Tag Archives: Ball State English Department

Jacket Copy: The People Behind #bsuenglish

An Interview with Amanda Kavars

So, what is Jacket Copy?

Well, it’s an immersive learning class, and it’s a marketing internship. It’s about learning the workflow of an organization and working in teams. You don’t just study principles and strategies of communication–you actually apply them in real time.

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You Should Join Writers’ Community!

By: Rachael Carmichael 

Come to Ball State University’s Writers’ Community and share your work with others in an encouraging environment. It’s a close-knit club, and the vibe is always positive.

A unique experience 

  • The Writers’ Community shares various forms and genres, from poetry and parts of novels, to song lyrics and short stories.
  • Writers are able to share their work, as well as receiving feedback and advice during group discussions.
  • This community is dedicated to listening to other writer’s ideas and works.
  • It’s an easy and great way to receive constructive critiques if you want to better your writing through other writers!

Their mission

The Writers’ Community wants to help others grow in their passion for expressing themselves through writing.

They accept everyone of any level of writing, from more experienced to beginners.

President of the Writers’ Community, Ian Roesler, hopes to expand the community, especially for those who are interested in writing but don’t know what their first steps are.

What can new members expect?

The meetings typically start off with Roesler giving an introduction and important announcements. Afterwards, there is an open floor for people to share their works if they have anything prepared.

Members don’t have to bring anything to share if they aren’t comfortable or aren’t ready.

After each piece is read, there will be a discussion so writers can get important feedback. Sometimes Roesler likes to incorporate other ways to induce creativity, such as: free writing or a fun writing prompt. These ideas happen typically during an evening when many people don’t have anything to share with the group.

Something Roesler is thinking about introducing are evenings where club members provide fun presentations on various literary genres that they’re interested in.

The meetings are held on Monday nights in Robert Bell 284 at 8:00 p.m. and they run for an hour. Everyone is welcome, whether they’re an English major or not. Members can expect a welcome and respectful environment full of enthusiastic and talented writers who love to share their work.

A message from current President, Ian Roesler:

“The Writers’ Community has helped me and others by providing feedback and advice on shared works. Discussions can lead to the formation of new ideas or whenever someone is stuck on something or they need guidance on where to go next in their respective work.”

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/

Marianne Boruch: Visiting Poet at Ball State University

Poet and author Marianne Boruch will be visiting Ball State University on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Arts and Journalism Building (AJ) 225.  This event is free and open to the public.

Boruch will also be making one classroom visit to discuss her poetry on Thursday, October 18th: Boruch will visit ENG 408 (Advanced Poetry Workshop), from 9:30-10:45p.m. in the L. A. Pittenger Student Center 303.  This visit is also free and open to the public.

Chicagoan Marianne Boruch is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently, Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing, and Cadaver, Speak.  She has also published three collections of essays, the most recent being The Little Death of Self, and a memoir, The Glimpse Traveler.

Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.  Among her honors are are four Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, and two Fulbright Professorships.

Boruch was the founder of the MFA program at Purdue University, where she became a Professor Emeritus there last May.  She continues to teach in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Continue reading

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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Elizabeth Palmer: Marketing at Coldwell Banker

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Photo provided by Elizabeth Palmer.

She graduated from Ball State in 2014.

She majored in English Studies, with a minor in digital media.

She worked as one of the English Department’s PR Interns, producing content for this very blog.

Today, Elizabeth Palmer tells us how she used her skills as an English major to secure a position at Coldwell Banker, a real estate company.


1. What I Learned as an English Major

Courses like Editing and Style helped me balance my writing voice with concise, coherent arguments.

I owe a lot of my growth as a writer to Amit Baishya, who, unfortunately, is no longer teaching at Ball State.

Learning to communicate effectively allowed me to showcase my other skills, like design and multimedia storytelling.

Opportunities at Ball State, like the Digital Media minor, helped me utilize my skills in more engaging educational settings. 

