Alumna Spotlight: Jamie Johnson

IMG_9184Jamie Johnson

 

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.

Alumna Spotlight: Laura Wright

wright.lauraLaura Wright

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.

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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:

http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/books/index/the_vegan_studies_project

Congratulations to May 2015 MA graduates

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

Eight MA grads headed for further studies

Pictured below in the front row are: Shane Combs, who will pursue a PhD in English Studies at Illinois State University; Kristi Wiley, who will pursue a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University; and Abigail Morris, who will pursue a PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication here at East Carolina University. Pictured in the back row are: Tim Buchanan, who will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Rafael Gamero, who will pursue a MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Christina Rowell, who will pursue a PhD in Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice at Kent State University; and Chris Urban, who will pursue a PhD in Literature at West Virginia University. Not pictured is Bryan McMillan, who will pursue a PhD in Literature at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The Department of English is proud to announce that eight May 2015 graduates of the MA program have been admitted to graduate programs and will continue their studies in the fall. Pictured in the front row are: Shane Combs, who will pursue a PhD in English Studies at Illinois State University; Kristi Wiley, who will pursue a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University; and Abigail Morris, who will pursue a PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication here at East Carolina University. Pictured in the back row are: Tim Buchanan, who will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Rafael Gamero, who will pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Christina Rowell, who will pursue a PhD in Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice at Kent State University; and Chris Urban, who will pursue a PhD in Literature at West Virginia University. Not pictured is Bryan McMillan, who will pursue a PhD in Literature at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Grad students present at RCAW

Graduate students Suzan Flanagan, Ed Reges, Rex Rose, and Christina Rowell represented the English department yesterday at Research and Creative Achievement Week. Rowell’s talk was entitled “The Rise of the Fitbit: Body-Monitoring as Habit, Addiction, and Motivation.” Flanagan, Reges, and Rose presented a collaborative project: “Cemetery Rhetoric: A Visual and Textual Lens for Understanding the Past.”

Reges, Flanagan, Rowell, Rose

Reges, Flanagan, Rowell, Rose (from left)

Reges, Rose, and Flanagan

(From left) Reges, Rose, and Flanagan

Rowell

Rowell