Alumna Profile: Lea Scott

I currently work as a 9-12 school counselor at a Career and Technical Education (CTE) school in Chester County, PA.  After graduating from the ‘Ville in 2005, I took a teaching job at the same school, instructing grades 9-12 in World Literature, British Literature, and American Literature.  I finished my Master’s in secondary counseling at West Chester University in December of 2012 and took on a counseling job in July of 2013.

I consistently reference my English roots and my office is filled with YA novels and undergraduate texts as well!  Reading is still one of my very favorite hobbies.

Alumna Profile: Nicole Quaste

Nicole Quaste
Nicole Quaste

I attended Millersville as an English major from 2009–2013. I then went onto grad school at Villanova and completed my Masters in English Literature with a Certificate in Communications in May.

I currently work a Yardley, PA-based company called FXExpress Publications, Inc. as an assistant editor for travel publications Global Traveler, Trazee Travel and Wherever Family.

I’m grateful to Millersville every day and miss it dearly.

Week of Wonderful Poetry at MU

This week was a wonderful one for literary events at MU!  Millersville English faculty and students were involved with 3 readings on campus, and one event at The Ware Center.  The readings on The National Day of Writing will be covered in the article on Friday’s events.

Mindi Kirchner-Greenaway
Mindi Kirchner-Greenaway reading her poetry at MU

On Tuesday, poetry pair William Greenaway and Mindi Kirchner-Greenaway graced McNairy Library’s Reading Room with their thoughtful reflections.  Professor Mindi Kirchner, who teaches  English 110 at Millersville University, began the readings with poems from her upcoming volume.  Professor Greenaway, Distinguished Professor of English (retired from Youngstown State University), enlivened the event with his Southern accent and poems from his latest publications.  Both provided great context for the genesis of their ideas and cultural touchstones in their works.

William Greenaway finished the event with reading his moving poem, “Pit Pony,” about the experience of the ponies who lived their entire lives in the mines and finally were freed to live above ground:


Pit Pony
Shetland Pit Pony

There are only a few left, he says,
kept by old Welsh miners, souvenirs, like
gallstones or gold teeth, torn
from this “pit,” so cold and wet
my breath comes out a soul up
into my helmet’s lantern beam,
anthracite walls running,
gleaming, and the floors iron-rutted
with tram tracks, the almost pure
rust that grows and waves like
orange moss in the gutters of water
that used to rise and drown.
He makes us turn all lights off, almost
a mile down. While children scream
I try to see anything, my hand touching
my nose, my wife beside me—darkness palpable,
velvet sack over our heads, even the glow
of watches left behind. This is where
they were born, into this nothing, felt
first with their cold noses for the shaggy
side and warm bag of black
milk, pulled their trams for twenty
years through pitch, past birds
that didn’t sing, through doors
opened by five-year-olds who sat
in the cheap, complete blackness listening
for steps, a knock. And they
died down here, generation after
generation. The last one, when it
dies in the hills, not quite blind, the mines
closed forever, will it die strangely? Will it
wonder dimly why it was exiled from the rest
of its race, from the dark flanks of the soft
mother, what these timbers are that hold up
nothing but blue? If this is the beginning
of death, this wind, these stars?

Roxana Cazan reading her poetry at the International Policy Conference
Roxana Cazan reading her poetry at the International Policy Conference

On Thursday, poet Rozana Cazan, Assistant Professor of English at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania, read poetry at the (im)Migration International Policy Conference session on “Immigration Poetry as Self-Exploration.”  The poems came from her second full-length poetry book, The Accident of Birth, is forthcoming with main Street Rag in January 2018.  Cazan comes from Romania, and many of her poems reflected her experience as an immigrant in a land where immigrants are increasingly demonized.  She visited with Dr. Kasia Jakubiak’s Creative Writing class after the event finished.

Dr. Caleb Corkery discusses Hip Hop advocacy
Dr. Caleb Corkery discusses Hip Hop advocacy

On Saturday, spoken word poet Evita Colon came to the Ware Center with her troupe of poets and dancers for a Speak to My Soul performance.  Dr. Caleb Corkery introduced the session with a discussion on advocacy aspects of the hip hop movement.  The “Purple Cries for Blue Skies” performance focused on issues of domestic violence and the power that victims need to find to leave toxic situations.

