3 Minute Thesis Winners Announced!

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

After weeks of registration, two qualifying rounds, and one grueling finale, the Three Minute Thesis winners have finally been announced:

The 3MT Thesis Awards: 1st Place Award winner Matt Marshall (rear left), 2nd Place Award winner Rachel Bowman (front) and People’s Choice Award winner Derek Shore (rear right)

The 3MT Thesis Awards: 1st Place Award winner Matt Marshall (rear left), 2nd Place Award winner Rachel Bowman (front) and People’s Choice Award winner Derek Shore (rear right)

First Place ($1,000, plus travel and accommodations to New Orleans in March 2015 to compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools regional competition representing UNCG):

Matt Marshall, Biology: “The Genetics of Thermal Plasticity in Plantago Lanceolata”

Second Place ($500):

Rachel Bowman, English: “The Embodied Rhetoric of United States Marine Corps Recruit Training”

People’s Choice ($250):

Derek Shore, Chemistry and Biochemistry: “The Unprecedented Therapeutic Potential of Biased Agonists”

On November 18th, the ten finalists met in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room to present their research as succinctly and coherently as possible while five judges took notes and a timer showed each precious second that passed. The room was full, the weather was cold, and even though I served merely as a spectator, I couldn’t help but feel nervous each time someone’s name was called on stage.

Throughout the competition, the contestants not only showed a tremendous ability to speak in public but a full understanding of their research. As Dr. Laura Chesak, who moderated the event, said: “I wouldn’t want to be in the judge’s shoes.” Everyone performed to the best of their abilities, and ultimately, Matt Marshall, was awarded the top prize.

Matt Marshall presents the winning dissertation at the 3MT Thesis Competition.

Matt Marshall presents the winning dissertation at the 3MT Thesis Competition.

I got in touch with Matt to find out what the award means to him. Not only was he given $1,000 for winning the 3MT, but the Graduate School will pay for his way to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools regional competition in New Orleans next March.

Although he made it look easy, the task of cramming an entire dissertation into just three minutes proved, at times, as difficult as it sounds.

“Condensing my dissertation into a three minute long presentation with just one slide was a challenge. Before I came to the final version of my presentation, I went through several drafts of both the slide and the talk. The comments and questions I received from the preliminary rounds and practice were helpful in that they highlighted gaps in my presentation and places where I lacked clarity.”

While there, he plans on using his free time to experience the culture, listening to live music and checking out the Gulf Coast.

“I haven’t visited New Orleans before, but I have many friends who have,” he said. “I plan to use some of the $1,000 to explore the cuisine, and the rest to buy an iPhone 6!”

Thanks to another successful run, the Graduate School will host its third annual Three Minute Thesis competition next year in the fall. All doctoral students will be eligible, so if you’re inspired by what this year’s competitors accomplished, keep your eyes and ears open.

As for advice, Matt poses a simple question:

“What is the point of your study and why should I care? If nothing else, after you give your 3MT, the audience should have a clear understanding as to how you would answer this question.”


Run and See the Drawing Marathon at the Gatewood Gallery

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

Until November 26th, the Gatewood Gallery will feature artwork by eight first year MFA in Art candidates in an exhibition called the “Drawing Marathon.” I had a chance to attend the exhibition when it opened on November 13th and have spoken to a few of the artists about their experiences. Throughout this blog you will see some of the art on display, and for those who want more information or hope to see what others have done, the Gatewood Gallery is hosting a reception, open to the public, between 3 and 5 p.m. this Wednesday, November 19th.

Artist Alex Soler explained the “Drawing Marathon” process and how the work was completed. (Note: it does not sound easy.) During the first month of their time at UNCG, all first year MFA art students met for “full eight hour drawing sessions on all Fridays and Saturdays…the ‘Marathon’ refers to our push to draw the entire time up until the group critique at the end of the day.” But if drawing for eight straight hours wasn’t grueling enough, the artists conducted their first several meetings inside the steam plant, a “hot and steamy” place “to warm up our observational skills.” For the last couple of sessions, they were allowed to choose where they drew but within the same eight hour periods.

