Zambia Info Session Flyer

Dr. Ellen Brinks is taking a group of students to Livingstone, Zambia this summer. For three weeks, the will do experiential learning and internships through our Colorado State University Study Abroad program (and African Impact). We’ve asked a few of them to send us pictures and let us know how it’s going, tell us more about what they are doing and experiencing. As they get ready to leave in the next few days, Amira Noshi (an International Studies major) and Alexandrea Pinion (an English major with a concentration in Education) have this to report:

~from Amira Noshi and Alexandrea Pinion

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Alexandrea Pinion and Amira Noshi

A group comprised of several different majors and specialties will soon be heading into the unknown: Livingstone, Zambia! We are counting down the days until May 22 when we will depart from Denver on a two-day journey to the other side of the world. Zambia is located in the southern region of the African continent, just above Botswana. It is the home of the famed Victoria Falls — a massive waterfall that is a wonder of the world! Our group, led by the lovely and talented Dr. Ellen Brinks, will be enriched with the wildlife and culture of what some people call “the Real Africa” during our three-week stay.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

We will all be working on diverse projects through a program called African Impact. Some of us will be teaching English and helping to build school houses, while others will be promoting community health and awareness. In our projects, we will be able to see a side of Zambia that could never be available to us through books or the media; we are truly immersed in the unique culture and climate of this beautiful African country! We are looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the people of the Zambian community while giving back to the those who have so graciously accepted us.

Bottom row, left to right: Kathleen Wendt, Nick Breland, Alexandrea Pinion, Nicole Marie Sutton, Jackson White. Top row, left to right: Amira Noshi, Jo Buckley, Acacia Sharrow, Adelle McDaniel, Alexandra Orahovats. Not pictured: Morgan Bennett, Katie Wybenga

Ellen Brinks with the group. Bottom row, left to right: Kathleen Wendt, Nick Breland, Alexandrea Pinion, Nicole Marie Sutton, Jackson White.
Top row, left to right: Amira Noshi, Jo Buckley, Acacia Sharrow, Adelle McDaniel, Alexandra Orahovats. Not pictured: Morgan Bennett, Katie Wybenga.

Our adventure begins in less than 72 hours and the overwhelming sentiments of excitement and wanderlust have reached a boiling point. Most of us in this diverse group have never traveled to Africa; we are all eager to gain a life-changing experience and challenge our comfort zones, burying our preconceived notions surrounding a vastly diverse continent and building on our own passions. Following a two-day plane ride, none of us really know what to expect, which is perhaps the most exciting aspect — the potential for this experience to really become what we want it to be, maybe even exceeding our expectations.

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Of course, traveling to a country that most of us had little to no background context on is a daunting task. Trepidation from the parental camp is inherently present and our group dynamic is still slowly developing as we all sort out logistics. We are all preparing to leave the comforts of our lives, the daily interactions, the continuity of our routines for three weeks, which in retrospect is a long time. Figuring out ways to maintain contact while remembering the importance of disconnecting presents itself as a point of internal contention. Everything leading up to this point has been so up in the air that most of us still can’t even believe it’s happening.

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The pieces, though, are beginning to fall together as we collect the last few items on our packing lists and prepare to embark on a journey we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Not only will this experience enlighten our perception about the world we live in, we will also build a framework of support and friendship together that will be unlike any other, and will last even beyond our return home. We are looking forward to sharing this experience with each other and with you! We’ll keep the blog posted with affirmations about our excitements and worries, with new insights and amazing revelations from the other side of the world. Livingstone, here we come!

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~From English Department Communications Intern Kara Nosal

On April 30th, I attended the final installment of the Creative Writing Reading Series of the school year. Presenting their MFA projects were Gracie McCarrol, Neil Fitzpatrick, Matt Treslow, and Drew Webster.

I started to get a bad case of nostalgia walking into the University Center for the Arts as it would be the last time I did so as a student at CSU. I would graduate in a few weeks and I was exhausted. After so many late nights writing papers, crashing after black-coffee buzzes, and missing the bus, I had begun holding my eyelids open in lectures. And this was the end to another Thursday, getting to campus at 8 am and staying until 9:30 pm, or whenever the reading ended. Still, I was excited through my grogginess. I felt that this reading would stand out as special compared to all the readings I had attended, and I was right. This reading did prove to be special and in ways that exceeded my expectations.

Gracie McCarroldress02Gracie McCarroldress

Upon arriving at the Organ Recital Hall, I saw that something was different right away. The podium and microphone were not the lone objects on stage. Two wedding dresses, a table and chair set, and a projector screen were scattered around. When Gracie McCarrol sat down in the chair to read her informative and poetic piece about anásyrma, or the practice of lifting of a skirt to dispel power. It turns out that the two wedding dresses were created by McCarrol, as was a film which she showed at the end of reading. I cannot begin to describe the movie, but only say that I felt alternatively amused, frightened, disturbed, and saddened.

Gracie McCarrol

Gracie McCarrol

Neil Fitzpatrick took the stage next to read his short story, “Time to Make the Donuts.” Fitzpatrick’s story centered around a young woman who woke up one day with a buzzing in her ear. She goes to see a doctor who suggests unorthodox treatments. I was captivated by Fitzpatrick’s easy, eloquent dialogue. Also, he included what felt like fantasy in everyday life. Sometimes there really was magic involved (the mutilation of time, for example), and sometimes it appeared the odd daily occurrences could happen to anyone. He demonstrated a mastery over this mystical tone to the point that it seeped through every scene, no matter what was happening. I started to believe everything could be considered a kind of magic.

Neil Fitzpatrick

Neil Fitzpatrick

A story that muddled time was an appropriate introduction for the next reader. Matt Treslow’s poetry utilized repetition to the point of creating what felt like time-warps to me. He would repeat the phrases, “A sound place now to go” and “Get those words out of your mouth and into your heart” throughout, which would give the illusion that I was travelling in circles with him. Those circles were not smooth, judging by sound alone. Treslow also used audible line-breaks and caesuras. Like McCarrol, I did not understand fully Treslow’s poetry (I suppose it’s doubly hard to do this hearing it only once) but by the time he finished, I had a satisfied feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if I had experienced what it was he was trying to relay to the audience.

Matt Treslow

Matt Treslow

Drew Webster finished out the night with his Beat-influenced poetry extravaganza, if I may call it that. Webster’s poetry was scattered with fun and unexpected images, like the story woven throughout about a submarine and a zeppelin in love or how he jumped from casual language to faux-Old English. Yet, like his Beat Generation predecessor, Allen Ginsberg, Webster may have written about the funky colorful things of modernity but he was always speaking of something deeper. Something about identity, victory, and love.

Drew Webster

Drew Webster

It struck me how close in age each reader was to me. All of them were in their twenties, like me. They had created beautiful pieces. Maybe this had been their magnum opus, written at the age of 25 or so. That night, I believed I could do this too, even though I’m not going to graduate school. Maybe I can write something heart-wrenching like McCarrol, magical like Fitzpatrick, rhythmic like Treslow, and kaleidoscopic like Webster. These readers were some of my last teachers I’d have at CSU. After all the books and the papers and the lectures were through, these teachers showed me that I could truly create something that mattered with the tools I had worked hard to fashion over these past four years.

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Image credit: Colorado State University's Facebook page

Image credit: Colorado State University’s Facebook page

  • Next week, John Calderazzo will present two science communication workshops.  He’ll work on basic communication skills with 20 or so CSU researchers in energy, vet-med, and ecology who will soon present their work at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to members of Congress, the press, and potential funders.  He’ll also run a science storytelling workshop at CSU Pingree Park campus for the Center for Collaborative Conservation.
  • In June, John Calderazzo will present a talk at ASLE: Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, on his various communication outreach efforts with scientists and their organizations.
  • SueEllen Campbell will be running a half-day, pre-conference workshop on teaching climate change in English and humanities courses at the biannual meeting of ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, at the University of Idaho, in June. Then she will focus on catching up on her backlog of sources to consider adding to the Changing Climates website!   The URL is http://changingclimates.colostate.edu.
  • Matthew Cooperman and Aby Kaupang just returned from readings in L.A., including Cal State San Bernardino, where they addressed the MFA students in a thesis workshop. A long portion of Matthew and Aby’s collaborative hybrid project NOS, is just out in the latest issue of Verse.
  • Antero Garcia has been selected to be a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship will support his ongoing ethnographic research into learning, literacies, and tabletop gameplay.
  • Along with Lee Nickoson, Kris Blair, and Mary P. Sheridan, Tobi Jacobi edited a special issue of Feminist Teacher on feminist community work (available in June 2015).  She and Mary P. Sheridan co-authored a piece entitled, “Critical Feminist Practice and Campus-Community Partnerships: A Review Essay.”
  • Bruce Ronda’s essay, “’Tender Spirits Set in Ferment’: Transcendentalism and the Aesthetics of Conversation” appears in “Whither Transcendentalism?,” a special issue of Revue Française D’Études Américaines/French Review of American Studies, third trimester, 2014.
  • Barbara Sebek’s paper, “Confounding Local and Global in Frank McGuinness’s Mutabilitie (1997)” was accepted for the conference, “Appropriation in an Age of Global Shakespeare,” which will take place at the University of Georgia in November.
  • Mandi Casolo’s short story “Goat’s Mouth” is a finalist for the national literary journal Arts & Letters Fiction Prize.
  • Anton Gerth was accepted to complete his student teaching abroad at the International School of Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany for Fall 2015 semester.  This is offered through a partnership with CSU’s STEPP program and the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Natalya Stanko, M.A. student in Creative Nonfiction, had her most recent feature story for Sierra Magazine appear in the May issue.  “Enough Is Enough” profiles a small Louisiana town fighting back against a proposal to build a coal terminal inside its city limits.
  • The Washington Post recently ran a fascinating feature article on Tracy Ekstrand, who took many nonfiction writing courses in the department and who also worked on The Colorado Review and helped start the Slow Sanders writing group in town.  You can read that here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/03/27/how-one-woman-climbed-her-way-out-of-scientologys-elite-sea-org/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_3_na
  • MFA graduate Matt Goering’s satirical literary journalism story, “The Truth of What’s Really Happening Here,” about UFO “researchers” in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, has been accepted by The Normal School.