Evita Colon's Purple Tears for Blue Skies Performance
Evita Colon’s Purple Cries for Blue Skies Performance

Are You “Woke”? Social Justice Fair on Monday, October 23, 2017

Students interested in social justice in their communities should attend the Social Justice Fair on Monday, October 23, in the Student Memorial Center.  The day’s events, which unfold in and around the Multipurpose Room, include:

  • 8-9am–A Social Justice Fair (on display throughout the day) where various social justice organizations will present their information
  • 9:00-9:10–Welcome and Introduction: What is Social Justice
  • 9:10-9:50–Action and Engagement Panel
  • 10-10:50–Campus Climate Survey and Discussion
  • 11-11:50–Social Justice Film Excerpts and Discussion
  • 12-1:00–Keynote and Free Lunch
  • 1-1:50–Action and Engagement Panel

Our Keynote Speaker, Anne Kirby, is an expert on creating community.  She is the founding member of the sweet core, The Candy Factory & Groundworks, Lancaster’s premier coworking space and home to over 60+ coworkers. She also manages The Arch, a new art collective in Lancaster.  She will be speaking on techniques for building strong community and encouraging collaboration as well as her own experience becoming involved in the political process.

We welcome all members of the Millersville Community to attend.  Attendance is free, but just register by sending an email to so lunches can be ordered!

Post your social justice events and follow the day at

If you are interested in getting involved, see the Civic and Service Organizations at Get Involved.  Some university and community organizations that welcome your participation include:







MU English attends Dr. Ibram Kendi lecture at Midtown Scholar

Current and former members of the MU English Department attended the Midtown Scholar Bookstore‘s Harrisburg Book Festival this weekend.  On Friday, Dr. Ibram Kendi discussed ideas from his book Stamped for the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, the 2016 winner of the National Book Award.  The Midtown Scholar was packed to hear the insights of the youngest scholar to win the National Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Ibram Kendi answering audience questions
Ibram Kendi answering audience questions

The evening began with Harrisburg Mayor Papenfuse welcoming everyone to the event, and thanking sponsors, including Millersville University’s English Department.  He also thanked event organizer and Bookstore manager, Alex Brubaker, who is a Millersville University English and Philosophy double major graduate.  Alex was instrumental in bringing the excellent line-up for this series to the region.

Kendi spoke about his ideas and read from his book for about 30 minutes, and then took many questions from the very engaged audience.  Kendi identified racist, assimilationist, anti-racist ideas and how these make an impact on our progress as a society.  He warned about the negative consequences of not addressing the racial inequities that plague American and other societies.  Kendi provided insights into the history of racist ideas that included polygenesis and other concepts set forth to attempt to justify social inequities.

Millersville English community discusses the Kendi lecture
Millersville English community discusses the Kendi lecture

The audience was keen to explore the history and terminology that Kendi put forth.  Kendi stayed after the lecture to sign copies of his book.  Many in the audience stayed around to discuss the ideas and their import.  This type of intellectual interchange can be the heart of university experience.

Kendi will be coming to Millersville in March.

~Jill Craven



Harrisburg Book Festival with Keynote Speaker Ibram Kendi

This coming weekend is the Harrisburg Book Festival at everyone’s favorite PA bookstore, the Midtown Scholar.  If you haven’t been to this bookstore, it’s worth the trip!

This weekend’s events will start on Thursday October 12 and run through Sunday, October 15.

Thursday, October 12th | 7pm–Spoken Word
The 2017 Harrisburg Book Festival opens with an evening of spoken word.  Join award-winning poets Safiya Sinclair, Joshua Bennett, and Shara McCallum for an evening of poetry.

Friday, October 13th | 7pm–Ibram Kendi Keynote

IBRAM X. KENDI, AN AWARD-WINNING HISTORIAN AND NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, was published by Nation Books and won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. He grew up dreaming about playing in the NBA (National Basketball Association), and ironically he ended up joining the other NBA. (Kendi’s website)

English has tickets to the Ibram Kendi event through our sponsorship of the festival.  If you want a ticket, please contact  You can find more information on his website.

Saturday, October 14TH | 10am – 12pm

Saturday, October 14th | 11am – 5pm
Print-Your-own bookmark with Typothecary letterPress

Saturday, October 14th | 2pm
The Role of the Critic in the Digital Age–A roundtable discussion with four book reviewers

Saturday, October 14th | 4pm
Light the dark: A Conversation on creative Inspiration with Joe Fassler

Saturday, October 14th | 6pm
The Art of the novel: A Conversation with Jennifer Haigh and Liz Moore

Sunday, October 15th | 2pm
One book, One Community: An Afternoon with Elizabeth Wein

Sunday, October 15th | 3:30pm
The Power of Seeing: Rorschach, the inkblots, and the enduring relevance of the iconic test

Sunday, October 15th | 5pm
The Haunted Life of Shirley Jackson: A Conversation with Ruth Franklin

For more information, see their schedule.

