How to Study for Your English Classes

It’s hard to believe that it is already week 6 in the semester, and with midterms just around the corner, its good to have a refresher on how to study for certain classes. English courses can be difficult to study for, as they are structured around discussion and text rather than PowerPoints and lectures. However, one you identify the type of assignment and its requirements, it is easy to create study guides, reading guides, and drafts that can make midterms week less stressful.

Literature

If your class includes a novel or some type of literature, such as poems and short stories, it is beneficial to create a reading guide that you can reference. In this reading guide, I would recommend including a list of the characters names, major plot points, different themes, symbols, and other notable aspects. One such notable aspect includes different quotations from the text, as these can be used as evidence to support your claims in an essay or a paper. In addition to these aspects featured exclusively in the text, you should add your class notes that discuss more topics in-depth, as these can strengthen your writing and display your knowledge on the topic.

If your course is centered around a specific type of literature, such as American or World, a study guide may be more helpful than a reading guide. These courses usually feature short stories and poems that can encompass a range of writers and themes that are easy to mix up. I recommend organizing the study guide in chronological order of when you learned this information in class. Include the writers name at the top in bold and write a small blurb about their biography under their name, as it will help you remember who they are by their distinct achievements. Then, write out all the titles by this author that you have covered in class in bold. Underneath each, include your class notes that cover different notable aspects of the text, including themes, symbols, and important quotes. Differentiating each author will create less confusion while studying and allow for you to review the information in a more organized manner.

Writing

If you are taking a writing course this semester, you most likely won’t be taking a test, but rather writing a paper instead for your midterm grade. Below I have included some tips on how to organize and pace your writing as to avoid stress while crafting your paper.

  1. Brainstorm different topics or ideas that can be further expanded upon in the body of your paper. This can be done by creating a web, with your main topic in the center and smaller branches with sub-topics coming off of it.
  2. Once you have decided what you want to write about, start researching for the information you will need. Most classes require academic sources, so I would suggest going to the library’s English resources page https://library.millersville.edu/literature to find some sources and information.
  3. Once you have gathered and read through all the information, it is time to draft. Your first draft does not need to perfect at all, so write anything you want just to get it on the page.
  4. After you draft, let it sit for a few days and then look at it again with fresh eyes. Start to revise anything you feel is necessary, and make sure to keep an eye on grammatical, spelling, and structural errors. Also focus on the flow of the paper, as smooth transitions throughout will greatly enhance the readers experience.
  5. Once you have your final draft, ask a peer or classmate to look over it for you. Their eyes may pick up something that you did not notice.
  6. When you feel you paper is the best it can be, submit it and treat yourself to something for all of your hard work!

 

Calling All Poets!

Does a beautiful day move you to write about the nature that surrounds you? Do you find that writing about your emotions helps to relieve them? Have you ever felt the urge rhyme within a verse or a line? If you said yes to any of these scenarios, you may just be a poet!

The American Academy of Poets is hosting their annual student poetry contest, and both undergraduate and graduate students at Millersville are encouraged to apply. This is a great opportunity to showcase your poetic talents, along with the opportunity to strengthen your work and potentially become published. To enter, you must submit up to three of your own poems to Dr. Farkas. The way to submit your entry is by emailing her at kerrie.farkas@millerville.edu with the subject line Poetry Contest. Remember to include your name, MU number, and email address with the email; however, do not include your name or identifying information in the poems. The deadline for the event is Friday, March 3rd, 2023. The prizes for winning the contest include $100, a year membership in the academy of poets, your poem published on www.poets.org, and listed in the Academy’s annual report. If you have any questions, contact Kerrie Farkas at kerrie.farkas@millersville.edu or 717-871-7399. Best of luck to all those entering!

The Fiction Section in McNairy that you Need to Check Out

Autumn has finally arrived here at Millersville, and along with the crisp air and longer nights comes the opportunity to participate in more fall activities. This includes the likes of visiting a pumpkin patch, watching scary movies, and enjoying a delicious cup of apple cider. One of my favorite fall activities is cozying up with a good book and losing myself within its pages. Luckily, one librarian here at Millersville has created a fiction section with McNairy library that is perfect for these autumnal days.