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On Monday, English department faculty and staff did a walkthrough of the renovated Eddy Hall. Finish work is still being completed, but we were able to get a sneak peak of the space.

Bruce Ronda

Bruce Ronda

Bruce Ronda, Associate Dean for Faculty and Graduate Studies and one time department chair, led the tour, and had this to say,

Welcome to the NEW Eddy Hall! On behalf of the CLA Dean’s Office, I’m delighted to welcome you back to Eddy. The revitalization, which began in May 2014, is nearing completion, with the move-back beginning May 18 and proceeding into the next week. By mid-June, the grounds will be landscaped, and we expect a fully-functioning building by beginning of fall semester 2015. Highlights of the building of interest to English faculty and students include a new Writing Center, newly furnished computer classrooms, bright colors, and new graphics.

Bruce Ronda and Louann Reid right before the tour

Bruce Ronda and Louann Reid before the tour

Department Chair Louann Reid, who stayed at the back of the group during the walkthrough to make sure the tour kept moving along and no one got lost, had this to say,

Faculty, staff, and graduate students were treated today to a private tour of Eddy Hall. We were eager to learn what had gone on behind the wire fences that have surrounded Eddy Hall for the past year. Although we had avidly watched the stages of destruction and construction, we were not prepared for what we saw. Our tired, old home has been transformed into a place filled with light and an explosion of colors. The halls seem wider and the windows larger. Faculty offices have new furniture, and student lounges appear throughout the building. Less visible but no less important are the individual temperature controls in offices and the many green energy features. We are thrilled with this significantly improved environment for teaching, learning, researching, and creating. Most of all, we are eager to be in one place again, together with our colleagues and students. Amazing things will happen here.

Are you ready to see it? Are you wearing the appropriate footwear? (Click on any of the images to see a larger version)

Professors Barb Sebek, Leslee Becker, and Roze Hentschell model the appropriate footwear for touring Eddy Hall

Professors Barb Sebek, Leslee Becker, and Roze Hentschell model the appropriate footwear for touring Eddy Hall

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The new Writing Center

 

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New double wide entrance into the basement

New double wide entrance into the basement

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Three department chairs: Louann Reid, Bruce Ronda, and Pattie Cowell

Three department chairs: Louann Reid, Bruce Ronda, and Pattie Cowell

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Third floor, Doug Cloud and Nancy Henke check out the renovated office spaces

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Third floor women’s bathroom

Third floor gender neutral bathroom

Third floor gender neutral bathroom

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Third floor office space. Each comes with its own bulletin board.

 

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Third floor office space with new furniture

 

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Third floor hallway

 

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Third floor hallway

 

Professor Leslee Becker back on duty as Hall Monitor

Professor Leslee Becker back on duty as Hall Monitor. Everything is right with the world.

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This past semester, we’ve been asking people in various interviews and profiles, “What are you looking forward to most about moving back into a remodeled Eddy Hall?” Here are some of the responses:

“Next semester, I plan on studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, so I won’t be able to see Eddy right when it gets finished, but I am excited to see it a year from now. Being scattered across campus has been a bit of a pain, though Eddy needed the remodeling, and any updates to modernize the structure are welcome.” ~Colin Stevens, Double Majoring in English (Creative Writing) and Journalism and Technical Communications, Senior

“Even though I’ve graduated, I’m honestly excited that Eddy’s getting a facelift. As charming as the old building was, it needed to be updated like none other. I can’t recall the floor plans, but I hope they kept the central courtyard. That was such a nice space and it really gave Eddy some good character.” ~Lauren Cofer, English: Creative Writing, Graduated Spring 2014

“Being in a classroom that doesn’t smell like science chemicals, being in a classroom that isn’t located in a basement or windowless, not having to make the trek to Ingersoll, and having a central place to store my jacket and lunch. I also think it will provide an even bigger sense of community and help with communication within the English department, because we won’t be spread out all over the place.”~Kristen Mullen, MA English: Literature, Graduating Spring 2016

