2019–2020 Awards and Announcements
The 2019 EGO committee with keynote speaker Dr. Ariana Ruiz at the 16th Annual EGO/ΣΤΔ conference
Award Winning Students
Each spring, the English Department awards $20,000 in scholarships and fellowships for our graduate and undergraduate students. We are pleased to announce the following students were awarded English scholarships this spring for the 2019–2020 academic year.
Undergraduate Scholarship and Award Winners
Barbara & John Blackburn Scholarship – Carmen Bizarri; Dr. Paul Blackford British Literature Scholarship – Erica Parrigin; Dr. Olive Fite American Literature Scholarship – Deanna Palm; Dr. Irving Garwood Shakespeare Scholarship – Joshua Stinson; Lila S. Linder English Scholarship – Abigail Gindlesberger and Joshua Stinson; Karen Mann Essay Award in Literature and Film – Connor Sullivan; Beth M. Stiffler Memorial Scholarship – Connor Sullivan; Robert L. Hodges English Education Scholarship – Khamiya Ellis; Sigfred, Jeannette & Dean Johnson Scholarship – Mackenzie Ricco.
Scholar of the Year Scholarship – Erica Parrigin
Bruce H. Leland Essay Contest: English 100, Introduction to Writing – 1st Place, Tayla Shaver; 2nd Place, Gisselle Salgado; 3rd Place, Toni Carpenter. English 180, College Writing I – 1st Place, Joelle Butzow; 2nd Place, Dustin Steinkamp; 3rd Place, Quint P. Thompson II. English 280, College Writing II – 1st Place, Chyanne Davidson; 2nd Place, Irina Widmer; 3rd Place, Emily Check. GH 101 General Honors – 1st Place, Jasmine Woods; 2nd Place, Ian Stearns; 3rd Place, Madalyn Pridemore. Multimodal Writing – 1st Place, Lauren Bearden-Kyser; 2nd Place, Daniel Hammond; 3rd Place, India Lockhart. Lois C. Bruner Creative Nonfiction Awards – 1st Place, Kaylee Gundling; 2nd Place, Beth Cranston; 3rd Place, Brandon Williams. Cordell Larner Award in Fiction – 1st Place, Brandon Williams; 2nd Place, Erica Parrigin; 3rd Place, Emma Dayhoff. Cordell Larner Award in Poetry – 1st Place, Erica Parrigin; 2nd Place, Claire Dodson; 3rd Place, Kaylee Gundling.
Graduate Scholarship, Fellowship, and Award Winners
John Mahoney Research Fellowship – Katya Kozhukhova; Ron & Leslie Walker Graduate Fellowships – Meghan O’Toole and Maureen Sullivan; Syndy M. Conger Essay Award – A.J. Rocca; Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award – Katya Kozhukhova & Alex Weidenhamer. Alfred J. Lindsey Memorial Scholarship – Meghan O’Toole; John Merrett Scholarship in British Literature – Rachael Aderoju; Nai-Tung Ting Scholarship – Kendrick Keller.
Current Undergraduate Students
Courtney Bender presented “‘Ill-Fated Spirit’: Examining Cinthio’s Disdemona and Shakespeare’s Desdemona” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Hannah Edwards presented “Walt Whitman’s Franklin Evans, Preserving Citizenship in Middle-Class Manhood” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Kaylee Gundling presented “Now It’s My Turn” and “Exploitation and Revenge in I Spit on Your Grave” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Angelique Herrera presented “Director’s Cut” and “What Are You?” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference and accepted a summer internship at Andy Frain Services in Chicago, IL.
