Tag Archives: Journalism

Get Involved with English Clubs!

The English Department encourages students to check out the English-related clubs! The English Club, Film Club, George Street Press, and The Snapper give students opportunities to build community and flex their writing and critical-thinking skills. Click on the headings for the clubs’ Get Involved pages.

English Club:

The English Club provides a welcome environment where lovers of language and literature can come together to participate in literary activities, field trips, discussions, and more! Both majors and non-majors are welcome. Meetings will begin at 5:30pm on Thursdays starting September 12th. The location will be sent out via email at a later date. For more information, contact President Stephanie Wenger or Vice President Morgan Reichenbach.

Film Club:

The Film Club is a campus organization where film fans can gather for screenings of films followed by discussion, as well as connect with others with a passion for the art of film across Millersville. The club screens films, both older and more contemporary, and discusses the topics presented by correlating the film to larger societal issues. Film Club will begin screenings on September 16th at 7pm in Club de’Ville and will meet every other Monday afterwards. For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page, contact President Lisa Crum, or email adviser Jill Craven.

George Street Press:

George Street Press is Millersville University’s literary magazine that is open to students and faculty alike. The publication is completely student run and student published, accepting all sorts of work from poetry, short fiction, essays, creative nonfiction, photography, painting and sculpture. If you are interested with assisting in publication, the club meets Monday nights in Club De’Ville (the commuter lounge in the lower level of the SMC) at 9pm. If you would like to submit any work for the Fall 2019 publication, submissions open on November 1st at georgestreetpresssubmissions@gmail.com. If you have any questions, contact President Kitsey Shehan or Vice President Sara Pizzo. Updates can be found on the club’s Instagram page.

The Snapper
Editor in Chief Jared Hameloth and Managing Editor Julia Walters at Org Outbreak (Photo courtesy of Jared Hameloth)

The Snapper is Millersville University’s student-run newspaper, providing fair, accurate, and unbiased reporting on a weekly basis for the student body. They are the campus’ independent watchdog, a tireless advocate and champion of student rights. Through the sections and other positions, The Snapper provides students with an opportunity to experience the fields of print and digital media, along with many opportunities to improve their own writing skills. The Snapper’s office is located in the bottom level of the SMC, room 15. They hold weekly meetings every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Students can contact The Snapper at: editor@thesnapper.com.


American Association of University Women

The purpose of MU’s AAUW, among other things, is to prepare students for leadership in the civic realm, offer students an opportunity to exchange ideas on social justice, network members with the global AAUW community of more than 170,000 members, and support women in gaining positions of leadership across campus. Meeting times will be announced. For more information, adviser Jill Craven. Want to get involved with AAUW? Consider taking on a leadership position for the 2019-2020 school year.

Creative Writers’ Guild
(Photo courtesy of Jacob Coopersmith)

Creative Writers’ Guild is a place for MU students to mingle and share ideas, discuss their passions, and simply enjoy one another’s company.  The members have essentially become a family, and there is always room for more family members to join. Every meeting, club members are given a prompt to guide their writing, but have the freedom to create anything they like. Members have done everything from fanfiction to poetry to improv storytelling, and are always looking to try new writing prompts.  The club meets on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm in Chryst 210. To learn more, contact President Jacob Coopersmith.


English at “Educate the State” Rally

On Tuesday, April 23rd,  the Education Justice rally, “Educate the State,” took place on Millersville campus in front of the library.  Millersville students and faculty from several departments participated.  Our friends in the Art Club, led by Abigail Saurbaugh, created signage for the event and encouraged people to write about their experiences with education and education funding.

Millersville alumnus Howard Jones (MA in Psychology) began the event “speaking from the heart” about the role of education. Those of us who know and love Howard were excited to see Howard back on campus, leading off this event, and advocating for change.  Howard works as a legislative aide for Mike Sturla, who was delayed, so Howard covered some of the legislative issues, like helping students with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) and supporting higher education, and then Howard spoke about moving theory into practice by making change through being an engaged intellectual.

