English Department Alumni
The English Department has many alumni; here are some who are willing to share their whereabouts and their comments on the department. If you are an alum and would like to add your information to this page, please contact Kevin Brooks, Andrew Mara, or any department member you would like to say "hello" to.
Dr. Mitzi Brunsdale.
Looking back on my undergraduate studies in the NDSU English Department and my Master's program (the first given in English by NDSU, I think), I believe they were the most significant factor in my own teaching career and in my own research and publications--eight literary-critical reference books, more than sixty scholarly articles, numerous international paper presentations, and my work as a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a long time book critic for PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and THE STRAND MAGAZINE. Professors Leonard Sackett and Jae Phillips of NDSU's English Department and Emma Dubetz of Modern Languages taught me to teach, through their examples of scholarly integrity, their insistence on thorough preparation, and their humility in the face of the literary "greats" they taught so memorably. I remember their teaching and inspiration with profound respect and affection.
Genevieve Elizabeth (Liz) Crow. B.A. English 2001.
Currently lives in Beijing, China, and is teaching English to Russian students!
"I loved the English department at NDSU. I initially transferred from the University of Minnesota – Minneapolis wanting to be a music major but then realized what an incredible English department NDSU had. It really is a diamond in the rough."
Kim Crowley. M.A. Composition, 2003.
Kim is living in Shelly, MN, and working as Coordinator of The University Writing Program at University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.
"I wasn't really certain what area of study I wanted to pursue when I arrived at NDSU; because of the enthusiasm and knowledge of the composition/rhetoric faculty there, I got hooked on comp/rhet and never looked back. The academic background that I gained at NDSU was an integral part of preparing me for doctoral study and a career in academe."
Brent J. Driscoll, B.A. English 2006.
Currently residing in New Hope, MN., Brent is working a 'blue collar' job thinking about Lennon's song "Working Class Hero" and keeping his head up and eyes forward toward a future of teaching.
"From the former greats like Matchie to the new and exciting profs like Mara, the NDSU English Department can boast a wide range of teaching backgrounds, interests and styles likely to satisfy even the most holistic of educational ambitions."
Katey Ehrenberg, M.A. Composition, 2005.
Katey is currently living in Forest Lake, MN and working as a Training Manager at Travelers Insurance Company in St. Paul, MN. She just passed her 6 year mark as a project manager for the Training and Education organization there. Katey has also been teaching at University of Phoenix – online and land – for the past two years.
"My education and my degree from NDSU forced me to develop myself both academically and personally. Had I not been a part of that English department and a member of the GTA staff, I doubt I would be content in my professional life today. The subjects I studied there and the experience I gained as an instructor feed directly into the curriculum development and systems training I do for Travelers."
Anthony Ellertson, B.A. 1990, M.A. 2000.
PhD, Rhetoric & Professional Communication, Iowa State University, 2005.
Anthony Ellertson is Director and Clinical Associate Prof. of Games, Interactive Media and Mobile at Boise State University. He is currently working on the development of a new undergraduate major specializing in Games, Interactive Media, and Mobile Development (GIMM) while partnering with Art, Albertsons Library, Computer Science, Ed Tech, IT & Supply Chain Management, and Engineering on campus. Currently the new GIMM program is funded under the College of Innovation and Design and they are creating an Innovation Space to serve as a resource to the program and the community. The Innovation Space will focus on cutting edge mobile tech, augmented reality, virtual reality, and maker spaces.
As an active researcher he is also principle investigator or co-principle investigator on a series of grants working with medical partners and social institutions both in and out of the state of Idaho. Their goal is to leverage their knowledge of mobile development and games toward the creation of enhanced therapy tools and applications for children with Autism and other communicative disorders.
In addition to his work with children, Anthony is also co-principal investigator on a series of projects that are re imagining in and out patient care utilizing gesture based navigation, augmented reality, RFID technologies, custom built arduino devices, and other mobile solutions. He is an applied researcher who actively seeks out industry partners in the formation of communities of practice for his students. "My goal is show my students that it is possible to change the world if one has the heart and courage to tackle the problems head on."
