Getting the word out: The busy lives and accomplishments of TU's English graduate students -

Getting the word out: The busy lives and accomplishments of TU’s English graduate students

The Department of English Language and Literature’s graduate students’ greatest success story this past few months has to be the amazing effort they have put into ensuring that The University of Tulsa’s Helen N. Wallace Writing Center and Writing Program transitioned to a virtual format. They helped dozens of other students adapt to a new virtual reality, enhance their communication skills and feel proud of the quality work they produced for their different courses.

TU couldn’t have made it through the transition without them, and we are all extremely grateful. As a sign of our students’ pedagogical innovations, one need only turn to Jamie Walt’s work last semester as a TU success coach, where she helped develop and teach a Strategies course for struggling students. It was aimed at helping students develop effective study, memory and comprehension skills.

Major milestones

Nine English graduate students wearing masks while on a Zoom meeting set inside a computer screen
English graduate students embrace virtual learning during the pandemic

Congratulations to all of our students who have recently defended their comprehensive exams, completed their abstracts and proposals, and made headway on writing their dissertations. The heartiest of congratulations go to those who have graduated: Caleb Freeman from the M.A. program and Carlos Acosta Ponce, Al Hurlock, Amy Pezzelle, Dayne Riley and Laura Thomas from the Ph.D. program. Congratulations to Carlos and Dayne for being chosen postdoctoral fellows in the department for 2020-21, and to Amy Pezzelle and Annie Paige for being hired as instructors at Tulsa Community College (TCC). Caleb will also be working at TCC as an adjunct instructor, while recent M.A. graduate Harrison Brockwell has taken a job as a production assistant at News on 6.

The jobs our students and past students take up couldn’t be more diverse or rewarding. Wendy Voss, in addition to being the community engagement coordinator for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, has started up a co-run business called Ready, Set, Apply, which helps students navigate the complex processes of college applications. Jamie Walt, as coordinator of TU’s Institute of Trauma, Adversity and Injustice, helped put together a training session on nightmare therapy. Meanwhile, Ph.D. student Jake Crystal used some of his summer to write a technical manual for the new software “Prestige Accounting,” scheduled for release in 2021.

Awards, accolades and publications

Awards and accolades are rolling in as well. Ph.D. student, Bethany Csomay received a bursary from the University of London’s School of Advanced Study to attend the T.S. Eliot International Summer School, which she will take up in summer 2021. Seona Kim received the 2019-20 award for Outstanding Writing Center Consultant and Annie Paige won for Outstanding Writing Program Instructor. Layne Farmen received the Women’s and Gender Studies program’s Graduate Essay Prize for his essay “Ursula Le Guin and Jokes for Plants.” Oh, and M.A. student Shelli Castor was honored with a spot on Jeopardy. Yes, that Jeopardy!

Finally, a sample of their diverse publications: Seungho Lee’s personal essay “What Home is Not” appeared in Oklahoma Humanities Magazine and this fall we’ll see two of Clay Cantrell’s poems published: “Ever Since the Rubbing Alcohol Incident” in Slipstream and “Monsters” in Packingtown Review. Meanwhile, Marianna Albom has completed a draft of her novel Epic Men, the first in a detective series about a man with the power to create things with his mind — but only things he finds amusing. Layne Farmen helped prepare materials for “Finding Our Voices: Six Renowned Composers Discuss Their Path Through the World of Music,” a virtual conversation co-hosted by the Tulsa Chorale and Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. And Nathan Blue, a new M.A. student, co-presented on Bob Dylan fan letters from TU’s Dylan Archive. Our students are truly getting the word out!


Are you interested in exploring your passion for literature and culture at the graduate level? If so, an M.A. or Ph.D. in English at TU could be ideal for you.