Welcome to the official blog for Villanova's Graduate English Program! Come back often for updates on conference opportunities, guest speakers, student accomplishments, alumni news, and more. Also be sure to check out our Facebook page for more updates.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ashley DiRienzo

Ashley graduated summa cum laude from Widener University in May 2017. In addition to receiving her BA in English, Ashley also recieved a Teacher's Certificate in English Secondary Education. Ashley completed Student Teaching in an eighth grade English classroom for her final semester; the experience was both the most challenging yet rewarding experience of her educational career thus far. While at Widener, Ashley worked as a textual scholarship research assistant in which she studied and worked in the area of British Romanticism. The most exciting part of the research (by far) was attending the annual Wordsworth Summer Conference in Grasmere England: Wordsworth's home and the location of where his original manuscripts are housed. Ashley completed a senior thesis on James Joyce's Ulysses examining how, through a cognitive lens, Leopold Bloom's exterior social interactions collide with his interior thoughts about his family. Aside from academics, Ashley spent much of her involvement at school with Widener's Student Life extracurricular activities including volunteering and being a tour guide; she even got the chance to travel domestically and abroad to Belize for service trips. Ashley is extremely excited to start the next phase of her educational career at Villanova. When Ashley is not studying English, you can find her coaching youth field hockey, running, drawing, teaching at a tutoring center, spending time with her younger sisters, and eating ice cream.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Brian Borosky

Brian graduated in 2014 from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. He took a major in English and a minor in Creative Writing. While a student at Muhlenberg, Brian served as prose editor and, later, editor-in-chief of MUSES art and literary magazine, and he served as a jockey on WMUH, as a helplessly devoted writing center tutor, and as other things. It was at Muhlenberg Brian became interested in studying the poetry of George Oppen and other “Objectivists” as well as in studying comic theory and Irish drama. He was surprised and happy to graduate salutatorian. Upon graduating, Brian began working as the Assistant Director of the Muhlenberg College Writing Center, and he held that post for the three years between his BA and attending Villanova. In that position, he was fortunate to work with writers of all academic backgrounds and pursuits, from first-year students perusing majors, to seniors policing their theses, to faculty parsing their syllabi. Now he is excited to meet people at Villanova who are likewise interested in thinking with others about interesting things. Brian likes to ride his green bicycle and make music with The Savories, who keep saying they will put out an EP soon. He hopes to keep finding neat pieces of the Philly music scene.

Angela Christaldi

Angela graduated cum laude from Saint Joseph's University in May, where she majored in English and Communications Studies, with a concentration in journalism, and a minor in gender studies. Over the course of her undergraduate career, Angela served as Managing Editor of The Hawk, SJU's Pacemaker Award-winning student newspaper, and was given a Summer Scholars grant to work on a collection of essays inspired by Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem. She wrote an honors thesis investigating the potential connections between the founders of Saint Joseph's University and the institution of slavery. Angela's research interests include 20th century women authors, and how the various social movements of the century impacted their writing. Outside of academic pursuits, Angela loves reading and writing (obviously), going to concerts, and drinking coffee.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nick Manai

Nick graduated from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA, where he played baseball and majored in English. He studied Russian Literature and Contemporary Fiction, but the curriculum was expansive and holistic, not suggesting a genuine ‘focus.’ After college he took up remote work, teaching English to South Koreans with an internet phone and used the opportunity to backpack through Asia, South America and Europe. At Villanova he will be a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Access
Success and Achievement (CASA), but will spend most of his work-hours in the Academy at Palumbo, a public high school in South Philly. He is interested in the way the Contemporary American Novel might be read as an Identity Plot, and the ways that structure might differ or imitate previous conceptions of the novel, such as The Marriage Plot. He enjoys reading Marilynne Robinson’s non-fiction essays and watching Iranian Cinema, as well as, listening to the Mountain Goats and exploring Philly’s DIY music-scene. Nick continues to Trust the Process.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Christian Leithart

