All posts by hlverani

Taking Advantage of Academic Opportunities- Mary Miller

One of the aspects of higher education that I was underprepared for was the opportunity to apply myself outside of the classroom. As an undergraduate speech communications major, I joined a few clubs and worked hard in class, but I wasn’t too concerned about how my time in college could cultivate my professional experience.

Now, as a student in the English master’s program, my peers and professors have been so supportive in making sure I’m not only aware of all the opportunities I can have to showcase my research and my academic work, but that I’m comfortable and prepared to do so. I recently was able to travel to Philadelphia for the 2023 Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association conference, and through the process of working with my fellow students and Dr. Pfannenstiel on our roundtable discussion presentation, it let me practice a lot of important skills that I don’t always get to work on.

Weekly meetings to prepare for the conference helped us put together a cohesive presentation, and talking out loud really helped me put my thoughts into words. In undergrad, I preferred to work alone and didn’t go out of my way for peer feedback, but over the course of this semester, my peers in the English department have been so inviting and supportive that it has allowed me to be more comfortable with collaboration as a necessary and constructive activity. Hearing their feedback made me feel more confident in what I was going to share at MAPACA, and hearing what they had researched gave me some ideas of my own.

These meetings and working together also gave me a structure each week, one built on making connections and spending time with others. Graduate school can be lonely – it can feel like it should be a solitary effort and like there aren’t a lot of moments to spend quality time with others outside of the classroom. I’m so glad to be a part of the English program at Millersville, because it’s been clear that while I’m here, everyone who’s a part of the department wants to see me succeed and wants to help me along the way. It can also be a little nerve-wracking (or, for me, downright terrifying) to present your own work in front of strangers, but working with such understanding classmates has helped me overcome that fear bit by bit.

Apart from the opportunity to travel to MAPACA as a way to learn more about what other academics in English studies are working on and willing to share, this whole experience has been an incredible way to build on my public speaking and research skills. Additionally, it helped solidify the fact that English is such a diverse field of study, one that has room for everyone and everyone’s unique interests. I feel very lucky to be a part of a department that understands this and allows room for us to pursue our interests, and a department that encourages me to attend events like MAPACA, even if initially I believed them to be outside of my comfort zone.

Faculty Feature- Dr. Farkas

This week, the department of English and World Languages would like to highlight the accomplishments and academic pursuits of Dr. Farkas. Dr. Farkas, who uses she/her pronouns, is a current professor of Writing Studies here at Millersville University. Currently, she is teaching courses such as Editing for Publication, Business Writing, and Special Topics in Writing Studies: Rhetoric, Writing, & Social Justice in Educational Settings. She currently has one book published about writing studies titled The Transportable Writing Tool: A Guide for Writing and Revising which provides different tools and perspectives on how to write and produce more effective texts. Her application of lifelong learning in her research and publications shows her dedication to not only her understanding of writing, but also her students. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Farkas helps students with their writing through her position as Coordinator of the Writing Center.

Dr. Farkas connects her other field of study, civic discourse and civic engagement, through her other role as the co-editor of both the Engage for Change and Made in Millersville Journals. She further states:

“I have a wide range of interests as far as my scholarship, but most of it focuses on civic discourse and the extent to which everyday citizens have access to and can contribute to decision-making that affects their communities. My scholarship overlaps with and informs my teaching, and I love getting students interested and involved in using writing to advocate and create change in their communities.”

When she isn’t participating in civic discourse or academia, Dr. Farkas enjoys reading or watching some of her favorite shows. Some of her favorite books include Little Women, The Grapes of Wrath, The Color Purple, Sarah’s Key, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Invisible Man, Seabiscuit, and any of Ken Follett’s books. Her favorite shows are Breaking Bad and the Walking Dead.

Faculty Feature: Get to know Dr. Rea

The department of English and World Languages is happy to welcome the new Assistant Professor of Writing Studies, Dr. Josh Rea. Dr. Rea, who uses he/him/his pronouns, received his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of South Florida. Before this, he obtained his Master’s in English from the University of Louisville and his Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Writing from the University of Mount Union. His field of study is the Rhetoric of space and place, with a focus on urban planning documentation and civic engagement. This semester, Dr. Rea is teaching Technical Writing, Business Writing, and Composition. Along with his teachings in writing, Dr. Rea enjoys reading in his free time. His favorite series, like many of our English majors, is the classic Lord of the Rings series.

