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Department of English

Out in the Field:

See What Our Undergrad and Grad Alumni are Doing with Their Degrees

Carr, Jamie
DelNero, Michael V.
Lutzel, Justine
Michna, Catherine
Qin, Ying
Yang, Stephen


If you are a recent graduate of English, please send us news!

Stephen Yang BA 2008
"After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with my English degree in 2008, I worked as a community developer in South Boston and mentored a group of 11 urban, low-income, at-risk middle school students through the Americorps National Teaching Fellowship. In 2009, I took up a post at Philippine Business for Social Progress in Metro Manila and helped to develop a corporate social responsibility project designed to ensure that high school students who live in extreme poverty have equal access to school and a fighting chance in life. I am still doing community development work and currently considering several Masters programs in Education. My English degree prepared me for the professional field by exposing me to different methods of interpreting the vast and profound human experience recorded in Literature. The professors who guided my growth helped me develop invaluable analytical skills and a personal philosophy of how my life should be lived. These skills transform into a hard science on a day-to-day basis and I am proud to say that I feel adequately prepared to be successful in my career field. Taking English as my major field of study trained me to be an active interpreter of a world of signs, fostered my empathy for it, and nourished my aptitude to be an effective social change agent. My BA in English led me to a career that I enjoy and I am extremely pleased by what has come as a result of it.

Stephen Yang (far right) pictured with his Citizen Schools "apprentices" in Boston, MA.

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Jamie Carr PhD 2004
Jamie Carr published her dissertation, Queer Times: Christopher Isherwood's Modernity, with Routledge in 2006. She subsequently accepted a tenure-track position at Niagara University in Western New York where she holds the position of Assistant Professor of English, teaching courses in post-1800 British literature, literary theory and methodologies, and world literature. She also serves as co-director of the Women's Studies program. In addition to presenting at local and regional conferences (NYCEA, New York College English Association and NeMLA), Jamie has published an article on Leonard Woolf in The Virginia Woolf Miscellany and had another on Christopher Isherwood recently accepted to the journal Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds.
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Michael V. DelNero MA 2004
Michael V. DelNero has been pursuing his doctorate in media and communication at Bowling Green Stare University since the fall of 2006. He is currently in the midst of writing his dissertation, which focuses on the intersections of surveillance and apocalyptic imagination in film, video games, and new media art over the past decade. He has presented at several local and national conferences, and in March he's going to be presenting a paper on surveillance, class, and cinema at the annual Society for Cinema and Media studies conference in LA.
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Justine Lutzel MA 2007
Justine Lutzel is currently in her third year as a doctoral student in the American Culture Studies program at Bowling Green State University. Her dissertation examines the space of the mad-house in fiction and how we might use this sort of literature as a means of social justice for the mentally ill. Since she's been at Bowling Green State University, she has taught several different courses -- from Composition, Introduction to American Studies and Cultural Pluralism in the United States. This summer, she is teaching an advanced special topics ACS class titled "Madness in American Fiction." She presented a paper at last year's American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference at Harvard and this semester she will present portions of two dissertation chapters at the Northeast MLA Convention in Montreal, and The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists at Penn State University. She has also had three book reviews published, the most recent in Nineteenth-Century French Studies.

Justine writes: "I think of URI often and miss it terribly!"
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Catherine Michna
Catherine Michna is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, "'Hearing the Hurricane Coming': Race, Neighborhood Storytelling, and the Struggle for Democracy in New Orleans," at Boston College. Catherine's dissertation is an interdisciplinary urban studies and literary/historical analysis of the role that community-based writing, performance, and oral storytelling have played in social justice struggles during two recent crisis periods in New Orleans: the 1960s urban crisis and the post-Katrina crisis.

This past fall, she published an article based on one of her dissertation chapters in the American Quarterly. This article is titled, "Stories at the Center: Story Circles, Educational Organizing, and the Fate of Neighborhood Schools in New Orleans." Next fall, this article will also appear in a Johns Hopkins University press collection based on the special edition of the American Quarterly of which her article was part.

Catherine serves on the American Studies Association's K-16 Collaboration Committee, and she is also active with an organization called "Imagining America," which is a consortium that works to strengthen many different forms of public scholarship.

Catherine loves teaching, and at Boston College she has had the opportunity to teach four different seminar-style courses, including an upper-level interdisciplinary elective. Her elective was titled "Why New Orleans Matters." She took her students from this class with her on a service trip to New Orleans last spring. She also presented an analysis of this course and trip at last fall's Imagining America conference. Partly because of this elective, Catherine won her department's annual Graduate Student Teaching Award last year.

Catherine writes: "What I learned at URI gave me a wonderful and truly strong foundation upon which to build my PhD career. I am grateful to all of you."

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Ying Qin MA 2005
Ying Qin came to the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in September of 2007 and received her MA in Chinese literature in May of 2009. She is currently in the PhD program, with a minor in Print Culture. Additionally, she is working toward an MA in Library and Information Studies with a focus on print culture and the history of reading. Her dissertation will focus on the relationship between orality and text in the Chinese middle ages as reflected in literature and cultural records. Ying Qin: writes: "I think I benefited a lot from our grad program at URI, it was the starting point of my career change from computer science to literature studies. Without my experience, and the MA degree in English, from the URI program, it wouldn't be possible for me to do it. I'm enjoying my study here and enjoying the fact that I'm finally doing what I'm truly interested in."
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