Category Archives: Regular Features

Audrey Bowers: Founder and Editor in Chief of Brave Voices Magazine

New series: 

What’s a pilgrim soul? Yeats might say that it’s who we really are, not who we pretend to be. We say it’s someone who isn’t afraid to admit they’re searching, a current student who is on a path, but doesn’t know exactly where it will lead. 

By Macy Jo Byerly

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#Bsuenglish students are doing incredible
things.
Audrey Bowers recently  founded Brave Voices Magazine, a literary and arts magazine that focuses on publishing
creative works related to the human experience. Bowers is a senior creative writing major at Ball State. She is a passionate storyteller, artist, teacher, social media manager, and editor. She loves corgis, children, and succulents. Her work has been published in the
Ball State Daily News, StudyBreaks Magazine, RethinkingKidLit.com, among other publications. She is editor in chief of Brave Voices Magazine.

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Good News Oct. 2018: Collaboration Galore!

Faculty News

Prof. Susanna Benko and her colleagues Dr. Emily Hodge and Dr. Serena Salloum completed a project for New America and the International Society for Technology in Education. Along with other researchers, their team contributed to the paper titled “Creating Systems of Sustainability: Four Focus Areas for the Future of PK-12 Open Educational Resources.” Specifically, Benko, Hodge and Salloum’s contribution focused on district and state policies that support the use of OER. You can read the report here!

Drs. Benko, Hodge, and Salloum also recently published a commentary in Teachers College Review titled “Instructional Resources and Teacher Professionalism: The Changing Landscape of Curricular Material Providers in the Digital Age.”  

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RECOMMENDATION STATION: “TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE” BY JENNY HAN

By: Sophia Lyons 

Last week, Netflix revealed that their original film To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has become one of their “most viewed original films ever with strong repeat viewing” (Roettgers, 2018). So the movie has taken off, but what about the book it’s based on?

That’s right, there’s a book.

Caution: Spoilers Ahead

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Christina Dionesotes: (Not) Lost in Translation

Christina Dionesotes graduated from Ball State with degrees in both English Studies and Spanish. She then went to New York University for her Masters in Spanish and Latin American Cultural, Literary, and Linguistic Studies. Since then, she has worked as a freelancer translator editor and proofreader, and is now the Associate Project Manager at RWS Life Sciences.

What was your first job after graduation, and how did that lead you to your current position?

After graduation, I went right into graduate school in Spain. Because I didn’t have a work visa and was in school full time, my work options were limited. I ended up nannying/teaching English to two young girls to supplement my loan money. I also started getting into freelance editing and translation. After grad school, I came home to Chicago and looking for jobs that were related to language or included Spanish. I found my current job, under “Linguistic Validation Project Manager” quickly. I had no clue what that position entailed, didn’t know anyone at the company, but managed to score an interview. I have been working here for about 2 years now and can’t believe how much I’ve learned about the translation industry through this job.

What does a typical week look like for you?

I currently work as a contractor for my full-time job which means I’m working from home full time. I tend to go to coffee shops a few days a week just to get out of the house. What I love is that my job allows for the perfect balance of collaborating with coworkers and plugging in music and being in “do not disturb mode”. I have client calls maybe once a day but spend the most of my time working with linguists, proofreading, quality checking translations, collaborating with other vendors, and working to improve internal processes.

Right now, we’re going through quite a busy period so it’s normal to work until 6 PM, take a break, and then log back on around 9 PM or so. Right now I’m working anywhere from 40-60 hours for this job. 

I also maintain my status as a freelance translator. Now that I’m living back in the US, I’m speaking Spanish much less than I want to. Although being a rather inexperienced translator does not pay very well, I still maintain that it’s important and try to pick up a gig 1-2 times a week.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

The most fulfilling part of my job is getting to work with languages every day. This is what I loved to study in school, so to be paid to ask about tense, aspect, and modality is pretty cool.

Even more, I work with language-minded people. All of my colleagues speak at least one other language and the majority of us have lived in different countries and have significant others from other places.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out their next step?

Enjoy the process of figuring it out. I was so afraid of making the “wrong” step at the time of graduation. I just wanted to be able to tell people I was doing SOMETHING. Looking back, it would have served me well to look at all the options (yes, including moving back in with my parents).

I remember looking at jobs at the career fair and almost none of them listing “English major” as a degree that qualified me for that job. Hear me loud and clear: that is bullshit. Don’t pigeonhole yourselves into certain jobs you think you have to do. You can be an English major and not teach!

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post graduation?

This may be a very basic answer but being an English major taught me to analyze problems and come up with creative solutions. In my job, we’re constantly having to come up with new processes as the technology and industry changes. Sometimes clients come to us with near-impossible requests and ask us to make it happen. It has been so helpful to be able to extract pieces of information, draw conclusions, and make a plan of action based on said conclusions.