Mackenzie Ricco presented “The Role of Beauty: Considering the Influence of Cultural Standards in ‘Beauty and the Beast’” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Kevin Titus, presented “Blade Runner: Cyberpunk, Identity, and Queerness” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Brandon Williams presented “End Measured Mile” and “How the West Once Was: The Spatial Storytelling of Red Dead Redemption 2” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Current Graduate Students
Rachael Aderoju presented “Portrayal of Women in Contemporary African Novels: A Study of Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come and Ama Ata Aidoo’s Changes” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Rebecca Aderoju presented “Work of Fiction as Propaganda for an Idea, a Cause, or a Belief” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Bonita Akinbo (M.A. 2020) presented “Problematizing Identity Crisis in Migrant Africans in Diaspora in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference. She accepted an offer to enter the Ph.D. program in African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Savannah Dupont presented “Oscar’s Coping Addiction: A Look into How Addiction Contributed to the Ending of Oscar’s Life in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and “Growing Up Straight” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Shannon Finneran presented “Glück’s Lyric: Language as Shared Action” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Francesca Hamm presented “From Ultima to the In Between: Religion in Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Kasandra Henshaw presented “Lyric Theory, Nursery Rhymes, and A.A. Milne,” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Kendrick Keller presented “Heroes Never Die: Looter-Shooters and Death-free Narrative Coherence” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference. This winter, he led his writing group, Sallee 3 Productions, in the creation of a sketch comedy pilot, Bored of Education. The script was nominated for Best Comedy Program Script at the 57th annual National Undergraduate Student Electronic Media Competition, held by the National Broadcasting Society (NBS). This spring, he was chosen to present an original micro-play, “Another Maid In A Dress,” at WIU’s Bring Your Own Play Competition.
Meghan O’Toole presented “Don’t Waste Your Prayers, Saints Are Bad Listeners” and “Identity, Status, and Wealth in Conflict: The Secret History as an American Novel” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference. Her essay, “‘Yes I’m Gay, Yes I’m Homophobic’: Closetedness in The Goldfinch,” was accepted to the Midwest Conference of Literature, Language, and Media at Northern Illinois University.
Danielle Reagle presented “Affect Theory, Toxic Masculinity, and the Lyric” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
A.J. Rocca presented “The Dream That Stays a Dream: La La Land, the Mass Ornament, and the Flash Mob” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Whitney Sullivan presented “Unmasking the Sailor: A Homoerotic View of Ishmael and Queequeg in Moby-Dick” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Alex Weidenhamer presented “‘As Long as You’re Strong, You’re Right’: Masculinity as a Defense Mechanism in Down These Mean Streets” and “White Man’s Poison: Pesticides and Chemicals as a Symbol of Systemic Racism in Helena María Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Vaneice Williams presented “Writing Your Own Destiny” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Alex Ayers (M.A. 2015) accepted a position as the Assistant Director of Peer Learning and Tutoring Programs at Stanford University, Mountain View, CA.
Dakota Carlson (M.A. 2019) accepted a position as lecturer of English at Quincy University.
Cody Cunningham (M. A. 2016) accepted a position as Senior Managing Director, Marketing and Communications, at Bradford Allen in Chicago.
Zoë Detlaf (B.A. 2018) accepted a position at Books of Wonder in New York City.
Tiffany Dimmick (B.A. 2011) accepted a position as I.T. department Office Manager at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, IL.
Sheldon Gaskell (M.A. 2017) accepted a position as an Instructor of Rhetoric and Writing at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Duncan Gingrich (B.A. 2016) accepted a position as the Deputy Circuit Clerk for Whiteside County, Sterling, IL.
Juliana Goodman (B.A. 2014) earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from Purdue. Her debut YA novel, What About Katia, will be published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, in winter 2022.
Gale Grundstrom (B.A. 2020) accepted a teaching position at Stark County CUSD 100 Wyoming, IL.
Raqueal Henry (B.A. 2016) accepted a position as an Adult Education Instructor at City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College.
Kristyn Kasner (M.A. 2017) accepted a position as a Commercial Associate Project Manager at PCI Pharma Services in Rockford, IL.
Max (Nicholas) Keil (B.A. 2017) was promoted to Senior Manager of Learning and Development at TMX Finance, Grapevine, TX.
Alex Lounsberry (B.A. 2020) accepted a teaching position at West Prairie High School, West Prairie, IL.
Erin Moore (M.A. 2006) accepted a position as the Head Librarian of Public Services at Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, IA.
Nic Nusbaumer (M.A. 2019) taught writing at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. He has accepted a fully-funded offer to the doctoral program in English at George Mason University.
