Interview with Author Angela Prendergast

Overthought Thoughts of a 21-Year OldMillersville University alumna Angela Prendergast recently published her book of poetry, Overthought Thoughts of a 21-Year-Old. 

  • What year did you graduate from Millersville? What was your major? Were you involved in any clubs?

I graduated from Millersville University in May 2017. My major was English Secondary Education. I was involved in many clubs during my time at Millersville. Those clubs included: The University Activities Board, Millersville Women’s Choir (Public Relations Officer), Intermural Sports and National Society of Leadership/Success.

  • What have you been doing since graduation?

Since graduating in May, I have had two teaching experiences. I was lucky enough to be hired right after graduation as a long-term substitute at Souderton Area High School. In January, I recently started a new job at Wissahickon High School where I am teaching ninth grade English until the end of the year.

My most proud accomplishment since graduation was publishing my poetry collection “Overthought Thoughts of a 21-Year-Old.” After working on writing and formatting my book the past year, I finally published it in August, 2017. The past seven months have been focused around promoting my book. Millersville has been incredibly supportive of my new book. My English professors, especially Dr. Corkery and Dr. Archibald, have been extremely kind and helpful in allowing me to speak to a creative writing class at Millersville about how English majors can get their work published.

  • How long have you been writing poetry? Is there a specific medium you like to write in?
Angela Prendergast
Angela Prendergast

I have been writing poetry for about two years. I was inspired by Rupi Kaur and her prose poetry collection Milk and Honey. I like to write my poems in prose. I think the natural and organic flow of my poems is what makes them relatable. I have never been a fan of structure when it comes to poetry. For me, my poems have always been about being natural and flowing as a stream of consciousness.

  • One thing I noticed in Overthought Thoughts was your use of font. Can you speak more to this?

Great question! I chose to have my poems written in different font types because it makes each poem unique. To me, each poem has their own personality. I wanted the font to portray the poems as individuals and convey the emotions I was feeling during the time of writing.

  • When was the moment you knew you wanted to put together a collection of poems? Or have you always wanted to?

The moment I knew was during my senior year at Millersville. I was not in the best place in my life. I was sad, depressed and nervous for my future. I was writing poems in my journal and, as I reflected on them, I realized a lot of my friends were feeling the same way. I knew I had to publish my thoughts because it could help others. I knew so many people feeling the same way and it felt selfish to keep these thoughts to myself when people I loved could benefit from knowing that they are not alone.

  • What were the logistics of becoming published? How did you know self-publishing was the right path for your collection?

My senior year, I was doing lots of research and was in contact with publishing companies from all around the country. The reoccurring theme that I noticed was that by signing to a publishing company, I would be giving away my control and rights to my writing. It didn’t feel authentic to do this. My poems are my most personal thoughts and I wanted to have complete control of them. I did not want to sign them away to anyone else. Also, the companies I was talking to were asking lots of money from me. Therefore, self-publishing seemed like the best way to keep control of my poems. I am so happy that I chose to use Createspace to publish my poems. They work directly with Amazon to distribute to individuals and to bigger companies.

angela2

  • What are the differences between self-publishing and working with a publisher?

The major difference is the control of your writing. Working with a publisher means you will not have as much control over your poems. Self-publishing allows me to have control over what my cover looks like and how I format my book. The only downfall to self-publishing is that I have to market my book independently. I do not have a company that will promote my book for me. This makes getting my book out there to others more difficult. I have to put in a lot more effort to just be heard of. However, I truly believe that this was the right choice for my first book.

  • What are your plans for the future? More writing?

I definitely plan to write more in the future! I am already working on more poems for my next book. I plan to have multiple poetry collections. The next book will be called “Overthought Thoughts of a 23-Year-Old.” Keep an eye out!

Angela’s collection can be found on Amazon.

