Author: thereallukebell

An Interview with Elizabeth King

Elizabeth King is a MA student at Ball State in the English General Studies program. She received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Taiwan for the 2016-2017 school year. Since August 1, 2016, Elizabeth has been in Taitung, Taiwan, a rural county popular with tourists for its beautiful landscape. She has been spending part of her time working with local Taiwanese English teachers in elementary or middle school classrooms, and also improving her language skills and investing in the local community.


Winning a Fulbright is a big deal. What do you think made your proposal stand out?

I think there were two main things: one, I knew Taiwan was the right country for me to apply to, and two, I knew how my past experiences added up to make that the right place, and the ETA the right grant. I studied abroad in Xiamen, China back in 2011 and moved there to teach English for a year after I finished undergrad in 2012. After I came back to Indiana, I was a substitute teacher and was able to do some long-term subbing before I came to Ball State, where I have been a TA for the Writing Program. It was a lot of haphazard teaching experience, but when I started my application for Fulbright, I could see how it all added up, and how to demonstrate that experience in my essays.

Also, I worked with Dr. Andrea Wolfe to revise my essays, which taught me so much about that genre of writing. I’m not sure my application would have been successful without her help.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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 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


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!


Advice for Graduating Seniors

In just one short week we’ll be saying goodbye to our graduating seniors, though we hope they’ll come back to visit. In the latest installment of our Department Dialogue series, our faculty offers them advice on starting this new chapter of their lives, and our #bsuenglish seniors share their plans for the future.

Mai Kuha, Linguistics:

Make friends. It’s not easy at any stage in life, but your time as a student offered more opportunities, making you interact frequently with others who were going through similar experiences as you were. Your social network after graduation, in a new community and in a new job, may be one in which planning, initiative, and ongoing effort are required to cultivate connections with others.

Jennifer Grouling, English Ed:

Advice: It’s okay if the future is temporary.

Upon graduating with a B.S. in English Education, I was sure that I would find the ideal teaching position that I’d been dreaming of. Substitute teaching was something I resisted as temporary, and honestly, I thought it was beneath my abilities. But instead of stumbling into that perfect first job, I just stumbled. When fall came and I had no teaching job, I allowed my summer temp work to turn into my first full-time position doing data entry, not what I had dreamed, but it paid the bills. That fall, I left to go to teaching, but not the position I wanted. Rather, I started as a full-time substitute teacher, which led to a long-term maternity leave substitute where I not only taught AP classes but also directed the newspaper. That gave me the experience I needed to land a full-time teaching job. My take-away: don’t avoid temporary work when it has the potential to lead somewhere, but also know when to move on.

Eva Grouling Snider, Professional Writing:

Embrace those tricky conversations about what you do. You know the ones I’m talking about? Those times when a distant relative asks you what you’re doing with your life and you panic? They may be painful, but they’re also productive. Try to really truthfully answer, and listen to yourself answer. Don’t just answer with a few words, either: provide details. I do many things in my job, but when I have to articulate what my job is to other people, that’s when I find myself identifying my true passions, the things that I do because I love them, not because I have to. Knowing those things is the first step toward carving your own path in this crazy, crazy world, and talking it out is one of the best ways to know those things.

Lyn Jones, English Ed:

For our graduating English education students who are about to embark on what I hope is a long and successful career in secondary teaching,

  • Create and design a community, not just a classroom.
  • Engage your students in “tough talk” over topics of social justice; encourage civil disobedience.
  • Teach your students to read the world, not just the word. (Freire)
  • Model being a dreamer, a designer, and a user of the content you teach.
  • Believe in the power of student’s stories; make room for their stories in your classroom.
  • Design and delivery are both equally important when it comes to curriculum and teaching.
  • Discourse is everything. Always be mindful of what you say and how you say it.  Students hang on our every word.
  • Remain a learner… about literature, writing, and the profession.
  • Come back to Ball State… to learn more about your craft, to interact with students, or simply to visit.

Cathy Day, Creative Writing:

Way too many of you think that the path from college to career is a straight line, but English doesn’t map its curriculum to specific career outcomes, like other majors do.

You tend to think this way: 

As an English major, I developed the skill of writing research papers about villains in the plays of Shakespeare and the gothic imagination of Faulkner, which I’m sure will come in handy in this marketing position at Marketing Firm, Inc.

But the path from college to career is NOT a straight line. You have to think about how what we’ve taught you could translate to a variety of jobs.

Think like this:

My final project as an English major was a 25-page research paper on Faulkner, from which I learned how to independently manage large projects, appreciate other cultures, analyze and synthesize information, and form an original idea. I’d like to bring my communication and research skills to Marketing Firm, Inc.’s marketing department.

Rory Lee, Professional Writing:

People have told you, and they will continue to tell you, that the real world is like this or that. And in many ways, it is like this or that. In other words, their advice has value, and it can offer you insight. Advice–what this is–is important; I wouldn’t be writing this tidbit otherwise. But remember that such advice is always a way, not thee way, to see, do, and think about things. Advice comes from people’s accrued experiences. So use it as a means to guide and understand your own but not in a way that precludes you from doing and being you. So, in the spirit of this advice, feel free to completely disregard it. Oh, and have fun, be the change you want to see, be the pontificating third, and all that jazz.

Senior Mary Pat Stemnock will be attending Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.

Senior Lauren Seitz is participating in an exchange program through the Ball State French department and will be moving to Nancy, France for a year to teach in the English department of the Université de Lorraine.

