Congratulations to faculty member Randall Martoccia, whose documentary entitled Campus Ghost Walk/Folk Talk aired on Greenville-Pitt Access Television (GPAT, Channel 23) on Thursday, July 9.
Martoccia said that many people in the Department of English contributed to the documentary during the two years of its making. Mark Johnson narrated, David Wilson-Okamura provided the music, Andrea Kitta and Jim Kirkland shared their knowledge of ECU’s legends, 2014 graduate Juliette Turmelle told of theater hauntings, Anna Froula’s moon photo is featured prominently, and Ashleigh Taylor, Lindsay Canting, Esmeralda Rodriguez, and Sean Morris contributed sound effects.
View the documentary here.
Jamie is a recent MA graduate who started ECU as an undergrad pursuing a major in nursing. Despite the seeming practicality of choosing such a major, Jamie soon discovered that her real passion was in English. After earning her BA, Jamie decided to further her education here at ECU, and enrolled in the English MA program. With so many years of experience to draw from, we decided to ask Jamie a few questions about her time at ECU.
Why did you choose ECU?
I completed my undergraduate career at ECU. I applied for several different schools for grad, but staying at ECU just felt right. I had such a great experience with my undergrad career that I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else!
What is the best part of the program?
The best part of the program is the support. I truly felt like everyone was on my side and wanted to help. The faculty was always encouraging and allowed me to explore areas of interest. The PhD students were like older siblings (the good kind) and could relate to my struggles and offer valuable advice. My classmates evolved into great companions; someone was always there to help me brainstorm, vent, or review one of my papers. Finally, the administrators and office assistants were always quick to assist me with making copies for my classes and answer any questions I had. I consider myself lucky; not many programs have such a great support system.
How has your major benefited you since graduation?
After I tell my story of starting as a nursing major and eventually getting my MA in English, sometimes people will assume that it wasn’t practical; but the opposite is true. The graduate program challenged me to think in different ways and apply my thinking to every situation. It has also given me the comfort of knowing I have lots of options; I could apply for PhD, I could teach at the college level, I could teach high school, or I could have any type of writing/communications job.
Is there any advice you’d give other students in the program?
I want current students to know that they deserve to be there. Sometimes when I was surrounded by extraordinarily bright people, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. But that wasn’t true for me, and it’s not true for anyone in the program. If you’re graduating soon, you have the right to feel incredibly proud of yourself and it is okay to be afraid of the next step. You’re never alone!
What were your favorite undergrad and graduate courses?
My favorite undergraduate class was English Grammar taught by Ms. O’Neal (rest in peace, Ms. O. You had a huge impact on me). It was my favorite because I went into the course thinking it would be easy and maybe boring considering the title. But I was actually very challenged in the course and learned several concepts I will use for the rest of my life.
My favorite graduate class Writing Systems taught by Dr. Aceto. There weren’t many students enrolled so the course was more like a conversation than a traditional instructor-led class. Similarly to my undergraduate experience with English Grammar, Dr. Aceto challenged my thoughts and taught me how to think critically. But you should know it’s hard to choose just one favorite graduate course. I had excellent experiences in every course.
What was the most influential work you read during you time at ECU?
The most influential work I read during my time at ECU were pieces by Christina Rossetti explored in Dr. Mallory’s British Literature course. I believe Rossetti was an early feminist and I can identify with her tones of sarcasm and wit in much of her poetry.
Jamie Johnson graduated in 2014 and has been working hard to build up her resume with teaching experience since then. Last semester, Jamie taught eight sections of English through four different schools, and though she would not recommend teaching more than six sections if possible, she appreciates the fact that teaching so many sections allowed her to work with a wider variety of students than she otherwise might have. She is also grateful for the early teaching experience she gained while in the graduate program.
ECU Alumna Dr. Laura Wright is the Department Head of English at Western Carolina University, where she currently supervises around 200 students and 30 faculty while teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in World Literature in English, gender studies, environmental literature, and postcolonial theory.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University, Laura came to East Carolina University to pursue her MA in Literature. After graduating, she continued into the PhD program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Since arriving at Western Carolina University, Dr. Wright has been the recipient of several WCU awards, including the Arts and Sciences Teaching Award, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and this year’s University Scholar Award. She is also a long distance runner and an ethical vegan with two amazing dogs and two lovely cat.
As part of the Spotlight, we also asked Dr. Wright about her time at
ECU. Here’s what she had to say:
What drew you to English as your Major?
I became an English major because I loved to read — and I was good at writing about literature.
I also chose English because that major gave me an immense amount of freedom to take courses that were interesting to me. I had been a psychology major first and then a biology major, but I loved literature, and I made the decision to study it because it was the thing that I was the most passionate about.
