Department of English News

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Cook and Martin honored by Phi Beta Kappa

Ava Cook and Kristen Martin, both English undergraduate students, were honored last week by the East Carolina University Division of Academic Affairs and the Eastern Carolina Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa.

“Among the most satisfying things that I get to do as Dean is to recognize the outstanding achievements of our students,” said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, who provided welcoming remarks at the ceremony. “Today we are celebrating our most accomplished students in the liberal arts as they near the completion of their undergraduate studies.”

Students were honored from biology, chemistry, engineering, political science, mathematics, history, education, psychology, Hispanic studies, economics, fine arts, multi-disciplinary studies, classical civilization, German, and sociology. All of the students who were honored at this year’s recognition ceremony have a grade point average of 3.93 or higher.

“This is an amazing group of young people from most of the departments in the college, who have an interesting and imaginative variety of post-graduation plans, which highlights the strengths of a good liberal arts education,” said Dr. Angela Thompson, president of the Eastern Carolina Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa and ECU assistant professor of history.

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Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday!

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The winners of the Shakespearean Sonnet Contest will be recognized Thursday afternoon as part of a celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday.

Festivities will begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, outside Joyner Library with a short performance of a Shakespeare scene by ECU theatre players. The celebration will then move to the Faulkner Gallery on the second floor of the library, where the winners of the sonnet contest will be honored around 3 p.m. At the university level, Ian Lynch took first place and Tyler Holt won second.

Dr. David Wilson-Okamura will deliver a 10-minute presentation on “The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets” as part of the festivities and the winners (including two high school students) will read their work aloud or have it read.

Refreshments will be served.

An Evening with Author Amy Stewart


As part of Earth Day 2015 events, the Department of English has helped to bring best-selling author Amy Stewart to campus. Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants, Wicked Bugs, and Flower Confidential, will speak at 8 p.m. April 21 in C307 in the Science and Technology Building.

Stewart is a dynamic and engaging speaker whose books focus on the positive and negative impacts of the natural world on people. Her topics have relevance to scientists, gardeners, and cocktail-lovers everywhere. Books will be available to buy, and a reception and book signing will follow the talk.

This event is a signature North Carolina Science Festival event. Funding is provided by the North Carolina Science Festival, UNC System, and East Carolina University through the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology, Chemistry Department, English Department, and Center for Sustainability: Tourism, Natural Resources, and the Built Environment.


The Annual ECU English Graduate Student Conference is taking place this Saturday, April 18th in Bate Building. The day begins with a meet-and-greet breakfast from 9-9:30 a.m. Graduate student presenters and presentations are as follows:

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – “Wrecking the Southern Design: Faulkner’s Destruction of Heteronormativity in Absalom, Absalom! by Justin Littlefield & A Textual Analysis of Donne’s Work by Danielle Lake

11:05 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. – “Cemetery Rhetoric: Interpreting the Legacy of East Carolina University Founders” by Rexford Rose, Ed Reges, Suzan Flanagan

1:05 p.m. -2:05 p.m. – “Once Upon a Time” by Abby Morris, Shane Combs, Kristi Wiley

2:10 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. – Creative Writing Panel by Tim Buchanan, Jazzy Cambra, Brianne Holmes

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. – “What Makes a Good Cover Design? Visual Representation and Intertextuality in Book Covers” by Janine Butler & “The American Settlement House Movement: At the Nexus of Isms” by Greg​ Orme


An interdisciplinary colloquium on Corliolanus will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library. Several speakers from the Department of English will be featured:

  • Thomas Herron will discuss “Famine and Rebellion: Contemporary Political Contexts for Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (c. 1608)” at 4:30 p.m.
  • Sean Morris will give a presentation entitled “Tragedy and Satire in Shakespeare’s Corliolanus” at 4:50 p.m.
  • Anna Froula will speak on “Ralph Fiennes’ film Coriolanus” at 5:10 p.m.


Coriolanus colloquium flier

Johnson presents NNEST award

Johnson, Burri, and Hansen-Thomas

Mark D. Johnson of East Carolina University (left) and Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University (right) presented Michael Burri of Wollongong University (center) with the TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on Non-Native English-speaking teacher (NNEST) Issues at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. (Photo by Kyle Perler for TESOL International Association)

English department assistant professor Mark D. Johnson, along with Holly Hansen-Thomas of Texas Woman’s University, presented Michael Burri with the TESOL Award for an Outstanding Paper on Non-Native English-Speaking Teacher (NNEST) Issues at the 2015 TESOL convention in Toronto. Each year, East Carolina University’s English department donates $250 to the recipient of the award.

This year’s recipient, Michael Burri, is a PhD student at Wollongong University in Australia. Burri’s paper, titled Exploring the Development of NNEST Cognition about Pronunciation Pedagogy, examined the changing beliefs of five non-native English-speaking teachers of English regarding pronunciation and how it is taught to learners of English as a second language. Burri presented this paper as part of his dissertation research.

EGSO Conference

On April 18th the English Graduate Student Organization (EGSO) will host its fifth annual conference! For the first time, this conference will be open to undergraduates as well. Attached below are a few more details. We hope you will come out to support our participating students and their work!