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Department of English

 News and Notes from GW English

Fall 2012

Chair's Greetings

Prof. Lopez and Unbecoming Blackness

Halberstam Visits as Wang Distinguished Professor

Prof. Mallon Enters AAAS

Swenson Gains Medieval Culture Studies Prize

Gamow Fellow Researches Kesey

Luther Rice Fellows in English

News from You

Life Support

Upcoming Events
GW Alumni Holiday Party
Wednesday, December 5, 6:30-9 pm
Alumni House, 1918 F St. NW, Washington, DC

Tony Kushner Reading
Tuesday, April 9, 7-8:30 pm
Marvin Center Ballroom, 20th and Eye St. NW, Washington, DC 20052

Faculty Notes and News

Professor Jeff Cohen published the edited collection Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects (Oliphaunt / Punctum Books, 2012). He also gave three keynote addresses (in Orlando, Edinburgh, and Ypsilanti) and was given the Distinguished Scholar Award at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts conference in the spring.

Professor Kavita Daiya won the Mellon Regional faculty fellowship at University of Pennsylvania’s Humanities Forum for 2012-2013. Her article, “Visual Culture and Violence: Inventing Intimacy and Citizenship in Recent South Asian Cinema” was published in South Asian Transnationalisms: Cultural Exchange in the Twentieth Century (Routledge South Asian History and Culture Series). Ed. Babli Sinha. New Delhi and London: Routledge, 2012. She also gave an invited lecture, “Partition, Refugee Experience and Lessons from South Asia,” at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University.

Professor Gil Harris published Marvellous Repossessions: The Tempest, Globalization and the Waking Dream of Paradise (Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press) in paperback and an edited collection, Indography: Writing the “Indian” in Early Modern England (New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan) in hardback and paperback versions. His articles are featured in Prof. Cohen’s collection (above) and his own collection, as well as in New Literary History.

Professor Harris gave keynote addresses in Berlin and London, as well as numerous presentations in Delhi and Kolkotta. He was a Visiting Fellow at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India, in April 2012 and at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in March 2012. You can read his interview, “Becoming Indian: Interview with Jonathan Gil Harris," Open Magazine (26 May 2012):

Professor Alex Huang’s first German book, Weltliteratur und Welttheater: Ästhetischer Humanismus in der kulturellen Globalisierung [World Literature and Transnational Theatre: Aesthetic Humanism in Cultural Globalization) was published in Belefeld, Germany this year.  Aesthetic humanism has emerged as a driving force in the globalizing process of literary and performance cultures today. Focusing on English, Chinese, and Sinophone (diasporic) literatures and dramas, this book argues that humanism--as a secular investment in shared cultural values--has been deployed as a weapon against various practices of subjugation, notably colonialism and cultural imperialism that have dominated the recent historical record of globalization.

His multi-award-winning book, Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange (Columbia University Press) came out in 2011, and the Kindle e-version came out in 2012.

Professor Huang was a recipient of 5 major grants, from the following sources: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (the Canadian federal agency that promotes and supports postsecondary research and training in the humanities and social sciences); the Mercator Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in Germany; the Folger Institute in Washington, DC; the GW Office of the Vice President for Research; and the GW Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

Professor Huang gave keynote addresses in Tokyo, Stratford-upon-Avon, Seoul, Perth, and Edinburgh, was interviewed by the BBC and the Voice of America about Shakespeare and the Chinese Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan, and recorded a recitation of classical poetry in Taiwanese to demonstrate linguistic diversity for NPR.

Back in Foggy Bottom, Professor Huang is the founding Director of the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare program, which offers a select group of students unparalleled access to the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Folger and Shakespeare Theaters, and a faculty-led study-abroad trip to England.

Professor Tony Lopez was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor and has published his first book,  Unbecoming Blackness: The Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America (NYU Press).

Professor David MacAleavey will have had 100 poems accepted for publication in the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the end of this year. Look for his work in, Convergence, and Drunken Boat.

Professor Tom Mallon was on leave from GW in the spring, serving as the McGee Professor of Writing at Davidson College in North Carolina. During much of the spring, summer and early fall he was traveling the country to promote his new novel, Watergate. He did a great many readings and interviews--print, radio and television.

