Tag Archives: Haley Huffman

~from intern Haley Huffman


What’s your name? Your major? When do you expect to graduate?
Geneva McCarthy.  I’m an English Major concentrating in Literature and Creative Writing with a Minor in Linguistics and Culture.  I’ll be graduating next Spring.  Finally.  It’s taken me – I can’t believe I’m going to say this – 30 years!

How do you spend most of your time in Eddy Hall?
At the moment, most of my time in Eddy is spent in the Writing Center, but I’ve often been found in the computer lab, meeting with professors, or taking classes here – Eddy is a bit like the bat cave for English majors, it seems to me.

Favorite English class or teacher?
I planned this semester well, so pretty much all my classes are my favorite.  That is, Native American Cultural Expressions, Development of the English Language (I’m learning how to read and speak Old and Middle English), Shakespeare, and British Romanticism.

What’s your favorite book, poem, quote, lyric, genre? Who is your favorite author?
Poem:  “Ode to Autumn” by John Keats – a most constant companion.  I’m immensely fond of Emerson, too.  (Yes, I split infinitives and estrange auxiliaries.) There are scores more worth mention, of course, but these are essential wellsprings.

If you were to give advice to incoming CSU English majors, what would it be?
Be bold in exploring your passion, be open to new vision, and be generous to others and to yourself.

What’s your biggest goal, priority right now?
In practical terms, keeping up with daily demands and applying to Graduate programs; in a more ephemeral realm, broadening my command of voice and register.

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~from intern Haley Huffman

1. Trying to analyze Old English texts at 8:00 am.


2. Having all your final papers due during Dead week, making finals week feel like a vacation.

Dead week:


Finals week:


3. When people tell you that the degree you’re working towards is useless.


4. “Oh you’re an English major? What’s your favorite book?” But you can’t answer that question because there are too many choices.


5. How you feel when you pick up on symbolism or a metaphor that no one else noticed.


6. When the English Department has reading days and all of your friends still have to go to class, but you’re having a pajama dance party.


7. Climbing the stairs to the third floor of Eddy makes you feel really out of shape.


8. The panic you feel when you’re trying to get through the entire reading assignment in the seven minutes you have before class starts.


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~from intern Haley Huffman


Special Instructor Sharon Grindle

Cloudy and cold days make Sharon Grindle just the tiniest bit homesick for the coast. Originally from California, Grindle moved to Colorado to pursue her dreams of teaching. “I’ve known for a long time, I think, that I wanted to be a teacher.” Grindle recalls childhood memories in which she begged her sisters to play school so she could pull out her easel and impart her wisdom on her pretend students.

Grindle’s parents recognized her passion for academics and pushed her to excel in many different areas. While this opened up a lot of opportunities for her, it also made it very difficult for her to choose a major when she got to college. Grindle describes herself as being very “humanities oriented,” which gave her some direction, although she remained undeclared for two years.

Grindle took three English classes with the same professor, which led to that professor pulling her aside for a wake-up call. Her professor had noticed that she exhibited a lot of the behaviors he liked to see in English majors and she definitely thought like an English major, leading her professor to the conclusion that she should probably give up the game and declare herself an English major. She also added two minors to her degree, Communications and Leadership Studies. “This is me acknowledging that I’m going to be an English professor, right?”

After graduating with her custom-created English professor starter pack, she took a gap year before applying to grad schools. That one year away from the classroom solidified her desire to teach. So the hunt for grad schools began. “I looked for graduate programs that … would pay me to teach so that I could just teach and go to school.” There weren’t any schools that met the requirements in Grindle’s home state of California, but in an effort to still be close, she chose schools in the western states.

Grindle decided on Colorado State University because of the comprehensive training that is provided for teachers. CSU offers a weeklong training course to prepare teachers for the classroom, while most other schools offer a half-day.

Ten years later and Grindle still resides in Fort Collins, occasionally missing the coast, but life as an English teacher keeps her busy.

One part of teaching is scholarship work. “A lot of the ongoing scholarship that I do is keeping up with shifts in thinking in the field. I do a lot of reading.” But Grindle has been making time to produce scholarship as well. She presented a conference paper last year on the Marvel series Daredevil. “I was looking at the way different characters in Daredevil talk about the vigilante.”

Marvel seems to be the inspiration for most of the scholarship that Grindle has planned for the future. “I’m kind of a big nerd.”

Grindle is not only looking at Marvel productions through the lens of an English teacher, but she is also examining the psychology and ethnic studies components. Grindle has plenty of fodder for her future scholarship endeavors, as Netflix continues to produce Marvel series like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. The Marvel characters have been around for decades and tend to reflect our cultural pressures, which is what makes them so interesting to study. The end goal for Grindle and her Marvel studies is to work with fellow professor Ashley Davies to produce a book containing their research and scholarship on Marvel productions.

Grindle’s passion for the humanities not only shines through her scholarship work, but through her teaching philosophies as well. “The humanities is all about self improvement, having a well-rounded education, learning how to think and how to be a resistant, critical thinker.” Grindle’s advice for studying the humanities, and English in particular, is to come with an open mind. “Most English Department classes are about asking you to consider different opinions.”

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~from intern Haley Huffman


The Writer’s Harvest isn’t just a bounty of award winning literature, but it is also a food drive for the Larimer County Food Bank. It is an opportunity to provide food for those less fortunate. A community gathered to share a passion for the humanities in an art gallery that was stark in appearance, but felt very warm and inviting.

Well-lit white walls with small works of strategically framed artwork enclosed the audience. I felt a little out of place because everyone there seemed so cultured and this was certainly not my average weeknight activity, and this was my first reading. I stood in the back wondering to myself what etiquette accompanied a literary reading and how I was supposed to behave.

The audience

The audience

The atmosphere warmed up drastically after the reading began. As everyone settled in, their attention shifted to the readers. My own focus shifted too and my worries about fitting in drifted away.

Harrison Candelaria Fletcher gave a vibrant reading that transported the audience to the deserts of New Mexico with beautiful descriptions of the landscape and of his family bonds. Fletcher read several passages that reflected on his bond with his mother and their collective bond to the land. Fletcher’s words and descriptions completely blew me away and I could picture myself standing in the middle of the desert, with the red sand blowing around me. Fletcher read about the warm nourishing wind that blows through New Mexico and Professor Dungy likened that wind to the literary community that gathered that evening.

The theme of nourishment continued as Tess Taylor read from her latest book of poetry Works and DaysWorks and Days is about her experience working on a farm in New England. Farming is an experience that I don’t necessarily identify with as I’ve never worked on a farm, but Taylor’s descriptions made perfect sense. Her poetry was moving and elegantly combined farm life with the changing of seasons and the inherently human thoughts that both evoke.

The evening was dedicated to feeding Larimer County with non-perishable food donations, and it also fed the souls of the audience with literature. After experiencing my first reading, I realized that no one is paying attention to what other people are doing. The experiences that are portrayed through the readings captivate everyone’s attention and transport them all to different places, together.


Donations of non-perishable food brought to the reading


The Larimer County Food Bank is always accepting monetary donations and non-perishable food. For every $1 donated, they provide $5 of food. For more information visit: www.foodbanklarimer.org.



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~from intern Haley Huffman

Ellen Brinks is the graduate program coordinator for the English Department, but her passions extend far beyond the scheduling, staffing and training that make up a large portion of her responsibilities. She thinks of herself “first and foremost as a teacher, advisor and mentor for undergrads and graduate students.”

Brinks grew up in Michigan in the suburbs of the Detroit Metro area. While she was in high school she studied abroad in Germany and that opened everything up for her. Brinks loved the vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere of Germany so much she ended up completing her Masters at a German university. At that point, she had been in a classroom for her entire life and decided that she needed to do something a little different.

She really wanted to do something for others because she has always been very service oriented, so she spent six years doing social work. Brinks returned to her academic roots after realizing that “deep down, [her] nature is that [she’s] an intellectual.” She likes to study, learn, and loves the classroom, and that’s where she wanted to be, so she went back to graduate school for a PhD.

For six years Brinks lived in Manhattan and worked on her PhD at Princeton. She became accustomed to her metropolitan lifestyle and fell in love with the diverse people that also inhabited the city. Ironically, when Brinks completed her PhD she applied for a position with a university located in a small town in Colorado.

