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Volume 25, Issue 6

O Fortuna! The Graduate Programs Issue

This spring, as we processed memo after memo about the pandemic and transition to remote instruction, English Department graduate students made the double adaptation to being online students and teachers gracefully and with impeccable standards. Thank you, graduate students, for your steadfastness during this period and warmest congratulations on completing the semester! I hope that you are now preparing to have a well-deserved break. 

In this issue, we recognize awards and accolades received by graduate students in the Nonfiction Writing MFA and English Literary Studies MA and PhD programs during academic year 2019-20. From the newly graduated to the newly admitted, graduate student achievements are supported in no small measure by faculty and staff administrators who manage the graduate programs with dedication and passion. I would like to thank Director of Graduate Studies Kathy Lavezzo, who has served in this position for two years and been a tireless advocate for graduate students in the department and before the UI administration. Kathy has fought to improve the living and working conditions for graduate students and designed new programs for English that address professionalization and career diversity during and after graduate school. John D’Agata directed the Nonfiction Writing Program through another stellar year, revealing new dimensions of his talent in an effort to foster community following the shift to online. Cherie Hansen-Rieskamp is the heart and soul of the graduate programs--warm, wise, and present at every milestone in graduate student careers. It will come as no surprise that she is already planning a welcome-back-to-EPB celebration for graduate students when such an event becomes possible! 

With many awards in this issue related to excellence in teaching, I would also like to recognize the faculty and staff who train and coordinate Teaching Assistants in English, including Director of English & Creative Writing Ed Folsom, Foundations of Creative Writing Faculty Mentor Louisa Hall, and English & Creative Writing Program Administrator Corey Campbell; Creative Nonfiction Writing course supervisor Bonnie Sunstein; Foundations of the English Major instructors Kathy Lavezzo and Stephen Voyce; General Education Literature Program Director Blaine Greteman and General Education Literature Program Administrator Rebecca Isaacs, who are assisted by a dedicated team of GEL graduate peer mentors and faculty teaching advisors. 

Kudos to you, MFA, MA, and PhD students in English, for your impressive accomplishments as scholars, writers, and teachers during this most challenging year.

 

From the Director of Graduate Studies

To say this year has been challenging is an understatement. The pandemic forced faculty and graduate students to generate, with very little lead time, radically new approaches to their teaching and scholarship. The capacity of our MFA and PhD cohort to meet those pedagogic and research goals in the face of such challenges is astonishing. The bravery, dedication, strength and resilience of our community here in the English department is truly remarkable. I have no doubt that once this strange and horrible situation ends—and end it will, to be sure—we will return to EPB. Who knew how much we would all miss the “ugliest building in the state”? 

So many faculty, graduate students and staff merit thanks for their contributions to the success of our graduate program in the English department during the 2019-20 year. 

The members of the grad steering committee—Stephen Voyce, Phil Round, Doris Witt, Dave Wittenberg, Marie Kruger, Florence Boos, Peter Nazareth and John D’Agata—provided expert advice and recommendations. Phil Round and the other members of the admissions committee--Bluford Adams and Kathleen Diffley--did superb work on admissions, as did Stephen Voyce on finances, and Doris Witt and Dave Wittenberg on quals. Adam’s work on Intro to Grad Studies was excellent and Marie Kruger and Eric Gidal did a wonderful job on admissions. 

Barb Pooley and Claire Fox provided expert guidance this year on a slew of funding and other issues. Our amazing team of administrative, academic and technological coordinators—Corey Cambell, Rebecca Isaacs, Mandy McAllister, Diane Jones, and Hannah Sorrell—provided expert and invaluable support to our graduate students. 

Our AGSE representatives—Kassie Baron, James O’Neil, Jamie Chen, Brady Krien and Bronwyn Stewart—did a host of things to assist the graduate student community. The organizers of CCC this year— Caroline Cheung, Matt Helm, Katherine Randazzo, Jeremy Lowenthal, Maria Capecchi—worked very hard on the conference, which has been postponed due to the pandemic. 

Our department is delighted to be participating in the AAU PhD Education Initiative (https://www.aau.edu/education-community-impact/graduate-education/phd-ed...). I am grateful to our community of faculty and students (both current and alums) for providing invaluable feedback on our action plan. Special thanks are due to faculty members Claire Fox, Eric Gidal, Jen Buckley, Bonnie Sunstein and Brooks Landon, and to graduate students Kassie Baron, Kyle Barton, Marie Capecchi and Brady Krien, for their work on committees and subcommittees related to the initiative. 

Finally, what would we do without our astonishing Graduate Academic Coordinator, Cherie Hansen-Rieskamp? The passion, expertise and wisdom that Cherie brings to her position make her indispensable to our program. Thank you so much, Cherie, for everything you do.

 

MFA Graduates

Julia Conrad, “Sex and the Symphony,” (Bonnie Sunstein, dir.)
Louisa Dewey, “THANK YOU FOR LAUGHING,” (John D’Agata, dir.)
Cassandra Jensen, “Their Exits and Their Entrances,” (Bonnie Sunstein, dir.)
Bryn Lovitt, “Delusions of Glamour,” (Kerry Howley, dir.)
Julia Lucas, “Run,” (Jeff Porter, dir.)
Brittany Means, “Homebody,” (Jeff Porter, dir.)
Darius Stewart, “The Body Within the Body: autobiographical essays,” (John D’Agata, dir.)
Tiffany Tucker, “Hated on Mostly,” (Inara Verzemnieks, dir.)

 

MFA Publications, Presentations, and Awards

Darius Stewart is the recipient of the 2019 John C. Gerber Teaching Award, the Magdalena Essay Prize, the 2020 Nonfiction Writing Fellowship from the Englert Theater, and will be the 2020-2021 Provost’s Postgraduate Visiting Writer in Nonfiction. Darius has also been selected to participate this summer in the Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars (MICHHERS) program at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He has an essay forthcoming in the journal Fourth Genre.

Sanjna N. Singh is the recipient of a 2020 Stanley Award for International Research, a Herodotus award and a 2020 Nonfiction Writing Summer Fellowship. She has also been selected to participate in the University’s Summer 2020 Grant Writing Seminar. Recent publications include a piece in The Guardian.

 

MFA Fellowships and Department Awards

Provost's Fellow 2020-2021
Darius Stewart

Iowa Arts Fellows 2020-2021
Ilana Bean
Jennifer Fehringer-Hicks
Cathryn Klusmeier
Wyatt Williams

Marcus Bach Fellowship
Lei Wang

Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio Summer Fellowship
Amelia Gramling
Kofi Opam

MFA Summer Fellowship 2020
Tony Andrews
Jess Kibler
Ian Shank
Lei Wang

NWP Summer Research Fellowship
Andrew Cardenas
Dylan McGonigle
Sanjna Singh
Rachel Sudbeck
Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi

International Stanley Research
Julia Conrad
Jon Gleason
Jessie Kraemer
Jamila Osman
Sanjna Singh
Andy Tan-Delli Cicchi

Englert Nonfiction Fellowship
Darius Stewart

Edwin Ford Piper Memorial Scholarship
Julia Conrad

Roxanne Mueller Award
Jon Gleason

Buckley Fellows
Julia Conrad
Amelia Gramling
Ian Shank
Andy Tan-Delli Cicchi

7th Annual Herodotus Research and Travel Award
Andrew Cardenas
Julia Conrad 
Carey Dunne
Brittany Means
Ian Shank
Sanjna Singh
Andy Tan-Delli Cicchi

Hellas Fellow
Ian Shank

2020 Council on Teaching - Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award 
Ian Shank

2020 Carl Klaus Teaching Award
Lulu Dewey

Lakeside Lab Writer-in-Residence Fellowship
Gabriela Claymore

Magdalena Award
Darius Stewart

Quarantine Memorial Award 
Kofi Opam

 

2020 Incoming MFA Students

Sarah Adler
BA, University of California-Berkeley
English

Elizabeth Barber
BA, SUNY College at Geneseo
English
MS, Columbia University
Journalism

Ilana Bean
BA, Virginia Commonwealth University
Preparatory Medical and Scientific Illustration

Jennifer (Georgie) Fehringer-Hicks
BA, Evergreen State College
Creative Writing

Larson Fritz
BA, University of New Mexico
English

Ashley (Asha) Galindo
BA, Humboldt State University
English

Mason Hamberlin
University of North Carolina-Wilmington
Creative Writing

Brian Kearney
BA, National University of Ireland
English and Philosophy
MLitt, University of St. Andrews
Creative Writing

Cathryn Klusmeier
BA, Whitman College
Environmental Studies-Humanities
MS, University of Oxford
Medical Anthropology

Erel Michaelis
BA, Tel Aviv University
Creative Writing and Philosophy

Wyatt Williams
BA, Georgia State University
English

 

MA Graduates

Jamie Chen
 

PhD Graduates

Matthew Blackwell, “Creating the Cold War Canon: A History of the Center for Editions of American Authors,” (Matthew Brown, dir.)

Benjamin Batzer, “The Poetics of Reader Participation,” (Marie Kruger and Doris Witt, co-dir.)

