John Hoppenthaler has won the 2016 Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry by a North Carolinian in 2015 for his volume Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon UP). In this, his third collection of poetry, Hoppenthaler surveils the remnants of an American Dream. What devotion might mean and look like in our time is at the book’s heart. The poems, written in a variety of styles, offer testimony and uncover, row by row, what remains viable in a garden they hope to resurrect.
Congratulations to Dr. Marianne Montgomery, who was just announced as the English department’s new permanent chair, beginning in August. Dr. Montgomery has been serving as interim chair since May.
“I’m excited by the opportunity to lead a vibrant, vital department whose work is central to ECU’s mission of student success, public service and regional transformation,” Montgomery said. “English is a big department, so this is a big new job. I am fortunate to have supportive and experienced colleagues in the department and in the college to help me to learn this new role.”
Read the full story on new chairs in Harriot College here: https://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/THCAS-Announces-Three-New-Department-Chairs.cfm
Dr. Andrea Kitta is an associate professor of Multicultural and Transnational Literatures in the Department of English at East Carolina University. She holds a B.A. in History (Honors) from Slippery Rock University, an M.A. in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University, and a Ph.D. in Folklore from Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
. . .
Where are you from?
Originally Western Pennsylvania, but I also consider St. John’s, Newfoundland to be one of my “homes.”
What brought you to ECU?
I was between here and a post-doc in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I ended up choosing ECU because I wanted to teach and I really wanted to teach students that were the first people in their families to attend college.
What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?
I first heard about the field of folklore from a GA in Anthropology while I was taking some post-bac classes. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go to grad school and when I told him about all the things I was interested in (history, stories, culture, medicine, the supernatural) he said “Why don’t you become a folklorist?” I had no idea what he was talking about, so I went home and started looking into. I immediately knew it was exactly what I wanted to do, so I started applying for my MA in Folklore that night.
What other life experience prepared you for your role here at ECU?
I did two years of service with AmeriCorps, the first was part-time (900 hours) while I was getting my BA, the second was full time (1600 hours) right after I graduated. I can’t express how much I learned in my time at AmeriCorps – every time I came up with an idea, I was given the go-ahead to try it. That was a fantastic experience and really helped me to see that I wanted to pursue my PhD and be a professor.
What recognitions/achievements are you most proud of and why?
I’m really proud of all of my achievements, but I think the ones that stand out the most for me were the ones when I broke a boundary and helped people to see things in a different way. I’m very proud that I was the first person from the Folklore Department to get an Applied Health fellowship when I was working on my PhD. I was the first folklorist to get the Duval prize at the Canadian Immunization Conference. I was also really proud to represent the American Folklore Society in the US/China exchange program.
What is your favorite part of your job?
That’s difficult, I love being in the classroom and working with students, but I also love my research. And I love going to conferences. I basically love every part of my job except grading and meetings.
Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU?
Just one? I absolutely love teaching the Supernatural class because my students are so interesting and unique – they always give me something to think about and remind me of how much there is to learn. I also loved team-teaching the Disability and Literature class and I’m really enjoying my honors class this semester on experiencing illness and alternative medicine. And the American Folklore class is where I get to see my students fall in love with folklore, so that’s really rewarding as well.
Margaret Bauer will appear on “North Carolina Bookwatch” to talk about her book, A Study of Scarletts. The episode will air on Sunday, July 24 at Noon on UNC-TV, with an encore broadcast on the following Thursday at 5pm. Shortly after broadcast, the episode will also be available at http://video.unctv.org/program/nc-bookwatch/
“Web extras” are already online at the following links.
Congratulations to Garrett Yarbrough, ECU Harriot College and Honors College sophomore pursuing dual majors in English and History, who has been named the inaugural Humanities Honors Scholar. Yarbrough will receive a $3,000 annual scholarship through his senior year, which is in addition to the tuition scholarship he receives from Honors. The Humanities Scholars Program, established by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Honors College, aims to recruit and retain high-ability students who wish to pursue degrees in this important set of disciplines. In doing so, it will emphasize the humanities’ importance at East Carolina University and underscore our institutional commitment to the liberal arts. “I am deeply honored to have been selected as a Humanities Scholar. I am elated to illustrate the significance of the understanding of the humanities, of what intrinsically defines us as human and how this essence and ambition are coupled with sciences and other fields to usher in progress,” said Yarbrough. “I eagerly anticipate my role as a representative of the humanities within the student body, to further the awareness of the importance of the accomplishments and exploration of the human spirit.” For more on Yarbrough see https://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/ECU-Announces-Inaugural-Humanities-Scholar.cfm, and details of the scholarship program may be found at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/scholars/humanities.cfm.