Luke Phillipi (B.A. 2014) earned his M.A. in Counseling from the Denver Seminary, and he recently opened his own practice, Two Trees Counseling, in Westminster, CO.
Kristi Garcia Relaz (B.A. 2008) accepted a position as Regional Development Specialist at Lions Clubs International Foundation, Oak Park, IL.
Emily Riniker (B.A. 2007) works as a Supply Management Specialist at John Deere,
Heather Springer (née Hardwick) (B.A. 2012) accepted a position teaching English at Olathe South High School, Olathe, KS.
Jason Stalides (B.A. 2003) became the Director of the Trio Upward Bound program, designed to increase the success of low-income students in post-secondary education, at Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, IL.
Klaira Strickland (M.A. 2018) accepted a position as Adjunct Professor at Tidewater Community College, Chesapeake, VA.
Bryce Swain (B.A. 2018) was accepted to M.A. programs in English at University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola, and DePaul.
Luke Taylor (B.A. 2015) earned a B.A. in screenwriting from DePaul University. He is a co-founder of BBF Productions. His first feature film, Break, was released in May, and it is available to stream on Amazon.
Abigail Tichler (2015) accepted a position as Marketing and Project Specialist at Midwest Electronics Gaming, LLC, Bloomington/Normal, IL.
Anabel Torres (B.A. 2018) has been accepted to the Master of Library Sciences program at the University of Iowa.
Brittany Venzon (B.A. 2020) accepted a teaching position at Stark Country CUSD 100, Wyoming, IL
Gina Wilkerson (M.A. 2014) accepted a full-time faculty position teaching writing at Blackhawk Community College, Moline, IL.
Jared R. Worley (M.A. 2018) accepted a position as an Instructional Designer at Boeing, Imperial, MO.
Marjorie Allison presented “When Ghosts Won’t Stay Dead” at Modern Language Association Annual Conference in Chicago and “Rewriting Identity through Graphics: And Subverting Expectations While Doing It” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
David Banash presented “Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and the Cinematic Novels of Don DeLillo and Manuel Muñoz” at Michigan Technological University and “Practicing the Art of Reading” at Midwest State University, TX.
Rebekah Buchanan published “Zines, Art Activism and the Female Body: What We Learn from Riot Grrrls” in p/art/icipate: Make Culture Active. She was a Fulbright Roving Scholar in Norway from August 2018–July 2019. Invited presentations included “Prison, School and Public Libraries in Norway” at the University of Illinois iSchool; “Climate Change Initiatives in Norway: Cassandra Project” at Urbana; “Norwegian Prisons: Lessons in Humanity” at the Urbana-Champaign Bail Out Coalition Fundraiser; and “Riot Grrrl Zines,” at University of Salzburg.
Merrill Cole published “Shut Set” in Cutbank Literary Journal. He also took part in the 30/30 Project at Tupelo Press, where he published a poem a day in April and raised $930 for the press.
Roberta Di Carmine presented “New Perspectives on Aging: Or How Humor Contributes to Positive Portrayals of Aging in Italian Cinema” at the International Conference on Film Studies: (De)Constructive Narrative Identities at the London Center for Interdisciplinary Research; “Women’s Cinema in Italy” at the Rocky Mountain Modern Languages Association (RMMLA); and “Multifaceted Feminist Discourse on Gendered Representations in Women’s Cinema” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
Jose Fernandez presented “Transforming the Canon of Immigrant Literature through Social Mobility in Adichie’s Americanah” at the 33rd Annual Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS) Conference in Cincinnati.
Everett Hamner published “‘The Television is the Night Car’: A Conversation with Graeme Manson about Snowpiercer.” His review of Living in Technical Legality: Science Fiction and Law as Technology, by Kieran Tranter, appeared in Science Fiction Studies 47.1 (2020). He presented “Aurora: An Angrily Optimistic Climate Allegory,” as part of a roundtable on “Kim Stanley Robinson: Fires and Floods” at the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.
Magdelyn Helwig presented “Confronting Radical Exclusion in Radically Inclusive Dual Enrollment Programs” at the Council of Writing Program Administrators Annual Conference, Baltimore.