"The English faculty at NDSU are some of the best and most supportive teachers that I have known. I think the environment that they create both in and out of their classes is a model for successful education in the humanities."
Rachel Erstad, B.S. 2008 English/Sociology.
I currently work with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the Seattle metro area. I work with clinic, hospital, and mental health professionals who are forming a union in their workplace.
Martin Fredricks, B.A. 1990.
Martin owns and operates Fredricks Communications, an advertising, marketing and business communication consulting firm in West Fargo, N.D. (www.fredcomm.biz).
One way to look at my English degree – and I often say this jokingly – is that it prepared me to drive a cab. Another is to say it prepared me to walk through doors in a wide range of career tracks. Yet another is to say it gave me the tools I needed to build a career. I’ve done the latter in a progression: Congressional intern – weekly newspaper editor – U.S. Senate staffer – university writer and editor – advertising agency copywriter – small business owner and operator. I am grateful every day for the thoughtful, challenging and broad-based education I earned at NDSU.
Josh Hernandez, B.A., English, 1999. M.A., English Composition/Rhetoric, 2007.
Josh currently lives in San Antonio and works as the Director of Annual Giving at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX. He also teaches an introductory composition class that is inexplicably popular.
"In high school, I held the belief that the liberal arts prepared one to become the second-assistant manager to the floor sweeping division of the french fry section at one of many popular fast food chains. I started college convinced that I'd have a career in biology, physics or medicine. One class in American Literature with Steve Ward made me reconsider my major. The dedication of other departmental instructors made me consider graduate school. I've never regretted my decision to change majors, nor have I ever had to ask anyone if they'd like fries with that."
Jon Jensen, B.A., Literature, Minor in Theatre and Education Endorsement, 1985. M.A. Technical Theatre and Design, 1991.
After graduation, I went to work teaching English and Theatre at Irvin High School in El Paso, Texas. After three years there, I returned to NDSU for a Master's in Technical Theatre & Design, which I completed in 1991 after having satisfied Dr. Bovard and the rest of my committee. I ran the Graduate and Undergraduate programs in Theatre Technology at the University of Arizona for most of the 1990's, and then gravitated towards fluid power, having spent a great deal of time using hydraulic and pneumatic equipment for entertainment purposes, and teaching application of same. I currently manage the training department for SMC Corporation of America, a manufacturer of factory automation components, and teach Pneumatic Theory and Product Application to engineers, technicians, and salespeople. One of my students once asked me, "How do you get to be a trainer at SMC?" My response? "You just get that Bachelor's Degree in English, and everything falls into place! A flippant response? Maybe, but it's still true. In a nutshell, I have made a career out of teaching technical subjects (and I do count English as a technical subject), simply because I was able to read and understand the material.
Kaitlin Johnson, B.A. (English, NDSU, 2001), M.A. (Linguistics, U of MN, 2007), Ph.D. (Linguistics, U of MN, ??? eventually....).
Kaitlin lives in Minneaplos, plodding away at a PhD in linguistics.
"The NDSU English department has the benefit of being small enough for all students to form relationships with faculty members."
David Kanenwisher. B.A. in English, minor in Computer Science, 2007.
He currently resides in Fargo, ND and works as an IT Support Technician for Verety LLC. He maintains a blog .
"My degree has proved invaluable in my professional life, primarily by giving me extra skills, like communication and analysis, which my fellow IT coworkers lack. Also, the knowledge I gained has opened up the world and shown me how day-to-day goings on, politics, art, science, and religion are all parts of a continuous discussion about life."
Joshua D. Kern, B.A. English Major, Computer Science Minor (Fall 2002) (NDSU), M.A. English (Fall 2007) (NDSU), A.A., A.S. (Spring 2000) (BSC).
