Recap and Reflections – Faculty Focus: Research Talk

On Monday April 1st, the Millersville Department of English and World Languages hosted our second talk in our ongoing series “Faculty Focus: Research Talk.” This mini-presentations are an opportunity to informally discuss some of the awesome projects our faculty are working on outside (and sometimes inside of) the classroom. This week featured our wonderful department chair, Dr. Mando, sharing his research “Risk-taking for Writers,” and Dr. Mondello discussing “Mother/Nature at the End of the World in Mary Shelley and Octavia Butler.” Beyond the fantastic insights offered by both professors on their respective topics, these talks are also a chance to hear about the realities of elements involved in the research process and receive some grounding anecdotes about the unexpected trajectories, influences, and timelines projects take on.

Dr. Mando’s research on risk began in grad school and some of the elements started then are only coming to fruition now with a new journal article (read it here!) and other forthcoming works. For Dr. Mondello, her work with this subject has both drawn influence from and had influence on her grad classes – with texts selections for the course shaping her research trajectory. Both of these remarks offer valuable insight to expand the idea of how long it takes to do research and produce what feels like a tangible result. In grad school, we are working with bigger, longer projects than most of us have ever encountered so it was a nice reality check that the projects we start in classes and for our thesis can and will grow into something greater.

This is also a good reminder that there are many while Dr. Mando’s current research has found a home in a journal, Dr. Mondello’s research has taken on many different forms and she has taken on many shifting roles including participating and leading conference panels as well as contributing to collections of works with similar themes. Moving forward, she plans to become an editor of a collection herself to continue growing this body of work. In the rapidly evolving world of employment, the traditional pathways of academia are shifting so it was helpful to hear that there are many ways for research to find an audience and community outside of journal publishing (though this is still a fantastic accomplishment).

All in all, it was great to have two very different presentations from subdisciplines placed in conversation with each other as it helps to add perspective to the ongoing question in ENWL of – what does scholarly research look like?  The informal space for these discussions, which Dr. Mando compared to NPR’s “tiny desk” segments, creates an opportunity for unexpected connections and insights that can shape our understanding of ENWL research.

We plan to continue this series next semester so stay tuned!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.