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The English Department at NDSU

The mission of the English Department at North Dakota State University is to cultivate understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of the English language, its speakers and writers, and its literatures and cultures, such that students and department members use the language creatively, critically, and effectively to participate ethically in civic and professional life.

Scholarship Application for 2016 - 2017

The department awards scholarships to English and English Education majors and graduate students returning for the 2016-2017 academic year. To fill out the application form, click here. The application form must be returned to the department office, located in 318 Minard Hall, by Friday, March 4, 2016. 

Administrative Assistant Position: 10 Hours a Week.

The English Department at NDSU is looking for an administrative assistant to work approximately 10 hours a week on various tasks:  supporting existing administrative duties, maintaining the department's website and Facebook page, assisting with registration, composing a department newsletter, keeping a calendar and sending reminders of events, supporting events, assisting with assessment of events, etc.  For more information, please click here.

Final Day of Capstone Presentations

Session IV: Thursday, December 10 -- 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Meadow Lark, Memorial Union


Feminist Literacy: The Catalysts of Feminism for America’s Millennials
Morgan Tuscherer
Mentor: Dr. Alison Graham-Bertolini

This research aims to make it more clear where millennials in the United States are gaining their knowledge of feminism. The work presented focuses on the major catalysts of feminist literacy; that is, where these millennials are seeing and hearing feminism explained, what events led them to it, what courses in university taught them about it, etc.  Also examined is the effectiveness of these catalysts and what aspects of feminism are not being communicated accurately through mainstream rhetoric.  Information is gathered from research already done by scholars on what these catalysts may be, and also from surveys conducted among fellow millennials. The project also emphasizes the role that university classes have played in the understanding of the current movement as a catalyst, and seeks to explain the lack of activism in this generation. Current research finds that many young people dissociate from the movement because they find it unnecessary — this, then, leads to questions about the pedagogical discourse of feminism and its effectiveness. By understanding millennials and their take-aways from what they’ve learned in school, we can attempt to find suggestions to better the pedagogy and encourage more work towards equality from this generation. 

A Taxonomy of Comedy Podcasting: A Historical Study and Grouping of Modern Comedy Podcasts Incorporating Usability Experience
Jared Medenwald
Mentor: Dr. Andrew Mara

In the world of podcasting, there is seemingly an infinitely expanding universe of programming within the comedy genre and not much research out there to classify differing content. For the uninitiated, the amount of comedy podcasts out there can be a head spinning and frustrating process to just dive right into. This is where my project can help people, by providing them with a sort of updated ‘best of’ list, as well as a systematic categorical grouping of similar comedy podcasts that may make it possible to recommend based off of other forms of a user’s preferred entertainment. Through my historical research into the medium of podcasting I have developed a better understanding of the significant maturation process that podcasting been going through over the past decade. My goal is in part to share my love of podcasting with others, so that they may perhaps one day, love them as much as I do. I wanted to learn everything I could about comedy podcasts...their history, forms, who they’re for, how to make money off them, etc… while also incorporating elements of User Experience into this project.

Journaling as Therapy
Bryce Murchie
Mentor: Dr. Rupiper Taggart

The purpose of this project is to uncover the therapeutic value and qualities of introspective personal journaling. As writing and journaling, whether in the form of letters or journals, can be utilized to express episodes of severe psychological trauma, they can also play intricate roles for helping someone emotionally heal from traumatic, past experiences. My own experience in the past has led me to believe in the importance of this topic, for I once documented my own psychological issues that ultimately led to a traumatic event. Now, I wish to use writing in a more positive manner and discover how to effectively document episodes of personal, post-traumatic growth after a traumatic event to induce healing. While I used journaling to document the worst parts of my life, I can once again enter the “writing paradigm”, similar to the one proposed by James Pennebaker at Southern Methodist University, only this time, use my written words to confront my traumatic event and regain my own sense of power. Hopefully, this project can serve as an insightful bridge between the field of psychology and writing studies and will help not only me, but countless others rebuild their psyche with a newfound sense of identity, pride, and positive emotions.

Finding Closure: One Way Feminists of Color Comic Artists are Using Comics to Talk About Race and Gender
Laryssa Mortenson
Dr. Betsy Birmingham 

Feminist Theorists, Rosemarie Tong and Tina Fernandes Botts, explain how women of color are often expected assimilate to the dominant white culture while at the same time being actively denied access due to racist and sexist ideologies. One way women of color have been combatting their own unique oppressions is through comics. While it is debated how useful comics can be at this moment to marginalized groups like women of color, most agree that comics have the ability to express messages in a new and effective way. Comics artist, Shing Yin Khor uses closure (a term popularized by comics theorist, Scott McCloud) to express her experiences as an Asian American woman living in this white, patriarchal society. McCloud’s definition of closure entails explaining the narrative in a way that allows the readers to understand what goes on between the panels or images. This space between panels (or as he refers to as the gutters) play an equally important role as the images themselves.