While it may sound like a lot of time, the artwork they produced appears to have taken months, not hours, to complete. I asked Alex about one of her paintings on display, entitled the “Stable View.” She told me: “My fascination with the piece, to be honest, comes from what others see in my marks. I invite everyone’s individual interpretation of my lines and encourage people to share with me what it is to them.”

Inga Kimberly Brown described her piece entitled “Scatter Box,” a series of pen and ink drawings on canvas and linen: “There was no concept fully in what would be the end result…The drawings were a reinforcement of my spontaneity in my new work.” The pieces, which form a square, or box, had caught my attention the moment I walked in.

“I want people to see visions of the artist mind and eye,” Inga said. “I think the viewer will see many different works in the exhibit.”

Carmen Neely, whose work appears several times throughout the exhibit, explained her thought-process behind two of her pieces: “Incorporating text in paintings and drawings is something I’m constantly playing with. Its appearance can create a feeling of intimacy and a confessional quality in the work.”

Similar to Inga, Carmen sees a wide variety of art on display. “I really hope that the show reflects our range of exploration as a group. I personally believe it is successful in that way.”

Each student is working extensively on future projects, but they look forward to answering questions and speaking to the public about the Drawing Marathon exhibit. At the reception on Wednesday, they welcome others’ interpretations and will describe their process in greater detail.

“Each of us worked extremely hard this semester pouring our experiences onto our media,” said Alex. “I hope to share that struggle, learning, and longing with viewers from all walks of life. I am very much into the idea that art is to be shared with others and I am excited for this opportunity to do so.”


The Three Minute Thesis Finals

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

In my last blog, I described some of the most important reasons you should sign up for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT). Now that the competition is underway, I’m here to convince you of a similar, yet less anxiety-inducing task: to simply attend (not participate in) the 3MT’s final round on Nov. 18 from 2:30 to 4:30 in the Alumni House, Virginia Dare Room.

Elyse Shearer

Elyse Shearer

On Nov. 5 and 6, the Graduate School held qualifying rounds where participants delivered their theses and dissertations in under three minutes, with some clocking in at an even shorter 2 minutes and 30 seconds. A panel of three judges took notes between speakers and assessed each person on a number of criteria, including comprehension and engagement. At the end of both rounds, students had a chance to ask each other questions in order to learn more about disciplines they may have been unfamiliar with beforehand. I, for one, was unfamiliar with all of them.

For instance, could you explain how exercise affects one’s memory? Or how the U.S. Marine Corps uses embodied rhetoric to recruit new members? Do you know what biased agonists are? Or could you tell me about thermal plasticity in Plantago Lanceolata?

Unless you’re Watson (the talking robot who appeared on Jeopardy a few years ago), you probably can’t answer many of these questions. And while I’m no expert, I’ve begun to think about biased agonists in a whole new way.

Terra McKee

Terra McKee

Now that the participants have received feedback and time to practice, finalists will be more than prepared to deliver their research succinctly and for all of us to understand. Think of it as the fastest and most efficient way to learn how your fellow classmates have spent the last few years of their lives. Rather than reading their dissertations from cover to cover, hear them tell you what they’ve learned in 180 seconds.

Plus, those of you who attend will have a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner ($250), depending on which presentation you enjoyed the most. The other awards, for first and second place, will come with $1,000 and $500 reward respectively, where the winner will be sent to New Orleans next May for an all-expense paid trip. Winners will be announced at the end of the competition.

So whether you come to learn, to vote for one of the winners, or to see your classmates present years of hard work, be sure to mark it on your calendars: Nov. 18 at 2:30 pm. In the meantime, you can check out last year’s finals here, and we’ll see you in the Alumni House!


One Dissertation, Three Minutes

Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

Student Perspective by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

UNCG’s Three Minute Thesis competition is officially open for registration for PhD candidates, and if you can’t decide whether or not to take part, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to make your decision easier.

PROS
• You can win up to $1,000
• The winner goes on to compete in New Orleans
• It’s free to enter
• You will sharpen your presentation skills and become better acquainted with your thesis
• It’s a chance to see what other graduate students are researching

CONS
• There are no cons

Now that you’ve made up your mind, click here to register.

