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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 30, 2007

UI English Department Honors Students

English majors in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the UI Graduate College were awarded a total of $50,000 in scholarships at two events in April.

Graduate students were honored for national and departmental awards and publications at an April 19 ceremony in Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Undergraduate students were honored at an April 27 reception in the Lasansky Print Room and Willis Atrium at the UI Museum of Art. The English Department honored undergraduate students with departmental scholarships and awards and those who are graduating with honors in English this spring or summer. To graduate with honors, English students must complete three honors courses and a thesis approved by a faculty adviser and a second reader.

Students are listed below by state and hometown.

Graduate Student Ceremony

Iowa

CORALVILLE: Jen McGovern, a doctoral student in English, received the Sandra H. Barkan Mentor Award for her work in the UI Rhetoric Department's Writing Center. She has tutored in the center for seven years and mentored undergraduate tutors in the Honors Writing Fellows program for one year. McGovern plans to return to the Writing Center in 2007-08. She has also been nominated for the Edwin Ford Piper Memorial Scholarship. The award, given for work in women's studies, was established by Janet Pressley Piper in memory of her husband, who was a faculty member in the UI English Department. McGovern was recognized for her work on 19th-century white and Native American women authors in her study of the publication history of captivity narratives. She received her master's degree at the UI in 2005 and is working on her dissertation, "Captive Audiences: (Re)Visions of Indian Captivity in the Literary Marketplace, 1839-1921."

IOWA CITY: Mike Chasar, a doctoral student in English, received the Dietz Prize for Poetry Criticism for his essay "'Words roll, spin, flare up, rumble, trickle, foam-:' William Carlos Williams and the Poetics of Billboard Discourse." Chasar recently co-edited a "poetries" issue of the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies with Adalaide Morris and Heidi Bean. His critical work is forthcoming in American Literature, and he will graduate in August. His dissertation is titled "Everyday Reading: U.S. Poetry and Popular Culture, 1880-1945."

IOWA CITY: Everett Hamner, a doctoral student in English, has been invited to this summer's Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College. He is a 1997 (B.A.) and 2000 (M.A.T.) graduate of Johns Hopkins University and a 2003 (M.C.S.) graduate of Regent College of Vancouver, British Columbia. Hamner also won the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. The award is administered by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and given to 30 graduate students nationwide whose work engages questions of religion or ethics. Next year, while exploring the job market, he plans to complete his dissertation, "Spectacles of Faith: Technology, Religion, and Modern American Fictions."

IOWA CITY: Sean Scanlan, a doctoral student in English, received the Frederick P.W. McDowell Dissertation Scholarship for work on the period of 1850-1950. The award was established through the generosity of the students and colleagues of Professor Emeritus McDowell. Scanlan was selected for his work in the real estate materials at the New York Historical Society, in the Washington Irving papers at the New York Public Library and in the archive of Harlem history at Columbia University.

Georgia

SNELLVILLE: Elena Passarello, second-year M.F.A. student in the Nonfiction Writing Program, is the recipient of the UI Museum Writers-In-Residence Fellowship. Passarello, of Snellville, Ga., and Pittsburg, Pa., received bachelor's degrees in literature, writing and French from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Her writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Slate, the Pittsburgh City Paper, Pittsburgh Magazine and is forthcoming in Ninth Letter. At the UI, her topics of interest include the human voice in performance. She teaches in the Rhetoric Department and tutors business students and Big Ten athletes.

Illinois

ROCKFORD: Nicki Buscemi, a doctoral student in English, received a yearlong Marcus Bach Fellowship for Graduate Students in the Humanities from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The award is given to graduate students doing work on intercultural communication and/or the understanding of diverse philosophies and religious perspectives. Buscemi will use the award to complete her dissertation, "Diagnosing Narratives: Illness, The Case History, and Victorian Fiction."

THOMSON: Jessica DeSpain, a doctoral student in English, was awarded the Seely Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship for Teaching and Research. The fellowship provides a semester research stipend and the opportunity to teach a class based on her research. DeSpain, daughter of Rhonda Flikkema and Allan DeSpain, was also awarded a T. Anne Cleary Fellowship for International Dissertation Research, which will fund her trip to Britain to work on her dissertation, "Steaming Across the Pond: Print, Travel, and Transatlantic Culture."

Minnesota

MAPLEWOOD: Anna Stenson, a doctoral student in English, won the English Department's Award for Excellence in Advising.  This award is given to a graduate student working in the English Undergraduate Advising Office. Stenson is a 2005 Graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and has worked as an academic advisor for two years. She is interested in 19th-century British Literature.

