Congratulations to……

  • Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.39.04 PMDr. Amy Scott-Douglass, who received the Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award at this year’s Recognition Day Awards Ceremony. The award is given to one faculty member each year, selected by graduating seniors.

  • Dr. Katie Peebles, who was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.

  • Dr. Lucille Guss who retired after ogussver 20 years of  dedicated service to Marymount students, both as a faculty member in the Department of Literature and Languages and as director of the Liberal Studies Program.

  • Amanda Bourne,  graduating senior, who received The Mother Butler Gold Medal, awarded to the one undergraduate student who has exemplified the greatest devotion to the ideals of Marymount University. She also IMG_0845received a Senior Leadership Award and was recognized as the English department’s Outstanding Undergraduate at this year’s Recognition Day Awards Ceremony. 

    Amanda presented “Imagining the Artist: Images of Virginia Woolf in Postmodern Narratives” at the regional Virginia Humanities Conference on April 30, 2016, and will give the talk again at the International Annual Virginia Woolf Conference at Leeds Trinity University, June 16-19, 2016.

  • Adrienne West, who received a Senior Leadership Award at this year’s Recognition Day Awards Ceremony. Adrienne served as editor of Marymount’s newspaper, The Banner, and as president of our Veterans’ Association, among other contributions to the university. She recently completed a prestigious internship at Northern Virginia Magazine, where she wrote over 20 articles, many for the magazine’s website, and several for its print issues.

  • Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.37.59 PMHope Davis,  who  received a Senior Leadership Award at this year’s Recognition Day Awards Ceremony for her work as  Secretary and Vice President of Marymount Actors’ Guild and  her many roles on the Marymount stage. She also worked as a Peer Mentor and was a writer for the campus newspaper, The Banner.

  • Richard Henkle, this year’s winner of the Sean Hoare Travel Award,  who presented his original short fiction work titled “This Isn’t For You,” at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta National Conference in Minneapolis this March. He also served as our chapter representative to Sigma Tau Delta, and attended the business meetings on behalf of Marymount University at the conference.

  • Elizabeth Ricketts, this year’s outstanding graduate student in English and Humanities, who  has presented her scholarship at prestigious professional academic venues and conferences, including Georgetown University, the Virginia Humanities Conference, and the American ConferenceIMG_0821 for Irish Studies. This spring, she will return to the American Conference for Irish Studies (at Notre Dame this year) to present a paper on Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” that resulted from an independent study with Dr. Tonya Howe. In Fall 2016, she will begin her doctoral studies at Florida State University. She has been admitted and awarded a graduate teaching assistant, with full funding and a stipend.

  • Moani Lum, whose  paper on Steinbeck’s use of Milton’s Paradise Lost in the descriptions of Oklahoma in The Grapes of Wrath was accepted for presentation at the International Steinbeck conference at San Jose State University this May.

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End of Year Happenings

The Marymount English department had a busy month!

  • On April 26, the English department hosted speaker Dr. Alok Yadav. Dr. Yadav, an English professor at George Mason University, discussed differences in the ways that 18th century readers and contemporary readers interact with novels. The informative talk paired nicely with Dr. Tonya Howe’s class, “Origins of the Novel,” covering much of the same literature as was discussed in the classroom (Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, Daniel Defoe’s Roxana, and Frances Burney’s Evelina, to name a few).
  • 251f3253-9868-4cba-9c90-939758777605Dr. Katie Peebles and Prof. Andrew Bowen, took this semester’s Spanish classes on an outing to SER (simple. easy. real.) in downtown Arlington.
  • Dr. Sarah Ficke’s class worked on the English Department’s main bulletin board. Dr. Ficke says, “I assigned this project to the class because this spring was Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday (April 21st),  and Brontë fans bronte-bulletin-board-spring-2016_26560256630_oand scholars around the world are celebrating her life and achievements, as well as the lives and achievements of her younger sisters, Emily and Anne. I wanted the students to bring that celebration to the Marymount community.”


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Thesis Presentation: Elizabeth Ricketts

Elizabeth Ricketts will be presenting  her thesis, “Spenser’s Colonialism and Shakespeare’s Critique:unnamed The ‘Irish Question’ and the Nine Years War in View of the Present State of Ireland, The Faerie Queene, and Troilus and Cressida,” next week. Elizabeth’s thesis presentation will take place on May 4 at 5PM in the Lee Reception Room, located in the Reinsch Library. Elizabeth has been a part of the Marymount community since Fall 2012. Starting in the fall of this year, Liz will attend the University of South Florida in Tampa pursuing her Ph.D. in English focusing on Irish Literature.


