Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alum Raises Money for Abused Children

EFLJ alumna LeAnn Neal Reilly announces her plan to donate income from book sales to Heath Evans Foundation as response to Penn State Case

Prompted by recent news reports of child rape at Pennsylvania State University, LeAnn
announced that she plans to donate a portion of her income from her second novel, Saint Sebastian‘s Head, to the Heath Evans Foundation (HEF). HEF, a charity founded by veteran NFL player Heath Evans, provides counseling and therapy to victims of childhood sexual abuse. Saint Sebastian‘s Head, which The Midwest Book Review calls "thoughtful and riveting," features an adult narrator dealing with the lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse among other serious issues.

LeAnn believes that Saint Sebastian's Head is particularly appropriate for her efforts to raise money for real-life victims of sexual abuse. Narrated by Weeble, a young woman nicknamed for her ability to keep her balance in challenging situations, the novel unflinchingly explores the lasting damage from childhood sexual abuse and Weeble‘s subsequent struggle to overcome its effects.

"Having worked so many years as a civil rights attorney, I think I 'get‘ damaged people," said Janie Hickok Siess, who recently reviewed Saint Sebastian‘s Head on her book review site Colloquium. "I‘ve represented a number of folks who survived traumatic events—for example, in the workplace, from sexual harassment, or from retaliation—and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although PTSD isn‘t named in Saint Sebastian‘s Head, it‘s really at the core of Weeble‘s issues, I believe. Her behavior as a victim of sexual abuse rang true."

Cases like that at Penn State along with a strong desire to portray healing for victims motivated Neal Reilly to write Saint Sebastian‘s Head. The novel, narrated in two timelines, is partly set
in St. Joseph and partly inspired by the murders of Eric Christgen and Michelle Steele, which Neal Reilly recalls from her childhood. "Real life isn‘t as neatly tied up as a novel, but I want to make a difference for children who‘ve been sexually abused, if it‘s possible," Neal Reilly said. "Raising money for an organization that tries to bring healing and hope to those who have been hurt is a start."

Neal Reilly is also the author of The Mermaid‘s Pendant. She lives just outside Boston with her family. Saint Sebastian‘s Head, released on November 1, is available as a trade paperback edition and an ebook edition through online retailers and can be ordered through bookstores nationwide. Check out her website: www.nealreilly.com




Friday, November 11, 2011

El Dia de los Muertos

On November 1st the Spanish Club celebrated “El Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead). The large attendance, way over room capacity, made for a great celebration. The event was conducted by Eric McCrerey, The Spanish Club president.

Club advisors Dr. Castilla Ortiz and Dr. Bausset-Page used the event to teach students about this cultural event, especially the differentiation between El Día de los Muertos and Halloween

Students had a chance to color some skulls and share pan de los muertos (bread of the Dead). The walls were decorated with typical festival art found in many areas of Mexico throughout Latin America.

Dr. Bausset-Page had activities involving jargon and images about this special day in which the living and the dead celebrate life from an eternal perspective. As is typical, an altar was built to honor a dead person, in this case the 10th anniversary since the departure of the father of Dr. Castilla.

Spanish Immersion Day

On November 5th The Foreign Language Faculty hosted a Spanish Immersion Day for high school teachers from surrounding schools. The day was filled with language practice and revision, cooking together Spanish dishes, oral games, a film discussion.

This is the first such encounter organized by our EFLJ foreign languages faculty in an effort to maintain and increase language skills among those teaching in regional high schools. Foreign language teachers, especially those without colleagues in their high schools, do not have many opportunities to maintain their language proficiency level.

Dr. Eduardo Castilla-Ortiz reports that the enthusiasm was high among the participants, all happy to have the chance to stay “en español” all day long with himself and Dr. Bausset-Page, both of whom are native Spanish-speakers. All day Saturday was spent sharing time, instruction, fun, and assessing the real needs of our foreign language teacher colleagues.

Participants were awarded certificates acknowledging this professional growth activity.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October Student and Faculty Activities

Here is what faculty and students were up to in the month of October:

Eduardo Castilla-Ortiz presented the paper "Gay and Grey: Subjectivity Challenged in Literary Narrative" at the 36th Annual European Studies Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Susie Hennessy presented the paper "Thou Shalt Be Fruitful" at the annual Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium in Philadelphia.

Elizabeth Latosi-Sawin presented her paper "Models of Interdisciplinary Education" at the National College Honors Council conference in Phoenix, Arizona. She also participated in the meeting of the Teaching and Learning Committee of which she is a member and supervised undergraduate students in their exploration of Phoenix in one of the many City-as-Text excursions.

Kay Siebler presented the paper "What's So Femininst About Garters and Bustiers?: Is Neo-Burlesque Feminst Rhetoric of Patriarchy Recast?" at the national conference of Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) at Minnesota State University.

Ann Thorne presented two sessions at the 90thAnnual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention. The sessions were “Making it Fresh: Yearbook Story Ideas that Work,” and “Successful Yearbook Leadership.”

Kaye Adkins attended the international conference of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication, October 6-8 at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she participated in the Administrator's Roundtable. Dr. Adkins is Treasurer for the organization.

Susie Hennessy attended the meeting of the Foreign Language Association of Missouri in St. Louis, where she met with consortium partners regarding collaboration for French and German.

Ken Rosenauer attended the Fall National College Media Convention in Orlando, where he delivered a report to the CMA Board of Directors, on which he sits as immediate past president of the organization. He also presented a session on CMA's Adviser Advocacy Program, which he leads and which assists media advisers when actions are taken against them in the performance of their duties. Rosenauer has been a CMA member since 1980, served as its president 2007-09, and is a member of its Hall of Fame.

Mike Cadden published the article “The Verse Novel and the Question of Genre” in the fall issue of The ALAN Review, the journal of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Bob Bergland, along with coauthors Cliff Brockman from Wartburg College and MWSU convergent media student and Griffon News Editor David Hon, presented a research paper at the National College Media Convention, "Pacemaker Winners' Circle: A study of Multimedia, Interactivity, Distribution and Content Management Systems at Top Newspaper Websites." The paper received the Ken Nordin Award for the top research paper presented at the conference.

Prairie Lands Writing Project sponsored its tenth annual “When Writing Teachers Write” Forum on Wednesday, October 19, at Missouri Western State University as a prequel celebration of the National Day on Writing, which followed on Thursday, October 20. Area teachers and Missouri Western English faculty, members Rosetta Ballew-Jennings, Joseph Marmaud, and Tom Pankieiwicz read their original poetry and prose.

Prairie Lands Writing Project and the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Journalism sponsored "Going for the Gold" pizza and writing workshops here at Missouri Western on three consecutive Thursdays, beginning October 27--for teachers and their students planning to enter the 2012 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest . English faculty members Bill Church, Michael Charlton, and Rosetta Ballew-Jennings conducted fiction writing, personal essay writing, and poetry writing workshops, respectively, at the sessions, which concluded with the students revising and critiquing the pieces they brought to the workshops.