Welcome to the official blog for Villanova's Graduate English Program! Come back often for updates on conference opportunities, guest speakers, student accomplishments, alumni news, and more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Checking in with Katie Parks, a Current Thesis-Writing Second Year Student

The Yawp staff wanted our readers to become a little more familiar with the experience in the daily lives of Villanova Graduate English Students. Currently our crop of second-years is working to polish thesis and field exam, most of them trying to finish by the end of the semester. We decided to check in with Katie Parks, who is writing about Teresa Deevy, a 20th Century Irish playwright. 

The Yawp: Katie Parks. How are you? Does this email find you in the midst of writing?

Katie Parks: Hi, Yawp! I am doing well this semester. I am currently in the midst of editing and revising my thesis. Draft. Revise. Draft. Revise. Lather, rinse, repeat.

TY: Is thesis writing everything you hoped it would be? Has anything surprised you about this process?

KP: I'm not really sure what I hoped thesis writing would be like, but the process has proved that this kind of venture requires a great amount of organization and discipline. I have been surprised continuously by my research on Teresa Deevy and the early decades of 20th-century Irish theatre, which has spurred my deeper interest in this genre and love for the stage.

TY: Who is advising you? What has that process been like?

KP: Dr. Joseph Lennon is directing my thesis, and Fr. Cregan is my second reader. Dr. Lennon has been extremely supportive and helpful throughout the process and I feel really lucky to be working with him. Father Cregan has been a wonderful support, as well, and has played an active role of this process. His knowledge of Irish theatre and theatre scholarship has been critical in expanding and strengthening the groundwork of my thesis.

TY: Describe an average day. 

An average thesis-writing day is almost always a day when I don't have my assistantship, which varies from week to week. Because my assistantship allots for very little downtime during the day, I rely heavily on my evenings to get thesis work done. I'll work until 9pm or so, depending on whether or not I have work the next morning.

Okay, so back to the original question... An average day for me begins around 7 or 8 in the morning, if I'm not working at my Philly assistantship. (Un)Fortunately, I don't wake up to a normal alarm clock on these days; there's a pesky woodpecker that makes daily visits to a tree right outside my bedroom window. I'll grumble and mumble to myself, under the covers, about not wanting to spend all day at my desk, typing away to the beat of the woodpecker's peck. I'll get out of bed, eat some Rice Krispie Treats cereal, watch an episode of Law and Order: SVU, and get to work on my thesis. Around 2 or 3pm, I'll take a break. Sometimes, I'll relocate to Falvey or Starbucks for the afternoon, just to get out of the house... I tend to go stir-crazy after a few hours. Around dinnertime, I'll finish up for the day. If it's a Sunday, I'll eat a nice spaghetti/ravioli/lasagna/ziti/stuffed shells dinner with my parents. I wish every day was Sunday, but only for the pasta.

TY: Best and worst moments so far. Go.

KP: Best moment: Crossing the sixty page threshold in drafting. (Making it to 70 was exciting.)

Worst moment: Making (heavy) edits to sixty or seventy pages only to find that I now have sixty, fifty, or--no, wait--45 pages.

Next worst/most difficult moment: Trying to scale to the top of the sixty-page mountain again, only to find that the sixty-page mountain is a plateau...the mountain's height is undetermined. I'm still scaling this mountain, after round #349054896103 of editing. I'll let you know when I reach the top.

TY: Who holds the tissue box when you cry?

KP: Lil Bub, between her lil paws. Juuuust kidding. I wish Lil Bub were my writing companion, but I'm allergic to cats... Luckily for me, my wonderful friends and my director have held the tissue box when necessary. I'm not allergic to any of them.

TY: Since we will all be following in your eminent footsteps, what words of wisdom can you offer to first years and incoming students about the thesis-writing process?

KP: I thought for a long time about my response to this question. I think the best advice I can offer to those who will write a thesis is to be as organized as possible and to start the thesis proposal and research processes early. Figure out your thesis topic and the professor(s) with whom you'd like to work. I think it's important to do this as early as possible, ideally before the fall semester of your second year. Once you've determined your topic and the professor who will direct your project, start your research! Most importantly, love what you're doing. If you enjoy research and writing, you'll have a rewarding thesis experience.

The Yawp offers its best wishes to all the current Second-Years who are writing theses and field exams, although each of you will certainly be missed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lee Nevitt Wins Best Graduate Essay at ECS Conference

Current Villanova graduate English student Lee Nevitt won a prize at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference for Best Graduate Essay. The conference is organized annually by the Gender and Women's Studies program and showcases the work of undergraduates and graduate students from area schools.