3mtLogo If you aren’t familiar with the Three Minute Thesis, I’ll provide some history: In 2008, The University of Queensland held a competition where students had to present their thesis or dissertation in three minutes or less. After 160 students participated, universities from around the world began adopting the Three Minute Thesis as a way for students to hone their presentation skills. Last year, UNCG got on board, and after several rounds of competition, Connie Albert, a PhD candidate in Information Systems and Operations Management, was ultimately declared the winner. She went on to compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools where she missed the final round by a single point.

Connie Albert

Connie Albert

Just like last year, there will be three ways to win money. First place will win $1,000; second place, $500; and a People’s Choice Winner (chosen by the audience), $250. Plus, the winner will go on to compete in New Orleans, home of this year’s Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. For more information about the conference, you can access the website here: http://www.csgs.org/.

While it may seem intimidating to condense years of research into just three minutes, try and think of it as an opportunity to present your work to scholars from various backgrounds. Just about everyone who competes is nearing their graduation date, and the Three Minute Thesis offers each department a chance to come together and celebrate their students’ research. One of the best ways to get a sense of the competition, and to see how students present their research in just three minutes, is to watch last year’s final round: http://grs.uncg.edu/3mt/.

Registration will close next Wednesday, October 15th at 5:00 pm, so be sure to sign-up now. We have room for 60 students, and we hope that each and every slot is filled. So what are you waiting for? Will you be this year’s winner?


The Arts at UNCG

Posted on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

Last month, I attended a reading by Lee Zacharias, a retired UNCG professor, and I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the artistic atmosphere around campus. Zacharias, who recently published a collection of essays called The Only Sounds We Make, has had her work featured in several literary journals, including some of the most prestigious, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Lee Zacharias

Lee Zacharias

She has obviously accomplished a great deal as a writer, and while I don’t want to be self-serving by discussing the MFA program, I think it’s worth noting how professors, alumni, and students are using their time at UNCG to help propagate the arts.

For instance, Ansel Elkins, who graduated with an MFA in poetry and attended last week’s reading, has quickly become one of the literary community’s rising stars. After winning the Yale Younger Poets Prize (which I featured in a blog last semester), she was asked to do an interview with The New Yorker, arguably the most respected literary journal in the world. The interview illustrates how Elkins used the prize to further her career while also highlighting her creative process. Just about every writer dreams of getting their work published in The New Yorker—let alone being featured in an interview—and yet there is little doubt that Elkins’s career will only continue to grow. For the poetry fans out there, be sure to keep your eyes on her.

As for current students, Jim Minick recently gave me a copy of his beautiful memoir, The Blueberry Years, which won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance’s Best Nonfiction Book in 2011. To put that award in perspective, some of the recent nominees included David Sedaris and Pat Conroy.Jay Minick's The Blueberry Years

But Minick, who is a second year fiction candidate, hasn’t stopped there. He’s written three other books, mostly of poems, which you can find on his website. I even saw a copy of The Blueberry Years at Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro, so if you’re looking for an enjoyable read that will also teach you something, head on down today.

Second-year poets are also getting their work published (and at a pretty alarming rate). For instance, Courtney Hartnett, has been featured in several literary magazines, including Burningword, which you can read here. Similarly, Michael Pontacoloni has had his poetry published in at least three journals over the last couple years. One of the poems that truly moves me was accepted by Flyway.

And if you’re so inclined, second-year fiction candidate Matt Barrett just published his first story a few weeks ago in Timber Journal. (See how I slipped that in?)

Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the arts are truly flourishing around campus. On September 6th, for instance, the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance presented the annual Collage Concert at 7:30 pm in Aycock Auditorium. The event kicked off “a year-long celebration of William Shakespeare and Galileo Galilei on the 450th anniversary of their births.” Throughout the year, composers, authors, historians, and scientists will present lectures at UNCG regarding the two men, and on October 2nd, the Theatre department premiered “Twelfth Night.” But even if you’ve seen this play before, you’ve probably never imagined it like this: Theatre professor Jim Wren will somehow, someway infuse the timeless comedy with…jazz. For more information about Wren’s vision, you can find it here.

In upcoming blogs, I will continue to highlight the Shakespeare-Galileo performances, so be sure to check back. Also, if you’re looking for a way to stay up-to-date with events around campus and the community, follow The Graduate School on Facebook and Twitter. There, you will be notified of workshops, presentations, lectures, performances, and the list goes on.

