Monthly Archives: April 2016

Advice for Graduating Seniors

In just one short week we’ll be saying goodbye to our graduating seniors, though we hope they’ll come back to visit. In the latest installment of our Department Dialogue series, our faculty offers them advice on starting this new chapter of their lives, and our #bsuenglish seniors share their plans for the future.


Mai Kuha, Linguistics:

Make friends. It’s not easy at any stage in life, but your time as a student offered more opportunities, making you interact frequently with others who were going through similar experiences as you were. Your social network after graduation, in a new community and in a new job, may be one in which planning, initiative, and ongoing effort are required to cultivate connections with others.

Jennifer Grouling, English Ed:

Advice: It’s okay if the future is temporary.

Upon graduating with a B.S. in English Education, I was sure that I would find the ideal teaching position that I’d been dreaming of. Substitute teaching was something I resisted as temporary, and honestly, I thought it was beneath my abilities. But instead of stumbling into that perfect first job, I just stumbled. When fall came and I had no teaching job, I allowed my summer temp work to turn into my first full-time position doing data entry, not what I had dreamed, but it paid the bills. That fall, I left to go to teaching, but not the position I wanted. Rather, I started as a full-time substitute teacher, which led to a long-term maternity leave substitute where I not only taught AP classes but also directed the newspaper. That gave me the experience I needed to land a full-time teaching job. My take-away: don’t avoid temporary work when it has the potential to lead somewhere, but also know when to move on.

Eva Grouling Snider, Professional Writing:

Embrace those tricky conversations about what you do. You know the ones I’m talking about? Those times when a distant relative asks you what you’re doing with your life and you panic? They may be painful, but they’re also productive. Try to really truthfully answer, and listen to yourself answer. Don’t just answer with a few words, either: provide details. I do many things in my job, but when I have to articulate what my job is to other people, that’s when I find myself identifying my true passions, the things that I do because I love them, not because I have to. Knowing those things is the first step toward carving your own path in this crazy, crazy world, and talking it out is one of the best ways to know those things.

Lyn Jones, English Ed:

For our graduating English education students who are about to embark on what I hope is a long and successful career in secondary teaching,

  • Create and design a community, not just a classroom.
  • Engage your students in “tough talk” over topics of social justice; encourage civil disobedience.
  • Teach your students to read the world, not just the word. (Freire)
  • Model being a dreamer, a designer, and a user of the content you teach.
  • Believe in the power of student’s stories; make room for their stories in your classroom.
  • Design and delivery are both equally important when it comes to curriculum and teaching.
  • Discourse is everything. Always be mindful of what you say and how you say it.  Students hang on our every word.
  • Remain a learner… about literature, writing, and the profession.
  • Come back to Ball State… to learn more about your craft, to interact with students, or simply to visit.

Cathy Day, Creative Writing:

Way too many of you think that the path from college to career is a straight line, but English doesn’t map its curriculum to specific career outcomes, like other majors do.

You tend to think this way: 

As an English major, I developed the skill of writing research papers about villains in the plays of Shakespeare and the gothic imagination of Faulkner, which I’m sure will come in handy in this marketing position at Marketing Firm, Inc.

But the path from college to career is NOT a straight line. You have to think about how what we’ve taught you could translate to a variety of jobs.

Think like this:

My final project as an English major was a 25-page research paper on Faulkner, from which I learned how to independently manage large projects, appreciate other cultures, analyze and synthesize information, and form an original idea. I’d like to bring my communication and research skills to Marketing Firm, Inc.’s marketing department.

Rory Lee, Professional Writing:

People have told you, and they will continue to tell you, that the real world is like this or that. And in many ways, it is like this or that. In other words, their advice has value, and it can offer you insight. Advice–what this is–is important; I wouldn’t be writing this tidbit otherwise. But remember that such advice is always a way, not thee way, to see, do, and think about things. Advice comes from people’s accrued experiences. So use it as a means to guide and understand your own but not in a way that precludes you from doing and being you. So, in the spirit of this advice, feel free to completely disregard it. Oh, and have fun, be the change you want to see, be the pontificating third, and all that jazz.


Senior Mary Pat Stemnock will be attending Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.

Senior Lauren Seitz is participating in an exchange program through the Ball State French department and will be moving to Nancy, France for a year to teach in the English department of the Université de Lorraine.

Senior Amory Orchard was accepted to Ball State’s M.A. in Creative Writing program, and will be returning to BSU in the fall. Hurray!

