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 Mrozinski

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. Lia is a nerd and writes with enthusiasm on topics ranging from Imagism to ductless mini-splits. She is particularly interested in the unreliable narrator 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.