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ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

 

WALL OF WORDS

The Wall of Words provides a publication showcase for students studying in the suite of English creative writing courses. Writers of fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, and poetry select poems that  represents their voices to the broader campus audience.

The CURCA event gives faculty an opportunity to work with students

on selecting, editing, and presenting their very best, and in the process

create a twice-yearly anthology of student creative writing. 

PROJECT MANAGER

Alexandra Sienko '22, Art Major

FACULTY SPONSORS:

Dr. Beverly Army Williams

Dr. Michael Filas

Dr. George Layng

Dr. Rebecca Olander

 

 STUDENT PROJECT PRESENTERS

Listed By Presentation Subject Material

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RHENNA BARRY '23

MAJOR: NURSING

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

An Autobiography of Anzia Yezierska

Anzia Yezierska was one of the most influential female, Jewish novelists of the 1900s. Her stories focused on her experience as an immigrant in America and chasing after the American Dream.

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MAKAYLA CAMPELO '21

MAJOR: MOVEMENT SCIENCE

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

The Life of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

For my CURCA project I researched and put together a presentation on Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s life and background on some of his most important works. Vonnegut is an excellent author for people to know about because of his unique writing style and also how he calls out problems in society and politics through the use of fictionalized events and satire. These are not always very straightforward themes to find in books and are often hidden messages which is one way Vonnegut alludes to some of the world issues in the 1950’s-70’s. For those interested in a good read with a good message behind it, this presentation will both educate you on Kurt Vonnegut’s background and also his novels and why they are worth the read.

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JORDYN CARPENTER '21

MAJOR: BIOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Pechakucha

A pechakucha presentation describing the life of the infamous American poet, essayist and journalist, Walt Whitman.

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MAY CHIT '23

MAJOR: NURSING

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

The Biography of Gertrude Stein

There are many famous figures in literature and Gertrude Stein is one of them. During her time, she was an influential figure for writing many thought provoking poems and books, as she was influenced by cubism, modern art, and her sexuality. Her abstract and unconventional writing style of combining art and literature created pieces that made her stand out from the rest of the writers at the time. This PowerPoint presentation is created in the pechakucha style, where every slide of a PowerPoint is twenty seconds long. However, there are some slides that can be extended to forty seconds long. This PowerPoint is about the biography of Gertrude Stein, a famous writer and an aesthete, someone who greatly appreciates art. Her love of art, specifically cubism, has influenced her writing which made her stand out from the rest. Gertrude Stein has created many types of literature, and only few are well known but still impactful.

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NINA CUSHINKSY '23

MAJOR: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Biography of Zora Neal Hurston

Zora Neal Hurston, was an author, folklorist, and anthropologist. She was and still is a key figure in the African American community. Hurston moved to Eatonville, Florida, which was her main inspiration. Eatonville, was an all black town which she called her forever home. She was well educated. As she went to Morgan College in Baltimore, Maryland. Also, In 1918 she Attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. In addition, in 1925 she received her BA in Anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University college in Baltimore, Maryland. She made it a goal in her life to be a role model for black culture. She even went to Haiti and Jamaica to learn the rituals of the African diaspora. Her novels contain strong black cultural elements in them. After her death, author Alice Walker took interest in Hurston’s work and made it public to inspire generations of students. Her novels include her life experiences and the impact that being African American has had on her and how it can impact others.

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TRAVIS ENDERS '21

MAJOR: CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PSYCHOLOGY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Robert Frost

I am in a Honors English Class. For this class I have completed a Pecha Kucha about Robert Frost. The thesis of my video is that Robert Frost has been one of the most important and great poets from the Twentieth century. Throughout his writing he showed emotions and tension of one’s life. He involved nature into his poems and how a man's role is involved. His poems started to take lead after his father had passed.

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LIAM FOSKETT '24

MAJOR: ENGLISH

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Beat Writers, An Overview

This Pechukucha-style presentation details the historical context, important figures, thematic content and legacy of 1950's counterculture writers dubbed "The Beat Generation".

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JULIA ROE '23

MAJOR: NURSING

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

The Life of T.S. Eliot

For my English course, I had to complete a pechakucha presentation. This presentation is about T.S. Eliot. He was a well known author during the times of the World Wars. His writing reflected a lot about the the feelings that came about in society during the war and the heartbreak and confusion that came with it. A lot of Eliot's writing is still used in classroom teaching today.

