All posts by Becca Betty

Faculty Feature: Dr. Pfannenstiel

Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor of English and the Graduate Coordinator. Dr. Pfannenstiel received her MA in English and PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics both from Arizona State. Her research revolves around “Sense of belonging and Graduate Pedagogy” and she has been working in graduate education for over 20 years. As the Graduate Coordinator, she states that “I want to work with student-centered pedagogical theories from undergraduate education to improve the graduate student learning experience. I work to bring high structure to graduate education, to draw attention to the hidden curricular pieces. My aim is to break down silos and barriers so our program supports all students, including marginalized students even more underrepresented in graduate school, attending, completing and succeeding in our graduate program.”

Earlier this year Dr. Pfannenstiel was recognized for her outstanding commitment to students on this campus with the 2023 Sarah Lindsley Person of the Year Award, presented by Millersville’s Student Government Association. She remarked about this honor that “there is no greater honor at a teaching focused institution than to be honored by the students.” She was also recently nominated for the EVA awards for her EPPIIC Professionalism for her continued commitment to helping students understand and take-on professional roles.

She carries the remarkable ethos that brought her these awards and recognition into her scholarship. Dr. Pfannenstiel’s new book Web Writing, which is published as a peer-reviewed Open Educational Resource (OER) on, is part of an ongoing grant to remove financial barriers to studies by creating OER textbooks to alleviate one of the hidden costs of education. Web Writing itself explores a rhetorical approach to web writing, content management, and meaning making in contemporary social media. This book works alongside her WRIT 318 curriculum focused on building an understanding of the rhetoric and content strategy of writing online. You can access the entire book for free here: ( ).


Here are some of Dr. P’s favorite Media!

Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and so much P&P fanfiction.

Favorite movie: Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Favorite TV show: Bones (2005)

Favorite videogame: AFK Arena – I am obsessed with casual games – this is my favorite mobile casual game with RPG elements.


What does it mean to Dr. Pfannenstiel to be an English and World Languages Scholar?

“When I stepped in as Graduate Coordinator there were several external pressures on graduate programs and graduate education. In the last five years those external pressures remain, but have shifted. In collaborative work with Dr. Kaitlin Mondello, we’ve found a focused attention on PhD programs and preparing PhDs for the reality of the professorate profession AND alt-ac positions. However, there is very little attention on regional, public, master’s granting institutions. We know our graduate programs are an important public good, we also know that students need different supports to support their work through the skill development required at the graduate level. When I began graduate school, the mentality was sink or swim. This doesn’t have to be the pedagogical approach. I was required to complete assignments, that I now see align with skills I’m using on a daily basis as a professor – bringing transparency to these assignments and overall curricular design is one of the most important decisions I’ve made as an educator. My goal is to work with all faculty, especially graduate faculty in the English & World Languages department, to bring transparency into our curricular design in ways that support graduate-specific skill development and professional development. Then, to continue collaborating with Dr. Mondello on publications and presentations so we raise scholarly awareness about the need to rethink approaches to graduate pedagogy. Essentially, I identified a need in a student population. I’ve devoted countless hours to research, presentations, grant funded projects, and hopefully in the near future publications to research and enact new pedagogical approaches to benefit learners. I think this is a really important way English and World Languages scholars carry our focus on the human experience into the real world. All areas of the English & World Languages department center the human experience in their research – I am extending those in specific ways. I see my research questions centered in the human experience. I see my research, presentations and grants as reflecting the scholarship valued by peers in the professorate. I see being a scholar as connecting my research to benefitting a community – specifically graduate students!”


Thank you Dr. Pfannenstiel for sharing your knowledge and commitment to your students!

Seth Ring Interview: Moving Towards Hope

Full-time fantasy author Seth Ring was able to join us this past week for a Q&A session to meet with students and answer questions about being a writer, building community, and to share insider knowledge about traditional and indie publishing methods. Seth has been publishing since 2018 and in 2021, he became a full-time writer. Now, with 25 books published and more on the way, Seth reflects on what he has learned, the communities he’s helped to build, and the sense of hope that is central to his works.