During the summer Professor Mallon served on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. He also spent two weeks on a speakers' tour of Mozambique and Zimbabwe that was sponsored by the State Department and the University of Iowa's International Writing Program.

Among his other publications are:

“Foreword” to The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, by Christopher Hitchens. New York: Hachette (Twelve Books), 2012, ix-xv. (This book was originally published in 1995 and has been reissued, with this new introduction, shortly after Mr. Hitchens’ death.)

“Introduction” to Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. New York: Library of America, 2012, ix-xx. (Written for the 100th-anniversary reissue of the novel.)

“Forty More Years: Nixon and Me,” Ploughshares, XXXVIII, 2-3 (Fall 2012), 110-118.

“Mugabe and Me,” The New Republic, 25 October 2012: 8-10. Report on State Department-sponsored reading tour of Zimbabwe.

Margaret Soltan was invited to be one of six speakers at Harvard University's conference, The Closing of the American Mind. She was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education on June 11, for her ongoing poetry MOOC (massive open online course), which now has almost 1500 students from around the world. And, in Spring 2014, she will be a visiting professor at Shiv Nadal University, one of India's new universities. It is just outside Delhi.


Our thanks to the following donors, who contributed between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012: 

Ms. Erica R. Aronson, B.A. 2010

Mr. Stuart A. Azarchi, B.A. 1971

Mr. Michael Y. Bennett, B.A. 2002

Ms. Kathryn Freya Bibler, B.A. 2012

Dr. Linda Norberg Blair, Ph.D. 1995

Mrs. Linda B. Bretzfelder, B.A. 1978

Prof. Astere E. Claeyssens

Ms. Christine Anne Coleman, B.A. 1991

Ms. Anne Compliment, M. Phil. 1997

Ms. Susan T. David

Dr. Richard M. Flynn, B.A., M. Phil, Ph.D. 1987

Mrs. Maryann Glass

Ms. Olivia Regan Graffis, B.A. 2012

Ms. Sarah E. Griswold, B.A., M.P. A. 2006, 2011

Ms. Shoshana Moskowitz Grove, B.A.1982

Ms. Marybeth Grunstra, B.A. 2007

Dr. Marjorie H. Kalter, B.A. 1967

Ms. Andrea Elise Korte, B.A. 2009

Ms. Sarah Anne Kuczynski, B. A. 2012

Ms. Yolande Lanni-Allen, B. A. 1970

Mr. Robert S. Loggains, B. A. 2012

Mrs. Barbara W. Luttringer, B.A. 1962

Mr. Stanley R. McKie, B. A. 1985

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Mrs. Faye S. Moskowitz, B.A., M.A. 1970, 1979

Dr. Gail Orgelfinger, B.A. 1972

Dr. Randall Kent Packer

Mr. Sean Michael Perkins, B. A., M.A. 2004, 2006

Ms. Rhoda Ritzenberg, B. A. 1967

Ms. Jeanne Marie Rose, B.A. 1995

Mrs. Bette M. Rothstein, B.A. 1948

Mr. Aram H. Schroeder

Mrs. Elizabeth T. Shelton, A.A. 1950

Mrs. Ellen A. Sklaroff, B. A. 1969

Ms. Laura A. Springer, B. A. 1997

Dr. Christopher W. Sten

Ms. Taylor Nicole Stern, B.A. 2007

Mr. John George Sussek, III, B.A. 1979

Mr. William Gray Turner, M.S. 2011

Ms. Jennifer Lyman Wagner, B.A. 1990

Mr. Alvin T. Wilkins

Ms. Jessica A. Yager, B.A., M.A. 2010, 2011

Greetings from the Chair
Dear GW English Alumni/ae,

Welcome to the fall 2012 department newsletter! We're 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 master's students (those who are completing our combined BA/MA degree program), and, of course, spectacular majors and minors, who continually impress us with their energy and vitality.

We're a busy department. In this newsletter, you'll find updates about faculty research, student achievements, and recent and upcoming events. You'll also find a "Class Notes" section filled with interesting reports from fellow alumni.

We would love to hear from you. If you're in the DC area, please consider stopping by to say hello, or come to one of our many lectures or readings; they are always open to you. If you're not in DC, consider sending us an email or snail mail. In any case, we hope this newsletter not only calls up fond memories, but piques your interest in all that we currently do.

