The Peripatetic Observer

Volume 10 • SUNY College at Geneseo, Department of English • Winter 2008

English Programs Popular and Influential
A Message from the Department Chair
Having just finished putting together our schedule of courses for the spring, I’m reminded of what a strong position your English Department is in and of how many positive changes have taken place during my more than twenty years at Geneseo. We now have over 400 majors, more than at any other time in over 25 years. Since enrollment at the College is about the same, that number speaks to the attractiveness of our programs and students’ recognition that we have a very strong faculty involved in creative kinds of work. In response to the growth of our major, our faculty numbers have increased. I’m delighted to tell you that for the first time since the early seventies, we now have three full-time Creative Writers on the faculty and two more who teach in the program part time. This fall, we were delighted to be able to bring to campus Kristen Gentry, a fiction writer who holds an MFA from Indiana University. While recently preparing for the program review that we do every six years, I was reminded that the English Department is the epicenter of numerous programs and activities at the College. In addition to running both the literature and writing tracks in the major, we house numerous interdisciplinary programs and crucial support services. Ron Herzman now co-chairs the College Honors Program, which recently has been significantly revised and expanded to include many more incoming students. Jun Okada directs the Film Studies minor and the Alan Lutkus International Film Festival. Caroline Woidat recently has been appointed Coordinator of the American Studies program at the College while she continues to co-chair the Native-American Studies Program that she founded with Michael Oberg of the History Department. Ed Gillin leads Richard Finkelstein: the Humanities Core Committee and Ken Chair Asher, the Comparative Literature major. In addition, the department participates in the Africana Studies, Latin-American Studies, the Women’s Studies, and Medieval Studies minors, and works with the School of Performing Arts to administer the Theatre-English major. Rachel Hall brings several writers to campus each year as head of the Geneseo Literary Forum and also runs the large Writing Learning Center, which employs 10-15 tutors that she trains to assist hundreds of students from programs throughout the College. Graham Drake puts in long hours as Geneseo’s principal pre-law advisor. This has also been a year of transition for the department. Marie Henry, our secretary of 27 years, who with department keyboard specialists supported all of these programs, retired from the College last spring. For many of you (and for most of the current faculty) she was the mainstay of the department—not just because of the work she did to support the department and its affiliated programs, but also because she was advisor, mentor, creative problem solver, and friend to many waves of students and faculty. With Marie in the front office, we could always count on all systems running smoothly. Over a hundred people came together for a festive dinner in Marie’s honor last spring. It was a great Welles Hall, home of the English Department party and a great reunion. We have been lucky to have Michele Feeley ably move into Marie’s job. I continue to hear from many of you who write to share their positive memories of the Department and the College. One of the favorite parts of my job is responding to your e-mails, even if you graduated before I came to the College or I didn’t know you personally when you were here. Nothing pleases our faculty as much as hearing from former students. Your ongoing support has helped us transform your English Department into the vibrant center that it has become. Thank you for your continued support as we work hard to enrich the challenging programs we bring to our students.

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2007 Chancellor’s Awards
Amanda Gitomer

The English Department’s faculty and students regularly receive SUNY-wide honors. This year was no exception.

On 18 April 2007, Amanda Gitomer, a senior double major in English and Spanish, received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. A Geneseo Presidential Scholar, Gitomer volunteered in the Livingston CARES Katrina relief program and as a volunteer art therapist for the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office. She was a member of Phi Sigma Iota international foreign language honor society; La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispanic/Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honor Society; Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society; the international Golden Key Honor Society; and Phi Eta Sigma national freshman honor society. Gitomer was the recipient of numerous scholarships and wrote an English Honors thesis. In addition, she was a writing tutor for the Writing Learning Center, research assistant for the D.H. Lawrence Review, and teaching assistant for English-as-a-Second-Language classes. In addition, she served the College in many ways as a facilitator of events, treasurer of Residence Hall Council, and member of various organizations.

