World Poetry Day

On March 21st, the English & World Languages department hosted a virtual celebration for World Poetry Day. Guest poets Michele Santamaria, Michael Garrigan, and Barbara DeCesare read their poetry and discussed creative writing and the publication process.

If you would like to view the virtual event, the video recording is included below.

World Poetry Day Reading – Michele Santamaria, Michael Garrigan, and Barbara DeCesare

World Poetry Day Reading by Michele Santamaria, Michael Garrigan, and Barbara DeCesare. Moderated by Dr. Kaitlin Mondello. Hosted by the Department of English & World Languages at Millersville University.

Featured below is a bilingual poetry reading provided by Dr. Christine Gaudry, Dr. Marco Antolin, and Dr. Wilfredo Valentín-Márquez of the World Languages department.

World Poetry Day Bilingual Reading – Dr. Christine Gaudry, Dr. Marco Antolin, and Dr. Wilfredo Valentín-Márquez

World Languages faculty read poetry in the language they specialize in and a translated English version to provide a cross-cultural poetry experience for World Poetry Day (March 21, 2022). A special thank you to Dr. Christine Gaudry, Dr. Marco Antolin, and Dr. Wilfredo Valentín-Márquez for their assistance in this project.

Study Abroad

By: Artemis Harris

This blog will discuss the Study Abroad program at Millersville, specifically:  

  • What is it?  
  • What does it have to offer? 
  • Why should you want to join it? 
  • What can you get out of it?  
  • Additional facts 

What is the Study Abroad program? The Study Abroad program is part of The Office of International Programs and Services (IPS) here at Millersville. This Office provides opportunities for Millersville University students, faculty, staff, and other community members to participate in international education activities. These opportunities also allow students to study, work, or volunteer abroad, and provide resources to faculty who are interested in adding an international component to their teaching or research. 

What does Study Abroad have to offer? The Study Abroad program is extensive but can be catered specifically to your needs. IPS is working hard to help Millersville students achieve their goals of studying internationally. For World Language students, it is strongly encouraged that students study abroad for one or two semesters during their junior year in: 

  • Chile: Valparaíso (full language immersion) 
  • France: Caen (full language immersion) 
  • France: Paris (partial language immersion) 
  • Germany: Marburg (full or partial language immersion) 
  • Japan: Osaka (partial language immersion) 
  • Spain: Burgos or Pamplona (full language immersion) 
  • Or in another approved program abroad 

Although these are some countries mentioned, IPS has over 300 options ranging from languages specific to education, to humanities, and a plethora of other options to suit your needs. If you can’t find a program within Millersville that matches what you are looking for, you can build your own from other universities’ existing programs, or piece together current programs to make a program that works for you. There is also another program called the Millersville Abroad Programs or MAPS.  

MAPS experiences are shorter Study Abroad programs. They can also be guided experiences that take place in the span of 1-3 weeks and can count toward your academic credits. These are guided by Millersville staff or faculty who take a group of students, alumni, or community members abroad. Some upcoming MAPS destinations:  

  • Italy, Austria, France, UK: Broadway Musicals & European Influences (Summer 2022) 
  • Spain, Morocco, Portugal: Music of Ancient & Exotic World Cultures (Summer 2022) 
  • Iceland: Energy Resources, Sustainability, & the Environment (Summer 2022) 
  • England: Millersville Men’s Soccer Trip (Summer 2022) 
  • Toronto International Film Festival (Fall 2022) 
  • Italy: Exploring Education, Policy, and Culture (Spring 2023) 
  • England: Business in London (Spring 2023) 

Why you should want to join and what you can get out of it are very closely related. For World Language students specifically, you can complete your study of a language and culture in the country where that language is spoken (single-semester and summer programs are available). A major advantage of this program is the ability to gain language fluency through immersion. Generally, for all who seek to enter the program, other advantages are the experience of living in another culture, becoming comfortable in new surroundings, and making lifelong friendships and lasting memories.  

Alternatively, for both undergraduate and graduate students, studying abroad is a perfect addition to your resume. Besides the proficiency you may gain by learning the language (if you are learning a language), living in another country and doing an internship, work study, research, or any number of other things, it will also help you present yourself as a well-rounded and cultured individual to prospective employers.  

What else is there to know about Study Abroad? If you are thinking about a Study Abroad program, you should contact IPS right away. They can help advise you on the appropriate steps to take for this process and what programs are available during the times you are looking to complete your program. It is suggested that you do this advising a year before you do the actual Study Abroad program, even though the application process is relatively short. IPS intends to help you throughout the entire process. This includes budgeting, applications, and general advising. As for the parts they can’t help you with, they will send you to the right departments to get you the help you need. You will also need to check in with your academic advisor to be sure that a Study Abroad program aligns with your academic goals and that you are able to based on your academic progress and standing. There are also discounts, grants, scholarships, and additional funding information available to help fund your Study Abroad Program.  

Click Here for more information on the Study Abroad programs or stop by The Office of International Programs and Services in Lyle Hall on the first floor. 

