Zach Muhlbauer Selected For Phi Beta Kappa Writing Internship

Recent Geneseo graduate Zachary Muhlbauer (’17) has been awarded a six month writing internship with the national office of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honors society. As part of the internship, Zach will be writing articles for The Key Reporter, an integrative online newsletter run by Phi Beta Kappa.

During his time at Geneseo, Zach served as a Writing Learning Center tutor, a Writing Course Fellow, and president of Sigma Tau Delta. He graduated magna cum laude in May 2017 with a double major in English Literature and Philosophy.

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Geneseo Students Present at Annual Sigma Tau Delta Convention

Eight Geneseo students represented the English Department in March in Louisville, KY at the annual convention for Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honors society. The students—Marissa Bellusci, Kate Collis, Zach Muhlbauer, Amanda Saladino, Kristen Seaman, Veronica Taglia, Amanda Wentworth, and Melissa Whyman—were accompanied by Dr. Gillian Paku, who serves as faculty sponsor to the Geneseo chapter.

During the convention, students presented their critical essays or creative pieces as part of a panel of related topics (for instance, Gender and Drama in Oscar Wilde, or Cultural Theory in American Television), followed by a dialogue between the panelists and audience. The convention offered many opportunities for students to attend panels or workshops that caught their interest and to engage in conversation with fellow English majors from across the country, plus allowing some free time to explore the attractions of Louisville. Geneseo students were also able to attend a talk given by the convention’s featured speaker, the Booker prize-winning author Marlon James, whose fiction spans across several genres to explore Jamaican history and mythology.

At the convention’s student meeting, Geneseo’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta was awarded a prize in recognition of the chapter’s involvement in the society for 45 years.

All students who are members of Sigma Tau Delta are eligible to submit to the convention: for the 2017-2018 academic year, it will be held from March 21-24 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Submissions are usually due at the end of October, and the Sigma Tau Delta student e-board is always happy to help students prepare essays to continue Geneseo’s longstanding involvement with this valuable event.

Nick Friedman appointed Jones Lecturer at Stanford University

Geneseo English Department alumnus Nick Friedman has been awarded the highly prestigious Jones Lectureship at Stanford University. In March 2014, Nick was appointed a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. As a Jones Lecturer, Nick will teach courses in creative writing while also working to complete his first book of poetry. Previous Jones lecturers include Tobias Wolff, ZZ Packer, Nan Cohen, Ehud Havazelet, and Skip Horack. Two years ago this week, we reported on Nick’s selection for the Stegner Fellowship and reminded readers of his appearances in the New York Times’ T Magazine and on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Spend Mother’s Day at the tenth annual Peace Poetry Reading

The tenth annual Genesee Valley Peace Poetry Reading will be held this Sunday, May 10, at 2 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on the campus of SUNY Geneseo. Over 1,500 area students in grades K-8 submitted poems on the theme of peace for this year’s Peace Poetry contest, and over 60 of those students were selected as winners. They’ll read their poems on stage and receive prizes. Cuteness is guaranteed.

The event is free and open to the public.

According to English professor Dr. Rob Doggett who has run the Geneseo contest since its inception, “The goal of the contest is to give students the opportunity to reflect creatively on the theme of peace at a time when so much of what they encounter in the media is dominated by images of violence.”

Professor Doggett, aided by student judges and organizers at SUNY Geneseo, has grown this event into a major feature of the community calendar within the Genesee Valley: a Mother’s Day celebration at which contest winners read their poems to an audience that includes family, teachers, and area residents.

Peace_Cover2015“I honestly feel that this contest can help change the lives of students because it helps them to discover a talent that they didn’t know they had,” says Doggett. The contest has helped thousands of young people explore, reflect on and communicate about large ideas that shape their daily lives: What does peace mean to them? What brings them peace in their lives? How might young people help to create a more peaceful world? At times the students’ poems deal with domestic strife, or loved ones in war zones; at times they elegize hunting trips or calm moments with friends. The Peace Poetry Contest sparks conversations on all these topics, with the presentation chapbook a memorial for students to take home—and an inspiration to their peers.

2015 English department scholarships and graduating senior awards

Our previous post listed winners of the 2015 writing awards in English and Africana/Black Studies.

We’re also pleased to announce this year’s winners of the English department’s scholarships and graduating senior awards:


  • Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship: Meghan Barrett
  • Rita K. Gollin Senior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Jeremy Jackson
  • Rita K. Gollin Junior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature: Thomas McCarthy
  • Hans Gottschalk Award: KiayaRose Dilsner-Lopez
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Transfer Scholarship: Sarah Smith
  • Don Watt Memorial Scholarship: Kristen Druse

Graduating Senior Awards

  • William T. Beauchamp Literature Award: Christina Mortellaro
  • Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award: Sean Neill
  • Calvin Israel Award in the Humanities: Rebecca Miller and Liam Cody
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Memorial Award: Harrison Dole

We’ll be celebrating winners of scholarships, graduating senior awards, and writing awards today at 2:30 p.m. today in the Walter Harding Room, Welles 111.

2015 English department writing awards

Congratulations to the SUNY Geneseo students who took first, second, and third place this year in the categories of critical essay, diversity studies, first-year critical writing, research, creative non-fiction, literary fiction, and poetry. Congratulations as well to the students who won in each of three categories for work in Africana/Black studies.

John H. Parry Award: Critical Essay

  1. Sean Neill, “Towards a Theory of Auto Horror”
  2. Sarah Simon, “Erupt/Endure”
  3. Liam Cody, “Repurposing Bodies in ‘The Grauballe Man'” and Zachary Muhlbauer, “Tom Wolfe’s Never-Never Land (What?)”

