Category Archives: News

Gipson Schabel on Working at Book Arts Collaborative

Creative Writing minor Gipson Schabel recounts her experience working at Book Arts Collaborative, a “makerspace in downtown Muncie where community members and Ball State students learn about letterpress printing, book binding, and artist’s book design and publishing.” Book Arts Collaborative is currently fielding applications for the Fall 2017 semester; interested students should email Rai Peterson at rai@bsu.edu to apply.

It is important to first note that I earned my bachelor’s degree from Ball State University in actuarial science, with a minor in creative writing. Actuarial science is a brand of financial math specifically focused on statistics and predictive modeling. Creative writing is nearly the opposite. Half of my undergraduate years at Ball State were spent as a double major in these two subjects, which I was warned countless times was very weird. Mathematics and creative writing could not mesh, I was told. They were “left brain” and “right brain,” whatever that means. To me, it made sense. I was good at math and I enjoyed the concise correctness of it. Yet, I have been writing novels since age five. I wanted my education to reflect not only my strengths, but my passions. This is also the goal I had for my senior honors thesis: to combine mathematics and creative writing in a way that reflects not only what I have learned, but who I have become during my time at Ball State.

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#bsuenglish at the AWP Conference

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) is an annual conference, held this year from February 8 through February 11 in Washington, D.C. Eleven #bsuenglish students had the honor of attending this year, led by #bsuenglish Professor Jill Christman.

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs was held in the convention center located in downtown Washintgon, D.C. this year. Nearly 12,000 writers from all across America flocked to the event, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Professor Jill Christman, who has served on the AWP Board of Trustees for five years now, was eager to be the chairperson of the conference committee this year.

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Professor Christman displays her crown at the AWP conference.

Long before the conference even began, Professor Christman was busy planning for the event. She is also the head of the sub committee of 20 professional writers who prepare for the annual AWP conference by reading proposals for the event and deciding who will present at the conference. This year, she estimates that the committee read approximately 1,800 proposals but were only able to accept 550 of them. Professor Christman read 600 proposals alone. “It’s not all just about wearing the crown,” she says.

One of Professor Christman’s additional duties was to help choose the keynote speaker for the conference: Iranian writer Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita In Tehran and The Republic of Imagination. Choosing her to speak at the conference was “galvanizing for a lot of people,” said Professor Christman. In addition to choosing Nafisi as the keynote speaker, Professor Christman also had the honor of hosting her and welcoming her to the conference.

The conference included a book fair where presses of all shapes and sizes, including university presses, rent tables that are all displayed in a room about the size of the football field. This year was the first year that Ball State University had a table, which helped recruit for the creative writing and graduate programs. Students had the opportunity to mingle with professional writers, such as Rita Dove, Valeria Luiselli, and former #bsuenglish student Ashley C. Ford.

Senior creative writing major Lauren Cross was very excited to be there. “Attending the AWP Conference was easily the best undergraduate experience I have had. I was able to talk with people whose essays we read every day in class and they seemed almost as interested in us as we were in them. I guess what struck me the most, though, was being able to say the authors and essayists we look up to professionally are also people we can look up to personally—they are genuinely kind, empathetic people. It’s refreshing knowing we can surround ourselves with others who only wish to be their true, authentic selves,” she said.

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Ashley C. Ford, who attended Ball State, visits the university’s table.

“The AWP conference sweeps you away in a rush of the sensorium: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, comics, and so many other genres in books, essays, stories, graphic novels, and more,” says senior creative writing major, Drew Miles, who also attended AWP this year. “There are so many colors, voices, lights, rooms, microphones, words. There are tables upon tables at the book fair representing literary journals and MFA programs. There are famous authors and managing editors casually mingling around you and panels lined up like clockwork discussing social issues, pedagogy, literary elements, and how they all connect to more developed writing. It’s like a wave of shared passion lighting you on and flowing within you. It’s nothing short of spectacular.”

Next year’s AWP Conference will be held in Tampa, Florida, in March! We hope to see you there!

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Professor Mike Donnelly Publishes Book (And More December/January Good News)

Prof. Mike Donnelly‘s book, Freedom of Speech and the Function of Rhetoric in the United States, was released on December Donnelly book15.

Prof. Jill Christman recently had two essays published: “The Alligator and the Baby” in TriQuarterly and “This Story” in Phoebe: A Journal of Literature & Art Since 1971Prof. Christman is also chairing the conference committee for AWP this year and will be delivering a welcome address on the opening night of the conference.

Prof. Lyn Jones‘ immersive learning class explored #blacklivesmatter for Rethinking Children’s and YA Lit. Their magazine is out now! Download the BSU NOW app to read the #blacklivesmatter edition.

Prof. Pete Davis‘ fourth book of poetry, Band Names, will be published this fall.

Prof. Matt Mullins had two filmpoems (“Aubade” and “After Image”) screened at the 5th Annual International Video Poetry Festival in Athens, Greece.

Prof. Mai Kuha is serving on the steering committee of the newly formed Ecolinguistics Association.

Prof. Emily Rutter published “Contested Lineages: Fred Moten, Terrance Hayes, and the Legacy of Amiri Baraka” in the African American Review (vol. 49, no. 4).

Recent #bsuenglish graduate Lauren Birkey (December 2016) was hired at Spotted Monkey Marketing in Muncie. Go Lauren!

