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 New GA’s (Part 2)

You asked and Ex Libris delivers! Today we are happy to bring you Part 2 of “Meet the New GA’s”. If you missed part one, you can read about Matt, Julia, and Claire here. Please join me in congratulating all seven new GA’s.

Tracey HulsteinTracey Hulstein

Program & year: MAWP, first year
GA role: UCWbL Productions (formerly Multimedia) Team Leader

Bio: Tracey is originally from Rochester, MN, but somehow ended up living in Iowa for the past seven years. She graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA, double-majoring in Theatre and Writing with a focus in Rhetoric. Tracey spent the past few years developing a fear of retail customers before dabbling in human resources at Pearson Assessments. She and her husband attempted to move to Chicago at the end of May but their moving trailer caught fire and they had to buy a bunch of new stuff. They actually moved to Chicago in June and, after experiencing the five stages of grief, love having a literal fresh start. Tracey has a rather obsessive personality, but her main obsessions are the Beatles and cats. She promises that she’s normal.

Favorite Books: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Chronicles of Narnia, Wishful Drinking
Authors who have inspired Tracey: Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Carrie Fisher, John Lennon
Favorite reading genre: Biography and memoir
Favorite writing genre: Creative nonfiction
Tracey’s dream job: Getting paid to tell stories (maybe in Japan?)

Mark JacobsMark Jacobs

Program & Year: MAE, first-year
GA role:
assistant website and technology coordinator in the UCWbL
Mark received his BA in International Studies and Creative Writing from DePaul this past June.  After moving here from South Bend, IN, four years ago, he’s excited to continue at DePaul in the MAE program.  He’s a fan of the Chicago music scene and likes to ride his bike everywhere.

Favorite author: Mark has spent the last year wading his way through all of Don DeLillo’s works, and hasn’t grown bored with him yet.
Mark’s dream job
: Marketing strategist for Allende Burritos Tacos y Mas (which, incidentally, Mark wants us all to know, has the best food to be found near campus)

Jennifer FinstromJennifer Finstrom

Program and Year: MAWP, second year
GA role:
Assistant Coordinator for Outreach in the University Center for Writing-based Learning
Jennifer came to DePaul University as a returning student in the summer of 2008 and received her B.A. in English in 2010. Her poetry has appeared in various literary publications, including Atlanta Review, Rhino, Wisconsin Review, and most recently, Threshold. In addition, she has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine, an online literary quarterly, since October of 2005. Jennifer also enjoys attending writing center conferences and joining in the conversation about peer tutoring theory.

Favorite Authors: Margaret Atwood (both poetry and fiction), J.R.R. Tolkien, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot, Jane Austin.
Books Jen Recommends to Everyone:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Favorite writing genre:
Poetry, speculative fiction, creative nonfiction

Maria HlohowskyjMaria Hlohowskyj

Program & Year: MAWP, first year
GA Role: Editor of Ex Libris, with a little UCWbL tutoring on the side
Bio: Maria was born to two biologists and grew up in Downers Grove, a mid-sized Chicago suburb which voted the apostrophe out of its name in the late 1800s. Maria graduated from Loyola University Chicago with majors in English and Spanish and a minor in Women’s Studies in 2010 with membership in three honors societies, one of which has a secret handshake. Maria made it for a year working part time as a research assistant/landscape technician and part time in a Downers Grove yarn shop before she realized how much she missed academic life. She is incredibly happy to be once again living in Chicago and studying writing.

Favorite Books: The Sparrow, The Art of Political Murder, Interpreter of Maladies, White Teeth, A Thousand Acres, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, etc., etc.
Author Who Inspires Maria: Rachel Carson
Wait, did you say yarn shop?: Yes! Maria is an avid knitter and crocheter and had taught lots of crochet classes. If you ask nicely she might teach you.
Maria’s Dream Job: Writing about the amazing urban nature in Chicago, and the many wonderful, under-appreciated wild places in Northern Illinois
Fun Fact: Maria is editing this very blog post right this minute! And on that note, I want to wish all my readers a very happy weekend!

Meet the New GA’s (Part 1)

First order of business: Winter and Spring 2012 schedules have been UPDATED. The updated schedules can be found right here on Ex Libris under “Classes” and are also available in PDF form to download or print on d2l under “MA in English/Writing and Publishing” > “Content”> “Course Lists”.

And now for the fun part: Meet the new GA’s! This year we have seven new GA’s in the English Department. Welcome and congratulations, all!

Claire Rooney

Program & year: MAWP, second year
GA role: Assistant Coordinator for Writing Groups at the UCWbL
Bio: Claire graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in English and a minor in psychology. After graduation, she spent two years as a copy editor at Encyclopaedia Britannica, where she worked on everything from chemistry articles to history books for children. When she’s not writing she’s cooking, and will probably make you chocolate chip cookies if you ask.

Favorite Author(s): Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Flannery O’Connor, Zadie Smith, Margaret Atwood

Favorite period of study: 19th century British and American literature
Favorite writing genre: novels and short stories
Claire’s dream job: editor at a university press

Matt Albert

Program & Year:  MAE, 1st Year
GA Role:  UCWbL In-Class Workshops Team Leader
Bio:  Matt is from Mokena, a.k.a. that southwest suburb next to Orland Park and Tinley Park that nobody has ever heard of.  He attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and majored in English with a minor in secondary education.  After finishing his undergrad, he taught high school English for three years in the Glenbard, Lincoln-Way, and Monticello districts before coming to DePaul for his MA in English.  Matt is an avid White Sox fan who feels fortunate to have been in the house for the Blackout game, Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, and the infamous Pierzynski-Barrett slugfest.  When he’s not worrying about whether Adam Dunn’s strikeout total will eclipse his batting average or reading about Anglo-Saxon ring structure, Matt spends his free time working as a staff member for the Lincoln-Way East Marching Griffins in Frankfort.

Favorite Book:  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Favorite Period of Study:
Favorite Writing Genre: 
Satirical news stories
Dream Job: 
PA announcer for the White Sox (we all wish that we could have the voice of God just like Gene Honda)
Favorite Actor: 
Peter Sellers
Favorite Vulgar Chef:
  Gordon Ramsay
Favorite Sitcom:  Frasier
Favorite Composer: 
Dmitri Shostakovich

Julia Harding

Program & Year: First year MAE

GA Role: Writing Center Tutor and Faculty Development Team Leader

Bio: Julia is a first year student in the M.A.E. program. She holds a B.A. in English from Boston College and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Providence College. She spent three years teaching high school English in southeastern Massachusetts before defecting to the professional world, where she dabbled in custom textbook editing and development at a major publishing house. When she’s not beefing up on her trivia knowledge in preparation for the next Jeopardy! online test, you’ll find her wrestling her love-hate relationship with caffeine or compulsively scouring the shelves of the nearest used bookstore.

If you see Claire, Matt, and Julia around make sure to say hello! And yes, there are four more of us, including yours truly… 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.