Monthly Archives: May 2014

News of Note the Week of May 19

Eddy on the Move

 

Eddy faculty and staff are on the move! The Little Guys crew will spend the week transferring years of files and accumulated furniture from faculty, offices, and classrooms in the east and south sides of Eddy. At one point there were at least 13 movers at the same time at Eddy and Ingersoll. It’s quite the project, and we are optimistic that in 15 to 18 months we’ll have a thoroughly “revitalized” space for teaching and learning. In the meantime, watch for updates on this blog and on our website.

Alumni Profile: Brianna Wilkins

Eddy Hall, before (image by Jill Salahub)

Eddy Hall, before (image by Jill Salahub)

Spring semester is done, graduation ceremonies have commenced and gone, and the renovation of Eddy Hall has officially begun.  Where did the time go? Our first set of Communication Interns in the English department have also finished their work with us. We are so sad to see Brianna and Evelyn go. They have done such great work helping us to tell our story, and set the bar high for the interns who will follow them.

As a way of wrapping up their time together, they sat down a few weeks ago to have a conversation. Intern Evelyn Vaughn interviewed now alumna Brianna Wilkins about her time at CSU and her plans for the future.


Brianna had originally planned to go to college out of state, but the lower tuition rates available to her for staying in state (she’s from Denver) convinced her to stay. After a slow start her first semester, Brianna has been committed to getting the most out of her time at CSU, and has been a hardworking student (once, for two semesters back to back, she took 18 credits, and has earned her goal of over a 3.0 GPA each semester after that first one, even though she’s also been working two jobs and doing internships the past two years) – although, she does admit to slacking off her final semester, taking it easy and nursing a pretty serious case of senioritis. While at CSU, she’s especially appreciated the variety of good food available in the dorms (she hadn’t expected that), and the fact that there’s always something going on and something to do on campus.

Brianna introduces herself

What’s your favorite memory of your time at CSU?

My favorite memory has to be probably these past few weeks, getting ready to graduate because I feel like my life’s moving forward. When you are in school you always know you are going to go back to school the following year, so for me it’s great to know that there’s something new coming in my life, even though I don’t know what it is, It’s exciting to take that new leap and be heading into something great…hopefully [laughter].

Brianna answers the question, “What advice would you give to students?”

You are a Journalism & Technical Communications and English Creative Writing major. Is that what you had originally planned to do?

When I first came, I knew I wanted to do Journalism, right off the bat, probably since my Junior year of high school, but that really changed for me. At first I thought I wanted to do Broadcast Journalism but then I realized I’m not really comfortable on camera, and I’d rather be behind the scenes working. So now I’m looking for jobs in Public Relations or Social Media just because I like being behind the scenes getting everything together.

I added English as a second major Spring semester of my freshman year, so I didn’t start taking English classes until my Sophomore year. I figured I’d do Creative Writing because I knew that I didn’t want to be a teacher.

I realize now that I’m ending everything that the English major has probably been the most challenging for me. I was a decent writer always but it was more like writing essays and stuff. Coming up with stories is so hard. People think it’s so easy and it’s really not. It’s such a challenge for me to write stories because it’s not something I’m really good at and it’s kind of uncomfortable for me — which I kind of liked because it’s a challenge. But at the same time, Journalism is so easy for me because it’s so hands on and we get to work in different aspects of things, like website building or doing publications or broadcasts or social media, all this different stuff we can work on. It gives us such a diverse field to study.

But I’d say together they’ve both made me a really good writer.

What did you originally think you were going to do with your degree? What job prospects did you have in mind?

I really want to get into social media and I’ve had about five internships since straight out of high school. I’ve done a lot of marketing internships, communications and writing for publications, so I’ve had a lot of experience in that area, but I really want to get into social media even though it’s something I haven’t done as much as I had originally planned.

Right now I’m interviewing for a few social media positions. I actually want another internship because if I commit to a job I want to make sure it’s where I want to be, I don’t want to just take a job because I need a job and then get stuck there, but I don’t want to job hop either. So if I can find at least one more internship that’s specifically dealing with social media and marketing then I’d like to go into that as a future career.

So your dream hasn’t changed very much?

Not at all. Writing, news writing is something that I dabbled in a bit, writing for different publications, so I wouldn’t mind trying that but that’s a really hard field to get in to just because people really aren’t reading newspapers and magazines as much, and it’s a very competitive business unless you freelance. So maybe that’s something to try…but Journalism has always been my goal so it hasn’t really changed that much.

What experience has CSU given you that you find the most valuable?