Senior Daniel Brount is applying for editorial assistant positions at publishing houses in NYC.

Senior Evan Andreae will be pursuing any job that can get him experience in design, public relations, or marketing. His goal is to fulfill that “2-3 years experience” requirement he is always seeing on job applications. We wish him luck!

Senior Krista Sanford will be sending her work to literary magazines and publishers.

Senior Adrianna Martin is moving to South Bend and looking for employment or freelance work.

Senior Luke Bell will be applying for writing positions in Indianapolis and getting a cat.

Congrats to all of our graduating seniors! We are proud of you!

An Interview with Lauren Cross

Lauren Cross is a Ball State junior pursuing a major in English Studies and a minor in Creative Writing. She plans to graduate in May 2017, and then hopes to attend law school and concentrate in Social Justice. When she is not spending time with friends and family, she writes pieces for her blog and dreams of moving near a coast.

Last semester Lauren was a Legislative Intern for State Senators Lonnie Randolph and Greg Taylor. She was recently awarded the Senate’s Gudal Memorial Scholarship


How did you land your internship? What sorts of responsibilities did you have?

Lauren CrossI was cleaning out my inbox one day when I saw one of the internship emails from Cathy Day. I was determined to find something related to law because that is what I want to pursue after I graduate next May. Then, I came across the Democratic Caucus Senate Internship two weeks before applications, résumés, and letters of recommendation were due. I scrounged together everything I could, received a call granting me an opportunity for an interview, and then I received my congratulatory call on the last day. There were only ten Democratic senators, which meant competition was high for the thirteen available intern positions. I was assigned to Senator Randolph, Senator Taylor, and their Legislative Assistant, Andrew. I answered calls, responded to emails, met with constituents, met with people from various industries, tried to stay alive, and researched for pending and future legislation. Before this internship, I had no idea Indiana was one of only five states without penalties for bias crimes. How insane does that sound? Even so, Senator Taylor still fell short when trying to pass his bias crimes legislation simply because of his party affiliation. Needless to say, researching for bias crimes and bias-motivated crimes was my favorite responsibility, and without my research, this discussion in the Senate Chamber may not have even taken place.

What was a typical day like for you?

I had to be at my desk by 8:30 every morning, which did not sound tough until I commuted from Muncie every day during ice and snow. Once I got there, I immediately checked in with Senator Randolph, Senator Taylor, and Andrew. Typically, I ensured they all were aware of their daily meetings and committees, and I completed tasks as I was asked. Each piece of legislation is assigned to a committee before it reaches the Senate Chamber, and I was assigned to the Local Government Committee and the Criminal Law Committee. During these meetings, I took notes as bills were heard, and it was my responsibility to send them to the members of the Democratic Caucus. Then, during session days, I put together bill packets for each day’s calendar. Even though this did not seem like a huge responsibility, without these bill packets, the senators would not have each proposed piece of legislation in front of them during each vote. I was given an hour and fifteen minutes for my lunch each day, but if tasks needed to be completed in order to prevent the office from falling apart, I had to eat on the go or grab a quick meal at our favorite concession stand, The Snack Shack, in the basement near the intern offices. The end of each day slowed down a bit, and we used this time to respond to emails and phone calls before we left at 4:45. Rarely did this happen, though. We were lucky if we left on time.  But even though it was tiring and demanding, I would do this internship again without hesitation.

How did your English skills help you in your internship?

As English majors, we have to enjoy reading, writing, and research, but we also have to be precise and eager to improve. Being critiqued on our writing is pretty much a daily occurrence so when Andrew edited my drafts of letters to constituents, it was easy to not take any suggestions personally. It also meant I was quick to pick up on recommendations. Most of my time was spent researching, though, which was helpful because I am used to analyzing language and literature. I did not realize how helpful this was until I was asked to find similar language from legislation in other states concerning the bias crimes legislation. While I did not possess the hard skills other majors generally have, I was eager to learn, and would like to think I picked up on what was asked of me relatively quickly.

How did you receive your scholarship? What made you stand out?

The Gudal Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an intern each year for providing a promising attitude, a willingness to work hard, a high enthusiasm, and a smile. The staff spoke fondly of Rick Gudal, and this award was basically for someone who always came to work with a good attitude, which was my goal. I was one of the youngest members with most of my fellow interns being in their mid to late twenties, and some of them had even completed graduate school. While a strong résumé and years of experience may look better to some employers, I am thankful I was able to bring a little bit of cheer to the office during some of the most grueling days of my professional life.

