Wednesday, April 20, 2016

English Department Students Present at URCA 2016

By Dr. Linda Joyce Brown

The Department of English was well represented at this year’s College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium, which was held April 12 in the John C. Meyers Convocation Center.

Four Creative Writing majors—Maggie Andrews, María Cardona, Emily Nieberding, and Garrison Stima—read from their work. Andrews, Cardona, and Stima were advised by Dr. Joe Mackall, and Nieberding was advised by Dr. Maura Grady.

Maggie Andrews reads her short story, "My Return to Route 77"
María Cardona notes that it can be difficult to choose a particular creative work to present. She eventually chose part of her historical novel, Lares, and found that sharing it was rewarding: “I loved being able to share my story with faculty and students, and the feedback I received afterwards was great!”

Maria Cardona reads from her historical novel Lares in traditional Puerto Rican garments
Garrison Stima had a similarly difficult but equally fulfilling process of choosing and revising a piece to present. Stima, who read from his nonfiction essay “My Tree House,” emphasizes that the experience of presenting at URCA can be ground-shifting for a writer. He notes, “the impact my stories have had on the people who’ve come to listen has easily been the most amazing and gratifying feeling of all. To have a person or group thank you for a connection they were able to make with your work is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever known.”

Department of English students also presented their scholarly research. Kouri Weber, an Integrated Language Arts major, and Alexandra Newhouse, who is studying Integrated Language Arts and Creative Writing, both presented original arguments in literary criticism. Weber, who was advised by Dr. Deborah Fleming, explored some of the differences between Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and Walt Whitman’s views of spirituality and nature. Newhouse, who was advised by Dr. Linda Joyce Brown, analyzed the illustrations in Willa Cather’s novel My Àntonia. Newhouse recommends that students who are interested in presenting at URCA choose a topic they are truly interested in. She explains, “While I loved the initial idea of my presentation, I didn't consider the fact that I would be spending time with it on not only my happy days, but also my grumpy I-don't-want-to-do-anything-today kind of days, and the only way to overcome that loss of motivation is if you have a topic that you are truly passionate about.”

Allie Newhouse presents her interpretation of the illustrations in Willa Cather’s novel My Àntonia 
Several other students affiliated with the Department presented at URCA. Dane Zunich, an English and Psychology double-major, studied how reliant people have become on the Internet to provide and store information. Joey Barretta, a minor in English, presented on Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

Furthermore, two Department of English faculty sponsored projects by students who are majoring in other disciplines: Dr. Maura Grady advised Lucas Trott’s presentation, “Pressure and Time: A Critique of the American Penal System in The Shawshank Redemption,” and Dr. Sharleen Mondal advised Charlie Michel’s project, “#BlackMindsMatter: The Psychological Repercussions of Racial Prejudice.” Both of these projects grew out of courses offered by the Department of English.

Charlie Michel with his faculty sponsor, Dr. Sharleen Mondal
The planning of this year’s symposium was led by Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Department of English chair, Dr. Hilary Donatini. Dr. Donatini notes the unique perspective that her service on the committee affords her: “From the perspective of a co-chair of the URCA committee, I love to see the evolution from the original project—often for a class or senior thesis—to the abstract and to the finished oral presentation or poster. Over the course of this process, I see tremendous growth and improvement in even the most polished submissions. Our students gain skills in professionalism as they respond to the committee's feedback on the abstracts and try to communicate their discipline-specific ideas to a broader audience. In both the poster session and the oral presentations, presenters learn how to respond to questions about their work. URCA is an affirmation of our students' membership in our academic community and a showcase for their talent and hard work.”

This sense of personal development is shared by the students who participate. Garrison Stima hopes that more students will take advantage of the opportunity of presenting at URCA: “I believe URCA to be an all-around fantastic experience worth every step.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

English Major Wins National Graduate Fellowship

From the AU News Center:

Ashland University’s Kristen Herrick, a senior who is majoring in English and minoring in business administration and psychology from Mansfield, Ohio, has been awarded the Kathryn Phillips Graduate Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year by the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. The fellowship is in the amount of $3,000. Herrick was recognized as one of 24 students who received a graduate fellowship. She is the daughter of Shawn and Denisa Herrick, and is a  2012 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.

Kristen Herrick and Dr. Jason Ellis, Associate Professor of Education at AU

Herrick was recognized as one of 24 students who received a graduate fellowship. She is the daughter of Shawn and Denisa Herrick, and is a 2012 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.

The Kathryn Phillips Graduate Fellowship is recognized in honor of Kathryn Phillips, who contributed greatly to the Department of Guidance and Student Personnel Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University, which is the graduate school of education for Columbia University. She also was one of the founders and served as the first president of the National Association of Deans of Women.

Since Herrick was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta her first year at AU, she was able to apply for a national graduate fellowship her senior year, which included completing an extensive application process.

Herrick is more than deserving of this national fellowship. In addition to her involvement with Alpha Lambda Delta, Herrick is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society and is the current president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society. She has been named to AU’s deans’ list every semester of her college career, and presented research at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium in 2015. Being an active member on campus, Herrick has been involved with AU’s Social Work Club and the Ashland Commuter Eagles organization.

Upon graduation, Herrick will be pursuing an advanced degree in higher education administration.

The Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society for first-year students credits individuals who have achieved a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in their first or first two semesters. Their purpose is to encourage superior academic achievement among students in their first year, to promote intelligent living, and to assist students in recognizing and developing meaningful goals. Alpha Lambda Delta continues to celebrate academic excellence among first-year students.

Scott Russell Sanders

English Department Spring Reading Series
Scott Russell Sanders Nonfiction Writer

When? April 13th

Where? Hawkins Conard Student Center Auditorium

Time? 4:00 PM

About Scott Russell Sanders:
Scott Russell Sanders is the author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Hunting for Hope and A Conservationist Manifesto. His most recent books are Earth Works: Selected Essays (2012) andDivine Animal: A Novel (2014). A collection of stories titled Dancing in Dreamtime will be published in 2016, along with a new edition of his documentary narrative, Stone Country. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, the Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley.

Questions? Call Kari Lindecamp at ext. 5110 or (419)289-5110