In the Department of English, together, we investigate, engage, persevere, and adapt. From communicating the invisible and abstract to receiving a poetry award, from a new first-year student symposium to responding to pandemic-induced mental health concerns in students, faculty and students are moving beyond traditional boundaries and paths that help us understand our lives.
Together, we advance the human experience.
Erika Szymanski, assistant professor in the Department of English, studies how people communicate about invisible or abstract concepts, such as microbiomes that are too small for even high-powered microscopes to observe. As a rhetorician of science, she investigates our understanding of microbiomes and our interactions with them through how we write and speak about them. Szymanski is also the first humanities faculty member of CSU’s Microbiome Network.
One of the unique features of the English department and its various concentrations at CSU is the implementation of a symposium for all first-year students. The symposium, led by faculty members from each concentration, seeks to reduce some of the overwhelm that first-years often face. Faculty from across the English department shared their experiences with symposium students, including the inspiration for the course and its goals for all incoming English students.
Many students have been struggling with their mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. This had led to slippage in their academic lives as a result. We explore the ways in which both individuals and groups within the university have responded to the decline in students’ mental health since the beginning of the pandemic.
In August 2020, CSU alumna Felicia Zamora had the honor of receiving the prestigious Iowa Poetry Award. Zamora graduated with an MFA in 2012 and is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. The award led to the publication of Zamora’s most recent poetry collection I Always Carry My Bones which debuted in April 2021. Zamora’s path has been far from straightforward and demonstrates that the road to finding one’s passion is often winding and unpredictable.