Spring 2021 MAPW Student Awards

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 20, 2021) — Join us for the Spring 2021 MAPW Student Awards at 6:30 PM on Wednesday May 5, 2021 via Zoom!

  • Topic: MAPW Spring 2020 and 2021 AWARD Celebration
    Time: May 5, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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    Meeting ID: 816 6729 5087
    Passcode: 938518
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  • Moderator: Professor Tony Grooms Director of the MAPW
    Recognition of guests and faculty

    Keynote: Professor Garrard Conley
    Garrard Conley is the author of the memoir Boy Erased and a forthcoming novel. He will address recent research on the artist Howard Finster.

    Recognition of Spring 2021 Graduates
    See listing below.

    Recognition of 2019-20 Awardees
    See listing below.

    Remarks from Lisa Russell, 2020 MAPW Distinguished Alumna

    Recognition of 2020-21 Awardees
    See listing below.

    Remarks from Michael Lipoma, 2021 MAPW Distinguished Alumnus

    Open Remarks

    End of Program

  • Outstanding RCHSS Graduate Student for MAPW: Courtney Bradford
    Faculty Honoree: Dr. Lara Smith-Sitton

    RCHSS Homecoming Student Honoree for MAPW: Ed Gadrix
    RCHSS Homecoming Alumna Honoree for MAPW: Melva Robertson

    The MAPW Community Engagement Award: Courtney Bradford
    The MAPW Exceptional Teaching Award: Roger Poole
    The MAPW Exceptional Service Award: Walter Lawrence
    The MAPW Work-In-Progress Award: Ashley Crisler, Ed Gadrix, and Keith Stillman
    The MAPW Community Engagement Award: Pearlie Harris
    The MAPW Exceptional Research Award: Shiloh Garcia
    The MAPW Public Service Award: Samantha Weinberg
    The MAPW Distinguished Alumnus Award: Lisa Russell

  • Outstanding RCHSS Graduate Student for MAPW: Kandace James
    Faculty Honorees: Professors Gabrielle Fulton Ponder and Jenny Sadre-Orafai

    The MAPW Exceptional Engagement Award: Rashaan Canady
    The MAPW Exceptional Peer Mentorship Award: Jason Faust
    The MAPW Exceptional Achievement Award: Emily Diebler and Kandace James
    The MAPW Distinguished Alumnus Award: Michael Lipoma

Congratulations to our awardees!

Spring 2021 Graduates

  • Kelley was a MAPW Teaching Assistant and President of the KSU Rhetoric Society of America 2019-20

    Title: Video for All: An Argument Towards Standardization Of Video Production Practices and Research

    Description: Instructional videos, a subset of video pedagogy, are becoming valuable pedagogical tools for instructors within both higher education and professional writing environments. By researching contemporary academic literature and creating video artifacts that put theory into practice, this capstone project answers three important questions: 1) How could video pedagogy shift student attitudes or engagement with course content in digital learning environments? 2) What benefits and limitations of standardizing and researching video pedagogy are valuable for educators interested in creating video to understand, including educators with limited or no video production experience? 3) In what ways could certain production techniques in video pedagogy applicable to classroom settings transfer to certain professional writing contexts such as non-profit awareness campaigns or digital marketing contexts?

    Advisors: Lara Smith-Sitton and Chris Palmer

  • Rashaan is a MAPW Exceptional Engagement Awardee

    Capstone title: “La Bodega- Junior’s Story: A Novel Excerpt”

    Description: A coming-of-age story that follows Luis Rodriguez Junior, while he navigates the unforgiving streets of the Bronx, New York in the aftermath of his father’s death in the Korean War.

    Advisors: Tony Grooms and Chris Palmer

    "First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Grooms for his assistance in helping me to develop my writer’s voice. I’d also like to thank Dr. Palmer for continually challenging me to expand my understanding of English rhetoric, although, comma rules are still my arch nemesis. Last, but certainly not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer extend my gratitude to Dr. Linda Nieman for her guidance during the study abroad trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Those special memories are forever etched in my heart!”

  • Donna was a MAPW Teaching Assistant

    Capstone title: “Life in the Second Youth”

    Description: I have built a website which offers information to retirees, their families, and caregivers. It is paired with a blog which will give retirees access to professionals in fields such as real estate and legal services, along with links to government agencies such as Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration and others which serve seniors.

    Advisors: Lara Smith-Sitton and Laura McGrath

    “This has been a treasure-trove of experiences. I was able to have my short stories peer reviewed, learned about submitting a manuscript, tutored students in the writing center, and was even able to teach classes. These experiences alone were enough to make the MAPW worthwhile, but the things I learned in my classes were invaluable.”

