Monthly Archives: November 2015

Robert Young

So far there has been a marked difference between my career as an undergraduate in Ball State’s English department and the beginnings of my graduate work. With more reading to do, as well as a whole new approach to learning, graduate school expects more of me, though I knew this would be true.

I knew that it would be difficult, but already I can tell it will be immensely rewarding.

Now almost a whole semester into my Masters in Creative Writing, I’ve been challenged to think about school in a whole new way, fostering my abilities as a teacher as well as a learner, due to my position as a graduate assistant.DSC00170

One specific difference between graduate and undergraduate studies has simply been the sheer amount of reading expected of me. My classes so far have, on average, required me to do almost twice as much reading, but as an avid reader this has not been difficult for me. It does however cut down on my Netflix time. Something that has been totally new for me has been my experiences thus far in the Writing Program. Working in the writing center, being a TA for an ENG 103 class, and really submerging myself in the theories and practices of teaching have been all new experiences for me. And yet, I feel prepared to face the changes.

Having spent four years at BSU gave me a familiarity with both the campus and faculty that eased the transition into graduate school, but it was still apparent that this new level of academia would push me to the limit. Having said that, I feel prepared to face the challenge. I’ve met some wonderful new people who I will be sharing this experience with. I have also reconnected with some familiar faces. Overall, the nervousness that I’m feeling about graduate school is vastly outweighed by the sense of excitement – like entering a whole new world. Here’s to BSU and hoping that the next two years continue fostering my growth as a writer. And discovering new writers and books is never a bad thing.

What Does Literature Mean to You?

We’re launching a new series that we’ve titled “Department Dialogue.” This series offers our professors a platform they can use to discuss English-related topics that are of interest to both faculty and students alike. Our first post in this series is brought to you by our literature faculty, who all answered the same question: what does literature mean to you? 

Professor Adam Beach:

I remember my excitement when I started my education in literature as an undergraduate as my professors introduced me to a whole world of great books and also a whole new set of ways to think about those books at the same time.

They showed me that analyzing literature from different critical perspectives blurred the line between pleasure reading and school reading and that thinking deeply about what I read could actually enhance my enjoyment of books. I hope to pass on this same idea to my students!
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Dustin Tipton on finding your passion

Dustin Tipton graduated from Ball State in 2012. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus in Creative Writing and Literature. He is the Chief Engineer for Hilton Garden Inn West Chester and KB Hotel Group. He lives in Cincinnati with his fiance, and they are expecting their first child, Zoe Loraine. 

Prior to Ball State, I worked at the local manufacturing TiptonBioPicfacility in my hometown. That’s where I gained a love for what most employers recognize as “technical skills.”

But, really, I just loved the process of taking something apart and putting it back together. I think it’s that aspect that also made me love studying literature and writing. The act of taking apart a story, trying to understand why something in the narrative is or isn’t working, truly isn’t all that different from taking apart a complex piece of machinery and understanding why that isn’t working.

Most people will say that communication is the biggest advantage in being an English major in today’s job market—and, for obvious reasons, there is a lot of truth in that. English majors do possess an ability to communicate much more effectively than those who graduate in an industry-specific field. It is critical thinking, however, that really sets us apart.

There is no greater companion to critical thinking than creativity.

The ability to think creatively opens up an endless amount of ways to come up with a solution. Once you become known as the go-to person for a quick, creative solution, then you’ve already set yourself apart. David Foster Wallace spoke about this (and did so much more eloquently) in his This is Water speech. English majors are being taught to think rather than being taught how to think, and I’ve found the former to be a distinct advantage over the latter in my life.

I majored in a number of areas before realizing that I had to follow what I truly love. Somewhere beyond the halfway point of a business degree (and hating every minute of it) I decided to enroll in an intro to literature course. I believe it was a 200 level course designed specifically for non-English majors who may  be interested in English studies. That course was with Dr Rai Peterson. In the classroom, the discussions, the learning environment, I felt so at home that by the third class meeting, I walked from the classroom to across the hall and picked up a “Change of Major” form.

That course made me realize not only could I study what I love, but it was imperative.

I was a silent fixture in the corner of Rai’s classrooms for the next few years until graduation.

Here’s my advice: Do what you love, but don’t be afraid to try new fields (careers) to figure out what you love. Whatever you do, do it with passion. You have every right to bounce around until you find something that brings you passion.

Help Us Reach #1000for2016

Listen up, folks. We are on the cusp of a milestone, a breakthrough in BSU English history. With just fifteen more Twitter followers and forty-four Facebook likes, we will have reached 1,000 BSU English supporters across our social media platforms, but we need your help. If you have a Twitter, find us and follow. If you’re on Facebook, like our page. We promise we won’t bite!

You might be asking, what’s in it for you?