ST. LOUIS PARK: Steve Almquist, a doctoral student in English, won one of the English Department's Best Essay Prizes for his article "Not Quite the Gabbling of a 'Thing Most Brutish': Caliban's Kiswahili in Aimé Césaire's A Tempest," which was published in Callaloo. He also received an Ada Louise Ballard Dissertation Year Fellowship to support the writing of his dissertation, "Linguistic Safari: Reading the Diaspora through Kiswahili." A graduate of St. Mary's University of Minnesota, Almquist holds master's degrees from both the University of North Dakota and the UI.

WORTHINGTON: Joanne Janssen, a doctoral student in English, was selected by the English department to attend Dickens Universe, a weeklong summer institute in Santa Cruz, Calif., focusing on the literature of Charles Dickens. Janssen holds a bachelor's degree from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. (1999), and a master's degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. (2005).

Nebraska

ASHLAND: Laura Capp, a doctoral student in English, was selected by the English department to attend Dickens Universe, a weeklong summer institute in Santa Cruz, Calif., focusing on the literature of Charles Dickens. Capp is a 2002 Creighton University graduate and has taught general education literature courses at the UI for two years. Her dissertation will consider Victorian and Modernist women poets and their use of the dramatic monologue.

New York

NEW YORK CITY: Jennifer Banash, a doctoral student in English, won the Prairie Lights Paul Sherman Award. Established through the generosity of the Prairie Lights Bookstore, the award is given to a doctoral candidate to aid in dissertation writing and the study of literature. Banash is a graduate of Arizona State University and the UI and is working on her dissertation. She has taught in the general education literature program for six years and co-owns and operates Impetus Press, an independent publishing house in Iowa City which focuses on literature that falls between the experimental and the mainstream.

Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH: See Elena Passarello of Snellville, Ga.

Texas

CLEBURNE: Jeff Doty, a doctoral student in English, won the Dietz Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship and the Malone Award for work on British literature from 1500 to 1850. The Dietz fellowship, established in memory of the poet and scholar Elizabeth Dietz, funds the recipient for a semester of research and writing. Afterward, he will teach an undergraduate course related to his dissertation. The Malone Award, established by the sister of Freda Dixon Malone, who received her master's degree in English from the UI in 1929, helps fund Doty's research at the Huntington and Newberry Libraries. His dissertation, "Popularity in Early Modern England," explores connections between 16th-century politics and the writings of William Shakespeare, Thomas More and Francis Bacon. He also won the Malone Dissertation Scholarship, a $1,000 award to fund archival research. Doty, a 1996 graduate of Rio Vista High School, holds a bachelor's degree from Tarleton State University (2000) and a master's degree from the University of North Texas (2002).

Poland

SIEMIANOWICE: Ania Spyra, a doctoral student in English, won one of the English Department's Best Essay Prizes for her 2006 Frontiers article "Is Cosmopolitanism Not For Women?: Migration in Qurratulain Hyder's Sita Betrayed and Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines." She was also selected to attend the Summer School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. In addition to being offered a UI Ada Louise Ballard and Seashore Fellowship, Spyra won an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, a highly competitive grant given to 65 graduate students nationally. Spyra is a 2000 graduate of University of Silesia and an award-winning teacher now completing her dissertation, "Cosmopoetics: Multilingual Experiments in Transnational Literature" under the direction of professors Mary Lou Emery and Claire Fox.

English Undergraduate Awards Ceremony

Iowa

ALTOONA: Ben Kirbach, a senior double majoring in English and philosophy, received the Louise P. Herring Scholarship. Herring was born in Davenport, Iowa. She received a master's degree in 1930, and in 1932, was the only woman on the UI campus to earn a doctorate. Kirbach is a 2002 graduate of Southeast Polk High School and the son of Eric and Kathy Kirbach of Pleasant Hill, Iowa. He plans to pursue graduate study in English.

BELMOND: Katie Pals, a junior, received the Helen K. Fairall Scholarship for the 2006-2007 school year. Fairall Scholarships are awarded to Iowa born and educated juniors or seniors, with preference to students interested in literature from 1900 to the present. Pals is a 2004 graduate of Belmond-Klemme High School and the daughter of Teresa Pals and Eugene Pals of Belmond. She is studying abroad at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, and hopes to attend law school.

