2022-2023 Announcements

Dr. Rebekah Buchanan presents scholarships to English Education majors Brett Metternich and Grace McGill

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 2022–2023 academic year.

Undergraduate Scholarship and Award Winners

John Merrett Scholarship in English Literature – Emma Gilliland

John and Barbara Blackburn Scholarship – Samantha Smith

Dr. Paul Blackford British Literature Scholarship – Emma Cortelyou

Dr. Olive Fite American Literature Scholarship – Abigail Jones

Robert L. Hodges English Education Scholarships – Keagan Beckner; Grace McGill; Brett Metternich

Nai-Tung Ting and Lee Hsia Ting English Scholarship – Claire Koechle

Dr. John Castle Memorial Scholarship – Ainsley Eskridge

Sig. Jeannette & Dean Johnson Scholarship – Jamariah White

Lila S. Linder English Scholarship –Sam Weed-Adcock and Peter Hostert

Wanninger Family Scholarship – Sam Weed-Adcock

Alfred J. Lindsey Memorial Scholarship – Abigail Jones

Beth M. Stiffler Memorial Scholarship – Claire Koechle

Scholar of the Year – Emma Gilliland

Writing Awards

Bruce H. Leland Essay Contest Winners

English 100, Introduction to Writing – 1st Place, Maddie Koester; 2nd Place, Jade Forney-Bernson; 3rd Place, Lakiyah Williams.

English 180, College Writing I – 1st Place, Alahna Davis; 2nd Place, Henry Elizabeth Ziegler; 3rd Place, Oliver Jung; Honorable Mention Colin Scanlon.

English 280, College Writing II – 1st Place, Ebony O.D.K. Lindsay; 2nd Place, Lily Paw; 3rd Place, Jasmine Kargbo; Honorable Mention, Georgiana Reedy.

GH 101 General Honors – 1st Place, Paige Grice; 2nd Place, Megan Coleman; 3rd Place, Keira Botica; Honorable Mention Lily Martinek.

Multimodal Writing – 1st Place, Nicole Sprague; 2nd Place, Julietta Marini; 3rd Place, Briza Dure Alvarenga.

Creative Writing Awards

Lois C. Bruner Creative Nonfiction Awards – 1st Place, Abigail Jones; 2nd Place, Blake Murdock; 3rd Place, Emma Gilliland.

Cordell Larner Award in Fiction – 1st Place, Steven Lung; 2nd Place, Cyrus Dale; 3rd Place, Addison Upchurch; Honorable Mention, Blake Murdock.

Cordell Larner Award in Poetry – 1st Place, Blake Murdock; 2nd Place, Clarissa Lopez; 3rd Place, Maureen Roland.

Graduate Scholarship, Fellowship, and Award Winners

Ron & Leslie Walker Graduate Fellowship – Mark Brown & Kirsten Lippold;

Syndy M. Conger Essay Award – Emily Woods;

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award – Kirsten Lippold;

C. John Mahoney English Graduate Fellowship – Abigail Heinecke.


Current Students

Peter Hostert was elected Treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta.

Grace McGill was elected President of Sigma Tau Delta.

Deanna Palm was a student teacher from October 5th to December 22nd at the Misioneras de la Providencia in Salamanca, Spain.

Samantha Smith presented her critical paper “Female Objectification and the Effects on Women” at the Sigma Tau Delta National Convention in Denver.

Maya Steinke was elected Vice President of Sigma Tau Delta.

Emily Woods presented her critical paper “Diverse Influences in Minority Poetry” at the Sigma Tau Delta National Convention in Denver.

Joshua Stinson won the College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Student Award.


Shelby Davin (B. A. 2020) was accepted to the M.A. program in Social Justice and Human Rights at Arizona State University and holds a graduate assistantship.

Katelin Deushane (B.A. 2016) accepted a position as a Youth Services Librarian at the Shannon Staub Public Library in North Port, FL.

Joshua Farenkrog (B.A. 2023) accepted a teaching position at ROWVA High School in Oneida, IL

Nicole Foster (B.A. 2022) accepted a teaching position at Farmington High School, Farmington, IL.

Kaylee Gundling (B.A. 2020) accepted a position as the Director of Social Services and Admissions at Aspen Rehab & Healthcare in Rock Island, IL.

Kelly (Schloss) Harrington (M.A. 2017) accepted a position as Training Manager, Strategic Services-Media at Advantage Unified Commerce

Molly Hall (M.A.2016) was promoted to Operations Manager in the Office of Effective Philanthropy at the Taproot Foundation.

Haley Helgesen (M.A. 2017) accepted a position a new position as Senior Technical Writer at the anime streaming service Crunchyroll.

Ed Komenda (B.A. 2011) accepted a position as the Washington statehouse reporter for the Associated Press.

Joshua Poulos (B.A. 2022) was accepted to the M.F.A. degree by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Rene Powers (M.A. 2022) teaches writing at Augustana College and Black Hawk Community College in the Quad Cities.

