Elizabeth King is a MA student at Ball State in the English General Studies program. She received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Taiwan for the 2016-2017 school year. Since August 1, 2016, Elizabeth has been in Taitung, Taiwan, a rural county popular with tourists for its beautiful landscape. She has been spending part of her time working with local Taiwanese English teachers in elementary or middle school classrooms, and also improving her language skills and investing in the local community.
Winning a Fulbright is a big deal. What do you think made your proposal stand out?
I think there were two main things: one, I knew Taiwan was the right country for me to apply to, and two, I knew how my past experiences added up to make that the right place, and the ETA the right grant. I studied abroad in Xiamen, China back in 2011 and moved there to teach English for a year after I finished undergrad in 2012. After I came back to Indiana, I was a substitute teacher and was able to do some long-term subbing before I came to Ball State, where I have been a TA for the Writing Program. It was a lot of haphazard teaching experience, but when I started my application for Fulbright, I could see how it all added up, and how to demonstrate that experience in my essays.
Also, I worked with Dr. Andrea Wolfe to revise my essays, which taught me so much about that genre of writing. I’m not sure my application would have been successful without her help.
Paula Langteau, newly named interim dean at Northwest Technical College, has almost 30 years of higher education experience. She began her graduate education at Ball State, completing her Master’s degree and her doctoral coursework in English here. Keep reading to learn more!
Tell us about your Humanities degree. What was it in? When you first got to the university, did you always want to study the Humanities, or was there something else at first?
I received my Master’s degree from Ball State University in English, and I also completed my doctoral coursework in English at BSU. I knew from the time I was a preteen that I wanted to teach English. Following my undergraduate years, I decided to pursue a graduate education in order to teach Composition and Literature at the university level, and I picked BSU because my favorite undergrad professor had gone there. My major and career choice were driven by my joint passions for helping others and for the strength and beauty of the language, in general, and of narrative, in particular.
English MA student Billi MacTighe recommends Roxane Gay’s nonfiction collection, Bad Feminist.
Why should we read this, Billi?
“I resisted feminism in my late teens and my twenties because I worried that feminism wouldn’t allow me to be the mess of a woman I knew myself to be” —Roxane Gay, “Introduction; Feminism (n.): Plural”.
Roxane Gay’s recent book, Bad Feminist—a collection of essays—contains a sassy vigor reminiscent of grade-school war-stories told in ten-year retrospect; just enough time has passed to make the nostalgia wane into humor, but all of the details are still there, still potent. But the book is more than recollections and reflections, it’s a commentary on Feminism and Feminists, and, as Gay so eloquently puts it, the idea of an “Essential Feminism—one true feminism to dominate all of womankind” (and the lack of existence of such an all-encompassing feminist community). Gay gives an insider’s view of what it means to be an outsider. As we follow the catalog of her experiences- tackling being an upper-middle class black woman in academia- we take a journey through cultural shifts and pop culture highlights (or low-lights, depending on where you think Chris Brown and Robin Thicke fall on the musical spectrum).
Lisa Kemp is a partner relationship manager at Ontario Systems in Muncie. She graduated from the Ball State English Department in 1990. In this post, she discusses her work and how it connects to her studies in the department.
How would you describe your job?
I am currently a partner relationship manager with product management responsibilities at Ontario Systems, LLC in Muncie, IN. My job involves managing the day-to-day partnership activities for more than thirty partners. Most of these partners provide data services to our mutual customers. I also manage the product that provides our customers access to these services.
#bsuenglish Senior Brittany Ulman reflects on the valuable experience she gained as the marketing intern at International Floral Distributors, Inc. in Richmond, Indiana this summer. During this time, Brittany created numerous marketing materials, wrote the scripts that would be featured in IFD’s annual Flower Trends Forecast, and served as a guest blogger for Indianaintern.net.
My internship at International Floral Distributors, Inc. was definitely a whirlwind to say the least, but that doesn’t mean it was not worthwhile. Even though I wasn’t completely prepared for the way in which I was propelled into the previously foreign world known as the flower industry, that exact phenomenon is one of the reasons why I enjoyed my time at IFD.
Despite the fact that my internship placed me in an unexplored environment, I enjoyed the challenge. I love the fact that as an intern, I wasn’t simply doing busy work or carrying out small errands for my co-workers. Instead, I was in the middle of nearly every project, voicing my opinion and being one of the main team members.
How would you describe your perspective on teaching?
Whatever class I teach, I really like to focus on social justice. For example, a professional writing class doesn’t seem like it would have anything to do with social justice, and yet, in my classes students are working with campus groups and nonprofits to make a difference in their communities. Even in introduction composition courses, I want to help students understand the consequences of the stories they’re telling, and the stories they refuse to hear. I think that’s the crux of what I do: I think about the tangible impact that I’m making in students’ lives. I want to empower students to write into existence the world they want to see; I want them to really feel like they’re agents of change when they leave my class.
Stars to Steer By is an event series hosted by the English Department to help Humanities majors find their way. The next event is November 29th in BL 104.
On October 26, we hosted our most recent Stars to Steer By event, “Personal Branding: Uncovering Your Authentic Self,” in BL 104. Monica Scalf, founder of The Playground Group, was the main speaker at the event.
Tiffany Austin received her BA in English from Spelman College, her MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University, her JD from Northeastern University, and her PhD in English from Saint Louis University. She currently teaches rhetorical and creative writing at the College of The Bahamas. Her research and teaching field also includes African Diaspora literature—African American, Afro-Latin, Caribbean, and African literature.
How would you describe your writing?
My writing has been described as one with a gendered blues aesthetic, but I don’t relate this descriptor to how we generally perceive the blues. I’ve always admired blues music, not only for its melancholic tones, but for its protest-like and freeing qualities. I grasp its expressive possibilities because of its creative use of language and sound (especially its disguised protest element). I’m most interested in the embodiment of language—readers’ visceral responses—so my poetry is full of images and elliptical narratives. The themes range from historical and personal memory to “tenderness” amongst tragedy-fraught events and experiences. I find myself asking, “What do we desire from memory?” Within those themes subsist the subjects of cultural belonging, dislocation, gender, and age. I don’t overtly point to sexuality because I’m more invested in how we sensually engage with ourselves and one another. Pondering the possibilities for poetry, it’s about how I treat you and you treat me—personally, socially, politically—and that’s what the blues delves into and how it relates.