“When I visited CSU as a prospective MFA student last March, one of the things that drew me to the program was the fact that the entire department had its own building. I am looking forward to bringing that sense of community into the new Eddy.” ~Alex Morrison, MFA Fiction, Assistant Director of the Community Literacy Center, and Writing Center Consultant

“The thing I’m looking forward to the most about moving back into Eddy is to see it for the first time ever! When I moved to Colorado, Eddy was already under renovations, so I’ve never actually been in the building!” ~Kathleen Hamel, MA English: Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TEFL/TESL), 1st year

“Seeing familiar faces on those crowded stairs! We are all so spread out right now, and I am excited to get everyone back where I can corner them more easily.” ~Sarah Hansen, MFA Creative Writing: Fiction, Writing Center Assistant Director, Intern with the Center for Literary Publishing and the Literacy through Prose and Poetry Program

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"Love, In Theory" by E.J. Levy, the French edition

“Love, In Theory” by E.J. Levy, the French edition

  • Good news from E.J. Levy: “My award-winning story collection, ‘Love, In Theory,’ is being released today in France by Editions Payot & Rivages, publishers of (among others) Elmore Leonard, David Lodge, Alison Lurie, and Willa Cather. They compare my work to that of Lorrie Moore, Grace Paley, and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. The collection won the Flannery O’Connor Award and the GLCA New Writers Award, previously awarded to Munro, Richard Ford, Louise Erdrich and other award-winning authors.”
  • Leslee Becker’s story collection, The Little Gentleman, has been named a Finalist for the Snake Nation Press Fiction Award.  She was also listed in the Literary Arts category as one of Silicon Valley Creates Awards Laureates for winning the Santa Clara County Arts Council Short Story Award. (She has not moved to Silicon Valley, but is being cited as an Artist Laureate in honor of SVC’s 25th anniversary.)
  • Ellen Brinks has an essay on queer Victorian childhood and adolescence in an edited collection entitled Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature. The volume, which appeared this spring, is part of the Routledge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature.
  • Camille Dungy has a new poem featured in the Kenyon Review. http://www.kenyonreview.org/journal/mayjune-2015/selections/camille-t-dungy/
  • Tobi Jacobi was elected to serve a 3 year term on the CSU Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research advisory board.
  • Tobi Jacobi and Wendy Wolters Hinshaw’s essay, “What Words Might Do: The Challenge of Representing Incarcerated Women and their Writing” appears in the most recent issue of Feminist Formations, a feminist scholarly journal.
  • Two English majors received Top Honors at the CURC Showcase and five others received High or Highest Honors. The Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) Showcase features writing, oral presentations, service-learning, art, and research by CSU undergraduate students. Seventeen English majors entered. An interesting note in the poetry competition is that the first place winner, Eric Bleem, is a Biochemistry major whose E210 instructor was English MFA student Kristen George Bagdanov. Eric was awarded first place for his poem “Hollows.” You can see pictures and read about the winners at http://english.colostate.edu/2015/05/celebrate-undergraduate-research-and-creativity-curc-showcase-winners/
  • Five of our current student teachers returned to campus on Monday, May 4th, to talk and workshop with our current Methods students.  Stephanie McElroy, Melinda Smith, Kendall Umetsu, Chris Vanjonack, and Kelly Wimler visited Pam Coke‘s EDUC 463: Methods–Teaching Language Arts class.  They answered questions about student teaching, and then they worked with students in small groups to answer questions about their unit plans.  Melinda, Kendall, and Chris have already secured teaching positions for the fall.
  • Mary Crow has had her poem, “Short Cut,” accepted by Calliope magazine.
  • Christine Robinson (2011 MA, Rhet/Comp) was recently named recipient of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences (LAS) Outstanding Instructor award for 2015. Christine just finished her fourth year as a full-time instructor at UCCS.

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Five CSU graduate students are going to central China this summer to teach English as a second language at Xi’an Jiaotong University. For four weeks, they will teach six hours a day five days a week. Their primary duty will be teaching language skills to Chinese college students, including reading, writing and verbal communication in English. The program flyer describes the school and its location this way:

Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU), one of the country’s oldest higher education institutions, is a national key university under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. Currently, XJTU has 26 schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in science, engineering, medicine, economics, management, art, law and education, with an enrollment of about 30,000 full-time students, including over 14,697 masters and doctoral candidates.

Xi’an is located in the central China. As a city with over 3000 years of history, Xi’an is proud of its historic sites and relics including the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Emperor, one of the eight wonders of the world, the City Wall, the Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

In the weeks before they go, we’ll be profiling some of these students on the blog as part of our Student Success Stories series, and a few of them have agreed to send us updates and pictures while they are there. In this profile, we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Mullen.

kristenKristen Mullen
MA English: Literature
Graduating Spring 2016

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in small town Ohio and attended Ohio University where I got my bachelor’s degree in Middle Education in English and Social Studies in the heavenly hills of Athens. I got ants in my pants and decided to move out west to get closer to what I wanted for myself, instead of what everyone else wanted for me.