Class Discussions and the Scholarly Community

By: Hayley Billet

Classroom settings and course work serve a much greater purpose than to simply provide students with assignments and a final grade. The ideas that are discussed in the classroom help students make connections that will serve them in the future. It helps them form the foundation for the arguments used in their theses as well as synthesizing many important ideas that will guide them in scholarly communities. Classroom learning is about both knowing the content and knowing how to work with (think with and through) the content. 

Classes are meant to guide students through their areas of academic interest and beyond. It is also meant to help students learn about their fields of interest. In both these ways, students are exposed to the breadth and depth of content and theories within the discipline, understanding which theories are used by whom to build arguments. Through the work produced for classes, students can revise their research into something to present at a conference that specializes in their area of interest or something to submit to a journal that is based in their field of interest. Again, the breadth and depth help students understand where their research aligns with contemporary conversations, so they are prepared to present at conferences.  

Graduate courses are meant to mentor graduate students and prepare them for future success, graduate courses invite students to join the scholarly community. This starts in the classroom and through the professors that initiate and provoke these crucial conversations. After all, professors serve as another foundational element that will help students and push them to be better scholars. Whether or not that happens will be up to the individual student. 

It is up to the students to learn from this information and push themselves, using what they have learned in the classroom, to help them succeed in their future careers and interact with others in the scholarly community. It is expected that graduate students develop and refine their writing and critical thinking skills, often on their own in addition to coursework. Their writing is meant to propel them into their future career pursuits and academic choices. The skills graduate and undergraduate students use in scholarly communities are learned and refined in the classroom. Undergraduate students are expected to discuss and build upon their existing prior knowledge of academic topics. Undergraduate students activate prior knowledge (APK) in the classroom, and in doing so discover and develop their academic and scholarly skills.  

English and World Languages graduate students are expected to use their writing as a tool for success. Graduate school is an opportunity for students to strengthen their professional and creative writing skills. This will help English and World Languages graduate students become better writers and learn to establish themselves in professional settings. They are able to draw from their academic work and classroom conversations and use that to help them interact in scholarly communities and solidify themselves as successful academic scholars. Getting along with other colleagues in the scholarly community and maintaining academic conversations in these fields starts in the classroom.  

The value of building many ideas, having academic conversations (the back and forth of a discussion), and synthesizing these ideas and experiences together is crucial in helping graduate students reach their full academic potential and apply these learned experiences in the classroom to the real-world of academia. It is important that graduate students understand the connections between what they learn and discuss in the classroom and the scholarly community. Not only are they both important to ensure student success, but they also help to strengthen graduate student’s critical, professional, and creative skills. This synthesis of ideas can also be applied to the success of undergraduate students as well. Undergraduate school is concerned with teaching students professionalism and helping them learn how to apply their pre-existing knowledge and sets of skills. This will help them become better academic scholars and get them thinking about their role in the scholarly community. 

By taking what they have learned in the classroom and applying it to the scholarly community, graduate and undergraduate students can begin to establish themselves scholars. Graduate school is meant to introduce students to their field of interest and allow them to begin engaging in professional organizations, conferences, and publications. Undergraduate school is concerned with teaching students professionalism. They each serve an important purpose. The conversations they will have with others in the scholarly community will call back to the conversations they have started in the classroom.  

Classroom conversations serve as the foundation that helps graduate and undergraduate students prepare for conversations with others at conferences, in professional settings, professional organizations, etc. Not only does it serve to build their confidence, but it also serves as a gateway to more important conversations in the scholarly community. 

How to Ask Faculty for Support Letters

By: Jordan Traut

Asking a professor for a letter of recommendation can feel a bit overwhelming, especially when you know it has been a busy semester for faculty at the university. However, it is important to advocate for yourself. In this post, I will illustrate a few ways to strike a professional balance between going after what you are entitled to and being courteous when asking for a letter of faculty support or recommendation with the “Five Ts.” That is—Teacher, Time, Tone, Type, and Technicalities.  

Teacher: This one is a no brainer but choose your professor wisely. Beyond providing evidence that what you claim is true, letters of recommendation are an excellent chance for your prospective employers or grant committees to see if you make smart choices and have maintained your professional relationships.  

You do not want to be the candidate whose letter starts off, “I was surprised this student reached out to me for a recommendation…”. It is difficult to come back from a poor faculty support letter. No one wants to work with someone who does not have positive reviews from their superiors, although chances are you will not get along with every professor you meet at the university. Therefore, it is best to skip the professor whose class you ditched every other Monday. Ask a faculty member who wants you to succeed. Then, be sure to provide them with the information they need to help you shine.  

Time: It is not always possible to give your professor a month’s notice for all letters of recommendation, although some internship programs and grant applications do provide ample time. If you can give a professor one month in advance, be sure to respectfully check in with them around the two-week mark to ensure they have everything they need from you. Anything more than a month might lead to your professor shelving your letter for more urgent duties and forgetting about it.  