Josh is an Assistant Professor of English at Bismarck State College.
"The expertise of the faculty on such a wide assortment of topics and the perspectives that they introduced enriched my graduate experience at NDSU."
Wade King. B.A. in English Education 1992. M.A. in English Composition, 1996.
Wade is Associate Professor and Department Chair of English & Humanities at the North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, ND. He regularly teaches Business and Technical Communication, Composition I and II, Intro to Professional Writing, and Mythology, as well as overseeing the day-to-day functioning of the department.
“At the end of my freshman year, I switched my major from Wildlife Biology to English Education. I wrote a Beowulf paper for Muriel Brown’s English Lit class. On the last day of class, Dr. Brown returned the paper with no grade and invited me to her office to learn how to write an academic paper in the discipline. She could have simply placed a failing grade on the paper, but that moment of care set my future. I miss the inspiration of visits to Steve Ward’s office and the mentorship of Richard Shaw, as well as the consistently positive academic and personal interactions with the whole department.”
Sheree Kornkven. M.A., English Composition, 2002, NDSU., B.A., English, Mayville State, Mayville, North Dakota.
Sheree lives with her husband, Ken, in Portland, North Dakota. They have five children and eight (fabulous) grandchildren.
"Since 1997, I have worked in several capacities in the Information Technology Services (ITS) department at NDSU. Currently, I am the Technology Learning Center (TLC) manager. The NDSU English graduate program was the right choice for me. The instructors are excellent--supportive and knowledgeable--and the academic work was challenging and rewarding. Through my graduate studies, I improved my communication skills and gained valuable teaching experience as a GTA, which helped me to achieve my professional and personal goals."
Chris Lindgren, B.A. 2004, has re-joined the department as a graduate student (MA) in Writing Studies. He expects to graduate in spring 2012 and pursue a PhD.
"Thank you to the NDSU English Department Staff for engaging tomorrow's elements of communication by prefacing it with yesterday's not-so-old and foundational techniques--'medium is the massage!' (Read your McLuhan! It's good for you.)" Chris maintains a blog.
Katie Manthey, B.A. English and Classical Studies, NDSU, 2007.
Katie briefly attended the Masters in Rhetoric/Composition at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, but returned to the graduate program in English spring 2008. She went on to Michigan State University and completed a degree in Rhetoric and Writing with a focus on cultural rhetorics, dress studies, and fat studies in 2015. She is currently an assistant professor and Writing Center director at Salem College, a women's college in North Carolina.
"The English department at NDSU truly is willing to help their students reach their fullest potential. If a student is willing to work, they are willing to meet them half way. I look forward to staying in touch with many of the department members as I progress in my academic career. I have found their advice to be timely and applicable concerning graduate schools, and the current trends in English Studies."
KrisAnn Norby-Jahner, M.A. in English (NDSU) 2005, BA in English/ Mass Communications (MSUM) 2002.
KrisAnn is living in Blaine, MN, and working on two degrees: JD (Hamline University School of Law) in progress, expected grad. 2010 and PhD in English (Kent State U) in progress, (ABD 2007--"yay!") expected defense, 2008. Her dissertation is a study about the ways in which contemporary American authors aim to uncover the injustices of the American legal system, but succeed only in keeping the laws intact, and, therefore, reconfirming female sexual oppression and a bourgeois system of justice.
"I admire the sense of camaraderie in the NDSU Department of English. Professors, students, and staff are innovative, supportive, and always looking for ways to reach out to the community and to demonstrate reading and writing as useful functions in a variety of discourses.
Marcie Lundberg Pagán. B.S. English Education, 2001; M.A. English, 2005.
Marcie lives in West Fargo with her husband, Mike. She is a trainer at Integreon Managed Solutions in Fargo.
"The experiences and knowledge I gained while involved with the English Program at NDSU have been invaluable to me. If it hadn't been for a little prodding from Kevin, I may not have entered the M.A. program, nor have been a GTA. Both of those experiences helped me prepare for my career, further my personal development, and build amazing friendships." Marcie can be found on Facebook.
