Spider Jerusalem

Emily Jo Scalzo Recommends “Transmetropolitan” by Warren Ellis

In this segment Ball State English brings you a selection of “Recommended Reads” to get you through the long Summer Break.

In this post, assistant professor Emily Jo Scalzo recommends a wild and insanely fun ride perfect for the summer, the graphic novel series Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis.

Why should we read this, Emily?

Some years ago, a graphic novel series, Transmetropolitan, by Warren Ellis, was recommended to me by transmetroan online friend from the Bahamas (who likes to cosplay the main character). The ten volume series made it into my collection, and has been toted thousands of miles through my last five or so moves. I reread it about once a year and continually find new aspects to appreciate. References to the Vietnam era, major works of literature and film, religion, politics, and our culture as a whole can be seen throughout. Straddling the genres of sci-fi, political thriller, and dystopia, this series toys with our hopes, dreams, fears, and nightmares, proposing a future both fantastic and terrible.

Transmetropolitan revolves around the antics of a very angry journalist named Spider Jerusalem, who would much prefer to be holed up in a mountain cabin with a stock of ammo. The fine print in a book deal, however, has brought him back to what passes for civilization. In Spider’s futuristic world, the City spans much of the East Coast. Humanity has developed fantastic and wonderful advances, as well as, of course, the horrible ones. The humans of Spider’s future have brought back extinct species. They can clone and mold the mind of humans. People who were cryogenically frozen at death with hopes of being reanimated in the future have found their dreams realized. With a protein, the problem of hunger has been solved. Humans can take animal form for a day, and can even permanently alter their genetic code to match an alien species.

And yet, humanity has failed to combat poverty and the foibles of human nature. Slums still exist, ravaged by terrible diseases that are entirely treatable. Reservations have been formed to recreate doomed societies for the viewing pleasure of the populace. The cryo-resurrected Revivals are ridiculed and persecuted for their culture shock. Those adopting alien DNA are dubbed “Transients,” subject to segregation and prejudice. Even though this future society has an abundance of wealth, has solved the energy problem, and has a host of technological and biological wonders, humanity cannot escape itself, especially when it comes to the political landscape.

This is where the Ahabesque anger of Spider comes into play: just as he is forced out of his hermit lifestyle, his America is gearing up for a Presidential election between the incumbent Beast and the challenging Smiler, which promises to sink to depravities difficult to imagine. Or perhaps not so difficult—it is, after all, an election year. Despite his best efforts, Spider is drawn into the election personally, in part due to his previous journalistic endeavors against the Beast, but also because of his investigative findings of this election, leaving him angry, disillusioned, and not afraid to use his stomping boots to make an impression. Or his favorite weapon, the illegal Bowel Disruptor set on prolapse.

As we get closer to November and become more and more fatigued by the election, many of us can perhaps find solace in the shenanigans of Spider Jerusalem. I know I will. I have my own copies at home, but Bracken library also has Transmetropolitan, so feel free to head on over there and check it out, along with the rest of the graphic novel section.

Blog Series Banner (Grad School Confidential)

Tiffany Sedberry Reiger

Tiffany graduated from Ball State with a degree in secondary education in 2008, from Purdue with a M.S.Ed. in 2013, and with a PhD from Purdue in 2016. She is currently focusing on writing and raising her newborn, Ezra.

For some people, college is the end of their academic career. For me, finishing my undergraduate degree at Ball State was the first of three degrees I would need to pursue my dream of becoming a professor of education. I enrolled in a master’s program in Literacy and Language Education at Purdue University in fall 2011 and in their doctoral program in fall 2013. I just graduated with my PhD this month, May 2016. While I have since decided not to pursue a job as a professor (mainly due to personal conflicts with my husband’s job and now having a newborn at home), I believe my time as a graduate student taught me very valuable things regarding higher education. A few things for people who are considering it:Sedberyy-Reiger

