Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Monday, September 21, 2015

First Fall Coffee Break

Pictures, taken by English major Karen Loor, from the first fall Coffee Break--Cupcake Edition.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Villanova English LinkedIn

The English Department has created a special LinkedIn group just for current English majors and alumni of the English Department.  Since we announced this group to English alumni late last week, more than 400 alumni have already joined.  We invite you to join this network.  If you’re on LinkedIn, you should have already received an invitation from LinkedIn, but if not, you can access the group by going to the LinkedIn site and then searching for “Villanova English group” (there are two groups; the other is for students from our graduate program).  At the group page, you can request to join.

The group provides an ideal opportunity for you to see the wide 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.  It will also give you another way to keep in touch with your former classmates once you have completed the degree.  The group offers the department a convenient way to post job listings that have been sent to us by those seeking to hire someone with the skills the English major cultivates.  It may also give us the opportunity to reach out to you when we are seeking an expert in a particular field to give an alumni talk or participate in an alumni panel here on campus.

Either Dr. Evan Radcliffe or Kate Szumanski, the college’s Director of Professional Development, would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about LinkedIn and the alumni group.  Villanova’s Career Center 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.  The Arts college’s Professional Development Program gives similar advice.  Both the Career Center and our Professional Development Program offer workshops on using LinkedIn.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Villanova Poetry Society

Junior English major Amanda Eliades invites you to join a new poetry society:

Villanova Poetry Society (VPS) is the newest place for aspiring poets, writers, and readers alike to join a community of people who love poetry! We not only love to write poetry, but we're all connected by an appreciation for the art. No prior experience is needed to come join us. VPS was created so that poets and writers on campus can foster relationships with their peers and better their skills in whatever capacity they wish. It is a place for poets to share their writing with other members in order to publish in one of Villanova's literary magazines or elsewhere, or even just for personal enjoyment. And if reading and/or writing poetry isn't as fun to you as performing poetry is, we plan on attending, watching, and/or performing in poetry slams! Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend.  Our first meeting of the year will be Wednesday, September 16th at 8pm. Contact Amanda Eliades at aeliades@villanova.edu and Eileen Kelly at ekelly28@villanova.edu with any questions. We look forward to meeting you!

Amanda Eliades and fellow English major Kevin Madden

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cupcakes and Coffee

Marie-Helene Bertino's Debut Novel

Former Villanova English major ('99) Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS, a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick, is available now in the US and UK (Picador), and France (under the title 2 Heures du Matin a Richmond Street), forthcoming in Turkey, Brazil, and Sweden. It is an NPR Best Book of 2014, and a Best Book of the Year at Flavorwire, Buzzfeed, Popsugar, The Kansas City Star, and others.

Her collection of short stories SAFE AS HOUSES won The Iowa Short Fiction award and was published in October of 2012.  It was named an Outstanding Collection by The Story Prize, and was included in Top Ten Books of 2012 by Sean Carman at Huffington Post Books, The Library Journal and Largehearted Boy.

Marie-Helene Bertino

Saturday, September 12, 2015

English Department Advisory Committee 2015-16

Students on the Advisory Committee serve as consultants for the English department and as advisors for younger majors and prospective majors.  This fall they will also be involved in the planning of a variety of special events.  We have found the committee to be an invaluable departmental resource and would welcome your contribution to it. Please contact Prof. Michael Berthold (michael.berthold@villanova.edu) if you are interested in joining.

Madeleine Messinger, Regina Paparo, Sam Farrell, Clare Yoder, Elise Van Arsdale, Marielle Alexander, Nicole Kim, Eugene Gonzales, Kristina Sumfleth

Marielle Alexander / malexan9@villanova.edu
I am a senior English major with minors in Writing and Rhetoric and Psychology.  I am very involved with the English department Advisory Committee and various volunteer organizations on campus.  After graduating in December, I plan to attend graduate school to study secondary education with the goal of one day becoming a teacher.

Francesca Cocchi / fcocchi@villanova.edu
I am a junior English and Honors major with a minor in Humanities. I began my education at Villanova in the Honors department's Interdisciplinary Humanities cohort (Interdisc), where I met the professors and friends who continue to guide me through my undergraduate experience every day. After Villanova, I plan to earn a graduate degree in journalism and move to a new city or country to begin my career. If I'm not reading one of the 35 books I purchased for my courses this semester, you can probably find me in the Writing Center, where I work as the junior undergraduate assistant, at the Pavilion for cheerleading practice, or with my brothers from our campus's honor fraternity. I spent the last two summers working as an intern for New Jersey's Asbury Park Press, researching dystopian fiction, and volunteering as an Orientation Counselor.