Ellen and her wife, Julie

Ellen and her wife, Julie

The adjustment to life in Fort Collins was an interesting one. The hustle and bustle of Manhattan was a long ways away. “I thought I was in some post nuclear zone. I would look out of the house I was renting on Remington and I wouldn’t see a single person walk by,” said Brinks. The charms of CSU and the English Department in particular convinced Brinks to stay. “This department is wonderful. They let you explore and develop in the ways that you feel compelled to do.”

Professor Brinks is using that creative freedom to study international fairy tales at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, and how that shaped understandings of a globalized childhood. In particular, Brinks studies the way these fairy tales were reviewed and the conversations that surround these tales. “Those stories invite children to journey to other cultures and other places that they can never physically go, but they can imaginatively go — so what view of the world are they presenting and what understanding of the child as an international or global citizen are they projecting in those works?”

To research this, Brinks spends a lot of time sifting through archives, which happens to be one of her passions. She will be traveling to London in a couple months to the British Library to scavenge for fairy tales from the 19th century. “I love exploring all of those things and not knowing what I’m going to find,” said Brinks.

Children’s literacy is not just a topic that Brinks is exploring in her academic world, but also in her personal life. She spent some time traveling solo and ended up in Livingstone, Zambia on the Book Bus, a mobile library dedicated to increasing children’s literacy across the globe. “That’s when I absolutely fell in love with the place. There were other volunteers who were with me on the Book Bus, who were like in their 20’s or even younger. There was one guy who was 18 from England and he had never been to Africa before. He just on a whim decided to do it and he was great. I thought ‘wow!’ I can so imagine CSU students doing this and getting so much out of it and finding it very rewarding.”

When Brinks returned to CSU, she met with the Education Abroad office and began to develop the Zambia Study Abroad Program. She found an organization that could accommodate a larger group of volunteers, working in community health and education. Students from all over the university, representing all different majors, participate in the Zambia program and have said it’s been one of the most transformative experiences they’ve ever had.

Professor Ellen Brinks with Linda Farm Community children making ecobricks for the CSU compost project. Zambia, Summer 2015

Professor Ellen Brinks with Linda Farm Community children making ecobricks for the CSU compost project. Zambia, Summer 2015


Professor Brinks working in a clinic in Zambia

Ellen Brinks working in a clinic in Zambia

Students spend three weeks working in Livingstone, Zambia and can choose from several different tracks. For example there is the community health track, where students have the opportunity to provide health care through home visits, or there is the education track, which gives students the opportunity to teach a classroom of elementary-aged students.

Students will be challenged during their visit to Zambia and there will be tough moments, but Brinks said, “it’s also rewarding because you see how you can make a small difference in a child’s life.”

The trip to Zambia isn’t all work and no play; there are weekend excursions and plenty of free time for fun. Chobe National Park, in Botswana, is on the weekend excursion itinerary and there is a very large animal population. Rafting on the Zambize river and swimming on the edge of Victoria Falls are other pastimes.



Livingstone, Zambia has a very warm and welcoming feel, full of cafes and restaurants, as well as shopping and nightlife. This trip is a chance to be immersed in Zambian culture, without the prepackaged “African” experience.

Brinks has been leading this program for three years now and it has been one of the best experiences of her teaching career. “I am with them in the neighborhoods when we go to visit people, when we go to visit a young person who has cerebral palsy or an old woman who is really in pain because of a stroke. We’re problem solving on the ground together. We are giving each other emotional support. We’re just hanging together having a good time, sharing a beer at the end of the day.”

To find out more about this program, contact Ellen Brinks, Ellen.Brinks@Colostate.edu or visit the program page. Or come to the information session, November 2.


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~From Intern Joyce Bohling, pictures by Intern Haley Huffman

On Thursday, the CSU Writing Center kicked off the semester with an Open House. 


Writing Center consultants set up outside of Eddy Hall on the morning of the Open House.

With free snacks and coffee, the Writing Center invited students to sign up for an account they’ll be able to use throughout their time at CSU to make both face-to-face and online appointments. (The coffee, by the way, is always available to anyone who makes an appointment.)


Open House big group

Students start to gather.

Client making appointment

A client has a snack and makes an appointment online. It’s almost too exciting!