With warm best wishes,

Robert McRuer
Professor and Chair

Professor Antonio Lopez
New Book on Latino Travel Already on Its Way

Associate Professor Antonio López’s first book, Unbecoming Blackness: The Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America, has just been released by New York University Press. Professor Ricardo Ortiz of Georgetown University, author of Cultural Erotics in Cuban America, says of the book, Unbecoming Blackness promises to make a transformative impact on Cuban American Literary Studies; it will certainly put López on the map as one of the field’s most important and groundbreaking scholars.”  We had the pleasure of sitting down with Professor López in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was presenting at the American Studies Association convention.

Here’s what he had to say:

  Question: What is the main project of Unbecoming Blackness?  How does it specifically intervene in Cuban and Cuban American Studies?  What other fields of literary and cultural studies do you hope the book speaks to?

  Answer:  The point of my book is that there is a tradition of literature and performance by Afro-Cubans in the United States from the 1920s to the present that reveals Cuban America as a place of overlapping Cuban and African diasporic experiences.  It contributes to Cuban Studies by identifying such a tradition as particularly Afro-Cuban-American—that is, as one produced by Afro-Cubans beyond the island, on U.S. ground, in contact with U.S. histories of race and ethnicity in ways that sometimes travel back to Cuba to transform Cuban notions of identity.  At the same time, the book challenges Cuban American Studies by featuring a group of Afro-Cuban-American works that disturb the cultural and political business-as-usual of Cuban American whiteness.  The book is in solidarity with multiple fields in literary and cultural studies, including the field of Latino Studies, of course, as well work in African American and African diaspora, all of which, needless to say, constitutes a large part of what goes by the name of Americanist today.  The book also has a lot to say about colonial and postcolonial conditions, while the way it engages historical archives collaborates in interdisciplinary ways, I hope, with the work of scholars in Latino history.

  Question:  The subjects of your book seem to be very connected to a lot of your teaching at GW over the past 7 years.  How has your work as a scholar shaped a few of the classes you have designed and implemented?

  Answer:  I’ve taught several versions of a Dean’s Seminar on Cuba and its diasporas that have been absolutely connected to the book.  In one class, for example, I brought in recordings of Eusebia Cosme, the poetry reciter and subject of chapter 2, and asked students to listen and respond to the sonic performance of her voice, beyond the meaning of its words, as her non Spanish-speaking African American listeners did at Washington, DC’s Armstrong High School in the late 1930s.  I also taught a graduate seminar called Black Cultural Studies of the Americas that came out of the material that eventually became the book’s introduction.  GW students were wonderfully open to reading and discussing much of the material that went into the book, and they very much shaped my own interpretations.

  Question:  What was it like having your book “premier” at the American Studies Association Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico?  Do some of the issues you talk about in your book also haunt that very different colonial space?

  Answer:  It was a thrill to see my book finally on display at the NYU Press tables at the ASA in San Juan!  In fact, there’s an entire chapter of the book—chapter 3, “Supplementary Careers, Boricua Identifications”—that addresses the long, rich history of Cuban and Puerto Rican cultural and political contacts through the situation of Afro-Cuban-Americans and mainland Afro-Puerto-Ricans…so, yes, it was significant to catch a first glimpse of my book in public there.

  Question:  You're already hard at work on your next project!  Could you give us a hint at what it’s about?

  Answer:  Most definitely.  The next book project is called ¡Vámonos! Latino Transit Cultures.” It considers the literary and popular expressions of walking and riding in their embodied varieties across public and private U.S.transportation infrastructures.  It focuses on a range of 20th and 21st-century U.S. Latino works and puts them in conversation with theories of movement, space, and the body from Walter Benjamin to disability and diaspora studies.  I discuss, for example, a text like the Guatemalan-American Héctor Tobar’s novel The Barbarian Nurseries, which sparks reflections on how the presumed “illegality” of Latinas/os in a post-Arizona SB 1070 United States is both managed and undermined by the movements of people across the transit spaces of downtown Los Angeles and its suburbs.  Still another element of the project is a critical ethnography of bus routes in the Latino zones of Prince George’s County, Maryland.  In this way, “¡Vámonos! looks to explore recent debates regarding the built environment, citizenship, and the state.