Facebook
Twitter


Upcoming Grad School Workshops

Posted on Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

Student Perspective by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

Each year, The Graduate School offers a series of workshops to prepare its students for their thesis/ dissertation while also providing the necessary tools to successfully approach the job market. To attend a workshop, students must sign up ahead of time, and some events have already reached maximum capacity.

PIC13835 Minerva ApplesWith more than 3,000 graduate students enrolled on campus and only 25 – 30 seats available for each workshop, it’s important to note which of these meetings interest you ahead of time. I’ll preview a few of these events throughout this blog, and if you’d like to sign up for any along the way, you can visit the website.

The first workshop I’d like to mention will be held next Friday, October 3rd at 12:00 pm in EUC Dogwood. Called the “Slippery Slope Series,” attendees will discuss what is truly meant by an academic “conflict of interest” when collaborating on research. Many of us are conducting research with our peers, and by doing so, we’re developing our expertise in a given field. Yet there are rules regarding research integrity, and this presentation will attempt to clarify any questions regarding this “much misunderstood concept.”

In a little less than a month, The Graduate School will host two workshops geared specifically to academic fields. While both of these meetings will be led by Dr. Risa Applegarth and Dr. Sarah Daynes, the focus will shift. Those who are pursuing jobs in Human and Social Sciences are encouraged to attend the meeting on Monday October 20th. Sciences should sign up for the one on October 22nd website, and the workshops are meant for those who wish to pursue faculty positions, no matter how many years you have left in your program.

Some events have already come and gone, and attendance has been high for most. One of the most popular meetings, the “Electronic Theses/ Dissertations Workshop” was held twice in order to accommodate the number of students who registered. If you notice this workshop again in the future, I highly recommend attending. Anyone who plans to write a thesis or dissertation, regardless of program, will receive a “step-by-step review of the online submission process” as well as formatting tips and hands-on exercises to create a “Table of Contents, PDF conversion,” etc. As if the prospect of writing a thesis or dissertation wasn’t already stressful enough, you’ll have to closely follow several formatting requirements when submitting your research. Thankfully, this workshop will clarify any questions.

More workshops will arise as the semester goes on, so be sure to check the link periodically. These events are meant for everyone and are intended to provide attendees a “leg up” on the competition. If you have any questions, feel free to email the contact person for a given workshop, and start registering!


Hot Topic: Redefinition of Full-time Enrollment for UNCG Graduate Students — First Thursday: Sept. 4, 2014

Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 by dysherro under Events, Scholarship, Student success, Student support, Students, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , ,

Library 0328008 015

Student Perspective by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

On September 4th, The Graduate School will host its first First Thursday in Room 574 of the Jackson Library. During the meeting, Dean Wiener will lead a discussion regarding the “redefinition of full time enrollment from 6 to 9 credit hours and its implications.”

For those of you who attended last year, you may remember these events as “First Friday” held in the Graduate School, Forest Building. While the place and times have changed, the reason for getting together has not. I went to a few First Fridays last year, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys interacting with graduate students and doesn’t mind free pizza. Does that sound like you? Good. So here are the logistics:

When? 12 to 1pm on Thursday September 4th

Where? Jackson Library, Bates Collaboratory Room 574
(For more information on the Bates Collaboratory, check out another UNCG blog: http://uncgfol.blogspot.com/2014/07/collaboratory-on-fifth-floor-of-jackson.html)

Food? Pizza!

Currently, a graduate student at UNCG is required to take 6 credit hours in order to be considered a full-time student. Beginning next year, however, full-time enrollment will increase from 6 to 9 hours and half-time from 3 to 4.5. How will that affect your program? While some departments will be unaffected (due to the number of credit hours they require per semester) certain programs will have to consider adding courses for its students to be deemed full-time. Additionally, Federal financial aid often varies depending on a student’s enrollment status. As Dean Wiener informed me, all of the following points will be discussed in detail:

1.  How this change will affect graduate assistants

2.  How this change will impact student financial loans

3.  What changes might result in course scheduling due to this change

4.  How to plan for the upcoming changes

If you would like to participate in this discussion and hear other implications, First Thursday offers the best opportunity for you to do so.

