GW MEMSI Conference
Jewish Literature Live
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Summer Course Offerings
May 16-August 20
Frederick Douglass and the Civil War (discussion led by Associate Professor Jennifer James)
May 18, 6:45-9 PM
Memoir Matters (lecture by Professor Faye Moskowitz)
June 8, 10-11:15 AM
Osher Living and Learning Center, Katzen Center, American University
Book Launch for Professor Christopher Sten's Literary Capital: A Washington Reader
July 16, 6 PM
Politics and Prose Books
Kudos and Summer Plans
Professor Marshall Alcorn published “The Desire Not to Know as a Challenge to Teaching” in the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society and has a second essay, “Shame, Resistance, and the Desire Not to Know” forthcoming in ETD – Educação Temática Digital, a Brazilian Journal on Education. It will be published online in Portuguese and English.
Assistant Professor H.G. Carrillo’s opening to his new novel, Twilight of the Small Havanas, was published this winter/spring in Conjunctions 55: Urban Arias. He has been named the Amanda Davis Returning Fellow at the Breadload Writers Conference for Summer 2011.
Professor Jeffrey Cohen received two prestigious fellowships for 2011-2012, from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He will spend part of the summer at the University of Melbourne, giving the introductory lecture at “Stone: An Interdisciplinary Workshop,” a gathering of scholars studying emotions that shape, structure, and are provoked by human interactions with rock, stone architecture, and landscape. The event is sponsored by the newly funded ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotion.
Professor Robert Combs will be attending the J. M. Synge Summer School in Rathdrum, Ireland, near Dublin.
Adjunct Professorial Lecture in English and Theatre Allyson Currin’s children’s book UNLEASHED!, based on her Kennedy Center world premiere play, has been released by Simon and Schuster.
Adjunct Professorial Lecturer in English Supriya Goswami is completing her book manuscript Colonial India in Children’s Literature, which is forthcoming from Routledge in 2012. In the summer, she will present one of the chapters at the Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
Professor Jonathan Gil Harris’s Untimely Matter in the Time of Shakespeare was just reissued in a new paperback edition by the University of Pennsylvania Press. His edited collection Placing Michael Neill: Issues of Place in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture will be published this fall by Ashgate. This year, he was elected trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America and gave the Sedgewick Memorial Lecture at the University of British Columbia (a short monograph based on the lecture, Marvelous Repossessions: Taking Paradise from the Rear in The Tempest, will appear later this year). In June, he will relocate to India for 14 months, beginning work on his new book project, “Becoming Indian: Subaltern European Travelers’ Tales, 1430-1670.”
Associate Professor Jennifer James successfully designed GW’s new major in Africana Studies, an interdisciplinary course of study housed in the Department of English. Her article on African American literary environmentalism, “Ecomelancholia: Slavery, War and Black Environmental Imaginings,” will be published this spring in Environmental Criticism for the 21st Century (Routledge). This summer, Professor James will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to continue research on her new project, a cultural history of Andrew Jackson’s slaveholding. She was inspired to undertake this endeavor after discovering an 1880 newspaper interview of her ancestral grandmother, Hannah Jackson, one of Jackson’s first slaves, in which Hannah Jackson discusses aspects of her life with the seventh president.
Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing Pete Levine has just sold his collection of short stories, The Appearance of a Hero, to St. Martin's Press. This summer, he will have short stories published in The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Storyquarterly.
Professor Thomas Mallon recently won the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for achievement in prose style. He will be spending a few weeks in Prague in July, and then dividing his time between D.C. and New York, correcting proofs of his novel and working on a couple of magazine pieces.
Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing Joe Martin will be involved this summer in a Senior Fulbright Specialist Project. This will involve productions of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter; an international forum on Pinter, Beckett and the politics of power; and theater training in Viewpoints with Al Quds University, East Jerusalem and Inad Theatre, Beit Jala, West Bank.
