Monday, October 24, 2011

Ashland Grads Start Master’s Degrees Deep In the Heart of Texas

by Hilary Donatini

Recent graduates Lauren Schiely (2011) and Logan Fry (2010) are pursuing degrees in the Lone Star state. Schiely, an English and Creative Writing major at AU, is attending Texas State University in San Marcos, near Austin: “I am a student in Texas State’s Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition program. It’s a two-year program with about thirty students enrolled. I’m currently taking Studies in Rhetoric, Writing Center Theory and Practice, and a practicum for my graduate assistantship.” Lauren is teaching a developmental writing course and credits her work in the AU Writing Studio with giving her the confidence to lead the class. She also would like to raise current AU students’ awareness of the burgeoning field of Rhetoric and Composition:
I would like to share my ever-accumulating knowledge of the field of Rhetoric and Composition with English and Creative Writing students at AU who are considering graduate school. I wouldn’t have known to apply to this field if it weren’t for Sue Huff [director of the Writing Studio], and I think that many students are under the impression that the only two options are literature or creative writing master’s programs. Those are certainly great options, but I would be willing to answer questions for anyone looking to explore a different venue while remaining in the English department.

Logan Fry’s program is the Master of Fine Arts in English at the University of Texas – Austin, with an emphasis on Creative Writing in Poetry. Logan began his poetic career at Ashland, majoring in Creative Writing and English and minoring Philosophy. “This semester I'm taking three courses and am a teaching assistant in one,” he explains. 

I’m taking a course called Modern(ist) British Poetry, one called Literature for Writers, and a poetry workshop taught by Dean Young. It has encouraged me to be thinking about poetry (including my own) from a different perspective, one where the poem is not a stab in the dark toward Art but an engagement with a tradition and a set of guidelines—a set of guidelines that includes grinding these guidelines into dust with your boot heel, if that's what best serves your purposes in that particular case.

In addition to his course load, Logan is responsible for leading discussion sections and grading for Masterworks of Literature: British, a required class for every undergrad at UT: “We’re reading Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Pope, Austen, Woolf, Eliot, Pinter, and some other important and often very difficult writers. I'm learning a great deal about how to lead a classroom, but it's certainly a trial by fire.” He has already observed his growth as a poet and a student of literature: “Now I have learned enough to see that I have not learned nearly enough.” Logan and Lauren are both grateful to the AU professors who guided them through the application process and prepared them for the rigors of these programs.

These Ohio transplants have been enjoying the food, weather, and culture of the Austin area. The picture above was taken in one of the many local coffee shops where they socialize and work through their demanding but rewarding grad school tasks. We wish them well!