One of the best aspects about an event like this is the chance to meet students from other departments around the Graduate School. If you read my blog post on First Fridays last year I’ll start to sound like a broken record, but it’s often difficult to meet students from other departments. That’s why events like this are so important. You’ll have a chance to share your experiences with people who come from entirely different backgrounds and who are pursuing careers you may not have even heard of. Essentially, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the graduate school in a way that doesn’t involve the pressure of applying for admission. When I first came here, most of the information I knew about UNCG was from my application process, when I anxiously sent in writing samples. Thankfully, First Thursdays offer a chance to learn about the Graduate School on a personal level, and without the added anxiety. So stop by, even if it’s for a short time, and make sure to bring your questions and your appetites!


Welcome Back – Fall 2014!

Posted on Thursday, August 14th, 2014 by dysherro under Students. Tags: , , , ,

Matt Barrett

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

On the morning I started third grade, I decided to perform at least three “death-defying” feats before the school bus picked me up. I’d already completed two of them (I forget what they were but probably involved inappropriate language and/or sneaking extra dessert into my lunch box), and as the bus rounded the bend toward home, I scrambled for whatever I could find and—just when I thought my quest was hopeless—there it was: the filthiest, dustiest, most beaten-up rock I’d ever seen, just sitting at my feet. I had no choice but to pick it up. And as the bus driver yelled for me to board—“We don’t have all day, kid”—I raised this filthy rock to the heavens and then pressed it firmly against my tongue. For weeks I regretted it. But at that moment, I couldn’t have been more proud. And while this story has zero relevance to a graduate school blog, I couldn’t help but think that as another first day approaches, nothing could be worse than my start to third grade.

So welcome back!                           PIC13096 EUC Welcome Banner

For those who read my blogs last year, I’m happy to see you’ve returned. Did you have a good summer? Did it go by too fast? Nod yes or no. Was that a yes? A no? OK, I can’t see you. But I’m happy you’ve returned. You’ve returned, right?

If any of you are interested, I spent most of my summer up north, in Pennsylvania and New England. At the end of June, my family and I took a ferry fifteen miles off the coast of Maine to a tiny fishing island called Vinalhaven. We arrived on a Saturday, unpacked our bags, and as we looked out our motel window (which stood at the center of town), there wasn’t a soul to be found. Around eight pm, a woman walked her dog, and just past nine, a fisherman lit a cigarette. The next morning every business on Main Street posted signs that they would close by two, because it was a Sunday. By two-fifteen, I could have taken a nap in the middle of the road. That was the highlight of my summer. I could go on and on about my experience, from buying lobsters at a local gas station to swimming in an abandoned quarry to watching the sunset over a sea of buoys. But I know how painful it can be to hear other people’s summer stories. One time I sat through a slideshow of vacation photos that lasted over two hours, so I’ll spare you for now.

Over the next few months, I will use this space to highlight some of the events that I think you should attend, both on campus and around town. I’ll preview graduate-level workshops, music venues, sporting events, and ways you can volunteer your time throughout the community. For instance, I’ll be sure to cover our Homecoming. Last year I went for a few hours and I wish I’d stayed all day. Also: basketball. I went to UNCG’s game against UNC, and if I had to make one long-term recommendation for everyone here, it would be to attend as many sporting events as possible. Coming from a Division III school where you could practically walk on the court and play starting point guard, it feels good to be a part of this sports-infused atmosphere.

So now that the school year’s on the horizon, what are your goals? Do you want to do or see anything new? Let us hear from you by commenting on this blog; we’re listening… Will you try to grow as a person, as well as a student? I’ve never really understood New Year’s resolutions—they only ever last a few weeks, and then eleven months go by before we’re told to come up with a new one. But why not make one now? My resolution for this school year is to enjoy revising. It’s a simple goal. And I don’t mean it as a metaphor, like I want to revise my hopes and dreams or anything too existential. All I’m saying is: I want to revise my stories and learn how to like it.