Seth is a Lit-RPG (Literary role playing game) fantasy author, drawing his stylistic and thematic design from conventions of game theory to shape his world-building and plots. He was initially drawn to this genre because he read a bad Lit-RPG novel and realized – “I can do a better job than this.” Seth leverages his base in Lit-RPG fantasy to expand into various other genres including traditional fantasy, horror, and western (as well as upcoming forays into Regency romance and utopian thriller) drawing inspiration from stories he read as a child that helped him learn to both escape and navigate the world. Seth describes his writing and publishing journey as initially “so much harder than he thought it would be” stating that there was a huge learning curve but that having a firm understanding of what you want, determining “where am I actually trying to go?,” is critical to creating an writing identity that is fulfilling. Whether you are mainly focused on commercial sustainability or artistic expression, Seth reassuringly asserts that “there are a million different ways to become an author.” Seth balances his ideals of writing between practical considerations and artistic sincerity, describing the reality of writing as a career occurring along a “sliding scale of money to craft” because there comes a time when a writer realizes “I wish I could eat this manuscript but I can’t.”

There are pros and cons to publishing on either side of the industry, with traditional publishers being outsold by Indie publishers but Indie publishers won’t put you in a bookstore. Seth cites the internet as a cause for the shifting industry which has “radically changed distribution but introduces some risk.” The internet is rife with pirating and AI copy-cats, but Seth isn’t worried about it mostly because even if someone reads stolen or plagiarized content, if they like it, they will most likely find their way to the source (ie Seth). In fact, this is how Seth gained his top three Patrons on his Patreon, so for Seth “Pirating is not necessarily a net loss because I’m going to keep writing better books.” He also encouraged writers to not be discouraged by the difficulties of modern day publishing, only to keep pressing on and continue writing because the “worst think you can do as a writer is to stop writing.”

Seth also emphasized that establishing a platform for engagement (like Patreon) is a key resource to building your reputation as an author and establishing a community. While Seth admits that there is an element of luck to growing an online community, he’s also found that consistency, time, and content strategy can make a big impact. For Seth, while the internet does pose some risk, the benefits are worth it because the internet offers a unique way for readers to “engage with the people who wrote the books we love.” This engagement is not only key to Seth’s strategy, but also influences to some extent the works he creates. On a practical level, Seth feels responsible for “carrying those stories forward,” creating a consistent experience for his fans by communicating with them about when to expect updates and new releases. However, on an artistic level, Seth says he has a “strong sense of ownership over all of his stories” and that a “story doesn’t have to go the way they want it to go.” In this way, Seth has built a fan-base of recurring readers, even though some may not always like his works—they keep coming back. Seth recognizes this pattern of readerly interest as something that ebbs and flows; “people enjoy something in a season of their life, not all are going to stay forever, but if they are engaging in a constructive way that’s great.” Ultimately, Seth says if something sticks with the reader after picking up one of his works, he considers it a success because “people need connection” and he feels “I can provide something at least” to help foster those connections.

It is the hope and courage drawn from connections—between characters, their worlds, or even the divine—that are at the core of Seth’s work. Some of Seth’s inspiration for writing is drawn from his own experiences with loneliness and isolation in which stories and the characters in them were his “first gateways to connection” and that “stories have tremendous power to reshape the narrative to what we tell ourselves.” For Seth, stories and later writing itelf were a way out of dark places, offering Seth a means to process the world and find hope and courage to continue moving into the future. His books now carry this purpose forward with the intention that “when we start allowing for connection in our perspective, hope naturally follows.”

Want to read Seth’s work? He recommends starting with Battle Mage Farmer: Book 1 Domestication that he describes as a really fun story and a good introduction to his style of storytelling.

You can read his books by purchasing them on his site ( ) or from alternate vendors like Amazon, or by borrowing them from the Lancaster Public Library System. You can even become a Patron ( ) and get fast access to new chapters as they are released. You can interact with Seth and other fans on Discord ( ), Instagram ( ), YouTube channel ( ), or even email him directly at

Events Next Week! Author Seth Ring and National Day of Writing

The ENWL Department has two events planned for next week. Come out and learn more about the publishing industry on Tuesday and celebrate Writing on Friday!

Author Seth Ring Visit

On Tuesday October 17th from 6:30-7:30 PM in the Reading Room in the McNairy Library, author Seth Ring will share his knowledge of the self-publishing industry. Seth is a successful science fiction author with a number of running series including the Titan Series and Battle Mage Farmer. You can check out his website at and join us on Tuesday to learn more about the publishing industry.

National Day of Writing

Get ready to write! The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has established October 20th as the National Day on Writing. We will be celebrating all things writing with an event on Friday October 20th from 12-2 in the Reading Room and Writing Center in the McNairy Library. From 12-1 we will have writing activities including word bracelet making, blackout poetry, creative writing games, and more. Then, from 1-2 we will have an open mic for everyone to share their work or the work of another author.

To sign up for the open mic, please scan the QR code on the flyer.