Paul Schacht
This Spring Associate Professor Paul Schacht received a 2007 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. He created the Collaborative Writing Project, a web site teaching tool for his students to practice collaborative writing and peer editing. He also has been involved in shaping some of the most complex and time-consuming initiatives on campus, including: chairing the General Education Committee and the campus-wide Assessment Committee; co-authoring the college’s General Assessment Plan; and serving on the American Democracy Project Committee, the Strategic Planning Advisory Group, and the Middle States Periodic Review Report Committee. Dr. Schacht also was called upon to serve as acting dean of the college on a month’s notice, fulfilling that duty for the better part of a year. Presently serving as an associate professor of English and assistant to the provost for general education and assessment, Schacht joined the college in 1985. In 1997, he received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Presently, six English department faculty members have been awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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Rutkowski Returns from Research Leave
Alice Rutkowski, Assistant Professor in American Literature, returned this fall after a year’s academic leave. She received a 2006-07 Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Affirmative Action/Diversity Leave, a competitive program sponsored by the State of New York and United University Professions. During her leave, Rutkowski pursued her research project, “Appropriating Agony: Transforming Chaos into Narrative with the 1863 New York City Draft Riots,” which investigates both literary and historical representations of Alice Rutkowski the New York City Draft Riots, which took place in July 1863 during the second year of the Civil War. Professor Rutkowski’s work required her to read as many narratives—whether fictional or historical—of the Draft Riots as possible, many of which are only available in the holdings of the New York Public Library and the New York Historical Society. These different accounts provide unique “intersections of the historical and the speculative,” allowing for the investigation of “a set of events and texts never before examined from a literary perspective,” according to Rutkowski. The very subject matter of the Draft Riots and their narrative aftermath requires her work to actively engage with discussions about the role of popular culture in the Civil War as well as representations of women, African Americans, white working-class men and the complex relationship between these groups. While this research continues, Rutkowski’s article, “Leaving the Good Mother: Frances E. W. Harper, Lydia Maria Child and the Literary Politics of Reconstruction,” is forthcoming in Legacy: A Journal of American Woman Writers.

Alumni News Is No News Without You
Tell us about yourself—we’d like to know. Name Email Publish address? yes / no Address City/ State/ Postal Code Education & Dates Your News (attachments invited) Are you interested in mentoring an English Major? If yes, how may you be contacted? Preferred method of contact (post, phone, email, etc.) Other information? Any questions?
Return to:

Graduation Date

Yes by dept.

No by student

Alumni Newsletter, Department of English, SUNY-Geneseo, 1 College Circle, Geneseo, NY, 14454-1401

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Student Research on Literature and Culture Presented during Campus-Wide Symposium
On 17 April 2007, SUNY-Geneseo held its first annual Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement and Talent (GREAT) Day, a college-wide symposium celebrating student creative and scholarly endeavors. During this day, classes are canceled so that all members of the college can participate in or attend the many cross-disciplinary events. GREAT Day’s purpose is to help foster academic excellence, encourage professional development, and build connections within the community. English majors and students presented at the following panel sessions held throughout GREAT Day:

Katie Pearce, “Unfixed Beams: Katherine Philips’ Refashioning of Masculine Images” English Session Chair: Ed Gillin, Dept. of English Katie Owens, “Death by Water: Pound’s Excisions to Eliot’s The Waste Land” Faculty Sponsor: Ed Gillin, Dept. of English Amanda Dudek, “The Hanged Man Does Not Fear Death by Water: A Tarot Card Exploration of Humanity’s Search for Hope in Eliot’s The Waste Land” Faculty Sponsor: Ed Gillin, Dept. of English Joseph Brognano, “The Ambiguity of Salvation and Predestination in Early Modern Drama” Faculty Sponsor: Richard Finkelstein, Dept. of English