Two weeks is also reasonable, especially if the letter only needs to be one page. This is the case for most letters of funding support. In a crunch, you can give one week’s notice, but I would recommend bringing your professor a coffee and an apologetic explanation as to why you could not reach out to them sooner.  

One thing you should not do is tell your professor that they can take however long they need to get to your letter, especially if you need it by a certain date. We always want to remain polite and be considerate of faculty’s busy schedule, but it is always better to be clear about the due date so your professor can let you know you will need to find someone else to write the letter. This will also avoid panicked emails the day before the letter is due and then submitting a frantic recommendation because your professor assumed they had more time.  

Tone: I could tell you to be extra polite in your initial email, but I think being professional is a better choice. (Sending an email—by the way—is the best way to go about asking for faculty support because your professor will have the ability to go back and reread for reference while they are writing.) Be assertive and clear. Going back to my earlier point, it can be confusing if your language is so polite and flowery that your professor thinks they have much more time than they do.  

Be kind and appreciative. For example: “Good morning Dr. Pfannenstiel, I hope my email finds you well. Would it be possible for you to write a letter of recommendation for me by July 10th, 2022? I am applying for Sponsored Program’s grant writer position and thought you could provide my prospective employer with valuable information about my successes in your Digital Portfolio course as well as detail the numerous scholarships I received for my proposal writing. Attached is my resume and a copy of the application. I highlighted the relevant information. I really appreciate your help with this but understand if you have too many other commitments. Please let me know by this Friday either way. Thank you.” 

There is no need to sell yourself short in your email either. Beyond it being the faculty’s job to write letters of support, you deserve to have a successful career and be awarded funding for your scholarly projects. That is your job at the university, and it is one you cannot always do alone.  

Type: It is critical you understand what you need and then ask for it specifically. A letter of recommendation for a job application is significantly different than a letter of support for a grant application. Clearly state what kind of letter you need.  

If, for example, you are writing a grant proposal for the AHSS student fund, let the faculty member know that they will need to explain how your project aligns with current curriculum in your program. Support letters for the SGRCA must include the university letterhead and a signature. In the same way, recommendations for jobs and internships have different requirements and components you must pass along to the professor.  

Do not assume they will read your entire job application before writing. Although, it is always beneficial to attach whatever you are applying for, so your professor knows who and for what they are recommending you.  

Technicalities: Include details, details, details. Be sure to first explicitly state what job you are applying to and for what company. If applying for funding, be sure to include the full name of the grant, scholarship, or fellowship and your project title. It is imperative your professor include this in their letter to demonstrate they work closely with you. I knew a professor who asked students to fill out an entire Google Form before requesting a letter of recommendation, so they knew exactly who to address, what character traits to illuminate, and what areas of expertise to emphasize.  

For job applications, I suggest attaching your resume and the application you are applying to. For funding, it is standard to include the grant application as well as your typed proposal. In your initial email, asking your professor to write the letter, highlight with bullet points what you hope they focus on from the job or grant application.  

For example, SGRCA requires all students to discuss their project’s methodology and theoretical framework. Put how you hope your professor can address those two aspects in your letter as it pertains to your proposal. Employers and grant committees alike expect to see you have chosen a professor who knows your work and validates what you have expressed in your own resume and writing.  

A strategy I have often found useful when you need multiple faculty letters of recommendation is to have each professor focus on a slightly different aspect of your work so their combined input paints a full picture of who you are as a student and researcher.  

Lastly, be sure to tell them when you need their letter by and who to send it to. Will they be mailing it directly to the company or can they simply attach a signed copy in an email to you personally? This part is important. Give your professor a due date. 

What NOT to do: Typically, the more specific information you can provide your professor, the better. Unless your relationship is developed enough and the faculty member writing your letter has stated they are open to one-on-one editing, it is not advisable to return their letter with edits if you are able to even see the final draft before it is sent.  

Avoid dictating exact phrases and sentences you want your professor to use in their writing. You should have already selected a professor you have faith in to paint an accurate picture of you in the letter. They know how to write, especially in the English program.  

Certainly, you may not change anything a professor writes in their recommendation. That is unethical and potentially illegal. 

Jill Craven Sabbatical Update

By: Artemis Harris

As students, we tend to not think about the things that happen outside of ourselves or our own personal friendships. It is easy for us to overlook the fact that our professors lead full and fascinating lives outside of their office hours or the podiums in the classroom. We see them as these monolithic figures towering over us with their degrees and high standards, but really, they are just people like we are. They have families, personal and private struggles, and believe it or not, a lot of them are doing research and writing papers similarly to you and me.  

One such professor is Dr. Jill Craven, who was nice enough to allow me to interview her for an update on her sabbatical. This article will give us not only some information on the sabbatical, but also a little information about her to current (or new) students who may not know who she is, since her sabbatical is coming to an end and she will be joining us again in the Fall. This is a great opportunity to get to know a wonderful professor and what she is doing/has done for the English and World Languages Department.  