  • Graduate school will (and I believe should) consume you. Give it your all! Throw yourself in and experience all you can. But experience things that you enjoy or you will be miserable. I taught undergrad courses, researched for professors and collected data, supervised student teachers, made connections with local administrators and teachers, and presented at national conferences. Luckily for me, the majority of my experiences were rewarding.
  • Read and write all that you can. You have ample time to just focus! It’s a great gift. Read and write what you need to, sure. But also, read and write what you enjoy. A lot of people talk about how draining and terrible the dissertation process is. I loved it! I was passionate about my dissertation and loved reading and writing for it.
  • It is not an exaggeration to say that a mentor can make or break you. If any networking was important to success in graduate school, it was relationships cultivated with faculty. If the advisor assigned to you isn’t a good fit, branch out! Meet other professors and work with them or cultivate a mentor/mentee relationship over coffee. You need people in your corner who understand what you’re going through and understand the system.
  • The hardest thing about recommending graduate school is that most programs are preparing you to go back into academia as a professor. If you want to do that, great! But understand that some disciplines have a failing job market and there just are not enough jobs out there. If your program isn’t prepared or doesn’t prioritize preparing you for a job outside the academy, be proactive about it. During my PhD program, when I knew I wasn’t going on the job market, I made sure to acquire job experience that would translate elsewhere. I pursued jobs outside of my discipline and now have skills and experience that I would not have had otherwise. The opportunities exist!

Don’t go to graduate school just for the sake of going to graduate school. Be sure to have a specific goal in mind and a back up, just in case the first doesn’t work out. Also, I believe graduate school should be beneficial in several ways. I mentioned the academic and employment aspects earlier, but graduate school was also financially worthwhile for me. I didn’t pay for my master’s program or my doctoral program. I was paid to work for the university and received tuition remission. Several semesters I actually made what I was making teaching middle school.  Even though my goal changed, graduate school was a rewarding and profitable overall experience for me.

Consider carefully. Be passionate. Surround yourself with good people. Think long-term.

Robert Bell Ball Winners

The Robert Bell Ball was a magical time. We had a great turn out, tasty refreshments, oh, and we gave out more than $13,000 in scholarships! Here you can read about the scholarships awarded as well as our winners.


ELIZABETH MARTIN SCHOLARSHIP

The Elizabeth Martin Scholarship in English is a merit award given annually to those students who display the characteristics of scholarship, character, and leadership, which are essential for success in the field of English.

Valerie Weingart is a junior Creative Writing and Vocal Performance double major from Salem, Ohio. She is also a member of the Honors College and the President of Student Honors Council. In the School of Music, Valerie sings with the Ball State Chamber Choir and has appeared in multiple Ball State Opera Theater productions. This summer, she will be singing in Cancun, Mexico with the Opera Maya Program, then returning to Muncie to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. Valerie is very excited to join next year’s staff of The Broken Plate and looks forward to next year’s opportunities in both the School of Music and the English Department.

Hannah Partridge is a Sophomore from Brown County, Indiana studying Creative Writing with minors in Professional Writing and French. She enjoys poetry, young adult literature, and creative nonfiction. Along with writing, she is also passionate about music, and currently serves as the Coordinator of The Parallels A Cappella.

Cody DeHaven is an English student majoring in Literature from Kokomo, Indiana. He joined the English department after realizing that studying biology was not near as fun as being an English major. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Cody works at Bracken Library and teaches music at Elwood High school. He would like to thank Dr. Rai Peterson and Dr. Emily Rutter for their continued encouragement and support.

HANSON RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION AWARD

The Hanson Rhetoric and Composition Award is given annually to support graduate research in the field of rhetoric and composition.

Mary McGinnis is a third year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric & Composition. She holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in English & American Literature, both from Indiana State University. She also holds a M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Mary is interested in the use of transformative pedagogies and multimodal literacy in the composition classroom. Her research usually takes a gender studies/queer theory angle on public rhetoric and pop culture.