Jamaica Kincaid: Redefinitions and Resistance Session Chair: Nicole Tsapelas Faculty Sponsor: Maria Lima, Dept. of English Amanda Gitomer, “Anger, Hope, and Resistance: The Writings of Jamaica Kincaid” Was Jane Austen a Feminist? Andrew Coats, “Judging ‘Ovando’” Faculty Sponsor and Session Chair: Celia Easton, Sabrina Harris, “Playing God: Redesigning Origins Dept. of English in The Autobiography of My Mother” Kathryn Adams, “Outfoxing Subordination: Empowerment of Jane Austen’s Witty Women” Think Globally, Write Locally: Ecocomposition and Mary Annonio, “Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft: Genesee Valley Landscapes A Significant Feminist Connection” Session Chair: Maria Gigante Sara Germain, “The Pen is in My Hand: Feminism in Faculty Sponsor, Ken Cooper, Dept. of English Jane Austen’s Novels” Rachel Svenson, “Avoidance and Remembrance in the Meghann Gordon, “The Accomplishment of Reason: American Cemetery” Feminism in Jane Austen’s Novels” Matt Lapennas, “Succession and Conformity: Lawns as Planned Landscapes on the Geneseo Campus” Apron/Queer/Yawn: Scenes from the History of the Bob Hoffkins, “Visions of the American Farmer” English Language Session Chair: Benjamin Gajewski Gods and Monsters: Women Write Renaissance Faculty Sponsor: Graham Drake, Dept. of English Love Poetry Felicia Neveldine, “Once Apron a Time” Session Chair: Alea Wratten Kim Winkelman, “The Metamorphosis of Queer” Faculty Sponsor: Julia M. Walker, Dept. of English Maria Gigante, “History of Yawn” Alaina McDermott, “‘We Will Not Be Outfaced’: Phoebus and the Talent of Renaissance Women” Frankenstein as a Critique of the Enlightenment Nicole Schwartz, “Venus’ Immorality: Shakespeare, Session Chair: Dan Fenaughty Lady Mary Wroth and the Destructive Agent of Faculty Sponsor: Maria Lima, Dept. of English Sensual Love” Kathleen O’Connell, “Implications of Science and

The Peripatetic Observer Winter 2008 5 Reason on Human Character” Elizabeth Cronin, “The Creature’s Fall” Schuyler Wood, “Beware the Hand that Feeds” English and History Session Chair: Carol Faulkner, Dept. of History Claire Ruswick, “The History of Women at Geneseo State Normal School: 1900-1925” Faculty Sponsor: Emilye Crosby, Dept. of History Amanda Gitomer, “Struggles in ‘The Life’ of the Harlem Renaissance: Interlocking Race and Sexual Orientation” Faculty Sponsor: Beth McCoy, Dept. of English Nicole Tsapelas, “‘Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke!’: The Manifestations of Erzulie in Kiki” Colonial House: Can PBS Mix Reality and History? Session Chair and Faculty Sponsor: Caroline Woidat, Dept. of English Patrick Gilchriest, “The Reality of Reality” Perry Hull, “Of Reality and Heresy” Lisa Bonanni, “A ‘Savage’ Cycle: Culture and Conflict in Of Plymouth Plantation and Colonial House” Alaina McDermott, “The Individual vs. the Group: A Timeless Lesson”

Honors Projects in Literature Session Chair: Amy Wrobel Faculty Sponsor: Olympia Nicodemi, Dept. of Mathematics Karen Friedman, “The Golden Legend: the Life of St. Sylvester” Faculty Mentor: Ronald Herzman, Dept. of English Maureen McManus, “The Feminism of Angela Carter and Caryl Churchill” Faculty Mentor: Robert Doggett, Dept. of English Katie Owens, “Ethics and Literature” Faculty Mentor: Kenneth Asher, Dept. of English Sabrina Harris, Andy Coats, Maria Lima, Amanda Gitomer, and Nicole Amy Wrobel, “Parallel JourTsapelas enjoy a heady exchange over the literature of Jamaica Kincaid. neys: Dante’s Quest for Spiritual Understanding and Parzival’s Rebecca Ripley, “Seventh Century Frankish and Pursuit of the Holy Grail” Anglo-Saxon Double Monasteries: A Pious and Faculty Mentor: Ronald Herzman, Dept. of English Unique Result of Aristocratic Christianity” Faculty Sponsor: William Cook, Dept. of History Women and the Bible Session Chair: Lindsey Campana Redefining Beauty: Reading Zadie Smith’s Novel Faculty Sponsor: Carlo Filice, Dept. of Philosophy Session Chair: Chioma Chukwu Michael LaBlanc, “Women and the Bible” Faculty Sponsor: Maria Lima, Dept. of English David Murphy, “Women in the Bible: Differences William Sankey, “Beauty as Force” in Perception between the Old Testament, New Sabrina Harris, “Constructing the Human: Finding an Testament, and Paul” Authentic Self in On Beauty” Kaitlin Snyder, “Burden of Beauty”

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Voices from the Past and Present: Alumni News
Nate Belois (2002) was awarded a 2007-08 Fulbright to study in Bosnia. This will serve as “a capstone of sorts” to his Master’s work at Arizona State University. Ralph Bova Jr. (1968) is an adjunct professor of Speech Communications at Onondaga Community College and is an education consultant at Syracuse University’s School of Education. He is currently completing his seventh year of “retirement” and enjoys his role as an adjunct and consultant. He also volunteers at a local high school as the President of Athletic Boosters. Emma Boyer (2005) is a publicity assistant at Duke University Press in North Carolina. Laurel Potwin Brown (1975) teaches humanistic education courses at Jamestown Community College, despite being advised by her education advisor at Geneseo never to pursue teaching. She also leads workshops and resumes for RW Caldwell Associates for individuals who have lost their jobs due to downsizing. Previously, she dealt with child abuse cases as social worker in Boston, MA. Her purpose in writing “is to extend my sincere thanks to Dr. Herzman for his incredible guidance and inspiration as a teacher…. The trip to England and France I took under the leadership of Dr. Herzman and Dr. Cook was one of the most influential experiences of my young life, and my love for England, initiated at that time, has grown to a passion.” Laurel received an MS in Education at St. Bonaventure, concentrating in Community Counseling. She lives in Fredonia with her husband. Whitney Arlene Crispell (2005) is the Chief of Staff for Maria Whyte of the Erie County Legislature and is a contributor to Bitch magazine. She is busy exploring government from the inside, buying a house in Buffalo’s West Side, and continuing her weekend dragon-slaying classes. whitneyarlene Carol DeMartino (2004) is attending Columbia Law School. Doris received a Double Master’s Degree (MLS/Anthropology) from Case Western Reserve in 1977. She counts Dr. Herzman and Dr. Cook as inspirations, as well as Dr. Margaret Poarch in the School of Library

Doris Gebel (1975) is the head of Youth Services at Northport-East Northport Public Library. She served as a member of the 2006 Newbery Committee, which evaluated children’s books eligible for the Newbery Medal. She also served on the 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award Committee, awarded to an American publisher for an outstanding children’s Maria Lima congratulates her graduating students. book originally published in a Science. foreign language in a foreign country, subsequently translated into English, Amanda Gitomer (2007) is teaching and published in the United States. English at an all-boys private school in Doris has been an adjunct professor of Bangkok, Thailand. Children’s Literature and Storytelling and International Children’s Literature Karyn (Ferner) Hunt (2000) is a at St. Joseph’s College and at the library assistant in the Youth Services Palmer School of Library Science. Department of a local public library Recently, she edited the third in a in St. Louis, MO. She married series of annotated bibliographies, Timothy Hunt on 25 May 2002. Crossing Boundaries with Children’s Books, sponsored by the United States Board on Books for Young People. Warren A. Johnson, A.P.R. (1980) is the corporate marketing director for MidMichigan Health, a multi-hospital health system in Michigan. He also edits “Unsolicited Marketing Advice,” a blog and podcast for marketing and public relations managers. Edward Kemnitzer (2001) recently finished his degree in administration. He lives and teaches on Long Island and hopes to visit Rochester soon. Scott McWhorter Keyser (1999) is a senior recruiter at Datrose,

