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Department of English Newsletter College of Arts & Sciences

2019-2020 Scholarships & Awards

English Matters. College of Arts and Sciences, Washington State University.

2019-2020 Scholarships & Awards


University-wide Awards

Julian Ankney
Julian Ankney

Julian Ankney, a master’s degree student in the English department, is one of five women who received WSU’s Association for Faculty Women (AFW) Founders’ Award. Ankney is a Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) scholar and social justice activist whom the AFW recognized for her strong scholarly achievements, leadership, and professional potential. Ankney studies Indigenous feminism using the oral traditions of Nimiipuu and explores digital literary tools to tell Indigenous stories. Recently, she presented a paper at the Modern Language Association Conference in Seattle titled Decolonizing Digital Space Through Telling Stories, highlighting digital tools that could help revitalize Native languages. Her work has significance for Indigenous language reclamation and for social justice awareness of gender inequality, decolonization, sovereignty, and human rights for Indigenous Peoples.

For more information about the awardees, see the Association of Faculty Women’s website.

WSU Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA) Awards

The Washington State University Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement honored outstanding faculty, staff, and students for their contributions throughout academic year 2019-20 to its programs that promote student, teaching, and learning success and excellence University-wide.

Kate Watts
Kate Watts

Kate Watts is the 2020 recipient of the Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching. Watts is a senior instructor and assistant director of Composition in the English department. The annual award commemorates the high value WSU places on the faculty who teach University Common Requirements (UCORE) general education courses across disciplines at the University. Watts is commended for her commitment to and success with collective problem-solving; her focus on equipping students with the skills necessary for effective engagement as citizens and employees; her mentorship of colleagues in the delivery of English 101; and her deployment of innovative and student-centered pedagogy. Selection committee members noted that she is active and intentional in her professional development and that of her colleagues.

Nazua Idris
Nazua Idris

The Learning Communities Excellence Award was presented to Nazua Idris, a doctoral student in the Department of English. The award recognizes First-Year Focus faculty who made significant collaborative efforts to help first-year students make meaningful connections with their peers and faculty and the new ideas and experiences they encounter. Idris developed community among the varying level and living situations of her English 101 students by ensuring out-of-class activities were available to all. Coupled with her student-centered curriculum, Idris described her recent class as “the most active and successful in terms of my own experience as an instructor and my students’ success.”

2020 College of Arts and Sciences Awards

Patricia Patty Wilde.
Patty Wilde

CAS honored Patty Wilde, assistant professor of English, with the Early Career Achievement Award for her leadership in writing studies and feminist rhetorical studies across time. She focuses on the voices of those at the margins across gender, race, and class lines, from 19th-century female writers to contemporary students. As director of the Tri-Cities Composition Program, Wilde emphasizes deep interdisciplinary learning in the program’s curriculum as well as in the content of her own classes. One former graduate student described Wilde’s pedagogy as “one of radical inclusion and infinite possibilities.”

Tabitha Espina
Tabitha Espina

Graduate student Tabitha Espina received the college’s Doctoral Student Achievement in Humanities Award for her research and personal efforts to support and empower communities. Espina’s experience of growing up in Guam led her to compose a dissertation looking at the implications of identity and the multilayered complications of being a member of a settler colony within an American colony. As a member of WSU’s first NextGen PhD cohort, she works with Humanities Washington to assist with identifying obstacles for underrepresented communities around the state of Washington, and participates in professional development workshops with the Modern Language Association. Espina possesses the qualities commensurate with a true leader: vision, humanity, and a desire to grow, so that she can give back to others.

English Department Awards


Avon J. Murphy Scholarship:
Kathryn Manis

The Avon J. Murphy Award is merit-based, and the selection criteria, in descending order of importance, include: (1) demonstrated promise for future academic achievement; (2) academic merit; (3) demonstrated academic leadership; (4) demonstrated creativity; and (5) demonstrated contributions to campus life and environment.

Alexander Hammond Professional Development and Achievement Award: Tabitha Espina

Students honored with the Alexander Hammond Professional Development and Achievement Award have shown steady, consistent, and remarkable professional growth and achievement over the course of the completion of their PhD degree.