In a more “real life” sense, my professors really encouraged me to question things. They taught me to question the norm, to ask why that is the norm and who benefits from that being the norm. That’s probably something I use on an everyday basis with work, relationships, etc.

 

Does this type of career sound interesting to you? Join us at Stars to Steer By on October 23rd to learn more about career opportunities involving languages.

Gerry Cox: From the Peace Corps to the classroom

Cover of Gerry Cox’s book, Children Surviving Traumatic Death

Gerry R. Cox is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. He was the Director of the Center for Death Education & Bioethics. His teaching focused upon Theory/Theory Construction, Deviance and Criminology, Death and Dying, Social Psychology, and Minority Peoples. Cox graduated with a B.A. in sociology with a minor in English in 1965 from Ball State. He earned an M.A. in sociology in 1966, and a Ph.D. in 1975.   

He has been publishing materials since 1973 in sociology and teaching-oriented professional journals.

He is a member of the International Work Group on Dying, Death, and Bereavement, the Midwest Sociological Society, the American Sociological Association, The International Sociological Association, Phi Kappa Phi, and Great Plains Sociological Society, and the Association of Death Education and Counseling. He serves on the board of Director’s of the National Prison Hospice Association.

What was your first job after graduation?

Immediately after graduation, I flew to Philadelphia to start my Peace Corps training. It was an extremely fulfilling vocation. I would not call it a job. After returning from the Peace Corps, I chose not to go to law school, but rather began my career as a teacher.

What does a typical week look like for you?

I work on Habitat for Humanity projects several days a week. I mow for three to four hours at our Church. I write. I enjoy my grandchildren and children. I also travel extensively. I have been to forty-nine states and almost as many countries. I have authored and edited thirty books and have published poetry in a number of venues.

What was the most fulfilling part of your job?

Making a difference in people’s lives. I taught for forty-three years. I still hear from students about how I impacted their lives. I enjoyed the classroom, the colleagues, and the many activities involved in being on University campuses.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out the next step?

For me, it was doing what you love. I could have become a lawyer as was expected by my family, but I followed my heart and became a teacher and worked with the dying and bereaved

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?

Probably the one that impacted me the most was a love for words. I think that the words opened up my ability to think and to appreciate life and the people in the world. I also learned how to write, though I do not consider myself to be a great writer. I think that the reason that I have been able to publish books is because I have something to say that is hopefully worth reading. I have also been fortunate to work with many of the leading people around the world in my field. Professors like Porter Nesbitt helped my appreciate my place in the world.

Publishing + Law: Sarah Roth

Sarah Roth is a 2003 graduate of Ball State University, where she earned a B.A. in English, and a 2007 graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

She currently works as Publications Manager of Michigan Judicial Institute (MIJI), and prior to this was a research attorney with MIJI and a law clerk with the Friend of the Court Bureau.

You can connect with her at linkedin.

 

What was your first job after graduation, and how did that lead you to your current position?

After graduating Ball State, I went on to law school in Michigan. As a law student, I held a variety of part time positions. However, my first full-time position following graduation of both Ball State and law school was as a research attorney with the Michigan Supreme Court’s Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI).

I am currently still employed by MJI and was promoted to the Publications Manager in 2011 where I oversee a team of attorneys who maintain a library of publications designed for trial court judges.

What does a typical week look like for you?

A typical week involves:

  • reviewing e-mails for recently-published cases and amended statutes and court rules
  • culling through all of this information and determining whether and where the new information needs to be included within our library of publications.
  • editing the work of three full-time attorneys
  • overseeing the publication process from start to finish every month
  • overseeing two monthly e-mail distributions
  • serving as liaison with a third party website vendor
  • attending meetings where I advise our director on issues affecting our office as well as our organization.
  • serving as the content manager for our website and ensuring it is functioning and getting updated as necessary

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

I find the fact that our work is serving the judiciary, and ultimately the public, very rewarding. While we directly serve the judiciary, our work helps serve the public by providing more informed and educated judges and court personnel.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out their next step?

Coming out of Ball State, I was sure I wanted to become an editor at a huge publishing firm in NYC – mainly because I thought that was all that was available. Just know there are a ton of options for you, both big and small.

Explore and discover what it is you like to do, do as many internships as possible, and I assure you that something is out there that you will love.

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?

In terms of helping me professionally, the writing skills I developed at Ball State have been second to none. In order to advance my career, writing exercises have been a large part of the interview process, and in order to get the job, I had to outperform all other applicants.