Jérome de Rômanet de Beaune Award: Diversity Studies

  1. Meghan Kearns, “No Magic Here: Archival Violence and the Body”
  2. Kyle Parnell, “Disability as Metaphor in Curricular Literature: A Case Study on Of Mice and Men
  3. Emily Ercolano, “Kramer vs. Kramer: The Subversion and Affirmation of Masculine Hegemony in the Male Mother”

Irene E. Smith Award: First-Year Critical Writing

  1. Noah Chichester, “We Shall Overcome: Ferguson and the History of Black Protest in America”
  2. Sophie Boka, “Destabilizing Definitions”
  3. Halee Finn, “Optimism Can Influence Perspective”

Research Paper Award

  1. Harrison Hartsough, “Constitutional Rights as an Unfunded Mandate: The Problems with the Implementation of Gideon v. Wainwright in New York State”
  2. Connor Valvo, “The Place of Theory of Mind in The Catcher in the Rye
  3. Sean Fischer and Benjamin Wach, “United We Stand: An Ethical Framework for Literary Criticism, A Case Study Analysis”

Creative Non-Fiction Award

  1. Erin Koehler, “The Phototroph”
  2. Kathryn Waring, “Open Diary”
  3. Lara Elmayan, “Scavengers”

Lucy Harmon Award: Literary Fiction

  1. Katie Soares, “Kill the Carrier”
  2. Sophie Boka, “To Know One”
  3. Marissa Canarelli, “The Magpie”

Mary Thomas Award: Poetry

  1. Chrissy Montelli, “Aftermath of: Twin Mental Health Evaluations”
  2. Lara Elmayan, “Last Prayer to Mack Wolford”
  3. Codie Hazen, “[Unspecified Endocrine Disorder]”

Africana/Black Studies Award

  • Best Critical/Analytical Essay: Sean Neill
  • Best Research Paper: Cassandra Nicol
  • Best Creative Writing: Devon Poniatowski

English department faculty garner awards and recognition

These members of the English department were recognized for their outstanding contributions at SUNY Geneseo’s 2014-15 opening convocation.

Maria Lima

limaProf. Lima was appointed James and Julia Lockhart Supported Professor for Research and Creative Activity, 2014-2017. Prof. Lima’s scholarship has been fundamental in establishing Black British Literature as an internationally recognized academic field, and she is well-respected nationally and internationally for her work. Her essay “The Choice of Opera for a Revisionist History: Joan Anim-Addo’s Imoinda as a Neo-Slave Narrative” appeared in the 2013 volume of Caribbean Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (selected Proceedings of the “Islands-in-between Conference,” Grenada 2011). She was recently asked to join the British Arts and Humanities Research Council project on Translating Cultures – a three-year endeavor at the Goldsmiths, University of London. The Lockhart professorship carries a grant from the Geneseo Foundation for each of the three years it is held. Supported professors have the privilege of designing and teaching a course of their choosing and the responsibility of delivering a campus-wide lecture on a topic of their choice.

Gillian Paku

Paku_03Prof. Gillian Paku has been granted continuing appointment (tenure) in the English department and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. Paku’s research and teaching are in British literature of the eighteenth century, disability studies, writing, and writing pedagogy. In spring 2014 she taught an innovative course in which English majors preparing for careers as 7-12 English teachers collaborated with English teachers in the York school district and blogged about their experience.In fall 2014, Paku was the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2012, she was named a winner of the Innovative Course Design Competition organized by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies for her course “What’s In a Name?” Among her recent publications are two forthcoming essays: a comprehensive article on “anonymity” commissioned by Oxford University Press for their online handbook series and an entry on “Pseudonymous and Anonymous Publishing” for Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of British Literature, 1660-1789.

Wes Kennison

kennisonProf. Kennison, Lecturer and Fellow in the Office of International Programs, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. Prof. Kennison, Geneseo class of ’79, has taught courses at his alma mater since 1986. His recent courses have included Humanities I and II (both here and in El Sauce, Nicaragua) and Latin. He also co-teaches seminars for the Edgar Fellows program and is extensively involved as a workshop leader for the GOLD program.

Glenn McClure

GlennMcClure-JohnBrownDays-225x300Prof. McClure, Lecturer in English and Humanities, received the Joseph O’Brien Award for Excellence in Part-Time Teaching. Prof. McClure, a Geneseo alumnus with both a BA in Music History and an MA in Multicultural Education, teaches Humanities and INTD 105, and has been a study abroad coordinator and instructor in Italy, Ghana, Haiti, Greece, and Nicaragua. McClure is also an independent composer and arts integration consultant whose oratorio “The Starry Messenger” was featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

Irene Belyakov

Prof. Belyakov, Coordinator of English for Speakers of Other Languages, received the Harter Endowment for Faculty Mentoring Award. Since arriving at SUNY Geneseo nearly 15 years ago, Belyakov has made the campus a more welcoming place for students with diverse backgrounds and especially those for whom English is a second language. She has served as a mentor, supporter, advocate, and sometimes therapist for dozens of international students. She also mentors School of Education majors and other students whose future careers may involve working with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. In addition, Belyakov has offered workshops through the Geneseo’s Teaching and Learning Center to educate her colleagues about second language development and the kind of oral and written product one might expect from an ESOL student. Belyakov has dedicated herself to supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. She has been the faculty advisor for Pride Alliance and Hillel, and she has co-chaired the SUNY Geneseo Presidents Commission on Diversity and Community.