Dr. Craven started her career at Millersville University in 1999. Her doctoral degree from UNC-Chapel Hill is in Comparative Literature, with a focus on 20th century European and American narratives (both in literature and in film). Dr. Craven was originally hired to teach film at Millersville, and one of her focal areas of study was film; however, it is her hope to teach World Literature before she retires. Dr. Craven has had an illustrious career here at Millersville as she has served 6 years as Chair of the English department and 22 years as its film studies scholar. 

I asked Dr. Craven what she liked to do in her spare time beyond Millersville and was surprised to hear that although Millersville doesn’t offer her a lot of free time, she has been quite busy with the work she is able to do. According to Dr. Craven, given the current situation in the United States, she is fairly addicted to political news and finds herself involved in various social justice concerns. For instance, Dr. Craven’s daughter is dyslexic, and one of her passions is to advocate for better education for students with dyslexia. In fact, one of the projects she has worked on during her sabbatical is writing and advocating for better dyslexia education with 3 new bills that she hopes the PA House will take up. 

Over her sabbatical Dr. Craven also got trained as one of Millersville’s Diversity Education and Inclusion (DEI) Champions and conducted sessions with a team at the local synagogue. Using this immense passion for social justice, she then prepared a presentation for Millersville’s Board of Trustees in December to advocate for fair treatment of all Millersville students when harassment occurs on campus.  

According to Dr. Craven, her original project involved researching CIA records for a Cold War spy. 10 years ago, she went to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for research, but because records are continually declassified (some as recent as the Biden administration), she needed to update that research. Due to Covid, however, NARA’s reading rooms have closed, and now, due to the variants, they are open, but on a limited basis, and by appointment only after screening. 

One of my biggest questions that I wanted answered was about the usage of digital archives and how useful they were, and Dr. Craven answered this masterfully. She explained that while some records that she needed were digitized, many had not been. In the online archive that she had access to, the order of the records (done by the Record Identification Form [RIF] numbers) can be altered, and the documents can also be poorly scanned.  

For her to be able to do the process efficiently, she needed the original documents in their original order. Dr. Craven also required an iPad, which the department did not have funding for. She did submit two FOIA requests directly to the CIA but is awaiting a response. Since they prioritize “mission critical” items, and communicate by mail, the process could take some time. Unfortunately, Covid has caused an unprecedented change to the landscape of what we consider “normal”, and this requires a lot of revision and changes to be made to our plans. 

In the interim, Dr. Craven has taken on additional projects to enhance her teaching. She has been developing her knowledge of old films through the Criterion Channel. Due to not having access to many older movies before streaming services became widespread, she had only been able to read about many historic films, but now, she has been able to experience films like Les Vampires (1915-16), one of the first serial films and predecessors to television shows. She is also filling in subject areas like disability studies with films like The Snake Pit (1948) and 3 Faces of Eve (1957). Dr. Craven has also been studying directors like Joseph Mankiewicz, Ernst Lubitsch, and Elia Kazan to explore patterns in their works and aspects of the studio system while also adding new content by female directors, LGBTQ+ directors, people of color, and non-European artists. 

Dr. Craven shared something with me that I really connected with on a personal level. As she explained, while she was reflecting on the trauma so many have gone through over the last 5 years, she decided to engage with a film called Margaret (2011) that deals with the experiences of trauma. Although the film isn’t a terrific film according to her, it is, “fascinating in its flaws and undercurrents.” Dr. Craven mentioned that she was struggling to write an article about this film as there was so much to say about it.  

Thinking about this film has influenced her teaching pedagogy, and she is looking forward to using what she has learned in her future experiences in the classroom. Moving forward, Dr. Craven wants students to understand not only the texts that they experience in her classes, but also how those texts resonate in their individual presents and futures. To her, it’s not enough for students to understand how a text works or the potential meanings of a narrative; teachers need to explicitly develop why these works are important to individual students and how they can use them to work toward self-actualization, which is important to the role of the humanities. Although this has been a part of Dr. Craven’s pedagogy in the past, she wishes to be much more direct about its application in the future.   

I asked Dr. Craven if there was anything we should be on the lookout for, given her imminent return to Millersville in the Fall. Dr. Craven hopes to develop the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor as well as teach a graduate course on film in the Fall. She also hopes to have the opportunity to teach World Literature II in the future, which she has missed out on teaching for the last two decades. This semester is rather special for Dr. Craven because it will be the first semester (due to various scheduling reasons) she will teach a graduate-only class. She is looking forward to the Film and Theory graduate-only class in the Fall specifically because “Films/videos are all around us, and engaging with them on an analytic level can be amazingly rewarding, especially to explore aspects of life and society with others.” She can’t wait to share insights with the graduate students and to hear their perspectives. 

One additional update that Dr. Craven shared with me after the interview had concluded was that in October of 2021, she had gotten a puppy named Gracie, who she affectionately calls AoC (Agent of Chaos). It is her hope that AoC will be trained well enough to be able to come visit us in the Fall. 

The English and World Languages Department is excited to hear the wonderful developments happening with Dr. Craven’s sabbatical. I am very grateful that she was kind enough to allow me this interview, and we are all looking forward to her return in the Fall. 