Made in Millersville Journal

 

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

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

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

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

Dr. Timothy Shea and Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr FoxAs many of you know, Dr. Timothy Shea, Associate Professor of English at Millersville, has been teaching secondary humanities at an international school in Kenya for a two-year leave of absence. Here is his story of directing his first middle school play. (Photos courtesy of Dr. Shea)

Though it has been over a decade since I last directed a show, I always hoped I would be able to do it again. I was able to experience this reality in February when I directed the middle school production of the Roald Dahl classic, The Fantastic Mr. Fox at Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi, Kenya. Directing any theatrical production can be a challenge in the best of conditions but doing so in a developing country has its own unique challenges like finding the right paint for the set or the appropriate makeup that works with all skin tones or even how to amplify sound in the middle of a torrential tropical storm. Thankfully, I have directed plays in other countries before (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea), so I was prepared for the unexpected. I was also lucky that my school has a rich tradition of theatrical performances with high standards and a talented community who is willing to do whatever they can to pull off a good show.

Fantastic Mr FoxI must admit, I had forgotten just how much energy middle schoolers have and directing a cast of 30 energetic young teens felt at times like herding cats, but, what I discovered in the midst of the chaos and mayhem was that not only were these kids having fun, but they were also growing in ways that they nor I thought possible. They learned to embrace their fears and to try new things – new voices, new body poses because, after all, most of them were furry creatures! One of my goals as director is to get the entire community involved so that we could feel that it was OUR show and not MY show. I was blessed with parents and teachers who volunteered with makeup, costumes, set, lights, sound, and drama coaching. The end result was a memorable show that included a nasty farmer falling off the stage and a rat who acted a bit too drunk at times! Local critics (aka high school actors) lauded our show as “the best middle school school they had ever seen” and little kids stood in line after the show to get our young actors’ autographs.

I am glad I took the plunge and took on this show even though it has taken me 2 weeks to get back my lost sleep!

-Dr. Timothy Shea

Alumna Profile: Sherri Weaver

Sherri Weaver
Sherri Weaver

Sherri Weaver graduated from Millersville University in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Education (BSE) in English. While at Millersville, Sherri took every opportunity to make sure she was getting the kind of education she wanted.  As a BSE student, teaching placements began sophomore year, something Sherri was very thankful for; she now sees the value in getting into the classroom as soon as possible. She first student taught at Lincoln Middle School working with 6th graders. While in her own classroom at Millersville, the classes were theory heavy, so from her schoolwork alone it would be hard to determine if teaching was the right career path; the sophomore placements eased much of that anxiety. Sherri also student taught at Lampeter-Strasburg, working with seniors in AP English and then taught 8th grade at Hand Middle School.

After receiving her undergrad degree, Sherri earned her first teaching job working with AP seniors at a charter school in York. Unfortunately, after Sherri worked there for 5 years, the school lost its charter. This taught Sherri about educational finance and handling of money in a charter; she eventually wrote her master’s thesis on charter school reform. After moving from that school, Sherri worked at Wheatland Middle School for eight months teaching 7th graders before moving to McCaskey East High School where she currently teaches.

To Sherri, the college experience is about getting the education you want. That might mean taking the more challenging classes on purpose and putting in the time and energy to succeed. Sherri found the upper-level college classes imperative to teach any upper level high school classes successfully. Similarly, because Sherri knew where she wanted to teach, in an urban environment, she fought for the placements and jobs that would fit her ideal working environment. That meant changing placements when she was assigned to non-urban areas and working with the university to make her plans possible.

One thing Sherri knows from being a student teacher herself and working with Professional Development Schools (PDS) and new student teachers is that it is important to have self-awareness and the ability to reflect on the people you will be working with. It’s okay to be picky to get the best experience out of student teaching.

“Little Stones” On-Screen/In-Person

little stones

On Wednesday, February 28th, there will be a showing of the award-winning documentary “Little Stones” with a pre-screening panel discussion. The film is designed to raise awareness about global women’s rights issues and to celebrate entrepreneurial, creative, and arts-therapy based solutions to the most pressing challenges facing women globally.

“I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone.” -Women’s Rights Activist, Alice Paul

The pre-screening panel discussion will begin at 6:15pm, the movie will begin at 7pm, and the talk-back with Sophia Kruz will begin at 8:30pm.

Director Sophia Kruz will be on campus Feb. 28 – March 1, available to visit classrooms, community groups, etc. and will be conducting a talk-back after the screening.

