News Archive 2020
On Tuesday, December 15th, Dr. Heidi Hanrahan led a discussion of Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, as part of The Scarborough Society’s Scarborough Art and Lecture Series. The Scarborough Society is an organization sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation, and its annual membership dues help support library acquisitions, technology, and programs. Dr. Hanrahan’s book talk was held via Zoom, and as always, this bit of Scarborough Art and Lecture Series programming was free and open to the public. Your unflagging energy and involvement in the Department, the University, and Shepherdstown engagements continues to amaze us, Heidi!
The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will be on Monday, November 16th, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For those who would like to meet face-to-face, the group will assemble in the Multipurpose Room (room B41) of the Byrd Center. Please keep in mind that due to concerns over healthy and safety, each participant will be required to wear a mask in the building and even outside on campus. For those who are not comfortable meeting in person, a video stream will be available. Stammtisch is a conversation group for German speakers, and everybody is welcome—from beginners to native speakers. For more information, contact Dr. Eva Suárez Büdenbender (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On November 7th, four Shepherd University English majors presented their work at the 2020 Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Conference of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), which was hosted virtually by Eastern Connecticut State University. The English majors were Ashley Hess, Sarah Seibert, Fiona Tracey, and Vivienne Wells. Students from nine colleges and universities gave presentations at the conference. Established in 1987, COPLAC is a consortium of 28 colleges and universities in 26 states and one Canadian province that advances the aims of its member institutions and drives awareness of the value of high-quality, public liberal arts education. Shepherd has been a COPLAC member since 2009. Ashley, Sarah, Fiona, and Vivienne, way to go! You make us all very proud!
The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will be on Monday, October 19th, at 4:15 p.m. Due to concerns over healthy and safety, the group will meet virtually. Stammtisch is a conversation group for German speakers, and everybody is welcome—from beginners to native speakers. For more information, contact Dr. Eva Suárez Büdenbender (email@example.com).
Shepherd University’s Alpha Gamma Kappa Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, received a $100 Regents’ Common Reader Award from the national organization for hosting an Outdoor Literature Celebration. The event, which took place October 9th in the Town Run Garden between Knutti and White Halls, included about 15 participants—students, faculty, and members of the community. Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, Professor of English and chapter advisor, led a discussion of themes from the book Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living by Karen Auvinen. Participants discussed how separation from others has highlighted what nature offers and, in some ways, made it more valued. After the discussion, Ashley Hess, chapter president and an English major from Martinsburg, introduced some prompts for poetry writing, encouraging participants to write about fall or to use some of the brainstorming templates provided. Participants wrote for about ten minutes and then were given the opportunity to share their work.
Our local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society, is hosting an event this Friday, October 9th, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. This “Outdoor Literature Celebration” will be an opportunity to workshop poetry and to discuss the book Rough Beauty: Forty Season of Mountain Living by Karen Auvinen. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the grassy area between Knutti and White Halls.
The Department of English and Modern Languages is proud to announce that quite a large number of our instructors have been recognized by the Shepherd University Foundation and have been given the Foundation’s faculty excellence awards. For the 2019 – 2020 academic year, the award recipients include: Dr. Naomi Gades (Annette H. Murphy English Faculty Excellence Fund), Dr. Tony Schiera (Annette H. Murphy English Faculty Excellence Fund), Dr. Valerie Stevens (Annette H. Murphy English Faculty Excellence Fund), and Ms. Yildiz Nuredinoski (Annette H. Murphy English Faculty Excellence Fund). We are so proud of our colleagues. You are a benefit to this institution and to our department!
Thanks to Dr. Christy Wenger, Associate Professor of English and Director of Rhetoric and Composition, Shepherd University has received a $110,000 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Cultural Organizations grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Dr. Wenger worked with Madge Morningstar, Director—Office of Sponsored Programs, to write the grant application. The grant, titled “Humanities Hub at Shepherd: Surviving the Coronavirus Crisis,” will support humanities faculty and staff, enable them to increase online humanities programming, and provide for smaller in-person courses. The grant will provide emergency salary support for faculty who teach history, English, foreign languages, art, and music. The grant will also provide salary support to make additional online programming possible through the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War. Thanks from all of us, Christy!
The Provost informed the University that Dr. Charles Carter, Professor Emeritus of English, died on July 10th. Charles received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and joined Shepherd’s faculty in 1972. Charles taught courses in American literature, English Renaissance literature, and classical literature, and he served as the Department Chair from 1990 to 1993 and again from 2004 to 2010. He was the first Moderator of the Shepherd College Assembly, the first Director of Academic Advisement (1997 – 2005), and was involved with promotion and tenure decisions on the departmental, school, and university levels for a number of years. Charles is remembered fondly by faculty, staff, and alumni. Dr. Ellzey, our current, Chair said, “I have missed him. You were never in doubt about what he loved and didn’t love about literature, or anything else for that matter.”
