undergraduate Public Policy program and a senior research assistant in the Center for Community Research and Service (CCRS). She has also served as an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences and is a Higher Education Teaching Certificate Fellow in the Center for Teaching and Learning. Cara's dissertation research examines the changing ecosystem of the news media through an analysis of cable news coverage during the 2008 presidential election.

Prior to her pursuing her doctoral studies, Cara was the Executive Director of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware where she engaged as a statewide leader in data collection, research and advocacy for Delaware's homeless citizens and service organizations.

During her tenure in the doctoral program, Cara has worked on four community-based research projects. Each of these projects involved collaborating with community and nonprofit leaders to assist in the facilitation of policy initiatives and the development of leadership in communities across the state. Blueprint Communities Delaware (BCD) is a statewide community planning initiative. Cara has worked on the project for four years and has served as a community coach, trainer, and researcher/co-principal investigator.

Cara is dedicated to integrating civic engagement and public service through active learning opportunities in the classroom and during advising and mentoring. Cara's research and teaching interests include public policy (social, urban, media), nonprofit management, and community development.

Cara lives in Wilmington, DE with her husband Jonathan and boxer Abraham. She is an avid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jenn VeilleuxJenn Veilleux
University of Illinois at Chicago

B.A., Dramatic Arts, Macalester College
M.A., Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ph.D. in Psychology (expected 2011), University of Illinois at Chicago

Jenn Veilleux is in the final year of her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently completing her predoctoral internship at the Southwest Consortium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her primary research program involves the study of anticipatory positive emotions and the relationship between emotions and substance use. Her dissertation project, “Affective chronometry of cue-induced cigarette craving” investigates the dynamic emotional responses underlying cigarette craving for smokers.

She has adopted a broad definition of teaching, including classroom instruction, mentorship of research and supervision of clinical activities. In the classroom, she has a particular interest in teaching research methods and statistics, courses that are frequently dreaded by students but are the cornerstone of psychological science. She advocates for teaching students the scientific rigor of psychological research, combined with a focus on self-assessment, to help students understand the connection between research and their own lives.

Her interests in teaching and training led her to serve two years as a student representative to the board of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP), which spearheaded a secondary line of research on competency-based training in clinical psychology. Throughout graduate school she has been an advocate for students, serving on the Graduate Student Council, volunteering on panels to give undergraduates information about graduate school in psychology, and training incoming teaching assistants at UIC. In 2009, she was honored to win the psychology department’s Harry S. Upshaw Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Merit Award given by the Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Association.