Photo Credit: William Fletcher

Spring Course Registration

Spring courses are available and listed on the Registrar’s website.  Students should visit with their advisers (listed on their DARS report in MAX) to obtain a TAP number to be able to register at their allotted appointment times (also available on the Registrar’s website).

This spring, Dr. Pfannenstiel will be offering a new course, Web Writing (ENGL 318), which is now an option to fulfill English majors’ Advanced Writing requirement (instead of ENGL 311 or a thesis).

Our thematic core course, Reading Our World (ENGL 242), will feature these themes:

  • Hip Hop Culture
  • American Identity
  • The Bible as Literature
  • Social Justice
  • Storybuilding (requires clearances for secondary school visits)

Students can retake ENGL 242 when the themes differ, so it’s great for an elective too!

Dr. Ording will be teaching a new Comparative Literature seminar on Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.  If you are interested in these masters of the novel, be sure to check out this course.

Dr. Corkery will be teaching ENGL 347: Studies of Ethnicity in Film which will focus on African Americans in film throughout the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries.  This course is offered bi-annually, so take it now if you minor in film or are interested in African American cultural studies.  Dr. Corkery can let you in if you don’t meet the prerequisites (ENGL 311).

Students on the Writing Studies track should take note of The Craft of Writing (ENGL 274), Web Writing (ENGL 318), Science Writing (ENGL 319), and Reading and Writing for Civic Change (ENGL 342).

Journalism students should consider taking ENGL 315: Advanced Reporting and  ENGL 330: Computer Assisted Journalism if they have taken ENGL 313 already.

Students who have ESL concentrations should take ENGL 460: Teaching ESL: Speaking and Listening this semester.

Please note that English BSE students who are preparing to register for Sophomore Bloc must have their clearances to register.

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


Environmental Writing on the Susquehanna River

For many, the Susquehanna River is just that expanse they cross on their way along the Pennsylvania Turnpike or a troublemaker for the Chesapeake Bay, but for students from ENGL 466: Environmental Advocacy Writing the river is a source of inspiration. These students have been tasked with telling stories of the river, focusing on the people, plants, animals, and places that make the Susquehanna a valuable connection to our area. What better way to start that process than by getting into the river itself?

Susky Fishing CreekLed by Dr. Justin Mando and guided by Shank’s Mare Outfitters, the class floated the river to gain a sense of place that will drive the writing they do on behalf of this magnificent, threatened, and often overlooked American waterway. Their goal is to capture in writing both the aesthetic and cultural value of the Susquehanna along with the threats that face it. Many organizations from the Susquehanna’s headwaters to its mouth in the Chesapeake Bay are excited to hear what flows from our student advocates. River Stewards, a Susquehanna-focused organization, funded the excursion in its entirety. This surely demonstrates the value of the work our students do!

English Students ready for Field Research
English Students ready for Field Research

The trip was attended by Lindsey Campbell, Kaitlyn Cicchino, Maddy Giardina, Rylan Harvey, Karen Layman, Dylan Marciano, Amanda Mooney, Julia Snyder, and Caitlyn Tynes.

The students set off on a calm evening in early October, taking double kayaks from south of Wrightsville down to Fishing Creek and back in the section of the Susquehanna known as Lake Clarke. Because it is between two dams, this part of the river is much more like a lake than what normally comes to mind when we think of rivers. This lake-like stretch has caused the students to think of how differently they may have to communicate environmental issues to citizens located along the banks of Lake Clarke among lighthouses, seagulls and jetskis than they would in the river’s northern reaches of grass islands, exposed rocks and riffles.

These kinds of rhetorical issues regarding context and audience really come to life when you’re out there in the middle of the river. You can’t help but imagine the native Susquehannock settlements of the distant past and their dugout sycamore canoes juxtaposed with the brightly-colored kayaks we floated. You look to the top of Turkey Hill where a landfill, a processing plant and windmills now have the high ground and then your eyes focus on the mottled white of a swooping osprey. You come ashore and the ground feels different; it’s not just your soggy shoes, it’s the sense of being part of the sweeping flows of time and place that we as individuals can passively float or choose to paddle against.

–Justin Mando

Photo credit: Dylan Marciano for panorama of Susquehanna

Susky - Lake Clarke

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