My Practicum Experience for the MA in English

Caitlin Szikora

Caitlin Szikora ’16

Upon completion of my BA, I became interested in Laurier’s English MA, a program that fuses English and Film Studies for an in-depth look into nation, gender, and media. I majored in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto for my BA, and minored in both English and History. When I found out that there was an MA program that essentially combined these fields into one coherent year of study, I knew it was the right program for me. The courses offered included a practicum option, which offered a course credit in exchange for a six-week practical placement at the end of the program.

To me, this was the perfect opportunity to see how the skills developed in my MA program would benefit me in a workplace setting. I have always been interested in careers working with film production and writing, but my knowledge up until the beginning of my placement had been theoretical. As much as I love analysis and academia, I was eager to try and learn more hands-on production skills.

For six weeks in the spring, I worked for Laurier International primarily on producing a series of videos about safety for international students along with another student coworker and one of Laurier’s special constables. As a result, I was able to learn skills in a wide range of areas. I helped to write the content and scripts for the videos, using the writing skills gained throughout the MA English program as well as learning about how to write in new formats. I also was involved in producing the videos, and learned about cameras and cinematography to a great extent as well.

As this project was relatively large in scale, my coworker and I decided to set up a volunteer team that would be able to work together as a production crew. Much of my time at Laurier International became devoted to the organization of this group, and we were able to build a team of around fifteen students – the majority of whom were either international students or film studies students – who had indicated an interest in learning about media technology and in helping future international students be informed. We met several times a week for meetings, during which we would plan our videos by writing and storyboarding together along with having in-house lessons on cameras and how to use the video equipment. We also met weekly for production days, on which we would shoot our videos. We were able to work in a variety of spaces around campus and produce collect a wide amount of footage on these days, giving students a chance to act in the scenes as well as to operate the equipment we had on set. As a result of the scale of the project, it is still ongoing. What started as a small group designed to focus on safety videos grew into a larger team that my coworkers and I hope will be able to continue making films for Laurier International for the rest of the summer and into the next academic year as well. We are currently thinking of coming up with a name for the team and turning it into a more permanent student club, in which students are able to take control of the video production process and to find new ways to tell their own stories based in international learning experiences. The establishment of this group was a large part of what I worked on during my time at Laurier International, and I have informed the group that I will be able to continue on as a volunteer when I am able! Organizing and facilitating meetings with this group allowed me to further my skills as a leader within a team-based environment.

Aside from the video project, I did several small writing-based tasks as well, including working on a conference program and going through Laurier International’s websites to look for information that needed to be updated. These smaller-scale tasks kept me busy on the days on which we were not working on our videos. Overall, I found my placement at Laurier International to be an extremely positive experience, in which I was able to learn many skills I had been interested in and gain plenty of experience in my field. I am very glad that the MA program offers the practicum option as it was a fantastic way for me to be able to experience first-hand what I am able to do as an English and Film Studies student in a workplace setting, as well as allowing me to consider my future.

 

 

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Farewell to Alisha Walters

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Congratulations to Alisha Walters who is taking up a tenure-track position at Penn State University, Abington, starting in August 2016.  Alisha Walters’s research focuses on race in Victorian texts.  She has taught a number of courses at the graduate and undergraduate level at Laurier in the last two years, including Victorian literature, Romantic literature, Academic Writing, Reading Fiction, and the 19th Century novel.  We wish Alisha Walters all the best, and will miss a wonderful teacher and colleague.

Snapshots

Snapshots

 

Coffee, 9:15am

Opening Remarks, 9:25am

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Organizers: (from left) Claire Meldrum, Susan Hroncek, Shannon Maguire
Panel 1: Marginalized Voices, 9:30am
Chair: Jenny Kerber
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1. Benjamin Lefevre, “Young Canada: Toward a Theory of the Represented Child”
2. Amanda Spallacci, “Resistance and Healing: The Representation of Sexual Violence through Personal Testimony”
3. Tanis MacDonald, “Clear and Other Cuts: AIDS Narratives and the Deep Woods” 

 