What has this internship done for you professionally?

Before January, I was pretty quiet in professional settings. I am someone who would rather talk one-on-one with someone or with a small group, but I found this internship gave me more confidence than I ever could have imagined. It seems as though people in politics are viewed as crooks by most, but it was relieving to see these members come to work and put everything they had into trying to help their constituents. I was a witness to a true underdog moment every day in the Chamber, and there were days we streamed sessions from the intern office for the sole purpose of cheering on our employers. I also found my need to help others grew stronger along the way, and I am grateful as I near the day in which I begin applying to law schools.

Any last advice for #bsuenglish majors?

Enhance your résumé, but being stellar in your profession will not make an impact nearly as much if you cannot make people feel comfortable around you or if your coworkers think you would rather be anywhere else but your job. Wear a smile, and you will see the way it affects those who work with you. I promise.

Visit our Jobs & Internships page for the most up-to-date opportunities for English majors.

Looking Back on In Print XI

As many of you know, this year we celebrated our eleventh In Print: Festival of First Books, and we are proud to say we had one of our best turnouts yet!

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On March 22, after an introduction by professor Sean Lovelace, writers Gabriel Urza, Sarah Einstein, and Sarah Blake gave a reading from their recently published books.

On March 23, Urza, Einstein, and Blake were joined by editor Keith Tuma for a Q&A panel on the publishing process and industry. In addition to the readings and the panel, The Broken Plate unveiled their new magazine and handed out free copies!

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We’d like to thank everyone who came out and made this the best In Print Festival yet! You can visit our blog post for more information on the writers, and visit our Storify to see all of the social media buzz surrounding the event.

Introducing the Robert Bell Ball!

Finals week may be getting close, but the end of the school year also brings with it warmer weather (though we’re never sure in Indiana) and the Robert Bell Ball.

The Robert Bell Ball is a social event and department awards ceremony we’re hosting on April 29 from 4-5pm. At the ceremony, 11 different scholarships will be awarded to students all leading up to the final award of the night, the Outstanding Senior Award. For a complete list of the scholarships being awarded, visit our scholarships page.

This year’s theme is magical education (because an education in English is magical). You can probably think of a book or series centered around the theme of magical education, so we encourage you to dress like your favorite character! Decorations, refreshments, and music will also be themed.

Robert Bell Ball Flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can follow the excitement on social media using the hashtag #RbBallPrep. We’ll be sharing teasers, costume ideas, and behind the scenes peeks leading up to the ceremony. We ask that you use the hashtag to share pictures of your costumes, to request songs, and to let us know how excited you are!

We hope your year at #bsuenglish has been magical, and the Robert Bell Ball is our way of saying thank you for all of your hard work, and to say goodbye to all of our graduating seniors. We hope to see you there!

An Interview with Daniel Brount

Daniel Brount is a Ball State senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in professional writing and emerging media. He will graduate in May 2016 and is pursuing a career in publishing. When not spending time with friends and family, he writes his own prose, reads books for his book review website, and tries to keep up with more TV shows than is humanly possible. 

Last semester, Daniel worked as an intern for DAW Books and The Rights Factory in New York City as part of the New York Arts Program.


You interned at DAW Books and The Rights Factory. What did you do for each and how did their responsibilities differ? Did each teach you different skills?

DAW Books is a science fiction and fantasy publisher, and The Rights Factory is a literary agency. So the main difference was that each involved different stages in publishing.

Daniel BrountAt DAW, I spent a lot of time reading manuscripts from the slush pile. If I passed on a manuscript, I wrote and sent the rejections. If I thought a manuscript was a good fit for DAW, I wrote a reader’s report and sent it on to other DAW employees to evaluate. I also read some agent solicited manuscripts, and I wrote reader’s reports for those as well. Besides that, I dealt with publicity information for our current books and authors, such as compiling book reviews. I also wrote title information sheets (these include everything from summaries to selling points to quotes) for several books, and I did a little bit of social media, book alphabetizing, copy editing, and whatever else was needed. Since DAW is a small imprint, I was able to work with employees in several areas of the publishing process. I learned about editorial, production, and contracts. Before I hadn’t really considered working in any areas besides editorial. Now I know that I’d be happy to work in any of these departments. And while DAW is a smaller imprint, it is part of Penguin Random House, so I got to work in a building owned by one of the Big Five publishers. This also meant there were take shelves of free books everywhere. Yeah, you read that right. Free books! Almost every day when I left work, my bag had a couple new books in it.

