Elizabeth Duchesneau, a freshman English BSE major, presented at the first Boundless Conference held at the Ware Center featuring the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Read more about her experiences below!
On October 11th, Millersville University hosted the very first Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Conference: Boundless. I’m a freshman, so I had never been to a research presentation conference. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what my topic was and that I wanted to share all the hard work I had poured into my class with Dr. Pfannenstiel.
The first thing I noticed about the conference was that it was laid out as a giant group discussion of the arts and humanities, split into subcategories. Our class was involved in a discussion about learning in games. Because the conference was relatively small, everyone in the audience could add input along with each speaker, and each speaker could be confident that everyone who was there really wanted to be there to hear what they had to say.
The most important part of presenting my topic, Learning in Ticket to Ride, was figuring out how to engage the audience while also providing understanding of what I had learned. My classmates had some great suggestions about how to communicate ideas successfully, such as maintaining eye contact and speaking clearly and loudly. I also wanted to make sure the audience was open-minded towards the topic, especially since it may have been the first time some people had been hearing about it. I did this by giving explanations of various concepts my class knew well, but others may not have.
Need an internship? Want to get your work published? Check out the Made in Millersville Journal!
The Made in Millersville Journalis an online publication that works to publish student’s presentations from the annual Made in Millersville conference. This conference highlights student research projects and creative works from departments across campus. Students can present a paper, perform poetry, present an art sculpture, discuss a poster, play a musical performance, or anything that fits under the guidelines of the conference.
After noticing the wide variety of research and creativity demonstrated every year at the Made in Millersville Conference, Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol and Kerrie Farkas co-founded and co-created the Made in Millersville Journal, a conference proceedings journal for students and by students. Two pilot issues were published in 2015 and 2016 before the first full-fledged publication began in 2017. As of the 2019 edition, the Made in Millersville Journal has published 111 articles across all three colleges and 24 (of 26) departments, and has offered 24 internship positions.
There are two ways students can get involved with the Made in Millersville Journal: work on the editorial board as an intern or employee or publish in the journal as a presenter at the Made in Millersville conference.
There are many reasons why students should intern for the Journal, some of which include gaining professional editing experience as well as building pathways to professional careers after college. Here’s the full list of reasons students should consider this internship opportunity:
Gain professional editorial and publishing experience
Improve their writing and editing
Gain hands-on experience working in a multidisciplinary, team environment
Work in a supportive environment that encourages interns to step out of their comfort zones
Build pathways between college and their future careers
Not only can students join the editorial team, but they can publish their work in the Journal. In order to publish in the Journal, students must indicate on their conference application that they are interested in publishing. Here are some reasons student authors should publish in the Journal:
Impress future employers with a published writing sample;
Improve their writing and experience a unique, authentic, and personalized publishing process by collaborating with a team of trained student editors;
Market their scholarly or creative work by being featured in the journal and on our social media platforms;
Translate their conference presentation into an effective and accessible summary for a public audience; and
Build critical communication skills by working with an editorial team.
The application deadline for the Made in Millersville Conference will be in February.
Professor Leah Hamilton will present a paper on Authorial adaptations at Wayne State University in March. Read about her work below!
Several years ago I was confused by some very strange questions from students about the Arthurian tradition. The students eventually confessed that those questions were inspired by a television show I had never heard of: the BBC’s Merlin. Anyone who teaches literature contends with the many popular book, film, and television adaptations that influence in-class discussions, and it is helpful to know what students are influenced by and watching. So, that very week I set out to watch the first episodes in order to better “unteach” the show’s (apparently) strange presentations of the characters and tales. Instead, the students won me over; years later, I find myself championing the show as a significant adaptation of the Arthurian tradition as I develop a presentation paper about Merlin for Wayne State University’s conference “Telling & Retelling Stories: (Re)imagining Popular Culture,” and write a chapter for editor Susan Austin’s upcoming book, Arthurian Legend in the 20th & 21st Centuries.
Merlin includes many obvious adaptations to the Medieval stories (including casting Merlin, Arthur, and Lancelot as young adults simultaneously), but to me the most striking change is an emphatic erasure of Christianity from the stories. The omission of Christianity complicates the retelling of quite a few tales, perhaps most notably those involving the Holy Grail, and this was particularly intriguing as I waited for the young Lancelot and Guinevere’s flirtation to develop into their famously treasonous relationship. How would the writers of the BBC show redeem these characters and preserve their exemplary status without Christianity?
As I analyze the changes to plot and characterization of the characters, I am examining at the same time the circumstances under which modern audiences are willing (or unwilling!) to forgive heroes for missteps, and how the writers of the BBC’s hit show navigate this issue again and again through the five seasons (series) of Merlin. This is particularly relevant as modern audiences are increasingly vocal and public in their responses to the failures of political leaders, celebrities, and other cultural exemplars. Analysis of popular texts about some of the most beloved heroes of all time and the way in which writers are successful in persuading audiences to forgive their flaws (and at times their grievous missteps) may give some insight not only into the Arthurian tradition, but also into current attitudes regarding remorse, atonement, and redemption.
Leah Hoffman participated in the International Policy Conference held on October 24th and 25th at MU. Check out her experience below!
The International Policy Conference, focusing on the Power of Media, was held on October 24 and 25. One of the sessions focused on interacting with other languages and cultures in a digital space. Along with two other students, I examined the possibility for misinterpretation of other languages when engaging online and the practices that will hopefully lend themselves to more successful communication across languages.