Graduate Awards, Recognitions, and Presentations

By: Hayley Billet

Graduate school is the pivotal transitory stage in which students begin to solidify themselves as scholars. It is crucial that graduate students establish their presence at conferences, become representatives of their areas of academic interest, and receive notable recognition for their effort and hard work. Not only will it build their resumes and confidence, but it will help launch their future careers and academic endeavors.  

That being said, it is important that we acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of our graduate students in the English and World Languages Department. During this time of uncertainty, they have exhibited great determination and perseverance. Graduate work is not easy, and we would like to recognize these students for forging through the graduate program and going above and beyond in their studies.  

English MA student Maddie Bair will be presenting at the Rhetoric Society of America’s Charge for Change 2022 conference in Baltimore on May 27th. She will be presenting her thesis work.  

English MA student Hayley Billet will be presenting at the Northeast Modern Language Association 2022 conference in Baltimore on March 12th. She will be presenting her thesis work in a roundtable discussion. 

English MA student Jordan Traut has been awarded the Graduate Studies Fellowship and received funding from the Wickersham-Burrowes Fund for Excellence in the Arts. This will be used to fund her study abroad trip to Morocco, Portugal, and Spain, as well as her trip to a Native American musical in Oklahoma City. 

Jadon Barnett, an English MA student, was awarded funding from the Wickersham-Burrowes Fund for Excellence in the Arts. He will use the funding for his independent study in board game development with Dr. Pfannenstiel. 

Sean Guckert, an English MA student, presented a paid guest lecture on disability studies and institutionalized care. A reflection from Sean on his experience as a guest lecturer and his presentation is coming soon. 

We appreciate the efforts of our graduate students and commend them for their hard work and dedication. 

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. 

Congratulations to Fall 2021 Graduates

Congratulations Graduates!

The English and World Languages Department has had a very strong graduating winter class this year with 1 Master’s Degree Graduate, 1 Post-Baccalaureate and 14 Bachelor’s Degree Graduates!

Change is certainly not easy, as we all know. This has been a year of never-ending adjustments. Some modifications are for the better, like the English and World Languages programs merging to becoming one super program. Some changes were a mixed result and took time, like going from in-person learning, to remote, and now back to learning in-person again. However, some variations from the norm can be scary, like graduating and moving on. Scary doesn’t necessarily mean bad though. Change even when it is uncertain, can be good. This new uncertain deviation only means that great things are on the horizon for our Millersville students! John F Kennedy once famously said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” So, in that spirit, it wonderful to see these students move towards their bright futures even if they have to leave us.

When reaching out to graduating students there was an opportunity to gain some reflections from their time here at Millersville, as well as what they planned to do moving forward.

Leah Freeman, who is graduating Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in Writing, explained of her time here:

I don’t know how it happened or why, but Millersville, especially the Honors College, has opened me up to so many opportunities to work and gain experience in my field and participate in college life in a way I would have never expected of myself in the past. I truly gained a lot from the experience!

Leah was the past editor and director for the Honors Report and continues to write for it now. She has been the editor for the University Research Newsletter and interned as an editor and project manager for the Made in Millersville Journal! This semester Leah is a Volunteer Coordinator for the HCSA and Secretary of MU’s ODK Circle and is a part of the honors society Phi Kappa Phi! On top of all of that, she also just completed her Honors/Departmental Honors thesis to Graduate. Where did she find the time? Wherever she found it, it is a great accomplishment to have flourished so much here at Millersville!

When asked what’s up next for her, Leah was all too eager to share:

I will be around the area for another six months until my lease ends once I graduate, and I plan to just work and earn money during that time. I hope to then move, I am thinking to Massachusetts, and go to graduate school for English ASAP. However, who knows where life will take me—I am not too worried about it, though.

Millersville isn’t worried either Leah, it seems like you have everything well in hand. Your Millersville Family is always here, cheering you every step of the way. Good luck in all of your future endeavors.

We also offer congratulations to Kayla Young who described her experience at Millersville. Kayla is graduating with a dual major. She is getting her BA in Language and Cultural Studies and a BS in Speech Communication. Kayla was asked to reflect upon her time here at Millersville and this is what she felt most encompassed her feelings about her time spent here:

Some reflections I have is that I enjoyed all the leadership opportunities I was able to possess here at MU; from being a Residential Assistant all the way to being the President of the Millersville University Gospel Choir. I can say I have truly grown into a stronger more confident individual. I’m leaving MU with a better understanding of culture, education, and so much more. I am very proud to be a Marauder, and I’m truly blessed to have been able to do my studies here at such an amazing University. Thanks to all the Professors who took the time to help me grow, and thanks to MU for 4 life changing years full of experiences crafted for the future me. Through all the mountain tops and valley lows, I made it and I survived! Glory to God and shout out to MU for one heck of a ride!

It sounds like it was a great experience overall. The department couldn’t be more proud of you Kayla, and is very happy that you were able to grow and found success and happiness here at Millersville and in English and World Languages. In fact, Kayla had this to say about the Department:

Another thing in Millersville University in this department has increased my knowledge and understanding of the Hispanic community, their language, culture, struggles, and successes so much more. I have a whole new sense of respect for the Hispanic community today, and I feel like I have grown a lot in my studies as a Spanish Language and Culture Studies Major.