Lee Palmer. B.A. in English Education, 2004.
Lee taught three years in an Alternative High School in Moorhead and is now teaching 7-12 Language Arts at St. Mary Catholic high School in Dell Rapids, SD
"The thing I enjoyed the most at NDSU was the English Department staff. It was always refreshing to be able to walk in and discuss literature, writing, thoughts or ideas. The thing I miss the most is walking through those hallways and seeing who was available to talk and bounce ideas off of. Whether it was Kevin, Betsy, Steve, Dr. Bob, Amy, Dr. Cosgrove, or Mark Aune, it never felt like you were walking into a 'traditional' stuffy English Office. It was very comfortable talking to anyone."
Sybil Priebe. B.A. in English Education, 1999. M.A. in English Composition, 2005.
Sybil is currently an Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at the North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton ND (her home town!). Not only does she teach the basic Freshmen Composition classes, she also teaches Technical Communications and World Literature 240 online each semester.
"I am extremely proud of the Composition program I came out of at NDSU. Kevin, Betsy, and Amy gave me more than enough theory & practice in Rhetoric/Composition. I'm continuing the blogging research I started in a class, developed for my MA Paper, and now plan to use as part of my professional development." Sybil maintains a blog and can be found on Facebook.
Kay Sizer, B.A. English, 1977.
After graduating from a rural North Dakota high school class of eight, I was making a big change by coming to Fargo and NDSU in 1973. I started with a major in Textiles & Clothing, but by my sophomore year, I knew it wasn’t right. Since I had enjoyed literature in high school, I decided to make a switch to an English major with a Speech minor and set my sights on becoming a secondary education teacher. I lasted three years teaching high school English in two small North Dakota high schools. The job involved five preps a night for grades 8-12, along with extra-curriculars including responsibility for the library, speech, school plays, school paper, yearbook, and taking tickets at basketball games! Needless to say, I became disillusioned and burned out. After trying several other jobs, I finally landed back at NDSU. I have been a staff member with NDSU research administration since 1987, and my NDSU English major, particularly the writing and presenting skills, have served me very well!
Kris Smetana. Spanish/English liberal arts (BA); English Education (BS) (Fall '05).
Kris served in the Peace Corps - Korca, Albania; professor at University F.S. Noli.
He is currently in law school at Arizona State University.
"The linguistics classes have proved extremely worthwhile as a Peace Corps volunteer. While Albanian itself was not discussed in detail during the classes, information about how languages work has made me one of the best volunteers in the country in terms of language ability. Education classes from faculty (specifically Dr. Shaw) have proven essential in teaching English (and methods for teaching it) to future Albanian teachers of English at the University of Korca." Kris can also be found on Facebook.
Amy Uthus, B.A. in Art (ceramics) and English (literature), Spring 2007.
Amy is currently residing in Williston, ND, but probably only for another month or so. She is working construction (building houses) saving money to travel and continue her education in clay; she would like to open her own pottery studio.
"I feel that the English department at NDSU did an excellent job preparing me, strangely enough, for my future as a potter. The writing, critical thinking, and job-preparation skills I developed through this program have already benefited me as I embark on the next stage of my life. The Capstone class, where we created 'job packets' with resumes, cover letters, and proposals, has been particularly helpful to me when I am applying for grants. Not only did I learn valuable skills through the courses I took in the English department, I also became good friends with several of my classmates. Additionally, I came to respect and trust the English faculty members not only as the qualified instructors they are but also as kind, caring, and helpful people." Amy maintains a website.
Kylee Williamson. B.A. 2004.
Kylee is currently pursuing a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
"NDSU's English Department supplied me with invaluable tools that I use on a daily basis. I have really been able to apply the linguistic knowledge and technical writing skills I learned at NDSU in my new field of study."