English BSE and PA Student Power representative Nate Warren then gave a stirring representation of what the lack of state funding of higher education does to many undergraduates.  He roused the crowd through appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos, providing memorable images of Millersville’s hard-working students.  You can read his full speech in another post in our newsletter.

Ken Smith
Ken Smith notes “a rising tide lifts all boats”

APSCUF President and Economics professor Ken Smith provided a cogent economic analysis of the value of investment in higher education.  His statistics demonstrated a strong return on investment not only for the individuals going to college, but also to the state as a whole.  As Smith described, the overall income of people in the state rises with the education levels in the state, noting “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  The PA Promise helps not only students, but helps the whole state.

Reunisha Williams
Reunisha Williams talks to crowd

Black Student Union treasurer Reuneisha Williams followed up with a powerful talk about her experiences in the educational system.

Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel addressed the crowd on the potential of online educational resources (OER) for reducing student costs and debt.  Dr. P is part of a working group.  She explained how, through the group’s efforts to change professors from books to free online resources, they have already saved students $150,000.  Dr. P invited students to learn more at the table where members of their group helped students to think about the possibilities they would have with the money they could save.  Following Dr. P, Susan Spicka, the head of PA Education Voters, also voiced her support for needed changes in education.

English majors Kat La Bar and Kitty Dillon presented some spoken word poems.  Dr. Miriam Witmer, who watched the performance, explained that her education class analyzes Kitty’s enthralling 4-part poem.  We look forward to seeing both Kat and Kitty get their works published!

Speaker and poet Marci Nelligan was impressed by our English students’ work, as well as the Spoken Word from the group Original Thought. She presented on her grants to bring African American Artists into School District of Lancaster classrooms.  She presented impressive statistics about the impact that art has on classroom performance and success.

English BSE alumna and SDoL teacher Sherri Castillo talked about her efforts to lead LGBTQ+ support in schools, and also discussed the issues she had being an “out” teacher in Pennsylvania, where sexual orientation isn’t a protected class for jobs.  Her careful navigation of a difficult issue was instructional for all who heard–both gay and straight.

Students from Original Thought, a poetry organization under the BSU, presented impactful viewpoints in their spoken word poetry.  They left the audience pondering privilege.  It’s one thing to be concerned about debt, and quite another about survival.

Preacher Gerald Simmons touched the moral aspects of fairness in education.  His stirring oratory touched on issues of fair funding across the 500 PA school districts.  Currently, districts that are whiter get more monetary support per student than districts that have more students of color.  PA is the most egregious in this category.

Skyler Gibbon, senior English major, read two poems by others as well as one of her own creations.

Brynn Raub, an English Education major, read out a thoughtful reminiscence about how she started as just a number in the school system, and then grew to finally understand what education really meant.

Rob Spicer ended the day’s speeches reminding us all of the power we have in free speech and assembly, and the need to protect that right.

Thanks to everyone who spoke on stage, provided information at tables, read original work, and witnessed the power of publicly calling for education justice.

–Jill Craven
Event Organizer



Internship Profile–Kaylee Herndon

Read about Kaylee Herndon’s Internship with the Reading Royals hockey team! For more information about the internship process, check out the MU Internships webpage. 

I am currently in the middle of spending the hockey season with the Reading Royals hockey team in Reading, PA. As one of their media interns for the season I am getting to use my Journalism and English experience in a career path that many people do not regularly consider when getting their degree.

Photo by Kaylee Herndon

Working in media relations for a sports team is extremely similar to working in a newsroom, except that you know what your writing will focus on each day that you go into work. There are daily deadlines, social media updates, live tweeting, and other aspects that go into promoting a team and covering their games.

I have been using social media, Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere in addition to traditional writing at this internship (see the above graphic made using Photoshop). Premiere is something that I thought I would never need to learn, but it turns out the journalism professors are right: you need to be able to take and edit your own photos and videos to make it out there.