CAMANCHE: Gina Petersen, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. Peterson is a 2003 graduate of Camanche High School and the daughter of Curtis and Kelly Petersen. Her critical thesis, "Some to Feel With," explored modern cinematic portrayals of female masochism. She is the editor-in-chief of earthwords, the UI's undergraduate literary review, and plans to attend law or library science school after working for a year.

CEDAR RAPIDS: Paul Sorenson, a junior, received the Holsteen Memorial Scholarship. This award was established by Jon Holsteen and Nancy Holsteen Lerner in honor of their parents, Charles Sophus and Ruth Gulden Holsteen. The Holsteens grew up in Burlington, Iowa, and attended Burlington Junior College before coming to the UI, where he majored in political science and she majored in English. The award is given to U.S. citizens majoring in English who demonstrate high scholastic achievement, good citizenship and talent in English literature and composition. Sorenson is a 2004 graduate of Xavier High School and the son of Eric and Roxann Sorenson of Cedar Rapids. He writes for The Daily Iowan and works for the Arc of East Central Iowa. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in journalism, attend graduate school or work in social service.

CLINTON: Allison Vickers, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. Vickers is a 2003 graduate of Clinton High School and the daughter of Dave and Karen Vickers of Clinton. Her literary studies thesis, "Queens and Junkies: Making and Breaking the New Scottish Identity," discussed the use of Scots language in recent literature. Vickers plans to pursue a job in student services for the upcoming year.

DAVENPORT: John Busch, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. Busch is a 2003 graduate of J.D. Darnall High School and the son of Jennifer and Robert Busch of Davenport, and Asheville, N.C. His nonfiction thesis, "Trajectories," examines the contrasting expectations and realities of unfinished life works. Busch is freelancing for magazines and online publications and intends to pursue a master's degree in the future.

DAVENPORT: John Sherman, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. John is a 2003 graduate of Davenport Central High School and the son of Kristine Lindberg Sherman and Daniel Sherman of Davenport. His literary thesis, titled "A New Suit for Easy: Walter Mosley's Portrayal of African American Characters in his L.A. Detective Novels," traces the African-American literary influences on Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins novels. Sherman will volunteer at the Iowa HELP Legal Aid office in Davenport this summer and apply to law schools in the fall.

DAYTON: Julie Eslick, a junior, received the Loring Memorial Scholarship. This award was established by Eric Loring in honor of his late wife, Sherry Simmons Loring. Eric Loring earned a bachelor's degree in English from the UI in 1969 and a master's degree in 1980. Sherry earned her bachelor's degree in English in 1970. Eric Loring is a faculty member in the department of English at Scottsdale Community College. Sherry Loring worked as a stockbroker before she passed away in 1990. This scholarship honors her memory and the pleasure the Lorings took in the life of the mind at the UI. Eslick is a 2004 graduate of Southeast Webster High School and the daughter of Roger and Judy Eslick of Dayton. She is an honors student majoring in English and classical studies, and plans to pursue graduate studies in early modern English literature and Latin epic poetry.

DES MOINES: Jordan Jones, a junior, received a Helen K. Fairall Scholarship for the 2007-2008 school year. Fairall Scholarships are awarded to Iowa born and educated juniors or seniors, with preference to students interested in literature from 1900 to the present. Jones is a 2004 graduate of Roosevelt High School and the son of Danne and Mindy Jones of Des Moines. He is an Honors Writing Fellow at the UI. He will study Victorian art and literature in London this summer and plans to write an honors thesis on John LeCarre.

DUBUQUE: Amy Domeyer, a junior, received the Helen K. Fairall Scholarship for the 2007-2008 school year. Fairall Scholarships are awarded to Iowa born and educated juniors or seniors, with preference to students interested in literature from 1900 to the present. Domeyer is a 2004 graduate of Wahlert High School and the daughter of Steve and Janet Domeyer of Dubuque. She is active in the UI Dance Marathon, works for the UI Honors Program and volunteers at UI Hospitals and Clinics. She plans to attend medical school.

DUBUQUE: Tara Kramer, a junior, received the Louise Herring English Honors Program scholarship. Herring was born in Davenport, Iowa. She received a master's degree in 1930, and in 1932 was the only woman on the UI campus to earn a doctorate. Kramer is a 2002 graduate of Hempstead High School and the daughter of Aggie Tauke of Dubuque and Dan Kramer of Dyersville. She is studying abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand, and working on a creative writing project about the rock climbing community. She plans to continue her endeavors in both writing and climbing upon graduation.

