Meet Kelly, Karisa, and Arney!
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Weekly Grad Newsletter

Welcome to your weekly UIC English grad student news digest.
Vicki Bolf, Graduate Studies Program Coordinator

Meet the 2021 Cohort!

For the rest of the summer, we'll be introducing a few of the Fall 2021 cohort every week. This week we introduce three new English Education MA students!

Arney Bray: During my undergrad at UIC, I studied biology and English with a concentration in British Literature. While as a student, I tutored and mentored incoming freshman through the President’s Award Office. I decided that I wanted to pursue teaching in a college classroom. I have an immense love for literature. My favorite books are a tied between Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston and Cane, by Jean Toomer.

Kelly Crescenzo: The more I teach, the more I understand that my teachers were the foundation on which I built my identity and dreams. I carry them with me as I walk into my English classroom every day.  I earned my Teaching of English degree from UIC in 2018 and every lesson I’ve taught my high school students since then has focused on the greatest gift from my teachers-empowerment. My experience has led me beyond just advocacy for my students and into supporting future teachers as well. With a background in speech and a passion for helping others, my academic interests fuse the teaching of writing and literature, particularly British Literature, with social justice topics and communication principles. I believe in making change and giving people a voice, and I’d like to do this for future teachers and their students.

Karisa Sosnoski was born and raised in small town Pennsylvania. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 to pursue her BA in English Literature with a minor in Photography from Point Park University. She studied abroad at Regent's University London in 2018, and developed a deeper investment in the importance of cultural studies alongside an honest and comprehensive education. Her creative interests in visual arts often mingles with her love of literature and writing. As a hobby, Karisa explores blending photography with creative writing to tell a palpable story.

Karisa aspires to be an educator like those who encouraged her to be curious about the world. She imagines herself traveling, and teaching outside of the U.S. one day. Since graduating from Point Park in 2019, she has worked as a Teaching Assistant at the Glen Montessori School in Pittsburgh. Karisa's research interests include Cultural Studies, Black Studies, Critical Race Theory, Women and Gender Studies, 20th and 21st Century American Literature, and LGBTQ studies.



PhD candidates Hannah Green, Gina Frangello, and Sarah Buchmeier defended their dissertations this week.

MA student Grant Whittaker submitted his approved MA Project.

Share Your News


ASAP: Promotions Manager, University of Chicago Press. The Promotions Manager plans and implements promotional and publicity campaigns for eighty to one hundred and twenty books per publishing season.
ASAP: OnRamps Writing Assessment Specialist (UT Austin - remote). OnRamps is one of The University of Texas at Austin’s signature initiatives designed to expand access to high-quality educational opportunities across the state of Texas. We offer distance education through a dual enrollment model for high school students to engage in authentic college experiences. Our mission is to increase the number and diversity of students who engage in learning experiences aligned with the expectations of leading universities. The OnRamps Rhetoric two-course, two-semester writing sequence includes eight major essays that are evaluated with substantive revision feedback by our Writing Assessment Specialist Team for the 2021-22 academic year. 

Events & Deadlines

July 20: Deadline for IRRPP's Grad Student WriteOut! Retreat application. Takes place Aug 2-6, 2021. Hybrid Zoom and in-person.
July 21
: Fall 2021 Teaching Workshop, 11:00-12:30: Remote Tools for Blended Synchronous
and F2F Teaching. Zoom link in email.
July 21
: Poetry Salon at City Lit Books featuring current PhD students Carla Barger and Eniko Vaghy. Open mike followed by readings from the featured poets. Organized by current PhD candidate Carrie McGath.
July 28: Fall 2021 Teaching Workshop, 11:00-12:30: Flexible Course Design Workshop. Zoom link in email.
Aug 1: Deadline to disclose vaccination status for returning students.
Aug 4
: MA Project Certificate of Approval & completed MA project due to DGS Office for Summer graduation. Please make sure that you follow the directions in the link! (Click on the "Master's Project" tab.)
Aug 4: Fall 2021 Teaching Workshop, 11:00-12:30: Student Concerns and Course Accommodations. Zoom link in email.
Aug 16: Deadline to disclose vaccination status for new students.
Aug 18: Comp Camp (all FYWP TAs required to attend; details TBA).
Aug 19: Department Orientation for new students, 12:30-2:30 via Zoom. 
Aug 20: PhD Language Requirement translation exam, UH 2028, 12 pm-2 pm. Contact Vicki for more details.
Aug 23: First day of Fall semester. 
Aug 25: Prospectus Info Meeting with the DGS. 1 pm, location TBA.
Aug 27: Welcome Back Colloquium, 3-4:30 pm, location TBA.
Aug 31: Prelim Exams Info Meeting with the DGS. 1 pm, location TBA.
Sep 12: Deadline to OPT OUT of CTA U-Pass program. ALL students, part time and full time, will be automatically charged for a U-pass unless they opt out.


Check the UPenn CFP website for current and future conferences in your fields and subfields, including conferences especially for graduate students.

Funding & Grants

The Graduate College curates a weekly list of funding opportunities. Our colleagues in Urbana also maintain a database of external funding opportunities: UIUC Fellowship Finder.


Fill out the Graduate College's survey on their WriteOn! program, even if you have never used it. Theya re interested in hearing students' needs. 

You should already be registered for Fall courses! Here is a registration tutorial from the UIC Registrar, and here is a link to full Course Descriptions for ENGL courses. If you are encountering a "department approval required" block, contact Katherine Simon: with your 9-digit UIN and the 5-digit Course Reference Number. New MA students should register for ENGL 500 and one extra seminar (two is OK but one is recommended for new grad students). New PhD students should register for ENGL 503, ENGL 555 (if you are a TA) and one extra seminar.

Long-term laptop and hot spot loan program extended to Fall 2021.

UIC English alumna Mika Turim-Nygren (PhD'20) blogged about her experience as a 2021 Fellow at Mark Twain's summer home, Quarry Farm!

I am out of the office! If you need immediate assistance, email Noah Kaplan (HR Associate or Nasser Mufti (Summer DGS I will be back on July 28. There will be no grad newsletter on July 23. Enjoy the height-of-summer July vibes to the fullest!

DGS Office Contact Info & Office Hours

Vicki: Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
Office Hours with the DGS by appointment.
Phone: (312) 413-2239 (voicemail)


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