Panel 2: Indigenous Literature and the North, 10:40am
Chair: Jing-Jing Chang

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1. Jenny Kerber, “Cat Trains and Chattering Teeth: Literary Traces of Worker Experience in the Wartime North”
2. Rebekah Ludolph, “Humour, Intersubjectivity, and Indigenous Female Identity in Anahareo’s Devil in Deerskins”
3. Shannon Maguire, “’White Noise,’ Métis Hospitality: Noise, Transmission, and Translation in Marilyn Dumont’s A Really Good Brown Girl and The Pemmican Eaters”

 

Featured Researcher, 11:45am
Chair: Lynn Shakinovksy

Eleanor Ty, University Research Professor, 2015-2016

thumb_IMG_2435_1024“Asian fail:  Failure and Unhappiness in Asian North American Narratives”

Lunch, 12:15pm

Interlude: Sanchari Sur, “not being rude” & “gulab jamuns”

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Panel 3: Specialist Studies in English and Film, 1:00pm
Chair: Ken Paradis
1. Claire Meldrum, “The Mystery of the Missing Sleuth: Female Investigative Strategies in Anna Katharine Green’s The Mill Mystery”
2. Susan Hroncek, “Bringing the Fetish Stuff Up to Date:” Invisible Alchemy at the Fin de Siecle
3. Anton Bergstrom, “Sacred Calling as Estrangement in Donne’s ‘To Mr. Tilman after he had taken orders’”
4. Mike McCleary, “Ray Harryhausen and the Aesthetics of High Imperfection”

Alisha Salvador’s Essay Chosen for Publication

Alisha Salvador (2016) is thrilled that the final paper she wrote for EN 252 Multiculturalism and Literature, taught by Dr. Mariam Pirbhai, will be published by LUJA: Laurier Undergraduate Journal of the Arts.

Alisha Salvador '2016
Alisha Salvador ‘2016

Alisha explains:

My final paper was titled “Omnivore Perspectives of Food and Cultural Identity” and as the title suggests, it explores the relationship between food and one’s individual and cultural identity. As I was researching for additional articles to use in my paper, I came across Fischler’s “Incorporation Principle” and “Omnivore’s Paradox.” Fischler’s “Incorporation Principle” suggests how our physical features, behaviours, and identity are products of the food we consume. The “Omnivore’s Paradox” takes this principle one step further, and presents humans as ‘omnivores’ that tend to either embrace or fear the “incorporation” of other cultural cuisines based on the appreciation of either ethnic diversity or purity. I argued that throughout the novel Digging to America, Anne Tyler uses the leitmotif of food to illustrate instances of the “Omnivore’s Paradox” during intercultural encounters between two families, the Yazdans and the Donaldsons. This paper required a lot of time and effort due to the complexity of my chosen topic. I hope my paper will inspire students to challenge themselves and their writing abilities, to not be afraid of asking for help or utilizing the resources around them, and to develop a new understanding about the relationship between food and cultural identity.

The Laurier Undergraduate Journal of the Arts “demonstrates the very best talent our student body has to offer in our measured opinions and our informative expertise… taking part will improve your writing skills through our review process, impress graduate committees when applying, and support the student community by demonstrating the highest standards of academic skill.”

WIR serves up Stone Soup, March 10th

Hayden taylor Stone soup

It’s March already and each winter term, I see how quickly our time with our Edna Staebler Writer in Residence zooms by. Our 2016 Staebler WIR, fiction writer and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, has been at Laurier since mid-January and will give his second public talk on Thursday, March 10, in The Hawk’s Nest at 7:30 p.m. Many people remarked after Drew’s first talk in January that he is a remarkable performer, speaking entirely without notes about his start as a writer, his years with Native Earth Performing Arts, and writing for film and television.

Don’t miss this second talk, which will feature Drew’s discussion of his writing process.

And for the origin of “stone soup,” check out the folk tale:

http://www.extremelinux.info/stonesoup/stonesoup.html

stonesoup

Alumni Update: Priscilla Galvez

Priscilla Galvez

Honours Communications and Film Studies ’13
“I was intimidated by the uncertainty of pursuing a career in a competitive industry such as film and television so I initially enrolled in the Film Studies program as a solid second choice to film school—a safe bet. But my program ended up being the perfect foundation for my career in film. The program broadened my knowledge of film history and genre, exposed me to the formal language of cinema, its use as a social and political medium, and its hands-on editing course cemented my passion in filmmaking and motivated me to pursue film production after graduation. In the end, my experience was integral in supplying me with the foundational tools that has helped me become a well-rounded filmmaker and producer working in the industry today.” Priscilla is an Associate Producer at Blue Ice Pictures in Toronto and, currently, is producing and directing a dark comedy web-series, “How to Buy A Baby,” about an infertile couple going through fertility treatments. Check out the series teaser .