Kayla is heading off to do great things to come. Best wishes and success in the future Kayla!

Dr. Caleb Corkery, who is the English Club advisor and professor of writing and literature for the English Department, also wanted to bestow some words of wisdom upon our graduating class; “When you compare yourself to others and critique yourself for where you stand, remember this: the best of what I have to offer is the real me.  Lean in to what you do best.”

Congratulations to Millersville University’s English and World Languages Graduating Winter 2021 Class

Master of Arts Degree

William Artz

  • Major: English

Post-Baccalaureate Certification

Rachael Prensner

  • Certification: Spanish

Bachelor of Arts Degree

Margoth Alvaro

  • Major: Language & Culture Studies, Concentration – Cultural Studies Spanish
  • Minor: Psychology

Jadon Noah Barnett

  • Major: Languages and Culture Studies, Concentration – Culture Studies Spanish

Kathryn Elizabeth Brown

  • Major: English Writing Studies
  • Minor: Theater

Aaron Matthew Gregory Cook

  • Major: English
  • Minor: History

Taylor Marie Hough

  • Major: Education English and Inclusive Education (Bachelor of Science)

Emily E. Hyser

  • Major: English
  • Minor: English Journalism

Daniel J Irwin

  • Major: English Writing Studies
  • Honors College
  • Minor: General Applied Engineering & Technology

Leah Freeman

  • Major: English
  • Honors College
  • Minor: ESL/Linguistics
  • Minor: Psychology

Grace Annabelle Long

  • Major: English
  • Minor: History

Molly Kathleen Merson

  • Major: English
  • Minor: English Journalism

Jessica Lynn Rapp

  • Major: English
  • Minor: ESL/Linguistics

Jade Ryan

  • Major: Education English and Inclusive Education (Bachelor of Science)
  • Minor: Inclusive Education

Jocelyn Sarah Weitzman

  • Major: English

Kayla Kristina Young

  • Major: Language and Culture Studies
  • Major: Speech Communication (Bachelor of Science)

As this chapter closes in the book of your life, and you begin the next, remember that your Millersville family is always here for you. Our heartfelt congratulation to all of the graduates!

Special thank you to Artemis Harris (English GA), Jordan Traut (English GA), Drs. Justin Mando and Nicole Pfannenstiel for their work on this newsletter.

Congratulations 2020 Winter Graduates!


Special Message from Chair Kim McCollum-Clark (click to expand)

Dear English Graduates,

Words on the page. That is what I am producing, and that is what I am thinking about as I grapple with how to congratulate you all as our latest Department of English graduates. The sentiments and emotions are right there: how proud we are of you and your efforts. How happy we hope you are at achieving such a significant life goal. How excited everyone in your lives must be—your family and friends and professors—to see what your next steps will mean for you.

Usually, we mark this time in your life with what some call a “threshold event,” in recognition of its special quality. We humans want to bring meaning to things, after all, and birth celebrations and weddings and funerals and Confirmations and bar/bat mitzvahs—these all say, this moment in time is special. These events creates a before and an after. We gather with the one being celebrated to mark that they stand on the cusp of something new, yet to unfold.

At graduations, the threshold event celebrates your commitment to your own future, as you have seen it emerge and develop. It is an event powered by your hard work, your late nights, the times you got over your doubt, the times you roared forth with confidence. At these events, as your professors, we all long to celebrate you, to hug or shake your hands, to greet your families and friends. We want to hear your plans for the future and remember the past we shared.

You know where this is going, of course. This year, we cannot do those things in each other’s company. You deserve such a celebration, for you have persisted and finished your degree in two of the wildest and most difficult semesters in American higher education history. You watched as your plans for victory laps and final moments on campus became smoke. I don’t want to focus on the grief and struggle that we have all encountered this year, but I cannot let it go unnamed either. Our campus, without you, is a lovely, but sterile place. We have been reminded, over and over, that these spaces are meant to animated by you and your dreams and your laughter, by your plots and jokes and just-squeaking in the door on time arrivals. This is one of the things we faculty have learned in this pandemic year.

We hope that, among the many things you have learned this year, you realized how strong, passionate, and capable you are when things get hard. You finished those courses, that internship, that thesis! (This is the part where the airhorns in the stands go off—insert your favorite HUZZAH sound here.) And one day, “Fall 2020” will just be words on a page. You will say, “I finished college in the middle of a pandemic!” and I hope your listener realizes the two most important words in this sentence are “I” and “FINISHED.” You brought it home. You MADE IT through in a time that has challenged every single person living through it. You held on to that thread that guided you here and leads you forward.

