Updates from the English Department Office of Undergraduate Studies
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A note from the director...

Dear Students:

This is a bumpercrop issue and we are delighted to begin this week's newsletter with three bits of wonderful news!

First, the Department of English's First Year Writing Program is hosting the workshop "Perspectives from Three Black Writing Center Tutors: What Their Experience as Students, Organizers, Educators, and Researchers Can Teach Us." The session takes place on Tuesday, October 20 from 1:00-2:15 pm. Keep reading for more information about the workshop and the link to it.

Second, UGS is hiring! UGS is looking for an editorial assistant. Keep reading for the job description, the link to the application (due by 5:00 pm Friday, October 30) and a list of other work-study jobs in the Department.

Third, we are very excited for the second full week of November. On Monday, November 9 we host our Career Workshop for Graduating Seniors. While we can't offer each and every one of you a six figure job, we do want to help you as you take your next steps. After our workshop, the Office of Career Services is hosting a Virtual Government Career Fair on Friday, November 13 from 1:00-4:00 pm. Keep reading for more information, including links to participate.

All the poets out there might be encouraged to hear that Louise Glück won the Nobel Prize in Literature. If you are not familiar with Glück's work, here's a link to the Poetry Foundation's page on her. For those of you so inclined, her work could be the focus of a timely independent study or Senior Honors thesis

As you know, the election is right around the corner. Have you registered to vote? If not, click this link for more information Register to Vote. Make your voice heard this election! (And help dispel the myth that registering to vote increases the likelihood of being called for jury duty.)

Before ending this issue with UGS' virtual office hours, we include several calls for writing or writers from LURE Journal, Breakwater Review, OneWorld, and UIC's Women's Health Initiative. Scroll down for more exciting news, including a story about coming to Pride and Prejudice via The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park as well as:

  • Workshop: "Perspectives from Three Black Writing Center Tutors"
  • Call for Applications: UGS Editorial Assistant
  • Career Workshop for Graduating Seniors
  • Student Spotlight: Jennah Owda 
  • Calls for writing and/or writers
  • Virtual Office hours for the week of October 19-23

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Perspectives from Three Black Writing Center Tutors

What Their Experience as Students, Organizers, Educators and Researchers Can Teach Us

This panel is moderated by Kim O'Neil (Senior Lecturer, English Department, Associate Director of the Writing Center) and features Gigi Baker (English Education major), Prevail Bonga (Criminology, Law and Justice major, Politcal Scieince & African-American double minor, 2020 Frederick Douglass Global Fellow) and Victoria Ogunniyi (Neuroscience major, Professional Writing minor, 2020 LASURI Award winner, GPPA Medical Scholar). 

UIC is lauded for its diversity: one of few public R1 universities that is both Hispanic- and Asian-American serving, with a majority Pell-eligible and first-generation student body and a stated mission to redress disparities in educational opportunities. Our homepage touts: "UIC is among the top five most diverse campuses in the nation and a national leader among urban, publichigher education institutions in providing access to underrepresented students. UIC is focused on eliminating disparities in health, education and economic opportunity." Yet according to the Office of Institutional Research, Black student retention rates continue to lag  thoses of their counterparts, first-year enrollment demographics (8% Black) fail to reflect those of the Chicago community UIC aims to serve (30% Black), and many Black students report the repeated and disheartening experience of being the only Black person in the UIC classroom, outside of Black Studies, in times when racism, overt and covert, is a perpetual visceral threat. 

What are some of the stories and/or shared narratives of Black students at UIC? How can our English Department and Writing Center better support, include, and represent Black students - without taxing them with the added labor of having to be the "racial spokesperson" on top of the resistance work that disproportionately falls to them in the public sphere, all while they pursue and work to fund their own educations?

Three award-winning current or former Writing Center tutors - a future lawyer, doctor, and educator - share their perspectives and original scholarship as Black researchers, organizers, and educators investigating Black student experiences. This is a not-to-miss event for both faculty and students.

This event takes place on Tuesday, October 20 from 1:00-2:15. Acces it via: "Perspectives from Three Black Writing Center Tutors: What Their Experience as Students, Organizers, Educators, and Researchers Can Teach Us."

Call for Applications: UGS Editorial Assistant



The Office of Undergraduate Studies has a position for a work-study student. 


