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English and World Languages is in Their “Fearless” and “Speak Now” Eras

Leading up to Taylor Swift’s release of her newest album The Tortured Poets Department, the department of English and World Languages is highlighting each of her albums in preparation for the event. This week, the department has entered its Fearless and Speak Now eras! The album Fearless was originally released in 2008, with her rerecording or “Taylor’s Version” rereleased in April of 2021. Fearless incorporates themes of romance, aspirations, fairytale elements, heartache, and resilience through its 26 song track list. Some key songs off of this album include “Love Story,” “White Horse,” “Fearless,” and “Forever and Always.” Her third studio album Speak Now was originally released in 2010, with Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) released in July of 2023. This album transitions from adolescence into adulthood by incorporating themes of coming into your own and gaining confidence through whimsical and theatrical elements. Some key songs off of this album include “Long Live,” “Enchanted,” “Dear John,” “Mine,” “Sparks Fly,” and “Better Than Revenge.”

You may be in your ENWL Fearless era too if you are:

  • Registered for the Spanish Literature in English (CRN 14628) for next fall
  • Write 8 pages for a 4 page paper
  • Romanticize the little things
  • Love a late night study session with friends
  • Daydream about a bright future
  • A member of Spanish club

You may be in your ENWL Speak Now era too if you are:

  • Someone who takes creative risks
  • Grew up reading fairytales
  • Is a multifaceted and multimodal writer
  • Defies stereotypes
  • Is a member of the Creative Writers Guild
  • Have a Goodreads account
  • Secretly loves rock music

Dr. Jakubiak is in her Fearless era, as she travels across the world to showcase not only her writing and poetry talents, but also brings back this international knowledge to her courses and students. The song “Fearless” has the lyrics “and I don’t know how it gets better than this, you take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless.” These lyrics showcase her bravery in going to different places and events to show her work and highlights how putting yourself out there “fearlessly” can lead to a successful outcome. Dr. Jakubiak’s adventure with the English languages started with translating lyrics of Pop and Rock songs by artists like George Michael, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper!

Dr. Pfannenstiel is in her Speak Now era, as although she may appear to be soft like the album cover, she creates a blend of deep knowledge and student centered teaching that evokes the same spirit as Speak Now. She includes elements of lighthearted joy alongside rock and roll that encapsulate the theme of being honest to oneself, as heard on the album. Dr. P connects to the song “Enchanted,” as she is always so kind, helpful, and thoughtful to be both her undergrad and gradate students. It is always enchanting to get to grow with her as a learner!

Both Fearless and Speak Now have unexpected literature connections. Swift draws inspiration from William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet for her hit song “Love Story,” narrating a modern and happier retelling of the classic fated lovers on her Fearless album. The song “Speak Now” has a connection to the 1967 film The Graduate, as the song features the lyrics “don’t say yes, run away now, I’ll meet you when you’re out of the church at the back door.” These lyrics recall an experience of crashing a wedding and running away with one member of the couple, which was mist famously done in the move, as Benjamin crashes the wedding of his lover Elaine and whisks her away onto a bus.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on our Instagram @ville.englishworldlanguage to see why the humanities will “never go out of style.”

Research Corner: Faces take us places

This week, through our data tracking, it was evident that we received a boost in engagement with posts that included faces of our faculty rather than those without. For example, on our ENWL trope posts, we had a total of 20 likes over 48 hours with zero saves, zero shares, and zero comments. However, on the Faculty Feature post, we had a total of 35 likes over 48 hours, with 4 saves and eight shares. It is interesting to see this boost because of this one change, and makes us wonder if this is because the posts with faces fit the expectations set for social media rather than those with just text or images.


Calling All Poets!- Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Contest

The Academy of American Poets is hosting a student poetry contest and we invite both undergraduate and graduate students to apply! You can submit up to three (1-3) poems in any form to Dr. Farkas by emailing her at with the subject line of “poetry contest.” In the email, make sure to include your name, MU number, and email address. Do not include your name or any identifying information on the actual poems. The deadline for the contest is Friday, March 15th, 2024.

The winner of the contest will receive $100, their poem published on and listed in the Academy’s annual report, a one-year membership to Academy of American Poets, and a one-year subscription to American Poets magazine.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Farkas at or (717-871-7399). Good luck and happy writing!

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!

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.

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.”





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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to learn more about our graduate programs:

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?