What was the best part of the program?
Being in graduate school at ECU was one of the best experiences of my life. At ASU, I had tried to carve out a niche for myself as a student who was focused on women’s literatures and minority literatures. When I came to ECU, Dr. Gay Wilentz had just established the Multicultural Literature concentration in the MA. I knew immediately that this was the focus that I wanted to pursue, so I studied with her, and she directed my thesis, which was on three works of African literature by women authors (Tsitsi Dangarembga, Flora Nwapa, and Buchi Emecheta). I also got my first opportunity to teach at ECU, and I worked as an assistant editor for the student newspaper. All of these experiences were incredibly valuable in terms of my future career.
How has your major benefited you since graduation?
Well, my MA and teaching experience at ECU helped me land a job at NCSU after graduation. I taught as a lecturer there for four years prior to moving to Massachusetts to pursue at Ph.D. At the University of Massachusetts, I focused on African literature and wrote a dissertation on South African author J. M. Coetzee. My dissertation later became a book. My experience at ECU gave me the foundation to do this work, and the faculty at ECU — particularly Gay and Dr. Roberta Martin — were amazing advocates for me in terms of my getting into graduate school and getting a teaching assistantship while I was there.
Dr. Laura Wright has written three monograph studies and been the lead editor of another book; my next book is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press in the fall.
More information regarding her latest work can be accessed at:
The East Carolina University Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has announced the appointment of a new director of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. Dr. Jeffrey S. Johnson, professor and former chair of the Department of English, will lead the acclaimed series, taking over for Dr. John Tucker, who guided the series since it’s inception in 2007.
“I am honored to have been selected by Dean William Downs as the new director for Voyages, not least of which because of my knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, Thomas Harriot,” said Johnson. “The College of Arts and Sciences and the lecture series are, of course, named after Harriot, whose spirit of inquiry, exploration and discovery are the hallmarks of advanced learning in the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences and humanities. As a scholar of the historical period in which Harriot lived, I have had the privilege of working with Harriot’s manuscript papers in the British Library. Based on that archival research, I published a paper on Harriot and Donne even before coming to ECU.”
For the entire story, visit http://www.ecu.edu/cas/.
Congratulations to Drs. Jessica Bardill and Guiseppe Getto, who have been chosen to participate in the Fall 2015 Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy!
When ECU Department of English alumnus Gary Redding took the stage at Saturday’s department Commencement, he was also just a week away from his own commencement–from law school. He will graduate with a Juris Doctor from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law on Friday (May 15, 2015).
During his address to graduates at the ECU commencement Saturday, Redding talked about his own life and what his studies at ECU have made possible.
After earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees here, Redding taught for three years in the Department of English and then in New York City’s community college and public assistance systems. He quickly excelled upon entering law school, winning his school’s Earl H. Davis Award for Clinical Excellence in Spring 2014.
During that same semester, he worked as a student attorney in the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic. In his time at the clinic, he represented several clients including two elderly women seeking estate planning services, performed local and international legal research, produced several high-quality court filings, appeared in court on behalf of an indigent Spanish-speaking client in a family law case, and testified before the Council of the District of Columbia about the concerns of residents at a local homeless shelter regarding the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program.
This spring, Redding has been working as an extern in the congressional office of Congressman David E. Price (D-NC). His duties included assisting Price in his role as the Ranking Member of the House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.
“I attended and reported on hearings, edited speeches, took the lead in researching efforts to update the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, and much more.”
During his time in law school, Redding also served as a student attorney in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic and he completed two summer legal internships.
“I was a legal and policy fellow at the Rural Coalition, Washington, D.C.,” he said. “My fellowships afforded me the opportunity to write and submit written testimony to Congress on behalf of the coalition regarding updating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and making the process for reporting voting rights violations more straightforward and practical, conduct research and write policy briefs in support of a ‘full and fair farm bill,’ document oral histories of farmers and farm workers, and much more.”
Redding’s interest in this subject area stems in part from his background. He is a native of Tillery, NC, and a third generation “Tillery resettler.”
He explained, “The Tillery Resettlment was established in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. There were 113 New Deal farm projects set up mostly in the south, and the Tillery Resettlement was one of fifteen set up for African Americans to purchase farm land and become independent landowners.”
His background also inspired his dedication to learning.
“My single mother inspired my love for reading and writing at an early age,” Redding said. “I grew up in a home without a bathroom and running water, but our walls were lined with bookcases filled with books rich in all kinds of intellectual and social commentary, and political persuasions. We were regimented to reading aloud for 45 minutes a day from texts by authors as varied as Aristotle, W.E.B. Dubois, and Zora Neale Hurston. We also wrote on a daily basis about our local community and travel experiences, including our trip to Stockholm, Sweden to see Nelson and Winnie Mandela on the first trip Mandela made outside of Africa following his release from 27 years of unfair incarceration.”
