Category Archives: Conferences

EAPSU Fall 2018 at Shippensburg University

The Fall 2018 English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities Conference was held at Shippensburg University on October 4-6. EAPSU prides itself as an inclusive organization dedicated to excellence in English Studies. The conference showcases the best in many disciplines within English Studies: creative writing, literature, film, composition, technical/scientific writing, and pedagogy. Members of the organization come from faculty and students from the 14 English Departments in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The overarching theme of the event was “Creativity in Times of Crisis”.

The keynote speaker was Patricia Smith, an award-winning author of eight critically acclaimed books of poetry. She is the winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for her poetry collection Incendiary Art (Triquarterly Press/Northwestern University Press, 2017).

Dr. Corkery and two groups of MU students presented at the conference. On Friday, the first panel, Hip Hop & Lyrics to Move the World, explored what can be learned about creativity through the emergence of Hip Hop, especially related to marginalized Blacks and Latinos in the Bronx, New York during the 1970s and ’80s. Panelists discussed the crises surrounding key players in hip hop who produced innovative lyrics aimed at addressing their circumstances. Nelian Cruz, Claribel Rodriquez de la Rosa, Barseh Gbor, and Dante McLeod were the students involved.

Later that day, a second group of students discussed the implications of Alice Walker’s piece “Search for Our Mother’s Gardens” in a panel titled Creativity and Oppression: Innovations of African American Female Authors. Walker and her ideas call attention to creativity where it is seemingly absent, encouraging Black women to create despite historical abuse and neglect. Students highlighted the creativity of different African American female writers, recognizing their unique challenges and creative products. Tatyanna Campbell, Naima Winder, Apsara Uprety, and Imani Anderson were involved in the panel.

From Left to Right: Dr. Pfannenstiel, Jay Barnica, Andie Petrillo, Jason Hertz

A group of graduate students along with Dr. Pfannenstiel presented on Creatively Solving Data Dilemmas in Digital Humanities Student Projects. Each member of the panel presented their paper: Nicole Pfannenstiel, “Data Fluency in Assignments: Assigning and mentoring through data dilemmas”; Andie Petrillo, “Missing Data is not “Emma Approved”: How to make meaning with poorly archived data”; Jay Barnica, “Call, Raise, or Fold?: The ethics of evesdropping on an online poker forum”; Jason Hertz, “Control+s Your Data: A lesson learned with NeoGAF gafe made NeoGAF into Neo-NeoGaf.”

Hi everyone! I was honored last fall to be asked by Dr. Pfannenstiel to be a part of a panel discussion for this year’s EAPSU conference at Shippensburg University. After months of preparation, the day finally arrived for us to present. We left Millersville at an alarmingly early 6:30 am. We then arrived at Shippensburg University around 8:30 and wandered over to sign in and receive our “swag bags” and headed to our assigned room. We waited for what seemed like an hour, but was actually only about 15 minutes for our designated chair person and for any attendees to wander in. Even though our presentation wasn’t well attended (it was at 9 a.m. so I can’t blame students for not coming), I still had a great time presenting with my panel and answering English Librarian, Michele Santamaria’s many questions. Relieved to have successfully presented at my first conference, we headed to other sessions led by MU faculty and students. My favorite part of the day aside from presenting was having lunch with Dr. Pfannenstiel, Dr. Mando, Michele Santamaria, and Jay Barnica (fellow grad student and presenter). It was a great way for us all to get to know each other outside of the classroom! After a long day of presenting and learning from other presenters, we left the conference exhausted but inspired. I’m so glad that I got the chance to experience academic conferences!

-Andie Petrillo, second-year graduate student

Dr. Mando’s “Tiny Ecology Project: A Place-Based Writing Pedagogy”

A few faculty members participated in a panel presentation titled Observation, Invention, and Information in Times of Crisis. Justin Mando, assistant professor of English and Science Writing, presented “Tiny Ecology Project: A Place-Based Writing Pedagogy.” Joyce Anderson, instructor of English, presented “Curbing Writer’s Block: A Quick Workshop.” Last but not least, Michelle Santamaria, English and Foreign Language Subject Librarian, presented “Challenging Confirmation Bias: Creating & Playing an Information Literacy Game.”

Thanks to all MU students and faculty for their hard work!


