The planning and organizing efforts behind this festival demonstrates how members of our English Department embrace the spirit of community engagement. When I met with the administrators of UNC Center City last semester to discuss the possibility of collaborating on a literary festival, I had no idea that I would experience a major health crisis in the middle of the spring spring semester. My health crisis has made it difficult for me to participate in planning the details of the conference. Fortunately, Bryn Chancellor, Janaka Lewis, and Angie Williams all stepped up and took on leadership roles in the planning of this festival. As I see it, their willingness to help typifies the English Department’s commitment to engagement.
This spirit of engagement is reflected in many of the activities that the members of our department regularly perform, including volunteering. Angie, for example, volunteered during UNC Charlotte’s Week of Volunteering. She assisted Second Harvest Food Bank putting together backpacks of food for Charlotte area schools. The backpacks are provided to children in need for the weekends. There are also countless examples of how our faculty members engage their students in the learning process. For example, Heather Vorhies recently had the students in English 6008: History of Modern Science Writing conduct their own set of Diet Coke and Mentos experiments inspired by the Discovery Channel show MythBusters. As part of this project, Heather had her students read Jane Marcet’s Conversations on Chemistry (1817), and traced the advent of contemporary popular science and its format to Marcet’s work in the early nineteenth century. Below is a MP4 video of one of the experiments.
Boyd Davis recently published a co-authored article titled “Three Approaches to Understanding Verbal Cues from Older Adults with Diabetes” in The Internet Journal of Advanced Nursing Practice. 2017 Volume 16 Number 1. DOI: 10.5580/IJANP.46960
Malin Pereira was a keynote speaker at the Sixth International Conference on English and American Literature at Shanghai International Studies University in China, held April 20-21. Her presentation was on Yusef Komunyakaa’s and Natasha Trethewey’s ekphrastic poetry. She especially enjoyed spending time with Professor Wang Dongmei, a visiting scholar in our department about seven years ago, who wrote her dissertation on Alice Walker. Dongmei is now associate chair of her department.
Quirky Quiz Question — In teaching her graduate class on the history of modern science writing, Heather Vorhies drew inspiration from an experiment televised on a program called MythBusters. One of the original hosts of this program was Jamie Hyneman. Does anybody know the name of the other original host?