Tim Helwig published his book Cross-Racial Class Protest in Antebellum American Literature with the University of Massachusetts Press. He won the CAS Outstanding Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. He has served as the Midwestern Regent for the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, 2014–Present. He presented “‘These Wretched Beings’: Recuperating the Rural White Poor in Frederick Douglass’ Paper and Mary Pike’s Ida May,” at the EGO/ΣΤΔ regional conference.
William Knox presented “A Perhaps Immodest Proposal: Re-envisioning Honors Program Admissions” and “Not Finding (and Finding) Private Honors Support” at the Upper Midwest Honors Conference as well as “Re-imagining Sustainability Outcomes” at Environmentally Concerned Citizens, Macomb. He published “Sustainability and Situational Awareness” in the McDonough County Voice.
Barb Lawhorn published “There is No Home, Only the Body,” in Flash Fiction Magazine; “I Took the Day, Entire,” in Q/A Poetry; “Goat Story,” in Poetry South; “Decanting Honey,” in Social Justice Zine; and “Fly Over” in High Shelf Press Poetry. She reviewed Flint and Fire (Lisa Hase-Jackson, The Hilary Tham Capital Collection Series); Selections by Jericho Brown, THE WORD WORKS; and Mothers Without Their Children in The Mom Egg Review. Along with Dr. Jacque Wilson, she received an Illinois Arts Council Community Arts Grant fully funding SITREP: Veteran Perspectives on Combat and Peace. She performed in The Vagina Monologues.
Dan Malachuk presented “Post-Critique after the End of History” at Fin de la critique littéraire? The End of Literary Criticism?, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris; “Natural Rights and Science in American History” (co-authored with Alan M. Levine and presented in absentia) at the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C.; and “Settler Colonial Studies and O Pioneers!” at the Willa Cather Society, American Literature Association, Boston.
Rich Ness published his book, the Encyclopedia of Journalists on Film with Rowman and Littlefield. His article “Sing Along with Hitch: Musically Marketing the Master of Suspense” appeared in The Soundtrack Album: Listening to Media (Routledge), and his article “Mr. Capra Goes to Mumbai: Class, Caste and Karma in Indian Remakes of Frank Capra’s Films” appeared in the IJPC Journal.
Alisha White published “Exploring the Possibilities and Tensions of Visual Responses to Literature” in A Symphony of Possibilities: A Handbook for Arts Integration in Secondary English Classrooms (NCTE) and “Analyzing Visual Representations of Bipolar Disorder in Marvel’s The Unstoppable Wasp” (The ALAN Review 47.3). At the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English in Baltimore she gave two panel talks, “Student Drawings as Tools for Understanding Tone and Mood” and “Analyzing Visual Representations of Bipolar Disorder in Marvel’s The Unstoppable Wasp,” and two roundtable sessions, “Artography Inquiry: Collaborative Online Platforms to Support Multimodal Investigations” (with Damico, Sullivan, and Doerr-Stevens) and “A Quick A/R/Tography Inquiry: Using arts-based methods for reflection” (with Doerr-Stevens).
Erika Wurth published “Not Like Jesus but I am a Boy,” in River Styx. Her review essay “14 New and Upcoming Books By Native American Writers You’ll Love” was published by Buzzfeed. She participated in readings and workshops at Middlebury Breadloaf Writers Conference; Tin House Summer Workshop (fiction); Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Scholar (fiction); Central New Mexico Community College; Vermont College of Fine Arts; SOMOS (NM); California State University at Monterey Bay; Missouri State University; and the Moon City Reading Series (OH). At the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference, she participated in “Savage Sunsets: A Memorial Tribute to Adrian C. Louis”; “Outsiders in Minority Fiction, When You’re Not From Where You’re Supposed to Be”; and “Indigenous Fiction: Intersections in the United States and Canada.” She read her work at “Native American Voices: A Reading from Recent Works in Native Letters,” AWP. She also read at Metro State University, Denver, and coordinated events with Utah State University, the Ute Nation, and Utah Book Festival.