Texas Tech University

Department of English Newsletter

May 2018

Greetings from the Texas Tech English Department

Dr. Brian Still, Chair and Professor
Dr. Brian Still, Chair and Professor

We're reaching out to all of you again in this second and final Alumni Newsletter of the 2017-2018 academic year. TTU English has accomplished quite a lot since the first Newsletter we sent in October. Faculty have garnered impressive awards for their excellence in teaching, research, and service, and students also have been recognized for their great work. Please take the opportunity to read through this Newsletter and find out more.

There is so much to be proud of as Chair of the Department of English. Let me touch on just a few things. [Read more]

LSJE Hosts Spring Roundtable on DACA

Four panelists for LSJE's spring roundtable: Dr. Lee Bebout, Brandon Darby, Saba Nafees, and Dr. Jorge Ramirez.

On Wednesday, April 18, campus and community members gathered for the Literature, Social Justice, and Environment's program's spring round table, "Tensions Rising: DACA, Dreamers, and the Face of America." This semester's round table featured Dr. Lee Bebout (Arizona State University), Brandon Darby (Breitbart Texas), Saba Nafees (Doctoral candidate and Dreamer), and Dr. Jorge Ramirez (Texas Tech Law School). Dr. Lawrence Schovanec opened the round table. [Read more]

English Department Hosts 50th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium

Audience members listen to a fasinating panel at this year's comparative literature symposium.

On April 6-7, Texas Tech University's 50th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium attracted scholars from near and far—India, Jamaica, Florida, Michigan, New York, Missouri, New Mexico, and right here in Texas—to present their work on the moral, political, social, and literary ramifications of the debates that revolve around human rights. This year's symposium, tiled "Human Rights Now: Texts, Contexts, Comparisons," was also livestreamed so that students and scholars at a distance could participate as well. [Read more]

English Department to Inaugurate Study Abroad Program in London

A scenic view of London.

In the summer of 2018, Texas Tech students will have the opportunity to learn about some of the greatest authors while touring London. Dr. Marta Kvande will be leading a select group of students on a trip of a lifetime from May 26th-July 1st. [Read more]

Jacqueline Kolosov and Students Present Digital Stories at West Texas Salute to Veterans

A collage of war telegrams and images.

As part of her current grant from the CH Foundation, Dr. Jacqueline Kolosov collaborated with a team of undergraduate and graduate students and with veterans and their families to present digital stories at the West Texas Salute to Veterans on March 31. The stories focus on individual and collective veteran experience. Catherine Royalty is inevitably going to be the oldest veteran whose story will be archived here at Tech. Ms. Royalty is 104 and served as a WAVE during World War II before returning to her native Lubbock where she spent her career teaching. “Cathedral Out of Nowhere,” a 16-minute-digital story, focuses on the challenges the Marines faced in Vietnam and looks closely at the experience of Lee Roy Herron, who was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously. The digital story was made possible by the collaboration of his friend and classmate, David Nelson, a retired attorney living in Houston who has helped to endow a scholarship in Lee Roy Herron's memory, one that enables students to travel to Vietnam to learn about the culture. [Read more]

English Minors Fair

A crowd of undergraduate students learn more about the department's seven minors.

The English Department hosted an English Minors Fair on Tuesday, March 27, in the Atrium. Faculty, staff, and students worked together to host the event. They served up free pizza for lunch and informed over 200 students in attendance about the 8 different minors housed within the department. [Read more]

Students in the Spotlight

PhD Candidate Kerry Manzo Wins Prestigious ACLS Fellowship

PhD Student Julie Gerdes Wins Horn Professors Graduate Achievement Award

Kerry Manzo

Kerry Manzo, a doctoral candidate in Literature, has received a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. The $30,000 fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. [Read more]

Julie Gerdes

Julie Gerdes, a doctoral student in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, has won one of three Horn Professors Graduate Achievement Awards for 2018, for her research on “risk” and public health response.
[Read more]

More Student News

PhD Student Jasmine Bailey Epstein Publishes Second Collection of Poetry

In November, Jasmine Bailey Epstein, a PhD student in Creative Writing, published her second collection of poetry, Disappeared, in the Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series. Jasmine celebrated the release of the book with a well-attended reading in the English department.

PhD student Apryl Lewis Contributes to Sport in American History blog

Apryl Lewis, a PhD student in Literature, was a featured writer on the Sport in American History blog. You can read Apryl's post on black athletes and protest in the NFL here.