Pen America’s World Voices Festival Update

Karrah Keck is a Public Relations Major at Millersville University who went on the trip to Pen America’s World Voices Festival in NYC with Dr. Jakubiak’s New Dimensions to World Literature Class last semester.

On Thursday, April 19th, 2018 my English class taught by Dr. Jakubiak traveled to New York City to hear a panelist of authors from all over the world speak at a convention called Cry, the Beloved Country. The festival was for Pen America’s World Voices Festival which is centered around bringing together world literature and ideas.

The group of authors we listened to each read a piece of their writings in their own native language to authenticate and appreciate its origins. Every single piece that was read dealt with a conflict that each author’s country experienced and had to endure. For Cry. the Beloved Country there were a total of six authors:

  • Ryszard Krynicki: Poland
  • Serhiy Zhadan: Ukraine
  • Marcos Aguinis: Argentina
  • Ngugi wa Thiang’o: Kenya
  • Hwang Sok-yong: Korea
  • Negar Djavadi: Iran/France

After each had finished, the audience was able to meet the authors and have them sign any works they had written. This was a great time for me and my class. Some of us brought along our book The River Between written by Mr. Ngugi wa Thiang’o that we had read in class and got to not only have him sign our novels but to ask him questions about the book we had discussed so heavily. All of the questions we had about the book he was able to answer. To actually meet an author who had written one of my favorite books we had read all semester was such an amazing experience.

Some of us didn’t have any pieces of literature written by the authors, but that did not stop us from talking to them about their inspirations and experiences. I had four out of the six authors sign my program that I was given so I didn’t go away completely empty handed. Every author I spoke to was so insightful and had such grace to their craft that I could not help but feel inspired when they spoke to me. Discussing literature in a classroom is beneficial but hands down, nothing beats talking to the author that actually wrote it.

Taking this trip was one of my favorite things of my freshman year here at Millersville. I cannot even begin to express how fortunate I feel to have been given the opportunity to go and hear this group of authors speak. It is something I truly will never forget. It opened my knowledge of the world and had me think, truly think about the impact that conflict has on literature and the impact literature has on us as humans. It was a privilege and an honor to be a part of something greater than myself. It’s not only eye opening, it is life impacting. I will forever be grateful that I took advantage of this opportunity and went on this trip of a lifetime.

-Karrah Keck


PEN World Voices Festival Trip

On April 19th, Dr. Jakubiak’s New Dimensions to World Literature class will go on a trip to New York City to see a panel of writers at PEN World Voices Festival. The panel, called Cry, The Beloved Country, consists of authors from around the world: Ryszard Krynicki from Poland, Serhiy Zhadan from Ukraine, Marcos Aguinis from Argentina, Ngugi wa Thiong’o from Kenya, Hwang Sok Yong from Korea, and Negar Djavadi from Iran/France. The panel’s web-page writes, ” No matter their origin, writers across the globe encapsulate the spirit of resistance by giving a voice to the oppressed. In an evening of solidarity and community, writers from seven countries share their stories of pain, rage, and suffering while living under oppressive regimes. Hear the voices of the unheard; join us in celebrating these moments of resistance.”

Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong’o Photo credit

The class has already studied some of the work of the renowned Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a novelist and theorist of post-colonial literature. Ngugi will discuss the role of literature in autocratic regimes with his fellow panel members. This experience will give the students, all BSE majors, an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of world literatures and interact with the authors of books they have studied and may choose to teach in the future.

In addition to attending PEN World Voices festival, the group will take a guided tour of the new Tenement Museum of Immigration on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which will give the students a hands-on lesson on the history of American Immigration. The tenements housed over 15,000 working class immigrants from over 20 nations while the tenements served as residences, according to the Tenement Museum’s website. The museum wishes to preserve the history of immigration and enhance appreciation for the role immigration has played and continues to play in shaping America’s evolving national identity.

Title Image Credit

Made in Millersville English Events

There will be a strong representation of the English department at this year’s Made in Millersville. Read these quick summaries before you go check them out on April 17th in the McNairy Library! Visit this site for the full program list. 

Use and Perception of Google Translate in the Classroom: 8-9:15am Maria Glotfelter will present on the potential use of computer translators as instructional tools for learning languages. Past studies indicate that students frequently use computer translators and sometimes have inaccurate perceptions about them. Google Translate was chosen as a tool to gauge students perception and use of computer translators. Maria will analyze survey and interview data with the goal of making pedagogical recommendations for both teachers and students.