Congratulations to Hillary Dunn, whose essay “Dismembering the Dismemberer” is the winner of the 2016 Paul Farr Memorial Essay Contest. Named in honor of a former faculty member of the English Department, the Paul Farr Memorial Essay Contest was established by Paul and Marie Farr before Paul’s death in 1976. The contest encourages excellence in undergraduate expository writing, particularly emphasizing clarity and elegance in prose.
By Jonah Schwartz
In May of 2016, I won the Society for Technical Communication’s student infographic contest. East Carolina University and the English Department generously flew me out to Anaheim, California to receive the award at STC’s annual summit. To say it’s an experience I’ll never forget is not an empty cliché. My journey has been circuitous and onerous, so the hard work I’ve put in and the praise and recognition I’ve received is more valuable to me than the physical award. It’s not something I take lightly. My relationships with the TPC professors—even ones I haven’t taken—have provided me with the confidence and structure to put me on the path where I am now.
I came to the Technical and Professional Communication program after ten years of working retail; a third of my life pressed against the glass looking into this field. Now that this opportunity is realized, my intense passion and enthusiasm has been reciprocated with help from friends, professors, and colleagues. Most of my classmates are recent graduates or are already secure in their careers. Starting from a less privileged position, I’ve taken advantage of every available opportunity. I’ve attended Professor Mike Albers’ annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information in Greenville twice now and joined the Society for Technical Communication Carolina chapter. The relationships I’ve forged as a result have been demonstrably beneficial, so I would encourage any student who is in a remotely similar situation to explore these opportunities.
I won’t tell you that the CEO of STC shook my hand and told me what a fantastic job I did. I also won’t mention how senior STC staff and editors—including Sam Dragga—invited me to sit with them for after-conference drinks. What is important is that I achieved in one year what I’ve been fantasizing about for ten, and I’m only halfway through the program. I knew what I submitted was good, and I figured, best case scenario, I’d have a nice portfolio piece. I never imagined I’d win top prize.
The depth of technical communication is not only intellectual, but spatial as well. It is not until you’re sitting next to scriptwriters from OSHA-compliant training videos and JPL engineers and developers for air traffic control software that you realize that these people all share the same passion. There is something beautiful in realizing that people from all over the world; people with years more experience than you; people from positions you never think about; people who have devoted their lives and careers to this field—share the same thoughts and feelings and interests as you. It makes you say, “I am doing something right.”
Congratulations to Donna Kain, who has recently been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC)’s Distinguished Service Award. This national-level award is given to only one person per year, and it is awarded based upon an individual’s national reputation relating to aspects of curriculum design and program development in technical, professional, and scientific communication. Donna will be presented with the award during CPTSC’s annual conference, which will take place in Savannah, GA on 6-8 Oct.
Graduate student Jonah Schwartz, recent winner of the Society for Technical Communication’s (STC) Student Infographic Contest, received his award and was honored today at the STC annual summit in Anaheim, CA.
Click below to check out a short interview featuring Schwartz talking about his experiences with the ECU English department. https://youtu.be/Qi535DcXEZA
Schwartz, who recently completed the Professional Communication Certificate, is now pursuing his MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication.
“I entered the TPC program after a decade of working in retail,” Schwartz said. “The field is one that I have had an immense passion in to begin with, which is perhaps why it is such a good fit for me. What I love about it is that it allows me to merge the creative process with empirical approaches.
“I created this infographic using Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Publisher and Photoshop Elements; I did not need expensive or fancy software. I wouldn’t even describe myself as artistic. All you need is an idea of what you want to do, passion, and patience.
“One of the favorite quotes I’ve come across in my reading is that there is no such thing as good design and bad design. There is only effective and ineffective communication. What TPC is, in a sentence, is learning the best ways to create for different users. Every industry hires technical writers–this infographic is just the top 10”
The Common Reader 33.2 (Spring 2016) is now available, thanks to Editors Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs and Donna Kain. You can view the newsletter by clicking the title above or navigating to the following URL: http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/englishnews/files/2016/05/TCR-Sp16-332.pdf