Christian Leithart was born in Alabaster, Alabama, and was raised in the northern part of Idaho (wheat not potatoes), so not only does he know how to drive in the snow, he understands that if you go to a real BBQ expecting a hamburger, you're crazy. He graduated from New Saint Andrews College in 2012, where he received a BA in Liberal Arts, which included studying everything from logic trees to Latin swear words. As a junior, he began directing student theater productions and organized an improv group, though organized may be too strong a word. He also earned an MA in Theology from New Saint Andrews in 2014, for which he wrote a critical thesis on time in the work of TS Eliot and a creative thesis (a novella called "The Bright City").
  Christian has worked as a waiter, a surveyor, a copywriter, a cleaner of carpets, and a video producer, and once even got paid to play a video game. His greatest claim to fame is that M. Night Shyamalan once told him he had ruined everything. His research interests include anything that makes academic study relevant to the life and imagination of non-academic people. Right now - seriously, right this minute - he is trying to think of a way to do that for the sixteenth-century poet Edmund Spenser.
  Christian writes fiction and creative nonfiction whenever he has a spare moment. He also writes poetry that he is too embarrassed to read to anyone but his wife. He and his wife have an infant daughter, who, in true sacramental faith, does her level best to experience the world primarily by eating it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sarah Lynch

Sarah graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in literary studies and a minor in political science from Wesley College in her home state of Delaware in 2017. Sarah has particular interest in the interconnection between American culture, film, history (both domestic and transatlantic), literature, media, music, and politics. As a member of the Honors Program, she developed a thesis about the prevalence of Milton's Lucifer archetype in American pop-culture and presented her work during Wesley's Scholars Day event during her senior year. In 2016, Sarah presented a thesis about the importance of fan-fiction at the 27th Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Conference and plans to present again this year about the way in which television shows affect Americans' perceptions of vigilantism. Aside from academia, Sarah loves to read and write, attend baseball games, and binge-watch series on Netflix.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Joe Alicea

Joe Alicea earned his Bachelor of Arts at St. John’s College in Annapolis with two majors, the first in Philosophy and the second in History of Science and Mathematics, and two minors, one in Comparative Literature and the other in Classical Studies. Joe took three semesters of Ancient Greek in translation and an additional three semesters of French in translation; during this time he translated the first book of Euclid’s Elements, excerpts of Aristotle's Politics, Derrida’s Feu la cendre, and several of Molière’s plays. Joe’s principal interests during the beginning of his studies at St. John’s were in the philosophies of Descartes and Spinoza, St. Augustine’s Confessions, and the plays and poetry of Shakespeare. His absorption in these areas would lead to an award for the best written essay by an undergraduate in 2012 for his sophomore thesis - an analysis of the mutability of identity in King Lear with a thorough discourse on theories of relationalism. This thesis and its methods of critique and analysis are precursory to Joe’s current interests in phenomenolgy, philology German hermeneutics, and modernist literature. At the moment, Joe is primarily reading the later journals of Wittgenstein, the later works of Derrida, the prose and poetry of Wallace Stevens, and the early prose and poetry of David Foster Wallace. The time between his philosophizing in college and now was spent with friends and family as an onsite mathematics tutor for students at LVL High School in la Villita of southside Chicago.

Lia Krahe

Lia graduated with her BA in English in 2014, and has since worked as the director of content at a marketing agency in Maine. During her time as an undergrad, she studied sociopolitical themes in Irish American drama and honed in on her interest in modernism, achieving a high pass on her comprehensive exams and graduating as the top student in the department. She's hopelessly passionate about the written word, and writes with enthusiasm on topics ranging from Imagism to ductless mini-splits. Lia is particularly interested in the unreliable narrator, collaborative techniques for writing instruction, the Lost Generation, and how literature reacted to and was shaped by Victorian forms. Her recent travels have been shamelessly centered around stalking Saint-Exupéry (in Casablanca) and Hemingway (in Havana).

