All posts by Jill Craven

Attend the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2023

Start an application using the Study Abroad Portal by clicking “Apply Now
on Education Abroad’s TIFF page.
Applications and deposit due April 3rd.

This September 8-13th, join Dr. Jill Craven at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where directors and stars from all over the world attend the most important film festival in the western hemisphere.

Spielberg at TIFF 2022

Learn more about film and the film industry by attending prestigious film events including film premieres, red carpet events, and post-screening interviews with international directors, stars, and cast members.

These events take place in the beautiful multicultural city of Toronto, where students will travel through the city to attend events at venues like the historic Princess of Wales Theatre. 

The group will stop to experience the majesty of Niagara Falls on their return trip to Millersville.

  • For specific questions about the program details contact Dr. Jill Craven (
  • This trip is open to Millersville alumni as well as non-Millersville participants.
  • For specific questions about studying abroad, contact International Programs and Services at (717)-871-7506 or e-mail


Marisa Koulen

Marisa Koulen is receiving her MA and continuing on for the Ph.D. in Houston.

Marisa is receiving her MA after finishing her BA at Millersville, and now she is leaving us for Houston!

Marisa’s favorite class was English 680 – Digital Portfolio because it allowed her to reflect on the learning outcomes and goals of the MA program. She created a digital space that she could share with future employers or admissions committees that held artifacts from both undergraduate and graduate projects. She took the course with Dr.Pfannenstiel, who led engaging discussion hosting the class via a course hashtag on twitter. Their online class built a sense of community, unlike other online or hybrid courses Marisa has been a part of before. Marisa remarks:

The course challenged you to share your strengths in writing and areas you were looking to improve. I have made life long friends from this class.

Dr. Pfannenstiel also enjoyed Marisa’s work in the course and at AAC&U:

After very thoughtfully approaching the design of her digital portfolio to meet her professional and educational goals, Marisa brought important insight on the student experience with digital portfolio building when we co-presented for the national meeting of AAC&U. She brings joy and smiles and hard work to everything she does. She is a fantastic collaborator! I am so proud of her as she begins her PhD Fall 2020! —

Marisa will be attending the University of Houston. She was admitted to the PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy program. She has been awarded a Teaching Assistantship for five years and a Graduate Tuition Fellowship for five years.  Way to go Marisa!

Congratulations Marisa!  We have been so happy and privileged to be part of your journey…

And onto Ph.D.!!

Aleko Kontos

Aleko’s family

Aleko is graduating with a BA in English and a minor in Studio Art.

With his strengths in writing and art and an internship at a television station, Aleko will bring a wealth of skills into the media industry.

Aleko values his time at Millersville for all the friendships he made (some seen above and below left, at Jack’s).

Aleko and friends at Jacks

As far as classes, Aleko loved “anything taught by the man, the myth, the legend, Dr. Tim ‘The Monster’ Miller.” We note that Dr. Miller is reaching legend status around here, and Aleko is not alone in his admiration!

For an internship, Aleko worked at LCTV Channel 66, the regional Lancaster County station;  Aleko made segments, pitched ideas, filmed, edited, animated, interviewed, and created graphics for the station. It was a broad and meaningful professional experience to prepare for a future in graphic design and television.

Aleko–we will miss your energy and charm!  We look forward to seeing your work on television and your impact on media. Congratulations!


Stephanie Wenger

Stephanie Wenger

Stephanie Wenger is graduating with a BA in English this spring. Stephanie’s kindness and thoughtfulness have always enhanced our sense of community within the English Department.

Stephanie Wenger loved her time at Millersville. She fell in love with this school as soon as she set foot on campus. Her experience at Millersville was made special by all the friends she made and all the opportunities she had to grow into the professional, hard-working person she is today.

Stephanie took advantage of the many clubs and leadership opportunities on campus throughout her college career. As President of the English Club, Stephanie organized many excursions outside of campus to see plays, films, and readings. She also led weekly meetings with club members to discuss all things English.

Dr. Corkery, the advisor for the English Club, praised Stephanie for her hard work, “Stephanie is remarkably kind and thoughtful.  You can see how she cares about including people in whatever she does from the way she collaborates.  She wants the group to thrive, not just herself.  She has been a wonderful contributor to our English community.  Thanks Stephanie!”