Lee's paper focused on the novels The Good Soldier and Mrs. Dalloway, particularly paying attention to the repressed homosexuality of the characters John Dowell and Septimus Smith. He argued that the investment of both protagonists in war service and its attendant social values (upholding the institution of marriage, fostering the imperial myth, and valuing a violent masculine identity) is at odds with their socially prohibited desire, resulting in characters who are fundamentally at war with themselves: a fact that is crystallized in their inability to feel grief and express desire through language.

Sex before Sexology Mini-Conference

Travis Foster's "Sex before Sexology" class will be presenting a mini-conference at 7:30 PM on April 22 and April 29. Location and a full schedule can be found below or at http://sexbeforesexology.wordpress.com/.

April 22
7:30 – 8:10 p.m.

Jonathan Kadjeski, “Ormond, or a Frozen Witness: Reading Antimimetic Narrative through the Paralipsis of Intimacy”

John Polanin, “’Born of the smoke and danger of death’: Political Productions of Sexual Identities”

8:10 – 8:50 p.m.

Katie Miller, “Fate and Predestination in The Hermaphrodite and ‘The Amber Gods’”

Theresa Kircher, “Simultaneously Sexed: A Transgender Reading of Winterson’s Written on the Body and Butler’s Gender Performativity”

8:50 – 9:00


9:00 – 9:40 p.m.


Samantha Vitale, “Perpetuating Progeny: Racial Reproductive Politics in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Lee Nevitt, “Queer Reproduction and Its Contents”

April 29
7:30 – 8:10 p.m.


Sara Radtke, “’Queer Little Gardens’: The Erotics of Nature in Hawthorne and Jewett”

Samantha Sorensen, “’And All So Luscious’: Corporeal Eroticism in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855)”

8:10 – 8:50 p.m.

Jeff Howard, “Not So Poor Joanna: Materiality, Smooth Space, and Being as Becoming in Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs

Eric Doyle, “’The Waiting Place’: Elegy and History in The Country of the Pointed Firs

8:50 – 9:30


All sessions held in 410 Saint Augustine Center.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Women's Networking Brunch March 30th

The Villanova Women's Professional Network and Graduate Women in Business are holding an annual "Marketplace Cafe" networking event and would love to extend the invitation to current female graduate students and alumnae in Arts & Sciences.

The event is designed to connect graduate students and alumnae, and will feature "A Candid Conversation about Confidence," facilitated by Kimberly Strickland, SPHR, Market Inclusion Leader, PwC.

What: "Marketplace Cafe," a Sunday brunch networking event
When: March 30th, from 11am to 2pm
Where: West Lounge of Dougherty Hall on Villanova's campus.

PLEASE REGISTER: http://www1.villanova.edu//villanova/business/about/wpn/events/marketplacecafe14.html

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

English Graduate Student Sam Vitale wins Summer Research Fellowship

Sam Vitale, first year English graduate student, was recently awarded a Graduate Summer Research Fellowship. During the summer 2014 term, She will undertake a research project to examine the relationship between J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Darwin. Specifically, she plans to investigate the character of Gollum; for instance, Darwin's claim about "changing conditions of life" suggests that Gollum's ocular evolution--his "throw-back eyes"--are the result of his subterranean environment. She hopes to present my work at the Mythopoeic Society's annual August conference and perhaps publish in their accompanying journal, Mythlore.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Gender and Women's Studies Course Fall 2014

Villanova's Gender and Women's Studies Program is offering a new interdisciplinary graduate course during the Fall 2014 semester.

Course Code: GWS 8000-001
Course Title:   Critical Perspectives on Gender
Professor:       Dr. Jean Lutes
Schedule:       Wednesday 5:20-7:20 PM

An interdisciplinary study of gender, women, and sexuality, this course surveys contemporary developments in feminist, gender, and queer theory. It also applies those theories to a variety of topics, such as the representation of gender, the history of sexuality, the science of sexual difference, gender in the workplace, and gender in the digital age. Throughout the semester, we will consider how ideas about gender are bound inextricably to ideas about race and class. Likely theorists include Sandra Bartky, Karen Barad, Simone de Beauvoir, Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Patricia Hill Collins, Michel Foucault, Elizabeth Freeman, Judith Halberstam, Alison Jaggar, Chandra Mohanty, and Eve Sedgwick.

Email Jean Lutes at jean.lutes@villanova.edu for more information.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Abbey Theatre Summer Studio Now Open to Graduate Students - Tuition Remission Available

Beginning this June 2014, the Abbey Theatre Summer Studio will be open to dedicated graduate students. The Studio will be an intensive study of the Abbey, its history, literature, performances, and operations—and it runs from June 1-20 in Dublin Ireland. The cost, including tuition and housing, will be $3500. Students will also have to pay for airfare and food. For students on Tuition Fellowships and Graduate Assistantships, tuition remission will cover both the cost of the program and housing.