Undergraduate Bethany Pitchford Publishes in STC Notebook

Bethany Pitchford, an undergraduate senior majoring in Technical Communication and minoring in English, has just published her first article in the STC Notebook. Her article, "Ten Pieces of Advice for Science Communication Students," helps reveal some of the ways students in technical communication can prepare themselves for effective science writing.

Five English Graduate Students Win Dissertation Completion Fellowships

This Spring, five graduate students in English won Dissertation Completion Fellowships from Texas Tech's Graduate School: Chad Abushanab, Margaret Brandl, Joseph Dornich, Brian Larsen, and Sarah Sprouse.

Faculty in the Spotlight


Dr. Kendall Gerdes On the Air for the College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Kendall Gerdes

Dr. Kendall Gerdes recorded a radio spot for the College of Arts & Sciences that aired last October. Dr. Gerdes explains the relationship between her research in rhetoric and technical communication and her work directing the English Department's Media Lab. [Read more]


Dr. Katie Cortese Publishes New Collection of Short Stories

Cover for Dr. Cortese's new short story collection
Dr. Katie Cortese has published a new collection of short stories, Make Way for Her and Other Stories with University Press of Kentucky. Among the many positive responses Dr. Cortese's fiction has received, Kirkus Reviews lauded the book as “a welcome addition to the burgeoning canon of finely wrought female stories.” Dr. Cortese read from the book in the English department on May 3rd. [Read more]


Dr. Cordelia Barrera Talks about Breaking Bad on Public Radio

Dr. Cordelia Barrera

Dr. Cordelia Barrera was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio in April about the television show Breaking Bad. The interview, titled "Breaking Bad Never Had Trouble Hooking Viewers" was produced by Adam Friedrich, and is based on Dr. Barrera's essay "Negro y Azul: The Narcocorrido Goes Gothic," which was published in the 2016 collection, Breaking Down Breaking Bad: Critical Perspectives by University of New Mexico Press. [Listen here]


Drs. Patterson and Poch Receive TTU President's Excellence Professorships

Dr. Jill Patterson
Dr. Jill Patterson
Dr. John Poch
Dr. John Poch


Drs. Jill Patterson and John Poch, both professors in our creative writing program, were honored to be named, among a select few, as recipients of the TTU's new President's Excellence Professorships. John was awarded a President's Excellence in Research Professorship, and Jill was awarded a President's Excellence in Teaching Professorship. These professorships come with $5,000 in annual discretionary spending for three years. The Professorships start Sept. 1, 2018, and last for three years.


Drs. Baugh, Kim, and McFadden Selected for One-Month Residencies at National Humanities Center

Dr. Scott Baugh
Dr. Scott Baugh
Dr. Min-Joo Kim
Dr. Min-Joo Kim
Dr. Brian McFadden
Dr. Brian McFadden


Drs. Scott Baugh, Min-Joo Kim, and Brian McFadden were all selected to be one-month scholars-in-residence this summer at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina.


Dr. Brian Still Competes at the Super Bowl with his 10 Second Concussion Testing Product, EyeGuide Focus

A participant tests the EyeGuide concussion system.Dr. Brian Still, who chairs the Department of English, is the founder of a startup company (spun off from TTU), called EyeGuide, Inc. At the recent Super Bowl in Minneapolis, EyeGuide competed against other hi-tech startups as part of the NFL's 1st and Future Competition. Still and his EyeGuide team have made a product, EyeGuide Focus, which combines eye tracking hardware and software technologies into a simple, easy to use system that allows professionals to easily administer a simple, 10-second test to check for potential neurological impairment, such as concussions.

More Faculty News

Multiple English faculty won fellowships from Texas Tech's Humanities Center this year. Congratulations to Drs. Aaron Braver, Julie Couch, Ryan Hackenbracht, Matthew Hunter, Min-Joo Kim Roger McNamara, Wyatt Phillips, John Poch, and Elissa Zellinger.

Dr. Kendall Gerdes was this year's recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Innovation Award.

Dr. Michael Borshuk was recognized by the Provost's Office as one of nine Integrated Scholars across campus. The award celebrates faculty who create synergy between their research, teaching, and service.

Dr. Wyatt Phillips organized and hosted a film screening in the English department of a new independent film, Rogers Park, with the filmmaker Kyle Henry in attendance. Henry is a professional film editor and filmmaker whose films have played at festivals such as Sundance and Cannes and who currently oversees the MFA in documentary media at Northwestern University. Over 100 students and community members were in attendance.