To learn more about the National Day on Writing click here.

Spooky Media Recommendations Fall 2023

With fall break upon us here are some spooky media recommendations from the ENWL department to bring some haunting charm to your break!


It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)

Recommended by Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel, this Charles M. Schultz Peanuts classic follows the shenanigans of Charlie Brown and company as they go trick or treating and await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin on Halloween Night. Directed by Bill Melendez, the movie first aired on TV in 1966. Dr. P writes “So, it’s not spooky – but it is a great story about belief and care for our fellow human when our beliefs don’t match. It includes the usual subtle existential dread of most Charlie Brown stories making it incredibly relatable. My son always gets so excited for trick-or-treating, only to be let down when the whole event only lasts about an hour and a half. He can empathize with Charlie every year, while also seeing the care that others extend Linus while he awaits the Great Pumpkin.”

And while until 2020 it aired for free on TV for over 54 years every fall, Apple TV+ has now made it exclusive to their streaming service. So now you can access it through Apple TV+ for a fee and while they are having a free weekend to watch it (Article on how to watch for free 2023 ) you must possess an Apple affiliated device to access it.

You can also get it out from the Lancaster Public Library on DVD for free: We can wait for the Great Pumpkin together:)


Les Diaboliques (1955)

Recommended by Dr. Jill Craven, this 1955 film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot is a psychological horror/thriller that “takes place at a French boarding school where the headmaster has an ill wife and a mistress who conspire to murder him, but things go awry….” Dr. Craven let us in on the cool fact that “this film was optioned by director Clouzot before Hitchcock could get it!” She also states that “it has a number of twists and turns that really make the film stand out, and the performances are super!” and that it is spooky in the similar way to the The Turn of the Screw, a novella by Henry James first published in 1898. You can access the film (with complete English subtitles since the movie is in French) for free on YouTube Watch it here!


What Moves the Dead

This novel, written by T. Kingfisher and recommended by Dr. Emily Baldys, strikes a balance between horror and humor. “Published in 2022, this novella offers a modern twist on Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ Kingfisher cleverly updates Poe’s tale by adding ecological themes and an engaging nonbinary protagonist, Alex Easton. Alex must unravel a mystery to discover the unsettling secret that’s possessing not only their childhood friend, but the local wildlife and landscape, too.” Dr. Baldys writes that “I really enjoyed this book’s Gothic vibes, as well as its witty, bold protagonist. Plus, there are zombie rabbits, bleeding fungi, sleepwalkers, and a cranky British mycologist — what’s not to love? Hat tip to my student Liana Ockenhouse, who recommended Kingfisher to me; now I’m passing on the favor.”

It is available as an ebook through the Millersville McNairy Library Read me!

or as an ebook, physical copy, and audiobook through the Lancaster Public Library Check it out!


“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Heather Verani recommends Joyce Carol Oates classic short story that depicts a casual encounter with the uncanny. “Set in the 1960’s, this short story preys upon every woman’s worst fear. Filled with tension and female terror ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been’ recounts 15-year-old Connie’s interaction with the odd and frightening Arnold Friend. With heavy imagery and symbolism, along with an ambiguous ending, this short piece of literature will leaving you guessing about what actually happened between Connie and Arnold. I first read this short story during my Sophomore year at Millersville in Dr. Rineer’s Stranger Things literature course. The fact that the buildup of terror and fear is palpable in the book is what scared me so much during my first reading of it, and it quickly became one of my favorite spooky stories.”

Here is a free pdf copy:


Over the Garden Wall (2015)

This one season animated TV show produced by Cartoon Network presents vignettes of two brothers lost in a mystical woods as they try to navigate (and survive) their surroundings, relationships, and fate itself. Combining whimsical storytelling and creepy characters with soulful jazzy musical numbers, this cult classic is a great watch on a fall weekend. From zombie pumpkin scarecrows and a horrible mythical beast, to bossy bluebirds and crooning bullfrogs, this exploration of unreality has it all. I’m drawn back to this show every time the weather starts to turn –it’s like a glowing lantern in the dark that helps keep the beast away.

Over the Garden Wall is currently available to stream on Hulu and on DVD from the Lancaster Public Library: Borrow me!

We hope you like our recommendations and have a wonderful, restful Fall Break!