  • title: “A Black Southern Woman’s Perspective on Literature, Culture, & Identity: A Portfolio of Creative Nonfiction and Academic Writing”

    Description: “A Black Southern Woman’s Perspective on Literature, Culture, & Identity: A Portfolio of Creative Nonfiction and Academic Writing” is a portfolio comprised of work I began in the Master of Arts in Professional Writing program and new pieces that showcase my ability to write essays, cultural critiques, and book reviews that can be published in my digital portfolio and submitted to online magazines, print magazines, and academic journals. The portfolio serves as a documentation for future readers to spark conversations on home, identity, family, and what it means to exist in this world as a Black Southern woman.

    Advisors: Lara Smith-Sitton and Chris Martin

    "I am grateful to have shared time with my colleagues in this space of artistic exploration and development, and to have received instruction from a diverse group of professors who broadened my understanding of what I can accomplish in my writing career. Re-enrolling in the program in 2019 was the right decision at the right time.”

  • Title: “A Pin-up’s Guide to Traveling Like a Local: A Series”

    Description: A creative non-fiction article series that includes experience & travel articles following a “Pin-up” voice & her solo adventures around the country. The series is written for the Pin-up community & focuses on traveling like a local with authenticity & creativity to hidden gems instead of sticking to regular tourist traps.

    Advisors: JoAnn LoVerde-Dropp and Chris Martin

    “I am most grateful for JoAnn and Chris. They have been fearless mentors, advisors, and encouragers throughout my capstone and even before this project began. My Vegas article was the first one I wrote and they helped me carve out the entire series to include multiple locations packed with adventure, self-care, and positivity. Their advisement will stick with me for the rest of my professional writing career.

    In the essay I wrote for my application to the MAPW program, I stated that I had always done things to make my grandad proud while he was still alive, but wanted this journey in the program to be a launch pad for self-growth & making myself proud... I made this happen. I AM most proud of my articles and hard work.

    My plans for the future include utilizing my degree in my professional career, writing more articles for feminist communities, and writing kids’ books. Congrats to the MAPW class of 2021!”

  • Kandace is the Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Student for MAPW and a MAPW Exceptional Achievement awardee

    Title: "Home"

    Description: My feature-length screenplay follows an anxious girl who, after her mother kicks her out of the house, is forced to live in her car. She’s in love with the dog walker but she’s the one who got her kicked out in the first place. Possessing the voices of queer, Black women, I display one possible outlook on the queer experience. “Home” broadens the narrative of young Black girls’ lived realities in America. “Home” depicts the realities of what it means to be young, Black, queer women in the process of becoming in a world marked with religiosity, abuse, and grief.

    Advisors: Gabrielle Fulton Ponder and Mitch Olson

    "More than anything, this program has help me gain confidence and drive to put my work and myself out there. It has not only improved my writing, but who I am as a professional writer.”

  • Peyton was a MAPW Teaching Assistant

    Capstone title: “Query into Queer: A Creative and Analytical Examination of LGBTQ+ Experiences”

    Description: “Query into Queer” is a portfolio of poetry and creative nonfiction essays that examines queer as an identity, the coming out process, and the overall progression of a person coming to terms with their sexuality, as well as other LGBTQ+ subjects. This portfolio is reflective of my own experiences; however, those experiences are also discussed in relation to research I have conducted.

    Advisors: Chris Martin, Garrard Conley, and Letizia Guglielmo

    “In the MAPW program, my love for creative nonfiction grew, and I have been able to explore the ways in which I can incorporate this type of writing into my scholarly writing. I look forward to continuing this research in my future studies. After graduation, I plan to submit some of the pieces for publication. This fall, I will begin in the PhD in Comparative Studies Program at Florida Atlantic University. I truly appreciate the assistance and support that I have had from the MAPW faculty throughout my time in the program. I especially want to thank Chris Martin, Garrard Conley, and Dr. Letizia Guglielmo, who have offered tremendous guidance and feedback throughout my writing process for this capstone.”

  • Title: “MAPW Portfolio”

    Description: The portfolio is comprised of artifacts crafted in my concentration and two support areas. It is comprised of a Short story, “A Run through History”; a stage play, “Prosperity Landing”; and, a screen play, “Unattached” that represent my work in the creative writing concentration. A blog post, “Social Distancing, My Old Friend” and a kinetic poem, “How to Keep Quiet in Church” represent my work in the support areas of applied writing and composition and rhetoric. My view and voice are highlighted in this body of diverse works linked by a thread of social interaction within family and community.

    Advisors: Mitchell Olson and Jenny Sadre-Orafai

    “The MAPW program exceeded my expectation to enhance my skills set. It afforded me the opportunity to explore fiction writing. Allowing my imagination to have free reign was essential to composing narratives in the genre. The composition and rhetoric course, “Understanding Writing as a Process,” which I took during my first term of the program helped me establish a consistent model for long-term progress and success in writing. Although constructing my own website during the course was a major challenge, the value in having a platform to host my work was appreciated when developing projects for applied writing courses during the last term”.

