Wednesday, March 23, 2016

News from France

Erica Cook is studying at the Université d’Angers for the spring semester. Here is her news:

It has been exactly two months since I have been here in France, in the beautiful city of Angers. Thinking back to my first day, that first week, even that whole first month – it all seems like ages ago, so long ago that I feel like I was different person back then. I was nervous. I was skittish. I was self-conscious. I was, in a sense, scared of everything around me. The culture was intimidating and unwelcoming, the language was hard, and the classes were impossible to understand. The first month was the most difficult obstacle I have had to overcome, but also the most liberating experience.
The minute I got off the train in Angers with my two large suitcases and my backpack, I wanted to turn around and go straight back home. France was terrifying at that moment – looking at nothing familiar and hearing not one word of English chilled me to my bones. Now, I look forward to going to new places and talking with the natives about their way of life. France has given me the confidence that I don’t think I would have ever achieved back home. I am no way, by any means, fluent in the French language. I still make silly grammatical mistakes and constantly struggle holding a long conversation in French, but now, I have the confidence to not care about the mistakes I am making and to just try.
I have learned to become an independent, traveling learner. I have mastered the Paris metro, the Angers city bus system, and asking for help (mostly directions) from random natives on the sidewalks. In two weeks, I am about to take my two week vacances, and travel alone through the south of France, visiting 5 cities (Biarritz, Toulouse, Marseille, Nice, and Lyon) and eventually circling back ‘home’ to Angers.
I have met some other incredible international students – American, English, Greek, Scottish, and Irish. They have been my support system here and also the ones who have given me a push to come out of my comfort zone. We are all learning together and pushing each other to do our best. We lean on one another through the homesickness and the difficulties that some classes bring, but we also create memories such as spontaneous weekend trips to visit castles in the Loire Valley. Most of the best moments here have been with these new friends and I know these friendships and memories will last forever – this is the time in all of our lives that we will never forget.  
I have two more months here in France and I know when the time comes, I will be sad to leave, for this université, this city, and this country – they have all given me such a great gift. This experience has made me become comfortable with not being comfortable – it has made me not be afraid to be in new places, learn and listen to different languages, and not to plan and be in control of every detail of my life. Doris Day has become my role model and I listen to “Que Sera Sera” on a weekly basis. Study abroad gives you the comfort and the ease of mind of not knowing everything and how that can be the start to a great adventure.

From Angers to MWSU,
À bientôt !

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March Magnificence

Faculty achievements
Elizabeth Canon was a panel speaker at the International Student Services event, "A Day With An Accent."

Marianne Kunkel has had two poems accepted for publication in bosque. The poems, "Scraps" and "Sariah Complains over Lunch," are from her new manuscript-in-progress.

Mary Stone recently had three poems published at the Barrelhouse Blog for their "Weird Love" series, including: “Jennifer Gets Over her Ex.” Read them here:
She also has poems forthcoming is these magazines: Moonsick Magazine, Decomp, Cahoodaloodaling, I-70 Review, and Tinderbox. 

Claudine Evans participated in the Immersion Day for French Teachers held at Rockhurst University, in Kansas City. She made a presentation on the French Territorial Reform. The event was organized by the Greater Kansas City Area Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). 

Kay Siebler's article, "The Politics of Birth Control and Abortion in China" has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed, scholarly Journal of Modern Education Review

PLWP Teacher Consultants Present at Write to Learn Conference
Several PLWP Teacher Consultants also gave presentations at the Write to Learn Conference held at Osage Beach, Mo., Feb. 25-27. 
Elisabeth Alkier (SJSD) and Susan Martens (MWSU): “Passion Blogs and Partnerships: Real Writing for Real Audiences”
Misty Burright and Jerri Fischer (SJSD): “Writing Creatively across the Common Core.”
Tori Grable and Christine Diehl (Smithville): “Using Technology Tools to Support the Reading Process”
Vickey Meyer (SJSD): “We’re All Covered in Skin, and That’s Worth Knowing: An Exploration of Beauty and Radical Self-Acceptance”

On March 8th English and Modern Languages and the MAA in Written Communication hosted Speak!  Faculty and students presented their favorite speeches, which included selections ranging from the poetry of Elizabeth I and Baudelaire to movies including A Time to Kill, Network, and Halloween to three generations of feminists to courtroom arguments to Harry Potter.  Thank you to student participants Roxanne Chase, Samantha Fidler-Newby, Brandon Herring, Sarah Hatten Weaver, and Tracy Whorton and to faculty participants Kaye Adkins, Dana Andrews, Stacia Bensyl, Michael Charlton, Susie Hennessy, Marianne Kunkel, and Gaywyn Moore.   

Krystal Hicok wins Greef Award for Outstanding English Education Students
BSE major Krystal Hicok was awarded the Robert J. Greef Award for Outstanding English Education Students by the Missouri Council of Teachers of English at the Write to Learn Conference held at Osage Beach on Feb. 26.  

Krystal is an active member of the MWSU campus community as a leader in Alpha Omega—a Christian sorority—and in the honors organization Kappa Delta Pi.  She was also an outstanding workshop leader in MWSU’s developmental writing program, has been on the Dean's List and  President's Honor Roll, and was a volunteer guide at this year’s Tunnel of Oppression sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Education.  The daughter of Karla and Floyd Stansberry and the late Burt Hicok, Krystal was born and raised in DeWitt, Nebraska, where she first developed a passion for small schools and tight-knit communities.  

Krystal is currently student teaching at Mid-Buchanan High School and will graduate in May.  She hopes to teach in a rural school where her passion can ignite a love for English in her students.  In her philosophy of teaching statement, Krystal writes, “Literature stretches the mind by planting seeds of critical thinking. When a person looks at literature—at art—they see life. Then, with gentle prodding and steadfast instruction, critical thinkers become critical writers.”

Community outreach--High School Writing Day
The Prairie Lands Writing Project hosted High School Writing Day on March 3, drawing approximately 200 high school students and their teachers from 14 areas schools to MWSU for a day of writing and sharing.  PLWP Co-Director Amy Miller (MWSU) coordinated this event emceed by PLWP Teacher Consultant Terrance Sanders (Frontier STEM High School in KC).  Students attended an opening session, two different workshops, a lunch session, and an Open Mic. 

Many thanks to PLWP Graduate Assistant and TC Roxanne Chase and to undergraduate English education students Garrett Durbin, Taylor Allen, Lauren Bacon, Ali Chesney, Stephaney Ferguson, Jaylynn Hoffman, Maddie Marx, Kirsten Melkowski, Clarissa Peterson, Morgan Rathmann, Kelly Rhodes, Alex Steilen, and Taylor Summers for assisting with the event.

A special thanks goes out to MWSU faculty members and PLWP TCs who led student workshops:  Meredith Katchen, Bill Church, Misty Burright, Vickey Meyer, Brooksie Kluge, Mary Stone, Marianne Kunkel, Dana  Andrews, Michael Charlton, Bob Bergland, Susan Martens.

Check out these videos documenting the day, created by students in Bob Bergland's Convergent Journalism workshop: