Immerse yourself

by Erin Moreno

Registration for Spring 2018 is almost here, and I want to tell you why you really, really need to sign up for an immersive-learning class.

ORIGIN STORY

My sophomore year,  I signed up for a 15-credit hour immersive-learning experience taught by a Religious Studies faculty member. I was an English Education major, and until then, I’d been following the path that my freshman advisor had laid out for me.

In order to get into the class, I had to apply and be accepted, and then meet with the department heads of English, Education, and Sociology (my minor) to figure out how the experience could be applied toward the classes I needed to graduate. A bunch of meetings later, I was heading to the Virginia Ball Center for the Representing Religion in Comics seminar.

BEGINNINGS

That semester was one of the most formative experiences of my collegiate career. I collaborated and learned from 12 other students from different disciplines (Religious Studies, Biology, Creative Writing, Fine Arts, Animation) as well as our faculty advisor who really let us lead the class ourselves. We gained experience and skills in leadership, creative writing, art, and technology (I created and drew my entire comic by teaching myself Adobe Photoshop).

Amy Chu (one of the authors of Wonder Woman) visiting our seminar.

Amy ChuMark WaidCharles SouleEric Heissererand other experienced comic professionals came to our class to speak with us and help guide us on our comic writing endeavor. We ate more special edition Oreos than I ever have before (or ever will again). We spoke at the Indy Comic Con in our own panel about our experience in the class and by the end of the semester, we had each written a comic book that included elements of religion.

Taking that class taught me so much. It made me realize that there is always more than one way to do something. It helped me become more of a leader and teammate. It gave me creative writing, copy-editing, storyboarding, and design work before I had even thought to do anything in those fields before. Most importantly, it taught me that I truly enjoyed working with others and creating something. My immersive-learning class gave me a group of peers I still keep in touch with (Team Falcon for life) and it led me to switch majors from English Education to English Studies with an additional minor in Creative Writing.

EPILOGUE

The cover of the comic I wrote and illustrated.

When you’re going through college it’s natural to feel lost. My advisor gave me some advice on one of my tear-filled meetings with her.

She told me, “Sometimes you can’t see the path until you look back at all the stars you’ve left.”

As a senior about to graduate in December, I look back at all my stars and moments here at Ball State and I’m so grateful that the English department encouraged me to have an unusual education. My advisors and the faculty not only encouraged me, they enabled me to go out and experience something outside of the department. I got to learn about religion from a theological standpoint, and I learned more about myself as a writer, learner, and leader through that seminar than I ever would have without it. I don’t know exactly what would have happened if I had stayed in education, but I know I wouldn’t be nearly as prepared to face the world as I feel now.

Though I’m no longer going into the classroom after graduation, I still consider myself an educator. I’ve been able to give talks to incoming freshmen about my experience as well as help other professors in the department by sharing my story with others who may be apprehensive about what such a big change may bring them. I really want to encourage other students to go out of their comfort zone and pursue an abnormal education. Explore other areas of our university to further push yourself in your education.

The crew getting ready to present at Indy ComicCon.

Ball State has many great immersive-learning experiences to grow from and with registration right around the corner, now is the time to plan. If you’re interested in stepping out of the English department, try out the Muslims in Muncie project!

Contact the office of Entrepreneurial Learning to find out more about projects happening all over campus.

Or do you want to stay a little closer to home?

Then the Book Arts Collaborative could be for you. Talk to Dr. Rai Peterson.

Or if you’ve got some design skills, Dr. Adam Beach is looking for a new team member for the Digital Literature Review.

GO AHEAD. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!

This is a cross post on bsuenglish.com and erinmoreno.com.

Author and Artist Kelcey Parker Ervick to Visit Ball State

Author and artist Kelcey Parker Ervick will be visiting Ball State University on October 26, 2017 at 8:30 PM in the Arts and Journalism Building (AJ) 225, and it is free and open to the public.

Kelcey Parker Ervick is the author of The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and art. Her previous books include Liliane’s Balcony (Rose Metal Press), a novella set at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which won silver awards for the Independent Publishers, Foreward, and Eric Hoffer Books awards. Her story collection, For Sale By Owner (Kore Press), won the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award in Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2012 Best Books of Indiana in Fiction.

She has received grants from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Her stories, essays, and collages have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous literary journals including Colorado Review, Passages North, Ilanot Review, Quarterly West, Booth, Notre Dame Review, The Common, Western Humanities Review, and Image. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and teaches creative writing and literary collage at Indiana University South Bend. And she blogs, now and again.

Learn more about her

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This year you’re gonna do it!

50,000 words. One month. NaNoWriMo.

Have you ever wanted to write a novel but weren’t sure how to get started? Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the thought of writing a novel that you don’t start? Do you have ideas floating around in your head, but you’re not sure how to piece them together?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then NaNoWriMo is for you!

Can we accumulate 5 million words?