What a silly question! You’ll get updates on department happenings, reminders of recently published blog posts, descriptions of upcoming courses, and an inside look into what your fellow English majors are up to!

erin hutt

#bsuenglish student Erin Hutt looking very happy with her new literary boyfriend (and while we’re not matchmakers, this could be you…just saying!)

But if that’s not enough of a reason, maybe this is: if you follow us or like our page, we’ll enter you into a drawing for several different prize packs, which will include:

-signed copies of the following books:

-The Glacier’s Wake by Katy Didden
-Drinking From a Bitter Cup by Angela Jackson-Brown
-Circus in Winter by Cathy Day
-Darkroom: A Family Exposure by Jill Christman
-Fog Gorgeous Stag by Sean Lovelace
-Building Their Own Waldos by Bob Habich
-Dirty Bomb by Mark Neely
-Strategies for Writing Center Research by Jackie Grutsch-McKinney
-The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games by Jennifer Grouling
-Stomping Ground edited by Lyn Jones 
-Monday Coffee and Other Stories edited by Lyn Jones and Liz Whiteacre
-TINA by Pete Davis

-gift certificates to various local businesses, which include:

Greek’s Pizzeria
Let’s Spoon Frozen Yogurt
White Rabbit Used Books
Insomnia Cookies

-donations given to us by The Cup, Ball State’s Bookstore, and TIS Bookstore include:

-a portfolio
-a picture frame
-a poster

If those incentives don’t send you on a clicking frenzy, maybe these will: if you follow us or like our page, we’ll give your blog or website a shout out! And, for some more immediate gratification, our graphic designers can also photoshop your lovely faces onto a famous book cover.

And for those of you already following us, don’t fret.

All you need to do is refer a friend! Once they like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter, all they need to do is send us a message with your name, and we’ll enter both of you into the drawing.

And, of course, we’d greatly appreciate if you could use our hashtag (both #1000for2016 and #bsuenglish) so that we can continue to grow!


Jared Lynch

At my core I’ll always be a creative writer first. In the future I plan to get an MFA in creative writing, and ultimately my goal is to teach creative writing at a collegiate level. I had a wonderful and inspirational experience in the English Department, and I learned a plethora of transferable communication skills that I will take with me everywhere. That being said, I’m happy to be exploring other fields.

I’m in the MA program for Emerging Media Design and Development (EMDD) in the Journalism Department here at Ball State. I was initially drawn to this program because we would be studying (among other things) transmedia storytelling, which naturally sounded intriguing to a creative writer. Now I’m studying and learning to create transmedia stories, which are stories that are told over multiple platforms—for a really cool example of this take a look at Lance Weiler’s Pandemic 1.0.

It’s exciting to be studying this fascinating facet of the future of storytelling.

In a class assignment for The Broken Plate, I had to give a presentation about the fAlley Tall (Cropped)uture of publishing, so I was already aware of self-publishing, ebooks, Issuu, and other opportunities. But the EMDD program has exposed me to a whole new horizon of storytelling that I was entirely unaware of before, and now I’m studying to become an Experience Designer and learning how to create effective transmedia experiences.

Graduate school has reinvigorated my passion for learning and creating, which was always a driving force in my pursuit of higher education. Towards the end of my undergrad I felt pretty burnt out with school. While I was excited to begin graduate school, I was also still wrapped up in a lingering hesitancy about going back to school so soon after graduating. Then the semester started, and I had to hit the ground running. I was thrown into this fast-paced chaos, but it has kick started my drive and inspired me. I am more productive now, both creatively and academically. The workload is daunting at times, but I am thriving.

My advice for creative writing students who are contemplating graduate school—you’re a storyteller in a changing media landscape, and there are great programs inside and outside of English that offer doorways into unique and interesting ways to tell stories. Explore them.


In the latest installment of the “Good News” series, the Ball State English department highlights the accomplishments of our faculty and students.

Prof. Susanna Benko has been hard at work on a research project with Dr. Emily Hodge (Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University) and Dr. Serena Salloum (Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Ball State University). Together, this team is investigating how state educational agencies (SEAs) provide support to secondary English/Language Arts teachers via curricular resources that SEAs post on websites, analyzing the major organizations to which states link. To date, the team has coded 116 webpages of English/Language Arts resources for state standards, from 51 state department of education websites, for a grand total of 2,013 resources!

Drs. Benko, Hodge and Salloum will be presenting this work at the annual convention for the American Educational Research Association (AERA)  in April 2016 in Washington, DC.  One paper, titled “Common Core Connections: A Social Network Analysis of State-level Instructional Resources” will provide an overview of all 2,013 resources.  The second paper, titled “Policy into Practice: Investigating State-Endorsed Writing Resources for the Common Core State Standards” will focus specifically on resources focused on the teaching of writing.

Prof. Pat Collier has been named co-editor of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies beginning in January. He will share editorial duties with Barbara Green, associate professor of English at Notre Dame.

cathy day

Cathy Day at the TILT mixer with Leah Nahmias, Director of Programs and Community Engagement at Indiana Humanities.