Dr. Sara Spurgeon was awarded the 2017 Wylder Award for Exceptional Service to the Western Literature Association. Dr. Spurgeon is a past president of that organization.

Dr. Beau Pihlaja was awarded one of two “honorable mentions” in the Conference on College Composition & Communication's “Outstanding Dissertation in Technical Communication” category for his dissertation, which he completed last summer. Dr. Pihlaja was recognized along with the other individual who received an honorable mention, Dr. Joy McMurrin, and the winner for the category, Dr. Kathryn Yankura Swacha, at the conference award ceremony this March in Kansas City, MO.

Dr. Min-Joo Kim has been invited to give a plenary talk at the 26th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference, a highly prestigious international conference, to be held at UCLA at the end of this November.

Dr. D. Gilson won the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize, judged by Denise Duhamel, in February.

Alumni News

Holly Hunt (BA '65) Honored with the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award

Styled image for alumna Holly HuntAn entrepreneur as early as she could walk, Holly Hunter used her creativity, determination, and West Texas can do attitude, and a degree from Texas Tech, to begin a career in interior design that now, five decades later, has been credited with raising the bar in the interior design industry. Holly has received many notable awards and HOLLY HUNT design product can frequently be seen in premier interior design publications. Holly received the prestigious National IIDA Leadership Award for Excellence in 2013. Holly was honored Holly with the Texas Tech Distinguished Leadership Award in 2012. The society of Architecture and Design of the Art Institute Chicago gave Holly a Lifetime Achievement Award for Design and Innovation excellence in 2016. And just this May she was honored as a Distinguished Alumni of the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas Tech University. We're proud and honored that Holly Hunt is an English alum.

In the Spotlight: Dr. Todd Giles (BA '93, MA '04) Pays Tribute to Dr. Bryce Conrad Through Memorial Scholarship

As readers of last semester's newsletter know, this past year the English department lost a beloved family member with the passing of Dr. Bryce Conrad, a retired professor of American literature. One of Dr. Conrad's former students, Todd Giles, now a professor himself at Midwestern State University, is helping to remember Bryce's legacy through a memorial scholarship. As Todd writes to us:

Dr. Todd Giles (BA '83, MA '04)
Dr. Todd Giles (BA '83, MA '04)

Dear fellow TTU English alumni and faculty,

I write to you over Easter Weekend from my backyard across the street from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where I teach American literature about 3 ½ hours from Lubbock.

Sitting in the sun enjoying a break from grading freshman papers, I am reminded of sitting some 27 years ago in the backyard of Dr. Bryce Conrad over lunch while his and Anastasia's two lovely young daughters vied for our attention and played with their dog. Bryce was rightly very proud of Winifred and Agnes (and his garden); his third daughter Claire was not yet to be born for several more years. At the time, I was an undergraduate student of Bryce's studying American literature in the late 80s and early 90s, and then again as a graduate student in the early 2000s after I left a career in public radio to continue my education at Tech.

As many of you know, Bryce passed away last September. If you are anything like me, no doubt your own memories of Bryce are still as vibrant today as they were when you had the privilege of working with him as either a student or a colleague. I encourage those of you who were blessed enough to be drawn into his orbit to join me in making a donation to the new Bryce Conrad Memorial Scholarship Fund in English.

For the Fund to truly be a scholarship in perpetuity, we need to raise a total of $25,000 so interest can be drawn on the principal each year to pay the awards; otherwise, the fund will only last a finite time as the principal will be drawn on each year until the fund is depleted.

Bryce touched thousands of us during his time at Tech. You can help ensure that his name lives on in the minds of hundreds of more students throughout the years to come by donating today. The amount doesn't matter—whatever you are comfortable with. What matters is that we come together to help carry Bryce's flame into the future.

Send us an Update About You, Please!

We want this newsletter to be as much about you as about us, so we really want to know where you are, what you're doing, and how things are going. Email us an update at english.alumni@ttu.edu or fill out the form below and let us know if we can share it with everyone in upcoming newsletters or on the English web site.

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Giving

Please consider making a donation of some kind for your TTU home department. You can learn more on the giving page of our web site how your generous, tax-deductible donations of any size can be put to good use, from contributing to a smaller project to naming an endowed scholarship, fellowship, or professorship. We appreciate you consider supporting us in our efforts to enrich the educational experiences of our students.

Staying Connected

Send us your information so we can share with our alumni community. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or like our Facebook page. Send us an email at english.alumni@ttu.edu to tell us if you'd be interested in coming to a TTU English Alumni Event near you.