Faculty Feature: Dr. Emily Baldys

Dr. Emily Baldys (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor of English and our new Assistant Chair of the Department of English & World Languages.  She received promotion and tenure this summer and we offer our sincere congratulations! Her areas of interest and expertise include Victorian British literature, Critical Disability Studies, and popular romance. You can read her most recent publication “Imagining the ‘Survival of the Unfit’ in the Novels of Olive Schreiner and Mona Caird,” published this past spring in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies here: . She received her BA in English from Bryn Mawr College and her MA and PhD in English from Penn State.

Dr. Baldys is a fantastic professor both inside and outside the classroom, receiving MU EPPIIC Values Award nominations for her inclusive practices two years in a row. This semester she is teaching Early British Literature, Shakespeare, and ENGL 110 courses as well as leading independent studies for others. She is also continuing her role as the faculty advisor for MU’s ADAPT chapter. We are so proud and privileged to have Dr. Baldys teaching and working with us!

Dr. Baldys’s Favorites

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is Dr. Baldys’s favorite book – you can read it for free online through the McNairy Library by clicking the link below.

Read Jane Eyre

Normal People is Dr. Baldy’s current favorite TV show – it is currently streaming on hulu.

And although it was difficult for her to choose, Ghostbusters came out on top for her favorite movie. She said: “I will never not watch Ghostbusters if it’s on.”

Ghostbusters is currently available for free on DVD from the McNairy Library. Click the link below to reserve it.

Get Ghostbusters!


What does it mean to Dr. B to be an English and World Languages Scholar?

“Practically speaking, it means I am lucky enough to talk about the books, shows, and films that I love with brilliant people every day! I think and hope it also means that my students and I are especially well equipped to critique the many texts that we encounter in our daily lives: that we might watch Barbie or stream Bridgerton or devour the latest BookTok must-read, and while we’re doing that we can not only hear the echoes of earlier texts but also think like a literary critic about the underlying messages and values that shape our world.”





George Street Press wants YOU to submit your creative projects!

The George Street Press is running again! Rising from the ashes, this student led literary and art magazine is seeking submissions of your creative projects! Accepting works of poetry, short prose fiction, drama, stylistic nonfiction, painting, drawing, digital designs, and more. You can even join as a member to gain insights into the world of publishing as well as help guide the creation of 2023-2024 issues. Check out the links below to connect with the Press and enter your submissions.

Image created by GSP secretary Amelia Cusanno

George Street Press on MU’s Get Involved

This is where you can apply for membership as well as get access to all the important information about the aims of the Press, board members, and submission guidelines.


Instagram @mu_georgestreetpress

Follow here for updates and meeting reminders.

Or on Discord:

Submission Form

Make sure you check out the Press’s guidelines for submissions on their Get Involved page to ensure you are meeting all their prerequisites for length, content, and more.


Past issues can be found here: . However, please note that this is no longer the website in use so please follow the other links above for current information.


Best of luck to those who submit and to the Press’s board and members for the revival of this fantastic journal!

A Summary of Summer Reads

Here’s what the ENWL faculty, staff, and GAs got up to this summer! Or rather the books they got into😊 From space escapades, to humanizing narratives about abortion, these are the books that are sticking with us from our summer reading lists. 


Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Recommended by Dr. Darrell Lagace 

A scientist wakes up from a coma on a spaceship with no idea where he is or how he got there. 

Written by the author of The Martian, this book has much of the same hard science background. The protagonist uses basic (and not so basic) physics, chemistry, and biology to slowly piece together why he is there and what his mission is. It is also going to be turned into a movie (which will be difficult, given the internal nature of the dialogue!). 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical and eBook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 


The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story Edited by John Freeman 

Recommended by Dr. Kaitlin Mondello 

An incredible collection of short stories by one of my favorite editors (John Freeman) with many of my favorite writers (Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Ursual Le Guin, Louise Erdrich, Ted Chiang, etc.). 

Just read one short story a day or a week! It’s really enjoyable and manageable at the same time. I was reading this to help prepare for my Fiction course this semester. 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library.


You’re the Only One I’ve Told: The stories behind abortion by Dr. Meera Shah 

Recommended by Dr. A. Nicole Pfannenstiel  

Each chapter offers a different story, cultural perspective, and/or life event surrounding abortion decisions. The breadth of perspectives is so important to recenter how abortion is a medical decision. 

There are statistics about lack of access to medical care, the facts of women suffering due to political decisions, but it’s the stories shared in this book that humanize how medical decisions are made. 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 


The Overstory by Richard Powers 

Recommended by Dr. Caleb Corkery 

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe. 

This book made me think so differently about trees and humans.  Trees are our companions, central to everything about human life.  They are the passageway between the earth and sky.  I actually felt sad after reading this book, but it has stuck with me like nothing else I read this summer. 

