Student & Alumni News and More

DePaul English Graduate students had a very productive winter break– we received announcements from the following students about their recent awards and publications. Are you a student or graduate with news to share about an award, publication, job, or other accomplishment related to your degree? Email Maria at to be featured in Ex Libris’s Student & Alumni News.

Congratulations to Bethany Brownholtz (M.A.W.P. ’12) on getting a poem published in the December 2012 edition of Broad Magazine, the online publication of Loyola University Chicago’s Women’s Studies & Gender Studies department. Bethany’s poem, entitled “What it’s like to look at her legs,” can be read along with the rest of the issue here.

Congratulations as well to current M.A.W.P. student Mikki Kendall, who has had a nonfiction essay published on the web magazine xoJane. Click over to to read Mikki’s essay, entitled “On Behalf Of Willow Smith And Girls Like Her: Shut Up And Keep Your Concerns To Yourself.”

And finally, congratulations to Raul Palma, also a current M.A.W.P. student, who recently had one short story published and other pieces place in two writing contests. Raul’s story “Amaranthus,” which he originally wrote for Christine Sneed’s Triptych class in fall 2012, was published by 34th Parallel literary magazine. Another short story of his, “Obsolescence,” was a finalist in Cutthroat Magazine‘s 2012 Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest, and an excerpt from Immaculate, a novella he produced in Amina Gautier’s Novella Writing class last winter, placed in Glimmer Train literary magazine’s Family Matters contest.


Lastly, a brief reminder: Are you a current or prospective DePaul English graduate student interested in pursing a graduate assistantship for the 2013-2014 school year? If so, please note that there are only five days left to get your applications in before the deadline of January 15th, 2013.

See for complete details.


Meet the New GA’s (Part 2)

Happy Friday, Ex Libris readers! Today we are happy to bring you Part 2 of “Meet the New GA’s”. If you missed part one, you can read about Mark, Emily, and Ryan here. Please join me in congratulating all five new GA’s.

Jillian Merrifield

Program & year: Third quarter in the MAWP

GA Role: Writing tutor in the UCWbL, Assistant Coordinator for the Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research

Bio:  Jillian (or Jill, she really doesn’t care either way) graduated in 2011 with a BA in teaching English from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL.  Since then, she has balanced grad school with working as a dog handler at a daycare, and is relieved to have moved on to a much safer–although slightly less cuddly–job as a GA.  She lives in Oak Park with her boyfriend and brand new puppy, whom she can’t resist bragging about.

Favorite writers:  Vladimir Nabokov, Jhumpa Lahiri, and, on the lighter side, Christopher Moore.  I also have a growing affection for Virginia Woolf, even though the time I need to finish reading Mrs. Dalloway keeps eluding me.

Jill’s Dream Job:  Dog trainer by day, great American novelist by night.  I don’t see that happening, though, because that lifestyle requires patience and an inhuman ability to function without sleep.  Alternatively, it might be fun to teach creative writing.

Nicholas Bruno

Program & year: 1st year, Writing and Publishing

GA role: Associate Editor, Poetry East

Bio: I began college as a biology major, and bought a motorcycle on Craigslist during that first semester which turned out to be stolen property of some sort. Suddenly, I was not only bike-less but also bored with the biology lectures, and I nearly transferred to a flight school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, though before committing to becoming a pilot, I was given a Larry Levis poem and decided to study English at the University of Toledo instead.

Favorite Authors: Lee K. Abbott, Barry Hannah, Miroslav Penkov, Andrew Hudgins.

Nicholas’s Dream Job: Write the great American novel, direct and produce the million-dollar film adaptation, earn royalties until I turn 80 and simply teach part-time at some small college in southern Ohio.


That’s all for today, have a great weekend!

Meet the New GA’s (Part 1)

IMPORTANT REMINDER: TODAY, September 18th, is the last day to drop Fall quarter classes without penalty. If you wish to drop a class, do so on Campus Connect before midnight.

Also: current students, check your email for important information about Partial Tuition Scholarships! Applications for PTS awards are due on Wednesday, September 26th.


And now, it is my pleasure to introduce all of you to three of the English Department’s new Graduate Assistants. We wish them all welcome and congratulations!

Mark R. Brand

Program & year: M.A. in Writing & Publishing, graduating in May 2013.