#bsuenglish student Elyse Lowery had three poems; “Crosshatch”, “Blood and Diamonds” and “Five Cigars;” accepted for publication by The 3288 Review. They will be published in late February 2017.

Students Brittany Mayfield, Josh Mooshian, and Julia Robben presented a project called “Mock Spanish” at the Unity Connections Conference on January 21, and they facilitated a substantial discussion on linguistic diversity and inclusion following their talk. The project was inspired by Prof. Kuha’s ENG 220 (Language and Society).

#bsuenglish MA graduate Heather Gemmen Wilson recently had two pieces, “How to Deceive Yourself” and “Divine Tantrums” published.

Stars to Steer By: TESOL Information and Next Semester's Events!

panelThe panel for this event included Nuha Alsalem, Tiffany Ellis, Leslie Erlenbaugh, Shane Lanning, and Matthias Raess. Each speaker had valuable information regarding their experience with teaching abroad and also teaching English as a second language. Students interested in teaching English to non-native speakers should check out the TESOL minor. The minor in TESOL offers the skills and knowledge necessary for teaching English to non-native speakers of English both domestically and internationally. If you are looking to teach abroad, you should look at the Fulbright Scholarship.

If you missed out on the last Stars to Steer By event this semester, have no fear! We’ve got a whole lot more coming to you in the spring semester! Our first event entitled “English Majors Can Make Millions (for Good Causes) with speakers Cheri O’Neill and Bruce Hetrick is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31 at 5 pm in Bracken 104.

Brittany Ulman on Interning at International Floral Distributors, Inc.

#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.

Due to being an active member of the IFD team, there’s no doubt in my mind that my internship will prove to be an invaluable experience in terms of the knowledge I gained about a new industry, myself, and my future.brittany-ulman

As an intern, my main objective was to boost the efficacy of IFD’s marketing strategies and ensure they were reaching their intended audiences, specifically Millennials. In order to do so, IFD’s Executive Director, Jeff Lanman, assigned me the tasks of writing press releases and video scripts for their Flower Trends Forecast, generating monthly email campaigns, constructing order forms, assisting in a project aimed at enhancing relations between IFD’s members and their vendor distributors, and creating marketing material for an upcoming convention. And these were just a handful of my day-to-day tasks.

The articles in particular required me to create several images to complement the articles’ content and IFD’s goals of extending a certain amount of information to the public. Additionally, I worked on several aspects of IFD’s annual catalog including trend descriptions, a short bio for IFD’s trend forecaster, as well as advertising value pages.

While working on my various projects for IFD, I found myself utilizing many of the skills I have developed during my time at Ball State and previous internships. Because several of my projects involved creating marketing materials, I found myself continually referring to the information I had learned during my professional writing and digital literacies courses. During these classes, my professors taught me about numerous design aesthetics and textual styles to best appeal to general and specific audiences. In particular to this internship, I referred to my English 213 and 231 classes when I created the table cards and handouts for the convention IFD attended in September.

Between the skills I have obtained at Ball State and my internships, I am more aware of what I want out of a career and have a better understanding of the relationships between my courses and my professional life. Prior to this internship, I did not view all of my Ball State classes as pertinent to my specific career goals–only the ones that have a connection to editing and/or marketing. However, during my time at IFD, I was able to utilize many of the skills I acquired in my creative writing classes when working on marketing materials for the business. Furthermore, I used these classes as a basis when I was writing the scripts for the Flower Trends Forecast videos and my guest blogs for Indianaintern.net.

This connection between my academic and professional lives opens even more doors for me when it comes to what I am looking for in a future career. Even if a job does not initially seem to coincide with my initial expectations, my internship at IFD has taught me that Ball State has prepared me for the unexpected aspects of a job.

When my internship finally ended, it was all bittersweet. Yes, I left a team I’d grown accustomed to and will miss, but I left a more confident, strong, and informed young woman ready to take on another semester, graduation, and whatever the future holds for me after Ball State.

 

Meet Dr. G Patterson!

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 he11156378_1624207644462444_9146109308537578909_nlp 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.

When are your office hours?

My office hours are on Tuesdays from 2:00-3:00 pm and Thursdays from 2:00-4:00 pm, and by appointment any other time.

What are you currently reading, if anything?

That’s a great question. A mentor once told me that academics should never stop reading for pleasure–that we have to remind ourselves why we’re here. Right now I am reading a book called The Fifth Season by the author N. K. Jemisin, who is a black feminist speculative fiction writer. I’ve also been reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crowwhich talks about mass incarceration and how that plays into our particular history of racial injustice in the U.S. Continue reading

Stars to Steer By: Recap and Upcoming Events

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: Monica.jpgUncovering Your Authentic Self,” in BL 104. Monica Scalf, founder of The Playground Group, was the main speaker at the event.

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"The View from Middletown": The Importance of Gary Younge's Research

BSU English would like to invite you to a talk given by Gary Younge. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 pm in 104 Bracken. Copies of Mr. Younge’s book will be available for purchase, and he will be holding a book signing at the event. 

youngeGary Younge is a British journalist and an editor-at-large for The Guardian. He is covering the U.S. election from Muncie in a series of articles called “The View from Middletown.”  Mr. Younge has also made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from the tea party to hip hop culture.

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