Another skill I was surprised that I needed to use is my phone photography. It is the easiest and fastest way to get photos up on social media, i.e. an Instagram story. I found out that there are settings within the camera that makes capturing quick movement, like skaters or pucks, easier, but it is still a skill to be learned.

The most interesting concept of the job for me is that I went from being an athlete to covering the athlete. Having been on the opposite side of the job definitely provides me a different perspective. It creates some barriers when it comes to what I expect to be true and what reality is. This includes willingness of participation of athletes in team promotion activities and fan engagement and the accommodation (or non-accommodation) of the coaching staff. It also has helped me create some unique ideas, such as a player blog where a player gets to discuss their experiences in the local area and on the team. It was a large adjustment in terms of expectations when I found out that the media for a team does not regularly interact with its player-members of the team that they promote. While from the athletic view it makes sense, at least while in college, it would produce more interesting and engaging content if players were more actively involved with the media being put out about them.

Overall, this internship has been an incredible experience so far in terms of preparing me for my future career whether I go into sports or traditional journalism. Without the real-life experience, I feel like I would be under prepared for the fast-paced world of sports journalism.

-Kaylee Herndon

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.

Student Profile: Gabrielle Redcay, Digital Journalism

Gabby Redcay
Gabby Redcay

Gabrielle Redcay, a Digital Journalism Major, will be graduating this spring with a resume full of different, interesting internship opportunities she experienced over the past four years at Millersville University. From interning at a newspaper to blogging about food, Gabrielle has seen the positive impacts internships have on narrowing down a career path or building necessary work-place skills.

Starting as a content strategist, Gabrielle was a content writer for the digital marketing company Income Store where she performed search engine optimization research. She worked with teams to discuss content and plans for improving return on investment.

Since then, Gabrielle has been working for Millersville in the Communications Department as a Communications Assistant. In this job, she creates press releases for the community, runs social media accounts, and conducts interviews with the faculty, staff, and students of Millersville for articles in University publications. It was through this job that Gabrielle had the opportunity to intern with La Vos Lancaster over a summer.

La Vos Lancaster, Lancaster County’s only publication focused on the local Hispanic community, gave Gabrielle the opportunity to witness all aspects of running a print publication. Pushed out of the classroom and out of her comfort zone, she was forced to stretch herself and meet real people while interviewing for current event, profile, and feature stories. This internship was especially satisfying because the skills she learned at the paper mirrored her classes the next semester; it was easy to see how her classwork was applicable to the real world. Even while on the job Gabrielle was always networking for new opportunities; it was by interviewing for the paper that she met her next internship opportunity through Jim Chaney.

Gabrielle Redcay

All it took was one email and Gabrielle found herself interning for Jim Chaney, a traveling blogger from Uncovering PA. The Millersville Internship Office is very willing to work with students to help them find the best internships, and Gabrielle found it easy to collaborate with them in establishing this internship. Gabrielle always joked that she would love to become a food blogger someday–and Jim Chaney helped her realize that her dreams could easily become a reality. Internships, especially ones with companies or people you are less familiar with, can open the world up for different employment opportunities.

Internships, while great resume builders, also offer necessary skills and experiences for the real-world job-market after graduation. Gabrielle would like to tell Millersville University students to enter the search for internships and to be open to new experiences. Millersville is very connected to the real world and it is important to take advantage of that – learn from everything!

First Experiences on the River of Dreams

If someone were to ask you, “What is Environmental Advocacy?” would you be able to provide an answer for them?

The students of Millersville University’s first environmental advocacy class, led by Dr. Justin Mando, spent a semester trying to pick apart the meaning of that question together.

Their investigation began with a trip down the River.

Shank’s Mare Outfitters, located in York County, Pennsylvania, became the site of their discovery. On a field trip funded by the River Stewards, a non-profit organization whose main intention is to raise awareness and appreciation for our water resources, a class of about 20 students strapped on their life vests and got a hands-on, feet-wet education from the Winand family on the history of the Susquehanna.

Dr. Justin Mando (center back) and his class during their visit to Shank’s Mare Outfitters. Photo was taken by Devin Winand, their river guide for the day.

