Tag Archives: Angela Jackson-Brown

Nikole Darnell and Professor Angela Jackson-Brown Reflect on Maya Angelou's Legacy

On February 16th, Ball State held a tribute to author Maya Angelou, who died this past June.  English department faculty Prof. Mark Neely and Prof. Angela Jackson-Brown were both involved in planning the event, and Prof. Jackson-Brown spoke at the tribute.  The English Department asked sophomore English major Nikole Darnell to interview Prof. Jackson-Brown and to reflect on the event.


Prof. Angela Jackson-Brown speaking at the Maya Angelou Tribute. Photo courtesy of Jeff Owens.

Prof. Angela Jackson-Brown speaking at the Maya Angelou Tribute. Photo courtesy of Jeff Owens.

Almost every chair in Ball State’s Student Center Ballroom was full as people from all around packed in, eager to see the tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou that was sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity on Monday February 16, 2015.

While there were numerous Ball State students and faculty in attendance, the program also attracted several outside visitors. For instance, the gentleman sitting next to me said his group traveled from Ivy Tech to see the program.

It is an understatement to say that the tribute was spectacular—it was also beautiful, thought provoking, and, at times, moved me to tears.

Professor Angela Jackson-Brown of the Ball State English Department, one of the speakers at the tribute, graciously made time to speak with me about the event and her love for Dr. Angelou’s work. Professor Brown remembers becoming interested in poetry as a child when her father gave her a book of poems. It was then that she discovered Maya Angelou’s work and “all of these amazing black poets” and “that it was okay for [her] to write and explore [her] feelings through the written word.” It was obvious by the end of the night that Professor Brown was not the only one inspired by Dr. Angelou’s work.

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Good News, February 2015

Amory Orchard mans the Poets-for-Hire desk.

Amory Orchard mans the Poet-for-Hire desk.

In the latest installment of the “Good News” series, BSU English highlights the accomplishments of faculty and students through the month of February.


The Writing Center hosted a two-day fundraiser, “Poets for Hire,” to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank in Muncie. On February 12 and 13, Ball State students and faculty wrote approximately 75 personalized love poems and took donations as payment. The event raised approximately $230 and two big boxes of food. It was also covered on Indiana Public RadioDavid DiSarro (PhD in Rhetoric and Composition) published his poetry chapbook, “I Used to Play in Bands,” at Finishing Line Press. The title poem was first published in Hawaii Pacific Review, and you can read it here. He’s currently an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Writing Center at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. David’s creative work has previously appeared in The Ibbetson Street Magazine, The Orange Room Review, Breadcrumb Scabs, Third Wednesday, among others.

Isabel Vasquez, a junior double major in Spanish and English studies, recently published her reflective essay, “Alive,” in Ivy Tech’s mê tis Volume VII . She also published “The Necessity” in The Mochila Review, a journal from Missouri Western State University, which you can read here.


Do you have any good news? Let us know so we can put it in our alumni newsletter!

Do you have any good news? Let us know so we can put it in our alumni newsletter!


Melissa Hull (Secretary to the Director of the Writing Program) who publishes poetry as “M. Ann Hull” has published quite a few poems since July.  (You know you have a great department when even the staff is producing such quality work!)

  • Blue Earth Review, “The Wife Called it Making Memories
  • BOXCAR Poetry Review, “Images or Shadows of Silent Things”
  • Emrys Journal, “Just Beyond the Reach”
  • The Greensboro Review, “Snow Cover”
  • Heavy Feather Review, “Elegy for a Mason Jar,” “House of Echoes,” and “This Isn’t an Era for Adoring”
  • Passages North, “My Mother, Born in Summer, Had Winter Babies” and “To You, Who Never”
  • Phantom Limb, “Look at Me / Don’t Look at Me”
  • Juked, “Such Similar Fingerprints”
  • Threadcount, “The Last Neglected Child”
  • WomenArts Quarterly Journal, “To Track Tears under the Microscope”

Sarah Hollowell, a senior creative writing major, was interviewed by the Ball State Daily News regarding fat positivity. Sarah recently published her essay, “This is an Essay about a Fat Woman being Loved and Getting Laid,” in The Toast, and it has been shared over 6,000 times through various social media outlets.

Alysha Hoffa’s (B.A. creative writing, 2013) essay, “Colorless Life: An Essay in Grayscale,” was named a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2014. It was originally published in Southern Indiana Review. Alysha is currently in the MFA program at Fresno State.

Rebecca McNair, a senior creative writing major, was featured in the Ball State Daily News. She’s launching a feminist literary magazine, Andromeda Speaks, a project that was born in her Literary Publishing and Editing course with Professor Silas Hansen. You can contribute to the launch on Kickstarter.