Read about Priscilla’s web series about infertility in The Cord.

Winter Words and Works

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Organized by Acting Chair Tanis Macdonald, Winter Words and Works featured readings, personal stories, and talks by faculty and students from English and Film Studies at Laurier on February 3, 2016.

Author Celebration

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Left to right: Robin Waugh, Philippa Gates (Moderator), Mariam Pirbhai, Sandra Annett, Benjamin Lefebvre

Dr. Sandra Annett talked about the global community in anime fandom, showing a clip from a Korean flash cartoon entitled, There She Is.” She read from her book, Anime Fan Communities: Transcultural Flows and Frictions (Palgrave 2014).

Dr. Mariam Pirbhai presented the 100 year old history of South Asian immigration to Canada and noted the importance of the Komagata Maru for this community. She has recently edited a special issue on South Asian Canadian writing for Studies in Canadian Literature.

Dr. Robin Waugh talked about the changing representation of Mary Magdalene from the Medieval to the Early Modern period. He has co-edited Mary Magdalene in Medieval Culture: Conflicted Roles (Routledge 2014) with Peter Loewen.

Dr. Benjamin Lefebvre highlighted the enduring popularity of L.M. Montgomery by showing us her legacy and influence around the world. He has recently published The L.M. Montgomery Reader, the third of a series, (U Toronto Press, 2013-2015) and Textual Transformations in Children’s Literature: Adaptations, Translations, Reconsiderations (Routledge 2013).

Edna Staebler Laurier Writer in Residence

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Drew Hayden Taylor/ Tanis MacDonald

Aboriginal playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor discussed the challenges of being half-Caucasian and half-Ojibway and growing up in the small community of Curve Lake First Nations. He says that as a child, he escaped from the limitations of his community by reading comics and adventure books, and is now writing more genre fiction, such as his Aboriginal vampire novel, The Night Wanderer and his forthcoming book of native science fiction.

Creative Writing at Laurier

Prize sponsor Doug Heard presented Danielle LeDuc with the Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize. The prize was established by the Heard family for Chris Heard who was a student at Laurier who loved to write.

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Doug Heard / Danielle LeDuc

Danielle LeDuc read her amazing story, “War: A People’s History” which was surprisingly not about the kind of war you’d imagine.

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Danielle LeDuc, winner of Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize

Dr. MacDonald and several other students from Dr. MacDonald’s creative writing class read the following short pieces:

Anthony Haslam, “Shaman’s Brew”
Dan Douglas, “Fact”
Jenna Galluccio, cento song: “Tired Lovemaking” and poem “Snap, Crackle, Pop”
Jenna Hazzard, “King of Pool”
Dr. MacDonald, “Very Wide Awake,” a poem about the space race and Planet of the Apes

Alumni Stories
Dr. Maria DiCenzo introduced three alumni who graduated from English or the Film Studies Program.

Andrew Baechler (BA English 2007) played football when he was at Laurier and has now combined his love of reading and his communication skills with sports at his current job. He is the Media Relations, Communications, and Sports Information Officer at the Athletics Department at Guelph University.

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Andrew Baechler

Ron Butler (BA Film Studies 2012) loved studying films and even made films for the Fringe when he was at Laurier. He is a cinematographer and filmmaker at Final Frame Productions.

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Ron Butler

Hanna Burnett (MA 2013, BA EN/FS 2012) says that her MA year at Laurier was the best educational year of her life. She is the Coordinator, Program Services at the Toronto International Film Festival and had entertaining anecdotes about the challenges of classifying and rating films for TIFF.

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Hanna Burnett

English Student Association

 

The English Student Association, represented by Daniella Cavallini, Beniah Lanoue, and Chris presented a PowerPoint series about the association, including aims, benefits of joining the ESA, and events planned for the Winter term, then held a short meeting with prospective members.

Contributed By: Eleanor Ty