  ¡Felicidades Profesor López!  

Prof. J. Jack Halberstam Dazzles GW as Wang Distinguished Professor
\"Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal\" Launched at Busboys and Poets

From September 28-October 4, GW's English Department was pleased to host Professor J. Jack Halberstam as this year's Wang Distinguised Professor-in-Residence.  Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.  He is the author of five books, including In a Queer Time and Place (2005), The Queer Art of Failure (2010), and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of NormalGaga Feminism  examines the public persona of pop icon Lady Gaga and, through analyses of Gaga's gender-bending performances, reflects on the myriad ways that sex and gender have rapidly evolved over the past few decades.  "Using Lady Gaga as a symbol for a new era," publisher Beacon Press explains, "Halberstam deftly unpacks what the pop superstar symbolizes, to whom and why.  The result is a provocative manifesto of creative mayhem, a roadmap to sex and gender for the twenty-first century, that holds Lady Gaga as an exemplar of a new kind of feminism that privileges gender and sexual fluidity."

The first event connected to Halberstam's GW visit was a book launch for  Gaga Feminism.
This visiting residency was created through a gift by Albert Wang  and his family that has, since 2009, supported professors such as Edward P. Jones (now a member of the GW English Department) and José Esteban Muñoz.  The gift from the Wang family is one of the largest philanthropic commitments to GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences' Department of English.


AAAS Makes Way for Prof. Mallon
On Saturday, October 7, Professor Thomas Mallon, Director of Creative Writing in the Department of English, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Professor Mallon is the author of eight novels, including Watergate: A Novel.  He is the third member of George Washington University's Faculty, and the second member of the English Department, to be inducted into the AAAS; he's preceded by Martha Finnemore, a Political Science and International Affairs professor, and GW President Steven Knapp, who is tenured in English.

The Academy has been recognizing the excellence of scholars for over 250 years. The organization consists of 4,000 American Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members" and elects to membership "men and women of exceptional achievement, drawn from science, scholarship, business, public affairs, and the arts, and to conduct a varied program of projects and studies responsive to the needs and problems of society."

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis was inducted into the Academy last year, but was unable to attend the ceremony because he was busy on the set of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. The delay proved fortunate for Day-Lewis, who was able to have his photo taken with Professor Mallon. Congratulations again, Professor Mallon!

Haylie Swenson Wins Top Prize in Medieval Cultural Studies
Michael Camille Essay Prize goes to MEMS Ph.D.

Congratulations to MEMS (Medieval and Early Modern Studies) PhD student Haylie Swenson for winning the Michael Camille Essay Prize! The prize was established this year and sponsored by postmedieval: A journal of medieval cultural studies, Palgrave Macmillan, and the BABEL working group. Her essay, "Lions and Latour Litanies in The Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt," took first place out of twenty essays from contestants all over North America and Europe. The theme this year was "Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity" in honor of Michael Camille's last book on the gargoyles at Notre Dame and his lifelong work in medieval studies. The judges for the contest were Anne Harris of DePauw University, Robert Mills of University College London, Michael Moore of the University of Iowa, and Karl Steel of Brooklyn College (CUNY).   The judges wrote that Haylie's essay "makes an important contribution to object-oriented philosophies, critical animal studies, and indeed the ethics of the artistic encounter. This essay brims with original ideas, shedding new light on Villard de Honnecourt's Sketchbook and presenting one of the most sensitive readings of Villard's lion to date.   The author strikes a wonderfully Camillesque balance between visual analysis, verbal dexterity, and critical insight. The essay breaks free of longstanding debates over whether Villard drew his lions from life by reading his humanoid lion as an encounter with the unnervingly direct gaze of an agentic other, a strange, predatory, and ultimately unrepresentable thing. Villard's lion can now be understood as an artistic, powerful object in its own right, representing the unfathomable, even dangerous depths of any artistic object or any object, leonine, human, or otherwise. Finally, the essay makes a timely contribution to debates in animal/posthuman studies, fields in which postmedieval takes a special interest."   