She was also on the e-board of the National Society of Leadership and Success as the vice-president and took part in George Street Press where she was published in the 2018-2019 issue.

Stephanie Wenger

While English majors are only required to complete one internship for their degree, Stephanie decided to pursue two internships to expand her professional skill set. Her first internship was with the Archives and Special Collections through the McNairy Library where she worked with the YWCA collection. She also interned with Housing and Residential Programs where she worked as the marketing intern. Her job was to write for the


blog and create social media content.

Looking back at all the English courses she’s taken, Stephanie remembers two classes she loved the most. The first was World Literature with Professor Skucek, and the second was Web Writing with Dr. Pfannenstiel. She loved these classes because she found the content fascinating and the professors were wonderful.

As of right now, Stephanie doesn’t have any set plans after she graduates. However, she is working on getting a job in the marketing writing field.

Congratulations, Stephanie! We are so proud of all your accomplishments, and we hope you keep in touch.

Rashna Yousaf

Rashna Yousaf will be graduating with a BA in English and a minor in Journalism.  She will be looking for a job at IU13 and getting married after she graduates.

Rashna Yousaf
At Made in Millersville

Rashna loved the intellectual community of Millersville.  She enjoyed being able to  share and cultivate her ideas with others. In particular, she enjoyed working on big events like presenting at Made in Millersville and the annual Literary Festivals.  Rashna even premiered her short film “The Line” at Made in Millersville .

Film has a special place in Rashna’s heart.  She traveled to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with Dr. Craven in 2017, and got to speak with directors like Brie Larson and Darren Aronofsky during their presentations and discussions at TIFF.

In class, she really loved Philosophy of Film as “all they did was watch films and talk about their meanings.” Milton with Dr. Miller was also a treat. Rashna says she has never taken so many notes on what the professor said (without a Powerpoint!).

Rashna at Niagara on the way to TIFF

Outside of  the classroom, Rashna enjoyed Film Club.  She worked at the Digital Learning Studio where she got to work with editing videos and 3D printing everyday–and got paid for it. She says she couldn’t have asked for a better job.

Rashna would like to pursue a job with IU-13 until her dream job, working for The Bible Project Youtube channel, comes along.

Rashna we look forward to celebrating you as an innovative voice in filmmaking.  Please remember Brie Larson’s encouragement!  As Alfredo says to Toto in Cinema Paradiso, “I don’t want to hear you talk anymore.  I want to hear others talking about you.”

Jordan Traut

Jordan Traut is graduating with a double major in English and Anthropology. Jordan plans to continue her education with an MA at Millersville University.

Jordan Traut made the most of every minute of her college education, both in and outside of Millersville.  Jordan planned well and worked with her adviser to maximize her experiences each year; she managed to finish the Honors College curriculum, to write a thesis, to study abroad, to do her internship in Japan, and to complete two majors–all in 3 years.  We celebrate her impressive initiative and her many accomplishments!

Jordan Traut in Hungary

Jordan’s research focused on flood narratives, specifically how the flood archetype in literature is universal and prevailing in the creation/religious texts of all cultures around the world.  In particular, she wrote her thesis on the Anishinaabe flood story in their creation teaching, noting how unchecked English-language translations of indigenous oral literature have had serious cultural ramifications.

While at Millersville, Jordan’s favorite class was Professor Karli’s  Reading our World: Masculinity in Literature because the content she learned in that course was relevant and applicable to countless other courses. Some of her favorite books, however, were read in Dr. Jakubiak’s American Ethnic Literature course.

Jordan not only studied abroad in Japan, but also completed her internship there.  She served as the Flash Quote Reporter for Rugby News Service during the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. How cool is that?  She got to travel to different stadiums in Japan and interview the players one-on-one. She loved seeing all the different cultures come together during the games.

Jordan with some ice cream in Hungary

Back at home, Jordan has enjoyed the community that the English Department created for its students. She especially felt that at the English Awards Dinner last May, where she received the Cynthia Dilgard Award for her essay on the continuing relevance of Shakespeare. This year, Jordan also received the Dilworth-McCollough Award, given to a student who has achieved excellence in English literature.  In addition to being selected as the first Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Fellow, Jordan was also awarded a MUSE (MU Summer Experience) grant for her research.