The Writing Center also raffled off goodie bags and held a competition to win a giant Teddy bear. The bear went to whoever suggested the best name, (see below for the results of that contest!).

We want to win this bear!

“We want to win this bear!”



Writing consultant Shirley Coenen encourages students not to be anxious about making an appointment. “The Writing Center is just a low-key place where you can come in and have a conversation.”

Consultant Shirley Coenen with a Writing Center client

Consultant Shirley Coenen with a Writing Center client


Her colleague Mackenzie Owens also wants to remind students that students of all skill levels benefit from working with a consultant. “Even if you think you know everything, you don’t. You can always improve in writing.” In fact, even some CSU faculty go to the Writing Center for feedback on their work.

The Writing Center will be open for the remainder of the semester in Eddy 23, 10am to 4pm Monday through Thursday and in Morgan Library Room 171, 6 to 8 pm. To set up an account or make an appointment, visit their website at writingcenter.colostate.edu.


Jenny Levin, Interim Director of the Writing Center, had this to add, “Thank you to everyone who stopped by our Open House on Friday! It was great to meet so many students and to talk about how we can help with any writing you are doing. We had 79 entries for our Writing Center Bear competition. The winning name was F. Scott Fitzbearald, submitted by Gabriel Segarra – congratulations Gabriel!”

Introducing F. Scott Fitzbearald

Introducing F. Scott Fitzbearald

Jenny adds, “If you missed the Open House but would like to know more about our services, please stop by Eddy 23. We are open between 10 am and 4 pm, Monday – Thursday (and we also have evening hours in the library). We promise a friendly welcome and some fresh coffee! You can also go to our website, writingcenter.colostate.edu, to schedule an appointment for a consultation.”

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From Jill Salahub, English Department Communications Coordinator: I am so happy to introduce the English Department’s Communications Interns for Fall 2016 — Joyce Bohling, Haley Huffman, and Courtney Satchell. Just like the position description stated, they are creative and enthusiastic CSU students with good communication and writing skills who are super excited to help us tell the story of the English Department. We had our first official meeting last week, and the room was full of so much good energy and so many great ideas! I can’t wait to share more of their work with you. If you have any ideas of what they should be writing about, events they should be attending, people they should profile, etc., send those suggestions my way.


From Joyce Bohling: Hello! I’m Joyce, and I’m very excited to be joining the English department communications team for fall 2016. Not only will it be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about a department that does so much to support me alongside hundreds other graduate and undergraduate students, but also to learn a new set of writing skills for a new audience and context. Writing, after all, is a very employable skill, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The majority of my web writing experience comes from my food blog, The Hungry Caterpillar. I really like food. I also like swing dancing, bike riding, cats, good books of all kinds (but especially memoirs), mountains, public radio, Star Trek, tea, teaching, yoga, and cheesy 80’s music.

This will be my second year in the creative nonfiction program here at CSU, which means I better start cranking out a thesis soon. Writing, coursework, attending to my food blog and teaching CO150 as a second-year Graduate Teaching Assistant keep me plenty busy. But don’t worry—I’ll be finding a few hours each week to let you know what’s going on here in the English department. I’m looking forward to learning all that I can.


From Haley Huffman: “It’s better to look back and think ‘I can’t believe I did that,’ than to look back and think “I wish I did that.’” My name is Haley Huffman and I am a senior Journalism and Media Communications major with an English minor. I’m still figuring out my end game with these areas of study, but ideally I would like to become involved in the editing and publishing business. I am from Denver, where my family still resides with two cats and two dogs. I love animals and all of our pets are rescues. I am also a huge Denver Broncos fan and I go to as many home games as I can with my dad. When I’m not yelling at oversized, sweaty men on a football field, I can be found reading and drinking coffee. I have a passion for literature and I am very excited to be working with the English Department as a Communications Intern so I can broaden my literary experiences and chronicle those for you all.


From Courtney Satchell: Courtney is a Junior at CSU currently earning her undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies and English Lit. She’s obsessed with movies, writes angsty poetry, and takes way too many photos of her cat. She’s seen the movie Princess Bride way too many times and Twilight is the bane of her existence. When she isn’t doing school work you can find her loitering the halls of the Eddy Building.

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