Meet The Majors: Part I

Meet three of our new majors here at the English Department at The College of Saint Rose! I’m happy to introduce Sean, Vincent, and Derek. Though the photo quality is shaky, their interest in English is steady and strong. Following our tradition of “Two Truths and A Lie,” here is some information from the friendly trio:

-Once had a pet Chinchilla named Master Roshi who used to steal Nutella.
-Jumped off a 50 foot cliff on a bet to get a turkey sandwich.
–Taught my history teacher how to surf in Hawaii.
–I love to spend time gardening in the summer.
–Played two varsity sports in high school.
–Grew up in the Capital Region and have lived here my whole life.
–I’m an only child.
–Broke my leg playing football.
–Used to get shots in my head as a child.


If you missed the MA and MFA readings on Tuesday, April 30th, here’s a recap!

Matt Allegretti, “Some Girls and Other Stories”

Lauren Davis, “’We Lift the Veil': New Narrative Structure and Netflix’s Domination of the Television Industry”

Adrianna Gaeta,“Phasing Out the Linear Binary: Media Constellations of Gender Expression”

Sadie Hickman, “That Which Should Not be Known: Three Stories of the Senseless”

Monica Mitsakas, “A Case of Confession: Poems From a Blue Crayon”

Kelly Weiss, “It’s All About the Benjamins: Disability, Displacement, and Biopolitical Regulations in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

The first to speak was Matt Allegretti reading “Oikos” from his collection “Some Girls and Other Stories”. Matt described his writing as being structured by the ideas of minimalism and absurdism. Using his grandfather as inspiration, Matt created the character Charles Dell, an elderly man suffering from dementia at the Eden Living Complex where he begins to confuse his own life with that of Odysseus after reading The Odyssey.


Matt Allegretti

The next reader was Lauren Davis who read from her Advanced Project titled: “’We Lift the Veil': New Narrative Structure and Netflix’s Domination of the Television Industry”. Lauren began by mentioning the origin of her idea for the project: In Drs. Middleton and Fulwiler’s class, she was required to subscribe to Netflix to which she “subsequently became addicted”. Lauren’s project focused on Netflix’s original programming, specifically House of Cards. Netflix is changing the traditional narrative techniques of television by, for example, dispensing with typical episodic clues. Lauren’s reading pointed to critical questions of a relatively new technology and its effects on both cultural and economic modes.


Following Lauren, Adrianna Gaeta discussed her project titled: “Phasing Out the Linear Binary: Media Constellations of Gender Expression”. Adrianna’s project stems from personal experiences facing linear and binary gender roles. Adrianna argued that, rather than simply redefining the linear and binary roles, the entire structure of gender expression must be overhauled. Rather than linear definitions for terms like gender, sex, and sexuality, Adrianna called for a constellation of gender expression. By phasing out the old binaries, a constellation of gender expression will create a culture with no need for the “gender panic” that arises from encountering an individual who does not fit into the old binaries.


Next to speak was Sadie Hickman reading from her collection of fiction titled, “That Which Should Not Be Known: Three Stories of the Senseless”. The stories included within the collection are “Red Queen Road”, “Majestic Cinema 16”, and “Digging for Sandman”. Sadie’s writing reflects her interest in H. P. Lovecraft’s work and the idea of “cosmic horror”. Sadie read an excerpt from “Digging for Sandman” in which a soldier named Sullivan is “encountering something not of this world – or maybe more of this world than she is”.


Monica Mitsakas read next from her work “A Case of Confession: Poems From a Blue Crayon”. The title of her collection stems from a photograph of herself dressed as a blue crayon for Halloween when she was young. She read five poems, “Halloween 1991”, “First of the Month”, “Backyard Business”, “Eraser Marks”, and “Yeah, We Were So Punk Rock”. Monica’s collection, including the poems that she read, creates a memoir through poems related to specific moments or memories in her life.


Last to speak was Kelly Weiss reading from her project “It’s All About the Benjamins: Disability, Displacement, and Biopolitical Regulations in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury”. Kelly’s work studied the character of Benjy Compson and the depiction of his disability. In her reading, she presented a short video clip of the conditions of the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York (1947-1987), which is representative of the psychiatric institution that Benjy is eventually sent to. Kelly’s historicization of disabilities at the beginning of the 20th century leads to a better understanding of the role Benjy has in the novel.