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Becca Wolfley: Marketer and Freelance Copywriter

Becca Wolfley graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Advertising (and a minor in Creative Writing) in 2015. After graduation, she worked as a content writer and manager for tech company Lesson.ly until May of 2016, then became the digital copywriter for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis a month later. She continues to work as a creative for the museum’s marketing department while moonlighting as a freelance copywriter.

How did your major and minor lead to your current position? What series of steps did you make after college to get there, and what skills did you learn with us that helped you in that transition?

From my experience as an Ad major, many of my peers didn’t know how to tell a single story in various ways. I suppose that’s how I got here—I was one of the few that could. I thank my creative writing classes for that.

Screenwriting, poetry, English literature…the combination of these classes (and then some) taught me to write practically, write concisely, and interpret critically. Between literature courses and rhetorical analysis with Rai Peterson and abstract, post-modern poetry with Pete Davis, I got the hang of how to write for the perception I desired from multiple audiences without compromising creativity.

By the time I finished college, I had a portfolio of various types of work. In cover letters, it didn’t hurt to show the similarities between a commercial script and a screenplay, or how poetics play a big role in commercial scripting.
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The “Grand” Challenge of Dublin

by Amanda Belcher

How I Got to Ireland

Last year, I was in a Shakespeare class when a girl named Hayley came to talk about the opportunity to travel with a program called CAPA to Ireland the following summer.

Having strong Irish heritage on both sides of my family, I’d heard so many stories about the country and have always wanted to go myself.

I sat there, entranced by stories of the Cliffs of Moher and incredibly green landscapes, and knew I wanted to have that experience.

Getting there took a lot of work – several scholarship applications and fundraising efforts — and there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it, but on May 14, 2017, I was on a plane headed to another country for the first time in my life.

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Meet Prof. Laila Aghai

Laila Aghai comes to us from San Antonio, Texas. She earned her PhD in
Culture, Literacy, and Language from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She will be teaching graduate and undergraduate linguistics courses–both f2f and online.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I believe that a classroom environment in which respect, collaboration, discussion, and critical thinking are encouraged can be an appropriate place for

learning and teaching. As a teacher, I understand that I learn from my students as much as they learn from me. Therefore, the background knowledge, experience, and expertise that students bring to the classroom should be valued. When students feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns, they are more likely to take advantage of the lessons being taught in the classroom. Continue reading

September Good News: Kayla Peterson turns her classroom into Hogwarts (and more!)

In The News

Kayla Peterson (BA in English Ed, 2016) is an English teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka, IN. She was recently featured on WNDU News for transforming her classroom into Hogwarts.

 

Check out the other awesome things #bsuenglish students and faculty have been up to! 

Faculty News

Kathryn S. Gardiner is a “Second Rounder” in the Austin Film Festival’s annual script competition for 2017. Second Round scripts represent the top 20% of all submissions. In addition, Kathryn submitted two feature-length screenplays to the contest—“The Art of Yielding” and “The Regiment”—and both scripts advanced to the second round. Second Rounders receive access to a variety of exclusive panels and roundtables with industry professionals at the Austin, Texas conference in October. “The Art of Yielding” is also a quarter-finalist in the 2017 Slamdance Screenplay Competition.

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Meet Prof. Brianna Mauk

Brianna Mauk earned her BA in Technical Writing from Eastern Kentucky University. She earned her MA in Rhetoric and Composition at Ohio University in Athens, OH, and she earned her PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. Brianna specializes in new media, especially social networking, and researches the intersections between technology, mobility and writing. Brianna will be teaching first-year writing and Document Design. 

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I tailor each of my courses and assignments to tasks and concepts that students can transfer to the rest of their college careers at Ball State.

Scholars leave my class prepared for critical thinking, analysis, different types of writing, visual design and rhetoric, as well as finding reliable sources in a variety of modes.

I truly agree with the title of my ENG 103 text that “Everything is an Argument.”

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Meet Prof. Morgan Leckie

Morgan C. Leckie comes to us from Miami of Ohio’s graduate program in Composition and Writing, by way of California. Her research is on digital feminist rhetorical practices and reproductive justice advocacy. She will be teaching first-year writing and professional writing, including Jacket Copy Creative, our department’s immersive learning class that functions as our in-house PR firm.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching? On learning?

I get really bell hooks about this topic. “Teaching is an act of love.” I can’t help but agree with her on that. I believe learning is change. Education is revolution. For me, my own education quite literally changed my socio-economic identity. But it also made me more compassionate, more easily willing to interrogate my own privilege and perspectives. When I think back along the winding trajectory of my own learning, I am struck by the teachers whose belief in me and whose own willingness to transgress, to love, essentially, shaped the women and teacher I am now. So when I teach and learn with my students, I am always feeling love for them, for my own journey, and for the process of changing us all into better citizens of the world. Deep, I know! 🙂

Who are your biggest role models in life?

Probably Leslie Knope.  And Sojourner Truth.  And my ma and pops.  All people who learned and taught the lesson: It’s what you do with and how you do without.  

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