Dr. Justin Mando (center back) and his class during their visit to Shank’s Mare Outfitters. Photo was taken by Devin Winand, their river guide for the day.


After returning to the classroom, the students discussed their experiences on the river and were able to make some interesting connections. The students were able to relate their experience paddling on the river with readings that Dr. Mando had shared with them throughout the first weeks of the class. The concepts of close observation that Charles Fergus and Annie Dillard had offered them through their writings had suddenly gained meaning and the students found a deeper connection with the Susquehanna and those concerned with it after discussing the narrative rhetoric offered by these authors.

The class continued their curiosity by examining the works of Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson. These works led the class to think about the implications that human action can have on the environment and therefore, the inherent obligation to make up for the destruction that we may cause.

The remainder of the course of these students’ semester was shaped by the “Tiny Ecology” project they were assigned. Dr. Mando encouraged them to pick an environment, be it a lake or a street corner, and observe it, nothing more. He asked the students to post bi-weekly updates on their chosen space and relate what they observed to the topics discussed in class. Much to their surprise, the students developed much deeper connections with their chosen space than they thought possible.

The class was visited by Kristen Wolf, the Chesapeake Bay Coordinator of the Department of Environmental Protection, who spoke about the importance of raising awareness of environmental issues around the globe. Wolf emphasized the importance of citizen scientists and what it takes to motivate people to care about an issue that may not directly affect them. She explained the work that she has done with the Chesapeake Bay Program relating to species and resource protection, and how the threats affecting local bodies of water travel downstream and affect the larger bodies they empty into. In the case of the Susquehanna River, contaminants that enter the water are carried all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, where their potency is amplified.

With these ideas in mind, the class began to further their knowledge by reading Garrigan and Carbaugh & Cerulli. These readings gave the students the insight to consider the importance of “place.” Considering these new ideas, the students of Mando’s class entered the next phase of their class and began constructing their own “Susquehanna story.”  These stories took the form of many different media styles, including fiction and non-fiction pieces, videography, photographic stories, and poetry. Every student took the time to observe and investigate the Susquehanna River and really take into consideration the significance that the river has for those who use and enjoy it, both recreationally and as a resource. Ranging from the native Susquehannock Indians, who relied on the river for spiritual guidance and physical sustenance, up to modern-day fracking debates, the students became advocates and voices for the river to tell its story.

Dr. Mando, along with one of his students, Madeline Giardina, took what they had learned to the Susquehanna River Symposium at Bucknell University. Here, they shared the experiences the class had investigating and interacting with the river. They reflected on their experiences and spoke about how important it is to be respectful of not just the Susquehanna River, but of all land and rivers, for the history they preserve and the life they provide for.

The rest of the class was given the opportunity to share their personal work at an open-mic held at Saxby’s, a café on campus. If they chose to, students were able to share the stories they had produced with each other and with other interested students. The goal of these readings was to share the stories that were crafted about the river and emphasize the importance of raising awareness for relevant issues.

Dr. Justin Mando and his class after presenting their Susquehanna stories at Saxby’s.
Dr. Justin Mando and his class after presenting their Susquehanna stories at Saxby’s.

One observer present at the reading was Chris Steuer, Millersville’s Sustainability manager. Steuer became actively involved with the Advocacy class and came to speak about the University’s sustainability efforts and the logistics that surround sustainable action. He highlighted sources of funding and resistance to change as being two key factors that make completing sustainability projects difficult.

The students took these ideas into consideration and applied them to real-life scenarios. Each student chose a subject under the larger umbrella of “sustainability,” and did extensive research and evaluations of the ways these topics are presented in science writing, in public writing, and in current campaigns. After examining various forms of literature, they began to construct their own “Environmental Advocacy Campaigns.”

These campaigns inspired and challenged students to recall the various forms of writings that they had studied throughout the semester and use them to build informed opinions on the way these issues are addressed in society. The subjects chosen ranged from issues influencing large-scale populations, such as water pollution and trash disposal, to the current sustainability efforts acted out at Millersville University. The finished campaigns included critical evaluations and comparisons of environmental discourse representing their topics, a report representing their findings and how this discourse could be improved in the future, and their own individual collections of work depicting what they determined to be successful advocacy campaigns for their chosen subjects.