Redding continues to stay connected to his hometown. He currently serves the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Concerned Citizens of Tillery (CCT). CCT has been a catalyst for positive social change across North Carolina and beyond, and celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary in 2014. Awards for their work have included the First International Healthier Communities Award from the Health Care Forum and the Natural Community Champion Award from the Conservation Fund.
When Redding first arrived ECU, he majored in criminal justice. Later, he was persuaded by the late Dr. Gay Wilentz to become an English major. Redding earned his B.A. in English, and then his M.A. in English with a concentration in Multicultural Literature.
“After being deprived of opportunities to read literature by authors of color in the public schools I attended, with the exception of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe in the 10th grade, I jumped at the chance to be immersed in classes on Native American literature, African literature, and other literature by people of color in college and graduate school,” Redding said. “In those classes, students led intellectually stimulating debates and discussions about the inclusion of multiethnic literature in the American literary canon, students presented on violence against women in literature and in society, students from Belize, Central America offered new insights on writing and neocolonialism, and much more.”
“My training in English studies at ECU confirmed for me the power of the written and spoken word. Invaluable interactions with faculty and classmates around the department and during my English composition and literature courses reaffirmed for me the importance of effective verbal communication with diverse persons inside and outside of my evolving adult world, the value of researching and writing skills in law school and my professional life, the limitless possibilities of a multicultural education in a multicultural world, and much more.”
“Students considering coming to ECU to study English will have the opportunity to learn from a diverse and talented faculty, take classes with students from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and through hard work can become skillful writers and researchers,” Redding said. “Additionally, students who major in English at ECU can successfully enter any field of endeavor that they choose.”
“Eastern North Carolina is much richer for having a local university that is not only convenient and available to local students, but also brings many parts of the world to the region.”
Here is a riddle: What may be seen or heard and can break, destroy, encourage or inspire with an impact that is always felt? To learn the answer and a whole lot more, check out the Richmond-Times Dispatch’s article “In My Shoes” by recent ECU MA graduate Lena Greer!
The Department of English congratulates the following students on completion of their MA degrees!
Tim Buchanan, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: Bury Your Horses and Other Stories
Committee members: Liza Wieland (director), Luke Whisnant, and John Steen
D. Shane Combs, MA in English with a concentration Rhetoric and Composition
Title of CAP: Through Contradiction and Confusion: On Becoming Social and Expressive
Committee members: Tracy Morse (director), Erin Frost, and Michelle Eble
Thomas Cox, MA in English with a concentration Rhetoric and Composition
Title of CAP: Exploring Rhetorical Issues in Culture, Community, and Identity in Family and Classroom
Committee members: Matt Cox (director), Will Banks, and Mark Johnson
Rafael Gamero, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: Blankets in the River with oranges and Other Stories
Committee members: Luke Whisnant (director), Liza Wieland, and Seodial Deena
Aaron Geer, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: The Things We Hear in the Nighttime and Other Stories
Committee members: Liza Wieland (director), Luke Whisnant, and Tom Douglass
Catherine Gibson, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Comparative Quality of Online and Classroom Instruction
Committee members: Guiseppe Getto (director), Brent Henze, and Matt Cox
Lena Greer, MA in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures
Title of Thesis: Jewish Women and the Specter of the Old World in Jewish Immigrant Fiction
Committee members: Rick Taylor (director), Kristy Ulibarri, and Andrea Kitta
Colin Griffin, MA in English with a concentration Rhetoric and Composition
Title of CAP: Telling Stories, Making Meanings
Committee members: Kirk St. Amant (director), Tracy Morse, and Matt Cox
Nicholas Hall, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Developing a Healthy Content Strategy: A Case Study of a Medium-Sized Health Care Organization
Committee members: Guiseppe Getto (director), Brent Henze, and Michael Albers
Jimmy Hicks, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: Quietus
Committee members: Luke Whisnant (director), Liza Wieland, and Amber Flora Thomas
Lucrecia High, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Content Strategy: Identifying Skills that Companies Seek and Securing Employment
Committee members: Guiseppe Getto (director), Brent Henze, and Kirk St. Amant
Ben Hogwood, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: Everybody Calm Down (It’s Just Music)
Committee members: Alex Albright (director), Luke Whisnant, and Tom Douglass