Fall 2020 Graduates

  • Brian was a MAPW Teaching Assistant, a member of the Rhetoric Society of America KSU Chapter, and earned a 4.0 GPA.

    Capstone title: “Orphan with a Gun: A Graphic Novel Script and Pitch-Package.”

    Description: “Orphan with a Gun” is an experimental graphic novel which introduces a new, gritty universe to the popularized Child vs. Monster subgenre—presented through a lens of dark satire and ultraviolence. “Orphan with a Gun” further innovates on the norms of narrative visual aesthetics common in contemporary graphic fiction made for teens and young adults. Book 1 of the series chronicles the journey of three troubled teens who inadvertently discover a gateway into a twisted alternate reality—hidden inside a closed down video store. The project portfolio contains an original 118-page script for the working Prologue, Part 1, and Part 2 of the first installment in an ongoing series. Included with the script pages is a “pitch package”—a portfolio composed for the pitching, marketing, artist collaboration, and hopeful publication of “Orphan with a Gun” in continuation of the project.

    Advisors: Sergio Figueiredo and Mitchell Olson

    “Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future”

    -Wells, H. G., Patrick Parrinder, Marina Warner, and Steven McLean. The Time Machine. London, England: Penguin Books, 2005.

  • Capstone title: “The Sojourner: Personal Essays.”

    Description: “The Sojourner” is a collection of essays that reflect on what the American dream means to a West African immigrant. It narrates the author’s experiences as an immigrant in Atlanta and features interesting people he encounters while it ponders his relationship with both his homeland of Nigeria and his new home in America.

    Advisors: Christopher Martin and Tony Grooms

    “I enjoyed my time at Kennesaw State University and I felt at home throughout the course of my study. I want to thank all the professors for their hard work and dedication. I want to advise the students in the program to keep working towards their goals. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.”

  • Jason served as a Graduate Writing Coach in the KSU Writing Center

    Capstone title: “You Are Academia: A Video Game and Written Explication.”

    Description: “You Are Academia” presents the modern landscape of academia as a passive system of exponential growth. The core gameplay mechanic suggests that the fundamental purpose of current higher learning structures is meant to improve revenue and the quantity of works produced—not necessarily the quality of student education. This is a work of overt satire and takes roughly twenty minutes to play.

    Advisors: Sergio Figueiredo and Christopher Palmer.

    “These are trying times. If you're struggling in the MAPW program, always remember that patience, courtesy, and self-discipline are going to serve you well.”

  • Capstone title: “Emily Dickinson: 19th Century Poet in a 21st Century World.”

    Description: This capstone analyzes what channels mediate public access to literary content in the case of Emily Dickinson’s poems and letters. The capstone discusses how this was a problem for Dickinson while she was alive due to her reclusiveness and unorthodox punctuation. The capstone then looks at the roles that editors, merchandise inspired by Dickinson’s work, and digital technologies play in making her work accessible to the public, but also how these factors have played a role in making Dickinson a pop culture icon in the 21st century.

    Advisors: Todd Harper and Erin Bahl

    “Being in the MAPW program has strengthened both my writing and editing skills, both academically and professionally. The classes and professors have prepared me for a future in the writing and publishing industry where my ultimate goal is to be a fiction editor.”

Summer 2020 Graduates

  • Emily is a MAPW Exceptional Achievement awardee

    Title: “Castles in the Air”

    Description: “Castles in the Air” is a transformative retelling and digital remix of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. “Castles” takes some of Stoker's original text and then integrates Deibler's narrative ideas into the story. There are three ways to navigate this retelling: chapters (standard chaptered narrative); date (diary entry order), and point-of-view (pick and choose to read straight through certain characters). These choices are meant to give readers the choice to consume the story as they want, so there is no uniformly "right" way to digest the text.

    Advisors: Drs. Erin Bahl and Sergio Figueiredo

  • Title: “We are also Home”

    Description: “We are also Home” is an excerpt from a novel-in-progress. The novel, set in Karachi, Pakistan and Atlanta follows several love stories as the characters wrestle with class differences, personal ambitions and the figurative invisibility of women in Pakistani society. In his introduction to the novel, Abubaker writes, “for every South Asian man infantilized by their mothers, a South Asian woman is rendered unseen by society at large. A large part of this is due to the harrowing, blanket concept of the model minority. It is a flattering perception…yet, flattery cannot and should not be the incentive for South Asian Americans to excel within their livelihoods. Outside of the precocious, border-line vain spelling bee and the typical doctor-lawyer-engineer domains in which well-to-do South Asian Americans dwell is a South Asian America that is largely ignored.”

    Advisors: Dr. William Rice and Prof. Tony Grooms