Category Archives: Resources

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. 

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.  

English & World Languages Department News

By: Artemis Harris

Welcome English and World Languages Students 

This blog space is being revived to become a new source of information for students and faculty. There will be upcoming articles with more information regarding developments from the department as well as helpful information for students about different offerings within English and World Languages.  

The semester is in full swing and as we move forward the most important questions students should be asking themselves are: How should I be using Millersville’s resources to my greatest advantage? When I leave here, how can I set myself apart from everyone else?  

That is where that first question comes into play. Millersville, especially within the English and World Languages Department, has so much to offer students so they can go above and beyond in their academic and future careers. This will help your professional ambitions down the line.  

Listed below are a few things that the English and World Languages department has to offer.  

Have you considered an Internship? Internships provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to apply classroom knowledge and to strengthen your professional work habits.  

Study Abroad opportunities are always an option as well. The office of International Programs and Services offers programs for students wishing to study, work, or volunteer abroad. It also allows faculty, staff, and other community members to participate in international education activities. 

Have you considered joining Clubs and Organizations? Millersville has an extensive list of clubs and organizations; however, the English and World Languages Department supports:  

  • The Creative Writers Guild 
  •  English Club 
  • Film Club 
  •  The George Street Press 
  • And more

Also associated with the English Department and/or Millersville is: 

  • The Snapper  
  • The Engage for Change Journal 
  • MUsings The Graduate Journal 

Be on the lookout for a more detailed explanation of these offerings and more in future blog posts. 

Graduate Students: be sure to subscribe to the Graduate Studies in English & World Languages blog for updates specific to Graduate Studies and student needs.    

News and Announcements 

  • The Fall web schedule and other registration information becomes available online March 1. Check the Academic Calendar for up-to-date information.  
  • Graduate Registration begins April 5th  
  • Undergraduate Registration for Fall 2022 begins April 7th-15th. See the registration guide and Appointment Schedule on the Registration Information page for more details.  
  • Millersville’s Swedish partner International English School will be on campus conducting interviews during the first week of March to recruit teachers to join a fantastic working environment starting in early August 2022. They are looking for teachers who are passionate about their subjects with the ability to inspire students. If this is of any interest to you, then please visit International English School for more information.  
  • The Engage for Change Journal has just released its inaugural issue on environmental justice. The Engage for Change Journal is a new journal affiliated with Millersville University that focuses on spreading knowledge about political, social, and economic issues that affect the Lancaster area. Articles published in the journal are written by Millersville students, staff, faculty, and community members. For more information, please visit the journal website at Engage for Change. Also, follow them on Instagram at @engageforchangejournal to keep up with new developments.  
  • Made in Millersville is right around the corner. In-person and online presentations will be presented on April 12, 2022 in McNairy Library. For more information about the event or the Made in Millersville Journal, please visit their website at Made in Millersville. 
  • Dr. Pfannenstiel will be hosting an online Graduate Q & A that is coming up soon. It could answer many of the questions you have about the graduate program. More information and details to come.  
  • MUsings The Graduate Journal is in the process of creating its Spring 2022 issue. More information and details to come.  
  • Friday May 6th the College of Graduate Studies and Adult Learning will be holding the Graduate Commencement Ceremony.   
  • Saturday May 7th the Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony will be held. 

Millersville University Literary Festival

Dr. Sarah D’Stair

On Thursday, November 7 and Friday, November 8, Millersville University will host its annual Literary Festival. This year’s theme is “Writing in Community.”

The event will start on Thursday in McComsey’s Ford Atrium at 4 pm. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are welcome to attend and read at an open reading following featured faculty member Sarah D’Stair.

Meghan Kenny

At 7:30pm, Meghan Kenny will give her keynote address in Myers Auditorium. Meghan Kenny is the author of the short story collection Love Is No Small Thing (LSU Press, 2017) and the novel The Driest Season (W.W. Norton, 2018), which was an honorable mention for the 2019 PEN/HEMINGWAY Award. She lives in Lancaster.

On Friday the 8th, the Literary Festival will continue in the McNairy Library from 9am to 4pm. Individual sessions will take place in Room 100 where you can learn how to:

  • Write fiction and short stories
  • Write thrillers and suspense novels
  • Write free verse and traditional poetry
  • Find work in writing-related fields
  • Find what publishers want and get your work published
  • Write creative non-fiction and memoirs
  • Approach literature for translation

If you have any questions, contact Dr. Archibald or Dr. Jakubiak. Visit the Literary Festival website for the full event schedule and more information.



Fall 2019 Classes

Check out these highlighted classes for Fall 2019! Make sure to check out the registration schedule and meet with your adviser to get your TAP number before your registration time.

ENGL 274 The Craft of WritingDr. Bill Archibald

  • MW 3pm (the schedule says MWF, but it’s MW)
  • This course will focus on writing for television this semester.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110

ENGL 429 Seminar: Killers and ThrillersDr. Carla Rineer

  • TR 9:25 am
  • This class will focus on American Crime Fiction and it satisfies the American Literature requirement.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110, 237 (contact the instructor if you need special permission)

ENGL 450 British Literature Since 1914 – Dr. Katarzyna Jakubiak

  • TR 2:35-3:50pm
  • This course will consider literary figures and works against the background of crisis in the 20th century from the onset of World War I to the present. Students will read and experience new movements, attitudes, and experimental techniques.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110, 237

ENGL 451 Literary CriticismDr. Jill Craven

  • Monday 6-9pm (schedule says Tuesday, but it’s Monday night)
  • This course is a seminar on major critics and theorists from Plato to selected modern critics and will explore critical trends and controversies within literary criticism.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110, 237 (contact the instructor if you need special permission)

ENGL 242 Reading Our World: Unruly BodiesDr. Emily Baldys

  • MW 3-4:35pm or MW 4:30-5:45pm
  • Disability can be a powerful symbol in literature (think Tiny Tim), but what does it mean to be “disabled”? How do the stories that we tell about disabled people’s “unruly bodies” influence society’s expectations about what it means to be a “normal” citizen, subject, and human being?  This course will examine representations of disability in contemporary literature and popular culture. With the help of some readings in critical disability theory, we’ll explore what disability does for literature, and what literature does for disability. We’ll analyze the emotional and political impact of representing disability in a diverse selection of modern narratives, including short stories by Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Carver, Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and an episode from the Netflix series “Atypical.”  Readings will also include poetry, videos, and memoir by disabled authors and activists such as Anne Finger, Stella Young, Stephen Kuusisto, and Neil Hilborn.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110 and SPED 237 (which may be taken as a co-requisite)

ENGL 242 Reading Our World: Bible as Literature – TBD

  • W 6-9pm
  • This class will examine the Bible from a literary and cultural perspective. We will consider the Bible itself as a literary text, reading it closely, and the issues this perspective raises. These include canon formation, the aesthetic forms of the Bible, and its impact on the literary, historical, and religious traditions of diverse peoples for several millennia.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110

ENGL 471 Creative WritingDr. Judy Halden-Sullivan

  • TR 7:30-8:45pm
  • Creative Writing Fall 2019 Flyer
  • This section will emphasize contemporary innovative styling with an invitation to invent hybrid genres of creative writing. Students will explore their relationships with language, notions of what texts can be, and connections with readers.
  • Prereq: ENGL 110

Student Teaching

Mariah Miller wrote an article about her experiences student teaching. Read more below to learn what to expect!

Mariah Miller with her team during Halloween

I never thought I’d be someone who would get excited to be awake at 5:30am. Student teaching has done that for me. Every morning I get up, get ready, and head off to teach 7th grade English Language Arts at Conestoga Valley Middle School. As an English education major, this is the capstone of my entire college career. Everything that I’ve done has led up to this experience. It’s almost surreal to think about, in a sense.

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. I went back and forth between multiple majors for some time. For a semester, I majored in Biology, then switched to undecided, and then went back to English Education. Why did I choose to become a teacher? Mainly, I just want to teach students how to be good people. If I can teach one student how to be a genuinely good person, I’ll know I’ve succeeded. The thing about being an educator is that you are teaching the students so much more than just your subject area entails. You’re there to help them grow not just as as learners, but as productive people in society. Teaching is not an easy job to have, despite what some people think. Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far during my Student Teaching semester:

  1. There is so much more to teaching than you think. You’re constantly thinking, changing plans, and adapting. You have to manage the classroom while simultaneously thinking on your feet. Kids will ask you questions that you did not even think would be on their radar. In order to counteract the everyday spontaneity of being a teacher, over prepare and organize. You can never prepare too many activities, or think of too many ways that students could misunderstand. Put yourself in your students’ shoes. What questions would you have about this activity/assignment if you were this student? Outside of the classroom, keep an agenda and calendar with all of the important assignments/lessons you will have to do. You’ll thank yourself later.
  2. Learning in college classes what teaching is and actually teaching are two entirely different ball games. Of course, the theories and methods are important, but remembering that these are actual individuals with their own unique backgrounds is more important. I can’t stress it enough – get to know your students first and foremost. If you don’t establish rapport with students, it’s almost impossible to get them to want to learn. Your classroom environment is so much stronger when learners know that you care about them and want them to succeed. They’re not afraid to fail when they know you are there to catch them when they do.
  3. You can’t predict what is going to happen on a daily basis. You may have a plan, but that plan may fall flat and you will have to improvise on the spot. Don’t be afraid to try new things, because your mentor will be there to help you! It’s ok for things to not work out because it’s a learning experience. Failure = growth!
  4. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. If you find yourself struggling, ask for help. You have so many people around who want you to succeed.
  5. It’s not as scary as you probably think it is. Throughout your professional bloc, you will pick up on the ins and outs of your school/classroom (using the printer, taking attendance, organizing student work, grading, disciplining, managing the classroom, etc.). When you start your student teaching semester, your first main focus is integrating yourself back into the classroom. Your mentor won’t just throw you to the sharks without any support. You gradually ease into taking over the classroom.