The course will have a performance element, as well as a written scholarly element, and count for 3 graduate credits. Selected graduate students will also be responsible for assisting and directing undergraduate discussions and rehearsals.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please talk with either Heather Hicks or Joseph Lennon at your earliest convenience. Places for tuition remission students will be limited.

ACCOMMODATION: Housing and breakfast will be provided at University College Dublin, Belfield campus, a short ride to the city center for classes and studio work. Rooms are in a suite with a self-serve kitchen. Morning sessions take place in a university setting on St. Stephen’s Green and the afternoon sessions will take place at the Abbey Theatre on Lower Abbey Street. The program will consist of lectures in the morning on St. Stephen's Green in the city centre of Dublin. Afternoons will be over at the Abbey Theatre, just a walk across Trinity College and the River Liffey.

COST: The program cost will be approximately $3,500. Students are responsible for airfare, as well as lunch and dinner expenses. The cost of the program covers tuition, housing, theatre tickets, inner-city bus ticket, pool and gym at UCD, travel insurance, among other things.

HISTORY: The Abbey Theatre, the national theatre of Ireland, has long showcased great Irish drama. Emerging out of theatre societies founded by W.B. Yeats, Edward Martyn, Lady Augusta Gregory, John Millington Synge, the Fay brothers, and others, the Abbey Theatre has fostered playwrights and premiered productions by Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Sebastian Barry, and Marina Carr, among many others.


For More Information:

Contact: SummerStudio@villanova.edu
Dr. Joseph Lennon, Director of Irish Studies
Phone: 610.519.4647

Visit the Abbey Theatre Webpage for more information.

Monday, January 27, 2014

David Gilbert Kicks Off Villanova's 2014 Literary Festival

The 2014 Literary Festival begins with a reading from critically acclaimed fiction writer David Gilbert on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7 pm at Speaker’s Corner in Falvey Library. 

Travis Foster Lecture: "Darwin, Jewell, Freud, and the Ecology of Queer Life"

Please join us this week to hear a lecture by Travis Foster, who teaches in the Graduate English department. His lecture is entitled "Darwin, Jewell, Freud, and the Ecology of Queer Life," and will take place at noon on Wednesday, January 29 in the Connelly Center.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BRIDGE Society Networking Event - January 30 at 6:00 PM

The BRIDGE society is hosting a networking event for those interested in banking, education, food & beverage services, health, hospital administration, intellectual property, investor relations, insurance, IT, law, marketing, pharmaceuticals, publishing, small business, or more entrepreneurial endeavors after receiving your degree. Research suggests that alumni networking is one of the most important avenues to securing a good job, and these events are a unique opportunity to take advantage of Villanova's professional alumni network.

INVITATION: BRIDGE Society LAS in Business Mentoring & Networking Event - Thursday, January 30th at 6:00pm

Dear Students,

You're invited to the BRIDGE Society Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) in Business Mentoring & Networking event on Thursday, January 30th at 6:00pm in the Villanova Room. This event was designed in response to requests from our alumni and recruiters who recognize the value of your LAS degree in business-related industries and want to promote opportunities for LAS students. You’ll hear from alumni across LAS majors and from employers who are interested in mentoring and hiring LAS students. The conversations in the groups will center on how the LAS degree is valued in business-related positions and how to prepare and compete for these positions.

Over 35 alumni and professionals who work in business areas related to banking, education, food & beverage, health, hospital administration, intellectual property, investor relations, insurance, IT, law, marketing, pharmaceuticals, publishing, small business, and entrepreneurial endeavors from the following companies will serve as mentors:
  • Bloomberg
  • CB Richard Ellis
  • Citi
  • Give Back Brands Marketing
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Morgan Stanley
  • QVC
  • Sedgwick Law
  • St. Elizabeths Hospital
  • Thomson Reuters
  • US Bank
  • Vanguard
  • And more…
*You do not need to possess any business experience or familiarity with the business industries/firms who will be participating. An interest in learning about these businesses and connecting with the alumni and professionals are the only requirements; however, to gain as much as possible from the event, over the next week, I recommend reading The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Look up the businesses online to gain some familiarity with them before the event. Showing an interest in someone else’s work will enable you to connect with them more easily.

To register for this event, click on the Registration Form link and select January 30th on the drop-down menu:Registration Form. Register now -- Space is limited!

Register Here

DRESS CODE & CONFIRMATION EMAILProfessional style dress is required for this event. You will receive a detailed description of the dress code in a confirmation email two days before the event and the day of the event.

RESUMEResumes will not be evaluated at this event.

JOINING BRIDGEHere's the link to the BRIDGE application if you're interested in joining: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/undergrad/ous/lpdsociety.html

QUESTIONSPlease email aslp@villanova.edu if you have any questions. Thank you.

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Online Professional Networking Group for Villanova Gradauate English Alumni

Guest post by Dr. Heather Hicks.