I’m obviously a huge fan of books and when I’m not reading for class, you can usually find me outside or in the Alley Cat reading sci-fi. Right now I’m on a Kurt Vonnegut kick, who’s quite a genre defier. And so what?

I’m a big fan of all things science, I’m really into anything that has to do with plants or technology. I try to spend as much time as I can in the mountains, running in town, or volunteering as a conversation partner at INTOCSU and getting to know our awesome international students! Also I love Lucifer, my magnificent black cat.

What brought you to CSU?

On a particularly dreary week in Ohio, I received a little funding to fly out to CSU to attend a prospective graduate student get-together. I had a blast and met some real winners with whom I remain friends and who also decided that day that CSU was where they wanted to spend the next two years.


Actually, CSU ended up being the only school where I applied. When I was doing my research on graduate programs, Marnie and some of the literature staff answered all of my questions, emailed me so quickly, and treated me like a real person instead of a number. I knew if I was moving 1,200 miles away, I wanted to surround myself with supportive people and I must have good judgement, because now I spend my days with the most intelligent, sincere, helpful staff and classmates! And it’s located in beautiful Fort Collins, so I’ve made the right choice.


Favorite English class? Favorite English teacher? Favorite assignment or project?

This is a hard question to answer. I wasn’t an English literature major in my undergrad, so I’ve tried to really branch out in the classes I take and they’re all absolutely fascinating and new to me. I’ve dabbled in crossing the ocean with Christopher Columbus in Zach Hutchins’s class, I’ve experienced the eccentric world of Charles Dickens with Ellen Brinks, I’ve gone medieval with Lynn Shutters, down the rabbit hole of literary theory with Leif Sorenson, and experienced some world literature with Leslee Becker.

I would have to say Research Methods with Roze Hentschell changed my whole perspective on grad school. I was really able to narrow down what I wanted to spend my time researching and pick up some good habits from Roze, the biggest multi-tasker I know. I made the greatest friends and supporters in that class. I also can’t forget to mention my project I’m working on for my internship with the Tobi Jacobi’s CLC SpeakOut! program. I’ve just renovated our websites, so if you’re a community member who is involved in public literacy, if your curious about what the CLC does, or if your interested in volunteering with us next year, check it out! (https://speakoutclc.wordpress.com/ and https://csuclc.wordpress.com/)

Why is it important to study English, the Humanities?

Books are the recorded history of our culture. They show us earthlings where we’ve been, how we’ve thought in the past and how we’re building a future. They teach us how to dream and be more compassionate and understanding human beings by exposing us to characters with thousands of personalities that differ from our own. Literature is so much more truthful and less censored than the textbooks we’re taught in school.


The Humanities flex our imagination and keep the world open to new ways of thinking.


Having strong reading and writing skills and being able to reach your audience is important in any field. Knowing how to write under pressure helps too. Studying English also allows you to research anything; the possibilities are endless. Without the Humanities, I would never be able spend my time studying robotic ethics from a philosophical and literary perspective, a way different research approach than those of mathematicians and engineers, but I feel it’s not any less essential to technological advancement.

How did you find out about the opportunity to teach English in China over the summer?

Marnie and Ellen Brinks made an announcement for the Xi’an Jiaotong Summer English Program in early spring, which included contact information for Anne Bliss, the program coordinator and ESL/EFL Educational Consultant at University of Colorado. After getting in touch with Anne, she was really hands on from helping me format my cover letter and C.V. to encouraging me to go big and apply for a teaching position, rather than the TA position. I felt it was a long shot, but her encouragement gave me the added confidence to aim high.

Why did you apply?

I love the time I spend in the classrooms at INTOCSU and have learned that language is not as big of a barrier as it previously seemed. I found that friendships can be formed through body language and laughter from the hilariously messy venture of learning to understand one another. I also see how quickly the students’ English improves through the languages exercises facilitated by teachers like Gayla Martinez (who so generously offered to let me steal some of her lesson plans if I got the job).

It seemed like a long shot, but I figured it never hurts to apply and I had successfully journeyed across the nation, so why not try out all the new things I’ve learned at CSU and take it across the world? I also knew that XJTU (Xi’an Jiaotong University) has The Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and I was hoping that when I wasn’t teaching I could pick the minds of their department and learn about visual information processing for my final research project.

What do you expect it to be like?