The pre-screening panel discussion will be led by:

  • Ms. Almaz E. Amante, Keystone Human Resources/CWS volunteer. (Ethiopian native experienced in women’s empowerment and micro-financing.)
  • Dr. Carol Davis, Franklin & Marshall College, Professor of Theatre (founder and artistic director of Nepal Health Project, an educational and charitable theatre company     that has served half a million villagers in rural Nepal.)
  • Ms. Brittany Leffler, YWCA Certified Trauma Practitioner.
  • Dr. Kimberly A. Mahaffy, Millersville University, Professor of Sociology and Director of Latina/o Studies / Coordinator, Office of Diversity and Social Justice
  • Dr. Wanja Ogongi, Millersville University, Professor of Social Work (Interest in Human Rights with focus on women and children.)
  • Ms. Julie Peachey, Director, Innovations for Poverty Action
  • Dr. Elizabeth Powers, Millersville University, Professor of Education (Chair of Commission on Status of Women)

You can watch the trailer here. Tickets are $7 for Adults, $5 for students or free if you contact Barry Kornhauser while available.

little stones

Resilience Film Screening/Panel on April 5

resilienceOn April 5th in the Clair Auditorium (in the Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center), the English Department and the Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change will sponsor a screening of the film Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.

Doors open at 5:30pm, the panel will start at 6pm, and the film will begin at 6:45pm.  Meant to make the science of Toxic Stress accessible to everyone, Resilience showcases some of the brave and creative individuals who put that science into action for social change.

The panel members will include members of the Millersville University faculty, including:

  • Dr. Andrew Bland – Psychology Department
  • Dr. Marc Felizzi – School of Social Work
  • Dr. Alex Redcay – School of Social Work
  • Dr. Carrie Smith – Sociology Department

The effects and solutions for Toxic Stress and Adverse Childhood Events (ACE’s) are the main focus of this hour-long documentary. Director James Redford explains,

Director James Redford
Director James Redford

“In the United States, we spend trillions of dollars every year treating preventable diseases, rather than intervening before a patient is sick and suffering. We have a zero-tolerance, ‘suck it up’ culture that judges and punishes bad behavior, rather than trying to understand and treat the root cause of that behavior. But now, with this new body of scientific knowledge available, we are learning there are better ways of dealing with these seemingly intractable problems.”

The original research was controversial, but the analysis of that research revealed this generation’s most important public health findings. Toxic Stress and ACEs are now linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, along with other ailments such as substance abuse and depression. Stressful childhood experiences can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior.

According to the experts profiled in Resilience, however, what’s predictable is preventable. These educators, physicians, social workers and communities are talking about the effects of divorce, abuse, and neglect so the next generation can break the cycles of adversity and disease.

Free tickets for this event can be found at the SMC Ticket Window of in the Winter VPAC Ticket Window before the event.

George Street Press Open Submissions

Last Year's Magazine
Last Year’s Magazine

George Street Press (formally George Street Carnival) is Millersville University’s literary magazine, open to students and faculty alike. The magazine is completely student run and published at least once a year, full of poetry, short fiction, essays, creative nonfiction, photography, painting and sculpture. Kitsey Shehan is the President of the club with Sara Pizzo as the Vice-President.

If you are interested in assisting the publication, the club meets on Monday nights in Club De’Ville (the commuter lounge) in the lower level of the SMC at 8:30pm.

This year, the club will be accepting submissions until March 31st. One student/faculty/alumni university member may submit:

  • 3 poems (one poem cannot exceed two pages)
  • 2 pieces of prose (one piece should not exceed 4,000 words)
  • 2 pieces of non-fiction (one piece should not exceed 4,000 words)
  • 3 pieces of flash-fiction (each 500 words or less)
  • 5 pieces of original art (submit in .jpg format)
  • 1 experimental piece (found poems, screen-plays, the strange, genre-bending, and unknown)

To submit, please email GeorgeStreetPressSubmissions@gmail.com with your name, contact info (phone number/email), as well as any notes about your pieces for the editors. All documents must be in .docx or .doc format, and art pieces must be in .jpg format. Once a piece is printed into the magazine, the writer is officially a printed author! This is a perfect opportunity for English Majors to get ahead in the creative world. Here is the Get Involved page for more information on the club.