This project will examine the ways in which Khor uses McCloud’s definition of closure and how she expands on his definition to bring something new to the way race and gender are discussed. In order to do this, I will be using Tong and Botts’ work on women of color feminism to establish some common themes in the way that women of color can be oppressed as well as the methods they use combat this oppression. Using McCloud’s theory on how closure works this project will try to show how McCloud’s theory on closure can be expanded to show how Khor’s use of the term not only is significant to the reader but the author as well.

NDSU at the NWP Annual Meeting in Minneapolis

NDSU was well represented at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting November 18-20, 2015 in Minneapolis. Associate Professor Kelly Sassi, with Mark Dziedzic of the Greater Madison Writing Project, co-facilitated a retreat for 36 new directors at the meeting. 

Also at that meeting, Kelly Sassi gave a conference presentation titled, “Addressing Cultural and Ethnic Identity to Support Writing Instruction.” Her co-presenters included Circle of Nations teacher Lori Hieserich, Moorhead teacher Jenna Trosvik, and New Mexico professor Michael Thompson. Hieserich and Trosvik are teacher consultants for the Red River Valley Writing Project, which is hosted by NDSU. The conference presentation reported on a year-long professional development project at Circle of Nations Intertribal Boarding School in Wahpeton, which was funded by a SEED (Supporting Effective Educators) Grant for High-Needs Schools from the National Writing Project. 

In total, the RRVWP funded travel for 12 writing project teacher consultants. In addition to the three mentioned above, attendees included the following: co-director Karen Taylor, book discussion group leader Dan Dooher , writing retreat facilitator Angela Hase, and teacher consultant Isaac Lundberg--all of Moorhead, Adam Ching from Wahpeton, Aryelle Jones from Fargo, blog editor (and NDSU graduate student) Erika Dyk, and teacher consultant Ben Scallon from Lakota. 

These teachers stayed in Minneapolis for the NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English) Annual convention, which had about 6000 attendees this year, and about 600 sessions to choose from. Four of our attendees presented a panel presentation titled, “Sustaining Teachers through Writing on the High Plains,” chaired by Kelly Sassi. In this interactive panel, Moorhead High School teacher Angela Hase demonstrated how she models the messy process of crafting writing for her students, using her own work. Isaac Lundberg and Karen Taylor shared student-created multimodal texts on their interdisciplinary social justice project that brought students out into the community to interview citizens about issues such as homelessness. Erika Dyk anchored the presentation with a philosophical presentation about the role of stars, Young Adult Literature, isolation, and identity in writing that teachers do to stay connected and invigorate their practice. She ended the session with some ukelele playing!

Successful Grant Proposal from PhD Candidate Jessica Jorgenson

PhD candidate, Jessica Jorgenson, wrote a grant to the North Dakota Humanities Council for a large grant of $5,184.00 to support the Quixote Cafes organized by Dr. Carol Pearson and Dr. Carlos Hawley in the Modern Languages department. The money goes to support scholars Drs. Pearson and Hawley brought to campus to give talks on Cervantes' work, Don Quixote. 

The Quixote Cafe events for the fall have concluded, but the money will go to support two art exhibits, one at the Fargo Public Library and one at the Spirit room. The money will also pay for the costs associated with brining in a scholar from Stanford University, Dr. Roland Greene, who will give a public talk on Cervantes at the Fargo Public Library on April 23rd. The narrative Jessica wrote for the grant is copied below, and will give further background on the events. Please note that the public is invited, and Jessica encourages people from the NDSU English department to attend:

The years 2015 and 2016 have special significance in the history of literature: 400 years prior, in 1615, Miguel de Cervantes published the second part of his masterpiece, Don Quixote, giving us the modern novel. Also, April 23rd2016 marks 400 years since the passing of both Cervantes, father of the novel, and his English contemporary, and only peer, William Shakespeare. In order to celebrate these important occasions in the history of civilization, we have assembled seven events, called Quixote Cafés. 

 Each Quixote Café engages the community in myriad ways, whether it is through an art exhibit, a public performance, sharing in a public reading, or critically listening to a scholarly lecture. During the month of September, we are hosting jazz radio shows with Bill Law to promote Cervantes’ work and life. On September 26th, the NDSU Modern Languages department is bringing Dr. Bruce Burningham to North Dakota State University’s campus to have him share a public lecture on Cervantes. On this same date, the Modern Languages department at NDSU will also host a round table on Cervantes and invite the public to a small banquet following the presentations. To wrap up our Quixote Café series, the NDSU Modern Languages department is working with the Spirit Room and the Fargo Public Library to host a public art exhibit sharing visual artistic works inspired by selected scenes in Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote. Our series concludes on April 23, 2016 with a public lecture titled “400 Years Ago Today: What Ended? What Began?” from Stanford professor Dr. Roland Greene at the Fargo Public Library.  