Job Description:

This is a one-semester editorial assistantship beginning in January 2021. The student will take an active role in the production and design of a variety of publications aimed at undergraduates in UIC's Department of English. This internship will allow you to build your professional Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Layout of weekly newsletter.
  • Writing content for weekly newsletter.
  • Copy-editing weekly newsletter.
  • Sending out weekly newsletter.
  • Learning and developing proficiency in Email+ and Adobe design suite.
  • Writing and design for department website and other promotional materials.
  • Other tasks as assigned.

Job Requirements:

  • Work-study eligibility.
  • Major or minor in English.
  • Junior standing.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills.
  • Ability to work to firm Friday 5:00 pm deadline each week of the semester.
  • Ability to take direction.
  • Ability to learn and develop proficiency across a wide range of software.

For more information, contact english@uic.edu.

Application deadline: 1 December 2020 at 5:00 pm.

Career Workshop! November 9th

So you're getting ready to graduate, and you're probably feeling that sense of panic and dread. What will you do next? The good news is that English majors fare quite well on the job market! 

Come hear from Jaime Velasquez, from UIC's Career Services. "Employers want English majors specifically," Velasquez says. "They need people who can write, and English majors can write!"

At the workshop on November 9th at 4pm, we'll focus on various aspects of finding a job after graduation. Learn how to navigate the virtual job market, how to prepare your interview materials, and how to translate "close reading of poetry" into a marketable job skill!

Jaime Velasquez is a proud UIC alumnus as well as the Director of Employee Relations. He organizes numerous job fairs every year, and is excited to begin working with English majors. Don't miss this important opportunity. 

Interested to attend? RSVP now!

The Women's Health Initiative at UIC Needs Writers! Apply Now

The Women's Health Initiative at UIC is looking for writers, editors, journalists, and content creators for the upcoming website. The WHI Blog seeks to elevate the voices of marginalized populations in healthcare through student narratives, interviews with professionals and community members, and research-based articles. 

Students of all majors and backgrounds are welcome to apply for these positions. If you are interested in applying or would like to submit an article, please fill out the WHI UIC Website Interest Form. 

Questions? Contact Madeline Zuzevich.

The Freshwater Lab Gets New Funding! Exciting Internship Opportunities for Students!
There is good news for the Freshwater Lab 2021 Internship Program. In addition to funding from the Mott Foundation, the KBIH Foundation has extended a supporting grant.
The 2021 Freshwater Lab Internship Program will cover the major and ever shifting issues of water governance, law, and Climate Change; invite professionals like journalist Tony Briscoe of ProPublica and Marcella Bondie Keenan of the Center for Neighborhood Technology into the classroom to work with students; and place every motivated student in an internship. Internships will begin in March 2021 and can extend into the summer. The Freshwater Lab will provide summer internship stipends to upward of ten students. Students can be paid for transformative work on water and environmental issues.
English majors have much to contribute to the Freshwater Lab. This is a Humanities endeavor that focuses on storytelling, narrative, representation, and analysis of water in an era of floods and droughts.
For more information, please visit the Freshwater Lab website.
For descriptions of the Freshwater Lab Internship by students, please see our 2020 interns page.
Interested to hear more? Contact Professor Rachel Havrelock
Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar

Chicago: City of Art, Industry, and Labor 1890-1960

The Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar is a team-taught interdisciplinary course open to undergraduates from DePaul, Loyola, UIC, and Roosevelt.

Students to take part in an intensive classroom experience that culminates in an independent research project. The spring 2021 seminar is Chicago: City of Art, Industry, and Labor 1890-1960 and will be taught by Professors Elizabeth Shermer (History) and Melissa Bradshaw (English) of Loyola University. For more information or to request application materials, please click on this link: Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar.  

 The seminar will meet from 2:00-5:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring semester of 2022 (January 19 through May 6). It will carry six hours of credit toward LAS credit requirements, or perhaps a major. Any junior or senior at UIC is eligible to apply; admission is not restricted by major. Students who seek credit for their major should make arrangements with their director of undergraduate studies. Each student who is accepted into the course will receive a $1250.00 scholarship from LAS to cover expenses related to research and transportation.

If you are interested in taking this seminar, please complete the application and forward it and all related materials electronically to Professor Ellen McClure (ellenmc@uic.edu) by October 16, 2020. Successful candidates will be notified by November 6. Admission is competitive, so it is important that you complete this application form completely and with care. 

