Author Archives: thereallukebell

An Interview with Elizabeth King

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.


King

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.

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Robert Bell Ball Winners

The Robert Bell Ball was a magical time. We had a great turn out, tasty refreshments, oh, and we gave out more than $13,000 in scholarships! Here you can read about the scholarships awarded as well as our winners.


ELIZABETH MARTIN SCHOLARSHIP

The Elizabeth Martin Scholarship in English is a merit award given annually to those students who display the characteristics of scholarship, character, and leadership, which are essential for success in the field of English.

Valerie Weingart is a junior Creative Writing and Vocal Performance double major from Salem, Ohio. She is also a member of the Honors College and the President of Student Honors Council. In the School of Music, Valerie sings with the Ball State Chamber Choir and has appeared in multiple Ball State Opera Theater productions. This summer, she will be singing in Cancun, Mexico with the Opera Maya Program, then returning to Muncie to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. Valerie is very excited to join next year’s staff of The Broken Plate and looks forward to next year’s opportunities in both the School of Music and the English Department.

Hannah Partridge is a Sophomore from Brown County, Indiana studying Creative Writing with minors in Professional Writing and French. She enjoys poetry, young adult literature, and creative nonfiction. Along with writing, she is also passionate about music, and currently serves as the Coordinator of The Parallels A Cappella.

Cody DeHaven is an English student majoring in Literature from Kokomo, Indiana. He joined the English department after realizing that studying biology was not near as fun as being an English major. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Cody works at Bracken Library and teaches music at Elwood High school. He would like to thank Dr. Rai Peterson and Dr. Emily Rutter for their continued encouragement and support.

HANSON RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION AWARD

The Hanson Rhetoric and Composition Award is given annually to support graduate research in the field of rhetoric and composition.

Mary McGinnis is a third year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric & Composition. She holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in English & American Literature, both from Indiana State University. She also holds a M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Mary is interested in the use of transformative pedagogies and multimodal literacy in the composition classroom. Her research usually takes a gender studies/queer theory angle on public rhetoric and pop culture.

LESLIE AND PATRICK BALLARD SCHOLARSHIP

The Leslie and Patrick Ballard Scholarship is awarded annually to future teachers of English who display an exceptional devotion to the field of education.

Joel Summer is a junior English Education major heading into his last year at Ball State University. He is actively engaged in the Ball State Navigators, an on-campus Christian ministry group focused on sharing lives and time in building lasting relationships with others, and in the Learning Center, where he is a Level 3 Master Tutor for Spanish and writing. Joel loves anything and everything to do with Star Wars, he dabbles in a Lego addiction, and he hopes to always be willing to sacrifice himself and his desires for the good of those he is put together with in life (especially since he’ll be getting married this summer and knows he better start shaping up if he wants to stay married long).

Emily Mack is a sophomore English Education major and creative writing minor from West Lafayette, Indiana. She dreams of teaching middle schoolers and improving education for students with disabilities. Emily describes herself as a lover of of books, dogs, coffee, and summer camp.

BARRY WRIGHT MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Barry Wright Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually in recognition of artistic excellence in the writing of poetry by undergraduates at Ball State.

Elyse Lowery was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, South Holland, IL. She grew up with a strong sense of family and family drama, so that appears in her writing a lot. For Elyse, Ball State was quite the (positive) change from her high school experience, which was set in juvenile detention-like facilities and had few writing endeavors to speak of. In light of that, she’s very happy to receive this award and be making it on into her fourth year here at Ball State.

Levi Todd is the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community. He looks forward to serving as Programming Intern at The Poetry Center of Chicago this summer, as well as joining the masthead for The Broken Plate in the fall. One day he hopes to adopt a pug named Garbanzo. Levi is grateful to accept the Matt Jones and Barry Wright scholarships, and looks forward to his continued career within the BSU English department.

MATT JONES CREATIVE WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

The Matt Jones Creative Writing Scholarship is awarded annually by the Department of English to a Ball State University student who exhibits a dedicated interest in creative writing.

Levi Todd is the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community. He looks forward to serving as Programming Intern at The Poetry Center of Chicago this summer, as well as joining the masthead for The Broken Plate in the fall. One day he hopes to adopt a pug named Garbanzo. Levi is grateful to accept the Matt Jones and Barry Wright scholarships, and looks forward to his continued career within the BSU English department.

PATRICIA AND ANTHONY MARTONE SCHOLARSHIP

The Patricia and Anthony Martone Scholarship is awarded annually by the English Department to M.A. Creative Writing students who produce new writings about place and community, in particular about the Muncie, Indiana area, the state of Indiana, and/or the Midwest region.

George Hickman is completing the first year of his M.A. program in creative writing. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He will use the Patricia and Anthony Martone award to fund a visit to the southwestern U.S., where he will conduct research and interviews in order to add verisimilitude to an ongoing creative project.

Robert Young was born in Fort Wayne, IN. He has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ball State, where he primarily studied and wrote poetry. He also loves to experiment with other genres. Robert likes to write about everything from music to video games to outer space to kitchen appliances.

MIDWEST WRITERS WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIP

The Midwest Writers Workshop Scholarship is awarded annually to the student with a dedicated interest in creative writing who best demonstrates in the application essay and writing sample that attending that summer’s Midwest Writers Workshop will benefit the applicant as a writer.