I’ll be teaching large classes of about 30 students at a time. I expect it to be fast-paced, I expect to gain a lot of new information about Chinese culture as my students learn English from me, and I think the students will be really enthusiastic after we build a learning connection. All of the students have a background in English, so we’ll be focusing on fine-tuning their communication skills such as subject-verb agreements, tenses, and context. With such a high focus on conversation skills, I feel it will be a lot easier to get to know my students in a short amount of time.

We have a lot to accomplish and July will go by quick. I suspect that there will be a lot of communication between me and my lovely fellow CSU teachers and time spent getting to know instructors from other states and countries. We are also provided with some cultural tours and I have high expectations for Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum where the Terracotta Army rests. They happen to be something I’ve always wanted to see up close.

When do you leave? How long will you be gone?

We leave June 23rd and arrive two days later and we will get back July 27th on the same day (Thank you, time travel).

What sort of preparation have you had to do? What do you think you’ll miss most while you are gone?

I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know my students’ background with English, I’ve had to apply for my passport and visa and book my flights—no easy task, and I’ve been getting my schedule down (time blocks for teaching, how that time will be divided, and what exercises we’ll be doing and when). After finals, I plan to spend time attempting to learn some Mandarin so I can communicate better with students and find bathrooms. Always important.

I have a one year old sister and a four year old brother, Lilly and Tommy and the time change (fourteen hours) will make it hard for me to catch them awake, so I will certainly miss hearing their little voices and baby laughs as often for that month.

What advice do you have for current students?

1) Never, ever stop yourself from getting your name out there and applying to opportunities, even if they seem intangible or highly unlikely.
2) Use your time in school wisely because your around the best network of people that are invested in making things happen for you.
3) Don’t let money hold you back. I never have extra funds to fly around the world, but I do make it a priority to look into educational opportunities that provide funding.
4) Find a solid writing group. The only people that will truly understand what your doing are the people that are doing it right there with you, its invigorating to have a few brains moving on the same wavelength in the same room with you.
5) Allow yourself to feel your emotions. Instead of stifling your stress or frustrations about school, feel it, acknowledge it and move on. Build a tough skin. Successful people are the ones that take criticism and set backs and then keep going.


What do you want to say to prospective students about the CSU English department?

I will say that they will not find a staff as approachable and resourceful as our CSU English department. Although they’re all such busy and productive individuals, our staff will always take the time to help students. Whether its working through a project idea, finding resources, helping to edit a draft, or logistical inquiries about things like course credit or how to apply to conferences, I’ve always been met with patience and thorough explanations. It’s certainly a friendly atmosphere AND we have our brand new Eddy building ready to accommodate a bunch of eager English nerds next year!


What are you looking forward to most about moving back into a remodeled Eddy Hall?

Being in a classroom that doesn’t smell like science chemicals, being in a classroom that isn’t located in a basement or windowless, not having to make the trek to Ingersoll, and having a central place to store my jacket and lunch. I also think it will provide an even bigger sense of community and help with communication within the English department, because we won’t be spread out all over the place.

Where will we find you in five years?

I used to think I had the five year plan down, but in the past year so much has changed. I would like to see myself possibly finishing a PhD program in some fun city, teaching somewhere overseas, or you might just find me sitting on top of Horsetooth Mountain grading papers for the super awesome classes I’m teaching at CSU. Or maybe just at a patio in Old Town, it gets windy up there.

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Five CSU graduate students are going to central China this summer to teach English as a second language at Xi’an Jiaotong University. For four weeks, they will teach six hours a day five days a week. Their primary duty will be teaching language skills to Chinese college students, including reading, writing and verbal communication in English. The program flyer describes the school and its location this way:

Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU), one of the country’s oldest higher education institutions, is a national key university under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. Currently, XJTU has 26 schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in science, engineering, medicine, economics, management, art, law and education, with an enrollment of about 30,000 full-time students, including over 14,697 masters and doctoral candidates.

Xi’an is located in the central China. As a city with over 3000 years of history, Xi’an is proud of its historic sites and relics including the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Emperor, one of the eight wonders of the world, the City Wall, the Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

In the weeks before they go, we’ll be profiling some of these students on the blog as part of our Student Success Stories series, and a few of them have agreed to send us updates and pictures while they are there. In this profile, we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Hamel.

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Kathleen and her mom, Spring Break 2015

 

Kathleen Hamel
MA English: Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TEFL/TESL)
1st year

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Ohio, where I did my undergrad at The Ohio State University and received my BA in International Studies. Through my program there, I began volunteering as an ESL teacher upon returning home from a study abroad trip to Brazil I took through OSU. From this volunteering experience, I knew that this was the career path for me!

What brought you to CSU?
Since I want to serve in the Peace Corps, I chose CSU so that I could participate in the Peace Corp’s Master’s International program, which is when student’s combine their Master’s degree with their Peace Corps service abroad. In addition to this, I fell in love with Colorado on a previous backpacking trip and wanted to be exposed to more outdoor experiences.