Brett Hiatt (B.S. teaching English language arts) has been teaching in China for a year, and now he’s now the lead teacher. You can read about his experiences here.

Assistant Professor Andrea Wolfe (second from right) was the recipient of an  Immersive Learning Award. (Photo courtesy of Ball State University)

Assistant Professor Andrea Wolfe (second from right) was the recipient of an Immersive Learning Award. (Photo courtesy of Ball State University)

Andrea Powell Wolfe (assistant professor of English) recently won a 2015 Immersive Learning Award for her seminar at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry in 2013. Wolfe led an interdisciplinary team of 14 students in creating a 35-minute documentary, “Down to Earth: Small Farm Issues in a Big Farm World.

The film follows a local food producer/veterinarian through a week of life on the farm, at the farmer’s market, and on veterinary calls. It aired on WIPB-TV and was screened at film festivals in South Bend and Indianapolis. Community partners included Becker Farms in Mooreland, Indiana, and Muncie’s Living Lightly Fair. You can learn more about Down to Earth here.

Angela Jackson Brown (assistant professor of English) will be co-teaching a session on African-American literature with Hedi Podlasli-Labrenz on February 24th. The session will take place at Ökumenisches Gymnasium zu Bremen in Germany. Hedi’s students will be reading Professor Brown’s novel, Drinking from a Bitter Cupso Brown will also guest lecture there over the summer.

Molly Ferguson (assistant professor of English) received a Start-Up Program award from the Sponsored Projects Administration. She will use her grant money to travel to cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Belfast to study Irish plays as expressions of shared traumas.


Every year, Ball State’s Graduate School identifies grad students who have exceeded expectations in their respective programs. Since so many students will receive awards this year, we’re going to devote an entire blog post to recognizing them. Stay tuned for next month’s edition of Good News!

Celebrate the Legacy of Maya Angelou

Born in the Jim Crow South, Maya Angelou used her passion as an activist and a writer to inspire discussions surrounding civil rights. As a way to celebrate Angelou’s written works and devotion to social, political, and economic equality, organizers at the Office of Institutional Diversity and BSU English hope to nurture a diverse university community. 


 Sunday, February 15th

Charlene Alexander

Charlene Alexander, Director of Institutional Diversity

I Read…I Rise Poetry Slam

Monday, February 16th

Tribute to Maya Angelou

Stedman Graham, who got his MA at BSU.

Stedman Graham, who got his MA at BSU.

  • 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Student Center Ballroom
  • Keynote speaker: Stedman Graham
    • CEO of S. Graham and Associates, a Chicago-based management/marketing consulting firm.
    • Conducts lectures and seminars worldwide, inspiring young people to transform into leaders.
    • Author of eleven books, including two New York Times bestsellers and one Wall Street Journal bestseller.
    • Earned his Master’s degree in Education at Ball State.
    • Oprah’s boyfriend. 🙂
  • At the event, you’ll learn about how you can volunteer in the Muncie community.

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Good News, September 2014

Tuesday = Good News

In the latest installment of the “Good News” series, the Ball State English department highlights the accomplishments of our faculty and students up through the month of September.

That’s right. We have so much good news that we’re sharing it once a month rather than once a semester. In fact, we already have  a bunch of weekly good news queued up for October!

Jill Christman

  • Her essay, “The Avocado,” was featured on The Humble Essayist, a new site that celebrates and critically examines the essay form.
  • Her first e-book, Borrowed Babies, hit virtual shelves on September 4th, 2014.

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Intern, Rhiannon Racy, Interviews Angela Jackson-Brown About her Recent Pushcart Prize Nomination

Angela Jackson-Brown was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her short story, “Something in the Wash.” Our department intern, Rhiannon Racy, interviewed her about the story, the relationship between her teaching and writing, and her advice to aspiring writers.

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Introducing our Good News series!

This post will be the first in our Good News series, which will highlight our faculty and graduate students’ accomplishments. Without further ado, here’s what our Ball State University English professors and students are doing:

Cathy Day attended the Indiana Historical Society’s Holiday Author Fair on December 4th, the largest book-signing gathering for Indiana-related material, featuring 75 Hoosier authors. The Holiday Author Fair allows visitors to converse with authors, have books signed, and listen to special presentations.

Ashley Ellison’s (PhD program, Applied Linguistics) short essay, “Connecting Memory and Research through Eco-Composition,” has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Indiana English. It will be published in an upcoming “Green Issue.” This is Ellison’s first peer-reviewed publication.

Robert Habich’s “Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir,” appeared in the Oxford Handbook to Transcendentalism, edited by Joel Myerson, Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, and Laura Dassow Walls. Dr. Habich also co-directs the Steinbeck Lecture Series with John Straw of Bracken Library. Its next lecture is scheduled for Monday, March 21, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Joyce Huff’s “Fosco’s Fat Drag: Performing the Victorian Fat Man in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White,” appeared in Historicizing Fat in Anglo-American Culture, edited by Elena Levy-Navarro from Ohio State University Press. Here‘s a link to the book on the OSU blog. Huff also read an excerpt from the chapter at the Midwest Popular Culture Association in October 2010.

Angela Jackson-Brown’s short story “Something in the Wash, ” which appeared in The New Southerner, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Casey McArdle’s (PhD program, Rhetoric/ Composition) article, “Using Web 2.0 to Foster Community and Public Writing in Composition Classrooms,” was published in the Fountain Head Press book Web 2.0 Applications for First-Year Composition Assignments (December 2010).  He also presented “Working Web 2.0: User Generated Content and Global Writing” at the Watson Conference Louisville in October.

Miranda Nesler has had two essays accepted for publication. The first was “Closeted Authority in The Tragedy of Mariam,” forthcoming (52:2) in spring 2012 in Studies in English Literature. The second was “Review: Renaissance Earwitnesses: Rumor and Early Modern Masculinity,” forthcoming (63:4) in winter 2010 in Renaissance Quarterly.

Chaehee Park (PhD program, Applied Linguistics) has two articles forthcoming in Korea:  “Subject-Verb Agreement: A Corpus Study of the Collective Nouns Majority and Minority” in The New Korean Association of English Language and Literature and “The Use of Polite Verbal Suffix –yo and –yeo in Korean Internet Café” in Linguistic Style of Korean.

Jeffrey Paschke-Johannes (PhD program, Rhetoric/ Composition) presented two papers at the Rhetoric Society of America’s 14th biennial conference in Minneapolis last May: “Burke and Butler: A Merger of Acts” and “Abandoning the Faculties: Association Psychology and Alexander Bain’s Rhetoric”; additionally, he sat on a panel, “The Ghosts of Rhetoric Past: Nineteenth-Century Assumptions and Their Legacies for Rhetoric,” along with Tess Evans and Karen Neubauer.

Craig O’Hara’s short story, “The Corner” was named second runner-up for the Second Annual Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction sponsored by Philadelphia Stories. More info can be found here. His short story “Rodent Town” has been accepted for publication in Altered States, a fiction anthology forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing.

Corby Roberson (PhD program, Literature) presented her paper “Pedagogically Fat: A 16-Year-Old Perception of Body Size” on the “The Fat Body in Academics:  What’s a Teacher and Student to Do?” panel at the Midwestern Popular Culture Association conference in Minneapolis last October.

Jennifer Stewart (PhD program, Rhetoric/ Composition) presented her paper “Curriculum Design in Multiple Contexts” on a panel at the 2010 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC).

Trey Strecker delivered the keynote address, “Powers’s Disease: Narrative and ‘The Killing Responsibility of Care,'” for an international conference on “Ideas of Order: Narrative Patterns in the Novels of Richard Powers,” hosted by the Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany.

Elizabeth Young (PhD program, Literature) presented her paper “Samuel Johnson’s Fat Cells: An Illustrated Guide to Fat, Food, and National Identity” on the “The Fat Body in Academics:  What’s a Teacher and Student to Do?” panel at the Midwestern Popular Culture Association conference in Minneapolis last October.

It is also worth noting that all four student Fulbright recipients this year were from the Department of English. Those students are as follows:

Steven Jones, a doctoral candidate in English literature, has been awarded a full Fulbright grant to the United Kingdom, the most competitive of all Student Fulbright Grant programs. Jones will use the Fulbright to study the correspondence of two 20th-century authors, letters that are held in the archives at the National Library of Wales.  This research is part of his dissertation on the role of Wales in the British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Two graduating seniors, Katherine Kovac and Erin Loch, have received Fulbright English teaching assistantships to Germany, where they will teach English as a second language to middle school or high school students. Kovac also plans to develop an American literature book club at her school, and Loch will offer tutoring services and conversation sessions that allow students to practice English skills. Staci Defibaugh received an English teaching assistantship in Romania, where she will teach English as a second language at a university and an educational advising center. Defibaugh will also offer free English tutoring lessons and will create a bilingual craft circle, on knitting and traditional Romanian embroidery and weaving.

The English Department at Ball State is very proud and honored to have such diligent and accomplished faculty and students. Keep up the great work!