English department announces 2022 student awards

We’re excited to announce our 2022 scholarship and senior award winners, as well as the winners of our 2022 writing contest.

It’s been an especially challenging couple of years, so the perseverance of these students—maintaining a love for learning even in difficult circumstances—has been a great example to the departmental faculty.

2022 Scholarship awards

Scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year have been awarded to the following students.

Bonnie C. Henzel Scholarship

Joseph Morgan

Rita K. Gollin Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature

Jessica Marinaro and Sarah Sharples

Jesse M. Rodgers Memorial Scholarship

Elizabeth Roos

Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship

Isaac Schiller

Hans Gottschalk Memorial Scholarship

Nevaeh Tucker

2022 Senior awards

Senior awards honor graduating students on the basis of input from departmental faculty, and making these decisions is always difficult. The following students are recognized for their exceptional achievements.

Calvin Israel Award for an outstanding academic record and strong support of the Humanities

Sophie Schapiro and Olivia Clare Schmidt

William T. Beauchamp Memorial Award for outstanding service to the vitality of literature on campus

Amina E. Diakite, Cassandra Pepe, and Georgia Katharine Ludwig VanDerwater

Patricia Conrad Lindsay Memorial Award for excellence in scholastic achievement and intellectual promise

Juliet Rose Wenzel

Joseph O’Brien Memorial Award for a demonstrated record of academic excellence and a spirit of volunteerism

Jose Romero and Hannah Sullivan

2022 Writing contest winners

Irene E. Smith Award in First-Year Critical Writing: INTD 105

Wyatt Hargrove, “Why Hemingway Is Relevant”

Honorable Mention: Iliana Papadopoulos, “I CAN. I WILL”

Jérome de Romanet de Beaune Award for an Essay in Diversity Studies

  1. Matt Keller, “A Not so ‘Swift’ Fix: Gulliver’s Travels Destabilizes the Fiction of Supremacist Standardized Language”
  2. Elizabeth Roos, “The Publishing of African Women’s Literature”
  3. Shawna Smith, “Review Essay: Aromantic /Asexual Representation in Media”

Research Paper

  1. Madyson Gillanders, “Shockwaves: America through the Eyes of a Non-American Black”
  2. Alissa Moeller, “The ‘Ugly Truth’ in A Burial at Ornans

Honorable Mention: Kathryn Sirianni, “Teaching Our Children the America We Never Knew”

John H. Parry Award for a Critical Essay

Joseph Morgan, “Emotional Hyperbole in Aphra Behn’s The History of the Nun

Honorable Mention: Lauren Silverman, “Rape of the Lock and the Language of Rape Culture”

Self-Reflective Writing

  1. Patricia Figueroa, “The Game of Life: The American Dream House”
  2. Thalia Maynor, “Why She Talking Like That? Beauty and Brilliance in Black Language”

Creative Non-Fiction

  1. Joseph Morgan, “Fathers and Sons”
  2. Mollie McMullan, “Complications of Motherhood”
  3. Jason Ray, “Records”

Agnes Rigney Award in Drama and Screenwriting

  1. Patricia Figueroa, Don’t Go (Breaking My Heart)
  2. Anna Lynch and Susan Romance, Korea’s Sweetheart

Honorable Mention: Erika Powers, [title?]

Lucy Harmon Award in Literary Fiction

  1. Hannah Lustyik, “Have You Ever Told Anyone You’re Rotting Inside?”
  2. Matt Keller, “A Submission”
  3. Alison DiCesare, “The Quiet Ones”

Mary Thomas Award in Poetry

  1. Jenna Murray, “she is not ready to tell me he is dead”
  2. Kayla Eyler, “I’m old, I’m so fucking old”
  3. Susan Romance, “Birth of Venus”

English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, Inducts 83 New Members

On April 21, Geneseo’s Iota Lambda chapter of the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, inducted eighty-three new members. The half-hour ceremony highlighted accessibility and inclusivity, emphasizing that the honor society serves the entire English Department. Outgoing executive board president Nicole Callahan spoke to the chapter’s increased outreach efforts this year, including offering one-on-one connections to all new students in the department and significantly increasing our social media presence to help people feel connected and to get involved (see https://www.geneseo.edu/english/sigma-tau-delta).

