Moraine Valley Community College professor of Communications/Literature Carey Millsap-Spears has long been influenced by gothic and science fiction. Her love of the genres helped her earn Best Faculty or Independent Scholar in Science Fiction and Fantasy from the Popular Culture Association (PCA).

Her paper, “Sometimes, You Need to Roll the Hard Six: Posthumanism and Female Gothic Science Fiction in ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica,’” earned the honor at the PCA national conference in March and was set to be published in “Aeternum: The Journal of Contemporary Gothic Studies.”

With this honor, she also was awarded a spot at the PCA summer institute at Bowling Green State University, which she attended June 3-8. There she researched the Queer Gothic in FOX’s “Gotham” TV show through the character Barbara Kean for future presentation and publication.

“I’m thrilled at this honor. I enjoyed my time at the summer institute and met colleagues from all over the country interested in popular culture and research and how to bring that all into the classroom,” she said. “It was so important to me to see and meet others who understand the value of this work and how important it is to students. They understand popular culture on one level; showing how it is deeper and more significant is a great journey.”

Previously, Millsap-Spears has presented at the PCA regional and national conferences, blogged for the International Gothic Association and has had a number of her pieces published and awarded over the years.

Millsap-Spears began working with the gothic genre as an undergrad student at Purdue University. Because gothic and science fiction impacted her life, she has dedicated her scholarly work to how these genres play out in popular culture.

“I use popular culture in all my classes—from music videos, TV shows, films, documentary films, Internet memes, and comics. Popular culture is a gateway to the larger issues we sometimes look for in more complicated texts,” she said.