Dr. Christy Wenger, Associate Professor of English and Director of Rhetoric and Composition, has been named Shepherd University’s new director of Academic Innovation Initiatives. Academic Innovation Initiatives uses new information, data, and best practices to develop new modes of learning and instruction with a goal of strengthening the quality of a Shepherd University education and enhance the university’s impact on society. In addition, the position will work with academic program partners to develop new initiatives and populations of students. Congratulations Christy!
A paper presented by Shepherd University faculty members Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, Professor of English, and Dr. Amy DeWitt, Professor of Sociology, during the November 2019 Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association (MAPACA) won the Ralph Donald Award, which recognizes the most outstanding paper and presentation given at the annual conference. The paper, titled “The Asylum is Waiting for You: Analyzing Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s ‘Criminally Insane’ Tour,” is published in MAPACA’s journal, Response. The paper explores how the master story of the American asylum intersects with contemporary culture’s interest in popular crime narratives and concerns about ethical and responsible depictions of mental illness. Congratulations to our very own Dr. Hanrahan!
Congratulations to all of the students who completed their English Capstone projects this semester! Those students and their projects titles were:
- Ashley Barr, The Trilogy of Carter’s Asylum (short story collection)
- Stephen Beard, “The Role of the Impermanent in Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York and Ecclesiastes: All Is Hevel; Now We Are Free”
- Allison Brashears, A Foundling (novel in progress)
- Rebecca Brown, Transistor Boys (novel in progress)
- Keara Heck, “Double-Consciousness of the Lost Generation in James Baldwin and Ernest Hemingway”
- Ashley Hess, “Identifying the Self and the Rejection of the Absurd: Zadie Smith’s NW”
- Gabrielle Hess, “An Analysis of Women in the Magical Realm”
- Zhane Johnson, The Weekend (novel in progress)
- Tiffany Kline, The Magic Within (novel in progress)
- Olivia Mason, “A Search for Identity: Live Performance by Natalie Blake in Zadie Smith’s NW”
- Alex McCarron, “Models of Female Depravity: Hélène Kuragina, Sonya Rostova, and Gendered Redemption in War and Peace”
- Linnea Meyer, Three Fairy Tale Retellings (short story collection)
- Zoe Nicewander, Paint Me Tangerine (poetry collection)
- Kaitlan Pickering, It’s Fine, I’m Fine, Everything’s Fine (novel in progress)
- Oliver Pierce, Stories of Americanism (short story collection)
- Sarah Strong, Poetry Collection
- Fiona Tracey, Where the Wild Wind Blows on the Mountain Side (poetry collection)
- David Warner, A Cult in Candy Land (novel in progress)
For more information on these students and their projects, please visit the Senior Capstone page.
Among the many accommodations we all had to make this semester, once the campus closed in mid-March, was that clubs and organizations shifted into virtual-meeting mode. That did not slow down or stop our very active local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, from holding its annual induction ceremony. The President of Shepherd’s chapter, Linnea Meyer, and the other officers welcomed ten new members: Stephen Beard, Mikayla Hamrick, Jade Kerns, Emily Keefer, Lily Kessler, Amanda Laitres, Matt Murphy, Isabella Sager, Sarah Seibert, and Vivienne Wells. As a matter of fact, Linnea and others put together a lovely video induction ceremony that can be enjoyed by clicking here. Congratulations to all the new members!
Sans Merci Volume 45 needs literary and art editors! Do you have a passion for art or literature? Would you like to gain editing and publishing experience while working with a dynamic team? Join us for an exciting year! Please send via email a brief message including your name, your major, and your graduation date, as well as a short statement about why you want to be part of the Sans Merci team. Applications for the Literary Editor position should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for the Art Editor position should be sent to email@example.com. Applications for both positions are due May 20th, 2020.
Dr. Christy Wenger, Associate Professor of English and Director of Rhetoric and Composition, was recently given the Shepherd University Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarship. Christy was recognized for her research that brings together corporate applications and collaborative theories of mindful leadership to forward a proposal for secular mindful academic leadership. She received a stipend and will have her name added to a plaque displayed on campus. Congratulations Christy!
Congratulations to Mikayla Hamrick, an English major who has been awarded the West Virginia Press Scholarship. Mikayla will earn $3,000 for an internship with The Journal and then receive an additional $1,000 scholarship when she completes the internship. In an email to Dr. Hanrahan, Mikayla explained, “I am blessed beyond belief that I was awarded the scholarship. It really just formulated that I not only have a voice that deserves to be heard, but that individuals whom I don’t even personally know are supporting me in my effort to make a difference.” We couldn’t agree more!