When asked what it means to be an English and World Languages Scholar, Dr. Rea provided the insightful response that is highlighted below. He said:

“I see my job as a scholar of language as interrogating the ways that language is used to construct our lived world and to perpetuate inequities, as well as the ways that language can be used to work against those inequalities and better the world.”

We are so excited to see all the wonderful things Dr. Rea will accomplish in his new position, and the department is happy to have him as a new addition to English and World Languages.

Faculty Feature: Get to know our new department chair Dr. Mando

This fall semester, the department of English and World Languages welcomed a new department chair. Dr. Justin Mando (he/him), who has been a professor for the department since 2016, has already made many positive improvements and ideas within his first month as chair. This week, the department would like to highlight Dr. Mando and provide an opportunity to get to know him beyond the classroom.

Dr. Mando received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Vermont. He then received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University. There are many different fields of study that he specializes in, including environmental rhetoric, rhetoric of place, discourse analysis, and composition studies. This semester, Dr. Mando is teaching a special version of the science writing course that is paired with Meteorology students taking climate dynamics. In connection with his interest in environmental rhetoric and science writing, his favorite book is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, a text that details the author’s exploration of life and nature.

Connecting with the theme of exploration, I asked Dr. Mando what it means to be an English and World Languages scholar. His response below highlights the importance of this field and why students need to have humanities courses. He states:

“I find this field meaningful for so many reasons, but what stands out to me the most right now is how we study and teach effective citizenship. For a democracy to thrive, we need citizens who are socially conscious, who can read and think critically, respectfully engage and challenge people’s ideas, and who are able to argue persuasively for the common good of all. We develop these skills by studying language, literature, and rhetoric.”

The department of English and World Languages is so excited to have Dr. Mando as our new chair, and cannot wait to see all the wonderful things he accomplishes within this new position!

Alumni Perspective: Why I Chose to Get My Master’s degree at Millersville

August of 2021 was the beginning of the end of a certain chapter in my life. Like other students, I was happy to return to in-person classes and clubs on campus. My junior year had been completely virtual, and I was greatly missing the connections made in the classroom and in my social life. Although the excitement to return for my senior year grew stronger each day, so did the sadness of knowing this would be my last year at Millersville. I would torment myself with the question of “what will I be doing a year from now,” hoping that I could somehow find a way to align myself with my future goals. I knew that going to graduate school was something that I wanted to do, but where and when was something that overwhelmed me to think about. That is, however, until I learned about the Master of Arts in English program that was offered at Millersville.

When I looked back on my undergraduate years, I was able to see how much I had grown and changed in a positive way from being a student at Millersville. My freshman year, I was a quiet and uncertain student who didn’t believe in herself. Over the course of four years, I had turned into a student who was confident in her academic abilities, and knew the value in herself not only as an academic, but also as a teammate, peer, friend, and partner. The different skills I had learned in my English courses, such as learning how to compose a range of texts, fostering my creativity, and expanding my analytical thinking, had only reinforced that furthering my education in the subject was the best choice for me. Speaking with Dr. Pfannenstiel that spring semester my senior year, I saw a direct path on how to achieve my goals by staying at Millersville.

Although some may assume that staying at the same university for both undergrad and graduate degrees may limit one’s growth, I would argue that it only helps to expand it. Since I already knew the campus, department, and professors I would be working with, I didn’t have to worry about any of that when the school year started. Instead, I could just focus on my studies and figure out how to make the most out of my two years in the program. Another major reason I chose to further my education at Millersville was because of the opportunity to have a graduate assistantship in the English department. Working with Dr. P, Dr. Baldys, Dr. Mando, and my amazing fellow GA Becca on a daily basis has helped me grow as a professional and as a scholar in ways I never could have expected. Their kindness and knowledge have inspired me to look towards my own future, as the skills and connections they have provided me with have helped me to become more excited by the unknown rather than fearful.

Millersville has and continues to be a place where I am changing and growing in a positive way each and every day, and I am so thankful to my past self for choosing to stay here to continue my journey into higher education. Although this chapter will be closing soon, I now have direction on where the next one may start.

