Tag Archives: Ball State English

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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Jay Coles: Visiting YA Writer at Ball State University

By Rachel Lauve

Novelist and Ball State English Department alum Jay Coles will be visiting Ball State University to read from his work on Thursday, November 8th, 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.

On Thursday, November 8th, Coles will visit ENG 307 (Intro Fiction Workshop) from 2:00-3:15 p.m. in Robert Bell (RB) 361 to discuss his writing and the writing life. This visit is also free and open to the public.

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5 Ways English Prepares You For A Dream Job

By: Maggie Sutton

You can do almost anything with a degree in English. Our alumni agree. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) agrees. Even Google agrees. Employers want the skills and experiences English majors have in spades.

So, what do you need to do to prepare for the “real world”?

1.Write Well

Employers want to hire skillful writers. NACE’s second most valued skill was written communication.

English classes help to polish written communication skills, so remember that when you’re buried in essay deadlines!

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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.

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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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

Hanif Abdurraqib: Visiting Poet at Ball State University

Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib will be visiting Ball State University on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 from 7 – 9 p.m. in Teacher’s College (TC) 121.  This event, sponsored by the Ball State English Department, African-American Studies, the Multicultural Center, and the Office of Institutional Diversity, is free and open to the public.

A native of Columbus, OH, Hanif Abdurraqib is the author of The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, his first collection of poems; it was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was also nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

His collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was named book of 2017 by Esquire, Buzzfeed, Oprah Magazine, NPR, and others.  It addresses many topics such as racial profiling, the n-word, and contemporary music and sports.

Not only does Abdurraqib write poetry and essays, he’s written for the 2016 live shows VH1’s Unsilent Night and MTV Video Music Awards. 

Abdurraqib works as a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and for the poetry collective Echo Hotel. Continue reading

Taylor Wicker: I'm the Girl Behind the Desk

Since we’re approaching the end of the Spring semester, it’s time to hear what the English public relations interns have to say! Today, Taylor tells us about her experiences as an English student — both inside and outside the classroom. 


I got my job as an English department secretary a few weeks before I started my freshman year of college. The office was inviting, my co-workers and bosses were friendly, and every day that I worked behind the front desk, I found myself meeting people, students, staff, and professors — all intimidatingly smarter than I was in every aspect of life.

I spent my first year hiding behind that front desk, watching clubs organize events I refused to go to, hearing about readings in local coffee shops I’d most certainly miss, and poetry competitions I would never dream of competing in. I got into the habit of staying behind the scenes, of appreciating my department at a distance. The more time I spent behind the desk, avoiding these opportunities, the more I craved to be involved in them.

I was writing, sure, but I wasn’t showing it to anyone. I was reading, definitely, but I didn’t want to talk about my experiences with anyone outside of my painfully disinterested friend group.

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