~from Department Chair Louann Reid

Two English majors received Top Honors in a university-wide competition. The Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) Showcase features writing, oral presentations, service-learning, art, and research by CSU undergraduate students. Seven of the seventeen English majors who entered were recognized at the Awards Ceremony April 28, 2015. We asked those who won honors to tell us a bit more about their projects, and here’s what they said:

Hannah Polland received First Place in the category of Service-Learning Posters for her research on sex trafficking in Fort Collins, “Sex Trafficking in Our Community and the Language that Surrounds the Issue.” She also received a Top Honor award of a $250 travel grant from the Vice President of Research, given to the best entry in each of the five CURC competitions. She worked with advisor Tobi Jacobi. Hannah will be studying at Bath Spa University starting in October and says, “I am very excited, sad to leave CSU though. I will be sure to keep the Department of English updated with my new literature adventures!”

Hannah Polland at the CURC Showcase with the poster describing her project.


Caitlin Johnson received Second Place in the Scholarly Nonfiction category of the Writing Competition for “Sexualized Piety: Margery’s ‘Dalliance’ with God,” composed for Medieval Women Writers in Fall 2014 with the help of Lynn Shutters. She is pursuing a concentration in Education and a minor in Women’s Studies, with a special interest in representations of gender and sexuality in literature. She also received the Top Honor award in the Writing Competition and will have her essay published in the Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Caitlin Johnson


Also in the Scholarly Nonfiction category, Ivana Leskanich received Third Place for “The Woman Who Wanted to be a Soldier,” and “The Epistemological Nature of the Troy Legend in Hamlet.” Both of these essays were written for the Shakespeare II class that Ivana took with Professor Lynn Shutters, which she greatly enjoyed. Even though Ivana found studying Shakespeare to be a challenge, she is thoroughly grateful for having taken that class, and to her professor, for the growth that she experienced as a critical thinker and a writer. Ivana is hoping to be accepted into CSU’s graduate program to pursue a Master’s degree in English Literature next year. Currently she is studying abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France, for a semester, as she is also a French major.

Ivana Leskanich

Nathan DeLaCastro received Second Place in Fiction for “The Fiddle Game” and “’Out, Out—‘.” The former was written as a workshop piece for E412A under the tutelage (*snicker*) of Leslee Becker, and he’s rather pleased with how it turned out. The latter was a poem written for E311B, made possible in part by the inimitable Dan Beachy-Quick. Nathan is just about done with a Creative Writing concentration, and hopes to maybe make money with this writing nonsense in the future.

Nathan DeLaCastro and friend
Nathan DeLaCastro and friend

Hannah Armfield received Second Place in Poetry for “[Years ago, when the snow fell heavy].”

An interesting note in the poetry competition is that the first place winner, Eric Bleem, is a Biochemistry major whose advisor was English MFA student Kristen George Bagdanov. Eric was awarded first place for his poem “Hollows.”

Creative Nonfiction awards went to two English majors who received awards in the 2014 competition as well. Krista Reuther was awarded Second Place for “Unfunny.” Davis Webster was awarded Third Place for “A Playlist For Steven’s Wake (Annotated).” The essay, written for EJ Levy’s Intermediate Creative Nonfiction class, explores Davis’ relationship with his sister’s ex-boyfriend through their mutual love of Guns N’ Roses. (Read more about Davis in his recent Humans of Eddy profile).

Davis Webster
Davis Webster

We are proud of everyone who entered the competition and look forward to increased participation next year. Our students do amazing work that should be recognized among the best research and creative artistry of CSU’s thousands of undergraduates.