ECU English faculty, graduate students, and alumni present at 11th Biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference

Twelve members from the Department of English at ECU presented their research, shared their expertise, and participated in collaborative/interactive workshops at the 11th Biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference held October 4-8, at the University of Dayton. The conference theme, “Rhetorics, Rights, (R)evolutions,” asked participants to “bridge feminist rhetorics with feminist activism and advocacy to bring about social change.” The conference was sponsored by the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition (CFSHRC).

Photo of Wendy Sharer

Sharer was featured as the first of twenty profiles in honor of the 20th anniversary of FemRhet!

Dr. Wendy Sharer facilitated a collaborative/interactive session, “Opening the Scholarly Conversation: Feminist Publishing Practices,” and presented “We Have Always Been Stronger Together: Rethinking Anthologizing Practices in the History of Rhetoric.” She participated on a panel “Creating a Safer C’s: Developing Action Plans for the CCCC 2018 Task Force.” Dr. Sharer also serves as Member-at-Large of the CFSHRC Executive Board. Drs. Erin Frost and Michelle Eble served as Small Group Facilitators at the Seminar, “Feminist Rhetorical Science Studies: Politicizing Posthumanisms, Rhetoricizing New Materialisms.”

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Cox, McKoy, Shelton, & Gardner presenting at FemRhet 2017.

Friday afternoon’s ECU panel, “Intersectional (Black, Political, and Professional) Bodies: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Social Justice in the 21st Century,” featured English alumnus and teaching instructor, Joshua Gardner‘s, “Reading the Woman: Power, Gender, and Embodiment in the 2016 Presidential Election;” third-year PhD students, Cecilia Shelton’s “Why Should I Believe You?: #BlackLivesMatter Building Ethos as a Movement on the Margins” and Temptaous McKoy’s “Black Thighs Matter; Rhetorical Concepts of Taste and Black Bodies;” and Dr. Matthew Cox’s “Intersectional Bodies: Workplaces as Queered, Feminist, & Rhetorical.” Several in attendance remarked that this was one of the finest panels of the conference.

Other sessions featured Carleigh (DeAngelis) Davis, fourth-year PhD student, who presented “Dialogic Collaboration in Coded Interactions: Cultivating Feminist Values and Practices in Digital Spaces” and third-year PhD student, Ruby Nancy, who presented “Be Like Alice: Multi-Genre Writing as an Intersectional Feminist Rhetorical Strategy for Amplifying Activism,” who also served as one of the social media curators for the conference.

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Davis presenting at FemRhet 2017.

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Nancy presenting at FemRhet 2017.











On Saturday, Dr. Michelle Eble facilitated a Mentoring Feminist Scholars’ session on “Publishing an Edited Collection: A Feminist, Process Approach.”

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Rhetorica, the ECU University Writing Center’s mascot, on a slide in Dr. Caswell’s presentation.

Drs. Will Banks, Nicole Caswell, and Stephanie West-Puckett (ECU PhD alumna and faculty at University of Rhode Island) delivered the second ECU panel “Failing Sideways: Toward a Queer Methodology for Writing Assessment.”




Image of Erin Frost

Frost presenting at FemRhet 2017.



One of the final collaborative/interactive sessions of the conference featured Dr. Erin Frost, who presented “Using Feminist Methodologies to Build Healthcare Partnerships.”

All of the sessions generated questions and discussions and often continued after the sessions were over. ECU faculty, students, and alums clearly made a lasting impression on the conference as several conference attendees remarked at the important work related to social justice being done in the Department of English at ECU. Congratulations to all!

Shelton Green

Jaki Shelton Green to give annual Tag Lecture

This year’s Tag Lecture features North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame poet Jaki Shelton Green. The English Department will host the lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5,in Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library. This event is free and open to the public. The lecture is supported by an endowment established by Dr. and Mrs. Ella Tag.

Student Spotlight! Shainah Andrews!

ECU English major Shainah Andrews spoke at the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences scholarship luncheon where she told her story about traveling to London and being inspired to study Linguistics and TESOL.  She told fellow students, faculty and donors about her hopes to teach English in South America after graduation. Eloquent, and inspiring, she is being featured as an ECU Student Spotlight!  Below is her interview:


Where are you from?

I am originally from Connecticut but have been living in Windsor, North Carolina for almost four years.

What brought you to ECU?

East Carolina University interested me because it is known to be an institute best for science and English/education, two fields which I juggled wanting to be in for several years until very recently.

What is your area of study? How did your interest in this area begin?

I am an English major with a minor in linguistics. My passion for reading and writing, from my earliest recollection, began when I was in second grade and my love for both have only strengthened over-time; it stems from my parents and grandma reading to me from the womb. Linguistics was intriguing to me well before I even knew what that word meant, as early as elementary or middle school, but my love for it heightened this summer when I studied abroad in London.

What are your goals after graduation?

Post-graduation, I aspire to teach English as a second language in a South American country for at least one year. In addition, I am also considering doing traveling journalism work in various countries, continuing to volunteer to combat homelessness and poverty, and break stereotypes on several platforms regarding dialect prejudice.

What has been most rewarding/exciting about your time in the Department of English?

If I had to narrow my most rewarding/exciting moment in the Department of English down to one, it’d have to be the following: being an English major opened a study-abroad-opportunity door for me which I walked through this past July; I went to London! It has been a dream of mine since elementary school and became reality this summer thanks to my THCAS scholarship donors and parents. While the program was available to non-English majors, I appreciated the experience even more as an English major as I physically saw many things that I’d often only read about and saw in pictures. The study abroad experience also allowed self-expansion for myself and aided me in helping others to flourish.

What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?

Just recently on September 22nd, I delivered my speech at a scholarship recipient luncheon, being the only English major and even woman of the three student speakers, to go before the podium; my particular scholarship made it feasible for me to study English in London summer ‘17, another accomplishment of mine that still feels dream-like. When other students and even faculty/staff members told me how much my speech resonated with them and impacted them, I knew that I represented ECU English in an incredible way.



For the last spring break, I was a student lead in Baltimore, Maryland where poverty and homelessness is prominent; my alternative break experience gave me another lens to see life through and empowered me to want to do more sooner since my want to help those specifically poverty-stricken and homeless began at an early age.

I am also proud to say that I’ve been the English Club’s consumer coordinator since fall semester of my freshman year and I am also the treasurer now! This semester, I became the worship leader for Delight Ministries, a nationwide women’s Christian organization which six lovely ladies and I brought to ECU this semester.

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

Do it! Being an English major extends far beyond the desires to become a teacher, professor, or author. All of those options are great, but often, people do not know of any other avenues and limit themselves. I encourage all considering coming to ECU to study English to do research of their OWN; an English degree is so versatile! It’s alright if you don’t have it all figured out, too. I am a junior and am still finding my way in this world. The best piece of advice in this sense is that doing something productive is better than doing nothing at all.


English majors attend scholarship lunch

ECU English major Shainah Andrews was one of the featured student speakers at Friday’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences scholarship luncheon. She shared her story with the donors, faculty, and fellow scholarship winners in attendance and emphasized how studying abroad in London, supported by the Jim and Pam Mullen THCAS Study Abroad Scholarship, transformed her life and inspired her to declare a Linguistics minor and TESOL certificate. She hopes to teach English in South America after graduation. Shainah’s remarks were eloquent, inspiring, and perfect for the audience; she did ECU English proud. Congratulations to all English majors and scholarship winners who attended the luncheon: Justice Phinx, Paige Vaughan, Kailey Aycock, Garrett Yarbrough, and Samantha Gryzbek.

Alumna Spotlight! Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey is an alumna of ECU and a national bestselling author who focuses on southern fiction.  After graduating from ECU with her MA in English and a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature, Kristy went on to produce many great works including “Slightly South of Simple” and “Dear Carolina”.  Come and see her speak on March 22, 2018 at the Greenville Hilton!


Where are you from?

I’m originally from Salisbury, NC, but now I live in Beaufort, NC.

What brought you to ECU?

I was graduating from UNC’s school of journalism and had planned to continue with either a master’s in journalism or a law degree. But I was marrying my now husband, who was working in New Bern, and I decided to just take a peek at what ECU had to offer so we could stop our long-distance commute. I read an article about a new concentration in multicultural and transnational literature that was coming to the English master’s program, and I was so intrigued. I decided almost right away that I wanted to do that instead. It was a great choice.

What did you study while you were here, and how did your interest in this area begin?

I received a master’s in English with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Even though I was a journalism major at UNC, I did a lot of English and creative writing, which I absolutely loved. I think reading is one of the best ways to learn about other people and cultures and to expand our horizons, and after years of writing, I wanted to do more of that.

What have you been up to since your graduation?

I actually went to work for Northwestern Mutual in the financial services industry for a bit after I got my master’s. It was perhaps an odd choice, but it was an opportunity presented to me and a chance to have another, completely different life experience. But now I write novels for Simon & Schuster, which is a dream job to say the least!

What recognitions/achievements are you most proud of and why?

My latest novel, Slightly South of Simple, was an instant National Bestseller, and that felt huge to me because I have worked so hard to get where I am. Being an author is about writing, of course, but so much of the job is promotion and marketing. I travel all year long speaking and expanding my audience and love meeting my readers. Two of my books are being considered for film and one was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. So many amazing things have happened along this journey. I think, at the end of the day, simply being published by a “Big 5” New York publishing house was my dream, and I am so proud that I hung in there, fought the hard fight and made it. My fourth novel, The Secret to Southern Charm, will be released April 3, 2018, and actually, my first North Carolina event will be a fundraiser for ECU’s Joyner Library in March. I’m proud to be able to give back to organizations I support and love with my work. It is incredibly rewarding.

What elements of your education in the Department of English have been most instrumental to your success?

This may sound odd, but for some reason, reading about all of the different cultures I read about during my time at ECU made me realize how special my southern upbringing and childhood were. I realized that I lived in a very unique place and that I wanted to be able to share that with the world. I think that’s one of the reasons I write southern fiction now.

What was most rewarding/exciting about your time in the Department of English?

I loved my professors at ECU and felt like they were so committed to giving me the best experience I could have. Their doors were always open. I learned a lot of practical things there that I still use, like grant writing. And, though I haven’t actually taught English, the courses I took in that field gave me a really strong foundation, and I know I would be able to do that if I ever decide to go down that path. But most of all I think learning about other cultures so intensely changed the way I thought about the world and opened my eyes to other people’s struggles. It was an important lesson, especially at that time in my life.

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

Learning to read and think critically are two of the most important skills I know of for being able to be a part of a workplace environment, no matter what that is, and I definitely received that during my time at ECU. In addition, being a strong writer is a critical skill no matter what area you choose to pursue in the future. The English program at ECU is a large university experience with a small college feel. I got to know my classmates and my professors, and I think that is a critical part of any good education. For me, English has always been a passion and, when you follow your passion, amazing things happen. I’m living proof of that. You will get a broad-based education at ECU no matter what your major, so my advice is always to do what you love. It can’t help but make you a better student.


Davis earns digital rhetoric fellowship

Fourth-year PhD student Carleigh Davis has been selected as one of the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC) Graduate Fellows for the 2017-2018 year. This Graduate Fellows program “aims to recognize graduate students currently working in digital rhetoric who want practical experience in online publishing and website development. Fellows are selected on a yearly basis by the editors and board of the DRC, and receive an annual stipend of $500 as well as recognition on the DRC website.” —

To read more about Carleigh and her research, check out the following:

UWC “Writes for Change”

Monday’s “Design for Change” event in remembrance of 9/11 was well attended and successful. Congratulations to University Writing Center Director Dr. Nikki Caswell, University Writing Center Assistant Director and English PhD student Ceci Shelton, and the staff of the University Writing Center, who joined the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement to put on the event. At the UWC’s “Write for Change” table, students wrote over 40 letters to local and national government officials. The event was widely covered in area press; links are below for those who’d like to learn more.

Daily Reflector:


East Carolinian:

award winners

Sparrow Writing Award winners announced

Joyner Library announced the winners of the annual W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award for student research during an Aug. 23 ceremony. Sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library, the award was named in honor of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, professor emeritus of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes excellence in research and writing by students enrolled in English 1100 and 2201 composition classes during the summer and fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 semesters.

“Every August as the fall semester begins, we have the pleasure of recognizing three students whose English composition papers were selected for the W. Keats Sparrow Award,” said Jan Lewis, director for Joyner Library. “It is a wonderful way to start the new academic year and reaffirm the close connections between Joyner Library and the Department of English.”

Eligibility criteria required students’ papers to include a research component using Joyner Library’s resources.

Entries were judged on the quality of the research as well as the quality of the writing by a panel comprised of faculty from the Department of English and Joyner Library. Members of this year’s panel included: Dr. Tracy Ann Morse, director of composition/writing foundations; Grace Horne, teaching instructor, Department of English; and Meghan Wanucha, coordinator of instructional assessment, Joyner Library.

Winning the award for first place — and a $500 prize — was Jasmine M. Perry, in the department of Psychology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, for “Homophobic Attitudes in Men.”

“This award means a lot to me,” said Perry. “In my life I have never been first place at anything, so winning this award shows how I have grown as a person, and it shows how dedicated I am to my area of study.”

Perry said the inspiration behind her winning paper came from personal experiences with friends and family members that are homosexual.

“I know that ‘coming out’ is a hard thing to do, and it requires a lot of confidence and a strong support system,” she said. “If people around you are homophobic it can lead to emotional turmoil and possibly suicide. I am so empathetic when I hear or read stories about people being bullied or abused due to their sexuality.”

Two additional award winners were:

Jenna M. Murdock, majoring in elementary education in the College of Education, in second place — a $300 prize — for “Motivating Students to Read.”

Carly E. Shomsky, in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance, in third place — a $150 prize — for “Sensory Processing Disorder.”

Second-place winner Jenna Murdock said the competition was the perfect opportunity for her to do more research on how to motivate students to read required texts. “I really enjoyed putting this paper together and it was more than just an assignment I completed for a grade,” she said. “I was able to learn so much new and valuable information that will help me become a better teacher in the future.”

“I think it’s wonderful that Joyner Library offers awards and competitions for students,” she said. “It helps further our writing skills and allows us to explore the many resources offered by the library.”

Carly Shomsky, the third-place winner, believes students really benefit from the opportunity to participate in Joyner Libraries awards and competitions. “It not only encourages students to receive good grades, but it also offers them the feeling of accomplishment,” she said.

“This award showed me how far I have come within my writing and as a person. Hard work and determination really do pay off.”

Also deserving recognition are the instructors of the English 2201 sections that produced the winners.  Dr. Tracy Ann Morse was Jasmine Perry’s and Jenna Murdock’s instructor, and Marc Petersen was Carly Shomsky’s instructor.

“This year’s award recipients clearly selected topics relevant to their lives and majors and used the assignment to improve their discipline-based research and writing skills,” said Lewis. “Congratulations to each of them for their outstanding work.”

For more information on how to participate in next year’s awards, contact David Hisle at 328-4978 or by email at

Re-posted from:

Joyner Library celebrates excellence in student research and writing


Froula’s Soldier to Scholar program aids veterans

East Carolina fall classes are right around the corner, but one new program is already getting a head start, helping veterans bridge the gap between a life in the service and one as a student.

The program is the brainchild of film studies associate professor Anna Froula, who designed the Soldier to Scholar program as a means of aiding soldiers and their fellow campusmates.

“My father is a Vietnam war veteran, my grandfather is World War II and my cousin is in Iraq so solider stories, veteran stories, veterans representation in popular culture, that’s always been at the heart of my research,” Froula said. “It’s my hope that we can move toward better conversations not just about or military but with our veterans. Move past ‘thank you for your service,’ but more productive conversations about what veterans need when they come home.”

From WCTI12: Read the whole story

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