LESLIE AND PATRICK BALLARD SCHOLARSHIP

The Leslie and Patrick Ballard Scholarship is awarded annually to future teachers of English who display an exceptional devotion to the field of education.

Joel Summer is a junior English Education major heading into his last year at Ball State University. He is actively engaged in the Ball State Navigators, an on-campus Christian ministry group focused on sharing lives and time in building lasting relationships with others, and in the Learning Center, where he is a Level 3 Master Tutor for Spanish and writing. Joel loves anything and everything to do with Star Wars, he dabbles in a Lego addiction, and he hopes to always be willing to sacrifice himself and his desires for the good of those he is put together with in life (especially since he’ll be getting married this summer and knows he better start shaping up if he wants to stay married long).

Emily Mack is a sophomore English Education major and creative writing minor from West Lafayette, Indiana. She dreams of teaching middle schoolers and improving education for students with disabilities. Emily describes herself as a lover of of books, dogs, coffee, and summer camp.

BARRY WRIGHT MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Barry Wright Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually in recognition of artistic excellence in the writing of poetry by undergraduates at Ball State.

Elyse Lowery was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, South Holland, IL. She grew up with a strong sense of family and family drama, so that appears in her writing a lot. For Elyse, Ball State was quite the (positive) change from her high school experience, which was set in juvenile detention-like facilities and had few writing endeavors to speak of. In light of that, she’s very happy to receive this award and be making it on into her fourth year here at Ball State.

Levi Todd is the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community. He looks forward to serving as Programming Intern at The Poetry Center of Chicago this summer, as well as joining the masthead for The Broken Plate in the fall. One day he hopes to adopt a pug named Garbanzo. Levi is grateful to accept the Matt Jones and Barry Wright scholarships, and looks forward to his continued career within the BSU English department.

MATT JONES CREATIVE WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

The Matt Jones Creative Writing Scholarship is awarded annually by the Department of English to a Ball State University student who exhibits a dedicated interest in creative writing.

Levi Todd is the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community. He looks forward to serving as Programming Intern at The Poetry Center of Chicago this summer, as well as joining the masthead for The Broken Plate in the fall. One day he hopes to adopt a pug named Garbanzo. Levi is grateful to accept the Matt Jones and Barry Wright scholarships, and looks forward to his continued career within the BSU English department.

PATRICIA AND ANTHONY MARTONE SCHOLARSHIP

The Patricia and Anthony Martone Scholarship is awarded annually by the English Department to M.A. Creative Writing students who produce new writings about place and community, in particular about the Muncie, Indiana area, the state of Indiana, and/or the Midwest region.

George Hickman is completing the first year of his M.A. program in creative writing. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He will use the Patricia and Anthony Martone award to fund a visit to the southwestern U.S., where he will conduct research and interviews in order to add verisimilitude to an ongoing creative project.

Robert Young was born in Fort Wayne, IN. He has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ball State, where he primarily studied and wrote poetry. He also loves to experiment with other genres. Robert likes to write about everything from music to video games to outer space to kitchen appliances.

MIDWEST WRITERS WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIP

The Midwest Writers Workshop Scholarship is awarded annually to the student with a dedicated interest in creative writing who best demonstrates in the application essay and writing sample that attending that summer’s Midwest Writers Workshop will benefit the applicant as a writer.

Valerie Weingart is a junior Creative Writing and Vocal Performance double major from Salem, Ohio. She is also a member of the Honors College and the President of Student Honors Council. In the School of Music, Valerie sings with the Ball State Chamber Choir and has appeared in multiple Ball State Opera Theater productions. This summer, she will be singing in Cancun, Mexico with the Opera Maya Program, then returning to Muncie to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. Valerie is very excited to join next year’s staff of The Broken Plate and looks forward to next year’s opportunities in both the School of Music and the English Department.

DR. JANET ROSS SCHOLARSHIP FOR TEACHERS OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

The Dr. Janet Ross Scholarship for Teachers of English as a Second Language is awarded annually by the English Department to students who display characteristics of scholarship, character, and leadership which, in the judgment of the selection committee, are considered essential for success in the field of teaching English as a second language.