Laughter as Therapy
Jessica Chace, George Gamow Research Fellow, Finds Laughs in Cuckoo
English Major Jessica Chace received a George Gamow Undergraduate Research Fellowship for the 2011-12 academic year. Like GW’s Luther Rice fellowships, the Gamow Fellowship supports an undergraduate researcher in ways that allow her or him to work closely with a Faculty Mentor. The working title of Jessica’s research project is “The Humor Defense: Laughter as Therapy in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. At this point, she has read all of the texts in her bibliography for the project; these texts focus on Kesey’s novel and related materials and on psychoanalytic theory. Over the summer, Jessica traveled to the University of Oregon, where she examined the Kesey Collection directly, focusing particularly on Kesey’s letters and manuscripts, as well as on letters from some of his contemporaries, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. In order to gain access to this closed collection, Jessica had to receive the permission of Kesey’s wife Faye. She is currently working on the next phase of her research project. Her mentor for this project is Professor Kim Moreland.

Dreyfuss and Patalano win Luther Rice Undergraduate Fellowships
Julie Dreyfuss and Jimi Patalano Capture Awards for 2012-2013
The English Department is proud to announce that two of our students, Julie Dreyfuss and Jimi Patalano, have received Luther Rice Undergraduate Fellowships for the 2012-2013 school year. The Luther Rice Collaborative Fellowship grants $5,000 to each student to conduct undergraduate research in a special area of interest under the guidance of a faculty member who receives an additional $1,000 for the joint endeavor.


Julie Dreyfuss conducted a research trip in the UK focusing on the scientific and sociohistorical background of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" for her project. Her trip included many highlights such as  meeting with Dr. Louise Devoy (curator of the British Museum's Enlightenment exhibition) at the British Museum to discuss early modern objects associated with early modern scientist (some say "conjurer") John Dee. Julie was able to consult Dee's correspondences and Elizabethan court connections at the British Library. At the Science Museum and the Museum of London she explored aspects of the complex relationship between what we would now call early modern "occult" science and religion. Her trip culminated in a viewing of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "The Tempest" at Camden. She intends to build upon these research experiences in the fall as a member of the GW-Folger Undergraduate Research Seminar at the Folger Shakespeare Library and a student in the English Honors Program. Julie will be working with Professor Jonathan Hsy.


Jimi Patalano grew up in Winchester, MA just outside of Boston, and graduated with honors from Winchester High School. Some of the English classes he has enjoyed at GW include "Freud, Shakespeare & Dostoyevsky" and "Ecocriticism."  His research builds on a project begun in his "Critical Methodologies" class, examining representations of schizophrenia and of treatment of schizophrenia in the context of neoliberalism.  This summer he spent 20 days in Ghana working as a volunteer for the nonprofit Unite For Sight. Jimi helped local eye clinics delivering high-quality eye care to those living in poverty and in remote areas of the country. Be sure to check out his photoblog from Ghana and drop in on his "Random Thoughts" Blog. Jimi will be working with Professor Robert McRuer.

News from You

Michael Allen (B.A. 2010) is earning his master’s degree in English Literature at Oxford University.

Rachel Azarow (B.A. 2012) works for the University on the Mount Vernon Campus as the Senior Secretary in the Office of Faculty and Instructional Support.

Katherine Bibler (B.A. 2012) has landed a position with the AAUW (American Association of University Women).

Maris Bish (B.A. 2006) writes, “After living in Chicago for 4 years working in marketing and communications at a start-up nonprofit, I've recently moved to Miami and am working as a Communications Manager at the Wolfsonian–FIU, a museum, research center, and event space in the heart of Miami Beach.”

Robert Brown (M.A. 2011) is currently teaching English at Brigham-Young University-Idaho.

Natalie Carter (M.A. 2010, Ph.D. 2012) writes, "After I graduated in May, I accepted an Instructor position at Butler University in Indianapolis.  I have a dual appointment in the English and Gender Studies Departments.  I love love love it here.  I have my dream job.”

Catherine Chaney (B.A. 1982) writes:  I have practiced criminal defense in local, state and federal courts in Washington for over two decades.  I am married to a criminal defense lawyer, Peter Camiel, who is involved in innocence project work through Centurion Ministries, in addition to his defense practice.  We enjoy hiking in the beautiful wild areas of the Pacific Northwest….  I continue to love to read English literature, especially the novels of Charles Dickens!

Christopher Roy Correa (B.A. 2005) is Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for global audience development leader Alphabird, based in San Francisco. He is also a frequent public speaker on advertising, media and entrepreneurship, whose thought leadership is regularly featured in Forbes and Business Insider.