The Quixote Café Series has significant value to the Fargo-Moorhead community. Our arts and culture scene is filled with visual arts events, but literary events are often underrepresented. Quixote Cafés will focus on giving a voice to Cervantes’ novel and its influence over writing, cinema, music, visual arts, theater, and scholarship. Two renowned scholars are invited and regional participation is employed through community readers, actors, singers, and studies. We at the Spirit Room, Fargo Public Library and NDSU envision these offerings as free public access to a wide range of expressions of the humanities involving grassroots collaborations between a variety of organizations and individuals and engaging the public in the multiple and compelling themes found in Cervantes’ work.

Study Abroad: England and Scotland May 2016

Travel with NDSU English!!!
England & Scotland: Literature & Popular Culture 

Do you want to Study Abroad? Registration Deadline is DECEMBER 1!! 

"England & Scotland: Literature and Popular Culture" offers an immersive experience of British culture and literature and showcases such popular works as Stoker's Dracula, Shakespeare's Macbeth, JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, and Alan Moore's graphic novel From Hell (about London's infamous Jack-The-Ripper murders). 

Click here to see an example of the blog prepared by last year's travelers. The course consists of pre-departure meetings during the spring and concludes with a 14-day trip to Scotland & England at the end of the semester, in May 2016. Financial aid applies!

View the program webpage here & start your application TODAY! Time's running out. 

We hope you will join us in this fantastic opportunity! We'd love to show you the world! Bring your friends! Spread the word!

Contact Associate Professor Verena Thelie for more information:



NDSU University Student and McNair Scholar Celena Todora Attended Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies  

Celena Todora, who is majoring in English, English education, and international studies, attended to the Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies held September 25-27, 2015 on the campus of York College of Pennsylvania. The workshop is an opportunity for students to grow as skilled researchers. Students submit an application for consideration, outlining a proposed research project. Two dozen students were accepted and received funding to attend the event.

Over the course of this weekend-long workshop, students develop their own research projects by engaging in seminars on composition research, collaborating with teams of experienced scholars and peer researchers, and crafting research artifacts during independent time. After sharing their ideas, their experience, and their spirit of inquiry, Naylor scholars return to their home institutions ready to conduct research.

Todora’s research focuses on “grit,” the ability for a person to be tenacious. Prior to the workshop, she had done extensive reading in Duckworth’s work on this trait. She was interested to see how composition instructors can potentially help students foster grit. Her faculty mentor at NDSU is Professor Amy Rupiper Taggart of the English Department. Todora said, “The Naylor Workshop was a significant experience for me because I was able to learn more about qualitative and quantitative methods. I was also incredibly lucky that one of the faculty experts at the conference shared my interest in grit, so we collaborated to create a project together. We hope to investigate whether or not service-learning-based courses can enhance basic writing students’ grit.”

Naylor Scholars from last year’s inaugural workshop present their research at the Conference on College Composition and Communication 2015 and other venues, some students winning awards for best presentation. It is expected that the 2015 Naylor Workshop Scholars will be similarly successful. Professor Joyce Kinkead of Utah State University, who served as the Plenary speaker for the workshop said, “Celena’s initial proposal was one of the best received, and she continued that high quality of work throughout the weekend. NDSU has every reason to be proud of her.”

Attending the Naylor Workshop helps students become part of a network of undergraduates from varying institutions, who are guided by mentor faculty members. One of the real benefits of the Naylor Workshop is discussing one-on-one with writing researchers in the fields of composition, rhetoric, or writing center studies to discuss research ideas, goals, and methodologies. Participants also engage in intensive workshops to assess the quality of research, design a research question, and learn and practice qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, the inaugural Naylor Endowed Professor in Writing Studies, oversees the conference. He said, “We are fortunate to have a stellar group of students who are interested in diverse topics. They are passionate about their topics, and over the three-day workshop, they move from research question to poster presentation.”

For more information about the Naylor Workshop and to consider application for the 2016 event, see this website: This workshop is suitable for undergraduate students of any major who are interested in developing and conducting research projects to expand knowledge and improve practices in fields of composition, rhetoric, and writing center studies.

30 Internship Opportunities

Thirty companies are looking for interns.  Please click on this link:

Mailing Address

English Department
NDSU - Dept. 2320
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND  58108-6050
Office Location:
 Minard 318
Office Phone: 701-231-7143

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MELUS: The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States
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Last Updated: Friday, February 05, 2016 2:01:26 PM