Graduate Teaching Assistant Julia McCrossin is completing a co-edited anthology that will be published by Lexington Press, tentatively titled The Unbearable Fatness of Being: Enlarging Theories of Embodiment. She is currently serving on the editorial board for the newly-created Fat Studies Journal.
Professor Robert McRuer’s co-edited collection Sex and Disability is in production at Duke University Press and will be out in early 2012. He will head to Madrid in early July for “LGBT/Queer Studies: Toward Trans/national Scholarly and Activist Kinships,” an international conference. He will then continue studying Spanish in Madrid, with a six-week immersion course. He also hopes to make connections with artists and activists in the Spanish disability community.
Professor Kim Moreland will be teaching a summer course on the short story and serving as a reader for the AP English Literature test.
Professor Faye Moskowitz, BA’70, MA’79, took part, in April, in the Foundation for Jewish Studies Distinguished Scholars Series. Her lecture was entitled “What’s Portnoy Complaining About Lately: New Voices and Themes in Contemporary Jewish American Literature.” On April 27, 2011, she was honored by Avodah, the Jewish Service Corps, with a reception and presentation at Adas Israel Congregation.
Professor Ann Romines’s, Ph.D’77, recent publications include the Scholarly Edition of Willa Cather’s Sapphira and the Slave Girl (2009), a twelve-year task that provides the only complete scholarly edition of a U.S. woman fiction writer; and At Willa Cather’s Tables: The Cather Foundation Cookbook (2010), already in its second printing. This summer she will attend the International Willa Cather Seminar at Smith College, where she will be a featured plenary speaker. She will have a second knee replacement in July, followed by (we are all hoping) a good recovery and rehab.
Associate Professor Evelyn Schreiber, at the invitation of the Woolly Mammoth Theater, spent spring break in London, where she saw six plays in five days. Her research on new plays is connected to her work with the Woolly Mammoth Theater and to her Fall 2011 Dean's Seminar, “What’s New About New Plays.” She was co-chair, on February 18, 2011, of the Toni Morrison Society 80th Birthday Celebration for Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison at Madison Hall of the Library of Congress, where she had the honor of giving the final birthday toast. In Boston, in May 2011, Professor Schreiber will be inducted as Vice President of the Toni Morrison Society.
Professor Jane Shore will be delivering her new book, THAT SAID New and Selected Poems, to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It will be published in Spring 2012. She has a poem, “The Four Sons,” in the March/April issue of Moment magazine. She will be talking and reading her poems this summer at St. Johnsbury Academy, St, Johnsbury, Vermont, at the annual AP High School English teachers conference. She will be in Vermont for all of July and August.
Professor Christopher Sten’s book Literary Capital: A Washington Reader, a collection of writings from 70 different authors, will appear in June 2011 from the University of Georgia Press. In June, Professor Sten will also present his paper “‘Casting a Shadow’: Trauma and Reading Benito Cereno” at a Melville Society conference in Rome.
Professor and Department Chair Gayle Wald: “Godmother of Rock,” a documentary based on Professor Wald’s 2007 book Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, aired on BBC4 and opened the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Black History Month Festival. Over the summer, Professor Wald will turn in the final draft of an article for American Quarterly and working on her book “It’s Been Beautiful: SOUL! and Black Power Television” for Duke University Press.
Professor and Dean of Graduate Studies Tara Wallace will be attending a Johnson/Boswell conference in Scotland and giving a paper at the International Walter Scott conference in Laramie, Wyoming. Kimberly Clark and Erin Vander Wall, from Professor Wallace’s Fall 2010 graduate seminar on will also present papers in Laramie. Professor Wallace will take a Yale alumni trip called “Footsteps of Odysseus,” visiting parts of Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Malta.
Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing Mary-Sherman Willis has recently had poems in the Southern Poetry Review and the “Art Inspiring Art” project at the SAC Gallery in Winchester, Virginia. She will be involved in an alumni writer’s conference this summer at the Warren Wilson College, in Swannanoa, North Carolina.
