Tag Archives: Literature

Benefits of the English Major: Straight from the Seniors

Prof. Emily Rutter shares some of her Senior Seminar students’ reflections on their learning in the English Major.

This semester, my English 444 students were asked to write autobiographical essays about their experiences as English majors. As a fitting close to the semester for some and to college for others, we wanted to share a few excerpts from those essays, which showcase the many lessons English courses impart and the varied ways in which our students will apply them in the future.

Vanessa Haro-Miracle: When I first signed up for English 308 course, I dreaded the idea of reading poems. As the semester progressed, one of the assignments was to pick a poet and read and analyze their work. I chose Erika L Sanchez because she wrote activist poems about Mexico. Her poems tend to be vivid and gruesome. Moreover, I knew there was a deeper meaning and I was able to grasp it because it was about the ugliness in her and my native country. Reading her poetry was a springboard to find other poems and poets like her.

Kelsey McDonald: Knowing that I can complete complex research papers, comprehend difficult texts, and confidently apply my skills to other aspects in my education and professional pursuits is extremely rewarding.  However, the best lesson I have learned is that the magic of the other worlds I have explored through literature has enabled me to be confident and adventurous in my own world. Reading has played such an important role in my life, and I hope to share my love of it with many students by teaching high school literature after I graduate and join the professional world. Continue reading

John Maust: The Importance of Encouraging Writers

John Maust is president of Media Associates International (MAI), a publishing training agency based near Chicago, Illinois. John directs MAI’s global training programs to strengthen Christian publishing worldwide and to foster the development and publication of gifted local writers. John became president of MAI in 1998 after more than 20 years of experience as an editor, author and journalist. He graduated from Ball State University in 1975 with a B.A. in Literature, followed by an M.A. in Communications from Wheaton (IL) College Graduate School in 1978.

You have had such a varied career in publishing, including working for a newspaper and a magazine, as well as publishing three books of your own. In what ways did your English literature degree help to prepare you for these various endeavors?
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Within weeks of graduating from Ball State, I got a job as a 20-year-old editor of a small-town weekly newspaper in nearby Dunkirk, Indiana. Editorially, it was a one-person operation. So, for the first time in my life I had nightmares: would I find enough to fill the newspaper?

Fortunately, we never published any blank pages, and the work got done through long hours, hard work, a finely tooled typewriter, and more than a few prayers. I look at that experience as a time of real growth both as a person and as a communicator. They say you learn to write by writing, and that was surely the case at this newspaper.

Next came graduate school, followed by work as a magazine news editor, and then as a roving reporter and writer trainer based in Lima, Peru. There, this English major learned enough Spanish to meet and marry my beautiful wife, Elsa, of 32 years.

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Congratulations to Tricia Johnson on Winning the Bernadette H. Perham Scholarship

Join us in congratulating Tricia R. Johnson, who is being awarded a Bernadette H. Perham Scholarship and will be honored at the 13th annual Indiana Woman of Achievement Award Dinner on October 17th! Tricia is one of four students being honored with this scholarship out of the forty nominated. The Bernadette H. Perham Scholarship is awarded to women who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership. It is offered in memory of Dr. Perham, who was a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences for 16 years until her passing in 1996 and who belonged to the American Association of University Women. Dr. Perham was committed to breaking down the barriers to achievement for all women.

*Photo provided by Tricia Johnson

Tricia came to Ball State from Bluffton, Indiana. She is in her final year and is majoring in Literature with minors in History and Humanities. Tricia’s goal for her undergraduate education was to gain “a wide understanding of the humanities” and “the best background possible in literary history” and literature, and she says that’s exactly what she got at Ball State. Tricia wants to pursue a career as a professor of English and is applying to doctoral programs at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Iowa, and Indiana University among others.  Areas of focus in her graduate studies might include Modernism, Film Studies, Narrative Theory, or Gender Theory.

Aside from being awarded the Bernadette H. Perham Scholarship, Tricia also spent a year as a Teaching Assistant in an Honors Humanities course under Dr. James Ruebel and Professor Elizabeth Dalton. This assistantship gave her experience as a teacher as she “graded papers, talked to students,” and led a unit which she helped to design. Tricia was also awarded an Honors Fellowship during which she worked with Dr. James Connolly and Dr. Frank Felsenstein on their What Middletown Read project (find more information about the project here). In addition to her studies, Tricia also volunteers as a docent at the David Owsley Museum of Art.

Tricia is “really, really honored” to be awarded this scholarship, and plans to use the funds to defer the cost of applying to graduate school.

Everything and Nothing: Kelsi Morrison-Atkins on The Powerful Possibilities of a Humanities Education

This year’s English Department Outstanding Senior Kelsi Morrison-Atkins recently graduated from Ball State with two degrees and a near-perfect GPA. Below, Kelsi offers an account of her experience at Ball State as well as her thoughts on earning two degrees and pursuing yet another in “everything and nothing.” Continue reading to see how Kelsi’s English and Religious Studies degrees have already offered her several notable opportunities including admittance into Harvard University’s Divinity School.

*Photo provided by Kelsi Morrison-Atkins

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