The Peripatetic Observer Winter 2008 7
Inc., located in Webster, NY. He recruits for IT and engineering nationwide. On 15 December 2006, he welcomed a baby daughter, Isabella. Molly Smith Metzler (2000) was the 2003 winner of the Kennedy Center National Student Playwriting Award and the Mark Twain in Comedy Award. Her plays have been produced at the Boston Playwrights Theatre, the Kennedy Center, Sundance, the Cherry Lane, and, most recently, Off Broadway at Theatre Row for the prestigious “Summer Play Festival.” Her play Cherry Wisteria, performed Off-Broadway, originated as a Black Box Theatre senior thesis. Molly is the writing assistant to Marsha Norman on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and was recently nominated for the first annual Dramatist Guild’s Wendy Wasserstein Prize. She received her MFA from Tisch NYU in Dramatic Writing in 2006, and her MA from Boston University in Creative Writing (playwrighting) in 2002. Jennifer Napuli (1999) graduated from New York Law School in 2002 and is currently a real estate attorney. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Women in the Law. On 25 March 2007, she married Daniel Fraidstern in New Rochelle, NY. Renee Price (2007) will begin a longterm sub position teaching 7 and 8th grade math this fall at Gates-Chili Middle School. Tammi Lyn Root (2003) received her MA in English from the University of Rochester in 2006. She is currently a data control clerk at the University of Rochester. Tammi recently announced her engagement to Michael James Holihan, a 2002 Geneseo graduate. A 2008 wedding is planned. Heather Salviggio (2001) graduated with an MD from Penn State College of Medicine, on 20 May 2007. She will spend her intern year in internal medicine at York Hospital in York, PA, and the following three years as a Dermatology Resident at the MS Hershey Medical Center/Penn State College of Medicine. Michael Sheehan (2003) will begin his MFA in fiction writing this fall at Rebecca Tibbitts, Marie Henry, and Jessica Allen reunite at the University of Arizona. Ms. Henry’s retirement fête. 2007 from Nazareth College. Dan Spacher (2007) is teaching English in Japan through the JET Susan (Hockenberry) Wells (2002) is an adjunct professor of English Programme. Composition and Literature at Finger Sunday Steinkirchner (2003) is Lakes Community College, though a professional rare book dealer, she plans to branch out and teach at specializing in literary first editions. Monroe Community College and/or After graduating She lives in New York City with her another college. from Geneseo, she taught middle business partner and boyfriend, also a Geneseo graduate. Her books can be school English for a few years, receiving her MSEd in English found through Education in May 2006. She and Liz Tertinek (2003) passed the New her husband Aaron married in June York State bar exam in July 2006. 2004 and had their first child, Kayla She is an associate at Anspach Meeks Marie Welles, on 16 November 2006. Ellenberger LLP, a civil litigation firm in Buffalo, and was sworn in as an attorney early in 2007. She graduated Courtney Westbrook (2005) received from the University of Buffalo School her Master’s of Library Science this December from the University of of Law in May 2006. Buffalo. She has been working as Rebecca (Lamica) Tibbitts (2003) a temporary cataloger for RIT, and is a 9th grade English teacher in the will soon be moving to Portsmouth, Rochester City School District. She Virginia, to work in a public library. received her Master’s degree in May Cheryl Wilson (2005) is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She coedited Michael Field and Their World, the first collection of essays devoted to Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, two Victorian writers who wrote under the alias “Michael Field.”
Rob Doggett, Alice Rutkowski, and Bill Harrison attend Marie Henry’s Spring 2007 retirement party.


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New Departmental Faculty Member to Teach Creative Writing
This year Kristen Gentry joins the English Department as a Visiting Assistant Professor specializing in Creative Writing. Like many of her students from Western New York, Professor Gentry had a rural upbringing, but longed for something different. “The day after my high school graduation, I fled from the pigs, cows, and apple trees on my father’s farm in Brandenburg, Kentucky, to Louisville where I attended the University of Louisville as a communications major,” she says. After college, she worked at Louisville’s major daily newspaper, The Courier-Journal. There she “quickly discovered the difference between journalism and creative writing and headed to Indiana University, Bloomington,” where she received her MFA in Fiction. Gentry is responsible for many of the department’s curricular offerings in both creative writing and literature. She teaches writing at both the sophomore (ENGL201, Creative Writing) and upper-division levels (ENGL302 and 304, Fiction Writing I & II). Her literature classes have included courses traditionally offered at Geneseo (ENGL142, Literary Forms: The Short Story Cycle), as well as new offerings, such as this semester’s ENGL390, Studies in Literature: American Literature and Hip-Hop Culture. That class stems from Gentry’s current works and interests. “I’m exploring the ways that the hip-hop generation defines itself,” she says. This process of self-definition poses a complicated cultural question: “How are the post-Civil Rights and Black Power Movement generations unified beyond their overwhelming eclecticism (an eclecticism that is too often misrepresented as a menagerie of stereotypical characters)?” Kristen Gentry A self-confessed bibliophile, Gentry’s devotion to her work and art leave little time for other interests; as she admits, “I don’t live what some may call an exciting life.” However, her work reaches out to others in the Geneseo community: for example, she and Professor Rachel Hall held a joint reading this semester as part of a co-curricular campus offering. cd

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