Friday, September 30, 2011


Friday is finally here! And even though for many of us this day is anything but the end of our work week, we might as well take a break for some fresh air and sunshine (I hear these are good for us?). We are taking a breather from posting more information, but feel free to check out this week's post on Professional Materials for M.A. Students (much of this information is useful for PhD students as well). Next week we will continue posting grad school resources, time management tips, and upcoming academic opportunities. In the meantime, take a break! Please come out and join us for happy hour at Tonic this afternoon (see our facebook page for event details or to r.s.v.p.)

Comic from 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Professional Materials for M.A. Students

This is part one of our online content for current M.A. graduate students. Some of you may be applying to PhD programs, and some of you may plan on entering the job market soon - in either case it will be helpful to have these professional materials updated and available:

Teaching Statement
Writing Samples

One of the frequently asked questions you might have is, "do I need to do a CV as an M.A. student?" Our answer is that it largely depends on where you are applying to for a job. However, CVs are not just for PhD students looking in academia. You have the opportunity, with a CV, to showcase your unique accomplishments and expertise. In a CV you can outline the courses that you have taught, or the graduate classes which you have taken. You can emphsize any special training that you have received (hybrid teaching, distance learning, ESL or Developmental Reading, composition, pedagogy). You may have some cross over with your resume, but you can also include any related work positions (like editing, tutoring, teaching). If you have been accepted to any conferences, been published in any journals, or even if your publications are "under review", you may include these details. This is also where you can highlight your involvement with extra-cirricular activities like committee work (like EGSA and Prefix, for example) or professional event planning (like symposiums). And of course you will want to include any awards or honors, fellowships or commendations, as well as any professional organiziations of which you are a member (MLA for example). Your M.A. representative to EGSA has kindly offered her CV as an example - copies of this can be found in the box outside Rome 751. We also encourage you to consult with the M.A. Coordinator Dr. Kavita Daiya who would be happy to provide you with example resumes, CVs, and any additional advice.

Similarly, you may wonder if you need a teaching statement even if the jobs to which you are applying do not require one. Let us just say, we recommend that you write one anyway. If you are applying to any sort of teaching position, it is helpful to have your teaching philosophy squared away. Even if you never hand over the written document, experience tells us that you will be required to answer to your teaching views in an interview with your future boss.

Begin paving the way for recommendations right now. You may need them for PhD applications now or in the future, and of course for a variety of job positions. Approach those faculty as early as you can with your plans and recommendation needs. Provide them with all the necessary information (forms, contact info, stamped envelopes if necessary). Make sure that they want to provide you with a favorable recommendation - this is important since you should not assume that all faculty are prepared to write in your favor. Our final piece of advice is to send "friendly reminders" to your recommenders before the deadlines - believe us, they will appreciate it.

Finally we have a few tips regarding writing samples, and in fact, this first one applies to all of your professional materials: 1) Send it around - get as many people as you can to look over your materials for feedback, editing, etc. Have someone outside the field take a look or avail yourselves of our Writing Center's excellent tutoring. If you send your samples or materials to faculty, make sure to send them reminders to give you the feedback you  need when you need it. 2) Stay within the page limit! If your applicaiton calls for a writing sample of a certain number of pages, make it happen - the people reading these samples do not appreciate longer works no matter how brilliant it is. 3) Tailor your sample choices to the job/program to which you are applying.

Please stay tuned for additional posts on resources, time management tips, and advice from faculty for M.A. students. If you have questions or would like to offer additional suggestions for professional materials and advice, please contact us - we realize that some employers are looking for outside-the-box thinking on this, so we encourage your contributions. Also, please check out our handouts from yesterday's "Plan Your M.A." workshop located outside of Rome 751

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Celebrate Banned Book Week

The web is all atwitter with articles about Banned Books Week which is September 24-October 1. Since we are in the business of studying, reading, and teaching books, I cannot help but see the relevance of this week for EGSA members. What follows are some resources and articles which are meant as food for thought. Maybe you and your class are reading a banned book right now - how does this knowledge change the way you, your classmates, or your students read the book? We welcome your comments, your resources or additional links, or your experiences with banned/challenged books. Take a look, leave a comment, or begin a thread in our forum.

For a quick survey of the current state of Banned/Challenged books, take a look at "The Top Ten Banned or Challenged Books of 2010" on the Huffington Post. This infographic allows you to scan the book labels and explore the reasons why certain books are banned/challenged.

It is possible that you are wondering about the larger significance of banned/challenged books or you have at least faced questions as to why keeping young people from reading "adult" literature is a controversial issue. Take a look at remarks from the President of the American Library Association on how Censorship is Alive and Well and how it is linked to Banned Books Week. Another article, "On Being Banned" by Dalma Heyn, is by one of many authors whose work has been banned or challenged and who explores the implications of these experiences.

Check out the official Banned Books Week website for featured events, a youtube banned book reading project, and resources/data on banned books. There is even a "Mapping Censorship" Map which shows the locations in the US where challenges and bans occur - you might be surprised by the pattern!

Finally, here is a blog devoted to reviewing and reading Banned Books all year. What I like about this blog is the amount of research per post - for all the skeptics out there regarding banned/challenged books, this blogger provides direct quotes from the groups/individuals who want to ban/challenge specific books.