The first aspect to our presentation focused on idiomatic phrases and their use in language. I brought some Spanish idiomatic phrases and asked students to use an online translator to learn the literal meaning of the phrase. We then contrasted the literal and idiomatic phrases. For example, “ser pan comido” literally translates as “to be eaten bread,” but it is more closely aligned to the American idiomatic phrase “to be a piece of cake.” I asked students to consider how a lack of cultural understanding or going solely off a literal translation could make communication more difficult, or even impossible. This began a discussion of user responsibility to have personal or cultural knowledge when interacting with other languages online, or at the very least user understanding that some meanings may literally get lost in translation.
We then spoke about the use of proverbs and sayings and their ability to convey the morals of a society. There is a Japanese proverb that literally translates to “Let the cute journey.” This may not make sense to a nonnative, but the meaning behind the proverb is not dissimilar to the American proverb meaning “spare the rod, spoil the child”. Again, this demonstrates the need for deeper cultural understanding, an understanding that cannot simply be garnered through an online translator.
To conclude our session, we introduced a quote from Nigerian author Chinua Achebe who suggested that “proverbs are like the palm oil with which words are eaten.” We asked students to consider how proverbs and idiomatic phrases allow us to communicate more clearly. We noted their importance in expressing abstract thoughts or making concepts and ideas more digestible. Students were challenged to think of modern or digital examples that serve the same purpose across different modes of communication. They were invited to participate in an ongoing conversation by adding their own thoughts and realizations to the poster with sticky notes, which were available for other students with the purpose of seeing how their peers were engaging with the content. Students made suggestions of examples in digital communication, such as the use of emojis to clarify text messages or the unifying or clarifying roles of memes of gifs which contain their own brand of meaning that can transcend communication barriers.
Overall, the goal of the session was to make students more cognizant of aspects of language that may not always be received when engaging in online communication. This called to attention practices that they may employ in digital communication to clarify their own intentions and messages. Overall, the students came away with a new perspective on their roles as digital citizens and a deeper understanding of intercultural interactions online in an age where the entire world is connected.
The Fall 2018 English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities Conference was held at Shippensburg University on October 4-6. EAPSU prides itself as an inclusive organization dedicated to excellence in English Studies. The conference showcases the best in many disciplines within English Studies: creative writing, literature, film, composition, technical/scientific writing, and pedagogy. Members of the organization come from faculty and students from the 14 English Departments in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The overarching theme of the event was “Creativity in Times of Crisis”.
The keynote speaker was Patricia Smith, an award-winning author of eight critically acclaimed books of poetry. She is the winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for her poetry collection Incendiary Art (Triquarterly Press/Northwestern University Press, 2017).
Dr. Corkery and two groups of MU students presented at the conference. On Friday, the first panel, Hip Hop & Lyrics to Move the World, explored what can be learned about creativity through the emergence of Hip Hop, especially related to marginalized Blacks and Latinos in the Bronx, New York during the 1970s and ’80s. Panelists discussed the crises surrounding key players in hip hop who produced innovative lyrics aimed at addressing their circumstances. Nelian Cruz, Claribel Rodriquez de la Rosa, Barseh Gbor, and Dante McLeod were the students involved.
Later that day, a second group of students discussed the implications of Alice Walker’s piece “Search for Our Mother’s Gardens” in a panel titled Creativity and Oppression: Innovations of African American Female Authors. Walker and her ideas call attention to creativity where it is seemingly absent, encouraging Black women to create despite historical abuse and neglect. Students highlighted the creativity of different African American female writers, recognizing their unique challenges and creative products. Tatyanna Campbell, Naima Winder, Apsara Uprety, and Imani Anderson were involved in the panel.
A group of graduate students along with Dr. Pfannenstiel presented on Creatively Solving Data Dilemmas in Digital Humanities Student Projects. Each member of the panel presented their paper: Nicole Pfannenstiel, “Data Fluency in Assignments: Assigning and mentoring through data dilemmas”; Andie Petrillo, “Missing Data is not “Emma Approved”: How to make meaning with poorly archived data”; Jay Barnica, “Call, Raise, or Fold?: The ethics of evesdropping on an online poker forum”; Jason Hertz, “Control+s Your Data: A lesson learned with NeoGAF gafe made NeoGAF into Neo-NeoGaf.”
Hi everyone! I was honored last fall to be asked by Dr. Pfannenstiel to be a part of a panel discussion for this year’s EAPSU conference at Shippensburg University. After months of preparation, the day finally arrived for us to present. We left Millersville at an alarmingly early 6:30 am. We then arrived at Shippensburg University around 8:30 and wandered over to sign in and receive our “swag bags” and headed to our assigned room. We waited for what seemed like an hour, but was actually only about 15 minutes for our designated chair person and for any attendees to wander in. Even though our presentation wasn’t well attended (it was at 9 a.m. so I can’t blame students for not coming), I still had a great time presenting with my panel and answering English Librarian, Michele Santamaria’s many questions. Relieved to have successfully presented at my first conference, we headed to other sessions led by MU faculty and students. My favorite part of the day aside from presenting was having lunch with Dr. Pfannenstiel, Dr. Mando, Michele Santamaria, and Jay Barnica (fellow grad student and presenter). It was a great way for us all to get to know each other outside of the classroom! After a long day of presenting and learning from other presenters, we left the conference exhausted but inspired. I’m so glad that I got the chance to experience academic conferences!
-Andie Petrillo, second-year graduate student
A few faculty members participated in a panel presentation titled Observation, Invention, and Information in Times of Crisis. Justin Mando, assistant professor of English and Science Writing, presented “Tiny Ecology Project: A Place-Based Writing Pedagogy.” Joyce Anderson, instructor of English, presented “Curbing Writer’s Block: A Quick Workshop.” Last but not least, Michelle Santamaria, English and Foreign Language Subject Librarian, presented “Challenging Confirmation Bias: Creating & Playing an Information Literacy Game.”
Thanks to all MU students and faculty for their hard work!