Senior Amory Orchard was accepted to Ball State’s M.A. in Creative Writing program, and will be returning to BSU in the fall. Hurray!

Senior Daniel Brount is applying for editorial assistant positions at publishing houses in NYC.

Senior Evan Andreae will be pursuing any job that can get him experience in design, public relations, or marketing. His goal is to fulfill that “2-3 years experience” requirement he is always seeing on job applications. We wish him luck!

Senior Krista Sanford will be sending her work to literary magazines and publishers.

Senior Adrianna Martin is moving to South Bend and looking for employment or freelance work.

Senior Luke Bell will be applying for writing positions in Indianapolis and getting a cat.

Congrats to all of our graduating seniors! We are proud of you!

An Interview with Lauren Cross

Lauren Cross is a Ball State junior pursuing a major in English Studies and a minor in Creative Writing. She plans to graduate in May 2017, and then hopes to attend law school and concentrate in Social Justice. When she is not spending time with friends and family, she writes pieces for her blog and dreams of moving near a coast.

Last semester Lauren was a Legislative Intern for State Senators Lonnie Randolph and Greg Taylor. She was recently awarded the Senate’s Gudal Memorial Scholarship

How did you land your internship? What sorts of responsibilities did you have?

Lauren CrossI was cleaning out my inbox one day when I saw one of the internship emails from Cathy Day. I was determined to find something related to law because that is what I want to pursue after I graduate next May. Then, I came across the Democratic Caucus Senate Internship two weeks before applications, résumés, and letters of recommendation were due. I scrounged together everything I could, received a call granting me an opportunity for an interview, and then I received my congratulatory call on the last day. There were only ten Democratic senators, which meant competition was high for the thirteen available intern positions. I was assigned to Senator Randolph, Senator Taylor, and their Legislative Assistant, Andrew. I answered calls, responded to emails, met with constituents, met with people from various industries, tried to stay alive, and researched for pending and future legislation. Before this internship, I had no idea Indiana was one of only five states without penalties for bias crimes. How insane does that sound? Even so, Senator Taylor still fell short when trying to pass his bias crimes legislation simply because of his party affiliation. Needless to say, researching for bias crimes and bias-motivated crimes was my favorite responsibility, and without my research, this discussion in the Senate Chamber may not have even taken place.

What was a typical day like for you?

I had to be at my desk by 8:30 every morning, which did not sound tough until I commuted from Muncie every day during ice and snow. Once I got there, I immediately checked in with Senator Randolph, Senator Taylor, and Andrew. Typically, I ensured they all were aware of their daily meetings and committees, and I completed tasks as I was asked. Each piece of legislation is assigned to a committee before it reaches the Senate Chamber, and I was assigned to the Local Government Committee and the Criminal Law Committee. During these meetings, I took notes as bills were heard, and it was my responsibility to send them to the members of the Democratic Caucus. Then, during session days, I put together bill packets for each day’s calendar. Even though this did not seem like a huge responsibility, without these bill packets, the senators would not have each proposed piece of legislation in front of them during each vote. I was given an hour and fifteen minutes for my lunch each day, but if tasks needed to be completed in order to prevent the office from falling apart, I had to eat on the go or grab a quick meal at our favorite concession stand, The Snack Shack, in the basement near the intern offices. The end of each day slowed down a bit, and we used this time to respond to emails and phone calls before we left at 4:45. Rarely did this happen, though. We were lucky if we left on time.  But even though it was tiring and demanding, I would do this internship again without hesitation.

How did your English skills help you in your internship?

As English majors, we have to enjoy reading, writing, and research, but we also have to be precise and eager to improve. Being critiqued on our writing is pretty much a daily occurrence so when Andrew edited my drafts of letters to constituents, it was easy to not take any suggestions personally. It also meant I was quick to pick up on recommendations. Most of my time was spent researching, though, which was helpful because I am used to analyzing language and literature. I did not realize how helpful this was until I was asked to find similar language from legislation in other states concerning the bias crimes legislation. While I did not possess the hard skills other majors generally have, I was eager to learn, and would like to think I picked up on what was asked of me relatively quickly.

How did you receive your scholarship? What made you stand out?

The Gudal Memorial Scholarship is awarded to an intern each year for providing a promising attitude, a willingness to work hard, a high enthusiasm, and a smile. The staff spoke fondly of Rick Gudal, and this award was basically for someone who always came to work with a good attitude, which was my goal. I was one of the youngest members with most of my fellow interns being in their mid to late twenties, and some of them had even completed graduate school. While a strong résumé and years of experience may look better to some employers, I am thankful I was able to bring a little bit of cheer to the office during some of the most grueling days of my professional life.

What has this internship done for you professionally?

Before January, I was pretty quiet in professional settings. I am someone who would rather talk one-on-one with someone or with a small group, but I found this internship gave me more confidence than I ever could have imagined. It seems as though people in politics are viewed as crooks by most, but it was relieving to see these members come to work and put everything they had into trying to help their constituents. I was a witness to a true underdog moment every day in the Chamber, and there were days we streamed sessions from the intern office for the sole purpose of cheering on our employers. I also found my need to help others grew stronger along the way, and I am grateful as I near the day in which I begin applying to law schools.

Any last advice for #bsuenglish majors?

Enhance your résumé, but being stellar in your profession will not make an impact nearly as much if you cannot make people feel comfortable around you or if your coworkers think you would rather be anywhere else but your job. Wear a smile, and you will see the way it affects those who work with you. I promise.

Visit our Jobs & Internships page for the most up-to-date opportunities for English majors.