Amanda Eliades / are894@gmail.com
I am a junior English major who will be graduating this May with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric, an Honors minor, and hopefully a theology minor as well. After graduation, my goals include a career in publishing both as an editor and a writer; I also look forward to receiving an MFA and PhD after I gain some more experience in the "real world" so I can spice up my writing! My literary interests include Gothic novels, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, as well as a new-found obsession with the series Outlander. I've had internships in editing, marketing and public relations--including work as an editorial intern and writer for the up-and-coming platform for political awareness, Daily Clout. I also work in the Writing Center and have co-founded Villanova's first Poetry Society and look forward to its success this year!

Samantha Farrell / sfarrel6@villanova.edu
I am a senior English major.  This summer I had an internship with a television production company.  It was amazing to see how useful the skills I have developed as an English major were to work in this field.  I transferred into the English department at the start of my junior year, and everyone has been so helpful and kind.  It was definitely the best choice I could have made here at Villanova.  I feel that when I graduate in the spring I will be well prepared, thanks to the outstanding department and my professors.

Eugene Gonzalez / egonza14@villanova.edu
I am a senior English major and one course away from completing a Spanish minor.  I’m involved with the BRIDGE Society, and I serve as the president of the Pre-Law Society.  I have interned at Davis & Gilbert LLP, a corporate law firm, and at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as well.  Being an English major has opened many doors for me, and I am extremely proud to call myself one.  I plan to attend law school after my graduation from Villanova in the spring.

Kate Kafka / kkafka@villanova.edu
I am a Junior English major with minors in Classical Languages, Honors, and Communications.  I am hoping to attend law school after graduation.  I have been involved in  Blue Key Society, The Villanovan, and Greek life through Alpha Phi. While I have yet to study abroad, I recently drove from California to Villanova and hope to continue to travel frequently in the future.  My favorite authors include Kurt Vonnegut and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I will read just about anything passed my way.

Nicole Kim / nkim8@villanova.edu
I am a junior English and Humanities double major.  Although my preferences are very eclectic, short stories and poetry are two of my favorite literary genres.  I hope to work in the editorial department of a publication one day.

Kevin Madden / kmadden6@villanova.edu
I am a senior English major with minors in Spanish and Gender & Women’s Studies. I’m particularly interested in literature that can be described as spooky, eerie, and generally bizarre, including narratives within the Gothic literary tradition, (post-)apocalyptic literature, and weird fiction. This semester, I have the good fortune of being able to explore these interests in a more pedagogical capacity as Dr. Heather Hicks’s teaching assistant in her Literature of the Apocalypse core writing seminar. I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in English after graduating from Villanova, looking toward either a PhD or a library science degree after that. When I’m not reading or writing for my classes, you can expect to find me perusing the feminist blogosphere, binge-watching The X-Files, or supporting my local roller derby league.

Madeleine Messinger / mmessing@villanova.edu
I am a junior English, Humanities and Honors major with minors in Business, Spanish and Theology.  I’m actively involved with Villanova Emergency Medical Services (VEMS) on campus.  My current post-graduate plan is to attend graduate school.  My favorite texts to read are folk and fairy tales.  Over this previous summer I completed Villanova’s Summer Business Institute, and the summer prior I had an internship with VectorUSA in Los Angeles.  This next summer I plan on studying abroad in either Chile or Urbino.

Regina Paparo / rpaparo@villanova.edu
I am a junior English and Political Science major with a Humanities minor (possibly a third major).  I am from Virginia Beach, Va., but currently live in the DC area and previously lived in Japan.  I am very involved in the Service Learning Community (SLC) on campus, and I hope to study abroad next semester, preferably in South Africa.  I am interested in contemporary literature, particularly Catholic fiction.

Kristina Sumfleth / ksumflet@villanova.edu
I am a senior English major with a concentration in Irish Studies and minors in Peace and Justice and Classics.  Recently I returned from a semester abroad in Melbourne, Australia, where I studied English at the University of Melbourne.  At Villanova I participate in Club Judo, work as a photographer for the Villanovan and also work for the College of Arts and Sciences.  For the past three summers I have been a photojournalist at a local newspaper, and my current post-graduate goal is to pursue journalism and photojournalism full-time.  Some of my favorite writers include James Joyce, Zora Neale Hurston and Jane Austen.

Elise Van Arsdale / evanarsd@villanova.edu
I am a senior English and Honors major with a History minor.  During the fall of my junior year I studied abroad in Vienna, where I had an internship teaching English at a local school.  This past summer I worked in New York City as the National Development fellow at a non-profit called Summer Search.  I come from Charlottesville, Va., and have always been passionate about reading and writing.  I am not yet sure what I want to do after graduation, but I know I can rely on my English major to help me out no matter what!

