Graduate Assistants


OFN bio picJennie Flinspach is a first year Master’s student in the Folklore program. After graduating from Simpson College with a B.A. in English and Theatre, she taught high school English in Iowa for several years. In addition to her classes, she enjoyed writing for and directing the school’s competitive theatre and forensics team. While her research interests are varied, she is particularly focused on Celtic and British mythology and the folklore of Medieval England and France with an emphasis on the evolution of the ballad form. Other passions include musical and theatrical performance and direction, costume design and construction, storytelling and mime, and the American musical theatre tradition.




IMG_1146Brad McMullen is a first year Master’s student in the Folklore Program. After earning a B.A. in Folklore & Mythology from Harvard University, he went to Wales for a year where he researched Welsh tall tales at the University of Cardiff. His other research interests include Celtic folklore in general, Nordic folklore, international tall tale traditions, the relationship between folklore and modern media, oral history, and the presentation of folklore and folk materials to the public.



Nikki with past coworker Daniel Handler. Photo courtesy of Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers.

Nikki Silvestrini is a first year Master’s student. Originally from Minnesota, she graduated with distinction from Indiana University with a B.A. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology and a minor in Rock and Roll history. Nikki has spent the past four years working at indie bookstores in Duluth and Minneapolis and volunteering at the Animal Humane Society as both wildlife rehabilitator and canine behavior rehabilitator. Her research interests include verbal folklore with emphasis on storytelling and narrative as well as youth culture, performance, and contemporary music history. She is specifically interested in studying the role of animals in human communities and cultural identity. Nikki is excited to be in Oregon for many reasons, one reason being that there’s less snow to shovel.



Jules Helweg-Larson is a first year Master’s student in folklore. Recently graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland, she is a Canadian citizen who happened to grow up in North Carolina. Inspired by her BA in Folklore and a minor in Classics, Jules’ research interests include the reciprocal relationship between folk and popular culture and its representation in material culture, differential identity, and the interplay between vernacular belief and social media. Since beginning the masters program, her focus has been on contemporary burlesque and women’s roller derby revival. Other passions include tattoos, the outdoors, circus arts, the supernatural, and collecting books.






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