One aspect that made Jordan’s time at Millersville special was her work with various communities on campus. During her years at Millersville, Jordan participated in clubs and organizations like Friends and Advocates for Native Nations (FANN), the Honors College Student Association, and the Honors College Curriculum Committee.  She particularly enjoyed developing academic relationships with so many of the English faculty who helped her in so many ways.

As many jobs in the field Jordan is interested in require additional education, and often a masters, she has applied to MU for graduate studies in English. She looks forward to learning and doing more at Millersville!

We feel very lucky to have Jordan in our community for another two years!  We are looking forward to working with you, Jordan, on your next chapter.

Sean Guckert (Blue)

Sean Guckert will be graduating with a BA in Writing Studies and continuing on to Graduate school.  Many of us will remember Sean for that amazing poem “Sick Note” he performed at the Literary Festival and his always perceptive questions from the back of the room.

Sean Guckert reading “Sick Note” at the MU Literary Festival 2019

Millersville English is inspired by Sean Guckert. Many of us will always remember Sean for his superb poem “Sick Note” he wrote about disability for the fall 2019 MU Literary Festival. This was a moving piece about emailing a professor when you have to miss class as the result of a serious disability. It was an incredible rumination on invisible illness, chronic pain, stigma, and the social impact of physical and mental disabilities. His reading received a standing ovation, and the writing experience inspired him to get involved with the Spring 2020 Disability Pride fest. Unfortunately, this festival has been postponed this year due to Covid-19, but he hopes to be involved in the future.

Sean’s interests are in Feminist Rhetorical Theory.  He wrote his thesis as a call to action for men to transcend virtue signalling, and take real action on Feminist and Women issues. In his thesis, he wants men to act, to be informed, and to be empathetic–not just be supportive or an ally with words. Sean felt it was a personal challenge to explore his own failings, to take accountability, and to start paving a way with his writing to explore and effect change.

Sean Guckert discussing literature with Dr. Jakubiak

Given his interests, not surprisingly Sean’s favorite course at Millersville was Gender & Race Issues in Children’s Literature (EDUC 433) with Dr. Jennifer Burke. He describes it as “an awe inspiring experience, especially for someone working on a Children’s book. Dr. Burke exposed and introduced us to the myriad issues involved with getting the most marginalized among us to be heard and to be seen.”

Sean will be continuing his education in Graduate school here at Millersville University, focusing on his writing studies. He is working on a children’s book and potential series that he hopes to complete and ready for a publisher by the end of 2021. He is also writing a television pilot and speculation script.

Sean was grateful for the many connections he made at Millersville:

I was treated with so much kindness, respect, and thoughtfulness by my peers, the faculty, and the administration. Being an older, non-traditional student can be tough, but I will never forget how wonderful everyone at Millersville was during my three years there as a full-time student. More specifically, my advisor, Dr. P (Pfannenstiel) helped guide me through many challenging experiences. I am eternally grateful for her wisdom, mentorship and patience. (sorry ’bout all of those emails). Dr. Greg Bowen for always being there for me with his dry erase board to work out those dastardly tree diagrams. And Dr. Jill Craven for our impromptu pseudo therapy sessions.

We at Millersville look forward to continuing our journey with Sean as a graduate student and to seeing his drafts turn into publications. We can’t wait to celebrate your successes, Blue!

Demystifying Dyslexia Conference 2020

Thanks to all who Attended!

Thanks to the many people who attended the conference to learn more about dyslexia.  The movement to get equity in education for people with language-based learning differences is certainly taking hold.  We will have videos of some of the conference presentations shortly.

Thanks to Conference Organizers Rachel Hicks and Sara Page Stinchcomb

Sara Page Stinchcomb, organizer and presenter
Sara Page Stinchcomb, organizer and presenter

As anyone knows who has put on a conference, there is a lot of work behind the scenes.  Two Millersville University students helped organize this conference: Ms. Rachel Hicks and Ms. Sara Page Stinchcomb.  I was waiting until they were in the room to thank them, but they were always just passing through to the next assignment.  Rachel and Sara set up the brochures, the social media, many of the emails, the child care, the buttons, the raffle, and the volunteers.  They are amazing colleagues to work with.

Thanks to our Presenters and Panelists

Wow. The combined experience in the rooms was so impressive. We learned so much. Thank you, sincerely, for sharing your expertise.