Christie Leonard

Christie graduated from Villanova University in 2017 with a B.A. in English and minors in French, History, and Classical Studies. In 2017, she presented her first major conference paper on Mary Wilkins Freeman at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies National Conference in Philadelphia. She is interested in the Gothic tradition and intersections of literature and medicine in the long nineteenth century. For a few years, she co-taught architectural modeling at the Wallingford Community Art Center and is currently working as a PhD dissertation editor. In her spare time, she is a multimedia artist, and enjoys knitting, cooking, Netflix, Jeopardy! and looking up etymologies. She has a toad named Edgar, a red betta fish called Galahad, and several potted plants.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Angeline Nies-Berger

Forever trapped between twos, foreigner and citizen, francophone and anglophone, and thus forever feeling a little awkward, the only element that's never swayed for Angeline is literature. The interest became official while studying Voltaire and Rousseau in high school and discovering the not-so-subtle intertwining of literature with politics. Today, this curiosity mainly takes roots in feminism, and the daily leitmotiv is to challenge the system. She just graduated from la Sorbonne (Paris, France) with a BA in French Literature and Media, and hopes to pursue with a PhD in Comparative Literature after her MA of English at Villanova. However, she also declares that if she ends up being a published author living on a small ranch with a bunch of horses, that is as great an option as the other similarly ambitious but also exhausting, revolutionary one.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Joe O'Brien

Joe came to Villanova after earning a B.A. in Literature, Language, and Culture from Virginia Tech in 2006, and a Secondary Education Certification in English from West Chester University in 2012. He teaches high school English at his alma mater, Salesianum School in Wilmington DE. He enjoys playing the guitar and the harmonica, as well as coaching--and occasionally playing--rugby. Joe spends the rest of his free time watching Netflix and the Eagles with his pit bull, Ambrosia. His primary literary interests are mainly contemporary, such as Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, and Roddy Doyle. Joe was excited to join the Villanova community just in time to feign allegiance during the National Championship run.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Elizabeth Wood

Liz graduated from Bucknell University too many years ago to remember, with a BA in Geology. It was an erstwhile pursuit, and she’s done nothing with Geology since. Looking for what might fuel her passion more thoroughly, Liz spent the next decade living in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and finally Philadelphia, where she’s now a full-time staff member with Villanova. In her heart of hearts she would have been an English major as an undergrad, and is attempting to rectify that grievous error by joining the VU Grad English department as a student. Still exploring all genres, Liz is reluctant to say what her focus will be, but at the moment she finds the relationship between the interior and exterior self, and how that relationship is addressed in novels, intriguing. Having already hiked Alaskan glaciers and sipped wine in a 16th-century french hamlet, Liz’s free time is now spent with her husband and two boys, finding the briefest respites in a glass of wine or a walk through the park.

Sara Kolojejchick

Sara earned her B.A. in English with her Secondary Education Certification from Immaculata University in 2010.  Since then Sara has been pursuing her career as a teacher, currently teaching high school English at her alma mater.  A New Jersey native but a Winter baby, Sara prefers the snow and the cold to the beach and the heat.  Sara spends her time ringing in two Handbell Ensembles, one of which is the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble (www.phillybells.org). Sara enjoys reading the twisted works of Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, and Chuck Palahniuk but when she has a rare free moment, she enjoys spending it with her "fur-baby", Bacardi, and her friends and family.

AJ DeBonis

A Pennsylvania native, AJ earned his BA in Philosophy from Eastern University in 2010. After working for three years as a sexton at a lovely church in Wynnewood and studying theology at Villanova, he moved to New Haven, CT to complete an MA degree in religious ethics at Yale Divinity School. He is currently interested in the intersections of literature and moral philosophy, meaning and literary form, and values in American literature; Dante, Eliot, and Adam Zagajewski are proving to be lasting companions. He’s married to Patti.

Robert McClung

Rob comes to Villanova from outside the discipline of English. Prior to starting the program here, he studied musicology at Temple University’s Boyer College, where he also performed solo and chamber music as a classical guitarist and sometime choral singer. At Temple, he became keenly interested in opera, so following graduation, he started his career in the archives of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, then moved north to the Glimmerglass Festival for a brief summer in Cooperstown, and finally landed in the Education department of Seattle Opera, where he gave lectures, created programs, and wrote for the company. His scholarly interests center on the culture, literature, and music of the English Renaissance. At Villanova, he’d like to pursue a project grounded in rhetoric, gender, and performance studies that includes the work of Shakespeare, Morley, Sidney, Dowland, the other Robert Johnson, the more famous Ben Jonson, and (just so that no one feels excluded) the Daniel brothers. In addition to Renaissance literature, he is keenly interested in the literature and history of Philadelphia, and holds a strong affection for the personal essay, especially those of Lamb, Repplier, E.B. White, and Baldwin, who are always at his bedside. When he’s not reading, he attends weddings in what used to be his spare time.

