Tag Archives: Molly Ferguson

Hayat Bedaiwi Discusses Great Grad School Opportunities

Hayat Bedaiwi received her BA and MA in English Literature from King Saud University in 2007 and 2012, respectively. She is currently a third year PhD #bsuenglish student who aspires to specialize in Ethnic American Literature with a major focus on Arab American Literature. Here’s more info about our graduate programs. 

hayat
When I first started my graduate studies at Ball State University, I took great courses that helped me become the scholar I am today. There are two experiences that come to my mind when I think of the courses that I have taken so far in graduate school. I turned papers I had written for two courses into conference papers. One paper was for a 657-postcolonial studies class, where I was blessed with the help and support of a great professor, Dr. Molly Ferguson. In that course, we read different postcolonial texts in the light of trauma theory. I was anxious when the course first started, but as we read and had different discussions every week, I knew what I wanted to write about for the seminar paper in that class. I wrote about Women at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi concerning the ideas of silence and bearing witness to the many traumas that filled the main character’s life.

Coincidentally, Practical Criticism Midwest was announced to take place in February that year, and I decided to submit my seminar paper for this course. I polished it to become a conference paper by revising it with Dr. Ferguson and making some visits to the Writing Center. My paper was one of the first papers to get accepted, and I had the opportunity of presenting this paper and getting feedback from different academic voices attending the conference.

I’m also presenting another paper at PCM 2017 this year which is a seminar paper for an Ethnic American Literature class entitled “Understanding the ‘Other’ in Naomi Shihab Nye’s You & Yours.” This course has helped me become more confident in my own academic voice. Dr. Emily Rutter’s approach to teaching this class was a very fascinating one. We were introduced to theories, texts and cultural material that helped us understand the texts we were reading for the class. As a class, we couldn’t stop talking about all the texts that we were reading, and all the new things we discovered everyday led us to write some interesting strong papers, which we shared together at the end of the semester. I was very hesitant to write about poetry, but Dr. Rutter helped me improve my writing about poetry and become a more confident scholar in Ethnic Studies.

My other paper was the fruitful product of my ENG 693 “Writing in the Profession” course, where I learned different ways of maintaining and creating my professional identity by revising my CV and exploring different ways of writing cover letters. Dr. Deborah Mix offered many great opportunities and great venues for us to learn the different ways of writing in our profession. We learned how to look for conferences and participate in them, how to find the journal that is of interest, how to become successful in submitting and publishing an article in that journal, and how to apply for a grant, from writing the budget narrative to crafting a proposal in a very professional way that would make us succeed in the application process.

I am the recipient of the 2016 Francis Mayhew Rippy Scholarship. I used the knowledge I learned in class about grant writing and took the opportunity to apply to this grant that was offered by the English Department. I also applied to attend a conference in New York as part of a panel with another colleague, and we both got accepted. Dr. Mix supported us and pushed us to do our best in order to become successful in all our assignments in that course, and we would have never gotten anywhere without her guidance and belief in our success.

My experience in graduate school has been a rewarding one, and as I am currently preparing for my comprehensive exams, I am very confident in my abilities, as my writing and thinking have evolved immensely over the past two and a half years because of the full support and unlimited guidance I get from the phenomenal faculty members at the English department, my colleagues, and my family.

Writing Project Grant (and more February Good News)

iwp_primary_logo_colorThe Indiana Writing Project directed by Professor Susanna Benko was recently awarded a $20,000 grant for the College Ready Writers Program, sponsored by the National Writing Project. This program focuses on teaching argument writing in middle and secondary classrooms. The grant money will be used to invest in 12-16 experienced middle and high school Writing Project teacher-leaders. These teachers will engage in extensive professional development studying argument writing through the summer of 2017 and the 2017-2018 school year. Congratulations!

On Thursday March 2, Prof. Cathy Day will be reading from her work at Franklin CollegeOn Saturday, March 25, she will be speaking on “Getting the Most out of Your Writing Life” at the Antioch Writers Workshop. In June, she’ll be traveling to the 2017 NonfictioNow conference in Iceland, speaking on a panel about “Obsession in Nonfiction.”

The English Department’s undergraduate ENL license recently received National Recognition.

Prof. Frank Felsenstein and Prof. Jim Connolly were guest speakers at Columbia University’s Book History Colloquium.

Prof. Michael Begnal published an essay on the Chinese Taoist poet Li Po in the new issue (#7) of the Free State Review. Prof. Begnal also presented at this year’s Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, on February 23. His paper was titled “Modernist Mythologies and the Poets of Santa Fe in the 1920s.”

Prof. Mary Lou Vercellotti had four submissions,”Research Faculty Fellow,” “Taking Steps to Control Variables in a Quantitative Quasi-Experiment,” “Interdepartmental Faculty Collaboration,” and”Building Institutional Support for SoTL” accepted into a new book on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), It Works for Me with SoTL, edited by Hal Blythe, Charlie Sweet, and Russell Carpenter. The goal of the book is to give interested teachers information about the scholarship of teaching and learning (researching the practice of teaching.) The book will be released this fall.

Prof. G. Patterson was invited to be the keynote speaker for Miami University Hamilton’s Women’s History Month event. The talk is called, “Don’t Despair. Organize: Activist Feminisms and Intersectional Futures.” They will be giving the keynote on Monday, March 6. The event is open to the public.

Prof. Joyce Huff  will be inducted as an alumni member of Phi Beta Kappa by St. Mary’s College of Maryland in recognition of her scholarly achievements since graduating.

Prof. Rani Crowe‘s short film Beautiful Eyes was screened in Berlin at the Final Girls Film Festival, a women’s horror festival.

Prof. Molly Ferguson‘s article, “Clowning as Human Rights Activism in Recent Devised Irish Theatre” was accepted for publication in the 2017 “Resistance in Modern Ireland” issue of Studi Irlandesi: A Journal of Irish Studies.

Prof. Jennifer Grouling‘s and Ph.D student Elisabeth Buck’s article, “Colleagues, Classmates, and Friends: Graduate v. Undergraduate Tutor Identities and Professionalization” will be published in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal in their May 2017 edition.

Autumn Stars to Steer By Workshops

DSC00258.JPG

Stars to Steer By is an event series hosted by the English Department to help Humanities majors find their way. The next event is October 26th in Bracken 104. 

September’s Stars to Steer By event, hosted in Bracken 104 by Career Coach Eilis Wasserman, was dubbed, “You Don’t Have to be a College Professor to Work at a University.” The panel of Ball State faculty was comprised of  Jim Mitchell, Associate Director of the Career Center, Michael King, Residence Hall Director, Professor Molly Ferguson, who teaches various courses on campus, Brandon Pieczko, Digital Archivist for Manuscript DSC00252.JPGCollections, and Lola Mauer, Associate VP of Annual Giving. They discussed pursuing alternative career tracks in the world of academia. Professor Ferguson represented those who do wish to teach, but the other four speakers discussed their own careers at Ball State that many people do not consider right away. The objective of the night was to show that there are plenty of other opportunities to be explored in a college setting outside of teaching. We will always need professors, but we need plenty of other professions as well.

The next event in the Stars to Steer By series is called, “Personal Branding: Uncovering Your Authentic Self,” and will take place on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 6:30 PM in Bracken 104. Ball State University alum Monica Scalf of The Playground Group will be speaking and demonstrating how to create and maintain your professional online presence. Make sure to bring your computers! The workshop will help you work on your professional LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.14519943_1515648545115795_3564882755781426045_n

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!

Transcending boundaries: A new faculty profile of Molly Ferguson

Say hello to Molly Ferguson, who recently joined our Ball State English family as an assistant professor.

Molly earned her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in August 2010 and has been teaching at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY since 2011. Molly will be teaching courses in postcolonial literature, contemporary British literature, Irish literature, drama, and gender studies. She favors texts with complex narrative techniques, magical realism, and black comedy.

Nashville booksHer research has focused on contemporary Irish literature and ghost stories, investigating how supernatural and folk tales in the writing act as safety valves for the collective anxieties of a culture.

Moving forward, she is working on framing postcolonial writing that draws on the supernatural as human rights speech. Much of her work and teaching intersects trauma theory with feminist and postcolonial theories.

Here, Molly outlines her journey.

How did you get interested in Irish literature and ghost stories? 

Continue reading