Valerie Weingart is a junior Creative Writing and Vocal Performance double major from Salem, Ohio. She is also a member of the Honors College and the President of Student Honors Council. In the School of Music, Valerie sings with the Ball State Chamber Choir and has appeared in multiple Ball State Opera Theater productions. This summer, she will be singing in Cancun, Mexico with the Opera Maya Program, then returning to Muncie to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. Valerie is very excited to join next year’s staff of The Broken Plate and looks forward to next year’s opportunities in both the School of Music and the English Department.

DR. JANET ROSS SCHOLARSHIP FOR TEACHERS OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

The Dr. Janet Ross Scholarship for Teachers of English as a Second Language is awarded annually by the English Department to students who display characteristics of scholarship, character, and leadership which, in the judgment of the selection committee, are considered essential for success in the field of teaching English as a second language.

Emilie Schiess is a student pursuing an English as a New Language education license. Currently, she works at the Writing Center and the Honors House on campus. In her free time, she runs a blog about languages and education. Emilie is interested in teaching abroad and working in the field of language edutainment. She hopes to use her teaching experiences to develop accessible ESL materials and internet content for a variety of English Language Learners.

Morgan Aprill graduated last year from the English Department with a degree in Literature and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in TESOL/Linguistics at Ball State. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant in the Intensive English Institute and hopes to move abroad to teach once graduating, and then eventually return to the U.S. for her ultimate goal: earning a Ph.D.

Sharon Jackson is a long-time resident of Delaware County. She has raised two daughters here, one of whom graduated from Ball State in 2012. The other will graduate this week! She is an active member of the Compass Church in Selma, where she plays piano and sings on the worship team. She also coordinates the local food pantry there. She earned her B.A. from Michigan State University, and she will finish her M.A. next spring. After she graduates, Sharon hopes to continue pursuing her passion for teaching overseas as a missionary English teacher. She also plans to teach adult ESL classes in a community education setting here at home.

FRANCES MAYHEW RIPPY SCHOLARSHIP

The Frances Mayhew Rippy Scholarship is awarded annually by the English Department to fund research projects in the field of literary studies.

Hayat Bedaiwi is a second-year doctoral student in English Literature at Ball State. Her academic interests include Arab-American and Ethnic literature. She also has a burgeoning passion for cultural studies. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s of Arts in English Language and Literature at King Saud University. Hayat is also an amateur painter, amateur Middle-Eastern cook, and aspiring writer.

Danita Mason is in the second year of her doctoral program in Literature. She will use the Frances Mayhew Rippy award to fund her research in dystopian fiction and, particularly, in the portrayal of women in dystopian works.

DEPARTMENT HONORS IN WRITING

Department Honors in Writing are awarded each year to students with a GPA of at least 3.8 who also demonstrate excellence in writing.

Kristal All, English Education major

Daniel Brount, Creative Writing major

ACADEMIC HONORS IN WRITING

Academic Honors in Writing is a university-wide award granted to those Ball State students who demonstrate noteworthy writing ability.

Luke Bell, Creative Writing major

Sara Huber, Literature major

DR. JOE AND CAROL TRIMMER OUTSTANDING GRADUATING SENIOR AWARD

The Outstanding Senior award is the final award of the ceremony, and is awarded to a senior English student who goes above and beyond both in the classroom and out. Here is what our faculty had to say about the winner:

This person is awesome in the classroom. Talk to the faculty who’ve had this person in their classes, and every single one of them will provide rave accolades. As one of his teachers said, he is “an exceptional student and a wonderful person. He would be a perfect choice for this recognition.” Another professor called him “a tremendous example of an English major, a great thinker and student, and just generally an awesome person.”

But this person’s awesomeness could not be contained within the bounds of the classroom. This person is an incredible department citizen, showing up to and even helping coordinate events left and right. This person took advantage of seemingly all of the professional development opportunities the English Department offers: The Broken Plate, The Digital Literature Review, and even the department internships, where one of our faculty called him “one of the kindest office workers I’ve ever met.”

We have been privileged to experience such awesomeness in our department, but this person’s awesomeness extended far beyond that. He furthered the larger Ball State and Muncie communities through the Ball State Daily News and the Midwest Writers Workshop. He even spread his wings to an entirely different part of the country, participating in the New York Arts Program, where he interned with DAW Books and The Rights Factory.

But this person’s awesomeness will not stop there. He will most certainly be going on to great things, and whatever he does, in the words of one of our faculty, will “make Ball State so proud.” It is our great pleasure to present the Outstanding Senior Award to…

Daniel BrountDaniel Brount!

To learn more about Daniel you can check out his website, his book reviews, and our blog post on his experiences in New York City.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners. We are proud of you!

 

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.

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.

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 

Help Us Choose the Robert Bell Ball Theme

Hey #bsuenglish, the Robert Bell Ball is only one month away! It will be held on Friday, April 29 and we need YOU to help us choose a theme. The theme of the ball will determine the decorations AND dress for the event. Below is a poll featuring five great English-oriented options. Vote for your favorite and mark your calendar, we’ll see you on the 29th!

If you’d like to join the conversation on social media, use #VoteRbBall