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


Dear Students:

Congratulations! We have hit the halfway mark as far as Spring semester 2021 goes. We're guessing that you're more or less swamped with papers, exams, etc. Remember to take some time for yourself and let us know if we can help in any way.

Scroll down to learn what is happening in the Department this week! 

  • The Write Stuff Now Accepting Submissions
  • Spring 2021 Open Mic Night
  • Intern of the Month: Anika Wilen
  • Job of the Week by Sara Johnson
  • Present Your Research at UIC's Impact and Research Week
  • Share Your Research at the Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium
  • Paid Research Participants Needed
  • Calls for Writing, etc.
  • Upcoming UGS Events

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies


The Write Stuff


Have you submitted your work to UGS intern and The Write Stuff editor, Tavon Sanders? If not, why not? Tavon wants to publish your work whether it's poetry, fiction, non-fiction, written for a class, not written for a class, short, long or in between. The same is true of your visual work. Photography, painting, cartoons, drawings, etc. Tavon wants your work! (And your friends' work!) All submissions (or questions about submissions) to WriteStuff@uic.edu.


Spring 2021 Open Mic Night


Open Mic is a venue for you - and your friends so spread the word - to present original work (whether or not it is for a class) to an audience of your peers.

Past Open Mic nights have featured work in poetry, prose and the moving image. Former presenters say that Open Mic nights help them hone their presentation skills and get great feedback from their peers. Work presented has led to extended conversations about art, race, writing and the challenges of planning for the future.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 4:00 - 5:00 pm.

Sign up here to share your voice! You may present multiple pieces of work.

Just want to attend without presenting? Click here for link. 

Have questions? Please email english@uic.edu.


Intern of the Month: Anika Wilen

Anika Wilen 

This month Anika Wilen tells us about her internship at UIC's Neurology and Rehabilitation Department.

What I Did
I started working with the Neurology and Rehabilitation Department mid-November 2020. The nature of the internship is that there was a large amount of work at the offset, a less busy period in the middle, and a large amount of work near the end. Throughout the first two months of the internship (mid-November through mid-January), I set up Zoom meetings with clinicians and researchers in the department to discuss the departmental newsletter and their involvement. This period of time consisted of consistent email communication, meetings, and the collection of resources to aid in future article writing. I found websites with information on research projects, collaborated with professionals who were going to have articles in the newsletter to plan the content of their articles, and answered questions regarding the articles as they arose. I interviewed individuals such as Dr. Loeb and Dr. Rodriguez-Fernandez to aid in the writing process (other individuals preferred to write a draft at the outset and allow me to edit and supplement it). During this early period, I also met with my supervisor, Terenda Jones, to discuss the organization of the articles in the newsletter and to brainstorm ideas for new content.

Throughout the rest of January, I spent most of my time working on an article for Dr. Loeb about a research project named I-Brain. This article was finished after a few back-and-forth revisions and is going to be circulated through some Illinois universities and repurposed as a press release through the Illinois Discovery Partners Institute (DPI).  I also followed up with everyone who would be featured in the newsletter multiple times to push on deadlines and ensure there were no outstanding questions or points of confusion. I circulated model article drafts to help the individuals who wanted to draft their own articles. When professionals sent me their initial drafts, I rewrote them to make them more engaging and grammatically correct. If there were information gaps or if the articles were too short, I sent the professionals additional questions to supplement their articles. To date, I have rewritten and finished six full articles. I can add them to my portfolio.

What I Learned
Through this internship, I have largely practiced my skill in pushing individuals on deadlines. This is not a skill I was particularly well-versed in prior to the internship as I have never had to remind people over a period of months to finish a certain task. I have learned how to remain polite and pleasant while reminding hard-working individuals that they have another (probably “less important”) task to do. In my initial meetings with professionals, I also had to learn to persuade involvement in a task that likely comes off as “busy work” to a person working though COVID-19 medical and research issues. Explaining the benefits and appealing to their schedules is a must in this regard.