At this point, I want to start a rally cry for everyone to come up with their own resolutions—but who am I kidding, you’re grad students, you’ve already set a long list of goals. Why else would you be at UNCG? So here’s to another safe and exciting school year. May you enjoy every step of the way and I truly hope, in my heart of hearts, that you avoid all death-defying feats at the bus stop.

PIC13714 Chrissy BeanblossomPIC13061 Student ConvocationPIC13193 Earth DayPIC13497 CHA Linda Brady 056campus sceneUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro


Reflections and Projections

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014 by dysherro under Careers, Student support, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , ,
PIC13636 Dec. Commencement

Congratulations Class of 2014!

 

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

To wrap up this year’s blogs, I’d like to reflect upon my time at UNCG and make some projections about what is to come.  Needless to say, I have enjoyed my first year as a graduate student.  Most of my blogs are about the wonderful things that UNCG offers and how happy I am to be here.  But I’d like to take a moment to mention the budget cuts and all of the people that they’ve affected.  Just about everyone I’ve spoken to remembers the emails we’ve gotten, especially the scary ones that make it seem like there’s no money left.  I don’t know how much I can say without getting in trouble, but I think it’s a real shame that our state doesn’t value education the way it should.  I’ve met with a few staff members who have been forced to look for other jobs, and I get the sense that everyone at UNCG supports each other, whether we’re lucky enough to stay or need to apply for something else.  I don’t think any of the blame should fall on our university, and I know that everyone who’s been affected will move onto something even greater.  In a previous blog I mentioned how I’ve developed a “graduate school family,” and I think it’s become more and more true as the year’s gone.  Despite these budget cuts, everyone has continued to work and thrive and to keep on pushing, and I feel a tremendous sense of hope for all of us, regardless of these financial limitations.

All my life I’ve been around educators.  My mom was a second grade teacher; my dad taught biology; my uncle, gym; my aunt, preschool; and my grandfather, wood shop.  In high school I wanted to be a math teacher, and in college I changed my mind, hoping to become an English professor.  Somehow I second-guessed myself again, and now I’m studying to be a professor of creative writing.  While my goals have evolved throughout the years, I’ve always wanted to work in education, and I had the chance this past semester to teach my first class.  I served as a teaching intern for a course on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and while I had never read him before (nor did I understand Middle English), I loved standing up in front of a classroom and asking my students to think.  At first I was terrified: my legs were shaking and my voice sounded like Kermit the Frog—but there was something about the classroom atmosphere that made me realize we were all learning together.  I taught twice throughout the semester and loved it even more the second time, and if there’s one thing I hope for the future, it’s that there’s more room for aspiring teachers in the education system.

Being in a university has forced me to experience a lot of things that had terrified me before.  One was public speaking, which I’ve overcome thanks to the teaching internship.  Another was interviewing.  When I got this assistantship, I didn’t know how I’d be able to interview someone, and I sent requests via email to speak with the people we’d feature in Horizons.  I would have rather conducted the whole interview via email—yet when I sat down to talk with someone, I realized that most people actually like to discuss what they’ve been doing in school or outside in the community.  The people I’ve spoken with are passionate about what they’ve done, and for that reason, I am no longer afraid to sit down with strangers and ask them a few questions.  While I spent two years in “the real world” between college and grad school, I was never pushed outside of my comfort zone the way that I have in graduate school.

It goes without saying that I believe in the education system.  And I believe that the system will continue to thrive, no matter how many hurdles are thrown in its way.  As I approach this summer break, I’ve started to say my goodbyes to the people I’ve met throughout the year.  I wouldn’t trade any of the opportunities I’ve had, and I hope that those of you who read my blogs feel like I’ve said at least one thing of moderate intelligence.  I’ll be back again next year, so make sure you stop by this website and read some more.  I wish you all a great summer, and for those of you who are graduating or moving on to new positions, I know you’ll do well no matter where you go.  And for now, I bid you a temporary adieu.

PIC13547 CommencementPIC13380 Interlink Garden 023PIC13497 CHA Linda Brady 056PIC13094 Salvation SelectPIC13835 Minerva ApplesQuad LifeUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroPIC13193 Earth DayPIC13543 Counseling
Photography courtesy of University Photographers Chris English and David Wilson.