 (Thanks to all my internships, I got more than 120 free books by the end of the semester, some of which still haven’t even been released.)

While my work with DAW dealt specifically with science fiction and fantasy books, my work at The Rights Factory was more varied in genre. I worked with young adult books, memoirs, a graphic novel, and much more. I read and edited our clients’ manuscripts, helped create book proposals and pitches, and compiled submissions lists. Although my editing on manuscripts wasn’t major, I loved having a voice and hearing that clients appreciated my suggestions. My work on book proposals varied. Sometimes I just helped with some minor copy editing. In one case, I used my graphic design skills to better present information. As for pitches, I had never written one, so at first, I mainly copy edited them. But by the end of the semester, I was able to write a pitch from scratch. Throughout the semester, I worked on several submissions lists, which I enjoyed simply for the fact that I was researching and learning about so many different editors and publishing houses. I enjoyed trying to find out which editors would like which books. All in all, just helping our clients’ books find homes was an incredible experience for me.

These two internships both involved a different stage in the publishing industry, but, of course, there was a lot of crossover. It was interesting for me to write a pitch for The Rights Factory one day, only to read pitches at DAW the next. Seeing things from two different angles helped me sharpen my skills and develop a more intimate understanding of the industry.

I actually ended up having another brief internship with Arthur Fournier Fine & Rare, an independent rare book dealer. I helped Arthur run a booth at the Brooklyn Books, Art, Photos and Design Expo, and I also helped him with his exhibit at MoMA PS1’s NY Art Book Fair. NYAP provided Arthur with interns in the past, and he needed help with the fair and expo, so he asked if NYAP had anyone available. The rare/art book industry is something I never really knew about, so it was eye opening to get an inside look. One major lesson I learned while in NYAP was to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, and I’m extremely happy I took this one. 

How did you land these internships?

The New York Arts Program coordinated every aspect of the internships. I applied for the program, and, once I got in, they helped me find places to work. John Reed, the writing and publishing adviser, talked to me about my interests, and he suggested several potential places to work. Out of that list, I felt like DAW Books and the literary agent Natalie Kimber at The Rights Factory were the best fits. John got me in contact with both places, so I sent in a cover letter and my resumé. Then I had an interview with each, and before I knew it, I was flying out to NYC to start working. 

How cool was New York City?

I can’t begin to describe how quickly and how deeply I fell in love with New York City. During my time there, I made friendships that will last a lifetime and had more unbelievable experiences than I can count. I loved being in a place that was lively 24/7. I saw several Broadway shows. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera, and book expos. I ate a lot of delicious food. I spent a ton of money on food that my Midwestern mind thought was way too expensive. (Some of it was cheap though, I took advantage of Manhattan’s many $1 pizza places). 

I got to see a lot of celebrities, too. James Franco shot a TV pilot minutes away from the NYAP house. Thanks to one of my friend’s internships, I saw a dress rehearsal of Saturday Night Live. Thanks to another friend’s internship, I got a free VIP ticket to see a Halsey concert. One day when I was eating lunch in Chelsea Market, I made room at my table for two strangers to eat — and then I realized the stranger sitting next to me was Justin Long. I stood outside after Broadway shows waiting for performers like Jennifer Hudson and Andy Mientus to sign my Playbills. I volunteered at an event for the Ally Coalition that raised money for LGBTQ homeless youth in NYC, and while at the event, I saw Sara Bareilles perform and accidentally photobombed Fred Armisen.

And, of course, I did a ton of touristy things: I visited the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and Times Square. Nothing makes you feel more like a New Yorker than when you walk through Times Square and realize that you want to get out of there as soon as possible to escape all the eye-roll-worthy tourists. Over the semester, NYC became a home to me, and I can’t wait to go back.

Internships are a great opportunity for English majors, but for students wanting to go into publishing, it can often be hard to get a foot in the door. What can an experience like the NYAP do for these students?

Before NYAP, I had no clue how I was going to get into publishing. But NYAP got my foot in the door. Through my internships, I’ve gained so many connections and mentors. I have references within the industry now, and those connections have given me a wealth of invaluable advice. And it certainly helps to have a publisher and a literary agency on my resumé. For me, NYAP was all about building a foundation. That foundation is going to make it so much easier moving forward. 