Kathryn Cusma (B.A. 2010) is finishing up her MA in English education for grades 7-12 at New York University, while working at the New York Post.  She’ll start teaching ELA (English Language Arts) next fall. 

Brittany Dibble (B.A. 2012) writes:  I am currently a Drama and English teacher at BASIS Washington DC, a new public charter school and the first branch of BASIS Educational Group outside of Arizona. Our Tucson and Scottsdale high schools are the #1 and #3 in the nation according to Newsweek.

Mary Drummond (B.A. 1991) writes: “ I am the president of my own consulting firm, Drummond BioConsulting. I founded this firm in 2009 to help biotechnology companies develop commercial and product development strategies for their oncology and rare disease products. One might find this an odd place for an English major to end up, but while I have an MBA I use the critical thinking, writing, comprehension, and analysis skills I used as an English major every day. English majors can do anything and you can't say that about all majors!”

Samuel D. Fitzpatrick (B.A. 2008) writes:  “As of now, I'm in the second year of the University of Iowa's English Ph.D. program, and I'm happy to announce that I recently passed the qualifying exam. I'm also teaching two undergraduate courses.”

Laura Greenfield (Ph.D. 2007) writes: “I worked at Mount Holyoke for 4.5 years (summer 2007 to fall 2011). I had three simultaneous titles: Associate Director of the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts; Coordinator of the Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program; and Lecturer in English.

“Last year, I decided to take a risk and pursue an idea I had been dreaming about for quite some time. I've left academia and have started a nonprofit organization. It's called Women's Voices Worldwide, Inc. and it provides education to women and girls to develop as powerful speakers. You can  see the website at

“In other good news, I published my book Writing Centers and the New Racism last year, which was selected this fall as the winner of the International Writing Centers Association's Outstanding Book Award! This year has been quite the emotional roller coaster!”

Dr. Matt Fullerty (Ph.D. 2008) has begun a new tenure-track position at Chowan University in North Carolina teaching Creative Writing (fiction and poetry) and Composition. In spring 2013 he will teach English and American literature as well as an upper-level fiction class. GW students do not fear; Matt continues to teach at GW -- writing skills, in the evenings, and online -- for the Police Science B.A. in the College of Professional Studies, working with Commander Andrew Solberg, Police Commander of DC’s Fifth District.  Chowan University is a small liberal arts college founded in 1848 in Murfreesboro, NC, a tiny town just 10 miles over the Virginia border.

Matt writes: "So far I've settled very well, and am enjoying being part of a small community down here. As an ex-pat Brit, I haven't managed to start drinking sweet tea just yet, but I can always learn! North Carolina is a beautiful state, and the campus is very picturesque. The town of Murfreesboro is a 90-minute drive west of Virginia Beach and is known for its watermelon festival and as a bird sanctuary. It's the perfect place to write my third novel, a science-fiction book called The Necklace."  You can look for Matt’s historical novels, The Knight of New Orleans and The Hangman on his website: 

Matt will become a US citizen in spring 2013, after ten years stateside.

Jackie Goldman-Schatell (B.A. 1990) is the VP and Chief Marketing Officer for Nutrient Rich Life, Inc. -- Mom to one amazing son, Dylan, 7, and wife of Scott Schatell, she lives with her family in West Orange, NJ. 

After graduating from GW, Natalie Lund (B.A. 2007) taught middle and high school English for five years in Houston, Texas. Now, she is writing fiction and finishing up her first semester in Purdue's MFA program. 

Samuel Jay Keyser (A.A. 1954, B.A. 1956) writes:  “I have just spent ten days in southern India in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  I am now in Delhi where, with my wife, Nancy, I am hosting an MIT trip to Rajasthan.  This is my first trip to India.  Prior to coming I saw Monsoon Wedding, Slum Dog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  I feel as if I've been here many times before.”

In a follow-up, he added,  “I am now retired from the MIT faculty where I spent my time in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.  I am a theoretical linguist, though I did start out in GW's English Department a very long time ago (1952-56). I still edit a journal in theoretical linguistics.  It is called Linguistic Inquiry…. That said, I still do a bit of writing. I have kept my interest up in literary analysis. In fact, my most recent article is on the poetry of Wallace Stevens and Edgar Allan Poe.  It has just appeared in the Wallace Stevens Journal.”