I learned how to synthesize an article on something I had no prior knowledge in and could not easily access information on. Writing the I-Brain article was completely contingent on my note-taking and interviewing skills because the only additional document with information I was given was a grant proposal (which I have never read before). On that note, I also learned how to find my way around a grant proposal and how to use it in an article.

Lastly, in writing an article for Dr. Mnatsakanova, we went back and forth on edits four times. Through this process I learned to compromise in my edits and how to incorporate someone else’s style into an article.

Impressions of the Period
I feel as though I have accomplished many things during this period. Everything that needs to be set up thus far for the final newsletter has been set up effectively. I have had an initial meeting with many researchers in the department and learned about different neuroscience topics. During this period, I made contact with a physician named Dr. Rita Shapiro with whom I have fostered a strong professional connection. I have enjoyed the internship thus far and suspect that I will continue to enjoy it up until it finishes.

I am particularly proud of my I-Brain article and of how far it will be circulated. This is the first time any of my work will be used professionally. Ms. Jones has stated that she will direct me to all finalized copies of that article that are circulated for my resume and website.

What I Am Going to Do
As stated previously, my internship so far has covered a period with a higher workload and a period with a lower workload. Until the end of my internship, I will be entering another high workload period as I finish the departmental newsletter both in an online and paper format. I will be finalizing each article, working with my supervisor to get photographs for each, and ensuring the newsletter is finished by a working deadline set by Ms. Jones. I will also be working on the single unfinished article for which I need to schedule an additional interview.

Who I Met
I have met a long list of researchers and clinicians thus far. Through ENGL 493 I also met Dr. Green and Dr. Sherman from the University of Chicago and spoke to them in informational interviews.


Job of the Week

Student Library Aide
Sara Johnson

This week’s job is the Student Library Aide at the Library.

The Student Library Aide involves data entry for faculty profile tools. Some of the tasks involve copying and pasting text or typing data. The Scholarly Communication Department at the University Library seeks undergraduate students able to work 15-20 hours during weekdays. They are looking for people who are punctual and who possess good writing and communication skills, excellent typing skills, and the ability to perform a variety of tasks with close attention to detail. 

You can apply to be a Student Library Aide through Handshake

Many of you know Abigail Kremer, a senior majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing. She started working as a library aide in August of 2020. Her job consists of entering information into UIC’s database. Abigail is happy to have this position because it’s been a nice change of pace amidst her heavy academic workload. She says, “for me, I’m constantly busy and using my brain for school, and this is just something that forces me to slow down and do something that’s simple and makes sense.” She adds that working from home is a huge plus; it allows her to easily fit work into her schedule because she doesn’t have to worry about a long commute.

Abigail’s position as a library aide has helped her to develop stronger communication skills specific to online work. Data entry has helped her figure out how to ask questions that are direct to get the answers she needs. Abigail mentioned that she’s only ever communicated with her workplace via an online chat, and because there are no in-person meetings or even weekly Zoom meetings, learning to ask the right kinds of questions is crucial.

When asked if she would recommend this position to a friend, Abigail says, “I would, I actually got this position through a friend. If you want to work from home, and are ok with doing repetitive tasks, this is a really really good job to have.”


Present Your Research!


Are you a CURA (Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Award) student? We encourage you to register to present your work during UIC's Impact and Research Week April 5 - 9, 2021. 

Students will prepare a short presentation (7-10 minutes) and use a medium like PowerPoint or Google Slides to guide their presentation. Presentations will take place via panels of four students; opportunities for students to sign up as a group (e.g., for students working in the same research lab) will be made available. Each presentation panel will last one hour; each student will present their research and time will be allocated for a question-and-answer period with the judges assigned to the panel. 

Registration begins March 1, 2021 and we'll have a link to the registration page in next week's newsletter.


Share Your Research!

 Author Anthony Doerr with his 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "All the Light We Cannot See."
 2021 Macksey Keynote Anthony Doerr with his 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning "All the Light We Cannot See."