But, even more important than the references and the impact on my resume, NYAP gave me a wealth of self-assurance that I didn’t have before. I can now say that I know I love working in this industry, and I can say that I know what it’s like to be part of it. Whether or not you love the internships you have as part of NYAP, the experience will help you define your career. If I had disliked my internships, it still would’ve been a valuable and essential experience for me because I would’ve known that a job in publishing might not have been what I wanted. But it is what I want, and, thanks to this program, I’m one step closer to having the career that I want.

Interested in the NYAP? Check out their website and Facebook page to learn more, or speak to Cathy Day, program liaison.

Jaelyn Winkle

Jaelyn (Saulmon) Winkle is a Fall 2013 graduate of Ball State University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in English Education and an Honors College certification. Currently, she is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher in Piqua, Ohio and resides in Vandalia, Ohio with her husband, a law student at the University of Dayton. Additionally, she is enrolled as a graduate student at Ball State University in the online Curriculum and Educational Technology program.


How did your degree in English lead to your current job?

My degree in English Education helped me to get my current job because it not only trained me to specifically teach Language Arts classes, but also preJaelynpared me to take risks, which ultimately allowed me to take on my current position as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher. My journey to my current position started in my student teaching experience at Monroe Central Jr./Sr. High School in Parker City. I was student teaching in two different classrooms: an 8th grade classroom and an 11th/12th grade classroom. During this time, one of the math teachers was getting ready to have a baby, and my principal approached me about taking a long-term substitute teaching position in this Algebra II classroom. I had no experience teaching math and really had no idea exactly how everything would work out, but I agreed to take on this position. Even though this was far outside of my training as an English major, I feel like the skills I picked up from the degree (communication, creativity, analysis) allowed me to take the risk and rise up to the occasion of teaching Algebra II.

As this long term substitute teaching position was nearing its end, I received another phone call from a principal back in my hometown school district in Winchester. He called to ask if I would take on a 4th grade long term substitute teaching position for 8 weeks. Once again, this was very much outside of my comfort zone, as the youngest group of students I had ever taught was 7th grade, but I decided to take the risk, thanks once again to the skills and abilities I picked up from my English degree.

Ultimately, having these experiences on my resume helped me greatly in the career searching process. When I interviewed for my current teaching position, I was able to show my versatility from these experiences and had a plethora of teaching strategies and student samples I could talk about and draw from, which ultimately helped me to land my current position as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher. I truly think that my experiences as an English major allowed for all of these things to happen. It is interesting, but I think that, because I was required to take classes in all areas of the English department:  literature, creative writing, rhetoric, and teaching English Language Arts, that I learned to be adaptable, which allowed me to take on these great experiences. 

Please describe a typical day for you right now.

A typical day for me usually starts around 7 a.m. I get to school and start organizing everything for the day. My kids start coming into the classroom around 7:30 a.m. I teach three sections of general level 7th grade Language Arts and a 30 minute Advisory period. During these sections of class, I am giving direct instruction to my students, facilitating small group work, conferencing with students, and helping students demonstrate mastery of the lesson’s objectives. I also have a 45 minute planning period in the middle of the day. During this time, I make contact with parents, plan for upcoming weeks, make copies and organize materials for upcoming lessons, and meet with my interdisciplinary team of teachers. After school, I usually organize for the next day, tidy up my room, and often have a committee meeting for Advisory, Collaborative Leadership, or for a particular student concern. Then, I drive home and work more on school things (typically creating differentiated student groups for the next day, grading, etc.) and work on things for my Ball State graduate classes. I am usually in bed by 10!  This routine definitely makes for long days, but it is a rewarding job!

You’ve talked about a time as a college student when you weren’t exactly sure whether you wanted to continue in the English Ed major. Can you talk a little more about that and how you worked through it? What advice do you have for teaching majors who are having second thoughts?

When I was just starting out in the program, the fall and spring semesters of my freshman year, I was a little hesitant about continuing my pursuit of an English Education degree. I was working in the Marketing and Management office at Ball State and really started considering a path toward a business degree. I am not sure what sparked this potential change…I think it was a combination of wanting to try something new just because everything was new during the start of my college experience, and knowing about the stresses of a career in teaching from my parents. Ultimately, though, as I began to get into the classroom more and more throughout the program, I knew that my passion was with working with kids, because, ultimately, teaching boils down to making an impact on the lives of kids each and every day. There is nothing like being in a classroom full of 13 year olds who are fully engaged in what you are teaching. You can feel the electricity in the room when students are really “getting it”, and that exact feeling is what motivates you to continue pushing forward each day. If you are a teaching major who is having second thoughts, try your hardest to get into a classroom so you can see what a day of teaching is really, truly like. We can read about how teaching works and teaching methodology as much as we’d like, but we cannot truly gain an understanding of the profession without firsthand experience.

