Nadia B. Hasan (BA 2002; JD 2006) braved her father's disappointment when she chose to major in English; he preferred pre-med or engineering. But her degree prepared her for the reading and analytic rigor of the University of Minnesota Law School and nine years thus far of law practice, first with Johnson & Condon, then Hinshaw & Culbertson, and since last summer in the Minneapolis office of Cozen O'Connor. These days, she notes with amusement, her dad claims he was the one who suggested English. Read more.
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How many first-time screen actors get to go to Sundance Film Festival with one of the buzziest films in competition? Naomi Ko (BA 2011) was busy January in Park City, Utah, with press interviews, brunches, luncheons, and parties around the acclaimed feature Dear White People (which was filmed on the U campus). Since graduating, Ko has acted and written for such local theaters as Mixed Blood, Theatre in the Round, Mu Performing Arts, and Bedlam. Last August, Ko heard from a theater producer she'd worked with, Jamil Jude, about movie auditions taking place the next day. Ko went, and she was the only cast member to win a principal role without an agent. The film follows four African American students at an East Coast private college. According to its director, Justin Simien, the film is "about the difference between how the mass culture responds to a person because of their race and who they understand themselves to truly be." Though the Asian American experience has been well-represented in theater, says Ko, there's as yet no Asian American film equivalent to DWP. "I'm working on one," she promises. Read more.
When Shae Moloney (BA) graduated in 2012, she was aiming for a career as an editor and writer, but she hadn't explored where she might find such work. Within three months she had secured a job that included editing and writing. The field was unexpected: human resources. She admits to nervously anticipating beastly labor-management brawls. But these days you can find her waxing cheerfully (and knowledgeably) about Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy, surrounded by snarling and growling beasts of the actual, not figurative sort. Read more.
This past spring, Regents Professor of English Patricia Hampl was honored with the Dr. Matthew Stark Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Faculty Award from the College of Liberal Arts. The award recognizes Professor Hampl's distinguished writing, teaching, and service in this area, including her work with the University's Human Rights Program establishing the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship. In 2011, Hampl co-organized an international conference devoted to the relationship between the personal narrative voice and human rights, "My Letter to the World: Narrating Human Rights." Hampl, of course, is the author of six celebrated memoirs, and she's working on a seventh. What's it about? Read on. . . .
This fall, the Department of English welcomes Dr. Elaine Auyoung as a new assistant professor here at Minnesota. Professor Auyoung received her BA from Stanford in 2005, followed by a PhD in English from Harvard in 2011. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Associate 2011-13 at Rutgers University, where she taught Victorian literature and modern fiction. Auyoung is working on a book about, as she describes, "the surprising way in which nineteenth-century novels cue readers to feel as if vibrant, expansive fictional worlds exist beyond the printed page." At the same time, she notes, readers know that "nothing in the novel exists at all"--resulting in a cognitive dissonance that writers such as Dickens acknowledge and even encourage. More. . .
Charles Dickens did it. And last year Jennifer "Goon Squad" Egan gave it a modern spin by presenting a short story via The New Yorker's fiction Twitter feed. Fiction serialization lives again this summer, thanks to BA alumna Mary Logue, who agreed to have her novel Giving Up the Ghost printed in chunks by The Star Tribune every day from June 9 to July 28 (it's also available as an e-book). "I just wanted to write a ghost story," Logue notes in an interview with Star Tribune books editor Laurie Hertzel. Logue is a Minnesota Book Award-winning author of mysteries, young adult fiction, and poetry.
The path from English into a career in advertising is one an increasing number of English majors make. It makes sense: As ad campaign creator Tina Karelson (MA '95, English; BA '85, English and journalism) notes, a copywriter or creative director has to think analytically about creative work, and write well--which pretty much defines the primary skills learned in English. Karelson is President of Creative (what Don Draper does) at Risdall Advertising Agency in New Brighton, Minnesota's seventh oldest advertising agency and, according to a 2013 Business Journal ranking, its seventh largest. This spring Karelson was honored as a CLA Alumna of Notable Achievement. Learn what she thinks of Mad Men. . . .
When May Lee-Yang (BA 2006) signed up for a class on Asian American drama from Professor Josephine Lee, "I didn't think of myself as a theater person," she says. Two years ago, she received a prestigious Bush Leadership Fellowship to begin planning the creation of a theater focusing on Hmong American stories. In between, she's written plays and performance art pieces produced at Mu Performing Arts, Intermedia Arts, and the Fringe Festival and was a two-time winner of the Playwright Center Many Voices Fellowship. She still thinks of herself as a "memoirist who makes a living doing theater." In the meantime, she's writing another play. What about? Read on. . . .
Matthew McGuire is a senior English and Philosophy double major who will publish a short story in the new issue of Ivory Tower, celebrated with a launch party Wednesday, April 24, from 7-10 pm in the Whole Music Club. The U's undergraduate literary and art magazine, Ivory Tower is edited and produced by students in a year-long English class. McGuire was a fiction editor for Ivory Tower last year, and his story "Silence Is Sexy" was accepted through this year's blind submission process. How does he begin writing something? "I get most of my story ideas from conversations with friends or bits of speech I overhear in public," he reveals. "Most pieces start with a voice, and then I try to experiment until I find something that works." Interview by Natalia Petkovich, originally for the Ivory Tower website. More...
The two winners of the 2012 Barnes & Noble Discover Awards are both Department of English alumnae. Cheryl Strayed (BA 1997) won for her memoir Wild (Knopf), and Amanda Coplin (MFA 2006) won for her debut novel The Orchardist (Harper). The awards, worth $10,000, were announced at a New York ceremony March 6. Strayed, who also majored in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, has been honored as a CLA Alumna of Notable Achievement. Coplin, a Gesell Award for Excellence in Fiction recipient while a student here, returns 7 pm Thursday, March 14, as part of the Creative Writing Program's First Books Reading at the Weisman Museum. Founded in 1990, Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program promotes books of exceptional literary quality from authors at the start of their careers. Congratulations!
Senior Jared Anderson is a captain of the University of Minnesota swim team, currently ranked number 14 in the country. From February 27 to March 2, Anderson and his teammates competed in the 2013 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Bloomington, Indiana, coming in fourth; Anderson took fifth in the 100 breaststroke. Both as a junior and a sophomore he received Academic All-Big Ten recognition. A double major (English and Journalism) with a minor in German, Anderson was awarded the Donald V. Hawkins Scholarship and Sharon Borine Scholarship from English. He blogged for GopherSports earlier this year about the swimming and diving team's training trip to Hawaii (give swimmers a day off, they go shark diving). Read on . . .
In the last decade, his seventh, social entrepreneurship innovator Jerr Boschee (BA English, 1966; MA, Comparative Literature, 1974) served as an adviser to England's Department of Trade and Industry Social Enterprise Unit, published his sixth book, trotted the globe giving master classes and presentations, was named three times to The NonProfit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50" list, and served as founding Chair of Encore! Service Corps International, which sends former Peace Corps Volunteers on short-term assignments in their areas of professional expertise. How did an English major arrive here? Read on . . .
As the president of the student group for English majors and minors, FUSE, Ana Bichanich continues a tradition of innovative programming that earned FUSE a Student Unions & Activities Tony Diggs Excellence Award. FUSE brings together undergraduate and graduate students in mentoring relationships and encourages students to learn more about their professors through informal lunches. More . . . .
Reina del Cid (BA '10) and the Cidizens are a folk rock band in the Twin Cities whose debut album, blueprints, plans, made radio station the Current's "Top 20 Local Releases of 2012." Reina (yes, her stage name) began her musical career while an English major at the U, posting YouTube videos popular enough to draw the interest of a major record label. As she told the Star Tribune, sticking to her studies felt right then, and now she's bringing literature influences to the music she makes with her bandmates. Or as she puts it, "I bring the words, and they bring the groove." More . . .
More than 20 years ago, he slammed at punk shows and poetry readings. Today, Arthur Schuhart (BA '87) is a dedicated English professor at a community college--which he characterizes as "the great transitional mechanism of American society." In between, he taught seventh graders in the Bronx as one of the first cohort of Teach For America recruits. Schuhart answers our queries about TFA, DCSlam, and his affection for military science fiction.