Welcome to the Spring 2011 department newsletter! Once again, we are pleased to bring you news of what’s going on in Rome Hall. The English Department boasts a nationally and internationally renowned faculty, graduate programs for doctoral and masters students (including our five-year BA/MA program), and, of course, a large group of fabulous student majors and minors, whose enthusiasm and achievements continue to amaze us.
Our spring newsletter brings you updates about faculty research and summer plans, student achievements, and overviews of a few of our highly successful events from this year. You’ll also find the “Class Notes” section filled with interesting reports from fellow alumni.
We would love to hear from you and see you. Come by Rome Hall if you’re in the D.C. area, or come to one of our many lectures or readings, which are always open to you. If you’re not in D.C., consider sending us an email or snail mail. We hope this newsletter brings back fond memories of studying here with us, and we hope it provides you with lots of great information of what we’ve been up to lately.
With warm wishes,
Professor and Chair
On October 22, 2010, the department welcomed colleagues, friends, and students from near and far to an event in honor of Professor Emerita Judith Plotz. Professor Plotz, who retired in 2010, was one of the first women to be tenured in English. She was a pioneering scholar of nineteenth-century literature, children’s literature, postcolonial literature, and Jewish American literature, and authored numerous articles and books, including Romanticism and the Vocation of Childhood.
Her fabulous retirement event in October, dubbed the “Plotzfest,” was a huge success. More than 100 attendees were present to hear six invited speakers—Carolyn Betensky, Richard Flynn, Margaret Higgonet, Uli Knoepflmacher, John Plotz, and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan.
The papers at the Plotzfest, intended to highlight Professor Plotz’s multiple areas of expertise, focused on the “happy” and “unhappy” in Victorian literature (Betensky); Randall Jarrell’s work for children, “The Bat-Poet” (Flynn); movable books and three-dimensional reading in the late 19th century (Higgonet); the relationship between a young Rudyard Kipling and an older Robert Browning (Knoepflmacher)’ the idea of semi-detachment in Victorian painting and literature (Plotz); and representations of ethical citizenship in contemporary Indian fiction (Sunder Rajan). A reception following the event provided an arena for students and colleagues who have known Professor Plotz during her long and productive career to provide warm, heartfelt memories of their experiences with her.
London University Professor Delivers Distinguished Lecture in Literary and Cultural Studies
On Friday, November 5, the department held its second annual Distinguished Lecture in Literary and Cultural Studies, delivered by Sara Ahmed, professor of race and cultural studies at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. Ahmed is the author of scores of articles, essays, and books, including Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Duke University Press, 2006) and, most recently, The Promise of Happiness (Duke University Press, 2010). Her work has influenced academics across disciplines, including philosophy, women’s studies, literary studies, cultural studies, queer theory and LGBT studies, critical race theory, and postcolonial studies. Within our own English department, her work has been taught in classes on medieval cultural studies, early modern literary and cultural studies, queer theory, and identity politics.
Professor Ahmed was involved in three official events over the course of two days. She held two seminars —one designed for graduate students and one for undergraduates—and delivered the distinguished lecture, “A Willfulness Archive.” The event was attended by faculty and students across the university, and indeed, across the Washington, D.C., area.
Here is how Professor Ahmed described her idea of “a willfulness archive”: “A willfulness archive is what we assemble when we ‘follow willfulness around,’ tracking where willfulness goes, and ‘in what’ or ‘in whom’ it is found. We can learn from these archives how willfulness is deposited in certain places, which allows the willful subject to appear as a figure, one who has certain qualities and attributes. Willfulness has been defined as ‘asserting or disposed to assert one’s own will against persuasion, instruction, or command; governed by will without regard to reason; determined to take one’s own way; obstinately self-willed or perverse.’ Willfulness offers a moral diagnosis of character. Willfulness has also been thought of as a relation of part to whole: the willful part is the one who does not will the preservation of the whole.”
Professor Ahmed’s engaging lecture suggested that an archive of willfulness is always an archive of rebellion, created by those who wander, speak, read, and write waywardly.