Here is a link to the MJI website if you are interested: https://mjieducation.mi.gov/

Welcome Prof. John Carter

John Carter is a 2018 graduate of Ball State University, where he earned his Master of Arts in Creative Writing and where he also holds a B.A. in English—Creative Writing with a Professional Writing Minor. He’s interested in using description and lyricism to bring a love of nature, farming, and the rural American Midwest to what is (hopefully) an accessible space. More information about him and his work can be found on his website.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

Practice and revision-oriented. I grew up working on my family’s farm, where the only way to learn how to do something was often through practice, and the skills or tools required for one job were typically also applicable to another. When I started studying creative writing in college (and later in graduate school), I was surprised by the similarities between farm work and the work of a writing workshop—collaboration, self-evaluation, out-of-the-box thinking, problem-solving, recognizing the dis/connections between objects or ideas, etc.

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September Good News: Publishing Frenzy!

Faculty News

Prof. Emily Rutter’s The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press) is now in print! Order it now!

Prof. Deborah Mix’s Approaches to Teaching the Works of Gertrude Stein, co-edited with Logan Esdale of Chapman University, is finally in print! Order it now!

Cover of Prof. Emily Rutter’s newly published book.

Prof. Michael Begnal’s poem “The Traitor’s Flag” was published in Writers Resist issue 71.

Prof. Molly Ferguson’s article, “‘To say no and no and no again’: Fasting girls, Shame, and Storytelling in Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder” was published in the Summer 2018 (vol 22:2) edition of New Hibernia Review.

Prof. Jill Christman had two essays published over the summer: “Naked Underneath Our Clothes” (Creative Nonfiction) &  “Life’s Not a Paragraph”(River Teeth). Spinning: A Love Story (a collection of essays) was a finalist for the 2018 Gournay Prize at The Ohio State University Press. She will be attending the NonfictioNow conference in Phoenix, Arizona next month to present on two panels: “Writing the Day” and “Our True Voice(s).”

Cover of Prof. Deborah Mix’s newly published book.

Prof. Rai Peterson will be the Banned Books Week “prisoner” at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library during the last week of September.  While she is incarcerated in the front window of the Library, she will be meeting with visitors of the KVML, blogging on its website, and speaking at her release event on Saturday, September 29.

Prof. Gui Garcia gave a workshop on RMarkdown earlier this month in the Applied Statistics and R group (ASR) at Ball State. The group, which is now led by Dr. Garcia, is resuming its monthly meetings this fall. Look out for future dates and topics. Also earlier this month, Dr. Garcia gave a talk at the Montreal Symposium in honor of Lydia White, who created the field of Second Language Acquisition in the 1980s—and who just retired. Later this month, Dr. Garcia will present two papers at the 8th GALANA (Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America), a biennial meeting held at Indiana University (Bloomington) this year. Finally, he has recently published an online tutorial on his website on how to graphically explore vowels using the R language. Continue reading

Bill Bradford: From Teacher to Administrator to Federal Grants Specialist

Bill Bradford graduated from Ball State University in 2007 with a BA in Education with a concentration in English. He later obtained an MS in Educational Leadership from Indiana University: South Bend.  He has served as a school administrator, athletic director, and as a teacher in South Bend Community School Corporation and Indianapolis Public Schools.  With over 10 years of field experience, he is now serving as a Federal Grants Specialist for the Indiana Department of Education

How did your English major lead to your current position?

As an English major, I was presented with several really important leadership opportunities in the field of teaching. Since Language Arts is heavily tested in the K-12 environment, I was given the responsibility of leading collaborative discussions, curriculum planning and developing assessments. Later, I was given some administrative opportunities as an Athletic Director and Assistant Principal in a large school corporation. In my current position, I work for the Indiana Department of Education as a Federal Grant Specialist.

What skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

While I was an English major at Ball State, I developed skills that are very important to my current position such as: communicating effectively with school leaders, editing and revising large grants with great attention to detail, and the collaborative skills needed to work in a small team of other specialists. Critical thinking plays a huge role in my work since federal education funds are often subject to cuts, which means that school districts need expert advice on how to coordinate all of their funding sources, so that they can accomplish their programming goals for students.

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Welcome Prof. Allyson DeMaagd

We welcome Dr. Allyson DeMaagd in a full-time contract faculty position. She received her PhD in English from West Virginia University. Her dissertation focused on the works of Modernist women writers, including H.D., Mina Loy, and Virginia Woolf, and she will be teaching first-year writing.

Where are you from and what led you to Ball State?

I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I’ve lived in Monterey, California, San Antonio, Texas and, most recently, Morgantown, West Virginia. I was drawn to Ball State because of its commitment to community and its encouragement of collaboration between faculty and students. My partner is also a new English faculty member at Indiana Academy. We feel lucky to have great jobs on the same campus.  

What are you currently reading, if anything?

I’m always reading something—usually several somethings—and I like to shift among genres and time periods. I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Next up are Virginia Woolf’s The YearsTa-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedyand Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo.” Continue reading