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ELYSSA RUBIN '23

MAJOR: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Allen Ginsberg Biography

Allen Ginsberg is a man who faced a lot during his 70 years of life. His poem, “Howl”, that’s located in his fourth poem book series, walks his readers through all the pain he has faced. Ginsberg is a man of steel, as he has survived through a lot. My presentation is in pechakucha form, which is a short, timed 6 minute and 40 second presentation consisting of 20 slides that are 20 seconds each. This recording presents a biography on the poet, Allen Ginsberg, who is the author of “Howl and Other Poems” and many other poetry books. In my Honors American Literature Since 1865 class, we focused on his poem “Howl”, which is the poem my pechakucha was centered around. “Howl” covers the trauma and hardships that Ginsberg faced over the course of his life. My presentation is 18 slides with two of them having double the amount of time, 40 seconds. The two main sources I used are 1 Ginsberg’s “Howl”, and the other is from a secondary source, Biography.com. The several other sources I used in my presentation are the sources from where the images I found are from. The majority of my presentation is a biography on Ginsberg with two quotes that I included from “Howl” and a quote from the secondary source.

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IAN SCHERMERHORN '24

MAJOR: HISTORY/SECONDARY EDUCATION

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR JENNIFER DIGRAZIA, ENGLISH

Social Media As a Cause of Negative Self Image

According to a study including 1000 men and women cited in an article on the King University Psychology Department’s webpage, “87% of women and 65% of men compare their bodies to images they consume on social and traditional media. In that comparison, a stunning 50% of women and 37% of men compare their bodies unfavorably.” As evidenced by this study, the negative impact of social media on self image is unavoidable. Social media emphasizes a slim body type, which can trigger or exacerbate eating disorders, and can lead to other comorbid mental health problems. While this same King University article acknowledges that some positive impacts of social media have been noted, including its ability to act as a hub for body image advocacy and to provide a space for inclusive representation of a range of body types, the majority of people tend to feel like their bodies are inadequate after exposure to social media. While men and women are both impacted by a range of outside influences when it comes to the perception of their own bodies, social media has a disproportionate effect on women in particular. Using an interview with Westfield State student Paige Freeman and presenting graphs representing differences in bodily self-perception of both men and women, I argue that social media users need strategies to challenge that impact. While disconnecting entirely from social media is often implausible, I offer suggestions to help mitigate the impact of social media on body perceptions.

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SARAH TANNER '23

MAJOR: NURSING

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Richard Wright Pechakucha

Richard Wright was an inspiring black author. He was arguably one of the most influential black writers of his time. This pechakucha divulges into his life and his amazing works.

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BRIANNA TOOMEY '24

MAJOR: BIOLOGY & CHEMISTRY

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR JENNIFER DIGRAZIA, ENGLISH

Gender Gap Redux: Postive Pedagogy in STEM

Traditional lecture courses in STEM fields can produce an environment of negative feedback and decrease confidence in learning, allowing gender-based microaggressions and stereotypes to prosper. Such pedagogical approaches exacerbate traditional gender socialization that encourages females toward service jobs and men toward more rigorous academic paths, adding to the gender gap in STEM, especially at college and graduate levels. This project challenges the traditional lecture based teaching methods in STEM courses by introducing ways to focus on student progress and growth rather than meeting specific criteria. Traditional teaching methods discourage females from participating in STEM classrooms, depriving society of innovations that females have to offer. Social change can start inside the classroom with new teaching methods. Innovative educators in STEM suggest some methods include: having class discussions driven by student questions that encourage processing rather than lectures, using group activities and professor feedback for additional perspectives on problems, skill based exams rather than testing students solely on content, flexibility in grading, and reimagining what defines success or productivity in a class. In her Ted Talk, Dr. Reshma Saujani argues that using these methods can encourage students to risk being wrong, thus breaking barriers to the idea of perfectionism and increasing female representation in STEM, reinforcing that skill comes with practice rather than innate ability. As a woman in STEM, it is my hope to build a more supportive classroom community to build confidence and acceptance of females in STEM so we can begin to bridge the gap in the science world.

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SPENCER VAN TASSEL '23

MAJOR: ENGLISH/SECONDARY EDUCATION

FACULTY SPONSOR: PROFESSOR MICHAEL FILAS, ENGLISH

Context for Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions: Race Relations in the Late 1960s-1970s

In this project, I analyzed how race relations in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s informed Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. Vonnegut's direct approach to the issue of racism, among many other controversies in this country, and his passion for the topic, allowed him to create a story that makes all the problems with America feel fresh and engaging. His ability to speak so bluntly about such controversial issues made Vonnegut one of the greatest authors in American history. I compiled many of his ideas and the context for them in a video slides presentation, and provided additional resources and examples to demonstrate his work. Many of the ideas in his work are still relevant today.