We are English folks, so we should know in our bones the powers of words on a page. Sometimes they seem ephemeral, like they have no hold on what is really happening. And then, mysteriously, because someone tried to set them down—they mark an occasion. They remind us of a piece of what we endured. They LAST. They can bring us back to who we were and how we felt. I hope these words have shared with you the bittersweet mixture of emotions we are feeling as we remember you, grieve our common loss of being separated from you early, and celebrate the next steps that await you. Let us know where you land and into what new adventures you take your piece of Millersville University. Congratulations, from everything we have in us, for all you have achieved.
-Dr. Kim McCollum-Clark

Dear Graduates, You deserve the grandest of congratulations as you persevered through a truly challenging final stretch of your college careers. We value so much the hard work you have put into your time here and we wish you all the best as you move into the next chapters of your lives. You always have a home here at Millersville, so please stay connected. Keep reading, keep writing, and keep sharing your talents with the world!
-Dr. Justin Mando

Congratulations to you all!  We are so impressed with the individual ways you have made this degree your own  Please stay in touch.  We will miss you.
-Dr. Caleb Corkery

Dear Winter grads, congrats on achieving this major milestone, especially during such a difficult time! The world needs your talents now more than ever – we wish you the best for the future. Please keep in touch!
-Dr. Kaitlin Mondello

Congratulations on accomplishing this major milestone, despite the difficult times! I hope you keep this perseverance and courage through the rest of your life. And I hope you find ways to fulfill all your goals and dreams. Please return to your Millersville English family for our future alumni events!
-Dr. Katarzyna Jakubiak

Congratulations to all of you!  I have had the pleasure of working with nine of you, and all of you should be proud of your work and all your accomplishments through your time at Millersville.  I wish you the very best in your future and know you will all have many, many successes.  I can’t wait to hear about all of them!  As Henry David Thoreau said,
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
Please keep in touch!

-Dr. Kerrie Farkas

Millersville University English graduates,
While you have read about numerous worlds in literary works, now it is time to create your own as you forge new paths post-graduation. This is an exciting time and nothing short of extraordinary. I wish you the best of luck and know you will succeed as you write your own narrative. Congratulations!

-Dr. Rivera-Lopez

Dear Winter 2020 Graduates in English:
Congratulations for your perseverance! You have reached an important milestone in your academic and professional lives in the midst of one of the most difficult times we have ever endured.
The skills you have developed, and the ways of being in the world that you have cultivated, will serve you well in the future. More than ever, our world will need people who can read carefully and critically, write persuasively, and help us to imagine different futures.
Best of luck!
-Dr. Tim Mayers

(Click on the names below for personalized messages to our graduates)


Sydney, your serious, inquisitive nature will take you far, especially since it’s balanced with a caring heart. Look forward to seeing where you apply it. – Caleb Corkery

It was wonderful to have you in my classes throughout your years at Millersville. Congratulations on your graduation and good luck with all your plans!
Katarzyna Jakubiak


Dear Mikia—I will miss having you in class ❤ But I am happy to see you graduating and moving on to greater things! I hope you continue to use what you have learned in film. Please keep in touch!
Jill Craven

Mikia, what fun to see you grow through these years. I remember thinking you were shy back as a freshman. You have so much to bring out there. Can’t wait to see it. – Caleb Corkery

Congratulations on your graduation! It was wonderful to have you in my classes throughout your studies at Millersville. I look forward to reading your ambitious final paper in the African American literature class. Best of luck with all your plans!
Katarzyna Jakubiak


Congratulations! You did it! I enjoyed being your advisor throughout the years, and I’m so glad you finally found your true interest in film at the end. Best of luck with all your plans!
Katarzyna Jakubiak


Leah is one of the hardest working students I’ve ever met. She studied abroad in Peru as part of her Spanish major, while staying in contact with me about her Writing Studies Honors thesis. I am so excited to see all that Leah will accomplish after graduation!
Nicole Pfannenstiel

It was wonderful to have you in our creative writing class this semester. The writing you shared and the feedback you gave to your peers were so valuable. Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck with all your plans. I hope you keep writing and I hope to see you at our literary festivals in the future.
Katarzyna Jakubiak


Way to go, Karen! Congratulations!! I look forward to hearing about your accomplishments in the future. I am sure great things await!!
Jill Craven

Congratulations, Karen! We’re all proud of your accomplishment and wish you the best in the future! I remember well cruising the Susquehanna River with you in our tandem kayak and the good work you did in that class.
Justin Mando

DYLAN MARCIANO – Magna Cum Laude

Wow, Dylan, I’m so proud of all your excellent work to graduate magna cum laude. We’ve been through so many years together, and I’m going to miss your visits, but I will look forward to meeting outside of Millersville for coffee and updates on you and Jess. I’m so excited for your future and the mark you will make on the world.
Jill Craven

I remember well the hard work you put into our Environmental Writing class and the creative way you approached the Tiny Ecology Project. I encourage you to continue to see the extraordinary in what others allow to pass them by. That’s a skill not everyone has and you’ve got it in spades! Best wishes to you in the future. I think you’re bound for many great accomplishments! -Justin Mando


It was nice to have you in class this semester. I appreciated your regular contributions to our class discussions and your insightful observations. Congratulations on your graduation and good luck with all your plans!
Katarzyna Jakubiak