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English Night Celebration 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 9.16.48 PMThis year’s English Night was a wonderful tribute to the various accomplishments of Marymount’s English students, faculty, and alumni. Dr. Holly Karapetkova, who is just finishing her first year as Department Chair, kicked off the event with words of praise and encouragement. Students completing degrees in the different programs within the English department were recognized for their hard work and dedication.

Graduating in 2015-16:

Bachelor of Arts Degree: Gabrielle Ampadu-Boateng, Amanda Bourne, Katelyn Breen, Angelica Brewer, Kaylun Bryant, Ariana Calvo, Gloria Cross-Porter, Hope Davis, Peter Lengyel, Albert Paley, Janae Pickett, Ashley Tucker, Walker Valdez, Ainsley Van Over, Rachel Viernes, Adrienne West, Leticia Zelaya.IMG_2769

English Minors: Veda Frye, Amanda Ghobadi, Madison Herbert.

Master of Arts Degree: Calvery Cooper, Dalva De Faria-Toulouse, Tiffany Green, Anjelica Michael, Elizabeth Ricketts.

Teaching English at the Community College Certificate: Sharon Barber.

Magnificat Awards

After each of the graduating students was congratulated for their success, Dr. Sarah Ficke took to the podium to announce the release of this year’s issue of Magnificat, Marymount’s journal of undergraduate non-fiction. She then presented the Robert Reed Award, which is presented annually for the best writing submitted to Magnificat. The recipients of Robert Reed award this year were Nicholas Bensmiller for his essay “Sensibility in Frankenstein: A Case for Humanity”, and Leticia Zelaya for her essay “Ethical Translation and Intertextuality in Foe and Robinson Crusoe”. Dr. Ficke also acknowledged the hard work that Magnificat’s Editorial and Review Board put in to this issue. Amanda Bourne, Joanna Chenaille, Madison Herbert, Peter Lengyel, Leora Lihach, and Adrienne West devoted their time and energy to carefully reviewing submissions, selecting essays to be included, and then editing the chosen essays. The current issue can be found on Magnificat’s blog, and if you’re a member of the Marymount community and would like a paper copy, you can contact the editorial staff at

Ludlow Award

Next, Dr. Tonya Howe took the stage to announce the winner of the Evelyn Ludlow Award, which is presented annually to the best research essay submitted in the English Senior Seminar course. Dr. Howe taught the Senior Seminar last Fall, and described what a rewarding and fascinating experience it was for the students as well as herself. She praised the excellent work of all of the students in the course, but three were recognized in particular as finalists for the Ludlow Award: Angelica Brewer (“The Power of Voodoo”), Ashley Tucker (“Considering the Autobiographical ‘I’: Between Self-Narration and Fiction”), and Leticia Zelaya (“Ethical Translation and Intertextuality in Foe and Robinson Crusoe“). All three of these impressive essays are included in this year’s Magnificat. Finally, Dr. Howe announced that the recipient of the Ludlow Award was Angelica Brewer for her essay “The Power of Voodoo”, which argues that Jean Rhys’ rewriting of superstition in Jane Eyre as obeah in Wide Sargasso Sea works to undermine the cultural authority of Bronte’s canonical novel. Leticia Zelaya and Ashley Tucker were awarded honorable mention for their excellent work.

Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Dr. Karapetkova returned to the podium to announce the recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Award, which is presented annually to one undergraduate student in the Department of Literature and Languages. This year, the award was presented to Amanda Bourne. Dr. KIMG_2774arapetkova praised Amanda’s dedication to her studies as well as her involvement in the department, and congratulated Amanda for her success.

Sean Hoare Travel Award

Dr. Amy Scott-Douglass, Director of the Graduate Program in English and Humanities, was next to speak. Before presenting the Sean Hoare Travel Award, which is awarded for travel to a conference for an outstanding graduate presentation, Dr. Scott-Douglass gave a touching tribute to Dr. Hoare. Joined on stage by Dr. Hoare’s wife, Roxanne Rhodes Hoare, Dr. Scott-Douglass fondly remembered the former Marymount professor of literature who passed away in 2012. This year, the Sean Hoare Travel Award was presented to graduate student Richard Henkle, who presented an original piece of fiction titled “This Isn’t for You” at the Sigma Tau Delta 2016 International Convention in Minneapolis, MN.

Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Next, Dr. Scott-Douglass presented the Outstanding Graduate Award, which is presented annually to one graduate student in the Department of English and Humanities.  Dr. Scott-Douglass’ admiration and respect for this year’s recipient were obvious, and she praised this student’s drive and commitment to her studies. She presented the award to Elizabeth Ricketts, who will be continuing her studies in the fall at the University of South Florida. Ms. Ricketts will be a student in the English Ph.D. program at USF, and she has been awarded full funding for her studies, as well as a stipend and a position as a graduate assistant teacher.