This week I had a chance to speak with Kimberly Auger, the librarian who put this collection together. Her inspiration for creating the fiction display came from her previous employment at West Chester University. “While I was working at West Chester, I saw how much interest the popular fiction section generated, as both students and faculty would browse the selection” she describes. Auger explains that at most university’s libraries there is no allowance for browsing, as in academic research students already have an idea of what they are looking for. By creating this fiction display, Auger hoped to showcase a different perspective of reading, one that encourages students to read for their own pleasure. “I wanted students to enjoy the relaxation of reading, something that comes by briefly disengaging with reality” she explains. The fiction display allows students to take their time and browse, taking in each book cover and description to find the perfect book for them. Each of the books that were carefully curated for this fiction section feature popular authors and works from the last ten years. This display will be available until the end May, so make sure to visit and enjoy while you can!

Must-Reads for Undergraduates

Preparations for family weekend are in full swing here at Millersville, as it is an exciting time for parents and students to reunite on campus. While spending time with parents on campus, it is easy to reflect on what their college days might have been like. What songs were popular at the time, how often did they oversleep for their 8am, and what did they do for fun are all questions that may come to mind. Although much has changed between their college years and now, there are a few things that never go out of trend. One classic that will always remain is the need for a good book recommendation. This month, I asked two professors in the English department which books they would recommend undergraduate students should read in their college years. Their responses reflect different ways to be successful in college in ways that students might not expect.

Dr. Pfannenstiel recommends Everything is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein. “This is a graphic novel that works through coming to terms with mental health” she explains. This novel “supports readers coming to terms with mental health, and shedding light on a variety of OCD tendencies.” College is a fantastic time to find yourself; however, you may discover parts of yourself that can be overwhelming to cope with. Katzenstein’s novel reminds us of the message that you are not alone, and it is always more than okay to ask for help. This novel is featured in this semester’s “Book Talk” series presented by Dr. Pfannenstiel, Dr. Baldys, and Michele Santamaria. The discussion of the novel will take place on Wednesday, September 21st, October 12th, and November 2nd. If you are interested in this novel and would like to participate in the Book Talk series, follow this link for more information. https://millersvilleuniversity.sharepoint.com/sites/villedaily/SitePages/Book-Talk-Series-featuring-Everything-is-an-Emergency-by-Jason-Katzenstein-09-08-2022.aspx?CT=1663176045975&OR=OWA-NT&CID=fc5b33f0-775b-731d-102b-6ae92dea08a1

Dr. Mando recommends that undergrads read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. He provides a brief summary of the nonfiction novel, stating that the “subject matter is immense.” “On one page she dives deeply into the soil to explore the fecundity of macroinvertebrates” Dr. Mando explains, “on the next she’s in the stars floating through realms of philosophy and spirituality searching for the present moment.” This vivid depiction of this nonfiction narrative showcases how it covers many different areas, but you may be wondering why this was recommended for under grad students. “Dillard is a close observer, a researcher, a teacher, and an explorer; these are all important traits of students.” Pilgrim at Tinker Creek encourages students to explore the traits Dillard presents throughout her novel, and inspires us to take a closer look into the smaller details of life.

 

Events to Look Forward to This Semester

Welcome back students! I hope the first few weeks of the semester  have treated you well. Before I get into the content of this blog post, I would like to quickly introduce myself. My name is Heather, and this is my first semester in graduate school here at Millersville. I recently graduated last spring from MU, and am excited to be back this semester as a GA for Dr. Pfannenstiel. One thing I always looked forward to in my undergrad years was all the different events Millersville hosted throughout the semester. Many of these events are connected to various groups on campus, such as Ville UAB, Her Campus, The Snapper, and Expressions. By highlighting each of these groups, I hope you not only find some events to look forward to, but also discover some clubs you could join next semester!

The University’s Activities Board is the club on campus that is responsible for most of the fun events frequently offered for students at Millersville. By the time of the blog publication, Ville UAB will be taking students for a day of thrills and excitement at Hershey Park. Starting college can simultaneously be one of the most exciting and lonely experiences. Ville UAB provides a safe space for students to meet new friends and an opportunity to get off campus. Some of the many events they offer throughout the semester include movie nights on the quad, DIY creative events, bingo nights, and field trips to local fun spots. The full calendar of events for the fall semester can be found on Ville UAB’s Instagram @villeUAB.

As someone who is getting their master’s in English, I would argue that reading is something to get excited about. Millersville has two extremely talented student-run organizations that create and publish their own work for all to enjoy for free. The Snapper is Millersville’s student run newspaper that has been around since 1925. It’s long-standing presence at Millersville gives a platform for students to write about the issues and events on campus, along with other topics such as world events, pop culture, sports, and astrology. I had the chance to speak with the Snapper’s editor-in-chief Shaun Lucas to discuss the newspaper and what to expect this semester. “I am so excited to once again lead the Snapper during my senior year” he states. “Our team did a lot of fantastic work the past two semesters, and I know everyone is going to keep excelling as we work together.” With such a positive message from the head of the Snapper, I’m sure there are great things to expect from the publication this semester. To read the Snapper’s first issue of the semester, check out their website https://thesnapper.millersville.edu/ or look for physical copies published weekly around campus.

The Her Campus chapter at Millersville is an online publication that aims to “focus on women empowerment and supporting the women on campus and in the surrounding community.” As seen through scrolling through their bright and informative blog posts, Her Campus is an organization that lifts up female college students and gives them a platform to discuss relatable issues and events. The articles written by the various staff members of the publication cover topics such as culture, style, wellness, career, and various life events. This semester, Her Campus is hoping to partner with some non-profits and charities in the community along with potentially hosting a fundraiser at a local restaurant. For updates on these events and more information on Her Campus, make sure to follow their Instagram @hercampusmillersville and check out their website https://www.hercampus.com/school/millersville/ to read their amazing articles.

Finally, I would like to highlight an amazing organization that is close to my heart. The Expressions dance group at Millersville provides students the chance to dance in weekly classes in styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip hop in a non-competitive environment. At the end of each semester, Expressions hosts a recital to showcase all of their hard work that all are welcome to attend. Outside of the dance studio,  this organization hosts many fundraisers at local restaurants that all students are invited to join. If dance is something you are interested in or have experience with, I highly recommend auditioning next semester. To learn more about Expressions, make sure to follow them on Instagram @expressions_mu.

 

 

How to Prepare for Graduate School

 By: Hayley Billet 

As your undergraduate studies are winding down, it’s important that you begin to look to the future and plan your graduate studies. Graduate school can be very daunting and tedious if you do not prepare for it. 

Start by asking yourself these questions:  

Why am I attending graduate school? 

What do I want to get out of graduate school? 

What do I want to accomplish and achieve? 

You should keep these questions in mind as you navigate graduate school. Not only will it keep you and your studies on track, it will also serve to benefit you as you begin to look for jobs or a career path that fits your interests and skills. The most important thing to remember is that the more prepared you are for graduate school, the more you will succeed. 

If you are attending a different school than the one you went to for your undergraduate degree, you should familiarize yourself with the campus resources and get to know your professors. It is crucial that you do this because it will help you when you begin thinking about a committee for your master’s thesis. 

You need to ask yourself why you chose to pursue an advanced degree, because answering this question will help you understand what you want to get out of graduate school and take with you once you finish your studies. The graduate program is more extensive and thorough than undergraduate programs, so it is vital that you go into it understanding your role in the program and where you would like to see yourself once you graduate. 

Knowing what you would like to accomplish by the end of your graduate career is important because it will help you and the professors you are working with refine and retool the program to fit your needs and interests. It will also give you the academic experience you will need for the future jobs and career paths you are interested in. It’s also important that you set realistic goals for yourself and work to achieve them by the end of your studies, because these goals will not only help you build your resume, but they will also help you begin to solidify yourself as an academic scholar. 

How to Apply for Conferences

By: Artemis Harris

As graduate students, we are often told we need to be a part of scholarly and academic conversation. It is often suggested that graduate students present their scholarly works at conferences in order to do this. Presenting at conferences not only allows you to be a part of the conversation, but it also allows you to help shape those conversations with your own work. You might currently be at a point where you think you’re ready to present at a conference, or at least want to prepare to. But how does one go about presenting at a conference? 

You need to find a conference that is within your interest to present at. This isn’t always as simple as just signing up and going to one. All conferences are different and will have different requirements and deadlines for application. This blog will break down that process to allow students to be in the best position to be accepted to a conference.  

Where do I find conferences?  

Before you can find a conference, you need to think about the topic you would like to present on. This will be most important to searching for conferences. Remember that you don’t have to have your work completed if you want to present it at a conference. Finding a conference that piques your interest will allow you an idea of what to write about to present in the future. Speaking with your advisors or a professor that specializes in a particular field or genre is also a great idea. It is very likely that they have presented at some of these conferences that will align with your interest and can point you in the right direction. At the very least they might have resources to help you find conferences, which is most important at this stage.  

A good resource to find conferences would be the Call for Papers website. This site will allow students to search for conferences and other calls for papers specifically in literature and the humanities by the topic or field.  

Now that you’ve found a conference and are ready to apply, it is important that you do a few things to make sure we have the best chance of being accepted.  

Make sure that the date of the conference aligns with the time frame you want to do it. 

  • Sometimes in our haste to find a conference, we might not notice that the date of the conference has already passed.  
  • Alternatively, you want to give yourself enough time to write or prepare, so be sure that the conference is not happening too soon that you won’t be ready. 

Check and recheck all the requirements for your submission.  

  • It is very important that you submit everything that is required and that what you are submitting is accurate. Not submitting the correct material or not including the appropriate information can have our application denied.  

Write an abstract for your work.  

  • Most applications will ask for a submission of an abstract instead of submitting the entire work others will require the full work, so check the requirements carefully. 
  • Abstracts are normally between 200 and 400 words, but the length required of the abstract could change depending on the conference. Be sure to check their requirements when writing and adjust accordingly.  
  • Speak with advisors or faculty in that field about the abstract before submitting it. They can give suggestions on making it clearer or more succinct before submission.  

During the submission process a requirement might be to also submit a short professional biography.  

  • Bios are often written in third person for conferences.  
  • When writing use your full first name and reference an accomplishment if possible so that you are more memorable in the reader’s mind.  
  • When writing your bio, keep the information relevant to the audience of the conference.  
  • Keep your bio short and interesting so people get the most information about you before they stop reading. Adding a personal detail or two will help readers make a connection with you.  
  • Remember that a lot of others are submitting too; you want yours to stand out as much as possible without being so long that they lose interest. Again, an advisor or faculty member can help with this.  
  • Be sure to keep in mind the requirements for the bio. Don’t go over the word limit as it could cause your application to be rejected. 

Lastly, be mindful of the deadlines for submission.  

  • Put them in your calendar and set reminders days beforehand so you have enough time to finish and submit it before the deadline. Missing the deadlines will ensure that the application is denied.  

It can take 1-3 weeks for proposals to be selected or denied. If the proposal is accepted, you’ll receive information about the conference, formatting of the sessions, information regarding additional deadlines, etc. Be sure to keep an eye out for this information, especially any new deadlines that might need to be met.  

If you’re rejected, that is okay. This was a learning experience; you can adjust your abstract and bio and submit it to other conferences.  

With this information in hand, you should have everything you need to submit a proposal application to a conference.  

Remember that your advisor and the faculty are always here to help and guide you through this process as well, if you are struggling or need guidance, reach out, you do not have to do this alone.  

Things to Consider as an Undergraduate Student

By: Hayley Billet 

A student’s undergraduate career can be both stressful and confusing. This is the time where many things come into question, that is why it is crucial that you ask yourself a few important questions and take stock of where you currently are and where you would like to go. It’s important that you consider the following questions to help you navigate your undergraduate studies.  

Why am I here?  

What do I want to get out of this? 

What are my goals?  

Where do I want to go after school? 

What are my interests? 

Asking yourself these questions will help you better understand what your purpose is as an undergraduate, and where you would like to be by the time graduation rolls around. It is important that you take advantage of as many things as you can, as it will benefit you in the long run. Keeping these questions in mind will help you stay on track and ensure that your undergraduate career is a successful one.  

Undergraduate school can also be a very scary time; you will encounter many obstacles and challenges, but how you respond to these problems will show you who you are as a student and where you see yourself going as a scholar in your area of academic interest. It will also help you be more decisive and make important choices about your future. It can be scary, but undergraduate school is meant to help guide you through the many obstacles you will face. That is why it is crucial that you make sure you have prepared yourself for any issues or changes you might encounter along the way. The more prepared you are, the more these challenges will help you rather than harm you. 

You should be making the most of your time in undergraduate school rather than abusing your time and the opportunities that are available and offered to you. Asking yourself what your goals are and where you want to go after school will serve as a step in the right direction and put you in contact with others who can help you. Get involved and get to know as many people and professors as you can. They can help you throughout your undergraduate career and ensure that it was not a waste of time. 

It is also important that you get to know your professors, as they can help you navigate your undergraduate studies and guide you into the field you are looking to get involved in. The more you talk to and interact with your professors, the more beneficial it will be for you. After all, they want you to succeed just as much as you want to see yourself succeed. 

You might consider graduate school to further build upon your skills and gain an advanced degree to help you in your future career pursuits. In this case, you should be taking classes that not only build upon your knowledge but also challenge you to become a better scholar in your academic field of interest. You should also be engaging in a breadth of diverse course work to determine your area of interest and what you’ll want to study further in graduate school. 

Asking yourself these questions will ensure that you are making the most of your time as an undergraduate. It is a time filled with much uncertainty, so it is crucial that you plan as much as possible. Again, the more prepared you are, the more the challenges you’ll face will help you rather than harm you. 

What It Means to Become a Scholar

By: Artemis Harris

We hear the word “scholar” used a lot as graduate students. We write scholarly work, use scholarly sources, follow scholarly conversations, etc. But what does it mean to become a scholar?  

Simply put, a scholar is someone who uses intellectual and academic pursuits to set them apart from others by applying their expertise in a specific area of study. The key word here is “expertise”, just following intellectual pursuits is not enough. You are expected to show your mastery of those pursuits as well.  

This happens in many different forms; through the scholarship you produce such as your master’s thesis or other published works. It can also be shown through presentations at conferences where you are actively involved in the scholarly conversation and help to shape it. It also shows in your professional aspirations. If you are a teacher, professor, or researcher, you are spreading your scholarship to others and helping to further scholarly conversations.  

But why should we become scholars? How does this help us? 

Besides getting your diploma at the end of your educational journey, becoming a scholar allows us opportunities to grow and develop in our field outside of the traditional sense. One such way is networking. It is imperative in today’s day and age to network with as many people as you can to create connections that can be beneficial to you in the future. It often is about who you know that can help you get to where you are going.  

As graduate students, we should be networking with faculty as they are needed to fill our committee for the master’s thesis. Having a good working relationship with a professor or advisor can be beneficial when you need advice or help, or for a letter of recommendation in the future. They are also resources for when you are looking for information that might help you with your professional careers. They have networked with others and might be willing to reach out on your behalf to assist you in future endeavors.  

Outside of the university, when you go to conferences and panels you can network with others in your field of study there. These resources can be invaluable when it comes to finding future job opportunities, information for research, or in general making great personal connections.  

Being an expert in your field and having all these resources at your disposal can help to improve your odds of meeting your professional goals. Career opportunities will be more available to you if you can show this mastery of your field of study. Having published work, conferences, and recommendations from faculty further show that you are an expert in your field, but that you are ready and able to produce quality work. Employers are going to be looking for the best of the best, and this can set you apart from other applicants in your field.  

But how can I become a better scholar? 

Joining the conversation is a great way to start. Go to conferences even if you are not presenting to learn from others in your field. This of course opens you to the opportunity to network with others as well. Share your information and develop strong professional relationships with others in your field. Presenting at a conference is also a terrific way to gain scholarship well. You will be a part of the active conversation and it puts you and your message out there for others to see.  

Publish your work when you have the opportunity. Even if it is just in your school’s newspaper or journals, these publications get your name out, and can be used to show off your academic and scholarly work to others. It always looks good that you have scholarly work published as it shows that you have produced high quality work in your field that was good enough to be added to a publication. 

Becoming an avid reader is also a wonderful way to gain scholarship. This is especially important as following the conversation will help you stay up to date on trends and ideas within your field of study. You should also read outside of your area of study to become a more well-rounded individual. You never know when having an informed opinion on something can make or break an interview. Making an impression on others is a fantastic way to develop professional and working relationships during networking. Breaking away from what is comfortable and familiar to you will help to open your mind to new and exciting ideas and fields that you can apply to your own scholarship. Joining clubs and organizations is also an effective way to do this. Because of the diversity within these groups, you can network and gain leadership experience. You will also have the opportunity to share your scholarship with others so they can learn about things outside of their fields of interest as well.  

Congratulations Spring 2022 Graduates

The English and World Languages department would like to recognize and congratulate the following Graduate and Undergraduate Students on their upcoming graduation. 

 

Graduate Students –  

Master of Arts Degree: 

English: 

Hayley E Billet 

Thesis Title:  

The Portrait of a True Artist: Aesthetics and Social Critiques in the Works of Oscar Wilde 

Thesis Committee members:  

Dr. Emily Baldys – Chair – Assistant Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Kaitlin Mondello – Assistant Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Carla Rineer – Assistant Professor of English, Millersville University 

Lindsay Hartman 

Thesis Title:  

Proposing, Planning, and Designing a High School Writing Center 

Thesis Committee Members:  

Dr. A. Nicole Pfannenstiel – Chair – Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Emily Baldys – Assistant Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Kerrie Farkas – Professor of English, Millersville University 

Madeleine Bair 

Thesis Title:  

Survivor Narratives 

Thesis Committee Members: 

Dr. Justin Mando – Chair – Assistant Department Chair and Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Kaitlin Mondello – Assistant Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. A. Nicole Pfannenstiel – Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

Jordan E Traut 

Thesis Title:  

Doing the Good Work: First Americans Decolonizing the Mind with Performance Arts 

Thesis Committee Members: 

Dr. Kataryna Jakubiak – Chair – Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Susan Kalter – Professor of American Literature and Native American Studies, Illinois State University 

Dr. Justin Mando – Assistant Department Chair and Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

 

Master of Education Degree: 

English: 

Katherine Elizabeth Ingaglio 

Thesis Title:  

Connecting Games and Literature in the Classroom: The case for Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft 

Thesis Committee Members: 

Dr. A. Nicole Pfannenstiel – Chair – Associate Professor of English, Millersville University  

Dr. Caleb Corkery – Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

Dr. Justin Mando – Assistant Department Chair and Associate Professor of English, Millersville University 

 

Undergraduate Students –  

Bachelor of Art Degree:  

English: 

Brook Harris  

Christa E Gumbravich  

Elizabeth Marie Duchesneau 

Heather Lee Verani 

Joshua Robert Mixon 

Morgan Holiday Slough 

Sarah Michelle DiSanto 

Sean Elizabeth McClain 

Sydney Michelle Gant 

Thea Leann Buckwalter 

 

Language and Culture Studies: 

Allegra Dawn Banks  

David Ronald Krak 

Delvys Starlyn Garcia Martinez 

Erin M Cavanagh 

Hermenegildo Blanco 

Jenna Marie Coleman 

Kiera Anne Kirchner 

Morgan Amanda Higgins 

Victoria Grace Jester 

 

Bachelor of Science in Education: 

English: 

Brittney Gail Love 

Christa E Gumbravich    

Emily Rose Bishop  

Fei Yu  

Gillian Rebecca Baoyi Wismer  

Hannah Alan Gehman  

Hannah Elizabeth Jackson  

Hannah Elizabeth Stroble  

Julia E Keiser 

Madelyn-Jo Goslee 

Matthew Robert Pleger 

Natalia Bedoya 

Noelle Marie Piscitello 

Phoebe Elizabeth Tanis 

Rachael Thomasine Newcomer 

Samantha LIly Bechtel 

Sarah Sweda 

 

Foreign Languages: 

Allysa Kelli Snedeker 

 

From the entire English and World Languages Department:  

Congratulations graduates! 

We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.  

 

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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