Editor’s note:  I want to personally thank Matt for his hard work on our GradSchoolBlog and Horizons.  He will return in the Fall and continue to cover items of interest to the UNCG community in this blog. Unfortunately budget cuts are affecting our funding for Horizons  (The Graduate School Newsletter).  We will only publish a Fall 2014 issue for the upcoming academic year.  

We hope you have enjoyed reading Matt’s blog posts and will stay tuned for his return in August.  Best wishes for a restorative summer to all our students and faculty!  

Denise Sherron
Enrolled Student Services
The Graduate School

 

 

 

 


Matt’s Summer Reading List

Posted on Friday, May 2nd, 2014 by dysherro under Students, Uncategorized. Tags: ,
Matt Barrett

Matt “Bookworm” Barrett

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

Now that the semester is officially winding down, I’ve started to compile a list of books that I want to read over the next few months.  Some of this list includes stories that I will re-read and others that have been recommended to me.  Throughout the semester, I’ve had to read at least one novel, one short story, and one nonfiction essay each week, and I feel like I’ve made a fairly good dent in the literary canon.  But some writers believe it’s better to know a few works intimately than to have skimmed every one.  It’s for this reason that I will re-read the following three novels/novellas, all of which I recommend to you:

  1. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – I mentioned it in a previous blog, but this will be the first book I read again.  The novel takes place over the course of one day, and Woolf ventures inside just about every character’s mind as they walk the streets of London.  The are no chapters—and in a way, the whole book feels like a three hundred page poem.
  2. The Pedersen Kid by William Gass – The first time I read this novella I thought: “If I ever write something this good, I’ll die a happy man.”  If you want a book that you can read in one sitting, this is it.  The plot spans the course of about twelve hours, yet the entire story is action-packed, complete with guns, whiskey, and a giant snowstorm.
  3. Noon Wine by Katherine Anne Porter – Another book to read in one sitting.  The story takes place in Texas at the end of the nineteenth century, where a farmer allows a mysterious man named Olaf to work his land.  Olaf plays the same song on his harmonica every day and rarely talks.  Then someone comes looking for Olaf and “stuff” gets real.

Now for the books I haven’t read:

  1. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – I met Elizabeth Strout at the AWP Writer’s Conference in 2011, and I’m looking forward to this book for several reasons.  Not only did it win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but it’s set in coastal Maine, which my family and I visit every year.  Plus, it takes the form of thirteen interrelated short stories.  For my thesis, I will write a collection of short stories that follows a few interconnected characters in order to create one complete novel.  And who knows, maybe when I receive my diploma, they’ll also give me a Pulitzer.
  2. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner – I hadn’t read Faulkner until this semester when I was assigned As I Lay Dying.  I feel like I’m a little behind the curve when it comes to his writing, so I’ve chosen this book since it’s told via stream-of-consciousness, similar to the narration in Mrs. Dalloway.
  3. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – I took a course on creative nonfiction this semester, and many critics consider this the original nonfiction novel.  It was also a huge commercial success, so it’ll be refreshing to see how people actually make money in this business.
  4. American Pastoral by Philip Roth – Another author I’ve barely read.  If I like this book, I’ll move onto Portnoy’s Complaint, which was featured on Time’s list of the 100 greatest novels since 1923.
  5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – Now I’m starting to sound redundant but…I will read this book because I’ve never read anything by Wallace, and this is supposed to be his best.
  6. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy – I read The Road, and for anyone who hasn’t, I recommend that one first.  I get the sense that McCarthy is fairly afraid of the world, and I’ve always enjoyed books from that mindset.
  7. And Last But Not Least: Anything by Franz Kafka – Some of my professors have referenced Kafka this semester, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read what he’s done.  By the end of this summer, I will have put an end to that.  I will read his good stuff, his bad stuff, even his elementary school essays.  And by next semester I’ll be the pre-eminent scholar on all things Franz.

I realize that not too much of this list is good for beach-reading, but I’m sure I’ll add some “lighter” books as the summer goes on.  For those of you who want a quick, enjoyable read that you don’t have to analyze, I recommend Elmore Leonard.  He’s one of my favorite authors—especially because of his spot-on dialogue—and when I dip my toes in the Atlantic, I’ll be sure to bring him with me.