Please share your thoughts with us!
Also, stay tuned - we will be posting information and resources from our "Plan Your MA" session in case you did not get a chance to stop by. We also left copies of our handouts and resource lists in the box on my office door - Rome 751 - please feel free to help yourself!

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Week in the EGSA

Please join us this week at our end of September events. As the demands of the semester begin to pick up, it is important to take breaks, connect with your friends, and network with your fellow graduate students! This week we want to offer you helpful information, stress management skills, and an opportunity to imbibe at one of our favorite campus bars, Tonic.

This Tuesday, on September 26 at 2:30pm EGSA is hosting the "Plan Your M.A." event in Rome 771. We have information and resources for first and second year M.A. students. No matter if you are gearing up for the job market or applying to PhD programs, we have advice and tips for everyone. We have sample professional materials, a list of books and web sources, and advice taken straight from our professors' mouths. It will also be a unique opportunity for you to ask any burning questions and exchange ideas/information with your fellow M.A. colleagues. Not to mention that your M.A. representative to EGSA and I will be baking delicious treats. Please feel free to bring your own beverage, and pass the word along to your fellow students! Visit us on Facebook for event details or to RSVP.

This Friday, on September 30 from noon to 3pm EGSA is hosting a Happy Hour located at Tonic. If you cannot make it until later in the afternoon, let us know and some of us will stick around. For those of you who are new to the area, Tonic is one of the closest bars to Rome and has great happy hour deals. Come join us for some Tater Tots and cocktails this Friday afternoon. Remember that it is important for you to take a study break, vent your frustrations, and network with your fellow grads. We all look forward to seeing you there. Visit us on Facebook for event details and to RSVP.

In keeping with the theme of taking a break, check out this little gem of a website which explores the humorous side of graduate school: PhD Comics.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plan Your M.A. Workshop

Please join us for the "PlanYour M.A." brown-bag session on September 27 2:30-3:30pm in Rome 771. In this event we hope to be able to address all of your questions about the English M.A. program and what comes next.The seminar will be useful for both first-year and second-year MA students. Among other things, we'll be talking about:

All the things that need to happen to complete your MA
Cultivating a relationship with faculty mentors
Applying to PhD programs
Writing a CV as a master's student
Helpful Resources

We're going to do this brown bag style, so bring your lunch and we'll provide dessert. There will be cookies, possibly pie, and a good time had by all. We'd love it if you came.


Haylie Swenson and Tawnya Ravy

For more information and to R.S.V.P. please visit the GW EGSA Facebook page and "Like" us.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

EGSA Symposium

Just FYI, the EGSA Symposium has been moved from October 14 to February 10, 2012 to allow everyone the chance to participate on a panel.  Look for the CFP later in the semester.

- Peyton

Graduate Reading Group

I’m trying to gauge interest in forming a reading group.  Here’s what I’m thinking.  The reading group would be interdisciplinary (or at least inter-concentrationally) in focus.  The objective of the group would be to discuss critical and theoretical—and perhaps literary—works relevant to the various projects we are all working on.  To begin, I would propose meeting once a month (somewhere with food and drinks) to discuss a few (2-3) chapters of a chosen text.  Ideally, we can schedule these readings around other events in the department.  For instance, in October there are MEMSI events around Monster theory and in November there is a “Composing Disability” symposium. Our first meeting in October might read one or two chapters dealing with monstrosity alongside one on disability theory and embodiment. I've included a poll.  Please vote to give me an idea of your interest, and we'll take it from there.

Please feel free to comment on the blog or send me an email ( if you have any suggestions.

- Peyton

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Literary Events

Welcome to the George Washington University EGSA blog. Your EGSA board hopes to use this tool to keep in touch with you and to keep you posted on upcoming events, professional development opportunities, and social gatherings.
To start us off, I would like to announce a couple literary events coming up this Fall. The D.C. Metro area offers us unique and exciting opportunities to experience the literary world.
First, Toni Morrison, celebrated Nobel Prize and Pulitzer-prize winning American author, editor, and professor, is coming to our very campus on Wednesday September 21 to do a reading and speak about her life and work. For details on the event and to rsvp (for a free ticket) click here. Second, George Mason University, located in NOVA, is hosting a "Fall for the Book" Festival from September 18th-23rd. Check out the schedule here to see the large variety of authors at this event as well as unique panels on a wide range of topics. Finally the National Book Festival, hosted this year by the Obamas and the Library of Congress on the National Mall in Washington D.C. takes place on September 24-25. Check out the schedule here. This Festival will provide you with another opportunity to see Toni Morrison as well as a number of other famous authors including Sarah Vowell (one of my favorite authors). The theme for this year is celebrating Reading Out Loud and they have several special events planned to encourage children, parents, and educators to consider the pleasures and advantages of reading out loud. At least one or two of us are already committed to coming on Saturday, September 24 to see Sarah Vowell - if you would like to join us or suggest other authors to see, look for our event details on facebook (and don't forget to "like" GWEGSA to receive updates via facebook).

Welcome to the new blog

Let me know how you like it.