Isabella Higgins discussed Sigma Tau Delta’s support for diversifying the Humanities curriculum, which included a petition recording student support for broadening and breaking from Geneseo’s menu of readings as well as a roundtable presentation at the annual convention where we shared local initiatives and solicited feedback from across the nation. More broadly, Sigma Tau Delta also endorses the Concerned Students Coalition’s List of Demands that would support BIPOC and traditionally underrepresented students on campus (https://speaks.geneseo.edu/?p=155). Beyond campus, our service project this year is to help The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming gather signatures of support for an inclusive community, as Jordyn Costello explained. People living with intellectual and developmental disabilities aare another group that has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic (https://tinyurl.com/yx79rr6z).

Professor Kristen Gentry spoke to this historical moment in a powerful, lyrical address, noting the induction as one of those small celebrations that, quoting Prince, help get us through this thing called Life. April 21 was the fifth anniversary of Prince’s death, a shocking loss that Professor Gentry connected to our traumatic past year of pandemic, racial tension, Black death at the hands of police, and mass shootings across the nation. Words, suggested Professor Gentry, are our solace and strength. Prince called life an “electric word,” and Professor Gentry added that “All words are electric. The words we write have the power to change lives. The way we interpret them has the power to change history. The words we speak have the power to manifest into reality. … Use electric words to make the world a better place than it was before you spoke, wrote, or read them.”

The induction closed with incoming president Georgia VanDerwater asking interested students to volunteer for next year’s e-board (contact Georgia at gv3@geneseo.edu) and with faculty sponsor Dr. Gillian Paku leading the pledge and remarking how the society has rallied in this difficult year around the STD motto: sincerity in our hopes for inclusivity and some necessary truth-speaking, alongside the craft and design of our creative and analytical work. We welcome the following students to the society and look forward to celebrating our chapter’s fiftieth anniversary in 2022:


William Anderson

Jessica Apthorpe

Hannah Bentivegna

Claire Corbeaux

Jordyn Costello

Jenna Doolan

Kayleigh Eames

Kayla Eyler

Michaelena Ferraro

Daniel Fleischman

Melisha Gatlin

Aliyha Gill

Devin Gordon

Mackenzie Griffin

Valeria Guarneros

Jamie Henshaw

Walter Hoag

Sarah Holsberg

Hayley Jones

Kayla Kenny

Fatima Khanam

Anthony Lyon

Courtney Lyon

Emma Mandella

Emma Marino

Rachel McLauchlin

Kaitlyn McNulty

Rosalinda Mesbahi

Ben Michalak

Kyle Navratil

Richard Noel

Dong Won Oh

Kaitlyn Papaccio

Domenica Piccoli

Emma Raupp

Sophie Schapiro

Nickolas Schuessler

Emma Short

Hannah Sullivan

Emily Tsoi

Lyndsay Tudman

Georgia VanDerwater

Stephanie Wall

Rebecca Williamson

Emily Zandy


Sarah Barber

Carly Burgio

Bridget Cain

Kathryn Capone

Elizabeth Costanzo

Caroline Crimmins

Hailey Cullen

Katelyn Daniels

Amina Diakite

Alison DiCesare

Susanna Dolan

Tess Duignan

Marin Goodstein

Kat Johnson

Zack Laird

Grace Lawrence

Macaire Lisicki

Cameron Luquer

Hannah Lustyik

Emma Meeks

Maeve Morley

Ethan Owens

Megan Palmer

Maria Papas

Maria Pawlak

Cassandra Pepe

Rebecca Perry

Samantha Phillips

Kevin Reed

Jose Romero

Elizabeth Roos

Olivia Root

Leila Sassouni

Isaac Schiller

Peter-Joseph Sharak

Lauren Silverman

Juliet Wenzel

Samuel Wright

English Department students present at Sigma Tau Delta International Convention

On Saturday, March 27, five members of the Geneseo chapter of [Sigma Tau Delta](https://www.english.org/) participated in [the annual convention(https://englishconvention.org/2021/) available to all members of the English honor society. Nicole Callahan, Jordyn Costello, Sara Devoe, Isabella Higgins, and Emma Mandella presented a panel titled “Change it Up: Diversifying Humanities” over Zoom. Their presentation discussed the overt lack of representation in most canonical works considered to be a part of the “great books’’ tradition, a list that Geneseo Humanities I and II courses are required to follow. They touched on efforts – including their recent, popular student petition – to alter the Humanities requirement at Geneseo, with the goal of making it a course that includes perspectives and representation of groups outside of the predominant white male norm. Black Humanities was presented as one innovative approach, and the panelists suggested other texts or productive pairings of texts that would meet the goal. A lively question and answer session held after the presentation was attended by students and faculty from around the country and was an illuminating conversation about the benefits and challenges of these efforts, and how they are addressed at our peer institutions. The panelists and audience members agreed that more than finding one answer to this complicated issue, diversifying Humanities requirements should be addressed through a variety of methods.

The format of roundtables only, coordinated via Zoom from Colorado, was a function of the COVID-19 pandemic. It worked surprisingly well, but we look forward to a return to an in-person convention in next year’s location, Atlanta, GA. Geneseo’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter is active all year; new members are inducted each spring, but most activities are open to all members and friends of Geneseo English. For further information about [Sigma Tau Delta at Geneseo](https://www.geneseo.edu/english/sigma-tau-delta), please contact the incoming student president, Georgia VanDerwater, or the faculty sponsor, Dr. Paku.

English major Ben Michalak Receives Geneseo Community Engagement Ambassadorship

Ben Michalak Receives Geneseo Community Engagement Ambassadorship

English major Ben Michalak ’21 was selected as one of six students to be awarded Geneseo Ambassadorships this year. His project will involve working with the Main Street Association of nearby Perry, NY to link that community’s history of the arts to present-day artists and economic development initiatives.

During the Fall 2020 semester, Michalak was a TA for Ken Cooper’s OpenValley course that worked with the village to develop an innovative history of the Perry Knitting Company. Besides his research, writing, and digital communications skills, Michalak’s work as marketing director for WGSU helped make this opportunity possible.

On Tuesday, Feb 16 Dr. Maria Lima to share her experience creating HUMN 222: Black Humanities

On Tuesday, February 16 Feb at 1 p.m., Prof. Maria Helena Lima (English & Black Studies) will share her experience creating the course HUMN 222: Black Humanities. HUMN 222  explores The New York Times “The 1619 Project” and takes on The Times challenge to reframe American history, to consider the possibility that the origin of this country can be traced to 1619, the year that marks the arrival of the first Africans (from the land that would become Angola) to the land that would become America in all its defining contradictions.

English Department Mourns Passing of Emeritus Faculty Leonard Moss

We regret to report the passing away of emeritus faculty, Leonard Moss, who taught in the  English Department from the 1960s until his retirement in 1989.

His wife, Shaoping Moss, offered the following message:

Leonard Moss, my beloved husband, patient teacher and best friend, passed away on May 28, 2020, at the age of 88. The cause is heart failure. As an ardent scholar and a dedicated writer, Leonard had worked tirelessly on his writing projects one after another, producing 7 or 8 books in his life. He never stopped writing until his last day. He even wrote his own tongue-in-cheek premature obituary a few months ago, and included it at the end of his last book, “Creating an Identity.” Now it has become his formal obituary, which we have published at the Moss family website:https://mossfamilypublications.weebly.com/obituary.html

He was buried at the Gan Shalom Cemetery in Briones, CA. Our small family had a graveside burial ceremony for him on June 2.  A recording of the ceremony can be found at our family website:


Shaoping is collecting remembrances to share on our website. We invite you to share your memories of Len by responding to this email. These will be shared here:


In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha. You can learn more about this charitable institution here:


Shaoping, Eli and Sara Moss



Beth McCoy’s Students Praised by Hayes Davenport on LA Podcast

In Spring 2020, Beth McCoy taught “Expulsion and the Housing Crisis,” a SUNY Geneseo literature course contemplating narratives flowing into and out of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The course’s final assignment asked students to consider Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower alongside episodes of L.A. Podcast they’d been listening to all semester.

The podcast’s host, Hayes Davenport, mentioned Dr. McCoy’s students  individually by name because of their essays here: https://morrison.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2020/05/15/sower-what-about-l-a-podcast/
Here’s the podcast clip cued up: https://simplecast.com/s/6351e2e4?t=1h8m10s
Here’s the whole episode: https://thelapod.com/episode/go-mask-alice/

Doggett Named General Editor of Journal of International Yeats Studies

This past December, at the annual International Yeats Society Conference in Paris, France, Professor and Chair of English, Rob Doggett, was named general editor of the Journal of International Yeats Studies.

The International Yeats Society is an academic organization that links national and other Yeats societies around the world. Conceived on the 150th anniversary of W. B. Yeats’s birth, International Yeats Studies brings together scholarship from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, and addresses Yeats’s place in world literature.