As graduate director, I have searched for a viable means of helping alumni and current students to connect with each other for a number of years. After meeting recently with Kevin Grubb, an expert on social media at Villanova’s Career Services Office, I have decided that LinkedIn is the best platform for this effort. You can access our new networking group for current students and alumni of Villanova’s Graduate English Program by going to the LinkedIn site at https://www.linkedin.com/, and then searching for “Villanova Graduate English Program.” At the group page, you can request to join the group.

The group provides an ideal opportunity for you to see the range of careers that alumni of the program have pursued, and it gives you a quick and convenient way to benefit from their professional knowledge and experience. So far, close to 50 alumni of the program have joined the group, and I expect more to join in the coming weeks. The group will also allow you to keep in touch with your former classmates once you have completed the degree. The group offers me a convenient way to post job listings that have been sent to me by those seeking to hire someone with the skills our program cultivates. It may also give me the opportunity to reach out to you when I am seeking an expert in a particular field to give an alumni talk or participate in an alumni panel here on campus.

I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about LinkedIn and the alumni group. Villanova’s Career Office now advises all Villanova students to establish a professional profile on LinkedIn because, with 260 million members, it has become an important way that potential employers advertise positions, search for prospective employees, and review job candidates. If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, you may attend the webinar the Graduate School is hosting on January 22nd at noon at the following link: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/join/218196366/106077190

I hope you’ll join, and again, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this new group.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dr. Chiji Akoma Wins Grant for Nigerian Research Trip

Reposted from Villanova's English Department Blog.

Dr. Chiji Akoma has been named one of the recipients of the 2013 Faculty Development Grant. The grant will fund his trip to Nigeria to do archival work at the Nigerian Television Authority headquarters library in Abuja in the summer of 2014. Dr. Akoma is conducting research for a monograph on the development of popular theater in south eastern Nigeria, using as his primary source the television show Icheoku, which ran on both regional and national networks in the 1980’s up to mid-1990’s. The show is set in the late 19th century colonial era and features the daily interactions between a British colonial administrator who doubles as a magistrate and his half-literate Nigerian court clerk and interpreter. Dr. Akoma is using the television series to explore the idea of cultural agency and the development of popular theatrical tradition in south-east Nigeria, especially in light of the resulting interface of orality and literacy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Graduate Student Lounge Open 24/7

A new graduate student lounge has opened on the third floor of Old Falvey. The lounge has been fully renovated, is well-heated, has afternoon sunlight, and is blissfully silent except for the turning of pages and the clicking of typing keys. Additionally, it is open 24 hours a day. Graduate students must scan ID cards to enter. We expect to see English graduate students accumulating here as paper writing ramps up.

Katie will not move from this spot until the semester is over.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Graduate English PhD Forum Preps Students for the Next Step

This post by guest blogger Christine Lairson.

The annual Ph.D. Forum for hopeful English Ph.D. candidates took place on the evening of Monday, November 11th. Dr. Heather Hicks served as moderator. Three speakers shared their insight and advice on applying for and completing a Ph.D. in English, as well as realistic statistics about the job market and potential careers after acquiring the degree.

Each speaker expressed enjoyment and appreciation for the experiences in his or her respective Ph.D. programs. Dr. Brooke Hunter, who received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in medieval literature, discussed statistics regarding job growth (and stagnancy), employer's bias in gender, age, and race, and the importance of funding and networking. Following Dr. Hunter's perspective, Dr. Kamran Javadizadeh, who received his Ph.D. in English from Yale University with a specialization in modernist poetry, shared anecdotes of his own job search and the struggles of his colleagues to land tenure-track positions at universities. Although Ted Howell, who completed Villanova's English MA program several years ago and is now a Ph.D. candidate in Temple's English department, was unable to attend the event, he sent a handout listing his tips for the curious, current MA students. He focused on the application process, encouraging prospective students to apply to as many programs that fit their research interests as possible and to be careful in crafting personal statements.

While they feasted on pizza, the students participated in a lively Q-and-A session, making inquiries specific to the individual's interests and concerns. The evening concluded with those in attendance feeling much more prepared for the decision ahead: whether or not to pursue a doctoral degree. The overall consensus is that the event successfully cultivated a warm, comfortable environment where students could express their hopes and anxieties regarding a career in academia and receive advice and support from those in the department who recently completed the process. This community is just one of the reasons why the English MA program is beloved by its students.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Graduate English Student Feeling Inspired by Budding Modeling Career

Second-year graduate English student Corey Arnold was recently featured on Falvey Library's advertising materials due to his good looks and well-known ability to imitate a person deep in thought. Corey's recent celebrity has led to him being asked to make his "inspired face" all across campus and to make soulful poses in front of his own effigy. We look forward to seeing where Corey's modeling career will take him next. You inspire us all, Corey Arnold.