Emilie Schiess is a student pursuing an English as a New Language education license. Currently, she works at the Writing Center and the Honors House on campus. In her free time, she runs a blog about languages and education. Emilie is interested in teaching abroad and working in the field of language edutainment. She hopes to use her teaching experiences to develop accessible ESL materials and internet content for a variety of English Language Learners.

Morgan Aprill graduated last year from the English Department with a degree in Literature and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in TESOL/Linguistics at Ball State. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant in the Intensive English Institute and hopes to move abroad to teach once graduating, and then eventually return to the U.S. for her ultimate goal: earning a Ph.D.

Sharon Jackson is a long-time resident of Delaware County. She has raised two daughters here, one of whom graduated from Ball State in 2012. The other will graduate this week! She is an active member of the Compass Church in Selma, where she plays piano and sings on the worship team. She also coordinates the local food pantry there. She earned her B.A. from Michigan State University, and she will finish her M.A. next spring. After she graduates, Sharon hopes to continue pursuing her passion for teaching overseas as a missionary English teacher. She also plans to teach adult ESL classes in a community education setting here at home.

FRANCES MAYHEW RIPPY SCHOLARSHIP

The Frances Mayhew Rippy Scholarship is awarded annually by the English Department to fund research projects in the field of literary studies.

Hayat Bedaiwi is a second-year doctoral student in English Literature at Ball State. Her academic interests include Arab-American and Ethnic literature. She also has a burgeoning passion for cultural studies. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s of Arts in English Language and Literature at King Saud University. Hayat is also an amateur painter, amateur Middle-Eastern cook, and aspiring writer.

Danita Mason is in the second year of her doctoral program in Literature. She will use the Frances Mayhew Rippy award to fund her research in dystopian fiction and, particularly, in the portrayal of women in dystopian works.

DEPARTMENT HONORS IN WRITING

Department Honors in Writing are awarded each year to students with a GPA of at least 3.8 who also demonstrate excellence in writing.

Kristal All, English Education major

Daniel Brount, Creative Writing major

ACADEMIC HONORS IN WRITING

Academic Honors in Writing is a university-wide award granted to those Ball State students who demonstrate noteworthy writing ability.

Luke Bell, Creative Writing major

Sara Huber, Literature major

DR. JOE AND CAROL TRIMMER OUTSTANDING GRADUATING SENIOR AWARD

The Outstanding Senior award is the final award of the ceremony, and is awarded to a senior English student who goes above and beyond both in the classroom and out. Here is what our faculty had to say about the winner:

This person is awesome in the classroom. Talk to the faculty who’ve had this person in their classes, and every single one of them will provide rave accolades. As one of his teachers said, he is “an exceptional student and a wonderful person. He would be a perfect choice for this recognition.” Another professor called him “a tremendous example of an English major, a great thinker and student, and just generally an awesome person.”

But this person’s awesomeness could not be contained within the bounds of the classroom. This person is an incredible department citizen, showing up to and even helping coordinate events left and right. This person took advantage of seemingly all of the professional development opportunities the English Department offers: The Broken Plate, The Digital Literature Review, and even the department internships, where one of our faculty called him “one of the kindest office workers I’ve ever met.”

We have been privileged to experience such awesomeness in our department, but this person’s awesomeness extended far beyond that. He furthered the larger Ball State and Muncie communities through the Ball State Daily News and the Midwest Writers Workshop. He even spread his wings to an entirely different part of the country, participating in the New York Arts Program, where he interned with DAW Books and The Rights Factory.

But this person’s awesomeness will not stop there. He will most certainly be going on to great things, and whatever he does, in the words of one of our faculty, will “make Ball State so proud.” It is our great pleasure to present the Outstanding Senior Award to…

Daniel BrountDaniel Brount!

To learn more about Daniel you can check out his website, his book reviews, and our blog post on his experiences in New York City.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners. We are proud of you!