AWP Conference Celebrates Outstanding Writing
Each year, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) holds its Annual Conference & Bookfair in a different region of North America to celebrate the outstanding authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers, and small press publishers of that region. The conference features hundreds of readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, receptions, dances, and informal gatherings, and attracts more than 8,000 attendees and more than 500 publishers. This year’s event was in Washington, D.C., and included significant participation by English Department faculty and the Creative Writing Program.
A major highlight of the conference was the panel celebrating 35 years of the Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship at The George Washington University.The late Jenny Moore, who was a playwriting student at GW, left in trust a fund to encourage creative writing, and the trustees of the Fund helped design the program. Thanks to this fund the department brings an established poet or novelist to campus each year to teach a writing workshop for students and a free community workshop for adults in the larger Washington community.
At the conference, poet and Professor Gregory Pardlo introduced the panel, which also included Professor Faye Moskowitz, BA’70, MA’79, president of the fellowship; Professor Jane Shore, poet and recipient of the Jenny McKean Moore scholarship in 1989-1990; Honor Moore, poet and daughter of the late Jenny McKean Moore; and Professor Thomas Mallon, director of the Creative Writing Program.
The panelists engaged in an open discussion about the life and legacy of Moore as a writer, activist and “vibrant woman, who found a place in your consciousness and settles in,” according to Professor Moskowitz. Also on the panel were former fellows Ed Skoog, a poet, and novelist Tayari Jones. The event was followed by a reception at the Wardman’s Stone’s Throw restaurant. Read more.
Bob Ganz Retires and Delivers an Honorary “Last Lecture”
Professor Robert Ganz’s unique legacy of teaching that began in 1964 culminated on February 18 with an honorary “last lecture” that drew friends, alumni, former students, and colleagues. Ganz’s engaging style has made him a notable and integral part of the GW English Department for many years. His lecture, drawing on Robert Frost and Friedrich Nietszche, focused on the lived experience of modernism. Ganz concluded his lecture by quoting Frost, stating, “My time has reached its last.” A standing ovation, as well as a reception filled with many tributes to Professor Ganz, marked the end of a rich career for this English Department veteran.
Professor Ann Romines, Ph.D.’77, forwarded a beautiful open letter to the department following the events of February 18. We are happy to share these excerpts:
…I still remember you, in my first semester, sitting in the middle of that huge, heavy seminar table in Stuart Hall, peeling an ugly fruit, and spouting William Carlos Williams like a very wise chimpanzee. My readings of Lowell, Frost, Williams, Stevens, Ginsberg, Moore, and so many others will always be tinged by your voice. Like a student who spoke yesterday, I remember that “strawberry that’s had a struggle.” “what is there like fortitude,” indeed. You’ve had it, all these years. And staying power.
Of course I remember that unforgettable day when you led Allen Ginsberg around campus, with his harmonium and his Blake songs. I remember the (molting?) stuffed owl and dictionary stand in your office. And how, when your good friend George McCandlish (who was beginning to direct my dissertation) died, you offered to take me and my almost entirely alien-to-you topic on, and shepherded me through. You wrote one of the letters that helped me get a first post-Ph.D. job at University of Cincinnati—and then it was you who phoned me in Cincinnati and told me there was a job opening up at GW that I should apply for. And I did—and here I am, still.
Another early memory is of you shepherding your parents around campus. And . . . in large envelopes every December . . . Christmas photos of the ever-changing cast of Ganzes and prize pumpkins…. I also remember, around the time your mother died, that you made her signature cheese wafers for the first time and brought me a tin of them for a Christmas party, along with the recipe that came from her college roommate (in the 1920s?). I still have and use the recipe; wish I had made a batch for yesterday’s celebration. For one of the things that I love about you—and learned from you—is that you brought your whole self and your whole life to GW with you: as a loving son, husband, father, and friend and cook, as well as the indefatigable, inimitable, and stalwart teacher and colleague we all know.