Photo credit to Jacky Kirkpatrick.

MFA Student James Summa Receives Grant


James SummaThe College of Saint Rose is proud to announce that one of our MFA students, James Summa, has received a Graduate Student Research Grant, which he will use to compile an anthology of World War I poetry by women. This project was inspired by work James completed in Dr. Cavanaugh’s Modernist Poetry class last fall. James has received a $500 cash stipend to assist him in his research. After this semester, James will have completed nine credits toward his MFA degree with a concentration in poetry. We had a chance to speak with James about his work and his experience at Saint Rose.

How did you become interested in WWI poetry written by women?
I love history, especially military history.  I’m drawn to the writing of people who have had such extreme experiences.  There has not been much poetry published by women about war, especially WWI, so the need was worth exploring.  Obviously, a woman’s perspective in general is essential.  Women were primarily noncombatants, but their view is invaluable and necessary for understanding the cost of this or any other war.


What are your goals for this project?
Compile and organize a collection of poetry by women about WWI that is as comprehensive as possible.  My intent is to include poetry in languages other than English and from all countries involved in the war.  To my knowledge this has never been done.


How did the Modernist Poetry class with Dr. Cavanaugh help you with this idea?
It provided me the opportunity to conceive and develop the project, as well as receive advice and encouragement from Dr. Cavanaugh.


Are anthologies something you have thought about working on for a while?
Not really.  It was just something I thought of for the class project.


Any other ideas for future projects?
Not now, but I’ll think of something.  I may consider doing similar projects for other wars.


Where does your inspiration come from?
Mostly my family; the past; memories; the complexity in mundane things; my own twisted mind and my perception of injustice in the world.


Any information you think other students would be interested in knowing?
Not everything is on the Internet or in databases.  Libraries, especially the interlibrary loan system, are great things.  An understanding of copyright law is very important.


Advice for students who may want to pursue a project like this?
Make sure the topic is something you enjoy and have passion for.  Don’t waste time; life is too short.  Get to work!

Intern Profile: Hannah Fairbanks at Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany

photoHannah Fairbanks (right) interned at the Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany (NABA).  This is her account.

NABA is a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance and support to those who are visually impaired or blind.  The organization serves fourteen counties and helps people of all ages.

During my internship I worked under Michele O’Hare, the head of development and marketing at NABA.  During my time there some of my tasks included writing articles for the newsletter, entering information into the organizations databases, conducting interviews and working during one of NABA’s fundraising events.

I wrote several articles for their annual news letter as well as their website.  I wrote an article for their website about the Blind Golfers Association, asking people to volunteer as coaches.  I also conducted an interview with NABA’s employment specialist and wrote an article about the Work Experience Training program she put together. 

What I was most excited about was the mail appeal letter I wrote.  I wrote it about Lois Winner, an elderly woman with vision loss.  The mail appeal letter is sent out asking people across the fourteen counties NABA serves to donate during the holiday season.  This mail appeal letter will reach thousands of people. It was exciting to know so many people would see something I wrote.  It was also a nice experience that I got to meet and have lunch with Ms. Winner and read her the letter I wrote.

Another task that really stood out to me was my work during NABA’s Casino Night fundraiser.  The fundraiser took place at the Albany Country Club and had more than two hundred guests in attendance.  My job was to sign people in and collect their information for the mailing list.  Although the job was not difficult, it was eye opening.  Prior to this internship, I had no idea the amount of work that went into a not-for-profit.  They rely on donations to provide support to those who need it, making fundraisers such as Casino Night a big deal. It was interesting to see all the preparation and dedication from people working at NABA to pull off such a large event.

I benefited a great deal from this internship.  Before working at NABA, I had a very limited idea about what it meant to work for a not-for-profit.   I now know that it takes a lot of work, and you have to be willing to do an assortment of tasks in order to help the organization.

One day, I ended up making salad in NABA’s kitchen for a luncheon they were having.  My internship advisor told me that when you work for a not-for-profit you have to be willing to do anything to help out, and sometimes that means making salads. That’s when I realized that working in a not-for-profit is something I could see myself doing as a career.  I like the idea of never sitting and doing the same thing day in and day out.   I learned a lot about what it means to be professional as well as the importance of performing tasks given to me in a timely manner.