This book is available through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 


The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera 

Recommended by Dr. Marco Antolin 

Tomas, the protagonist, is a brilliant surgeon in Prague. Briefly married in the past, he neither sees or wishes to see his ex-wife. He is comfortably established as a perpetual bachelor. He pursues a philosophy of lightness in his erotic adventures. Kundera contrasts through the protagonist reflections on the understanding of life as light or of heaviness. If someone has only the opportunity to try one path, to make one decision, they cannot return to take a different path. The uncertain existence of meaning sets the stage for the entire novel. 

Kundera is one of my favorite authors since I was a teenager. I learned this summer that he passed away. I decided to read again one of the novels that made an impression on me growing up to pay homage to his legacy. I recommend this book because of his insightful meditations on the nature of love and because of his magnificent narrative style. 

This book is available through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 


The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Recommended by Heather Verani 

A psychological thriller that follows six different characters’ perspectives surrounding a murder on a mysterious island off the coast of Ireland. This book has many exciting themes of betrayal, deceit, secrets coming to light, and so much more! 

I love murder mysteries and have been a Lucy Foley fan for a while, so I thought this book was the perfect choice for a beach read this past summer! 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers 

Recommended by Becca Betty 

This is a space story that is not really about space. It is a story about human (and non-human) connections that form and break while navigating values and perspectives that are quite literally worlds apart. Culture clashes and profound discussions of life, love, and loss intermingle with adventurous sci-fi stakes as a ragtag crew builds bridges through time and space to unite distant parts of the galaxy. 

I think I enjoyed this book so thoroughly because it was not at all what I was expecting. This novel is an earnest discussion of what it means to find value in existing wrapped-up in a traipse across the stars in a ramshackle spaceship—its humble crew carrying forward unsettling histories, deep sadness, and seemingly unconquerable differences into a brighter future. 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 


Stay up-to-date with ENWL events and opportunities by reading this blog and following our Instagram (@ville.englishworldlanguage) or Facebook (Millersville University, Department of English). 

Are you a grad student? Check out our dedicated blog for the MU ENWL grad experience here:  

Good Luck in your new semester😊 


Upcoming Events: LGBTQIA+ Luncheon, MU Disability Pride, ENWL End of Year Party


Join the Executive Director of Trans Advocacy Pennsylvania and Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs Joanne Carroll for lunch on Thursday April 20th from 11:30-1:30 in the Ford Atrium McComsey as she shares her story and opens conversation on the status of 2SLGBTQ+ issues in PA.    There will be free food.

Please register here to confirm your attendance.

Disability Pride returns to Millersville this year with a full slate of events starting with a screening of Crip Camp on Thursday April 20th  at 8 PM in the Myers Auditorium.              Friday there will be events all day including a keynote address from Dr. Sami Schalk.

Click here to register and get a free t-shirt. Check out the flyer and schedule for a full list of events below.

DP23 schedule


Volunteers are needed to help support this event. Please sign up here if interested.

Finally, the end of the school year is upon us and the English and World Languages department invites you to come party with us and celebrate our students and faculty! We will be in the Ford Atrium from 12-3 on Monday May 1st to announce awards, give recognition, and announce things to look forward to next year. Come get some free food as we look forward to finishing another year together.

Upcoming April 2023 Events: Made In Millersville, Wellness Fair, Poetry Reading

Attend! Made in Millersville April 11, 2023 9:00AM to 4:00PM Student Memorial CenterMade In Millersville            come out and see all the ways students get involved with research at Millersville. Made in Millersville will be online and in person at the Student Memorial Center from 9 AM to 4 PM on Tuesday April 11th. Check out their website for schedules, zoom links, and more information. 

Wellness Fair                                    come visit our booth to learn about “The Benefits of Mindful Journaling” and pick up some ENWL swag~ The Spring into Wellness Fair is Wednesday April 12th, from 11 AM – 2PM on the SMC Promenade and is sponsored by CHEP. 

“A Poetic Response to the War in Ukraine”                                          In collaboration with the Conference on Holocaust and Genocide, Millersville will be hosting award-winning Ukrainian poet and author Lyudmyla Khersonska who will read and discuss her collection of poems Today is a Different War alongside poet, writer, and translator Olga Livshin (Khersonska will participate in the event through zoom).     This free event is Thursday, April 13th at 4PM in the Myers Auditorium in McComsey Hall. 

Thesis Defenses – keep an eye on our blog and Instagram for updated thesis announcements.