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Thesis Defense Announcement- “An Analysis of Abbott Elementary Through the Lens Black Placemaking”

The Department of English and World Languages would like to announce the thesis defense of Taylor Green for her BA in Multidisciplinary Studies in Digital Journalism, Honor’s College. Her thesis, titled “An Analysis of Abbott Elementary Through the Lens Black Placemaking” is chaired by Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel with committee members Dr. Caleb Corkery and Dr. Elizabeth Thyrum. Her defense will be held tomorrow, April 28th, at 1pm in McComsey room 359.

Thesis Defense Announcement- “Disability Studies Informed Creative Writing: Care not Cure”

The Department of English and World Languages would like to announce the thesis defense of blue Guckert for his MA in English. His thesis, titled “Disability Studies Informed Creative Writing: Care not Cure,” is chaired by Dr. Emily Baldys with committee members Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel, Dr. Jess Hughes, and Professor Michele Santamaria.  blue’s thesis defense will be held tomorrow, April 28th, in McComsey 359 at 4:30pm.

Successful Thesis Defense Announcement- William Artz

The Department of English and World Languages would like to congratulate William Artz on his successful thesis defense for his M.Ed. in English. His thesis, which is titled “The Digitized Post-Secondary Transdisciplinary Humanities Classroom,” was chaired by Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel with committee members Dr. Kaitlin Mondello and Dr. Emily Baldys.

English Internship Experience- Avery Hartman

I am currently completing an internship with Gemini Wordsmiths and I have to say, I couldn’t have hoped for a better internship. This internship heavily focuses on teaching me about the editing/publishing industry and ensures that they are providing me with projects that I deem useful for my future career. After graduation, I hope to go into the editing/publishing industry. Before this internship, I didn’t have much experience or knowledge of the field, but after completing 15 weeks, I feel that I have learned so much and even have a better idea on what career I hope to pursue after college. I went into this internship thinking that I wanted to go into copy editing. However, after working with Gemini Wordsmiths, I think I would rather pursue a career in book publishing. Not only has this internship taught me so much about the editing/publishing industry, but they have also helped me determine where I want to take my next steps and how I want to start the next chapter of my life.

My linguistic courses have played a major role in my success with this internship as I completed multiple projects in editing authors’ manuscripts. Many of my literature courses also played a major role in my success when it came to projects of recommending publication and research of authors. My degree has set me up for success for my career after college and I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

This internship has challenged me with new experiences in order to gain new skills. One of the projects I was given was to create a monthly newsletter. I had never created a newsletter before and was unsure of how to start. After sitting down with me and going over step-by-step what a newsletter entails, I was much more confident in completing this project and gained new skills to apply on my resume.

Throughout my experience with this internship, I was not only able to apply my relevant coursework to complete projects, but I was also able to expand on my hard and soft skills and gain more knowledge on the editing/publishing industry.

Throughout my college experience, I have developed skills in research, copywriting, copyediting, time management, attention to detail, organization, communication, and independence. A project that I think exemplifies these skills is a project where I was asked to be the first reader for a newly submitted manuscript. For this project, I read the entirety of an author’s draft to their manuscript, fact checked authors to ensure they were truthful in their previous work, researched books similar to theirs to see if they have been successful, and gave a full recommendation on whether or not the internship should follow through with publication. With this project alone, I was able to apply my skills of research, copywriting, time management, and organization as well as gain hands-on experience with the publishing industry. My degree has allowed me to apply recently acquired skills to the success of my internship. When I first applied to be an English major, I questioned if it was the right decision. Everyone asked me what I could possibly do with an English degree and said it would be difficult to find a career with a degree like English. I am so incredibly happy to say that I have successfully applied my degree to relevant work and am confident in my next steps after graduation.

“Integrating Social Emotional Learning through Instructional Strategies in the English Language Arts Classroom”- Natalie Flory Thesis Defense Announcement

The English and World Languages Department would like to announce the thesis defense of Natalie Flory for her B.S.E in English and the Honor’s College. Her thesis, titled “Integrating Social Emotional Learning through Instructional Strategies in the English Language Arts Classroom” is chaired by Dr. Kim McCollum-Clark with committee members Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel and Dr. Karen Rice. The defense will be held today, April 14th, at 4:30pm in McComsey English and World Languages conference room 359.