Creative writing student receives accolades
Joanna Ruocco says she always wanted to be a writer. As achild, she spent countless hours lying at on her stomach writing her epic novel about mice by pencil. The novel never came to ruition,but Ruocco’s dream came true.Ruocco, who is pursuing a PhD in creative writing at DU,has already published two books and just received the $15,000Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize or
Another Governess/ The Least Blacksmith-A Diptych rom Fiction Collective Two (FC2)
.“Joanna’s success is impressive and a testament to her discipline,” says Brian Kiteley, proessor o English. “She’s a belovedstudent.”Ruocco already has an MFA rom Brown University but saysshe attended DU because o its community o writers.“I’m totally blown away by the talent o people I’m in classes with,” she says. “It’s a privilege tobe around them.”Others eel the same about Ruocco. Kiteley describes her as modest, but tough. He says she’sone o the smartest students he’s ever had.“Her fction is very precise,” Kiteley says. “It strikes me that she almost never does anything that’s wrong or out o place; whatever rules she’s setting or hersel, she sticks to them.”Ruocco seems to delight in setting rules or dierent projects. She explains how in
The Mother-ing Coven
(Ellipsis Press, 2009) she used wordplay and drew on the Saxon and German languages tocreate a language or the witches in the novel.David Simon, in his review or
, described the book as “a laboratory in which sheconducts experiments by combining language and language-like systems — those that display bothregulated coherence and infnite exibility.”Ruocco says when she tackles a project with such heavy language she fnds that she oten works simultaneously on a piece with language that’s much more mundane. She did that with
(Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2010).“I change a lot rom project to project,” she says. “I get excited about fguring out a dierentnarrative, the logic and vocabulary. I try not to have a set idea about what I’ll produce — I like thatmysterious space eeling out what could happen with the language.” While Ruocco relishes her mysterious space, her ans know her success is no mystery. Still, sheis overwhelmed by her recent award by FC2.“It’s really exciting and overwhelming,” she says. “I eel very lucky that my work is beingrewarded with this kind o recognition.”
DU receives national honor for community service andservice learning
May typically is the time o year when students receive recognition or their academic achieve-ments. This year, the University o Denver also is being honored.DU was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation or National and Community Service (CNCS).The honor recognizes DU as a leader among higher education institutions or supporting stu-dents, aculty and sta in volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement.Out o 851 colleges and universities that applied, 511 were admitted to the 2010 honor roll.CNCS selects institutions based on several criteria, including the school’s commitment to long-termcommunity partnerships, measurable outcomes o community service, and the extent to whichservice learning is embedded in a school’s curriculum.During the 2009–10 academic year, more than 1,400 DU students were involved in servicelearning and at least 4,000 students perormed community service, which amounted to more than540,000 hours to help their communities.
—Amber D’Angelo Na
TEDxDU was rad
TEDxDU, an independently organized TED event dedicated to ideas worth spreading, brought20 speakers and performers to DU’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts on May 13under the banner of “radicalcollaboration.” Speakers includedscientists, inventors, spiritualleaders, artists, students and teachers. Watch videos of thespeakers at tedxdu.com.