You’re pursuing a graduate degree now. What do you hope to do with that degree in the long term?

Right now, I am pursuing a degree in Curriculum and Educational Technology through Ball State. My plans are to eventually get involved in leadership at the district level as a Curriculum Director, as I am really interested in curriculum development, data analysis, school improvement, and assessment for growth toward mastery. In the very distant future, I could see myself also getting involved potentially with educational policymaking on a larger scale.  

Any last general advice?

  • Get into the classroom as soon as possible! Volunteer, observe, substitute teach…do whatever you need to do to get your feet wet and experience the real life of a teacher. This will help you decide if teaching is truly for you!
  • Read professional texts on your own, not just because they are assigned reading for methods courses! This summer I read Dream Class by Michael Linsin and it really changed my ideas about classroom management and organization. Other good reads I’ve checked out recently are Unshakeable by Angela Watson and Assessment 3.0:  Throw Out Your Gradebook and Inspire Learning by Mark Barnes.
  • Form relationships with your peers: Right now, you are in classes with people who will become your teaching colleagues in districts all around Indiana and beyond. Form relationships now, because these people will be an invaluable resource to you down the road. I am still in touch with the people I went to classes with in the English Education program. We share lesson plans, discuss best practices, and serve as support systems for each other because we really understand each others’ struggles as beginning Language Arts teachers. Check out our Facebook group BSU Teaching English Language Arts…you will find tons of gems there!
  • TAKE YOUR LAMP UNIT SERIOUSLY. There is not a piece of advice I could give you that is more important during student teaching than to take your LAMP unit seriously. All parts of the LAMP unit (pre-assessment, data collection and analysis, standards based rubric construction, focused student groupings) are all aspects of what great teachers do regularly. It is not an arbitrary assignment or just a hoop to jump through to graduate and get your license. It is real world, real life, good teaching.


Alums, we want to hear what you’ve been up to. Visit our Class Notes page to fill us in, and we’ll feature your story in our alumni newsletter!

Matt Balk

Matt Balk is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at Ball State University. He graduated Ball State with an MA in Creative Writing in 2010.


My big piece of advice about grad school is this: be open to new opportunities. I’m currently a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition, but when I started my MA in Creative Writing at Ball State University, I had never even heard of Rhetoric and Composition before. At my small undergraduate college, creative writers and literature professors taught freshman composition, and I just assumed that was tMatt Balkhe way it was done everywhere. And at that time, I just knew that I was going to be a creative writer for the rest of my life.

However, for one of my electives, I took Dr. Donnelly’s ENG 690 class on the rhetoric of the public forum, and was immediately hooked on the history and theory of composition. Additionally, everyone in our class (all four of us) wrote papers and presented them at an academic conference in Illinois, which was my first experience with academic work outside of the classroom (and also a lot of fun!). After finishing my MA, I applied and was accepted to the PhD program in Rhetoric and Composition here at Ball State University, where I’m working on my dissertation on writing center histories.

Graduate school has also given me a love of teaching, which was something I never even knew I had. Before I came to Ball State, I had exactly zero teaching experience, and was petrified by the idea of being in charge of a class of students that I was barely older than. But after going through the teaching seminar with Dr. Linda Hanson, I felt far more comfortable than many of my peers at other universities, some of whom had only a workshop session’s worth of instruction the weekend before they started teaching composition classes.

One of the scariest things about starting grad school for me was the future after grad school; people were always asking, “What are you going to do with your degree?” And to be honest, I didn’t have much of an idea. I might be alone in this assumption, but I had no idea what to expect from graduate school. I came to Muncie in 2008 from Iowa, where I had lived my whole life, and felt a bit like a fish out of water (or in my case, the cornfield). At that time, I just really liked writing, and was grateful to be in a position that gave me time and opportunity not only to write, but also to get feedback from instructors and peers.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay if you don’t know what you are going to do right away. The professors at Ball State, especially in the English department, are great guides; don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. I’ve been fortunate to have many instructors at Ball State who have helped me find my path. Lean on your peers as well. Unlike the majority of undergraduate classmates, your graduate student colleagues are people who share your research and creative interests. The English department at Ball State does a great job of fostering an open, engaging environment for all students, and I have been fortunate to spend so many great years here.