The Department of English and Modern Languages is very pleased to announce the release of volume 44 of Sans Merci, Shepherd University’s art and literary magazine! This volume’s senior literary editors were Andrea Monsma and Fiona Tracey; the senior art editors were Mackenzie Coleman, Skyla Heise, Alizah Lathrope, and Nevada Tribble. Zoe Nicewander was recognized for having submitted the best poetic work, Chevelle Whichard for the best piece of prose, and Jason Fischetti and Leighann Hengemihle for the best works of art. If you’d like to read the on-line version, check out Sans Merci 44. Congratulations to the contributors and the editors! Dr. Messenger and Professor Kaineg must be very proud.
Shepherd University’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (the international English honor society) is pleased to announce that on Saturday, March 7th, a poetry festival will be held in the Cumberland Room of the Student Center from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Attendees are encouraged to read original pieces or favorite poems by other writers. For more information, check out this flyer or contact Dr. Heidi Hanrahan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ashley Hess’s essay “Ovid’s Metamorphoses as a Feminist Text” was just published in Sparks, Shepherd University’s on-line journal of undergraduate research and creative works. This essay grew out of a paper that Ashley wrote for Dr. Nixon’s Greek Mythology course, and it argues that in many ways Ovid reinvented the genre of the epic and made it female-focused. Here’s a link to the essay; it’s a fun read. Congratulations, Ashley!
Six Shepherd students have had their work accepted for presentation at the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention. Sigma Tau Delta (ΣΤΔ) is an international English honor society, and its upcoming convention will be in Las Vegas in late March. The students who have been chosen to present are Allison Brashears, whose paper “The Wilderness Motif” was written for Dr. Hanrahan’s American Fiction class; Marilyn Creager, whose creative piece “To Be an Appalachian” was written for Dr. Pate’s Poetry Seminar; Ashley Hess, whose collection of poems “A Summer of My Childhood” was written for Dr. Pate’s Poetry Seminar; Alex McCarron, whose essay “Femininity, Domesticity, and ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener'” was written for Dr. Hanrahan’s American Literature to 1900 class; Linnea Meyer, whose piece “My Backyard’s Full” was written for Dr. Messenger’s Creative Writing: Nonfiction class; and Andrea Monsma, whose work “Feathered Memories of You” was written for Dr. Pate’s Advanced Creative Writing: Forms of Fiction class. Congratulations to all these students, and thanks for making Shepherd University and the Department of English and Modern Languages look good on an international stage!
The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will be on Thursday, March 12th, at 4:00 p.m. The group will meet at the Blue Moon Café. Stammtisch is a conversation group for German speakers, and everybody is welcome—from beginners to native speakers. For more information, contact Dr. Rachel Krantz (email@example.com).
On Saturday, February 29th, the West Virginia Undergraduate Literary Symposium was held at Fairmont State University. Six Shepherd students presented papers at the Symposium. Portia Dobrzanski and Sarah Seibert read essays on The Scarlet Letter. Allison Brashears presented a paper on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Fiona Tracey presented on Fanny Fern and Candace Bushnell. Elisha Pidcock read her paper on two works by Jack London. And Ashley Hess presented an essay on the biblical figure of Samson. Congratulations to these young scholars for presenting their work! We’re so proud of you all!
The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will be on Monday, February 10th, at 4:30 p.m. The group will meet at the Blue Moon Café. Stammtisch is a conversation group for German speakers, and everybody is welcome—from beginners to native speakers. For more information, contact Dr. Eva Suárez Büdenbender (firstname.lastname@example.org).
¡Vamonos a Mexico! Travel with Shepherd University’s Spanish program to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula this coming May. Students can earn three or six credit hours. The $1,799 cost includes airfare, Spanish classes, family stays, some meals, cooking classes, and excursions to Mérida, Cancún, and the Mayan ruins. Dr. Berenschot will be hosting an information session about the trip on Wednesday, January 22nd, at 3:10 p.m. in Knutti Hall’s room 207. If you can’t attend the session or just want more information, contact Dr. Berenschot at email@example.com or 240 367-2424. In the meantime, take a look at this brochure.
The Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players announce auditions for their spring production, two short (half-hour), very different medieval plays. Mankind is a raucous comedy about the struggle between good and evil. The Woman Taken in Adultery is set in 2020 and addresses violence against women and the LGBTQ+ community. Auditions will be on Wednesday, January 15th, and Thursday, January 16th, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m., in Reynolds Hall on the Shepherd University campus. There are multiple roles (both large and small) for all genders. A diverse cast is highly desirable. Tech crew, dancers, musicians, video artists, and costume designers are also needed. Shepherd University students can earn academic credit. Community members 16 or older are also welcome to audition. For more information, contact Betty Ellzey (304-876-5208, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The next meeting of Shepherd University’s Stammtisch will be on Wednesday, January 15th, at 5:00 p.m. The group will meet at the Blue Moon Café. Stammtisch is a conversation group for German speakers, and everybody is welcome—from beginners to native speakers. For more information, contact Dr. Eva Suárez Büdenbender (email@example.com).