Clare Yoder / cyoder@villanova.edu
I am a senior English major from San Clemente, Ca.  I transferred out of the Villanova School of Nursing and into the Villanova English program after my sophomore year and I have been extremely happy with my decision.  I still don’t know what I want to pursue in terms of a career or grad school, but I look forward to figuring it all out with the help of my classes and professors these next two semesters.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sean Campbell: Summer Internship at The Aspen Institute

Senior English major Sean Campbell's narrative about his summer internship follows.

This past summer I interned at an international educational and policy studies organization called The Aspen Institute, located in Aspen, Colorado. The Institute hosts events very similar to TED Talks in which speakers give lectures or form panels about a wide variety of topics. Aside from hiking and biking through stunning mountainous landscapes on weekends, I spent a lot of my weekdays employing many of the skills that Villanova has instilled in me as an English major. Since my role at The Institute was to assist in organizing and staffing three major festivals and interact with high profile attendees and speakers, strong communication was essential to the success of each event. While many majors offered at Villanova emphasize the importance of communication, the English major is distinct in that it stresses the story as an essential medium for communication. While I was initially nervous to interact with the likes of New York Times Columnist David Brooks, Twitter Founder Evan Williams, and Chicago Hip-hop Artist Lupe Fiasco, my background in literature helped me to recognize that each speaker held a uniquely human story outside of the narrative that their title manufactured for them.  During the Security Forum, in which the heads of every major government security agency spoke, I witnessed the director of the NSA offer his thoughtful perspective on the tension between privacy and national security. Just as novels often offer a human voice to complex cultural issues, this opportunity enabled me to see the human face behind the callous covering that American media has created for the NSA.

In one car ride after an event, I had the pleasure of driving former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright back to her hotel. I initially expected the conversation to revolve around either mundane topics like the Aspen weather or forced attempts on my part to learn about her position as secretary of state, but instead, she began our discussion by asking me to tell her my story. After talking for a short while about my family, I told her that I wanted my career to involve writing in some capacity. I was slightly embarrassed by my career goals because I had so frequently been informed that writing is a surefire path to financial instability. Secretary Albright, however, responded that she was particularly encouraged that I hoped to write because it was a skill so vital, yet so lacking in my generation. She then proceeded to tell me her story, yet it was not the story of the fame attached to being the first female secretary of state, but rather of an immigrant from Czechoslovakia whose family had been displaced after the Holocaust. She told me how writing had been a passion of hers throughout her life and that one of her principle frustrations as a professor at Georgetown is that few of her students know or care about writing. While I do think that we could have had an insightful conversation even if I was uninterested in writing, I sincerely doubt that we would have found a common passion without both of us appreciating the value of storytelling.  

Though I often feel pressured to include tangible skills about my writing, reading, or verbal communication abilities on my resume, my experience at The Aspen Institute revealed to me that the English major also fosters more abstract feelings of human empathy. I found the experience of interacting with unfamiliar, yet fascinating speakers to be similar to my relationship with books. While both have titles and some have hard exteriors, the most endearing qualities stem from the honest stories within. As a result of my internship, I no longer hold the insular perspective that English majors are destined solely for careers as writers or teachers. Rather, I now believe that in any job requiring personal connections or an understanding of the human condition, an English major can excel.

Sean on the top of Mount Elbert.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Phillies College Media Night

Go behind-the-scenes with the Phillies prior to the game on Tues., Sept. 15!  The program officially starts at 5:00 p.m. (check-in begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Phillies Media Room), followed by the Phillies-Nationals game at 7:05 p.m., and includes:
--Special Welcome from Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr.
--Panel Discussion in the Media Room with Phillies Communication and PR professionals Greg Casterioto, Director, Baseball Communications;  Bonnie Clark, Vice President, Communications;  Mark DiNardo, Director, Broadcasting & Video Services;  Paul Hagen, national MLB.com reporter and 2013 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award;  Tom McCarthy, Broadcaster;  and Scott Palmer, Director of Public Affairs (and emcee)
--#TrophySelfies with the World Series Trophies; plus meet the Phillies Ballgirls!
--Cheer on the Phillies with a ticket to that night's game with seating in the popular Budweiser Rooftop Bleachers, which also features the interactive Social Media Deck.
--Ticket price includes a Phillies Power Ticket, with a concession value of $12 redeemable throughout the ballpark for food, beverage and merchandise.

Register here at phillies.com/collegenight (enter the code CMN).  The cost for Villanova students is $20.  The event is also listed on Handshake, the university’s new career management system;  click here.