IOWA CITY: Abbey Furlong, a senior, received a Helen Fairall Scholarship for the 2006-2007 school year. Fairall Scholarships are awarded to Iowa born and educated juniors or seniors, with preference to students interested in literature from 1900 to the present. Furlong is a 2002 graduate of City High School and the daughter of Tom and Devona Furlong of Iowa City. Furlong is a shift supervisor at Bruegger's Bagels and will be attending the UI College of Law in the fall.

IOWA CITY: Melissa Schomers, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. Schomers is a 2003 graduate of Iowa City High School and the daughter of Russell and Roxanne Schomers of Iowa City. Her literary and cultural studies thesis, "Christian Isobel Johnstone and Clan-Albin: Rewriting National Identity," explores the tensions of English and Scottish identity in Scottish literature of the early 19th century. Schomers hopes to become a teacher and is planning to pursue graduate work in English literature or medieval studies.

IOWA CITY: See Abigail Kampman, also listed under New Braunfels, Texas, and Jason A. Fries, also listed under Urbandale, Iowa.

KALONA: Amanda M. Skow, a senior, will graduate with honors with a degree in English and an entrepreneurship certificate in July. She is a 2003 graduate of Iowa Mennonite High School and the daughter of Roger and Lynne Holdeman of Kalona. Her thesis, "Revolutionary by nature: Adrienne Rich's commitment to the Levinasian other," focuses on the revolutionary aspects of poet/essayist Adrienne Rich's work and the way that this work can be read through a Levinasian lens. Skow is involved in the UI club I-Envision, has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County for three years, and has worked with the Iowa City community and Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, on Project Holiday, which provides food baskets to people in need.

SOLON: Catherine Serena Cassel, a senior, will graduate with honors in English and women's studies in May. Cassel is a 2002 graduate of Solon High School, and the daughter of the late Brent Cassel and the late Mary Gotmer. Her double honors interdisciplinary thesis, "The Devil and the Womb," explored the concept of holy and infernal patrilineage in Milton's 1667 epic Paradise Lost and the contemporary DC comic book Lucifer. Cassel is an editorial assistant at the UI Press and hopes to continue her publishing career elsewhere upon graduation. She also hopes to pursue graduate work in English and women's studies.

SOLON: Stephen Schmidt, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. Schmidt is a 2001 graduate of Solon High School and the son of James Schmidt and Kris Brown of Solon. His creative nonfiction thesis, "Essays in Awkwardness," recounts his hilarious incompatibility with his own life. Stephen hopes to work at a newspaper, then pursue an advanced degree in nonfiction writing.

URBANDALE: Jason A. Fries, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in December. Fries is an Iowa City resident and a 1996 graduate of Urbandale High School. His cultural studies thesis, "The Ghosts of Avatars," examined the state of emergent gaming in online worlds. Fries works as a graphic designer and programmer for Web-based visualization systems and is weighing options for graduate school.

WATERLOO: Joel Jensen, a senior, received a Helen K. Fairall Scholarship for the 2006-2007 school year. Fairall Scholarships are awarded to Iowa born and educated juniors or seniors, with preference to students interested in literature from 1900 to the present. Jensen is a 2003 graduate of Waterloo West High School and the son of Craig and Karen Jensen of Waterloo. He plans to pursue a career in publishing.

WAVERLY: Liz Mick, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in July. Mick is a 2003 graduate of Waverly Shell Rock High School and the daughter of Ruth and Bob Mick of Waverly. Her literary studies thesis, "Denying the Father: Repudiation, Conflicting Inheritances, and the Love that Transcends in Faulkner's Go Down, Moses" focuses on the post-Civil War generation's attempts to come to terms with a slave-owning inheritance and how different characters choose different paths as they move into a new era.

WEST DES MOINES: Nina Feng, a UI senior from West Des Moines, received the Anderson Memorial Prize and will graduate with honors in English in May. The prize, named for Scott Anderson, an honors student, 1984 UI graduate and scriptwriter for popular daytime dramas, annually supports English majors who share his love of writing and imaginative play. Feng is a 2003 graduate of Valley High School and the daughter of Ping Feng and Jane Bi of West Des Moines. Her nonfiction thesis, "Dreamwake," is an exploration of the fluid state of imagination and reality centered on a young girl's experiences.