This internship connected directly to being an English major.  Working on newsletter articles each week as well as working on articles for the website allowed me to use my writing skills.  I also got to conduct an interview with a NABA employee, as well as people that attended NABA’s Tech Fair.  I had learned about interview techniques in an English class I took Freshman year which made it easier and less stressful. Furthermore, I had to write emails and perform tasks in a timely manner, which I believe is relevant for every major, not just English.

My biggest advice to students about to embark on the journey of finding an internship is to go somewhere you’re interested in but might not know a lot about.  Going to a not-for-profit was so beneficial to me because it allowed me to see another side of business.  In my opinion, there’s no better time to try something new then during an internship.  You’re really not going to lose anything from going somewhere you don’t know a lot about, you’ll end up learning so much.  I now know I would like to work for a not-for-profit which is something I would have never learned about myself had I not interned at NABA.  

Someone Up There Hates You Released Today in Paris

Someone Up There

Today is publication day of Hollis Seamon’s critically acclaimed novel,  Someone Up There Hates You,  in Paris, with the title DIEU ME DETESTE–and they really did it up right. Check out the poster on the Paris building below!

See more great pictures and comments at


Intern Profile: Samantha Short at The Sanctuary for Independent Media

Short Samantha photo1Samantha Short was the Social Media Intern at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY. Here’s her account.

My first duties were to create events on the Sanctuary Facebook page and website and create pages on the Sanctuary ticket seller website, I also helped create an entirely new segment on their website called People Power. In this part of their website, I created new stories about almost all of the people who volunteer and spend their time helping out with the Sanctuary. The People Power page has buttons that navigate you to each section of the page: for example, I created the Kitchen Sanctuary button, which has a different story for each person that has dedicated their time in helping to prepare and share food with the community. I have also written stories for the intern page, the Youth Media Sanctuary page, the Funders and Inspiration page, as well as many more organizations and people that volunteer. I also wrote up the press releases for their events of the Fall 2013 season, as well as attended some events to help out with the door and café.

Short Samantha photo3I met artists and presenters from all over the world who came to perform and speak at The Sanctuary. I have definitely broadened my horizons by learning about these different artists and organizations that are affiliated with The Sanctuary. I have not only learned a lot about these people, but I have also learned a lot about different types of media, which was helpful because I would like to pursue a career in that field.

After writing all the stories, descriptions, bios, and press releases, I now think being an English major was the right path for me. I enjoyed studying the different bands and performers that came to The Sanctuary as well as writing about them on the website to attract the public. When I first came to college, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my future, but since I started my internship at the Sanctuary, I think I would like to go in the direction of social media and public relations since I enjoyed my time doing this type of work.

Before I started my internship, I thought the only thing that English majors could do with their degree was either become an author or become a librarian. Since my search for an internship, I realized that there is a lot more that could be done with an English degree. I enjoy working with different types of media, and I have realized that there is a need for people who can write and communicate with others in the media world.

The Financial Value of a Liberal Arts Degree

For those of us with college and graduate level degrees in the humanities, like an English degree, we know how difficult it is to defend our choice. There is a prevailing assumption that there are no jobs for humanities graduates; four or more years have been wasted on an education that has no practical use in the job market. But those assumptions are starting to change due to new reports comparing earnings over the length of a career with degrees and majors.

“How Liberal-Arts Majors Fare Over the Long Haul”, an article posted online in The Chronicle of Higher Education, cites a report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities that finds graduates’ earnings with various degrees in the humanities, based on salaries over the course of a career, are on the same level as graduates with professional degrees.

“How Liberal-Arts Majors Fare Over the Long Haul” also points out that the level of education matters. Humanities graduates directly out of college, in 2010 and 2011, earned an average of $26,271 and increasing to $66,185 at peak earning age. While humanities graduates with only a bachelor’s degree start out earning less that graduates in fields like engineering, the report finds that humanities graduates that also earn a master’s degree see a significant increase in annual earnings, “median annual earnings rise of $19,550” according to the report.

As the report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities shows, the prospective job market for humanities majors is not so bleak after all. We English majors can carry our theory books, poetry volumes, and our own half-written novels knowing that all our hard work is worthwhile.

By Rachel Simonds