March

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

Lynne Stallings, EnglishBSU media’s article “Parents learning English benefit from class offered by Ball State, Muncie Schools” is based on a partnership between BSU ESL licensure students in Prof. Lynn Stalling‘s Methods and Practicum courses and the Muncie Community Schools. The ELL (English Language Learner) program has been offered to Muncie students for several years, and is now expanded to caregivers who want to learn supplemental English and need an introduction to the American school system.

Elisabeth Buck and Nikki Litherland Baker successfully defended their dissertations!

Drs. Carolyn MacKay and Frank Trechsel published “Hacia una reconstrución del proto-totonaco-tepehua” in the collection Investigaciones (inter)disciplinarias en lingüística.

Prof. Angela Jackson-Brown was interviewed on The Art of the Matter with Travis DiNicola to discuss her play, ANNA’S WINGS. Her play is a part of the 2016 DivaFest at Indyfringe in Indianapolis, IN. Jackson-Brown also hosted a Sneak Peak Cocktail Party for all of the Divas of Divafest at Indy Reads Books.
In addition, Jackson-Brown presented a workshop  entitled “Why Did They Do That: Learning to Ask the Right Questions of our Characters” at the 2016 Gathering of Writers, sponsored by the Indiana Writers Center.

Undergraduate Lauren Cross has been awarded the Senate’s Gudal Memorial Scholarship. She currently works as a Legislative Intern for State Senators Lonnie Randolph and Greg Taylor.

Dr. Adam Beach presented a paper entitled, “Torture, Trauma, and Slaves Who Love Their Masters” at the annual meeting of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies in Pittsburgh, PA.

Prof. Eva Grouling Snider has been awarded a 2016 Provost Immersive Learning Grant for her project “Holistic Communications for the 21st Century,” also titled Jacket Copy Creative. Students will manage the public communications of Whitely Community Council and the Ball State English Department. Students in the project will work together to produce promotional materials, manage social media, maintain websites, edit blogs, and conduct focus groups. They’ll gain experience in editing/publishing, content marketing, public relations, graphic design, web development, strategic communications, and social media management. For more information, visit our blog post.

Profs. Lynne Stallings, Carolyn Dowling, and Dave Largent were awarded a 2016 Provost Immersive Learning Grant for their project “Developing SED (Science, Education, and Diversity) Modules”. The focus will be to expose students of diverse backgrounds to STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) by developing activity templates and modules for students at a local middle school and after-school program. The modules will incorporate science experiences, while allowing students to effectively communicate about those experiences. It will be offered as an HONR390 colloquium course in the fall.

Dr. Rai Peterson and Prof. Sarojini Jha Johnson have been awarded a joint Virginia Ball Center Fellowship for the 2016-17 school year. Rai, Sarojini, and their students will be working in the cross-disciplinary field of book arts to develop a Book Arts Collaborative in downtown Muncie, Indiana. It will house community programs and a proposed Ball State interdisciplinary minor in book arts that encourages cross-collaboration between students and community members.

BSU alumnus JD Mitchell has been accepted into the University of Louisville College of Business Entrepreneurship MBA program.

Two #bsuenglish students, Luke Bell and Sara Huber, have been selected as recipients of the university-wide Academic Honors in Writing award for the 2015-2016 year.

#bsuenglish senior Darren Sible was nominated for IACTE Outstanding Future Educator award. He is invited to attend a reception later this month with nominees from other universities from across the state. Congratulations!

Dr. Joyce Huff was interviewed by NPR for their broadcast, “‘You Cannot Shame Me’: Two New Books Tear Down ‘Fat Girl’ Stereotypes”.

Dr. Jackie Grutsch Mckinney was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Northeast Writing Center Conference in New Hampshire. She presented “Connecting the Dots of Writing Center Labor Stories” at their largest conference to date.

Dr. Lyn Jones presented “Keeping and Creating Peace: The Alliance of Black Teachers Club” at the Benjamin V. Cohen Peace Conference: Peace in Troubled Times. In addition, her essay “I Want To Write For Regular People” was featured in Permission: The International Interdisciplinary Impact of Laurel Richardson’s Work.

Prof. Emily Scalzo published a poem, “Higher Education Held Hostage” in New Verse News. Her poem “Duplicity, Or Why I Will Not Support Hillary for 2016” is available at Blue Collar Review and will be in the print edition.

Dr. Susanna Benko’s article, “Instruction matters: Secondary English preservice teachers’ implementation of cognitively demanding writing tasks,” will be published in April’s edition of English Education, a journal sponsored by the National Council for Teachers of English.