Two years ago, my recovery from surgery and then pneumonia took longer than expected, and I had to miss more than two weeks of classes. Which one of my colleagues volunteered to take over my American lit survey? You, of course, and those students will never forget their raucous journey through Huckleberry Finn with you. Later in the semester, when I missed another class to deliver my first post-surgery conference paper, you stepped in again, to read “Kaddish” with them—a poem to which you had introduced me, nearly forty years before. Full circle, indeed. Thank you, dear Bob, for the (continuing) journey.
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects in the Middle Ages (GW MEMSI Event)
The George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (GW MEMSI) held a conference March 11-12, titled “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects in the Middle Ages” (AVMEO). The event was conceptualized as an intimate conference: about fifty core participants, most of whom would present papers, were joined by another twelve or fifteen attendees and fellow discussants. To foreground the event’s focus upon being intensely together in shared conversation, each plenary session consisted of two presenters and an extended question and answer session. AVMEO was unique in many ways, including being a “naked” conference: no projectors, no PowerPoint. This strategy turned a problem (the rooms were small and rather old; to bring technology into them would have meant placing a projector in some people’s field of vision) into an asset: isn’t it true that when we are stripped of our inhuman assistants we are connected more intimately to the faces, bodies and voices of our audiences?
The experiment worked well: There were many more questions and responses to talks than the time each session provided, and interest remained high across the two days. Some presenters, moreover, became quite creative with their handouts: Whitney Trettien passed around facsimiles; Valerie Allen, speaking on rocks, allowed attendees to grab a mineral from a velvet bag and hold it during her talk; Julia Lupton created for each member of the audience a set of gorgeous cards with the items of furniture she was speaking about printed upon them. Many others used old fashioned paper, which was nicely tactile.
Jane Bennett’s keynote for the conference, open to all, was one of the highlights of the semester for the department. Professor Bennett is chair of the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and author of the book Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Her keynote “The Powers of the Hoard,” delivered to a packed audience, looked critically at the phenomenon of hoarding, of keeping every glistening scrap that crosses one’s life close, often as a charm against loss. Bennett’s sympathetic analysis rendered a process that is too easy to dismiss via pathology into a complicated relationship with the material world. Hoarders recognize vibrant materialism, behold the beauty that inhabits even discarded bottle caps and decaying food, and cling to such inhuman vitalism sometimes to the point at which it becomes lethal.
According to Nedda Mehdizadeh, an English graduate student completing a dissertation on Anglo-Persian encounters in the early modern period, AVMEO provided “a better idea of which questions to ask and a closer understanding of how we might share the world with our nonhuman cohabitants. What are these nonhuman ‘things’ telling us? What are the ethics behind ventriloquizing their stories? In what ways do these interactions shape our approach to cultural studies?”
GW MEMSI plans to make podcasts of the plenaries available, and an edited volume from the presentations will be published as well. As of May 1, 2011, audiofiles of the keynotes are available on the GW MEMSI website.
Another Successful Semester of “Jewish Literature Live”
Spring 2011 marked the fourth year of Jewish Literature Live, a unique course taught by Professor Faye Moskowitz, BA’70, MA’79, made possible by the generosity of English department alumnus David Bruce Smith, BA ’79. This spring, E.L. Doctorow’s campus visit and reading were a high point of the course. Doctorow visited Jewish Literature Live in person, talking to students about his novel The Book of Daniel, and then gave a public reading to more than 200 people in the evening. He also attended a dinner thrown in his honor at the F Street House, the home of President and Mrs. Steven Knapp. Doctorow and the president were joined by members of the department, Provost Steven Lerman, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Peg Barratt, MPhil’78, and various Trustees of the University, including David Bruce Smith himself.
The 2011 English department student blogger Paula Mejia (class of 2013) gave a wonderful account of the public reading:
“Last Thursday, I had the unbelievable opportunity to attend a reading and a conversation with distinguished Jewish American author E.L. Doctorow. After a brief introduction by Professor Faye Moskowitz, a humble Doctorow approached the stand amid a lecture hall of thunderous applause. “I’ve never been compared to Sinatra before,” he said sheepishly, referring to Professor Moskowitz’s equation of her “giddiness” at introducing Doctorow to her giddiness, as a young woman, at seeing Frank Sinatra. He then briefly introduced “Writer in the Family,” a story from his new collection All the Time in the World. Doctorow connected with the audience by speaking about how “Everyone always talks about the writer in the family, which can be embarrassing.”