Do you - or your friends - have research in the humanities that is ready for a larger audience? If so, apply for Johns Hopkins University’s second annual Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium. The symposium offers students across the country the chance to gather together and disseminate their humanities research on a national scale. COVID turned 2020's symposium into a virtual event, but that was a great success! There were 359 participants and more than 10,000 visits to the conference site to date. Held live on April 24 and 25, 2021, this year’s event will be virtual as well. The application portal is open through April 1, 2021

This symposium is open to undergraduate students from any two-year or four-year college or university who would like to present their original scholarship in the humanities. We hope to have 400 participants this year. In addition to the multiple panels of student papers and presentations (including original creative works), we will also have a wonderful keynote delivered by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr and multiple professional development panels featuring Johns Hopkins graduate students and faculty and editors from Johns Hopkins University Press. Students studying all areas of the humanities are welcome to attend. Attendees will also have the opportunity to work with our student editors to revise their presentation into a journal-length presentation for our journal of proceedings, the Macksey Journal.

For questions or to apply, click here.


Get Paid to Write for the UGS Newsletter


Do you qualify for Federal Work Study? If so, we can now pay you to write for us!

This is a great way to add to your portfolio and get paid experience writing. We are looking for writers interested in submitting weekly, monthly or occasional articles. For more information, contact english@uic.edu.


Participate in Paid Research


Assistant Professor Rebecca Davis, Simmons University, is looking for African American undergraduate students to participate in a study to discuss their experience using academic libraries.


If interested, email Simmons University Assistant Professor Rebecca Davis: rebecca.davis@simmons.edu

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Studies Grant: Re-246393-OLS-20.


Internships, Scholarships, Fellowships & Jobs


Summer Internships with Oak Park Festival Theatre

Oak Park Festival Theatre's 2021 Season 
Oak Park Festival Theatre
(Deadline: March 15, 2021)

At Oak Park Festival Theatre, our summer interns are the very lifeblood of our company. Every year, 10-15 young people from across the nation are accepted into the Internship Program at Oak Park Festival Theatre. These Theatre Arts majors and recent college graduates join us to learn first-hand about working for a professional outdoor theatre company. Interns:

  • participate in professional development workshops
  • perform their own Shakespeare scene study showcase
  • understudy our mainstage productions
  • work on every part of our summer production from set construction to assistant directing to box office and concessions to development.

In 2020 interns met virtually and built the core of our COVID-19 Action Plan which we will use to welcome artists and guests back to Austin Gardens this summer. 

Oak Park Festival Theatre provides a unique opportunity for burgeoning professionals. Deadline to apply is March 15, 2021. For more information and application, go to https://oakparkfestival.com/internship-program/ 


Calls for Writers, etc.


Black Lawrence Press Seeks Submissions

 Black Lawrence Call for Submissions

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You've Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women's perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women's humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women's experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.

Black Lawrence Press is now accepting submissions for a new anthology of essays. Writers and scholars living in the United States and abroad are invited to submit essays of between 700-5000 words for the anthology on any of the following broad themes. (Other themes will be considered.)

  1. Black Women and Justice
  2. Black Women and Self-Care
  3. Black Women and Spirituality
  4. Black Women at Work and at Home
  5. Black Women and Sex (and Sexuality)

Essays can be creative or academic. However, essays have to be accessible since the anthology is for a general audience.

Drs. Jan Boulware, Rondrea Mathis, Clarissa West-White, and Kideste Yusef of Bethune-Cookman University will serve as editors.

Submissions will be accepted through June 30, 2021. Contributors will receive a copy of the anthology as payment.

Previously published essays are welcome. Please contact Dr. Clarissa West-White at whitec@cookman.edu with questions.


Other Upcoming UGS Events

Mark Your Calendar for these Upcoming Events:
  • Open Mic 
    March 31, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Share your creative work and hear your peers' creative work
    Click here for Zoom link  


  • Grad School Workshop
    April 14, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Current grad students talk about what grad school is really like and how to get into the program of your dreams
    Click here for Zoom link


  • Thesis Presentations
    April 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Hear what students in ENGL 398 and ENGL 399 have been working on all semester
    Click here for Zoom link

Finally ...


Do you have questions or feel like chatting with UGS? Email english@uic.edu to schedule an appointment. 


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