Lastly, I’ve learned to just have fun and enjoy this valuable time of my developing professional career. It may seem like a semester is a long time, but it flies by when you’re the one teaching. Student teaching has made me more excited than ever to have a classroom of my own one day. I’ve never been so sure of a career in my life. As you take the next step into student teaching, remember these words. I promise they will help to guide you and make student teaching one of the best experiences of your life.

-Mariah Miller

Do you have any advice for student teachers or any experiences other students could benefit from about student teaching? If so, contact Rachel Hicks with your story.

Internship Profile–Kaylee Herndon

Read about Kaylee Herndon’s Internship with the Reading Royals hockey team! For more information about the internship process, check out the MU Internships webpage. 

I am currently in the middle of spending the hockey season with the Reading Royals hockey team in Reading, PA. As one of their media interns for the season I am getting to use my Journalism and English experience in a career path that many people do not regularly consider when getting their degree.

Photo by Kaylee Herndon

Working in media relations for a sports team is extremely similar to working in a newsroom, except that you know what your writing will focus on each day that you go into work. There are daily deadlines, social media updates, live tweeting, and other aspects that go into promoting a team and covering their games.

I have been using social media, Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere in addition to traditional writing at this internship (see the above graphic made using Photoshop). Premiere is something that I thought I would never need to learn, but it turns out the journalism professors are right: you need to be able to take and edit your own photos and videos to make it out there.

Another skill I was surprised that I needed to use is my phone photography. It is the easiest and fastest way to get photos up on social media, i.e. an Instagram story. I found out that there are settings within the camera that makes capturing quick movement, like skaters or pucks, easier, but it is still a skill to be learned.

The most interesting concept of the job for me is that I went from being an athlete to covering the athlete. Having been on the opposite side of the job definitely provides me a different perspective. It creates some barriers when it comes to what I expect to be true and what reality is. This includes willingness of participation of athletes in team promotion activities and fan engagement and the accommodation (or non-accommodation) of the coaching staff. It also has helped me create some unique ideas, such as a player blog where a player gets to discuss their experiences in the local area and on the team. It was a large adjustment in terms of expectations when I found out that the media for a team does not regularly interact with its player-members of the team that they promote. While from the athletic view it makes sense, at least while in college, it would produce more interesting and engaging content if players were more actively involved with the media being put out about them.

Overall, this internship has been an incredible experience so far in terms of preparing me for my future career whether I go into sports or traditional journalism. Without the real-life experience, I feel like I would be under prepared for the fast-paced world of sports journalism.

-Kaylee Herndon

Reading Our World: Masculinity

ENGL 242: Reading Our World is one of the core classes of the English major that is almost comparable to an advanced book club. Each section of Reading Our World focuses on a different theme  explored through a section of texts on that theme. Critical lenses are applied across the field of English Studies to explore different perspectives by learning methods for critiquing texts.

Of the many sections of ENGL 242 offered next semester, one of the newest to look out for is Reading Our World: Masculinity.

Toxic masculinity is a buzzword in 2018, but the concept certainly isn’t new. In academic circles, the preferred term is hegemonic masculinity. Simply put, this term refers to any practice that attempts to justify male dominance over women and “weaker” types of men. We see this not only in the male/female binary, but also in the straight/gay and alpha/beta binaries. These biases are deeply ingrained, even in our language. Honorific language is used to describe highly “masculine” traits, whereas pejoratives are used for most characteristics deemed “feminine,” especially when referring to less “masculine” men.

This course will examine Western literature through the lens of various masculinities in an effort to unveil the toxic ideology that contributes to social ills, including domestic violence, rape culture, gay-bashing, and the abuse of power, among others. Ultimately, students will leave this course able to recognize the ideology of hegemonic masculinity when they encounter it in music, film, television, and literature so that they can begin to dismantle it.


  • Wednesday from 6-9pm at the Ware Center
  • Counts as a G1 and a W
  • If you have already taken ENGL 242, you can take it again for elective credit

TCK Publishing


Publishing a collection of stories, a novel, or a selection of poetry is much easier than it used to be with the rise of self-publishing, Ebooks, and online publishing houses. Now, an author or poet doesn’t need an agent to help them navigate the publishing field. TCK Publishing is an option for writers who want to be published but may not have the means or desire to hire an agent.

TCK publishing is a small press publisher that encourages student writers to submit their novels and nonfiction manuscripts for feedback, as well as a potential book deal. They publish books in a wide variety of genres, including mystery, thriller, romance, science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. There is no need to hire a professional editor (though it is not discouraged) because TCK publishing’s editors provide free developmental editing, copyediting, line editing, and proofreading services.

TCK publishing pays 50% net royalties–3 to 6 times more than traditional publishers pay. There is no fee to submit a manuscript nor is there a fee to publish the finished book.

Check out the submissions guidelines page to learn about the process of submitting your manuscript!

If you have recently published a book, let us know! We would love to feature you on the blog. Contact Rachel Hicks with your story.