After the reading, Doctorow answered questions from the audience. He spoke about evolving as a writer—where images, phrases, and pieces of music were the “evocative feelings that incited the private excitement in the mind.” He offered advice to young writers, saying that he had no aesthetic manifesto. “Give yourself to the writing and trust it. Ideas are always there—we carry them around.”
Perhaps the most compelling of questions, however, at least for me, was the first one.
“How much of what you write is true?” called a voice from the crowd.
“Does it sound true?” replied Doctorow.
“Then it is true.”
Jewish Literature Live will continue for a fifth year in the Spring 2012 semester.
Creative Writing Student Wins Poetry Prize
Daria-Ann Martineau, a speech and hearing major and creative writing minor, won the 2011 Student Poetry Prize, awarded to the best poem submitted by a student at The George Washington University. Martineau’s poem “Orchids,” originally written for Professor Gregory Pardlo’s fall 2010 poetry class, was the unanimous choice of the three faculty judges, who called it “exceptionally well crafted as well as bold and substantive.”
In addition to being an accomplished poet, Martineau is secretary of GW’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association and corresponding secretary of GW’s Caribbean Students Organization. Our thanks to Daria-Ann Martineau for her kind permission to include her poem here.
Needle to my ribcage,
the tattoist imprints the flowers.
My pores break open at the seal
where he places the tip,
unleashing pearls of blood
that blend into purple.
I have chosen this emblem
after seeing orchids in a wedding.
I fell in love:
with corollas meshed into the bride’s veil
and centred in her bouquet.
jewel hues against white dress--
protruding as defiant tongues,
The convolutions of their shape,
spilling into concavity.
Undeniable as pure sin.
At home I disrobe,
view my beautifully crafted scar,
remember how orchids first pierced me,
a breathy Oh buds at my mouth.
Donors Generously Support GW English
Gifts to the Department of English allow us to provide support for faculty and student research and travel, graduate student fellowships, and academic enrichment activities including guest speakers, visiting faculty, and symposia. Each gift, no matter its size, makes a positive impact on our educational mission and furthers our standing in one of the nation’s preeminent liberal arts colleges at one of the world’s preeminent universities.
You can make your gift to the Department of English in a number of ways:
- Securely online (using the button on the left side of this newsletter). Choose “other” under designation and type in “English Department.”
- By mailing your check, made out to The George Washington University and with “English Department” in the memo line, to:
The George Washington University
2100 M Street NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20052
- By phone by calling the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611.
The department’s winter appeal for news from alumni garnered an enthusiastic response. Below you’ll find news from alumni across the years.
Interested in connecting with current English majors? The department is looking for alumni to talk to students about their careers and about life after GW. Please contact Professor Holly Dugan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anya Firestone, BA’10, reports, “I now live in Paris, France as I was sent by the ministry of France to be an English teacher. I have 350 students in three different elementary schools. I did an art residency over the summer in Paris after graduating and just found out my Macaron sculptures will be featured in Food Arts Magazine in the March issue.” Here is some press on Anya (an article written by someone who found her because of her poem, “le pulp fiction,” that won the Senior Poetry Contest for the GW Review): http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/profile-anya-firestone/
Jonna Gilbert, BA’09, worked as a teaching associate in sixth-grade English at Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and then was accepted into the University of Iowa’s Teaching and Learning graduate program. She writes, “I am now in my second semester getting my M.A.T. in Secondary English Education and loving every moment! I was also recently issued a Graduate Research Assistantship where I am the writing consultant for the College of Education, working with the amazing Bonnie Sunstein, and am in the process of building a writing center for graduate students in the COE - super exciting!! Doc Schreiber taught me well in GW’s Writing Center.” Jonna also works at an after-school program for at-risk kids at a local elementary school, helping third and fourth graders with reading and math.