Lydia Maunz, “TESTAMENT OF GRIEF: A SOMATIC EPISTEMOLOGY OF LOSS AND TRAUMA IN WOMEN'S WRITING OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR,” (Florence Boos, dir.)

 

Upcoming Summer PhD Graduates

Alexander Ashland, “The Documentary Turn: U.S. Literature in the Age of Compromise, 1850-1877,” (Kathleen Diffley and Stephen Voyce, co-dir.)

Katherine Ostdiek, “Memory and the Metropole: Displaced and Reimagined Communities in Late-Victorian Literature,” (Florence Boos, dir.)

Annemarie Pearson, “A Land of Enchantment: Fictional Spain Through the Eyes of British Travelers, 1776-1867,” (Eric Gidal, dir.)

Rachel Walerstein, “Masculine Gestures: Imitation and Initiation in American Moderism,” (Kevin Kopelson and Loren Glass, co-dir.)

 

PhD Qualifications

Maria Capecchi
Jamie Chen
Reid Dempsey
Bryanne Estes
Katherine Randazzo
Kathleen Shaughnessy
Philip Zaborowski

 

PhD Comprehensive Examination Completed

Torie Burns
Matthew Helm
Jeremy Lowenthal
Maddie McGann
Kassie Baron
Caroline Cheung

 

2020 PhD Fellowships and Departmental Awards

Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowship
Benjamin Batzer
Caitlin Simmons

Huston Diehl and Frederick F. Seely Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship
Enrico Bruno

Marcus Bach Fellowship
Bambi Whitaker

Graduate College Post Comp Research Award
Torie Burns
Jeremy Lowenthal

Graduate College Summer Fellowship
Heidi Renee Aijala
Caitlin Simmons
Makayla Steiner

Frederick P.W. McDowell Dissertation Scholarship
Heidi Renee Aijala
Laura Hayes

Freda Dixon Malone Dissertation Scholarship
E Mariah Spencer

Humanities for the Public Good Summer Internship
Kassie Baron
Laura Hayes
Matthew Helm

Lulu Merle Johnson Fellowship
Daisy Morales Trejo

Graduate College Iowa Recruitment Fellowship
Tove Conway
Jordan Ogle
Thelma Trujillo

Hugh Vollrath Ross Scholarship
Matt Ma

 

Department and College Teaching Awards

John C. Gerber Teaching Award
Neala Arnold

W.R. Irwin Teaching Award
Benjamin Batzer
Jeremy Lowenthal

 

MA and PhD Publications, Presentations, and Awards

Torie Burns passed her comprehensive exams in January 2020. She was awarded the Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship for the Fall 2020 semester and is currently working on her prospectus. 

Maria Capecchi was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize at the 2019 Midwest Modern Language Association, where she presented her paper "Practicing the Work of Worms: Lyric Voice and Grievable Lives in Solmaz Sharif’s Look." She has papers forthcoming in the Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association and the Iowa Journal of Cultural StudiesShe also served as treasurer for the 2020 CCC Conference.

 

2020 Incoming PhD Students

Sarah Barringer
BA, Ohio State University
English

Margaret Bowlin
BA, Fresno Pacific College
English, Biblical, and Religious Studies

Sydnee Brown
BA, Grinnell College
English and Sociology

Tove Conway
BA, University of Saint Thomas
English and Environmental Studies
MA, University of Saint Thomas
English

Camille Davis
BA and MA, Temple University
English Literature

Riley Hanick
BA, Kenyon College
English
MFA, University of Iowa
Nonfiction
MLIS, University of Iowa
Library and Information Services

Daisy Morales Trejo
BA, Grinnell College
English

Jordan Ogle
BA, Wabash College
English Literature
MA, University of Exeter, UK
English Literary Studies

Katelyn (Kaden) St Onge
BA, Haverford College
English

Thelma Trujillo
BA and MA, Illinois State University
English

 

Placement Matters

Katherine Ostdiek, Instructional Designer, Bellevue University, Bellevue, NE

Annemarie Pearson, Instructor, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM

 

Alumni Matters

Adam Bradford (PhD 2010) was recently appointed Dean of Graduate College, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho.

Douglas Dowland's (PhD 2010) essay on "The Politics of Resentment in J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy" has received Texas Studies in Literature and Language's Tony Hilfer Prize for Best Essay. The prize is awarded by the journals' editors annually to the best essay in each volume. The Hilfer Prize is named after Anthony Channell Hilfer, a long-time editor of TSLL and professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin.

Warm congratulations to Kelly Franklin (PhD 2014), who received tenure at Hillsdale College!

 

 

Click here to visit the News and Events on the English Department website for details on upcoming events.