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Current Students

Savannah Bateman

Master’s Student, Concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture

Savannah is an M.A. student at UNC with a concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture. She is from the small town of Kitty Hawk, located on the Outer Banks, NC. She earned her B.A. in English Literature with two minors in biology and chemistry from Western Carolina University. As an undergraduate, she was primarily interested in interdisciplinary research and medicine. She has a work history in emergency medical Services and medical transportation services, which primarily drives her research interests in the health humanities, focusing on bibliotherapeutic techniques in chaotic work environments, trauma theory, and rhetorical analysis of the metaphorical language in EMS provider personal narratives.

Mindy Buchanan-King

PhD Student, Graduate Certificate in Literature, Medicine, and Culture

Mindy Buchanan-King is pursuing her Ph.D. in English Literature at UNC Chapel Hill. Mindy is originally from Virginia and received her B.A. from Emory & Henry College and her M.A. from the College of Charleston. Her master’s thesis focused on Edith Wharton’s use of Romanticism in conceptualizing the artistic self in Hudson River Bracketed. Her graduate research is currently focused on women authors of late 19th-/early 20th-century American fiction and the function of science and medicine in such works. She’s also interested in representations and interpretations of the body in wartime medical photography.

Austin Hopkins

Master’s Student, Concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture


Austin is an M.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and is pursuing a dual M.A. in English, concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture. He earned his B.A. in Mathematical Statistics with minors in Biology and Chemistry from Wake Forest University. He plans to practice medicine as a psychiatrist, and is particularly interested in trauma, LGBTQ+ health, narrative medicine, eating disorders, and incarcerated health. He is a writer, having published numerous essays in platforms including Doximity Op-Med and The International Journal of Prisoner Health as well as an autobiographical creative non-fiction book entitled The Loose Ends Became Knots: An Illness Narrative. As a master’s student, he plans to study how the health humanities can provide an integrated approach to the conceptualization, understanding, and treatment of trauma as well as engaging in archival research in the field of asylum studies.

Sakari Law

Undergraduate Student, BA/MA Program in Literature, Medicine, and Culture

Sakari is a junior in the B.A./M.A. program at UNC Chapel Hill currently seeking a degree in English and a minor in chemistry. She plans to matriculate into the M.A. program in Fall 2022.

Sakari is pursuing a career in medicine as a physician assistant. She currently works with patients who experience a wide range of pain problems, and that work experience has influenced how she approaches health and medicine. She must take thoughtful consideration of her patients and consider their welfare more than her own desires, a skill that chemistry and biology does not teach. Writing a science proposal project as a freshman and reading Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy have also shaped how she thinks about her role as a clinician. The opportunity to become the best physician comes not only with being able to treat and diagnose your patients, but also having the ability to imagine the predicament of another person. The LMC program has encouraged her to reflect on her own understandings, challenge her beliefs and find gaps in her reasoning. Studying this patient-doctor relationship has changed how she looks at the world and its people. She emphasizes that this ongoing process of understanding and developing oneself is necessary to provide care for others. Healthcare is a human interaction that needs to be reflected upon in a way that doesn’t take for granted something that “simply exists.”

Megan Swartzfager

Master’s Student, Concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture

Megan is pursuing an MA in English with a concentration in Literature, Medicine, and Culture and serving as a HHIVE Lab Research Assistant and Health Humanities Grand Rounds coordinator. She received her BA in English with a minor in Society and Health from the University of Mississippi. Her undergraduate research focused on social determinants of health and the politicization of medical knowledge, but her honors thesis focused on the persistent collective traumas of slavery and its descendants. At UNC, Megan plans to study the deployment of gendered rhetoric in the professionalization of American nursing and to continue pursuing research about the social determinants of health.

Nathan Quinn

Headshot of Nathan QuinnPhD Student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature

Nathan is working on his PhD in English Literature at UNC Chapel Hill, with a focus on contemporary American literature, and is serving as a HHIVE Research Assistant for the 2020-21 academic year. He originally hails from Saint Louis, Missouri, and earned his Bachelor’s in English at Princeton University. Nathan wrote his undergraduate thesis on themes of addiction, communication, and religion in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest; and his graduate research is presently focused on literary texts as objects of “religious” significance and the relationship between language and the supernatural.