GA Role: UCWbL Assistant Coordinator for Writing Groups

Bio: Mark is the short fiction editor of Silverthought Press, producer and host of “Breakfast With the Author,” and his books include The Damnation of Memory (2011), Life After Sleep (2011), Thank You, Death Robot (2009), and Red Ivy Afternoon (2006). He was recently highlighted in a story by CBS Chicago on five indie authors and publishers to watch, and he graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2001 with a B.A. in Biology and Sociology. He lives in Evanston with his wife and son.

Favorite Genre & Books: I have a particular love for literary speculative fiction by writers like Margaret Atwood, Gary Shteyngart, Neal Stephenson, and older crossovers like Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and Yevgeny Zamyatin. My favorite book is one of the very earliest of these, Jack London’s brilliant and under-read The Iron Heel.

Writer who inspires Mark: I’m a big fan of Chicago writer Ben Tanzer, whose writing feels particularly “alive” to me in a way I can’t yet fully articulate. He also writes some very haltingly honest and terrific things about fatherhood that I couldn’t imagine being more timely.

Book which Mark didn’t expect to enjoy but ended up falling in love with: Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.

Emily Todd

Program & year: First year in the M. A. in English

GA Role: GA for Undergraduate English Program, The Underground Editor

Bio: Emily graduated in 2010 from John Carroll University, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education. From 2010-2012, Emily served as a high school counselor and English faculty (Fall ’11) at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, IL. Also at the academy, Emily served for one year as the drama coach directing plays such as Rumors, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Our Town. While balancing her time as graduate assistant and full-time student, Emily is serving as a substitute teacher for the Archdiocese of Chicago at several local schools. In her free time, she loves visiting the Century Landmark Theatre for independent films, surfing the net for new and upcoming music artists, running to de-stress, and playing piano.

Favorite Books: Disgrace, The Great Gatsby, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Long Day’s Journey into Night

Favorite Authors: Tennessee Williams, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, Flannery O’Connor , Toni Morrison

Authors Emily Hasn’t Read Yet, but Wants to: William Faulkner, Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Carson McCullers

Ryan Burdock

Program & year: First year in the M.A. in English

GA Role: Ryan’s primary role is within the UCWbL at both the Lincoln Park and Loop Campuses, with half of his time there as a Peer Writing Tutor, and the other half comprising a Research Team Leader position.

Favorite Era and Writers to Study: I love to read and write papers on American Literature from the latter half of the 20th Century, and as a result my favorite authors are E.L. Doctorow, Thomas Pynchon and Bret Easton Ellis.


If you see Mark, Emily, and Ryan around make sure to say hello! But wait, there are two more new GA’s… so make sure you keep checking in with Ex Libris for Part 2 of  “Meet the New GA’s” as well as the usual updates on all things MAE and MAWP.

Meet the GAs: Molly Tranberg

Program: MAWP

Graduate Assistant Role:  Editor of Ex Libris, webmaster of graduate programs websites, assistant in the graduate office, and tutor at the Writing Center

Accomplishments, Publications: My most recent accomplishments include a proofreading internship at Sourcebooks, Inc. this summer where I spent my days scouring the Chicago Manual of Style and reading romance novels, and a story recently published in Michigan Audubon Society’s bi-monthly magazine, the Jack-Pine Warbler, about owling.

Favorite Author or Period of Study: I’m drawn to literary nonfiction and nature writing, especially essays by Annie Dillard. I can’t help but devour anything Jonathon Safron Foer and Junot Diaz write. As for myself, I focus on nature and science writing, particularly birding and finding natural spaces in urban locales.

Plans for the school year: Making Ex Libris the best graduate student blog on the internet (with your help, of course) and submitting to the EGSA conference. After I graduate, I plan to look for a job in publishing.

I’m a Michigander fairly new to city life, and although I have been at DePaul for over a year, I’m still discovering new things in Chicago–especially all of its wonderful food. My background is in professional writing and writing for the web, and the MAWP program is helping me delve into the more creative side of writing. My dream is to one day ride a segway around the city and heli-ski in Alaska. When I’m not at school, I’m usually watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, crocheting, or finding a new place to eat outstanding brunch.  