Connecticut

OLD SAYBROOK: Courtney Parker, a third-year student, received a Holsteen Memorial Scholarship. This award was established by Jon Holsteen and Nancy Holsteen Lerner in honor of their parents, Charles Sophus and Ruth Gulden Holsteen. The Holsteens grew up in Burlington, Iowa, and attended Burlington Junior College before coming to the UI, where he majored in political science and she majored in English. The award is given to U.S. citizens majoring in English who demonstrate high scholastic achievement, good citizenship and talent in the field of English literature and composition. Parker is a 2004 graduate of Old Saybrook Senior High School and the daughter of Maurice and Kim Parker of Old Saybrook. She is president of the UI Black Student Union, president of Chabad Jewish Student Association and co-founder of the Iowa Step Team. Parker is employed by UI Orientation Services. She plans to pursue graduate school in fiction writing and eventually hopes to attend law school.

Illinois

CHICAGO: Patrick Griffin, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in May. Patrick is a 2003 graduate of Brother Rice High School and son of Edward and Rose Griffin of Chicago. His multimedia thesis, "EVP: Bridging the Gap Between our World and the Spirit World", investigated Electronic Voice Phenomenon, a practice of attempting to contact the deceased through recording devices. Griffin is an America Reads tutor and hopes to pursue a career in the radio and television industry.

HINSDALE: Margot Satow, a junior, received the Louise Herring English Honors Program Scholarship. Herring was born in Davenport, Iowa. She received a master's degree in 1930, and in 1932 was the only woman on the UI campus to earn a doctorate. Satow is a 2004 graduate of Hinsdale Central High School and the daughter of Nick and Kay Satow of Hinsdale. She is a tutor for New Dimensions in learning and an active member of the American Marketing Association and Delta Gamma sorority. She hopes to pursue a career in advertising.

Michigan

FARMINGTON HILLS: Julia Mantey, a sophomore, received the Holsteen Memorial Scholarship. This award was established by Jon Holsteen and Nancy Holsteen Lerner in honor of their parents, Charles Sophus and Ruth Gulden Holsteen. The Holsteens grew up in Burlington, Iowa, and attended Burlington Junior College before coming to the UI, where he majored in political science and she majored in English. The award is given to U.S. citizens majoring in English who demonstrate high scholastic achievement, good citizenship and talent in the field of English literature and composition. Mantey is a 2005 graduate of Farmington High School and the daughter of Joseph Mantey and Kendra Schwartz of Farmington Hills. Mantey will study abroad in Delhi, India, for the next year, and after graduation plans to teach with the Teach for America program before applying to graduate school.

Minnesota

STILLWATER: Alissa Smith, a sophomore, received the McGalliard Prize for an Essay on Medieval Studies. This award is given to an English or comparative literature major who submits the most outstanding essay on a medieval subject. Smith is a 2005 graduate of Stillwater Area High School and the daughter of Matthew Smith and Anne Gardner of Stillwater. She is vice-president of the UI German Society and an employee of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis.

WINONA: Jenna Sauers, a senior from Christchurch, New Zealand, received the Scott Anderson Prize. Sauers is a 2003 graduate of Rangi Ruru Girls' School and the daughter of Daniel Sauers and Marie Kovecsi, of Winona, Minn. After graduation, she plans to pursue jobs in journalism, planning to enroll in a nonfiction MFA program in the near future.

Missouri

ST. JOSEPH: Lisa Raffensperger, a senior, will graduate with honors in English in July. She is a 2003 graduate of Central High School and the daughter of Maureen and Terry Raffensperger of St. Joseph. Her thesis, a nonfiction science essay on the Chesapeake Bay, examined the challenges and successes of its ongoing restoration effort. Raffensperger works for the UI Honors Program and performs genetics research in the lab of Dr. Jeff Murray. She hopes to pursue a career in science journalism.

Texas

NEW BRAUNFELS: Abigail Kampman, a senior, received the Margaret Leuz/Fred Einspahr Scholarship. Kampman is an Iowa City resident who grew up in New Braunfels, Texas. This award was established by John Einspahr in honor of his parents. Leuz was an Iowa City native who graduated from the UI Phi Beta Kappa in 1912. She taught English and Latin in the small town of Odeholt, Iowa, establishing there a "great books" discussion group in the 1940s. The award is given to English majors planning to teach after graduation. Students must be residents of the state of Iowa and able to demonstrate high scholastic achievement. Kampman is a 2003 graduate of New Braunfels High School and the daughter of Ted and Jenelle Eickelberg. She is a head tutor for the America Reads Program and will be teaching English this summer in Wuhan, China. Following graduation in December, Kampman and her husband plan to spend a year in Nairobi, Kenya, serving with a non-profit organization.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Program: Kelly Ruth Anderson, kelly.ruth.anderson@gmail.com; University News Services, Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070, nicole-riehl@uiowa.edu; Writer: Kelly Ruth Anderson