Min Hoe Kim (Ph.D. 2008) is an Assistant Professor at the Busan University of Foreign Studies in Korea.

Marielle Mondon (B.A. 2011) writes:  I'm in a graduate program at Columbia Journalism School working toward a masters. My senior creative writing thesis at GW, a fictional story titled, “Cup Rings,” has been accepted for publication by Found Press and will be published sometime in November or December.

Kelsey O’Brien (B.A. 2011) is currently in her second year of law school at Albany Law School. This past summer she interned with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office on Long Island. 

Jennifer Platow (B. A. 2004) teaches high school English on the Lower East Side at Essex Street Academy.

Margaret Racosky-Vos (B.A. cum laude 1989) has had her poem "White Daisies" selected for inclusion in the New Zealand Poetry Society's 2012 anthology.  She recently relocated from Wellington to London to focus on her creative writing.

Tracy Sakon (B.A. 2010) works as a publications assistant for the academic journal Science.

Alicia Shepard (B.A., Honors, 1978) writes, “Hi there. I am currently a visiting professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas for the academic year in the journalism department. I'm teaching courses in Media Ethics, Interviewing and Women & Media while working on an idea for my next book. In the spring, I will be hosting a half-hour show on KUNV, the university's public radio station, about the media working with students from my Interviewing class. 

I am currently the author of Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate and co-author of Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11.

Chunita Simms-Pilgrim (B.A. 2000), currently an Elementary/Special Education Master Educator working with DC Public Schools, is also pursuing her doctorate in special education here at George Washington University.  She writes, “It feels great to return to GW for my studies.”

Brent Stansell (B.A. 2003 (Honors) recently produced a benefit reading of the play 8 by Dustin Lance Black with his company DC Theatre Collective ( to raise awareness about marriage equality on the ballot in Maryland. He is currently teaching theatre at The Catholic University of America and with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Folger Theatre.

Jean Jones Stipecevic (B.A. 1968) writes, “I retired in June 2011 from The American Scholar magazine, where I was a member of the editorial staff for 39 years. I am now helping my children with their children and enjoying my new role as grandmother.”

Brooke C. Stoddard (M.A. 1973) appeared at the George Mason University Fall for the Book and was interviewed by C-Span BookTV about his recent work World in the Balance: The Perilous Months of June-October 9140. He will be appearing in Charlottesville in March for the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Sara Stroman (B.A. 2002) writes, “Currently, I'm in Echizen, Fukui Prefecture, Japan until December 2012 studying traditional Japanese Washi Paper. I am studying paper making for my own stationery company. I hope to return home and source my own paper for cards and invitations I design and create. “

Elizabeth Thompson (M.A. 2011) writes, “I am currently the Departmental Operations Manager for the University Writing Program here at GWU.  My husband and I are also starting a personal chef business together in DC, called RonaBeth's.” The business is focused on creating a unique in-home dining experience, using the lush local foods and resources that DC, MD, and VA have to offer.  We're locally sourcing food to create custom, inspired dishes influenced by some West African/ New American fusion.  We like the idea of being able to cook in someone's home, of offering unique options for diners of all kinds, and helping the shindig-inclined pull off small creative events.  Our priorities are community building, sustainability (no store = tiny tiny carbon footprint), "locavore" movements in DC, and food education.  We can be reached for bookings at

Drew Wilkerson (B.A. 2005) writes:  “I am brokering with a few life insurance companies and investment banks helping clients secure their retirement with low cost, save investments, also protecting their mortgage with term insurance. Some of these retirement plans can be accessed tax free! (Legally, IRS encourages this method!) Never lost a dime of any clients money, never charged a fee.”

Jessica Yager (B.A. 2010, M.A. 2011) is teaching 10th and 11th grade English at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. She will get married in December. 

Support the Department of 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 how large or small, makes a positive impact on our educational mission and furthers our standing as 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 in a number of ways:

--By  mail:  Send your check, made out to the George Washington University and with the name of the department in the memo line, to:
The George Washington University
2100 M  Street NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20052. or

--By phone:  Call the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611.

--Securely Online: Use the Link below:




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