Alumna Profile: Suzann Rumberger Shallenberger

I graduated from Millersville State College in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in English Education.  I began my teaching career at Greenwood School District, Millerstown, PA, in the fall of 1975.  I taught eighth and ninth grade English and reading.  I earned my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from Shippensburg State College in 1978.  I retired from teaching in 1998, after 23 years in the classroom.  I enjoyed my days in the classroom very much.  I was very fortunate to have wonderful colleagues and a very supportive administration.

AAUW Start Smart Workshop

On Thursday, March 8th from 4-6pm there will be a workshop held by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 200 Osburn Hall. AAUW Start Smart is designed to teach you how to negotiate salaries for a new job. Through facilitated discussion and role-play, you’ll gain confidence in your negotiation style by learning different strategies and persuasive responses to fight for that raise.

The gender pay gap, regardless its size, hurts women of all backgrounds and has far-reaching consequences. Working full time, women in the United States are typically paid 80 percent of what men are paid. And that percentage only decreases as ethnicity is added to the equation. AAUW is trying to fight that – and is succeeding. In 2017, 17,000 women were trained by these workshops to negotiate their salary. These workshops employ the latest research and negotiation strategies to help women navigate promotion opportunities and job offers.

Source
Source

AAUW Smart Start is designed for college women who are approaching the job market and is focused on helping you negotiate for a new job. Consider coming out to this workshop to gain important, life-long skills! All Millersville students and alumni are welcome. Tickets can be found here.

Alumna Profile: Nina Theofiles

Nina Theofiles
Nina Theofiles

I graduated in 2010 from Millersville University with my Bachelors of Science in English Education. While at Millersville, I was the News, Opinion, and Lifestyle editor for The Snapper. I switched majors my freshman year from Special Education to English Education after taking a Comparative Literature class with Dr. Carballo. After reading and discussing “Othello,” by William Shakespeare, I realized my love of English could not be contained and that teaching English was my true calling. Growing up, I was extremely dyslexic and struggled with reading during my elementary school days. After finding a love of writing in high school, I fostered my love of reading during my undergraduate program at Millersville.

Following graduation, I went on to be an English Teacher at Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School in York City, PA for three years; I taught grades 10-12. I worked my way up to Department Head and helped students gain college scholarships and be ready for a career or continuing education. This experience helped me with my Masters of Education in English and Communications where my thesis focused on Narrative Writing and Urban Education; I graduated with this in the winter of 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh. While at CAYBCS, I presented at the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts Conference in 2010 with my Millersville professor, Dr. Timothy Shea. Also while at CAYBCS, my previous Millersville professor Dr. Aaron Porter came to present to my students. Millersville stayed with me wherever I went, and I promoted the school as much as I could because of the connections and experiences I had there. While at CAYBCS, I also held a position facilitating an after school/drug and alcohol prevention program through the Children’s Home of York called the Strengthening Families Program. I did this for 6 years and was a lead youth facilitator by the end of my term – I assisted my supervisor in training new staff and running new programs around York County.

Nina TheofilesI purchased my first home in 2014 and moved to the southern end of the state. During this move, I got a position teaching English and coordinating the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in Baltimore County. I am in my fifth year at St. James Academy, and I enjoy teaching at this Episcopal Parish day school; I teach 7th and 8th grade English and I am a 6th-grade homeroom advisor. I am also approaching my fifth summer working at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. I am a Senior Administrator here and have worked at residential sites in Haverford, PA, and Baltimore, MD, during the summer. I assist in running the sites, training staff, and overseeing summer classes. Most importantly, I use my English degree when reading 250+ student evaluations and editing them for content, spelling, etc. After I graduated from Millersville I began running a small, private tutoring operation assisting students in grades K-12 in reading, writing, math and SAT prep. Since before my time at Millersville and still today, I enjoy riding horses, reading, and exercising.

None of the experiences I have had in the eight years following my graduation from Millersville would have been possible without my degree in English. The English department challenged and pushed me to be a more critical thinker and learner; this helps me with students and helps me with staff. It also has made me more persistent and resilient; from the times I had the ever-challenging Shakespeare class to the experiences I had in linguistics, each class taught me something new while pushing me to the next level of inquiry. I teach my students the items I learned the best with the same passion my professors at Millersville taught them to me. My time with The Snapper makes creating my own newsletters in 7th grade English a fun goal for the students and an enjoyable experience for them to be involved in as a group.

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