Gloria Holt, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Realizing the Potential of E-books
Committee members: Michelle Eble (director), Donna Kain, and Michael Albers
Emilia Johnson, MA in English with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Title of CAP: The Implementation of CLIL: Effects on Intercultural Communication and Success in Foreign Language Learning
Committee members: Lida Cope (director), Solveig Bosse, and Mark Johnson
Emily Kilpatrick, MA in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures
Title of CAP: Appalachian Literature in the Secondary Classroom: Teaching Appalachian Literature as a Valuable Part of Multicultural and Transnational Literature
Committee members: Seodial Deena (director), Rick Taylor, and Kristy Ulibarri
Danielle Lake, MA in English with a concentration in Literature
Title of Thesis: A Textual Edition of Donne’s “The Cross” and the Implications of Establish a Copy-text
Committee members: Jeffrey Johnson (director), Ken Parille, and David Wilson-Okamura
Brittany Long, MA in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures
Title of Thesis: Alientation and Ethnic Identities in Growing Up Ethnic in America, Borderlands/LA Frontera, and The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing
Committee members: Rick Taylor (director), Seodial Deena, and Andrea Kitta
Jessie Marshall, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Iowa Psychological Association Website Redesign
Committee members: Matt Cox (director), Brent Henze, and Kirk St. Amant
Courtney Martin, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: The Role of Document Design and Multicultural Studies in the K-12 Classroom
Committee members: Brent Henze (director), Matt Cox, and Rick Taylor
Justine McClarren, MA in English with a concentration in Literature
Title of CAP: Demetrius and Lysander: the Mimetic Midsummer Night
Committee members: John Steen (director) and Marianne Montgomery
Bryan Todd McMillan, MA in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures
Title of Thesis: “The Tonic of Wildness”: Thoreau’s Critique of Industrial Capitalism
Committee members: Helena Feder (director), Ron Hoag, and Rick Taylor
Kourtney Moore, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Marketing Material madness: Behind the Scenes of Creating Marketing Materials
Committee members: Brent Henze (director), Erin Frost, and Kirk St. Amant
Abigail Morris, MA in English with a concentration in English Studies
Title of CAP: Human Trafficking Rhetoric and Reality
Committee members: Erin Frost (director), Tracy Morse, and Matt Cox
Rosemary Nelson, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: Iniquities
Committee members: Luke Whisnant (director), Alex Albright, and Amber Flora Thomas
Kevin Nosalek, MA in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures
Title of Thesis: Imagining the Homeland: Myth, Movement, and Migration in Three Novels by Women from the African Diaspora
Committee members: Marame Gueye (director), Rick Taylor, Kristy Ulibarri, and Ellen Arnold
Kimberlee Jo Raper, MA in English with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Title of CAP: Interactive Whiteboard Use in Language Instruction: The Relationship between Perceptions and Teacher Training
Committee members: Lida Cope (director) and Donna Kain
Christina Rowell, MA in English with a concentration Rhetoric and Composition
Title of Thesis: Let’s Talk Emotions: Re-envisioning the Writing Center through Consultant Emotional Labor
Committee members: Nikki Caswell (director), Matt Cox, and Wendy Sharer
Stephanie Smith, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: A Blurry Outline and Other Stories
Committee members: Luke Whisnant (director), Liza Wieland, and Alex Albright
Coley Summerlin, MA in English with a concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures
Title of Thesis: From Exclusion to Inclusion – A Shift in the Perception of Native and Asian Americans through Graphic Stories: A Comparison of Political Cartoons from the 1800s to Trickster, American Born Chinese, and Level Up
Committee members: Su-ching Huang (director), Ken Parille, and Marame Gueye
Christopher Urban, MA in English with a concentration in Literature
Title of Thesis: Gothic Revolutions: Wilde’s Ekphrastic Inheritance
Committee members: Anne Mallory (director), Ron Hoag, Kristy Ulibarri, and Elizabeth Hoiem
Christopher Todd White, MA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Title of Thesis: The Journal
Committee members: Bob Siegel (director), Luke Whisnant, and John Hoppenthaler
Kristi Wiley, MA in English with a concentration in Technical and Professional Communication
Title of CAP: Towards a UX Workflow for Academic Websites
Committee members: Guiseppe Getto (director), Brent Henze, and Michael Albers
Congratulations to Guyla Evans on the completion of the PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication during Spring 2015!
Guyla’s dissertation is entitled “Comparison of Documentation Models Used by Emergency Physicians in a Community Hospital Setting.” Her committee members were Donna Kain (director), Michael Albers, Michelle Eble, and Robert Kulesher (Health Services and Information Management).
Congratulations to Department of English Teaching Instructor Gabrielle Freeman, who is the winner of the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for her poem, “Failure to Obliterate.” She will receive $200 and publication in a special supplement of storySouth.