Write for UIC's OneWorld Journal
OneWorld Journal is a UIC student publication centered around articles addressing intricate international issues and geopolitical affairs. Through annual publications, OneWorld strives to heighten the visibility of important global issues in order to promote a more expansive worldview and instill an appreciation for the diverse cultures represented on our campus. 
The article submission period for the 2021 issue has now opened! OneWorld accepts submissions in the following categories: World News & Affairs, Opinion, and Study Abroad/Travel Experiences. Students of any major can write for OneWorld by submitting an article to the following form: https://forms.gle/ntxg1TDKVPbyMAwEA. The deadline for submitting an article is October 31, 2020 at 11:59pm. 
More information about submission guidelines and the publication process can be found on the form or  https://sites.google.com/view/uiconeworld/home. However, if you have any additional questions, please email OneWorld at oneworld.uic@gmail.com
Looking to publish your research and theoretical work?
Enter Breakwater Review's 2021 Fiction Contest


Announcing Breakwater Review’s 2021 Fiction Contest

$1000 PRIZE!

We are seeking submissions for our annual fiction contest, to be judged by Porochista Khakpour

The winner receives $1,000 and publication in Breakwater Review

  • All finalists considered for publication
  • A submission fee of $10
  • Deadline is December 1, 2020
  • Finalists announced in January 2021

Full guidelines available at breakwaterreview.com

Breakwater Review is an online literary journal published twice a year by the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. For our fiction contest, we invite writers of all levels to submit their original previously unpublished work of fresh short fiction, no more than 4,000 words.


Porochista Khakpour is the author of four critically acclaimed books, most recently Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity (Vintage Books, 2020), which Ploughshares called “fearless.” In 2018 she published the memoir Sick (HarperCollins), which Kirkus Reviews praised as “lucid, eloquent, and unflinchingly honest.” Among her many fellowships is a National Endowment for the Arts award. Currently, she is a guest faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and Stonecoast's MFA programs, as well as Contributing Editor at The Evergreen Review.


Student Spotlight: Jennah Owda
What has been your favorite English course and why? 
My favorite English course as of right now is English 240 with Professor Natasha Barnes. During this class, I am constantly engaged and learning how to look at literature through an objective lens. Many times, it is easy for one to look at literature and make personal connections, and although that is the beauty of literature, it can become easy to misinterpret the meaning of the piece of writing.
What are you reading for pleasure these days?
My guilty pleasure is romance novels. As a pre-teen I would stay up all night reading books like Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. So, this past month, I took it upon myself to read the blueprint of many romance novels today, which is Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice.
What will your first year post-UIC look like?
The plan for post-UIC me is, hopefully, having a job as a writer for a magazine that I am passionate about. It has always been my dream to become an editor at a high-end fashion magazine. This dream may be because I have spent my childhood watching shows like Ugly Betty, but also because as a child, I would run to the magazine section in Barnes and Noble and sit down on the floor to read 17 Magazine articles. I was obsessed with taking the quizzes that would tell me whether or not I am perfect for Justin Bieber. I also loved the “Who Wore it Best” section. Magazines were a big part of my childhood, and they brought me so much joy and still do.
What has been the biggest surprise for you as an English major?
The biggest surprise in terms of my major in English is the freedom we are given when writing. Many times with research papers, there is usually a category students can choose from, and a lot of the times we end up writing about a topic that we are not interested in. So when I was able to choose my topic, I was reminded of my love for writing and wrote my best research paper.
Other Upcoming UGS Events

The Office of Undergraduate Studies is also hosting the following event: 

  • Independent Study/Senior Thesis Presentations: Friday, December 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Perhaps you're interested in what your fellow English majors' work. Perhaps you're considering taking an independent study. Join us as this semester's ENGL 398/399 students present their work.

We'll have more details in future newsletters.

Would you like to see the Office of Undergraduate Studies host a specific event? If so, let us know. It is our mission to provide programming that meets the needs of our students.

Office of Undergraduate Studies Fall 2020 Drop-in Hours

Have a question? Stop by the Office of Undergraduate Studies Drop-in Hours and ask us! While we are terrible at chemistry, we would be delighted to advise on classes, help plan for an independent study or chat about what we are binge watching and what we'll do once COVID-19 is gone.

The Office is open:

Monday 12:00 - 1:00 pm


Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 pm


If these hours don't suit, just email english@uic.edu to make an appointment.