A Different Space: 8-9:15am Kaylee Herndon will present a feature-style profile piece on Elizabethtown College’s Writers House and its director, Jesse Waters. The story focuses on what the house is, how it connects with the local community and other Writers Houses, and some struggles it faces. She will go over the story’s content, the interviewing and writing process, and the design layout process in terms of layout for publication.

Writing Workshop Digital Portfolio Session: 10:50am-12:05pm Students in Dr. Farkas’ Writing Workshop class are going to be discussing the benefits of creating a professional portfolio and the different digital platforms available and which they recommend.  Students will also share their own processes of creating their portfolios, some of their writing samples that they are including in their portfolios, and examples of their digital portfolios.  Students in the course will be working in small groups of about three students each and will present these various aspects of the digital portfolio.

The Issue of the Lack of Feminine Products Available to Homeless Women: 10:50am-12:05pm Mary-Kate Helm, Jessie Garrison, and Eilish McCaul will present on why lack of access to feminine products in the city of Lancaster is such an issue through their collected research and interviews with women on their experiences. The students will also focus on what they did to make a difference in the community and their sustainable plan of action.

The Line: 10:50am-12:05pm Rashna Yousaf will present her short film The Line that revolves around the theme of racial discrimination and gender inequality.

The Final Phase: Millersville Strike Oral History Project and Its Aftermath: 10:50am-12:05pm Lauren Cameron and Ashley Sherman will present on the PA State system of Higher Education Faculty Strike in October 19, 2016 by commemorating the state system’s first actualized walk-out. The presentation reflects upon the findings of the project, examining the development of the interviewing team and the strike project, as well as the aftermath such efforts created and the subsequent importance of oral history.

Non-Western Literature Poster Session: 1:10-2:25pm All students enrolled in the class ENGL 336 New Dimensions of World Literature are participating in this poster session. The goal is to draw the attention of the university community to accomplished literary works from countries that are often overlooked in mainstream discussions about literature in America. Students, working with Dr. Jakubiak, will present on major issues raised by works of fiction, nonfiction and drama written by Maryse Conde (Guadeloupe), Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Ngugi Wa’Thiong’o (Kenya), Mo Yan (China) and Samar Yazbek (Syria). They will also explore the rich cultural and historical contexts of these works.

Susquehanna Stories Panel: 1:10-2:25pm This panel will be a presentation of the “Susquehanna Stories” written by students from Dr. Mando’s last semester ENGL 466 Writing Studies Special Topics: Environmental Advocacy Writing. Maddie Giardina wrote a piece for the English Newsletter that explains the project in detail. The students who will be participating are Rylan Harvey, Caitlyn Tynes, Amanda Mooney, and Gabrielle Redcay.

Hip Hop and Intersectionality Panel: 1:10-2:25pm Hip Hop & Intersectionality is a panel of undergraduates exploring how rap music provides a site of cultural intersection between the marginalized perspectives that developed the genre and the mainstream perspectives that largely consume it. These students combine their knowledge of feminist theory with popular culture to bring revealing insights. Eugene Thomas, Stassy Bonhomme, Evelyn Dais, Sandra Molina-Hill, Diavian Gunner, Skyler Gibbon, and Elizabeth Wright are involved in the panel discussion.

Prisoner City: Lancaster City’s Role as a P.O.W. Prison During the American Revolution: 1:10-2:25pm Domenic DeSimone will present on Lancaster City’s role during the American Revolution. Unprepared for the sudden influx of prisoners they were being tasked to house, Congress instructed the citizens of Lancaster to let the prisoners walk among them in the town as a show of goodwill. The unique way that Lancaster dealt with their new identity as a prison town would drastically change the lives of the cities residents, forever altering the city that many of us call home today.

The Power of Creative Writing Class Presentation: 2:35-3:50pm Students enrolled in Dr. Jakubiak’s ENGL 421 Creative Writing in Fall ’17 will read their poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. The presenters are Brett Killian and Molly Landfried.

Spoken Word Event: 2:35-3:50pm The Spoken Word event will be students performing their work on the theme of what’s not spoken about in school.  They will give voice to what they think is important but not spoken about on campuses. These students are preparing an experience that will dramatize the theme, too. Skyler Gibbon, Sean Domencic, Krystal Lowery, Jessie Garrison, Rylan Harvey, Taylor Schaal, Kyle Copenhaver, Rachel Cubbage-Opaliski, Xiao Tian Wang, Alyssa Matchett, and Shamera Burbank Green will present.

& Joy: 2:35-3:50pm Catherine Dillon, in her dramatic performance session, will highlight the joy present even among the tragedies of life through a poetry reading/spoken word. The poet will share various poems discussing the mental health and familial relationships within the context of joy.

Student Perceptions of Student Driven Inquiry Projects: 2:35-3:50 Bryce Rinehart‘s study is meant to provide an understanding of students’ perspectives on their motivation during an IBL project in order to enhance educators’ understanding of how inquiry-based learning, especially student driven inquiry, can function within the classroom to address students’ need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness as they work.

For the Journal You’ve Never Heard Of: 2:35-3:50pm Shaakirah Tate, Alexandra Attinger, Daniel Dicker, Sara Lipski, and Mikayla Steele are interns for the Made in Millersville Journal and will unveil the new issue of the journal and display the student work submitted throughout the school year. It will also serve as the ‘Grand Opening’ for their new website and social media platforms. The presentation will integrate the journal with the conference as a whole. Visit this previous newsletter article for more information.

MUsings: The Graduate Journal: All Day Claire Porter, Jay Barnica, Rashid Noah, and Maria Rovito will present the publication of MUsings, showcasing the academic work of graduate students at Millersville University. The journal invites students to present highlight of their work in a venue that bolsters career- building experiences and celebrates their scholarly effects.

Made in Millersville Journal


Made in Millersville One of most significant aspects of Made in Millersville is the Made in Millersville Journal, a publication that seeks to promote and publish scholarly work.  Making its debut in the spring of 2016, the journal continues to look for applicants from a variety of fields. Anyone who presented at the Made in Millersville Conference is welcome to submit work for publication.

There are five students behind this year’s publication: Allie Attinger, a dual major in Secondary English Education and Inclusive Education; Daniel Dicker, a double major in English and Communications; Sara Lipski, an English major; Shaakirah Tate, an English major; and Mikayla Steele, an Art Education major. These students work with Dr. Kerrie Farkas and Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol to make Made in Millersville a professional showcase for the students who are engaged in independent creative or scholarly projects or who have completed projects as part of class assignments.

The journal is an online interactive database featuring current and previous years of student and faculty projects. Visit the website and follow mim_journal on Instagram, madeinmujournal on Snapchat, mimjournal on Twitter, and Made in Millersville Journal on Facebook.

If you have any questions, visit the journal’s contact page or email.

EAPSU Conference 2017 at Kutztown University

This fall’s English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU) Conference was held at Kutztown University from October 5-7th.  Professors and students from all 14 PASSHE universities attended the conference, including outstanding English majors selected from these institutions.

Literary Journalist Ted Conover
Literary Journalist Ted Conover

The keynote speaker was Ted Conover, a literary journalist who had done immersion journalism in challenging venues like Sing Sing (see his book Newjack or article “Guarding Sing Sing“), slaughterhouses (“The Way of All Flesh“), the East African AIDS belt (“Trucking through the AIDS Belt“), and freight cars.  While he treated the audience to excerpts from Newjack, his insights focused on the techniques of immersive journalism, which are covered in his new book Immersion: A Writer’s Guide to Going Deep.  

Sessions in the conference covered topics ranging from the future of English Studies to ways to teach students how not to plagiarize.  English Chair Dr. Jill Craven participated in the Chairs’ Roundtable on Saturday morning with Dr. Andy Vogel, English Chair of Kutztown, where the two led discussion with English faculty and students about strategies to address the challenges facing English Departments.

Outstanding English Major Mariah Miller
Outstanding English Major Mariah Miller

Outstanding English Major Mariah Miller presented her paper entitled “The Human Condition: Exploring Misconfigured Realities in Donnie Darko and Fight Club,” which she had completed for English 237: Literary Research and Analysis, at a panel on Friday afternoon.  Along with the other Outstanding English Majors, Miller received her Outstanding English Major award and an anthology of Shakespeare in a lunch ceremony earlier in the day.

The next EAPSU spring conference for undergraduates will be held at Lock Haven in spring 2018. The next fall conference, for faculty, is at Shippensburg in the fall of 2018.  Undergraduates who wish to attend the conference should apply for Noonan grants in spring.  Faculty and students should consider forming panels for the conference from class projects.

~ Jill Craven