The Day

Rebecca Warner and pqdb table
Rebecca Warner and pqdb table
Heather Layman from Lancaster's CDC
Heather Layman from Lancaster’s CDC on left

The day began with 11 different tables, from the Center for Dylexia, to schools and microschools, to psychologists, to organizations like Decoding Dyslexia (both PA and VA represented),  to camps, to jewelry.  These resources enabled attendees to browse the regional resources.


Here are some links to

Morning Sessions

Dr. Janet Josephson, Associate Professor of EMEE

The Day began with a review of what dyslexia is and isn’t, and an estimate of its impact on school-aged children with disabilities.  Dr. Janet Josephson, Associate professor of Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education got the audience members talking and engaged in understanding the foundational scientific data about dyslexia.

Dr. Josephson’s presentation  was recorded, and will be available at the end of this week.  Her slides are already available.  Ms. Page Stinchcomb then told her story about how teachers impacted her life positively by giving her a nickname in second grade (“Miss Math”) and by using multi-modal teaching to give students different avenues to comprehend the materials.

Dr. Margaret Kay
Dr. Margaret Kay

Dr. Peg Kay then explained about how what testing reveals, and how the varied tests can be used to modify instruction to help the student in the classroom.  In the photo at the left, she indicates how students who have established an IQ at the higher hand may be determined to have a disability by testing in those areas with scores at the lower hand.  This deviation from expected performance is what establishes the disability.

In the past in Pennsylvania, students would have to do so poorly in their classes that they would be in the lower percentages of the population (the “wait to fail” model), but in recent years Dr. Kay explained how the “Response to Intervention” model would work.  Unfortunately, many students with dyslexia are not identified in the 0-10 window (by their grade) where interventions would help.  The system also is ill prepared to identify dual exceptionals (students with both a disability and a gift).

Dr. Kay also talked through instances of multiple disabilities, including students who may have ADHD and dyslexia or a visual impairment and dyslexia.  She noted that vision therapy for students who have a visual impairment (in addition to the phonological impairment that dyslexia is–she carefully reinforced that dyslexia is NOT a visual impairment) is now covered by insurance due to the USDE’s letter-on-visual-impairment-5-22-17.

The Keynote Panel
The Keynote Panel

At lunch, the power panel of Daphne Uliana (Dyslexia and Literacy Network), Rebecca Warner (middle left, Decoding Dyslexia VA, pqdb), Hollie Woodard (middle right, Council Rock School District), and  Angela Kirby (right, PaTTAN)(pictured above) discussed where Pennsylvania is in terms of meeting the needs of kids with dyslexia in K-12 and college. They noted that intervention to create a better outlook for students would probably be most successful in getting more training for pre-service teachers or teachers doing their masters.  In Pennsylvania, even a reading specialist has no required training in dyslexia. Angela Kirby mentioned that PaTTAN offers many trainings for both teachers and parents that offer scholarships. There is a three-day training in June that might be particularly helpful. The panel noted that only 7 schools in Pa are IDA certified, and 6 of these are at the masters level.

Sara Page Stinchcomb and Abigail Rissinger
Sara Page Stinchcomb and Abigail Rissinger

After lunch, breakout sessions began.  Millersville University Students Abigail Rissinger (right) and Sara Page Stinchcomb (left) shared their experiences with reading, writing, and school in Breakout session 1. Other sessions covered many topics, from Dyslexia with Anxiety and ADHD, to using Orton Gillingham in the Classroom.

Overall, the day offered significant expertise to the community, and especially parents and teachers of kids with dyslexia.  As one attendee put it, the conference “was OUTSTANDING!  It was incredibly organized with some of the best dyslexia thinkers our state has to offer.”  Another stated, the “organization and amount of information is outstanding and it is so important that so many teachers and parents (and administrators) need to hear and be aware of!  I wish more administrators would attend to see what curriculums would be beneficial in classrooms!  My never ending battle in the real world of teaching… getting the right curriculum and training to the teachers!”

Resources from the Demystifying Dyslexia Conference 2020

We are happy to share our resources from the 2020 conference to help community members.

Dr. Margaret Kay:

Dr. Sarah Haas:

Kevin Ghaffari:

Social/Emotional Concerns:

Compensatory Skills:

Lauren Maffett, M.Ed. and Rachel Moore, MD:

Daphne Uliana: