Lindsay Saunders

Alumna Spotlight! Lindsay K. Saunders

Linday Saunders

Lindsay Saunders

Lindsay K. Saunders Spotlight

A graduate of ECU, earning her Master’s degree in Technical and Professional Communication, Lindsay has used her education and talents to pursue an extremely interesting career in international work.  Through hard work, she has achieved her dream job of working at the American Embassy in Lusaka Zambia for the United States Government.  Lindsay agreed to be a Spotlight for the English department and through her interview, tells of her education, journey, and advice she wants to give to potential students, interested in following their passions.  Thank you, Lindsay, for your time and wonderful answers, we are proud to call you an ECU Pirate!!

 

Where are you from?

Originally, I’m from Kill Devil Hills, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I spent most of my life there before moving around a bit during undergrad and following graduation. Then I settled in Raleigh, NC for nearly a decade before recently relocating to Zambia, in Southern Africa. NC will always be home.

 

What brought you to ECU?

I actually didn’t want to go to ECU because both of my parents went there and I wanted to do my own thing, but ECU has top notch education and English programs, plus it’s very affordable and close to home so it made sense. Later on, it also ended up on the shortlist for graduate school because of the quality, affordability, and accessibility of the programs. Thank Dr. Richard Taylor for encouraging me to reconnect with Dr. Brent Henze for advice on graduate studies.

 

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

I’m an Alum three times over between my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with a concentration in English, 2006; Professional Communications Graduate Certificate, 2013; and Master’s Degree in English concentrated in Technical and Professional Communications, 2014. My interest for these stemmed from a love of learning, stories, and creative digital projects.

 

What have you been up to since your graduation?

My life has been far from dull. Following undergrad, I moved across the country to teach for two years in Alaska. Upon return to NC, I transitioned to working as a paralegal. With the 2008 downturn of the economy and teacher job fair cancellations, I needed to adapt. Working in law gave me an avenue to help people by listening to client stories and support the long-term, detail-oriented, meticulous law process that might resolve  issues. Once I determined becoming a lawyer wasn’t the right move for me I chose to seek work in communications and programs that would still educate people, while also supporting long-term change and innovation.

Google, Unicef, and United Nations were the brands and organizations I set before me as my goal because of their work and ideals. When I finished grad school, it was still hard to get a job in government or nonprofits, even though that was where I longed to be. I decided to hone my creative skills at marketing agencies and then become more tech savvy by taking contracts at tech companies, like Lenovo and Red Hat. Meanwhile, outside of work I was a volunteer-holic building up my repertoire serving nonprofits such as the Society for Technical Communications Carolina Chapter, RESULTS, and UN Women Carolina Chapter, and helping with meetups. This led to communications projects, event planning, and public speaking, as well as national, and international travel, while I continued to push hard towards my professional goals. Eventually, I ended up working for a great team at the NC Department of Information Technology and now I work for the federal government, serving as a Development, Outreach, and Communications (DOC) Specialist for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) / Zambia Mission at the American Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia. USAID is the United States’ largest and oldest foreign aid agency, incorporates public-private partnerships, and works to end poverty. It’s basically my dream job since I get to do communications, events, photography, social media, promote programs serving communities, travel, and collaborate with numerous government agencies and nonprofits.

 

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

I’ve pushed myself hard for my achievements. It’s still hard to believe that I finished my graduate degree with a 4.0 while working to support myself through grad school.

I’ve done public speaking in my home state of NC, nationally in Washington, D.C., and internationally. I speak about how we frame messages, public policy, advocacy, and the importance of storytelling for change. Becoming an activist, working on projects both as an advocate and professional to make change in communities is something I could not live without. That is ultimately what I’m most proud of — being a part of long-term change for so many. I’ve devoted the past four years of my life to speaking out, writing, facilitating meetings, and trainings to fight U.S. and global poverty. I strongly believe we have a duty to speak out about the injustices in the world and use our skills to the greatest extent in order to do so. I hope that when I leave this earth I can say I did everything I could to change it for the better and also took advantage of every opportunity, no matter how large or small, that came my way.

Quite possibly the biggest thing I’ve ever done was to give up everything in my life and make the international move, all on my own, to serve my country and our dear beautiful host country Zambia. In order to take this job at USAID, I left a job with a good team with the NC Dept of IT, signed the house I owned over to some tenants, and had to say goodbye to organizations and friends I really loved, while resetting everything I’ve ever known. I’ve learned a new job, a new country, new languages, new food, and new cultural norms. I knew I’d learn so much and this would be an invaluable experience. I’ve learned so much about myself, the United States, and the world.

 

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

One thing that’s pretty incredible about the ECU Department of English is that it has many facets so you can kind of carve out your own path. I intentionally selected courses for my graduate degree to be really dynamic because I knew I wanted to do work that required a range of skills and perspectives. Critical thinking through analysis and research. Design of communications from layout expectations, styles, and traditional hard copy or print and digital online. How to target your audience and be aware of user experience. Detailed editing to enhance content. Be in tune with overall project needs. Framing different styles of writing — I learned editorial, grant, public policy, and technical writing! During my graduate work with the Department of English, I learned that I would need to anticipate content needs before the audience might even need to know. Determining that through content strategy is imperative to reach your target demographics and find the most success in your messaging.

 

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

That would be the relationships I developed with other colleague students and my professors. I actually studied abroad with the Department of English for 3 weeks as an undergrad in 2005 and then again as a grad student in 2013. Those trips were really powerful. It was especially memorable because both Dr. Richard Taylor and Dr. Brent Henze were on each trip. I know that I can run into them and no matter how long it’s been we can connect again and have a great conversation. The professors in the Department really care. I also studied under Dr. Michael Albers, Dr. Matt Cox, Dr. Guiseppe Getto, and Dr. Kirk St. Amant, who has moved on to another university, but we’re still in touch. But I even enjoyed engaging with Dr. Michelle Eble, Dr. Donna Kain, and Dr. Erin Frost, even though I never took classes with them.

 

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

If you’re considering coming to ECU study English, assess the program strengths and what your objectives are. I wanted a program that would provide me with more technical background, but equip me with a diverse set in terms of professional communication for both print and the digital. Communication and outreach was my long-term interest and my interests are a little more “creative” than the typical person going to study technical communication. Thankfully, ECU really does allow you to customize your educational journey. What you get out of it is up to you. Even though my Master’s Degree was through a distance education program, I developed friendships and real relationships. My academics, both as an undergrad and graduate student, came first and foremost. I still enjoyed myself, but my academics were my priority because I knew if I got the most out of it then I’d be more armed to be effective in my career and support the organizations and people around me best.

 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Put in the time and effort to build relationships. They will serve you well in the long run. Contribute in ways that out of the ordinary — volunteer work and nonprofits are just as valuable as your day job, will enhance your resume, and also produce more references. Don’t be afraid to take risks whether academically, professionally, or personally. It’s okay to question yourself — that’s normal, but push yourself beyond your comfort zone. We change and learn more when we’re uncomfortable. I would know — I’m living that now while living and working serving two interests — the U.S. and Zambia’s — in Southern Africa! I have never feared a challenge even if it overwhelmed me in the interim. Because of that I’m stronger as a person and more well-rounded educationally.

 

Author Bio

Lindsay K. Saunders, originally from North Carolina, is enjoying the lessons of life abroad in Zambia and privilege to serve as a Development, Outreach, and Communications Specialist for USAID. She has a weekly email newsletter and shares her journey on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. You may reach her by email via lindsayksaunders@gmail.com, visit her website at www.lindsayksaunders.com, or follow her on social media @LindsayKelleyS.

GAME P.L.A.Y

GAME P.L.A.Y Won An AWARD!

The Greenville Human Relations Council had their 44th annual dinner at the Hilton, celebrating the nominees for several humanitarian awards on Saturday!
 
GAME P.L.A.Y (Game Police, Life, and Youth), created by Gera Miles and Dion Dail, won the “BEST-IRONS HUMANITARIAN CORPORATE AWARD”!
 
The purpose of GAMEP.L.A.Y is to affect positive change by facilitating insight on why misunderstandings in perception can occur between police officers and young people, to educate youth in how the police protect and serve their community, and to initiate change through one of the most socially popular and team-building activities of our time– Video Gaming. 

 

The ECU Writing Center Releases Its Social Justice Statement

The ECU Writing Center and Social Justice

 

The University Writing Center has recently committed to social justice and released its social justice statement to the public.  The statement is broken down into three parts: Mission, Commitments, and Promises.  Underneath the eight promises listed are more details about what each means, how they are being implemented and how they will affect the UWC. (Link to the full social justice statement posted at the bottom of this article)

Within the social justice statement, the UWC expresses the need to be an inclusive space where writers can speak freely to careful readers and experienced writers.  Consultants can help writers at any point in the writing process from idea generation to polishing final drafts.

In its statement the Writing Center also recognizes the effects words can have and addresses the need of an “orientation to language use that prioritizes justice and equity” to full fill its goals.  By acknowledging that both culture and identity tie into one’s writing, the UWC states writing itself can be used as a tool to perpetuate systematic discrimination or to help transform the world.

The University Writing Center addresses many more important issues within its statement, including: societal discrimination and how higher education can counterbalance its barriers, language fluidity including the misconception of “standard English”, along with eight promises that will be upheld by student consultants, faculty and mentors alike.

To read the UWC’s full mission statement including its Missions, Commitments, and Promises at the following link: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/writing/UWC-Social-Justice.cfm

 

 

UWC: International Writing Centers Week Celebration

International Writing Centers Week Celebration

The University Writing Center will be celebrating International Writing Centers Week by hosting many exciting and educational events throughout the week of (2/12)-(2/15).  The events are open to everyone and will explore an array of topics such as why we write and what impact our writing can have on society.  Each day will hold a different event focused around a different idea, and there will even be a party!  We hope everyone will join us in celebration, as we delve further into the big questions of writing and provide a chance for our voices to be heard in impacting ways!

See below for each day and the event being held:

 

Feb 12Th: Why I write Campaign!  Come add to the wall and tell us why it is you write. What is it that inspires you?

 

Feb 13th 2-4 pm: Commitment to Social Justice Celebration!!!!  Come Join us in celebration of the overall commitment to social justice and of our new social justice statement!  The first 25 students to the party gets a UWC coffee mug!

 

Feb 14th 12-3 pm: Frederick Douglass Transcribe-a-thon! (sponsored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and the Colored Conventions Project) In our digital studio space, we will be joining other schools in helping transcribe documents, feel free to drop by anytime, even if it’s only for a few moments.  Directions will be streamed.

 

Feb 15th: Postcards for Change! Spend a moment to thank an organization that you believe inspires inclusion or care in our society, through a digital postcard!

 

Once again, all events are open to everyone and the UWC hopes to see you there!!

Award Sheet

Congratulations John Hoppenthaler!

The ECU Department of English would like to Congratulate to John Hoppenthaler, who was selected as one of two recipients of the university-wide 2018 5-Year Achievement for Research/Creative Activity Award. The award recognizes John’s achievements over the past five years as a poet and editor, including the publication of his book Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon, 2015).

John will receive the award at the research and scholarship awards ceremony on February 20. (Amanda Klein won the 5-Year award last year, so English is on a roll!)  Posted below is the full list of award winners.

Go English!

 

Award Sheet

Award List

Recent Student Awards! Congratulations to: Temptaous Mckoy, Cecilia (Ceci) Shelton, and Shane Combs

Many English students at ECU are dedicated and hardworking helping make the ECU English Department what it is today.  Below are three such students, whose recent awards, hard work, and accomplishments we would like to recognize!

Congratulations to PhD student Temptaous Mckoy, who has received one of four recipients of the 2018 Chairs’ Memorial Scholarship from the Conference on College Composition & Communication (CCCC). (Temptaous also received a Scholars for the Dream Award from this same organization, as did Ceci Shelton.) The scholarship, which recognizes the scholarly contribution of graduate student presenters at the conference, will help to fund Temptaous’ travel to the 2018 conference in Kansas City in March, where she will give a presentation entitled “Diversifying Graduate Programs through Recruitment Initiatives ‘On the Ground’ at HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions.” This is the second year in a row that  PhD student has won a Chairs’ Memorial Scholarship, since Janine Butler received the award last year.

Congratulations to English PhD students Cecilia (Ceci) Shelton and Temptaous McKoy, who have both received “Scholars for the Dream” Awards to attend the national Conference on College Composition and Communication, March 14-17 in Kansas City, MO.  In honor of their achievements, their names will be printed in a special announcement in the convention program and their sessions will be identified in that program as including a presentation from a “Dream Scholar.”  Additionally, they will be introduced and receive their awards at the opening general session of the conference.

Our former MA student, Shane Combs (2015), who is now an English Studies PhD student at Illinois State, won the Outstanding University Teaching Award in the Graduate Student Teaching category, Level 1, Doctoral for Illinois State University. It is given once-yearly and is a university wide award.

 

Go English!

Congratulations to Joyce Middleton!

We would like to Congratulate our recently-retired colleague Joyce Middleton, whose book with Tammie Kennedy and Krista Ratcliffe, “Rhetorics of Whiteness: Postracial Hauntings in Popular Culture, Social Media, and Education,” won the 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award in the Edited Collection category.

The sixteen essays that comprise this collection not only render visible how racialized whiteness infiltrates new twenty-first-century discourses and material spaces but also offer critical tactics for disrupting this normative whiteness.

Congratulations Joyce Middleton!

Go English!

English alumnae receive 40 Under 40 honors

The 2018 “40 under 40” Honors (http://www.ecu.edu/sadevelopment/40under40/) were announced recently, and at least two of the honorees represent English! (There may be others with English connections as well, but these are the two we know of.)

 

Karen Turnage Boyd (https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-turnage-boyd-5667a11b/) earned her BA in English in 2002 and now practices law and directs the new Sullivan County Family Justice Center in Tennessee.

 

Bridget Todd (https://www.linkedin.com/in/bridget-todd-40250044/) is a writer and leader in Washington, DC; she was among the panelists at last year’s “Arts and Sciences: Beyond Your Degree” event. Bridget earned her BA degree in English in 2007. As an outreach manager at Medium.com, Bridget works to amplify the writing and impact of political activists. Before joining Medium.com, Bridget worked on the digital team at MSNBC, taught writing at Howard University, and organized digital training for progressive organizers with the New Organizing Institute.

 

It is great to see our young alumnae recognized. Go English!

Congratulations to Tom Herron and the Explorations in Renaissance Culture Team!!!

Congratulations to Tom Herron, Corinee Guy, and graduate students Sarah Meador and Rose McMahon on the publication of volume 43.2 of Explorations in Renaissance Culture. This issue was edited by Tom and Jonathan Reid (History).

See the issue here: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/23526963.

It features a wide range of genres and subject matter, including Milton and Galileo (by a professor in Puerto Rico); Hakluyt’s colonial writing and Aristotle (by a professor in Saskatchewan); Spenser, Shakespeare, Skelton, and Despair (by the great scholar James Nohrnberg of UVA); animals in art (by a professor in Israel); and, finally, an article by Kevin Moll of ECU Music on new ways of thinking of the L’homme armee mass, including classroom uses. This is the last issue of the journal that will be published at ECU before it moves to a new editorial team and a new home. Go English!

Froula presents, publishes on military policy

Congratulations to Anna Froula, who recently published an invited chapter in The Routledge History of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military titled “9/11, Gender, and Wars without End.” This chapter explores changes in military policy regarding gender (the lifting of the ban on women in combat) and sexuality (ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) since 9/11 and analyzes the ways in which notions of traditional modes of gender were deployed in service of martialing support for the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dr. Froula also recently presented “Dialogues on Experience: Soldier to Scholar” at the American Studies Association in Chicago, IL. This presentation explored the purpose and effects of her NEH-funded Soldier to Scholar bridge program.

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