James Butler

James earned his B.A. in English (with minors in History and Creative Writing) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. His UNC honors thesis related John Berryman’s 1969 work The Dream Songs to the Biblical Book of Job. James is primarily interested in post-war and contemporary American poetry, but he also has an interest in the general history of poetry as well as the intersection of theology and literature. He has a pretty consuming obsession with Bob Dylan, and he also loves IPAs, steak, and Tar Heel basketball.

Kathryn Corona

Kathryn has spent the last 15 years trying to unlock the secrets of living on the wrong side of the continent. Born in Cali and raised in God's Country (i.e. the Washington State), there are certain elements of East Coast living that still do not sit quite right for this country girl from the mountains.  And let's not even discuss humidity, or naked trees in winter.  After undergraduate degrees in English, Spanish and Education from Central Washington University (strangely, also the Wildcats) she dove into the deep end of crazy and moved sight unseen to New York for graduate school #1 and an MA in Biblical Literature and the New Testament.  She came to Philly for an actual job that could pay the bills and to do this thing called "adulting." Ten years in k-12 education renewed the dream to go back to collegiate teaching and she found her way to Villanova's MA in English. If you are lucky enough to have class with her then bring your appetite because she loves to share the fruits of her culinary endeavors. When she is blessed enough to have a bit of spare cash Kathryn likes to run away to exotic locales and is searching the world to find someone who will pay for her to travel and go to school for the rest of her life. Her dream PhD program is at Notre Dame where she can do an interdisciplinary study of the role of parables, storytelling and allegory for the communication of faith to an illiterate church and society from the 1st century through the Renaissance.  In her fleeting moments of spare time she cooks, bakes and hangs with friends who are more like family, reads non-school related anything, dabbles in photography, hones her ballroom and latin dance skills, wanders off the marked trails, and makes use of her God-given singing voice.  The rest of the time she holds court as "The Queen" of her classroom and attempts to educate and inspire the next generation to love Literature, or at least be able to write a coherent sentence.

Ann Marie Jakubowski

Ann Marie graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 with a B.A. in English and Spanish and a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. The more she reads, the more wide-ranging her interests become, but past work has focused on British Modernist poets T.S. Eliot and David Jones, examining their approaches to questions of temporality and systems of representing meaning. Broadly, she is very interested in religion and literature scholarship, particularly its intersection with philosophy of language. An ex-college newspaper editor, she’s retained a deep appreciation for the power of coffee and all things journalism, as well as the useful ability to write like mad under a deadline. In her spare time, Ann Marie enjoys exploring Philly, cooking, and talking about how much she loves her home state of Michigan.

Caitlin Moon

Caitlin Moon graduated from the University of Delaware in 2015 with four majors: French Studies, German Studies, Italian Studies, and Art History, with minors in European and Medieval Studies. Due to research interests, she has also acquired a working knowledge of Spanish, classical Latin and Ancient Greek, as well as Old English, Old Norse, and Russian. Caitlin completed the Middlebury Deutsche Schule in 2011 and has studied in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and at Christ Church College, Oxford. She is the recipient of numerous academic awards.

At Villanova, Caitlin will focus on Medieval Literature with a certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Her primary interest is the interdisciplinary relationship between Art and Literature, specifically medieval representations of women.

Caitlin’s free time is spent traveling, antiquing, cooking, painting, watching foreign films, or translating poetry, as well as volunteering with elderly Russian immigrants. As a Medievalist, she plans to earn her PhD and work in a museum setting.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Emma Bartholomew

Emma Bartholomew just read the bios of the other Villanova English grad students and is
appropriately intimidated. Nonetheless, she also happens to be a proud alumna of Randolph College, from which she graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Curriculum and Instruction. Emma spent her junior year studying abroad in England, during which time she fell even further in love with nineteenth-century British and American literature. Emma has also devoted much of her time to the study of education and the performing arts. A Minnesotan by birth, Emma has a distinct preference for cold weather and fresh water over sunshine and the ocean. Among her other favorite things are Anna Karenina, hard cider, Seinfeld, 1950s fashion, and naps.