Meet the GAs: Katie Wesolek

Program: MAE

Graduate Assistant Role:  tutor in the writing center and assistant to Matthew Pearson in faculty services

Accomplishments, Publications: presented at Chicagoland Writing Centers Conference last academic year, Sigma Tau Delta member, Golden Key Honor Society member

Favorite Author or Period of Study:  Early Modern drama, but I also love several authors outside of that period (of course) such as George Elliot, Flannery O’Connor, T.S. Elliot, and Jessica Powers

Plans for the school year: Finish two classes (Structure of Modern English and a Medieval req.) and write my thesis under the guidance of Professor McQuade. I also plan to attend a conference in November at Notre Dame and will submit a paper to the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies graduate student conference. There are also a lot of great talks and symposia at the Newberry throughout the year that I plan to fit into my schedule. I am on the board of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, and will be helping plan activities and events for English majors and grad students this year. 

My fascination with literature probably started with my parents reading aloud to my siblings and I from the time I was a toddler. I’m not sure what possessed them to begin with Beowulf, the Illiad, and the Oddessy since neither of them was an English major.

My undergrad studies were undertaken in a rather unconventional way, which, no matter how I explain it, always leaves people a bit confused. A condensed version follows: I joined a missionary outreach organization after high school and studied my undergrad through one of their universities. The university (Universidad Anahuac) is in Mexico City, but I spent the 4 years at the American campus in Rhode Island and earned a B.A.  in Education. After that, I spent 5 years in Dallas, TX involved in the mission work of the organization. At the same time, I continued studies with a university in Rome (Regina Apostolorum) for a licentiate in Religious studies with an emphasis on Catholic theology.

After leaving Dallas, I spent a short stint in the corporate world as an executive assistant in a Chicago area company. There, I realized I had no attraction to the corporate world, so I applied for the MAE program at DePaul and started in Januay 2008.

Apart from studying, I love to draw and paint, dance (swing, Latin, and ballroom), host dinner parties, play ultimate frisbee with my friends, hear classical music live, volunteer in the community and at my church, meditate, spend time with my 7 rowdy siblings and 2 baby nieces, and explore obscure and interesting aspects of Chicago. 

Stay tuned for more graduate assistant profiles in this series.

Meet the GAs: Angel Woods

I find these things so incredibly difficult, she thought to herself as she spun in circles at her desk.  Yes, I do carry on an inner monologue, a lot like J.D., Zach Braff’s character on Scrubs. However, my inner monologue is slightly less annoying and doesn’t impair my ability to function like his often does. I also enjoy putting theme music to my life Sinatra, Sondre Lerche and the Temptations. Like a new car, I have plenty of quirks, but I hide them pretty well until you get to know me.

So my name is Angel, I don’t like any shortened versions because it’s only five letters and I feel like you’re robbing me every time you take two away. I’m a first year M.A.W.P. student and graduate assistant for the undergraduate English Department. I’ve lived my entire life in the southwest suburbs, the cultural void, and attended Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.  I majored in English and Political Science, strange because I’m somewhat apathetic when it comes to politics.

After graduating in 2008, I worked in Baltimore at Johns-Hopkins University, spent some time as an intern at a brokerage firm, logged many hours tutoring and editing various publications for Benedictine’s English Department, and traveled. I feel incredibly blessed to be here at DePaul, and I’m hoping that just being in the same space as my fantastic professors will make me a better writer. 

When I’m not here, I’m somewhere else. Just kidding, I’m either knitting, reading, playing video games, watching dusty old movies, renting French and British films, napping, shopping, or singing.

Stay tuned for more graduate assistant profiles in this series.

Meet the GAs: Matthew Fledderjohann

Program: MAE

Graduate Assistant Role: Tutor, Receptionist, Research Team Leader in the Writing Center

Favorite Authors:  Chaim Potok, David James Duncan, Oscar Wilde

Matthew is a first year student in the M.A.E. program and a Graduate Assistant in the Writing Center.  He completed his undergraduate degree in 2007 from Purdue University with majors in English Literature and General Communications.  After graduation Matthew joined the Peace Corps and lived for over two years in northwestern Kazakhstan teaching English, learning Russian, and eating horsemeat.  He is pleased to have reentered the Western academy and is looking forward to spending his next two years tutoring, reading Shakespeare, and exploring pop culture’s influence on classic literature.

Stay tuned for more graduate assistant profiles in this series.