Kathleen on the far left

Last summer, Kathleen was a water-white rafting guide, “an experience that I will never forget!” That’s her on the far left, in the green shirt with the braid.

Favorite English class? Favorite English teacher? Favorite assignment or project?
My favorite English class that I’ve taken at CSU, hands down, is my Practicum course, where my classmates and I “practice” our ESL teaching skills to a class filled with volunteer students. Dr. Tatiana Nekrasova-Beker teaches the course and truly facilitates a comforting and conducive environment for us “Teachers-in-Training.”


Why is it important to study English, the Humanities?
I think it’s important to study English and the Humanities because it allows us to see beyond our own culture, which ultimately leads to a more accepting world view.


How did you find out about the opportunity to teach English in China over the summer? Why did you apply?
I first heard about this opportunity to teach in China from my (now-retired) professor, Dr. Flahive. He highly recommended the people who work for this organization, and as he is a long-time professional in the field, I trusted that input. I decided to apply to the program, so that I can continue my EFL/ESL training, since I have never taught EFL abroad before. I expect that I will continue to learn more ways in which student’s learn and in what ways I can be a better facilitator for them learning a language. It’s imperative as a teacher to be able to ensure that students are learning in their most efficient manor, and to me, various types of experiences enables one to perfect those skills.

What do you expect it to be like?
Since I have never lived in a city so big before, I anticipate that will be the biggest adjustment I’ll have to make, besides the language of course. And as this is considered to be a “mid-sized” city for China, I cannot imagine what Shanghai will be like! I’m excited to be able to see it first-hand.

When do you leave? How long will you be gone?
I will leave at the end of June and will be back by the end of July. So the program itself is about a month long.

What sort of preparation have you had to do? What do you think you’ll miss most while you are gone?
I haven’t had much opportunity to prepare since the semester has been winding down and I’ve been busy focusing all of my effort on ensuring that I finish strong. However, as soon as the school year finishes, I hope to learn as much as I can about the Chinese language, watch documentaries about the region I will be teaching and reaching out to fellow classmates who are familiar with the area.

I think that I’ll most likely miss the food. From my past experience traveling and living abroad, there’s just no food like the food that you grew up on and comforts you.


What advice do you have for current students?

My advice to current students is to put yourself out there to experiences that you might be hesitant to try. More likely times than not, you’ll be enjoying yourself, and if not, life is about learning experiences, and it’s just another one that you have under your belt.

What do you want to say to prospective students about the CSU English department?

To prospective students, I would say that the CSU English department is a close-knit community and there is always someone who is extremely helpful in helping you in the ways that you need. I never quite had this experience as an undergrad since I went so such a large university, so it’s something that I’ve appreciated greatly in my time here.


What are you looking forward to most about moving back into a remodeled Eddy Hall?
The thing I’m looking forward to the most about moving back into Eddy is to see it for the first time ever! When I moved to Colorado, Eddy was already under renovations, so I’ve never actually been in the building!

Where will we find you in five years?
In five years, I anticipate that I will be living and working abroad as an EFL teacher. Hopefully in a place that I’ve never been to before!

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Five CSU graduate students are going to central China this summer to teach English as a second language at Xi’an Jiaotong University. For four weeks, they will teach six hours a day five days a week. Their primary duty will be teaching language skills to Chinese college students, including reading, writing and verbal communication in English. The program flyer describes the school and its location this way:

Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU), one of the country’s oldest higher education institutions, is a national key university under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education. Currently, XJTU has 26 schools offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in science, engineering, medicine, economics, management, art, law and education, with an enrollment of about 30,000 full-time students, including over 14,697 masters and doctoral candidates.

Xi’an is located in the central China. As a city with over 3000 years of history, Xi’an is proud of its historic sites and relics including the Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Emperor, one of the eight wonders of the world, the City Wall, the Bell Tower and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

In the weeks before they go, we’ll be profiling some of these students on the blog as part of our Student Success Stories series, and a few of them have agreed to send us updates and pictures while they are there. Our first profile is Joni Hayward.

JHayward2

Joni Hayward
MA English: Literature
1st year

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life; I’m from the Boulder area. When I’m not working on school or teaching CO150 (which barely ever happens, but nonetheless) I like to eat delicious food, go geocaching, go for walks and bike rides, play piano and listen to music.

What brought you to CSU?
I came to CSU after taking one year off post-BA. I moved to Fort Collins after graduating from CU Boulder and learned about the MA program here, and it sounded like a perfect fit. Things worked out really well! After getting out of undergrad I still felt like I had “unfinished business” academically, and I wanted to pursue my interests in Literature further.