Because she is stepping down as Director of the Graduate Program in English & Humanities after this semester, Dr. Scott-Douglass also took the time to recognize the Graduate Assistants who have worked with her during her time as head of the program. She thanked Shelly Aboagye, Sharon Barber, Kaitlyn Giblin, Tiffany Green, Moani Lum, Anjelica Michael, Elizabeth Ricketts, and Rongling Tang for their help as GA’s. Dr. David Brown will take over as Director of the Graduate Program in English & Humanities in the fall.

Alumni Career Panel

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.21.45 PMAfter the students were all recognized for their achievements and the awards were presented, there was a special alumni presentation titled “Getting Started in Your Career: 4 Recent Alums”. The presentation included four panelists who discussed their experiences following their graduation from Marymount. The panelists were:

Eric Brooks, ’15 (8th Grade Language Arts teacher at Aberdeen Middle School)

Adrianne Morris, ’12 (Ph.D. candidate and adjunct professor, George Mason University; Online Editor, 5 O’Clock Publishing)

Delaura Mosby, ’14 (Program Coordinator at Children’s National Hospital)

Anglea White, ’14 (Metadata Writer at Crawford Media Services)

The panel offered students a sense of the wide range of career options available to people with degrees in English.IMG_2768After the alumni presentation, everyone gathered in the Lee Reception Room for refreshments and conversation. English Night was a wonderful success this year, and we are so proud of all of the members of the Marymount English department community!

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Spring Visiting Poetry Series: E . Ethelbert Miller

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Photo Credit: John B. Parks

On Tuesday, April 5th, Marymount University welcomed E. Ethelbert Miller for its 15th annual Spring Visiting Poetry Series. The poetry reading in Reinsch Library Auditorium was followed by our first annual MU Block Party in the Lee Center Atrium. Both events were open to all, and our participants totaled 127 individuals—an impressive turn out. Marymount was pleased to feature Miller for the sixth time, making him the most frequently featured guest poet in the Poetry Series.

Miller is a well-known figure in the Washington DC area; his talents and accomplishments span from poet, to educator, to literary activist and beyond. The afternoon’s festivities began with a brief meet and greet where visitors took advantage of the opportunity to introduce, and in most cases, re-introduce themselves to the warm and inviting guest speaker.

Once seated in the auditorium, Dr. Kirsten Porter, professor in the Marymount English department and editor of The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, introduced Miller, giving a brief overview of his major accomplishments. His accolades include his Editor position at  America’s oldest literary journal, Poet Lore, the successful publishing of 12 poetry books translated in multiple languages, and most recently the 2016 AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) George Garrett Award for Outstanding Service in Literature.

Miller began his presentation by expressing his love for the art of poetry and the purpose it holds in our lives. He explained that poetry is a means to share the pain and celebration of life, to “heal brokenness and strengthen hearts.” He also described how he uses poetry to document his person1 (62)al experiences, and the experiences of others whom he has observed. Miller went on to read from an excerpt in his new collection called “A Series of Poems on Violence.” He expressively read riveting and emotional poems that touched on subjects such as school shootings, bullying, racial discrimination, and sexual abuse—many from an innocent child’s point of view. The language in his poetry selections was melodic but poignant in tone, and drove home important issues to the audience.

The next collection of poems, “Five Shards of White Going into Black,” brought Miller’s own racial experiences as an African American professional into light. The subject matter of this section dealt with every day undertones of racial discrimination, including odd encounters on public buses, the resistance to touch while exchanging money, and obtaining respect in educational settings. In all, Miller’s poems call out to the afflicted humanity in all of us, despite our race, gender or status.

After his reading Miller accepted questions from the audience. Below are a 1 (61)few memorable responses:

Q: What is the value of poetry?

A: Poetry’s value is immense. It shouldn’t be removed from school curriculums… poetry should be read multiple times for various interpretations; its meaning can change as time goes on. Poetry also has a visual appeal. For all scholars including architects, doctors, lawyers—poetry helps you in your plight for passion. Literature operates on all five senses and teaches you how to use your senses better.

Q: How do you know when a poem is complete?

A: The ability to know when a poem is complete comes with maturity in writing and a belief in your VW--4. blog pic book signing E smileown work. You have to have the ability to let your poems “go” and trust that they are in their best state. I imagine the beginning of poem like a window or door, and the words within in must be arranged in a way for the reader to move through easily without ‘bumping” into anything.

Ethelbert Miller’s presence at Marymount was a great creative influence on all who attended his reading. With his charismatic attitude and wholehearted approach to the literary art of poetry, Miller is able to use his work as tool for personal reflection, education, self-discovery and appreciation for others.


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