Darrin Ross (B.A. 2022) accepted a teaching position at United High School, Monmouth, IL

Joshua Stinson (B.A. 2023) accepted a teaching position at Monmouth-Roseville Junior High

Ashunti Westbrook (B.A. 2022) accepted a job teaching at


Ashley Beardsley published “Using Recipes for Place-Based Research and Writing” in Writing Spaces and reviewed Making Matters: Craft, Ethics, and New Materialist Rhetorics by Leigh Gruwell for Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. She presented “Together in the (re)Making: Rethinking Key Terms and Practices through a Food Lens” with Jody Shipka and Erica Leigh at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Chicago, IL.

Rebekah Buchanan published twenty-four book reviews with Library Journal and School LIbrary Journal.
She published thirty-four podcasts for New Books Networks and presented at two national conferences–one with undergraduate student Darrin Ross.

Merrill Cole published the poems “As If the Snow Belonged to Spring.” Mollyhouse 5 (February 2023); “Dance.” Pine Cone Review: Glissade, Special Issue on Dance (November 2022); “Hinge.” Lotus-eater Magazine 15 (May 2022); “Linear A.” Lotus-eater Magazine 15 (May 2022). He read his poetry at The International Society for the Study of Surrealism Conference, online, November 2022. He presented his paper “Strangle Me with Your Lasso of Stars: Surrealism and Slavery in Aimé Césaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land” at Surrealism and the Postcolonial panel. International Society for the Study of Surrealism Conference, online, November 2022. He read his work for A Performance of Dramatic Poems, a video written by Merrill Cole, directed by English Major Matt Gedraitis, and featuring student actors from English 299 in Fall Semester 2022.

Roberta Di Carmine was invited to speak at the Veterans’ Resources and Multicultural Center as part of the Discussion of the film The Woman King. She presented “This is the Zodiac Speaking: The Role of US Media in the Representation of the American Serial Killer Zodiac” for the True Crime Special Topic, Popular Cultural Association Conference, San Antonio, TX, April 5-8. She recently completed a new graduate degree in ciminology in the program Criminologia e Sicurezza nel Mondo Contemporaneo at the University of Rome. She is currently at work on new book focusing on Italian American filmmaker and photographer Attilio Gatti in Colonial Africa.

Everett Hamner presented “Sorry to Bother You, But We Need Science, Not Scientism,” a response paper for the “Environmental Justice Epistemologies” session, Science and Literature Forum, Modern Language Association, San Francisco. He also traveled to Huntington Library in San Marino CA for research in the Octavia E. Butler Papers.

Barbara Lawhorn published her poem “Using My Hands” the Santa Clara Review and her poem “Kitchen Song” will appear in Inkwell. Her short story,“Field Corn” was published in Miracle Monocle, and “God Send” is forthcoming in Belmont Story Review. She presented “Old Friends Talk Art: Ekphrastic Prose & Poetry Writing in Response to Art at Buchanan Center for the Arts.” I will present a special topics workshop for Syracuse University’s Project Advance in July and she is beginning her second graduate course in a Mindfulness in Education certification through Antioch University.

Freesia McKee presented her paper “Teaching Ecopoetics as Peacebuilding Practice” at the Student-Faculty Peace and Conflict Studies Conference at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, 2023.

Mark Mossman along with Lori Baker Sperry and Justin Schuch presented “Connections Matter: Retention Practices Focused on Student Connections” at the Higher Learning Commission Annual Conference. Chicago. He was appointed to the 2023-2024 Becoming a Provost Academy (BAPA), part of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He is currently at work on a paper entitled
“Sustainable Funding Models for Mid-Level Public Higher Education Institutions.”

Richard Ness published the entry “Motion Pictures, Journalism in” as part of the Encyclopedia of Journalism (Sage 2022).

A.J. Rocca published his short stories “Of the Duly Conducted and Mostly Unremarkable Meeting of Don Quotidene and the Giants of Andalia” in Diabolical Plots (July 2022) and “WRR S639847 E1” in the anthology Things Improbable (Improbable Press). His critical essay “La La Land’s ‘Another Day of Sun’ as Utopian Entertainment” appeared in PopMatters. He presented “J.R.R. Tolkien and the Musical Theodicy” at the 45th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, FL.

William Thompson retired this spring after twenty-two years at Western.

Alicia White and her co-authors published “Walking the in between: Convening time and space for our entangled selves” for Irwin, Rita L., et al. (Eds.) Pedagogical Propositions: Playful Walking with A/R/Tography” (International Society for Education Through Art). She also published her creative piece “Do Not Enter: Walking and rolling the wrong way up the down ramp” in R.L. Irwin, D.T. Barney, N.Y. S. Lee, J.M. Ursino (Eds.), Pedagogical Propositions: Playful Walking with A/r/tography (International Society for Education Through Art).