Winners of Creative Writing Scholarships and Awards:

  • Ruth Slonim Scholarship ($1,500): Marjorie Jordan-Sabo
  • Jennie Brown Rawlins Scholarship ($1,500 each): (Savannah) Reid Brown and Anna Young
  • Sarah Weems Nonfiction Award ($700): Rachel Lentz
  • Sarah Weems Honorable Mention ($150, each): Aidan Barger and Kaitlynn Drake

Outstanding Seminar Project Awards:

MA Level:

  • Rebecca Murphy, “Chicks Before Dicks and Girl-on-Girl Action; The Power and Purpose of Female Relationships in Victorian England and Today.”
  • Caitlin Flaws, “Shattered Birds: An Autistic Response to The Space Between Birds by Sandra McPherson.”

PhD Level:

  • Sitara Gonzalez, “Gothic Excess, Hateful Autonomy and Sublime Infection in Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse.”
  • Lindsey Carman Williams, “The Spiritualist Woman’s Subversion of Victorian Femininity in Rhoda Broughton’s Ghost Stories.”

Summer Dissertation Fellowships:

Richard Snyder
Richard Snyder
  • Richard Snyder: The Emmett and Mary Avery Fellowship for his dissertation on early modern literary texts and visual culture.

“My dissertation project argues that because there exists an important relationship between early modern literary texts and the visual culture in which they were produced, surviving elements of that visual culture should be reincorporated back into the reading experience of these texts by harnessing the robust resources of today’s digital media environment. The project therefore consists of not only a written argument in six chapters but also a database of visual materials and a prototype of the digital reading platform proposed in the written argument. The database will contain images culled from many different sources including illustrations from Early English Books Online (EEBO) and art and artifacts from the Europeana collections. The prototype reading platform is being coded from the ground up in Javascript, HTML, and CSS for deployment in any modern web browser.”

Leah Wilson
Leah Wilson
  • Leah Wilson: The John W. Ehrstine Fellowship for her project “Material Bodies and Textual Selves: Reimagining Gender and Sexuality in the Twenty-First Century”

“In my dissertation, I focus on contemporary sex-positive, queer, and trans* writers Virginie Despentes, Paul B. Preciado, Michelle Tea, and Maggie Nelson and their respective genre-bending autotheory works: King Kong Theory (2010), Testo Junkie (2013), Black Wave (2018), and The Argonauts (2018). I position these texts as products of a French/Francophone‒American feminist and queer theoretical exchange, particularly in the ways in which French theorists of the 1970s and ’80s informed American feminist and queer scholars, such as Judith Butler, and how this theory has emerged (with cultural differences) in a French/Francophone context as a queer/postpornographic feminism. I am especially interested in how this feminism has ventured back to the U.S. in the last decade. Contextualizing these texts as products of a transatlantic relationship, I am also concerned with how these narratives are informed by our neoliberal, late capitalist era that encourages the production of identities in order to commodify them. This commodification, I highlight, works within a homonormative, neoliberal framework to depoliticize queer and feminist movements in the United States and France. However, these authors, I argue, highlight the way their identities shift alongside their bodily materiality (through sex, narcotic and alcohol use, hormone administration, pregnancy, and sobriety) to underscore the way in which their subjectivities are understood as material-discursive phenomena that resist easy categorization and center possibility.”

English Graduate Organization Awards:

  • Best Peer Mentor Award: Leah Wilson
  • EGO Service Award: Heather Ramos
  • Most Creative Grad Student Award: Misty Ellingburg
  • Most Collaborative Grad Student Award: Kathryn Manis
  • Community Builder Award: Lindsey Carman Williams
  • Best Grad Seminar: Carol Siegel‘s ENG 522 (Victorian Lit)
  • Most Supportive Faculty Member: Donna Potts

Instructor Distinguished Service Awards:

  • Rachael Wolney, for her work with English Club
  • Amy Heile, for her work with PDC and the Composition Program
  • Lauren Westerfield, for her work with the Undergraduate Studies Committee
  • Instructor Teaching Award: Megan Hall
  • TA Teaching Award: Heather Ramos
  • TA Service Award: Kathryn Manis