My Virginia B. Ball Center seminar (Strengthening Opinions about Animal Responsibility) also gave me an opportunity to thrive in an entirely new learning environment. 

To learn more about the Virginia Ball Center, click here.

 

I knew I wasn’t destined to be an English teacher (even though so many people told me I should be), and branching out into Ball State’s immersive learning projects allowed me to prove that.


2. Finding a job is hard, but not impossible

The last two months before graduation, I spent all my time providing sample work, researching, and interviewing for a job I was so sure I was going to get.

When the time of the interview came, I spent over two hours in the office meeting employees. I even spoke with the HR director and interviewed with the marketing manager.

I left that interview confident I’d secured a future at the company. I was so sure I wasn’t going to be one of those college graduates scrambling to find a job after graduation.

I was wrong. Continue reading

Undergraduate Student Morgan Aprill Discusses Her Writing Fellowship and Her Research Project on Tutoring

MorganAprill

Morgan Aprill is an English literature student at Ball State University with minors in Spanish and professional writing. She is entering her senior year as an undergraduate at the university in the fall. In addition to her work on the “Digital Literature Review,” she currently works as a tutor at the English Department Writing Center. She is conducting a research fellowship with two of her professors about tutoring and composition in second languages, with hopes of publishing the findings in a peer-reviewed research journal. She is a recent recipient of the Carol S Chalk Memorial Scholarship awarded to outstanding tutors in the Writing Center.

I was approached by Dr. Kuriscak, one of my previous Spanish professors, and Dr. Grouling, the Director of the Writing Center, at the end of the 12-13 school year. As a Spanish minor, I took Dr. Kuriscak’s Spanish 202 class at the end of my sophomore year. Both professors knew I worked as a tutor in the Writing Center and that I was also in the Honors College, so they thought I was the perfect candidate for the research they were interested in pursuing concerning alternative tutoring methods. Dr. Grouling had been in conversation with Dr. Kuriscak about ways the Center could aid students who were working on writing for their foreign language classes. The professors came up with the idea of trying out a writing fellow who would work with Dr. Kuriscak’s Spanish composition classes. That’s where I came in.

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Alumna Dr. Jenny Smith on Her Journey Through English at BSU

*Photo provided by Jenny Smith

*Photo provided by Jenny Smith

As an English professor, I am often given to hyperbole. But, it is not an overstatement to say that Ball State’s English department changed my life. Before enrolling in 1999, I was a good student, not a great one. I’d always had a passion for books, but I did not use or cultivate it. I lived with an apathy typical (although not unique) to an eighteen year old.

That changed once I began taking English classes. The faculty engaged with the life of the mind in ways I did not even know existed. The department inspired me to think my life could be whatever I wanted it to be, and that soon involved study abroad, graduate school, and, eventually, a career in teaching.

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English Undergrad Brittany Means: “My First Publication Made Me Feel Like Brad Pitt”

Last year I took Pete Davis’ poetry class, and for my final packet I decided to experiment a little bit. While I was at work, I wrote something that was kind of flow-of-consciousness, played around with the format a little bit, and titled it “Books About.” After I turned it in, I abandoned it in the poetry folder on my laptop and forgot about it.

Over the summer, I attended the Midwest Writers Workshop. There were contests being held for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Since I had already sent in a fiction piece for something else, I rummaged through my laptop and found “Books About” for the Manny Contest. Knowing that the number of attendees would be in the hundreds, I wasn’t sure about my chances for winning anything, but I went ahead and submitted it. During all of the different events and classes, it sort of slipped my mind that there even was a contest. When they called my name during the award ceremony, I almost had a heart attack. I went up and collected my award and then sat down, feeling pretty darn satisfied with myself. When they called my name again for the overall best manuscript, or R. Karl Largent Writing Award, I was so shocked that it took me a few moments before I could get out of my chair to go get the second award. It was really a shock to me that I could win amidst all of the other wonderful writers attending. There’s a picture of this moment on Cathy Day’s blog, and it looks like I just heard a great joke.

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