Along with colleagues Dr. Emily Hodge and Dr. Serena Salloum, Dr. Benko will also present two papers at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Washington DC later this month. Those papers are:

  • “Policy into practice: Investigating state-endorsed writing resources for the Common Core State Standards”
  • “Common Core connections: A social network analysis of state-level instructional resources for English/language art”

Dr. Elisabeth Buck has accepted a tenure track position as Assistant Professor and Director of the Reading and Writing Center at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Congratulations!

Prof. Craig O’Hara‘s short story “The Laundry District” has been published by Foundling Review.

Prof. Beth Dalton was awarded the 2015-2016 C. Warren Vander Hill Award for Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education.

Dr. Molly Ferguson presented at a “Feminist Pedagogies” roundtable at the Northeast MLA conference (NEMLA) on March 19th. Her talk was titled, “Strategies to Foster Collaborative Knowledge-Making in an Interactive Learning Space Classroom.” In addition, the journal Studi Irlandesi accepted her article for a special issue on “Resistance Ireland,” to be published in June 2017.

Prof. Michael Begnal‘s poem “Homage to Séamus Ennis” was published in the Salmon Poetry anthology titled Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry. The anthology was launched at the AWP Conference at the end of March.

Dr. Laura Romano presented “A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Interviewing: Using Ethnography to Teach Disciplinary Skills” at the Moore Symposium on Excellence in Teaching, at IUPUI. Romano also presented “The ‘Microlecture’: Creation and Cultivation of the Student Voice” at the College English Association’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado.

Internships for English Majors

Hopefully you’ve been checking our internships page regularly to see all of the new and exciting internships we post on a weekly basis. As an English major, internships are a great way to gain experience and show employers all of the applicable skills your education has taught you, such as how to communicate effectively, think well, and adapt to different platforms. You can even make some money in the process! If you haven’t been checking these opportunities, it’s okay, below you can find some of the best current internships for #bsuenglish majors (there’s even one at Holiday World—we’ve obviously put that at the top). And if you’re currently working or recently completed an internship, tell us about it, your experience could benefit your peers!


Digital Media Internship at Holiday World in Santa Claus (April 30, 2016)

In the famous Santa Claus Indiana, Holiday World is seeking interns to assist with media events, which may include, but is not limited to: taking and editing park photography and video, archiving documents and photos, and working with media / news outlets.

Visit their jobs & internships page to apply.

Marketing / Content Specialist Internship at Addison Avenue Marketing in Muncie (May 2, 2016)

Addison Avenue Marketing is looking for a qualified intern to help develop content for their clients. They service small businesses and non-profits in the Muncie area with market consulting, social media management, copywriting, and graphic visual content. This intern should be prepared to work both in and out of the office while effectively communicating directly with clients and the business owner. Upon completion, the intern will leave having gained real world experience in various aspects of social media marketing and content strategy.

To apply for this internship, email your cover letter and resume to Melanie Howe (melanie@addisonavenuemarketing.com) with the job title in the subject line.

Research Internship for Minnetrista in Muncie (May 10, 2016)

Minnetrista’s new Oakhurst House visitor experience will include three characters based on (1) George A. Ball; (2) Mrs. Woodworth, mother-in-law of George Ball; and (3) a fictional composite character representing a cook/housemaid. The intern in this position will do historical research that will inform the development of these characters and other interpretive elements of the experience. The research will be conducted using resources both in the Minnetrista Heritage Collection and in other repositories.

To apply for this internship, visit Cardinal Career Link.

Writing Mentor at Indiana Writers Center in Indianapolis

The IWC is seeking 12-15 English students (graduate or undergraduate) to assist in a creative writing memoir project for disadvantaged youth. Interns will serve as writing mentors for students by sharing their own stories and helping students to tell theirs. Interns will be responsible for teaching students creative writing techniques, for editing, and for transcribing writing. The culminating project will be the 4th publication in a series of memoir anthologies titled, I Remember: Indianapolis Youth Write about Their Lives.

To apply, send a cover letter to the Education Outreach Director, Dr. Darolyn “Lyn” Jones at ljones2@bsu.edu and Executive Director, Barbara Shoup at barbshoup@gmail.com.

Summer Internship at The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller, one of America’s largest and fastest growing online news outlets, is seeking journalism interns who are interested in becoming involved in all facets of their fast-paced, exciting newsroom.

For more information on this internship, or to apply, email kelsey@dailycaller.com