Using all of the information and knowledge that they had collected through the semester, the Students of Environmental Advocacy gained the insight and skill to critically evaluate and produce effective forms of environmental discourse. So what does “Environmental Advocacy” mean, exactly? After experiencing Dr. Mando’s class, his students conclude that environmental advocacy means being honest and responsible for your actions and how they affect the environment; it means sharing important, scientific information with the general public in a way that they can understand; and above all else, it means stewardship and speaking up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

—- Madeline Giardina

The world needs the next generation of Rachel Carsons

Pennsylvania native Rachel Carson transformed the world of scientific communication by taking a technical issue and making it public like no one had done before. Carson’s evocative writing remains a gold standard for those wishing to raise the alarm about problems related to the environment and human health. In her 1962 book, Silent Spring, Carson catapulted a problem previously contained within the scientific community to the center of public discussion. This problem was the use of DDT, a pesticide in wide use. Carson and other scientists found these chemicals to have devastating effects on life, from songbirds to humans. Rather than let scientists and politicians hash out a response out of the public eye, Carson wrote Silent Spring, a clear and effective account of these discoveries in the form of an apocalyptic narrative. The “silent spring” she wrote of would be the sound of spring absent of life if we did not act.

Rather than write to the world as a scientist using scientific discourse, Carson opens her book with an idyllic scene of peace and tranquility. Her first line reads, “There once was a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings.” Describing this pastoral setting, Carson quickly shifts to a blight that falls upon the community as “some evil spell” that kills animals indiscriminately. Capturing her readers’ minds, she explains, “No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it to themselves.” So begins a book-length appeal for humans to take notice and change their ways, an appeal that made an enormous impact on the issue of DDT and environmentalism more broadly.

Rachel Carson, Environmentalist and Science Writer
Rachel Carson, Environmentalist and Science Writer

Rachel Carson is a paragon of scientific writing. She both effectively communicated within her domain and, when the stakes were high, shaped public perception of issues that were otherwise invisible to people using rhetorical tactics well outside of the scientist’s typical set of strategies. Take this excerpt from Silent Spring that directly engages the ethical dimension of scientific progress:

“Some would-be architects of our future look toward a time when it will be possible to alter the human germ plasm by design…It is ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray.”

Is this any less resonant today? Substitute “insect spray” with any number of technical hazards created by “would-be architects of our future” and you can see the need for communicators that know how to engage citizens. Alternatively, we have many technologies to cherish that are the fruits of scientific progress, truly deserving of positive public attention. Like Rachel Carson, and perhaps like you, science writers shape public perceptions of scientific progress.

Not only do science writers shape public understanding of scientific progress, they also communicate effectively with other scientists. To advance your career as a biologist, meteorologist, physicist, chemist, or in any other science discipline, you must be able to write. The gears of career and scientific progress turn through published research findings and research grant proposals.

To help Millersville’s students achieve success as scientists and to open new doorways for students interested in being a liaison between scientists and the public, the English Department is proud to offer a new Advanced Writing course in Science Writing. This course will cover both the demands on scientists as they communicate within their fields and as they reach out to the public. If you find this particularly compelling, Millersville is also offering a new Multidisciplinary Studies (MDST) degree in Science Writing.

The world needs effective communicators of scientific progress and threat so that members of the public can be well informed of the issues that shape all of our lives. Just as Rachel Carson used writing to challenge an industry by making a technical issue a public one, you too can shape the world through science writing.

Have you always been fascinated by scientific discovery? Are you a scientist yourself? Would you like to learn about an up-and-coming field of study that could lead to internships and job opportunities? Are you looking to take care of that Advanced Writing requirement in a way that will directly impact your career prospects? If so, consider signing up for ENGL 319: Science Writing.

— Justin Mando