This year’s prestigious Philip B. Meggs Memorial scholarship recipient Nikki Fernandes, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in English this week, found that a VCU community engagement program made her feel closer to her university. Nikki has volunteered at Church Hill Academy, a private high school for at-risk youth, and taught at the Richmond City Jail. She became involved in the latter effort through a service-learning course, Open Minds, taught by David Coogan, an associate professor in the Department of English.
Attending graduate school may be in her future, but first Nikki will take a teaching job at Church Hill Academy, matching her passion for teaching literature with her desire to help others. Through her work with Open Minds, Nikki met prisoners who have struggled after lacking guidance and opportunities when they were younger. Nikki sees a chance to prevent similar future difficulties for the kids she will teach at Church Hill.
See Tom Gresham’s full article in VCU News at http://news.vcu.edu/news/Service_Minds.
Cristina Stanciu is the recipient of a VCU Center for Teaching Excellence Small Grant Program award for Digital ethnic literary history at VCU: The Classroom Archive Project (CAP).
Transforming Scripture: An Interview with Katherine Clay Bassard is now available as streaming audio at the Things Not Seen website. Things Not Seen: Conversations about Faith and Culture airs on KWAM 990 am Memphis.
The following description of the interview comes from the program’s website
Katherine Clay Bassard appreciates the interpretive opportunities that come from reading the Bible when the pieces don’t quite fit together into a smooth narrative. ”After quite a few years of really studying the Bible and of living with the Bible, as a book, I have come to understand that there are both egalitarian strains in the Bible, and there are more hierarchical power dynamics, and they are laid, in some senses, side by side” . . .
Bassard explores these frictions of reading in the history of African American interpretations of the Bible. Both in the Christianity of ante-bellum slaves, and especially in the growing interpretive voice of African American women writers, these power dynamics of hierarchy and liberation have proved a fertile soil for deep and fruitful theological reflection.
The buzz began early for VCU alumnus Kevin Powers’ debut novel, The Yellow Birds, a story of a young soldier’s experience serving in the United States Army during the Iraq War. At the start of 2012, Entertainment Weekly placed the book on its short list of the most promising new novels for the year.
For more information, see this news report.
Two of our graduate students, Nathan Altice (MATX) and Joel Kabot (MFA), have been awarded 2012 Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation Assistantships.
Nathan is in his fourth year of the PhD program in Media, Art, and Text. His focus is on videogames and contemporary philosophy. His dissertation, “I Am Error: The Nintendo Famicom Platform Study,” examines the ways the constraints of the Famicom’s underlying hardware shaped the games. He is also a web developer, musician, and digital artist. You can read a recent article by him in Kotaku here.
Joel, a third-year MFA student in fiction, explores questions of ancestry and regional identity in his short stories and his novel-in-progress. Raised in Manlius, NY, a suburb of Syracuse, Kabot is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and worked in politics and financial services before attending VCU.
Congratulations to Joel and Nathan.
Late July, the VCU Department of English migrated its English News blog from Moveable Type to Word Press, the platform recently adopted by VCU.
The new address for the English News blog is http://wp.vcu.edu/english
MATX student Jennie Fleming will deliver a paper, “Cao Fei: From Tourist to Urban Developer in Second Life,” at the session, “Finding a Place in Contemporary Art,” for the 2010 Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) Conference in Richmond, Virginia, October 20-23, 2010. For more information see here.