This Week in English | February 19-25, 2024

English Major Kiera Campbell Named as Wiggins Humanities Fellow 

Kiera Campbell, a junior majoring in English from Buxton, Maine, was named the David ’64 and Alison ’71 Wiggin Humanities Fellow for her proposed research project “Getting To Know A Dead Man: The De-Deification of Brian (A Non-Case Study).” Kirsten Jacobson, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, and Gregory Howard, associate professor of English, will supervise the study. Campbell’s project will draw on the work of philosopher Simone de Beauvoir to explore how the relationships children form with their parents change in young adulthood. A profile of the new cohort of McGillicuddy Humanities Center fellows can be found here.

A Glimpse into ENG 429: Convents, Covens, and Crusaders

This week, students in Caroline Bicks’ special topics course on Convents, Covens and Crusaders will be turning their attention to 17th-century English witchcraft documents and plays. In previous weeks, the group has read medieval and early modern texts that focus on virgin martyrs, Amazons, goddess cults, and Sapphic relationships, and discussed how different writers and time periods have imagined the threats and benefits unique to female communities. Students have also started to pursue independent research using the Early Modern Books Online database.

Departmental Self-Study and External Review

As has been mentioned in previous installments of this bulletin, this spring semester the English Department is conducting an extensive self-study in advance of hosting an external review in the fall of 2024. The self-study offers an opportunity for faculty members to engage with students and alumni of both our BA and MA programs to identify program strengths as well as areas where there is room for us to improve. We will also be consulting with our partners across campus and in the community. If you would be willing to share your perspective with us in the coming months, we’d love to hear from you in a reply to this bulletin! 

MA Students to Host Poetry and Prose Reading in Downtown Bangor on February 29

The English Graduate Students Association is hosting an event they’re calling “warm winter wanderings” on Thursday, February 29 from 5-8pm at the Chimera Coffee Company on the ground floor of the Phenix Hotel in downtown Bangor. The event will feature poetry and prose readings and a mystery raffle.

March 1 Deadline for Student Speaker Showcase

Apply to be a speaker at the Student Speaker Showcase! This event is an opportunity for students to give a professional presentation on a topic they are passionate about and practice their public speaking skills. This could be on a research project you’ve been working on, a topic that fascinates you, your experiences on an athletics team, running a club, participating in a volunteer project, or any other topic you want to showcase!

The event will be structured as a series of up to 10 minute “talks” by different students, with some being just speeches and other having more interactive presentations – similar to the famous Ted Talks. We want to give the opportunity to students to talk about what they are passionate about, practice their public speaking skills, and have a place where our community can come together and see what makes it unique. 

The event will be taking place in Wells Conference Center on Thurs March 21st from 2pm-4pm. Applications to be a speaker can be completed here and are due by Friday March 1st. 

March 1 Deadline for Terry Plunkett Poetry Prize

The guidelines for the Terry Plunkett Poetry Prize can be found here. The submission portal closes on March 1, 2024. The Plunkett Festival will take place on Saturday, April 27. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

Paid Internships and Experiential Learning Opportunities

There is a new opportunity for students to receive funding for internships and experiential learning. 

The Pathways to Careers Center received funding to increase student access to experiential learning opportunities, like internships, co-ops, clinicals, practicums, apprenticeships, or similar career-relevant experiences. Students can apply for funds to support any expenses that are needed to participate in these opportunities, such as mileage, housing, childcare, work attire, or equipment.

Applications are being accepted now. To receive support for a Spring 2024 internship, the application must be received by March 15. To receive support for a Summer or Fall 2024 internship, the application must be received by April 15. To qualify for funds, students are required to go through training to prepare them for their experiential learning. Many students are already engaged in a pre-professional course, career bootcamp, or other pre-experience training that qualifies or there is a new Brightspace course to meet this requirement. For more information with links to the application and Brightspace course, visit

Pathways to Careers is funded with generous support from the Harold Alfond Foundation through UMS TRANSFORMS Student Success and Retention and from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. 

Mark Your Calendars: Queer Romance Author March 26

WGS is hosting queer romance author Cat Sebastian for a Q&A and writing workshop on Tuesday, March 26 at 12:30 and 5pm respectively. No advance registration is required for the lunch-time Q&A. The afternoon workshop is open to all UMaine community members but is limited to forty participants. Advance registration is required. Please email Elizabeth Neiman at to reserve a spot. The first 18 undergraduates to reserve a spot will receive a free copy of Sebastian’s 2023 novel We Could Be So Good!   This event is co-sponsored by the Stephen E. King Chair. Sebastian is on IG here.

Featured Resource: New York Times

Faculty, students, and staff have access to New York Times News courtesy of a Fogler Library subscription. UMaine access also includes The New York Times InEducation, which provides curated reading lists across several disciplines of study, such as English, Biology, Environmental Science, Leadership and more. Activate your free access by visiting, selecting “University of Maine – Orono, ME” and following the instructions, creating your account using your UMaine email address. Once you have created a personal account while logged in to UMaine, you may use it to log on via browser or the NYT mobile app from any location.

This Week in English 145 was sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the department on February 12, 2024. If you would rather not receive these weekly bulletins, please reply with <unsubscribe> in your subject line. Earlier installments are archived on our website. If you’re on Facebook, please consider joining the English Department Group. To learn more about faculty members mentioned in this bulletin, visit our People page.

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