Success Stories

M.A. in English: Composition & Communication

Here are updates on a few of our recent graduates. We'll add more information as we receive input from our alumni:

Brooks, Marilee (M.A., 2008) undertook a rhetorical analysis of the pre-trial testimony of expert witnesses representing evolution and intelligent design in Tammy Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. Marilee is now working on her doctorate at MSU.

Janet Gaff (M.A., 2007) conducted a an empirical teacher-research study for her thesis project, which she began developing in ENG 618, titled "The Relationship Between Students' Perceptions of Themselves as Writers and their Revision Decisions." Janet recently accepted a tenure-track position as a Composition instructor at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove IL, just outside Chicago.

Curtis Burdette (M.A. 2007) edited a collection of his great-great-grandfather's letters written while he was a prospector during the Alaskan gold rush. Curtis' thesis project, which began as a class project in ENG 638, was titled, "The Adventures of Nathaniel Traub Wile: Letters from the Klondike Gold Rush." Curtis is now teaching composition at Gogebic Community College.

Heather Tracy (M.A. 2007) wrote a creative non-fiction thesis titled, "Grandma Peggy and "The Kid": The Lost Love Story of Peggy Ware and Ted Williams."

Laura Grow (M.A. 2006) wrote a thesis titled "Reading, Writing, and Real Life: Integrating Contemporary Social Issues into the English Classroom" and has recently accepted a tenure track position as a composition instructor in Wyoming.

Stephanie Kurin (M.A. 2006) examined the teaching and learning of writing in a home-school context in her semi-autobiographical thesis, "A Survey of Homeschool English Curricula from the Perspective of a Homeschool Graduate and Composition Instructor, Stephanie now teaches composition as an adjunct instructor at Ball State University.

Monica Brady (M.A., 2005) wrote a thesis that was a historical editing project begun in ENG 638 entitled, "Who Wouldn't be a Soldier?: The 1861-62 Civil War Letters of Captain Charles Henry Curtiss.” She is currently expanding the thesis into a book-length edition and looking for a publisher. Monica has worked as a freelance scopist (an editor and researcher who works with legal deposition transcripts), and she also worked for CMU's Alumni Center. She recently accepted a tenure-track position as a composition Instructor of English at Elizabethtown Community & Technical College in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Emily Pioszak (M.A., 2005), whose pedagogical thesis was titled “Ecocomposition: Principles into Practice,” has remained at Central Michigan University to teach Freshman Composition using the approach presented in her thesis.

Mary Rosalez (M.A., 2005) wrote a creative nonfiction thesis entitled “Fat Chance: Living in an Unacceptable Body.” She is teaching rhetoric and literature at Alma College and began pursuing a doctorate at Michigan State University in 2006.

Sarah Buckley (M.A., 2005) is social media coordinator and the editor of the newsletter for the College of Humanities and Social & Behavioral Sciences here at CMU. For her thesis project, she developed The Newsletter Handbook for future editors, a handbook that contains information on all aspects of publishing the CHSBS newsletter.  Sarah also manages the CHSBS Web site and develops marketing materials and publications for the college.

Jon Edwards (M.A., 2003) focused on rhetorical theory, media applications, and popular culture. His thesis, "Crosses at the Mouth of Hell: Christian Language and Symbols in Buffy the Vampire Slayer," examined the presentation of religious groups and ideas in popular television and the culturally transformative power of myth creation in the popular consciousness. Jon is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student, concentrating in rhetoric and media/cultural studies, at Northwestern University.

Ed Comber (M.A., 2002) is a former newspaper editor who decided to alter his career path by joining the MAECC program. He received his M.A. degree after completing his thesis "Writer Heal Thyself : The Presence of Healing Discourse Markers in Student-authored Freshman Composition Texts." Ed is currently pursuing doctoral studies in the Composition/Rhetoric Ph.D. program at Ball State University.

Patrice Heinzman (M.A., 2002) who emphasized professional writing during her time in the program, received her MAECC degree after completing her thesis "Regional Education Service Agencies: Emerging from The Shadows." Patrice is a Public Information Specialist for the Ingham Intermediate School District here in Michigan.

Chrissine Cairns (M.A., 2001) wrote a creative nonfiction thesis, “Churning in the Wake,” and has taught for the past few years at the University of Miami.

Amy Solinski (M.A., 2001) whose thesis was a pedagogical study, “Creative Nonfiction in the Composition Classroom: Research Meets the Personal Essay,” has entered the doctoral program at Michigan State University.

Jason Kane (M.A., 2000) focused on composition theory and pedagogy during his MAECC coursework. His thesis, an ethnographic study of writing in the Honors Program at CMU entitled “Composing the HONgang:” Community, Competition and the Construction of ‘Scholar’,” was nominated for the Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award. After teaching writing for CMU for a year, Jason attended the doctoral program in Rhetoric at Syracuse for a semester, but he soon realized that he really wanted to focus on teaching. He currently holds a tenure-track position in English at Elgin Community College, in Elgin, IL.

Kate Miller (M.A., 2000) who edited the historical manuscript “Three Years in the Army: The Civil War Diary of John D. Follmer” for her thesis, teaches composition here at CMU.

Bill Milligan (M.A., 2000) wrote a collection of essays, “The Art of Becoming,” for his thesis and now teaches at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba, Michigan, and recently received tenure.

Don Socha (M.A., 2000) wrote a critical theory thesis, “Affirmations of Indeterminacy: Teaching Writing as Productive Knowledge,” and he teaches composition here at CMU and was recently elected to represent the adjunct faculty on the English Dept.'s Composition Committee.

Sarah Dickerson (M. A., 1999), whose thesis was the essay collection, “The Clock Would Drop,” is enrolled in an MFA in Nonfiction Program at the University of Iowa.

Liz Monske (M.A., 1999), whose pedagogical thesis was titled “Life In and Out of the Writing Classroom : The Writing Processes of Students,” received her doctorate in 2004 from Bowling Green State University and is now an Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech. University.

Geoffrey Carter (M.A.,1998) wrote "Minotaur: A Memoir" for his thesis and went on to a doctoral program in Composition & Rhetoric at Purdue University.

Beth Bowen (M.A., 1998) wrote a Graduate Assistant Training Handbook for her thesis and was hired as a documentation engineer. Since May 2005, she has been a Senior Editor with a division of Texas Instruments called T3 (T-Cubed). In collaboration with content experts who author material, Beth edits math and science materials for secondary school teachers, training them how to introduce, apply, and integrate technology into their existing curriculum. Prior to this, from May 2003 to July 2005, she was a writer and project manager for an eLearning company out of Ames, Iowa, handling all aspects (except creation of art) of producing online training courses for a variety of clients including insurance, manufacturing, and agricultural companies. She also oversaw all customer support.

Sandra Smith (M.A., 1996), whose creative nonfiction thesis was titled “An Absence of Ease,” went on to the doctoral program at New Mexico State University.