Favorite English class? Favorite English teacher? Favorite assignment or project?
I don’t want to list favorites! But I have enjoyed my classes this semester in particular. I took Major Authors: Charles Dickens, Historicisms, and a Film Class on International Cinema. Ellen Brinks is my advisor and teaches the Dickens class, and she has been a huge help to me in numerous ways during my time here thus far. My favorite project thus far is the one I am currently working on, which is about the pastoral mode in Michael Drayton’s 1606 poem To The Virginian Voyage and how the pastoral mode operates when applied to a colonial setting as opposed to a traditional English setting.


Why is it important to study English, the Humanities?

It’s important to study English and the Humanities because, well—the name says it all. We are humans, hence, humanities. Learning about the humanities teaches us about ourselves, and teaches us to think creatively but also critically. I think those skills are of vital importance.


How did you find out about the opportunity to teach English in China over the summer?
I found out about the teaching opportunity in an department-wide e-mail that Dr. Brinks forwarded to all the graduate students, which had been passed along to her from the Coordinator from CU Boulder, Anne Bliss.

Why did you apply?
I applied for a few reasons; first I didn’t have any solid summer plans yet, so I had the freedom to apply. Second, I want to do something during the summer to further myself in my career as an academic, and something that will help me grow as a teacher. I want to get a variety of different experiences in the classroom, and I’ve never taught abroad, so it sounded very exciting. I’ve also always wanted to visit China in particular. As an undergraduate I took Chinese History, Geography of China, and Art History of China. China is so diverse and I’ve wanted to go there ever since learning so much about it in classes.

What do you expect it to be like?
I expect it to be hectic—we are going to be in Xi’an, which is a city of 5 million people (just a tad bigger than Fort Collins…) but also very fun. We teach during the week in the program and on the weekends we go on cultural excursions to sites like the Terra Cotta Army, which dates back more than 2,000 years.

When do you leave? How long will you be gone?
We leave on June 23rd and return on July 27th, so it’s a little over a month.

What sort of preparation have you had to do? What do you think you’ll miss most while you are gone?
The most preparation so far has been applying to the visa—it’s quite a process. Aside from that, not a whole lot until finals are over! Then I plan to review the teaching materials before we leave. I will miss my loved ones and my apartment. I’m a homebody and love being in my own space, so I’m sure I’ll miss it while I’m away!

Joni at this year’s Graduate Student Showcase

Joni at this year’s Graduate Student Showcase


What advice do you have for current students?

My advice for current students is to take opportunities. If it’s something that sounds outside of your comfort zone, do it. The worst case scenario is you learned from it. The best case scenario is that you not only learn, but you find a new passion or niche you didn’t know you would find. Other than that, focus on what is important in the moment. Dedicate yourself to your work and it can really take you places (maybe even to China!)

What do you want to say to prospective students about the CSU English department?

The English department at CSU is so welcoming and supportive. If you can, go to department events in advance of arriving, and accepted student days. The community in this department is here to help and wants us to succeed, and it’s a wonderful place to be.


What are you looking forward to most about moving back into a remodeled Eddy Hall?
The graduate student lounge! And fancy classrooms.

Where will we find you in five years?
Hopefully teaching and writing my doctoral dissertation in another English Department somewhere!

 

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The English Department Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTTF) Committee does all kinds of good work. One good thing is their newsletter “In Addition…News from the English Department’s NTTF Committee.” One of the features of the newsletter, which is sent monthly to NTTF in the department, is a faculty profile, which they’ve agreed to let us share on the blog.

Hannah Aldine

What name do you prefer to go by? Where are you located on campus?

Hannah Aldine – Ingersoll SE 259 (but only for one more month!)

What courses do you teach at CSU? What (if any) courses have you taught before?

I’m teaching CO300 and CO150-ESL this semester, and I also teach CO150 and CO130.

What are the greatest strengths that you bring to teaching composition?

I think my dynamic teaching approach helps me to be flexible and willing to constantly re-invent my courses. I try to be a conscientious teacher who constantly adapts to what students need and want in a writing class. I like to implement new assignments each semester, and right now I’m integrating multimodal assignments which develop technological literacy for students because I think this is a skill that will benefit them outside of the course. I also use research to inform my teaching practices, so I conduct classroom-based research to elicit student feedback on major course changes that I make.

What makes teaching composition to ESL students unique from teaching it to non- ESL students?

In my experience, ESL students are generally more motivated and care a lot about doing well. They often bring a lot of enthusiasm, and I find that I’ve raised my standards for native speakers’ writing because I’ve received such strong texts from my ESL students. I think many of them do well because they routinely use office hours, and I suspect that they read their feedback more as well than their American counterparts.

What song best describes your work ethic?

At this point in the semester, the first song that comes to mind is “Just Keep Swimming” from Finding Nemo. Earlier in the semester it’d probably be “[wo]Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.

(Thank you to Tony Becker for interviewing Hannah.)

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