That’s a tough one. I would have to say I took this class, it was my senior capstone in Journalism, and basically they had us build a profile. So all semester we were working on these profiles. We had to take work samples, or school samples if we didn’t have any professional work experience, put them all together. It took us the whole year and then we had to create these huge projects, and then at the end of the semester we have an online portfolio which is basically like a resume online plus all your work, in a website form and a hardcopy portfolio. We did mock interviews with business people from different journalism fields, like public relations and news people. I felt like that helped me so much. It helped me realize, “wow, this is a competitive world out here and I need to get myself together.”

So bringing in professionals, not just with the Journalism department but English as well, going to the readings and stuff. Just having professionals who are good at what they do come on campus and speak to people or do their readings, it really helped me realize “dreams do come true.” Sometimes it feels like it’s so far off and that you can never achieve what you want to do but having professors as well that are not only professors but they’ve been published or they were recent newscasters or they work for these big corporations, having all these people available, at your disposal, to gain knowledge from, that’s probably been the best aspect of CSU for me. And they’re so willing to help you out if you need it. Having those conversations with them and interacting with them as not only professors but as just regular people and gaining knowledge — that’s been really awesome.

Brianna answers the question, “How does it feel to be graduating?”

Besides doing one more internship and traveling to visit family and friends before finding a job (hopefully something in public relations or social media), Brianna dreams of starting a book group with other young women like her, having a career (not “just a job” but work she loves), and doing more traveling.


We wish Brianna and Evelyn, and all of our students, whether they are graduating or returning next year, the safest and best of summers, the best of luck wherever they land. We also hope they will keep in touch, let us know how and what they are doing and where.

News of Note for the Week of May 12th

emptyeddyhallway

The hallways of Eddy are much quieter these past few days, the calm before the “storm” of an upcoming renovation.

  • The Eddy Building will be going through a remodel beginning the week of May 19th! The English Department offices will move over to the Behavioral Sciences Building, Rooms A104-112. The phone number will remain the same.
  • The Writing Center will be relocating to Johnson Hall Room 119 for the summer (and the 2014-15 academic year). We will reopen on Tuesday, May 27 and will close on Thursday, August 7. The Writing Center will be open during the summer Mondays through Thursdays 10:00am-12:30pm. While we offer walk-ins if they are available, we recommend that clients make appointments with us to guarantee a consultation. To make an appointment, please visit: https://colostate.mywconline.com/. Thanks, and we look forward to serving you!
  • The Eddy 300 Lab will close early Friday, May 16th at 2:00 pm. It will remain closed during the Eddy Building construction. Students needing to print please use the Clark Lab.
  • Tobi Jacobi gave a keynote on research sustainability and ethics highlighting her prison work in the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric program at Syracuse University. She also began work on 20th Century prison narratives from the New York Training School for Girls with the non-profit Prison Public Memory Project in Hudson, NY in mid-May.
  • Community Literacy Center (CLC) interns, Elise Yenne, Brittany Devons, and Olivia Pait successfully completed their year-long community writing teaching with two public readings as the Spring 2014 SpeakOut! journal was launched during the last two weeks. Thanks to assistant director Lauren Alessi for her leadership all year!
  • Sasha Steensen talks about her new book with Maggie Millner at ZYZZYVA: http://www.zyzzyva.org/2014/05/13/the-beauty-and-violence-of-a-family-and-of-a-nation-qa-with-sasha-steensen/
  • Ian Blake has accepted a position at Holyoke Junior and Senior High School in Holyoke, Colorado to teach English.
  • Pattie Cowell’s “Resisting the Border:  Natural Narrative, Everyday Story” was published recently in Western American Literature 48:4 (2014): 445-463.

Faculty Profile: Sue Doe

Associate Professor Sue Doe teaches courses in Composition, Autoethnographic Theory and Method, Research Methods, and Graduate Student Preparation for Writing in the Disciplines. She does research in three distinct areas—academic labor, writing across the curriculum, and student-veteran writing in the post-9/11 era. Coauthor of the faculty development book Concepts and Choices: Meeting the Challenges in Higher Education, she has published articles in College English, College Composition and Communication, and Writing Program Administration as well as several book-length collections.  Her forthcoming collection on student-veterans in the Composition classroom, Generation Vet:  Composition, Veterans, and the Post-911 University, co-authored with Professor Lisa Langstraat, is under contract with the Utah State Press.

suedoe


Faculty Profile: Sue Doe
~by Brianna Wilkins

How would you describe your work at CSU?

I work in the Rhetoric and Composition area of the English Department. I’m both the graduate advisor, and the undergraduate writing major director; we rotate positions, and right now I’m doing those two roles. Prior to that when I first came on in my current position in 2007, I was brought in to do gtPathways, which is a writing integration that’s gone on within the entire core curriculum.