Prof. Cathy Day gave a presentation on “The Gilded Age’s Society Pages” at the 924 Gallery in Indianapolis. The event, TILT: An Arts and Humanities Mixer, was to celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month sponsored by the Indy Arts Council and Indiana Humanities  TILT featured two rounds that paired one arts expert and one humanities expert.

Prof. Frank Felsenstein‘s work on the “What Middletown Read” project has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities during its fiftieth anniversary. The project has been deemed one of fifty selected “Projects that have enriched and shaped American lives” and “shaped what we think and what we know about ourselves and our culture.”

Prof. Jackie Grutsch-McKinney‘s second book came out in October, and can be found on her publisher’s website here.

Prof. Silas Hansen presented as part of the panel “Honesty, Not Sensationalism: Creative Nonfiction After the Memoir Craze” at the NonfictioNow Conference in Flagstaff, AZ.

Prof. Lyn Jones has been very busy this month. She published “Building a Rainbow: One Writer at a Time,” (book chapter) in Living the Work: Promoting Social Justice and Equity Work in Schools Around the World, edited by Christa Boske,and Azadeh F. Osanloo. Volume 23 of Book Series Advances in Educational Administration, Emerald Publishing, October 10, 2015.

Jones was featured in

-College Planning and Management, Disability Offices, Accessibility, Privacy Attractive to Students Using Wheelchairs, October 22, 2015 (

-Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine, Students Using Wheelchairs have Thoughts for Colleges, October 22, 2015

-University Business, Students Using Wheelchairs have Thoughts for Colleges, Article featuring my research project, October 22, 2015 (

Jones also presented “Worlding: Rewriting the World and the Word in Disability Studies,” at the Diversity Research Symposium at Indiana State University.

Prof. Mai Kuha presented “Street Harassment in the Curriculum: Risks, Rewards, and Dynamics” at the Diversity Research Symposium at Indiana State University.

Prof. Sean Lovelace published “Memory,” a flash fiction in Smokelong Quarterly Magazine, which will come out November.

Prof. Matt Mullins’s filmpoem “Our Bodies” was recently screened as part of a curated exhibition called Text(e)/Image/Beat at the EmmediThe Four Seasons Covera Wordfest in Alberta, Canada. The filmpoem can be found here.

Prof. Mark Neely was a featured reader/ presenter at the Pygmalion Festival in Champaign, Illinois and the Texas Book Festival in Austin Texas. New poems of his were recently accepted by Rhino, Chattahoochee Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and DIAGRAM.

Undergrad and grad students Amory Orchard, Kathryn Hampshire, and Morgan Gross all received Aspire Student Travel Awards this month to present at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing in Salt Lake City, UT.

Prof. Emily Scalzo
 had two haiku published in an anthology entitled The Four Seasons through Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Prof. Vanessa Rapatz presented a paper titled “Intransitive Atonement in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus” at the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference in Vancouver. She was on a panel called Remembering Antiquity: Roman Frames, Renaissance Matters.

Prof. Emily Rutter published an article entitled “‘Isolated Togetherness’: Archival Performances in Harmony Holiday’s Negro League Baseballin Studies in American Culture 38.1.

Krishna Walker: Attorney for Non-Profits and Businesses

Krishna Walker is an attorney at Bryan Cave, LLP in the firm’s St. Louis, Missouri office. Ms. Walker focuses her practice on complex transactional and business counseling matters. Her industry specialization includes financial services and non-profit organizations, and she regularly represents clients on matters including corporate governance, representation of lenders and borrowers in direct secured and unsecured loans; representation of agents, lenders, and borrowers in syndicated credit facilities, representation of lenders in fund financing facilities, representation of equity investors, sponsors, and lenders in new markets tax credit and historic tax credit transactions; and representation of a wide range of businesses in obtaining governmental incentives, including tax abatement, and other commercial transactions. Ms. Walker was active in student life at Ball State University, including being a member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1995-1997, and being a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Tau Nu Chapter.  Currently, Ms. Walker is the national general counsel for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

How did your degree in English lead to your job? What skills did you learn that helped you do that work–and the other work that you’ve done?Krishna A Walker August 2014

Each job I’ve had since graduating from Ball State has required me to analyze written work and to summarize suggested actions based on my analysis. My degree in English gave me a strong foundation on which to build. My initial plan was to be an English teacher, but I ended up going to graduate school for higher education/student personnel administration. After graduate school, I was an admissions officer for several years, then I transitioned into business as a recruiter for investment banking jobs. After five years in human resources roles, I went to law school. I have been practicing law at the same firm since 2008. Each part of my career has required a different type of writing and analysis. The foundation I gained at Ball State prepared me to make those transitions. I took several poetry writing classes in addition to a business writing class, and all of the traditional literature classes that require intense academic writing.   Continue reading