Amanda Limmer, BA’08, is working at MTV as a production assistant for a weekly show called 10 on Top. It’s a 30-minute show that airs on Saturday mornings and focuses on the hottest stars in music, television, and film who are under 25.
Julie Donovan, Ph.D.’07, is a visiting assistant professor with the Women’s Leadership Program at the Mount Vernon Campus. This position follows a two-year stint as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Kyle MacKinnel, BA’07, (English and Creative Writing) spent two years earning a Masters of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California, where, he reports, “I studied poetry and creative non-fiction with several excellent writers, including Aram Saroyan, Kenneth Turan and Brighde Mullins. Since 2008, I have been a staff writer at FILTER, a national independent music magazine based in Los Angeles, to which I have contributed many feature articles and album reviews.”
Tess Salazar, BA’07, is working in New York at Springer, a global publishing company specializing in medical texts. She primarily works as an editorial project manager, but has also been dabbling in print graphic design at work and through classes at NYU.
Olga Tsyganova, BA’07, and Eric Brichto, BA’09, both English Department graduates, were married July 18, 2009. They currently reside in Baltimore, and are expecting their first child this August.
Sarah Sober, BA’06, has been working in both legal and educational arenas, including a year teaching English in Spain. She now does policy work for the largest accrediting agency for schools in the United States.
Lindsey Rempell, BA’05, is an account executive in Advertising Sales at The Huffington Post.
Michaela Leary, BA’04, is currently teaching high school English at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria. She completed her Master’s in Education from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 2006 and married current GW athletic department employee Alan Zebrak (M.T.A., GWU, ’06) in 2009.
Philip Longo, BA’03, is writing his dissertation, “An Army of Lovers: Radical Politics and Sexuality in American Literature, 1945-1975,” at Rutgers University in the Department of English.
Jaime Parks, BA’03, is an assistant United States attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, California.
Brent Stansell, BA’03, (Honors and Enosinian Scholar) is a professor of theatre at The George Washington University, American University, The Catholic University of America, and Montgomery College. He also works as a teaching artist for several major local theatre companies and runs his own theatre company, D.C.Theatre Collective (www.dctheatrecollective.com).
Ayanna Jackson-Fowler, BA’02, is a Diversity Faculty Fellow at The University of Texas at Arlington. She received her PhD in English from Texas Tech University in 2009. Her teaching and research interests include early black writing, African-American literature, and creative nonfiction.
Jon Kenneth Williams, BA’02, received a doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. He now teaches at a private school in Connecticut, Pierrepont School, and lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Laura Towart Bandak, BS’99, BA’99 (English and Biology) currently resides in NYC. She is co-founder and CEO of Celmatix, Inc., a reproductive medicine company developing in vitro diagnostics for female infertility. She is married and has twin babies, Julian and Valentina, one year old.
Brooke Jospe Barona, BA’97, has been an attorney at Barnes & Noble, Inc. for the last four years, and is living in New York City.
Nishi Chawla, Ph.D.’97, recently published her fourth collection of poetry, a 125 page poem titled THE GANGA. She has also published two novels. She teaches English at the University of Maryland, University College, Maryland and lives in Bethesda with her husband.
Christine Coleman, BA’91, (English and Spanish) is vice president, client services at Motivation Mechanics, a market research, strategy and communications company based in Philadelphia. Christine stays active and involved with GW by serving on the Communications Committee of the GW Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Mary Cutler Drummond, BA’91, puts the communication and creative thinking skills she gained as an English major to work in her career as president of Drummond BioConsulting, a consulting firm for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. She specializes in oncology and specialty market strategy. She lives in Winchester, Massachusetts with her husband and three children.
Jennifer Lyman Wagner, BA’90, reports that she is “currently the Grammar Goddess (aka proofreader and copy editor) for Schubert Communications, a B2B advertising agency in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.” She is also “part-time chauffeur to my daughter’s soccer practices and son’s School of Rock rehearsals. My husband and I are looking forward to a trip to London in April.”