What bought you to CSU?

I actually started teaching here several years ago in 1997. I moved here with my family and my husband had a position here with the university, and I started a PhD program at that point. While I was working on my PhD I began teaching a course or two here in the English department. A while after I got my PhD, the department did a national search for a new person in rhetoric and comp, I applied for it, and that’s how I came to be in my current position.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Right up through my freshman year of college I wanted to be something in the sciences; I loved science; I liked to write, and I imagined that I’d write about science. At that time science writing was just a vague idea; it wasn’t really a path that you could follow in graduate school. I think it was after my first course in chemistry when I thought that maybe I wouldn’t do anything with science (laughs). I was also a musician; I played the piano and I sang, so for a while I thought I was going to be a musician. Early on, both of those things I thought of more so than doing something with English.

What special projects are you working on right now?

My colleague Dr. Lisa Langstraat and I have been working on a longitudinal study of student veterans at CSU, and we’ve been looking at the influx of veterans from our recent wars into universities. There are now 1 million student veterans across the country. We now have an ever increasing number of student veterans on this campus, and we’re also considered a veteran friendly campus. One of the things she and I are doing is to examine the experience of the student veteran from the start of their time at CSU to the end of it, and to examine how their literacy practices change over the course of their transition period, as they move from being in the military to civilian life.

What is your most memorable moment in the classroom?

One of the moments which stands out the most is something I think about a lot. I’m a mother of three, and my first child was born a week before finals. I took him into the final exam, and I will never forget that moment of being in the classroom. My students were at the end of the semester and finishing up the course; at the same time I was starting on something new which was being a mom, and the generosity of those students was amazing. It could have been extremely awkward, but there was no way that I was going to leave behind my one week old baby. I didn’t know what to expect, and maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I couldn’t imagine leaving him behind. It was the most wonderful final exam that anyone could imagine.

What do you do during your free time?

I love to run. I’ve been a runner for about 40 years; there’s nothing like putting on my running sneakers and just going. It’s the best sport in the world because it doesn’t involve any equipment except those shoes so you can do it almost anywhere. And getting out into the elements, regardless of the weather, is not only freeing but empowering. I also love to hang out with my family. I have a grandson who is almost two and lives here in Fort Collins, He is just too funny and reminds me of the wonders of life because he sees everything, from a particle of dust to a dandelion. with fresh eyes. In a few weeks he will have a new baby sister and one of my two other children is also expecting a child. By the end of June, I’ll be a grandmother to three little children and while I initially felt I was too young for this grandma gig, I’ve come to enjoy it, just as everyone said I would!

What is something that your colleagues may not know about you?

I once wrote a speech for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf

News of Note from the Week of May 5th

image by Jill Salahub

image by Jill Salahub

Did you know that Eddy Hall is undergoing a remodel? It will begin soon and take about 16 months. This week, they put up one panel of the new facade on the south side of the building (see above image), and half of the third floor is packing their things into boxes to be temporarily moved into other locations while the work takes place. The English Department main offices will move over to the Behavioral Sciences Building, Rooms 104-112, (the phone number will remain the same). Stay tuned!

Today is the last of Spring 2014 classes! Good luck to everyone on finals, as well as final papers and projects, teachers and students, and a special wish for the best of luck to our graduating seniors.

  • Libby James (MA English ’71) is a local and national running legend who lives here in Fort Collins. She is featured in this great story on ESPNW, Libby was also featured recently in an article in the Denver Post, “Libby James, 75, ready for Colorado Running Hall of Fame.”
  • Leslee Becker’s story, “The Bonaventure,” has been accepted for publication in The Vermont Literary Review.
  • Two of Camille Dungy’s poems were translated into French and published in a special section of Siècle 21: Littèrature & Société edited by Marilyn Hacker.
  • EJ Levy will judge Tupelo Quarterly’s Open Prose Contest (Prize $1,000): May 27, 2014, deadline. For additional information, see: https://tupeloquarterly.submittable.com/submit/29128  EJ’s essay “Bread” appears in the current issue of The Normal School. EJ’s short-short story “Talk to Her” appeared in Kenyon Review online in April.
    https://www.kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2014-spring/selections/e-j-levy-342846/
  • Sasha Steensen’s new book House of Deer is now out with Fence Books: http://www.fenceportal.org/?page_id=5195. She has several new poems out in the latest issue of Jubilat, and next week she leaves for a week-long reading tour on the east coast.
  • Beth Lechleitner’s mezzo-soprano daughter, Kate Mathews, will be presenting Copland’s settings of 12 Emily Dickinson poems on June 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Magnolia Music Studio (210 W. Magnolia, Corner of Magnolia and Mason). Tickets available at: http://emilydickinson.brownpapertickets.com/ To learn more about Kate, visit her website:  http://www.katemathews.com/
  • Man in the Moon: Essays on Fathers & Fatherhood, published by the Center for Literary Publishing and distributed by the University Press of Colorado, is now available (www.upcolorado.com or amazon.com). The anthology features essays selected from several literary magazines and includes work by our own Debby Thompson and Dan Beachy-Quick, plus many other fine writers.
  • The University of Nebraska Press, observing that they consider it a “lasting contribution to Western literature,” recently released a Bison Books paperback edition of David Mogen’s memoir, Honyocker Dreams, Montana Memories (2011).

Reading Series: Ben Findlay and Kaelyn Riley

At the final MFA reading of the semester, the two readers were Ben Findlay and Kaelyn Riley, a fiction writer and a poet (respectively). The crowd was rather large for the UCA, and because I was early, I had the pleasure of watching people scramble trying to gather enough chairs for the event. When Ben was introduced to the audience, his ability to describe conditions of poverty was praised, and when he read the story he had prepared, “Pressure,” I could see what the introduction had meant.

benfindlay

“We’re smiling in most of the photographs, even if we knew it wouldn’t last…She’s starting to look past me, she’s not looking for a better solution, she’s looking for a better equation.”

The story recounted the tale of a young man named George who works for a glass business, desperately trying to get home to his girlfriend but being constantly held up by the routine of getting paid by a particularly difficult auto repair shop owner. Through his eyes, we see the conditions of poverty and how unfortunate it is to have kidney stones (which made the audience laugh a lot), as well as the toll this lifestyle can have on a relationship. I was so enthralled throughout the entire thing that I decided rather than take careful notes of lines that I liked that I would just record it so I could pay more attention.

I had to do the same thing for the next reader, Kaelyn Riley. As many people filed out of the UCA as soon as Ben finished, I wondered why anyone would want to miss the superb poet that came on stage. While it’s much harder to summarize poetry, many of the ideas presented in Riley’s poetry revolved around what it is to be a woman and what it is to say what you mean, though that does not do her poetry justice. As I walked home that night, I pondered these ideas.

kaelynriley

“’I’d forgotten autumn here,’ I say, lamely, anything, and loathe the poetry of it. The block that we just walked is a termination of the light.”

The final reading of the semester was well worth the time the week before Dead Week. These two readers provided an escape from the grueling hours of studying and writing essays, and I certainly look forward to the series continuing in the fall, even if I will not be writing about them any longer.

~Evelyn Vaughn

Reading Series: Brenda Hillman and Robert Hass

For the April 24th reading with Brenda Hillman and Robert Hass, we were not in the University Art Museum at the UCA. This time, we had the prestigious North Ballroom in the LSC because the large crowd of people who came to see these two poets would have knocked all of the art off of the walls in the Art Museum. Being the champion of punctuality that I am, I walked in during Brenda Hillman’s introduction and awkwardly made my way through the rows of chairs before settling in to listen to her poetry.

Hillman read from what she described as a 17 year project in esoteric studies, a tetralogy of poetry books based on the elements of fire, air, water, and earth. Before she started to read, she had a few words to say to young writers:

“Poetry is a really good way to access the most odd and peculiar parts of your psyche.”

brendahillmanShe read a few poems from each of the books in the tetralogy, and shared with the audience a time in her life when she had decided to protest at an army base in Nevada using poetry. At this, she remarked, “I believe in pointless protest … The connection between poetry and outcomes is very tenuous.” After everyone had stopped laughing, she went on to read a poem that yielded my favorite line from her all night, which was “They throw paper dreams and sins upon / the pyre and kiss.”

When Robert Hass came on stage, we were warned that lately, he had been writing a lot about death. The former U.S. Poet Laureate was quite amusing, despite the fact that his poems were entitled things like “Death in Infancy” and “Death in Childhood,” or my personal favorite, a poem simply called “Dream Poem” (which was one of the few that he read that wasn’t about death). He also talked a lot about how it was a poet’s job to describe the environment around them, and read a poem about his own environment.

roberthass

“We threw white roses in his grave
There’s a green wind on the pond
Summer on the pond.”

This poem used repetition to describe California, and was the last that he read that night. As I guiltily left without buying a book (having forgotten my wallet), I thought that it was understandable that we were unable to meet in the UCA, because the two poets that read to us that night were both engaging, and deserved the crowd that had gathered for them. Even though there was no knit “Batman” suit to accompany the reading, it was entertaining just the same.

~Evelyn Vaughn