Melissa Rohrer Wins David Leeming Award

Congratulations to Melissa Rohrer for her well-earned $500 David Leeming Graduate Award for Service. This award recognizes one English or Medieval Studies graduate student who demonstrates excellence in service or outreach to the department, university, institution, or community. The committee noted that Melissa has tirelessly served the needs of the Department of English, especially its graduate students. She has served as both Vice President and President of the English Graduate Student Association, has served on other committees and subcommittees devoted to the improvement of graduate student life, and, most recently, she helped to organize and coordinate the interdisciplinary Early Modern Studies Working Group at UConn.

Nicole Lawrence Wins Francelia Butler Award

Congratulations to Nicole Lawrence, who has won the $500 Francelia Butler Graduate Award for Teaching Innovation. This award recognizes one English or Medieval Studies graduate student who demonstrates commitment to innovative teaching and reflective practice that supports student engagement and learning in a non-FYW course. The committee noted that Nicole has an impressive record of teaching accomplishments across the curriculum in English and in writing studies. Her work is especially noteworthy for innovative course design and imaginatively conceived assessment practices.

Dissertation Award for Abigail Fagan

Congratulations to Abigail Fagan, who has won the $500 Milton Stern Dissertation Award. This award recognizes the best dissertation submitted for a PhD in English or Medieval Studies. The committee noted that Abigail’s dissertation, “Bloated: Power and the Body in American Temperance Literature,” makes clear and creative interventions in multiple fields of study, providing a new understanding of women’s history in the nineteenth century and indeed of the idea of political activity in the broad time period she considers. Abigail’s claims are based on sweeping archival work and expressed in elegant, readable prose.

Literary Universals Workshop

Patrick Hogan, Arnab Roy, and Severi Luoto organized the Literary Universals Workshop in May. <>.

Literary universals include properties and structures ranging, for example, from genre patterns through metaphor and imagery, and from ethical or political themes through formal features of prosody. Technically, literary universals are features of literary works that recur across unrelated literary traditions with greater frequency than would be predicted by chance. Traditions are unrelated if they are distinct in their sources and have not influenced each other through interaction, at least not with respect to the feature under consideration. Thus, early Chinese and early European poetry count as unrelated by this definition, but Latin New Comedy and English Renaissance comedy would not count as unrelated. (For further discussion, see “What Are Literary Universals?“)

Though the study of literary universals was dormant for some time, developments in cognitive and affective science have revived the study of cross-cultural literary patterns, enabling new insights into their nature and origins. Moreover, the study of such patterns holds promise for contributing to our understanding of human cognition and emotion, thus cognitive and affective science themselves.

This one-day workshop explored topics in the study of literary universals. For information on speakers and topics, please consult the program.


Grad Landings

Wonderful news–Melissa Rohrer, Alaina Kaus, and George Moore have recently accepted some fabulous jobs.

Melissa has a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English at Kansas Wesleyan University.

Alaina has accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Southwestern State University.

George has accepted a position as Development Writer for the Office of Advancement at the University of Bridgeport, CT.


Congratulations to Suli Serrano-Haynes (’20)

Suli Serrano-Haynes ’20 (English, CLAS; English Education, ED) has won a 2019 UConn IDEA Grant for her project, “Bridging the Gap: Empowering the Voices of Black Women in University Classrooms.

 Suli is examining Black female experiences as part of university-based classroom discussions. The goal is to participate in the greater conversation–supporting Black Women pursuing higher education–and provide university stakeholders with information to better serve their students.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, entrepreneurial ventures, research projects, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all campuses can apply. Applications are accepted from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project.

Honor for Cathy Schlund-Vials

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Cathy Schlund-Vials is a professor of English and Asian and Asian American studies. She is associate dean for Humanities and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and interim director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She served as the director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute from 2009-2018 and has been the chair of the UConn Reads committee since 2015. She was the recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies’ Early Career Award in 2013 and served as the organization’s president from 2016-2018.

A Cambodian-American scholar, Schlund-Vials’s work is rooted in a personal history marked by statelessness, migration, and diaspora, and her scholarship examines moments of dislocation, rupture, and movement. Schlund-Vials is recognized as one of the leading and most productive scholars in the fields of Asian American studies, ethnic American literary studies, critical refugee studies, Southeast Asian American studies, and comparative ethnic studies.

Schlund-Vials is the author of two monographs and has edited or co-edited 11 collections. Her first book, Modeling Citizenship: Jewish and Asian American Writing, was a well-reviewed comparison of two “model minority groups.” Her second monograph, War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work, accentuated refugee subjectivity, international law, and human rights.

Schlund-Vials received the 2016 Faculty Excellence in Research Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the American Association of University Professors’ Teaching Promise award in 2011. She has supervised seven undergraduate university scholar projects and five IDEA grant initiatives; she has also served as the major thesis advisor for 13 honors students. At the graduate level, she has served as a major advisor for 17 graduate students and has been an associate advisor on 35 committees.

Aetna Celebration of Student Writing

Aetna Celebration of Student Writing

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Aetna Celebration of Student Writing will take place on Tuesday, April 30 (3:00 – 6:30 PM), Wilbur Cross North Reading Room.

For the Aetna Freshman Writing Prize — and poster presentations at the Celebration itself — we’re accepting student writing completed during any term from Summer 2018, Fall 2018, or Spring 2019.

Further information on the Aetna Celebration of Student Writing & Poster Fair is also available at the Aetna Chair’s website.

To give you a better idea of what such a poster fair/celebration looks like, you can also see a short video of last year’s Celebration of Student Writing & Poster fair.