Pramila Venkateswaran, MPhil’86, Ph.D.’88, teaches English and women’s studies at Nassau Community College, Long Island. Her book, Trace, recently won a semi-finalist place in the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook competition, and FLP will be publishing it. Her earlier books include Thirtha (Yuganta Press, 2002), Behind Dark Waters (Plain View Press, 2008), and Draw Me Inmost (Stockport Flats, 2009).
Laura Butera, BA’84 has found what she describes as “the mid-life-crisis career of the century—writing and fundraising here in D.C. for a Boston-based NGO (non-governmental organization) called Initiatives for China.” Initiatives for China was founded by Dr. Yang Jianli www.yangjianli.com, a Tiananmen Square survivor, Harvard Fellow, and representative of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Award winner Liu Xiaobo. Laura reports that if you’d like to help, you can find more information at the Initiatives website www.initiativesforchina.org.
Alicia Shepard, BA’78, (Honors English) reports that “My initial plan was to go to graduate school to become a high school English teacher. But a part-time job found through the GWU alumni office led me into the news business. I’ve written for newspapers, magazines and now write a weekly column at www.npr.org/ombudsman as National Public Radio’s ombudsman.” Alicia has also written two books, Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate www.woodwardandbernstein.net and the co-authored Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11. She adds, finally, “A few years back, I interviewed David Plotz for People magazine, and learned he was my teacher Judith Plotz’s son!”
Nancy Mimeles Carey, BA’73, since moving to midcoast Maine (which, she reports, “seems like the poetry capital of the U.S.”), has been on the steering committee of the Belfast Poetry Festival and is part of a circle of poets who give public readings. She is also working on a nonfiction book.
Karen (Staffieri) Vaucher, BA’70, currently lives in Harper, Texas, where she runs a 80-acre ranch raising goats, llamas, chickens, donkeys and a horse. She also operates a website, www.oldstonemarket.com, where she sells her signature product Black Peppercorns from Madagascar (for which she is the sole importer for North America). Karen’s business also offers herbs, spices, rubs, gourmet sea salts and other culinary products. She also does private party catering in her area of the Texas Hill Country. “Come on down and visit!” she says.
Alice Kaderlan, BA’69, was a reporter for NPR, WAMU-FM and other news outlets for many years after graduating from GW. She then had a series of marketing and communications jobs involving writing and has now gone back to her journalistic roots by writing for two online newspapers in Seattle – Crosscut and seattlepi.com. Her are links to Alice’s dance blog on seattlepi.com and some stories and reviews she has written for Crosscut:
Carol Oliphant Napper, BA’58, reports, “I am probably one of your oldest alums on your list! I am turning 75 next week and I graduated from GW in 1958 with an English Literature major. I was a transfer student with lots of credits in Political Science so in my senior year I took all English courses including a year of Shakespeare with Dr. Fred Tupper, Beauwolf, Chaucer, Romantic Lit, Victorian Lit, and 20th Century Lit. It was quite a year! In those days you also had to pass at the end the year a 10 hour written comprehensive exam given over 2 days (in blue books of course). Do they still do that? I know this is more than 1 or 2 lines but just thought you might be interested in the old days!” Carol taught seventh grade English for a year and then had a career in the travel industry. She has now retired in St. Augustine, Florida and is Florida AAUW (American Association of University Women) state president.
Robert L. Hardesty, BA’57, served as president emeritus at Texas State University; President at Southwest Texas State University; Vice Chancellor, University of Texas System; and Press Secretary for the Governor of Texas. He was also a White House assistant and speech writer to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And he reports that “time goes by fast!”
Samuel Jay Keyser, BA’56, is professor emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and special assistant to the chancellor at MIT. He has been awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award from GW. His last book, I Married a Travel Junkie, was published June 2010 and can be referenced through his blog: http://www.travelreluctantly.blogspot.comor MIT: http://shass.mit.edu/news/reluctant-traveler. His next book, Mens et Mania: The MIT Nobody Knows, was recently published by MIT Press and he is currently at work on a book tentatively titled Looking for Me.