Congratulations on your graduation! I will miss you! It was great to follow the development of your creative writing and your interests in African American literature throughout your career at Millersville. Your presentation at Made in Millersville about identity and your struggle with diabetes last year was wonderful. Good luck with all your future plans! I hope you keep writing and I hope to see you at our literary festivals.
Katarzyna Jakubiak

You inspire me! The book of poems, perseverance through rough times, and all with such grace, organization, and positivity. So glad to have you in class in your last semester and get to know you better. Congratulations on your graduation! I look forward to hearing about all the successes you will have! Keep writing and getting your voice out there to inspire others!
Jill Craven

Monee is such a joy to work with. Her passion for writing is obvious in her assignments and research projects. She is working toward writing children’s books, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes!
Nicole Pfannenstiel


Congratulations on your graduation! We will all miss you here! You did a wonderful job with The George Street Press. Good luck with your teaching plans. I’m sure you will be an amazing educator! I hope to see you at our literary festivals in the future.
Katarzyna Jakubiak

Hi Sara,
Congratulations! I still remember the ethnographic essay you wrote about George Street Club in my 311 class. Keep up the great work and best wishes for everything!
Yufeng Zhang


All I can say is Oughtgeist, Oughtgeist, Outgeist! I can’t believe this is the first short story you have written, and I encourage you to try your hand at more as you have a gift! It was a pleasure having you (and your cat) in class. Best wishes to you and congratulations on your graduation.
Dr. Farkas


Dear Chloe, I will miss the many notes. You always thought you were bothering, but I always loved that you were reaching out with your questions ❤ I’m a little teary that I won’t get to see you walk the stage—the culmination of all those emails and hard work! Congratulations, Chloe!!
Jill Craven


Cindy, what a delight working with you these past years. I’ll miss your easy-going, thoughtful style. You’ll have so much to contribute wherever you end up. – Caleb Corkery

Hi Cindy,
Congratulations! It has been a great pleasure to work with you this semester, and thank you for the perspectives you brought to our 464 class. Best wishes for everything!
Yufeng Zhang


Congratulations, Colin. Your road to graduation has been more challenging, and I know you have put in more effort than mere words can recognize to get here. I want to recognize all that extra effort, that has made this accomplishment all the more impressive. Wow, Colin!! Heartfelt wow!!
Jill Craven

Congratulations on your huge achievement. It was a pleasure to have you in class (and to ride the bus with you regularly). I wish you all the best in the future. Please keep in touch as you wish. You know where to find me (over e-mail or in the office).
Warm regards,
Dominic Ording

Colin, congratulations on all you’ve accomplished. You are such a model of perseverance and life spirit. You’ve touched so many of us. Thank you. – Caleb Corkery

Make sure you watch the Millersville Alumni Graduation video:

MU Alumni send well wishes to Fall 2020 Graduates

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Abigail Haynie

Abi is graduating with her Bachelor’s in English.

Abi Haynie

As a transfer student, Abi was incredibly nervous about starting over at a brand new institution. Having formed connections with the English professors at her other school, she thought the adjustment would be daunting. Though unsure about finding a place at Millersville, she found that she was wrong.

Several professors amazed her these past two years. Dr. Craven helped her move things around so she could graduate on time and also assisted her in finding a direction for her thesis project. She calls Dr. Pfannenstiel “an awesome thesis advisor.” She also says that Dr. Pfannenstiel “was incredibly patient with me as I undertook this huge project and made me think about why my project was important to me and the English field.” Another professor, Dr. Kirsten Bookmiller (Government and Political Affairs), sat down to helped her realize that she could use her English degree to pursue interests in human rights and global politics. She is eternally grateful for the academic community at Millersville for making her last two years of undergrad such a special experience.

Her thesis included reusable web content to demonstrate the importance of English majors in the workforce and the career options that English majors have post-grad. She wanted to highlight the broader use of the skills that English majors hone, showing that they can do much more than just write and teach!

AbI did a copywriting internship at Lupeer, a digital marketing company. She wrote online content for a variety of B2B companies with an emphasis on writing manuals and newsletters. She also wrote content for some B2C companies in the form of blog posts, landing pages, sales events, and other marketing campaigns.

Abi’s favorite course was English 274, “Craft of Writing” with Dr. Archibald. The focus was on TV writing for that semester. Even though she does not plan to pursue a job doing screenwriting and does not consider herself great at creative writing, this course pushed her out of her comfort zone. She says that by the end of the semester, she had a pilot episode for an original TV show written!

Presenting with Mikaela, Abi touted the benefits of a digital portfolio at Made in Millersville with her presentation “Building your Brand: Crafting a Digital Portfolio.” Abi was a contributing editor to the Made in Millersville Journal and also participated in the organization Delta Zeta.

After graduating, Abi plans to apply to graduate school at Villanova and Virginia Tech with hopes to earn a master’s degree in political science with a focus on global politics.

Congratulations Abi!  We look forward to hearing more about your career as you write your next chapter.

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