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

2021-2022 Awards and Scholarships

College of Arts and Sciences

Humanities Master’s Student Achievement Award:

Matthew Kollmer

Matthew Kollmer

Fueled by his digital expertise and intellectual curiosity, Matthew Kollmer has made immeasurable contributions to the humanities at WSU and in elevating students’ understanding of the field. With years of knowledge of historical literature under his belt, Kollmer enriches his students’ perspectives on various historical subjects (i.e., the impacts and consequences of America’s colonial, racial, geographic, and ecological decisions on society in the 19th century) by engaging them in discussions of historical literature pertaining to a given subject of debate. Kollmer’s work as an editorial team member on a major faculty-led project concerning the work of Edith Wharton has been bolstered by his scholarly analyzing skills and experience in the field of rare books, digital technology, literary production, and descriptive bibliography. His easygoing nature and humor-infused teaching style grab students’ attention and invite them to find creative ways to enrich their understanding of historical literature.

Humanities Doctoral Student Achievement Award:

Lindsey Carman Williams

Lindsey Carman Williams

As a driven and creative scholar and a compassionate teacher, Lindsay Williams possesses the tenacity, determination, and potential to become an exemplary college professor. Her dissertation examined conflicts between authority, science, and female supernatural characters often found in Victorian-era American and British ghost stories. Williams’s analysis of this topic has already contributed to studies of technology, science, gender, and feminist critical disabilities. Additionally, her classrooms are vibrant and inclusive intellectual places for students to achieve their own success. A Publicly Engaged Fellow at WSU, Williams began a virtual summer book club, wherein high school English teachers hailing from rural areas could pair reading classic gothic novels with young adult books of the modern era. Her service to the WSU community spans a wide range of activities, from being co-chair of the University’s Feminist/Queer Dialogue Series to organizing workshops and colloquia designed to encourage and promote interaction between students and faculty, and leading the English Graduate Organization. Needless to say, Williams is a champion of social justice and an extraordinary example of a person who faithfully represents the college and University with courage and dignity.

Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence:

Carol Siegel, Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Carol Siegel

The Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes a faculty member who commits time outside of the classroom to prevent students from falling through the cracks, demonstrates an enthusiasm for the subject matter, and instills enthusiasm and passion in students.

Carol Siegel thinks a lot about teaching. In terms that are anything but ordinary, she describes her teaching philosophy on her faculty research page this way: “Good writing is like good coffee or chocolate: rich, thick, with a deep lingering flavor to it.”

She continues: “Assignments should allow for accretion of knowledge, as one idea builds on prior ideas so that students’ work can enter into the conversations on the topic that have already taken place among writers.”

Siegel deeply respects her students, their role in the evolution of culture, and their growing minds. In turn, they respect her, calling her, for example, “my favorite English professor at any school” and “one of the best women’s studies professors I’ve ever had.” One student’s comment says it all: Explaining how interesting her class with Siegel was, the student concluded, “I was so sad when the semester ended.”

The road to college teaching was long and winding for Siegel. “I was a returning first-generation college student who began as a landscape gardening construction major,” she said. “I then switched majors to humanities because my professors in that field were enthused about my work.” They urged her to continue her schooling. “I decided to get a secondary teaching credential, but when I was finishing that program, they urged me to go on for the PhD.”

Siegel received her associate’s degree in humanities from San Francisco City College, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in English from the University of California Berkeley. She joined WSU Vancouver as one of two professors hired to create a humanities program on the Vancouver campus in 1990. She teaches a variety of courses in English and humanities and is also on the faculty of the new Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

In 2021, Siegel received the systemwide Distinguished Faculty Award from WSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. The award notes, “Her scholarly work on the representation of sexuality and gender identity contributes an important perspective to critical conversations about literature, film and popular culture,” and cites her expertise and publications in Victorian and modernist literature, Asian-American literature, youth cultures, cinema studies, and Jewish studies. Siegel is the author of six monographs, including Goth’s Dark Empire (2005) and Sex Radical Cinema (2015), as well as journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. She also has edited several essay collections.

Siegel’s wry voice and lack of humility are especially endearing to students. Introducing herself on her WSU faculty web page, she writes: “I continue amusing myself and, I hope, others by teaching a variety of college classes. In all seriousness, as I can frequently be heard shouting in the halls, working with students is often the only thing that I truly enjoy about being a professor. But then again, sometimes I enjoy it all.”

Her students return the compliment. “She is consistently responsive in her communications, flexible in how she assesses a student’s fulfillment of the course requirements, and she loves to engage in conversation about things that make students think both inside and outside class material,” one student nominator wrote. “These points speak to the abundant care and compassion she has for all who take her classes.”

English Department Award Recipients

While some award amounts are disclosed, others are not due to funding availability

Avon J. Murphy Scholarship:

The Avon J. Murphy Scholarship 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.

  • Nazua Idris

Alexander Hammond Professional Development and Achievement Award:

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.

  • Heather Ramos

Charles W. Blackburn Postdoctoral Fellowship:

The Charles W. Blackburn Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded to a student who has completed their doctoral degree and shows promise in the profession of English, overall academic achievement, and outstanding teaching performance.

  • Richard Snyder (Vancouver)
  • Lindsey Carman Williams (Pullman)

Bill and Alice Fitch Summer Dissertation Fellowship:

  • Kathryn Manis, “Decoloniality and the Study of History: Case Studies on the Rhetorical Power of the Archives.”

Philip and Sandra Piele Editorship:

  • Sezin Zorlu

Nancy Van Doren Award:

Doctoral students honored with the Nancy Van Doren award demonstrate exceptional merit in producing an exemplary dissertation and performing with distinction in the oral dissertation defense.

  • Elle Fournier
  • Lindsey Carman Williams

Creative Writing Scholarships and Awards

Ruth Slonim Scholarship ($1,500):

  • Danny Dudarov

Jennie Brown Rawlins Scholarship ($1,500 each): 

  • Noelle Niemeier
  • Bailey Gaulthier

Sarah Weems Award in Creative Nonfiction ($700 each):

  • Winner: Reid Brown
  • Runner-Up: Joel Kemegue (pen name, Joel Makoudem)
  • Honorable Mention ($150 each):

    • Haillee Barnet
    • Tovah Brantner
    • Noelle Niemeier
    • Elena Skibicki

Campus Civic Poet

The Campus Civic Poet Award is offered by the English Department in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Program at WSU to acknowledge a commitment to civic engagement by a student poet:

  • Sarina Sharpe (‘22 BA English

Outstanding Seminar Project Awards

MA Level

  • Corita Fernando, “(En)trapped in the Teapot: Touristification, ‘Culturing,’ and the Masking of Oppression of the Tea Plantation Worker for Postcolonial Neoliberal Profit in Contemporary Sri Lanka.”

PhD Level

  • Elizabeth Forsythe, “’Reasonable Accommodations’: Academia as Debilitating Machine”

English Graduate Organization (EGO) Awards

  • EGO Service Award: Heather Ramos 
  • Best Peer Mentor Award: Heather Ramos 
  • Community Builder Award: Nazua Idris 
  • Most Collaborative Award: Rachael Wolney 
  • Most Creative Award: Misty Shipman-Ellingburg
  • Best Graduate Seminar of the Year Award: Critical and Cultural Theory, English 548, Nishant Shahani 
  • Most Supportive Faculty Member Award: Melissa Nicolas