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English MA Student and Alumni Symposium: CHANGE Schedule

With great excitement, we announce the schedule for our second annual TCNJ English MA Student and Alumni Symposium Schedule! This year’s CHANGE Symposium, to be held on Saturday, March 26thin BUSINESS LOUNGE, will highlight the research of our distinguished students and alumni. We are proud to offer this forum in which we can all share in the discussion.  Each carefully planned session showcases the individual and collaborative advancement of ideas that were born in our program’s seminars, poetry workshops, independent studies, and master’s thesis projects, featuring presentations that will explore the topics related to change and other opportunities to construct inquiries across movements, genres, media, methods, and literary fields.

Schedule of Events

8:00AM – 9:00AM Registration and Breakfast

9:00AM – 10:15AM Panel A – Changes in Convention and Form: Breaking the Limits of Life Writing

Sara Ashley Stammer, Chairperson

“Louis Zamperini, An Unbroken Piece of the Proverbial War Narrative Puzzle”

Originally written in ENGL 505 Literary Methods and Theory for Dr. Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle, this shortened version is a compilation of a variety of the pertinent facets of the original, longer argument.

Allison Greer

“Ignoring Veracity and Embracing Style: Kingston and Coates as Poets”

The paper “Ignoring Veracity and Embracing Style: Kingston and Coates as Poets” was written as a final paper for Dr. Ortiz’s 20th Century Multiethnic American Memoir class.

Matt Fuhrmeister

“Realizing the Authentic: Changing Tempo-Realities in Maus”

This paper was originally written for Dr. Ortiz-Vilarelle’s seminar on MultiEthnic American Memoir, and has been presented in a slightly abridged form.

10:15AM – 10:25AM Break

10:25AM – 11:10AM Lightning Round – Change in the Digitized Self-Narrative: Is Social Media the New Autobiography?

Nicole Dittmer, Chairperson

“Living Digitally: the New Social Technology of Life Writing?”

The paper that is being submitted was created in my ENGL654: 20th Century American Literature class with Dr. Ortiz-Vilarelle.  The paper originated as a final conference paper for the class and has escalated into an article for possible publication.

Ryan Gerber

“The Molecular Self: The Work of Auto/biography in Social Media”

My research was fostered by the Dr. Ortiz’s seminar on multiethnic auto/biography. Discussions of the strategies of auto/biography often touched upon a given text’s marketability. Considering the different ways in which social media is integrated into the market, I surmised that this may be the cause of the production of a radically different representation of the auto/biographical subject within social media. 

11:10AM – 11:20AM Break

11:20AM – 12:35PM Panel B – Change as Pedagogy Re-Examined

Melanie Frances, Chairperson

“Change as Pedagogy Re-Examined”

This study is the result of professional development that Melanie pursued based on independent interests in the subjects she teaches and the studies she has done at TCNJ.

Lindsay D. Rogers

“Antioppressive Liberatory Education as a Framework for Conceptualizing Public School”

This proposal was inspired by an independent study with Dr. Emily Meixner that focused on theorizing approaches to addressing gender in schools.

12:35PM – 1:35PM Lunch

1:20PM – 1:35PM Keynote Speaker: Erika Schultes, alumna (5 Year MA 2014)

1:35PM – 2:20PM Original Poetry Presentation

Corey Drake

“, S and other poems began as an EDM and caffeine-fueled fit of sibilants at 3:30am during his undergraduate Poetry Workshop with Professor Catie Rosemurgy, which grew into an obsessive project which has now spanned many years.

Allison Greer

The poems “Flies” and “House Cleaning” are original poems written as an independent project.

2:20PM – 3:35PM Panel C – Change as Binary Inversions

Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick, Chairperson

“‘I Would Boss the Whole Country’: Power, Language, and Postcolonialism in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

This concept was the result of my final project for Dr. Robertson’s 2014 American Literature graduate course. I had written on Twain previously, but was excited to have the opportunity to examine his text through a lens that not only had I not used before, but has rarely, if ever, been used on this particular work.

Lauren Makrancy

“Change in the Nature Poetry of Mary Oliver and Louise Gluck”

My research on Gluck and Oliver is independent; I have always been drawn to their work and wanted to uncover the parallels in their poetry and their perspectives.

Ashley Vogt

“‘Recitatif and the Reification of the Racist Self”

The idea for this project was born the first time that I taught “Recitatif,” attempting to use the text to help my writing students to recognize their own assumptions about race. However, it would not have been possible without the influences of Holly Haynes, who taught me to deconstruct The Gaze, and Cassandra Jackson, who first showed me my own skin.

3:35PM – 3:45PM Break

3:45PM – 4:45PM Master’s Thesis Presentation

Cara (MacNeil) Donoghue

“Gender Fluidity and Performing Control in the Henriad

Originally I was a directionless scholar but came into my full appreciation of Marxist and feminist theory through both Dr. Jo Carney and Dr. Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle. Their classes include innovative takes on Shakespeare and modern iterations of feminism (respectively) and I knew I wanted to push Shakespearean theory into a new place. My thesis was designed to revolutionize performance theory and use Althusser’s concept of IRA to explain the evolution of kings in the Henriad— this is challenging as there is a plethora of Marxist and feminist readings of Shakespeare the push to make this innovative involved a lot of reading and conceptualization that happily contributed to my emerging theory of fourth-wave feminism grounded in societal and performance theory.

Lindsay D. Rogers

“Exile Literature and Technologies of the Search for Home”

This master’s thesis was inspired by seminars with Dr. Piper Kendrix-Williams and Dr. Ortiz-Vilarelle that explored moments of epiphanal blackness and Latina autobiography respectively.

4:45PM – 6:00PM Panel D – Change in Monstrous Fantasies and Bodily Transformations

Robyn Gold, Chairperson

“Caught in the Briars: Disentangling the Narrative in Robert Coover’s Briar Rose

This paper was written for my Intro to Theory class, and combines my well-developed interest in the complexities of narratology with another area of interest, fables, fairy tales, and myth.

Angela Hontau

“The Battle of the Gods in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

My paper was written for my Theory class with Dr. Felicia Steele. I recognized that analyzing Frankenstein from a philosophy whose virtues differed from Christianity would change substantially the outlook and theme of Mary Shelley’s novel. Aristotle’s philosophy explains Shelley’s second title The Modern Prometheus and his view that life in isolation is possible only for beasts or Gods, led me to consider Frankenstein and his creature as beings of superhuman abilities — which is why the title of my paper is “The Battle of the Gods in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”

Alexander Maresco

“The Reality of Fantasy: The Politics of Sexuality in A Song of Ice and Fire

When I was given the opportunity to formulate an argument pertaining to any theoretical approach on any desired work in my Intro to Theory Course, I decided this was my chance to employ my invested interest in George R. R. Martin’s saga for academic use. Throughout the term, the strong connection between Feminist and Psychoanalytic principles caught my attention, two modes of thought operating intrinsically in this series, and from this lens my paper was born.

For more information, visit our website at, and join us on March 26, 2016 for a celebration of academic achievement fostered within and by our program!