On the evening of November 27th, five Marymount Graduate Program alumni came back for a visit, and each shared their thoughts about balancing careers with their creative needs, showing that there is life after a humanities degree!
Nileah Bell is an analyst for the Department of Justice. She works in a writing group with her co-panelists Julie Allen and Mary Nyingi. Her collaborative projects The Hair Chronicles and Passing have been staged at the D.C. Fringe Festival. Their current project is a screenplay about the life of Zora Neale Hurston. Nileah says, “If it weren’t for this MU community, I would not have accomplished some of my big writing projects to date. I also think that graduate school helped with my writing and the classes I took gave me a strong appreciation for something other than my ‘day job.’”
Mary Nyingi is a partnership specialist for the Global Partnership for Education at the World Bank. She feels her education has allowed her an opportunity to be part of a great organization that has a goal to educate the most disadvantaged children. She works in a writing group with her co-panelists Julie Allen and Mary Nyingi and her collaborative projects The Hair Chronicles and Passing have been staged at the D.C. Fringe Festival. Their current project is a screenplay about the life of Zora Neale Hurston. She says she needs to work on projects that she is passionate about: “Passion is what drives me to stay up late at night to write or write during the weekends, or even when I am tired.”
Julie Allen is a project manager of multimedia and online learning at the American Counseling Association. Julie says that studying great works of literature through various theoretical lenses has offered her well-rounded insight to life, and advanced study makes us more open-minded and teaches us to consider ideas and beliefs we may never have looked at before. As a video producer and educator, she finds these skills to be invaluable both at home and at work. At work, her role as the sole media producer means she must take content developed by media-people and translate it into engaging material for a broader audience. She works in a writing group with her co-panelists Julie Allen and Mary Nyingi, whose work has been staged at D.C. Fringe Festival. Their current project is a screenplay about Zora Neale Hurston.
Jessica Mansilla is a business development manager for Best Value Technology, Inc. She says her company relies on her research and communication skills, and she’s a firm believer that her education in linguistics and how language works has made her a better communicator and team player. Her key projects are federal contract competitions that require her team to develop and describe solutions to potential customers. Her most recent project is motherhood, which she’s discovered is a massive project requiring great creativity!
Dr. Jon Harvey is an associate professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College-Manassas and the associate editor of the Northern Virginia Review, a literary journal for the mid-Atlantic region. He completed his PhD from West Virginia University in 2010, and has taught at universities including Harford Community College and University of Maryland Baltimore County. He uses his literary knowledge every day in the class room, and as an editor when he reviews poetry submissions every Fall to select the best for publication in the Review, which is published every March.
On Thursday, November 8, two Marymount English faculty read from recent publications of creative work at One More Page Books in Arlington, sponsored by the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. Dr. Holly Karapetkova’s Words We Might One Day Say, a collection of poems that explore love, loss, motherhood, and living between cultures, won the WWPH 2010 Poetry Prize. Dr. Karapetkova will be reading alongside Professor Caroline Bock, whose Carry Her Home won this year’s WWPH Fiction Award. Congratulations to these wonderful writers!
This October, Dr. Eric Norton attended the Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability workshop hosted by Creighton University to learn about the intersection of sustainability and ethics rooted in a Jesuit context. According to Jesuit teachings, we are called to act as agents for change in a world that needs healing. By engaging in a process of critical self-reflection, Ignatian Pedagogy seeks to enable students to become agents of change in the world. For Dr. Norton, this approach is central to environmental ethics, and informs his current work with the 19th-century American revolutionary Nat Turner.
Dr. Norton is also involving his students in engaged research in EN424: Senior Seminar. By writing about Nat Turner alongside his students as they develop their research interests, Dr. Norton seeks to embody the self-reflective pedagogy at the heart of Ignatian tradition.
Aspiring writers attended the world premiere of Long Way Down, a one-man show about a 15-year-old teen and the impact of gun violence, on Thursday, November 1st at The Kennedy Center with Professor Caroline Bock. The class, EN305: Topics in Creative Writing, is studying writing for young adult literature, and the play is an adaptation of Reynolds’ award-winning young adult novel by the same name. A lively talk-back conversation with one of the show’s producers followed the 65-minute production. An inspiring evening for these Marymount students!
Yesterday E. Ethelbert Miller, a beloved figure on Marymount’s campus, joined us for our biannual poetry series. Miller read from his new book If God Invented Baseball, and discussed the context of some of the poems and the process of the book’s creation. He also read from some newer poetry, including a series on Nat Turner, and spoke about his literary activism and relationships with writers like June Jordan and Alice Walker. Miller spoke about the changes in poetry and the changes in society he has witnessed over the course of his career and encouraged students to find writers whose work they love and find inspiring.
Photo by Kirsten Porter
Ethelbert Miller is the author of thirteen collections of poetry and two memoirs. Miller serves as the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and is a board member for The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. For fourteen years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, Miller delivered the commencement address at Emory and Henry College and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. He was a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012.
Miller is often heard on National Public Radio. He hosts the weekly morning radio show On the Margin, which airs on WPFW-FM 89.3. Miller is host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV, and his E-Notes has been a popular blog since 2004. In 2016, Miller received the AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. His The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, edited by MU alum Kirsten Porter and published in March 2016, is a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his career as a poet.
Miller speaks with MU professor Dr. Michael Boylan. (Photo by Kirsten Porter)