Cogut Institute for the Humanities


  • Portrait of Damien Mahiet

    Damien Mahiet

    Director of Academic Programs, Lecturer in Humanities
    Pembroke Hall, Room 109

    Damien Mahiet is Director of Academic Programs at the Cogut Institute and Lecturer in Humanities. He provides administrative support for the Collaborative Humanities Initiative and Doctoral Certificate as well as the institute’s communications and programs. His research focuses on the ways musical ideas and practices have informed political history in general and international relations in particular. Trained in political thought (M.A. Sciences Po Paris) and musicology (Ph.D. Cornell University), he was a fellow at Harvard University’s Mahindra Humanities Center in 2012–13. His work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Music, 19th-Century Music, Dance Research, History of European Ideas, and the Journal of International Political Theory. He coedited L’Institution musicale (Delatour, 2011) and Music and Diplomacy from the Early Modern Era to the Present (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). He serves as a review editor-at-large of the H-Diplo network.

  • Portrait photo of Gregory Kimbrell in a green plaid shirt

    Gregory Kimbrell

    Pembroke Hall, Room 203

    Gregory Kimbrell promotes the institute’s initiatives and events and the accomplishments of its faculty, fellows, and students across a variety of channels. For 11 years, he organized events and managed event space and publicity for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries. He completed his MFA in creative writing at VCU and has since published two books of poetry: The Primitive Observatory (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016) and The Ceremonial Armor of the Impostor (Weasel Press, 2019). He is currently studying UX design at Springboard.

  • Portrait photo of Benjamin Safran

    Benjamin Safran

    Pembroke Hall 114

    Ben Safran manages operations including strategic and financial planning, facilities management, academic programs, and supervising administrative staff. They have a Ph.D. in music from Temple University and have presented research on protest music, campaign strategy, identity studies in music, music in childhood and youth culture, media studies, hermeneutics, ecomusicology, and 20th- and 21st-century concert music. Their scholarly work has been published in the Journal of the Society for American Music and Yale Journal of Music and Religion, while their compositions have been performed by musicians ranging from principal members of the Philadelphia Orchestra to grassroots activists performing a guerilla concert in a corporate headquarters lobby. They also serve on the board of environmental activist group Earth Quaker Action Team.

  • Portrait photo of Rachel Ulm

    Rachel Ulm

    Administrative and Event Coordinator
    Pembroke Hall, Room 116

    Rachel Ulm coordinates logistics and administrative support for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Previously, she worked as a Community Ambassador at Colgate University and served on a public relations committee that helped to coordinate and advertise events for the Tredecim Honor Society. She has also worked with children and teenagers as a private cello teacher. She earned her B.A. in geography and environmental studies at Colgate University. Her research focused on resource disparities within Indigenous populations, low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color with a particular focus on food insecurity and the viability of sustainable urban agriculture. She is currently pursuing a M.S. in geography and geospatial science at Oregon State University.

  • Matt Hoffmann

    Matthew Hoffmann

    Pembroke Hall, Room 118

    Matt Hoffmann provides administrative and logistical support for the institute’s courses, fellowship programs, and funding opportunities. Previously, he worked as a Campus Coordinator for Levine Music, a large community music school in Washington, D.C. There, he managed teachers’ studios and assisted students in beginning their musical journey. He graduated from George Mason University in 2022 with a B.M. in French horn performance, then interned with the education team at Washington Performing Arts. He has enjoyed teaching private horn lessons for the past six years.