2021 English Department Newsletter

Message from the Chair


Maria Frawley





Greetings English Alumni,

This year has been challenging like no other, with the continuing pandemic and a fraught political landscape inevitably shaping conversations in and out of our classrooms. I’m proud of the many ways that English Department faculty have sought to engage students while we continue online and of their deep commitment to cultivating a sense of community for our students. Faculty continue to publish scholarly articles, books and creative works at an impressive rate. In this issue of our newsletter, we highlight a few of these books and articles.

This spring our department completes its five-year review, a routine Columbian College of Arts and Science effort to assess the overall health of its departments. We look forward to this review as we seek to cultivate and seek to strengthen our graduate and undergraduate programs as well as our vibrant Creative Writing Program.

As chair, I’d welcome any input you have about your own experience in our department and would be happy to pass your feedback on to the review teams and the dean’s office. In the meantime, I invite you to have a look at our website and to stay connected to the department via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and our blog. There you’ll find evidence and plenty of exciting things happening in our classrooms.

Thanks to those of you who have made donations to the department. We are so grateful for your support. Please stay in touch. We love sharing stories of our alumni and their career paths with our students, so please reach out with contact information.

Maria Frawley
Department Chair

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Department Spotlights

Henry Adams in Washington

'Henry Adams in Washington' book cover





Dr. Ormond Seavey’s new book, Henry Adams in Washington Linking the Personal and Public Lives of America’s Man of Letters, offers a look into the writings of Adams between 1877 and 1891 when he lived in the District. Seavey examines historical writings, novels and biographies by Adams to explore how notions of the public and the private develop in Gilded Age America. The question for Adams, Seavey proposes, is how life in D.C. can allow someone to negotiate the pressures of living both a private life that is satisfying while also participating in the affairs of the people as a member of the public.

Graphic Migrations

'Graphic Migrations: Precarity and Gender in India and the Diaspora' book cover





In her latest publication, Graphic Migrations: Precarity and Gender in India and the Diaspora,  Dr. Kavita Daiya examines literature and culture of the 1947 Partition of India, particularly in terms of gender, diaspora, and the secular. Daiya’s archive includes a range of materials, from literature and Bollywood film to print culture and oral histories. Daiya argues that post-Partition texts foreground the precarity and possibility of gendered migrant lives against dominant media representations in South Asia and beyond.

Exploring Shakespeare and East Asia

'Shakespeare and East Asia' book cover





Dr. Alexa Joubin’s new book, Shakespeare and East Asia, explores how transforming East Asian performances and reworkings of Shakespeare in Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong open up new understandings regarding the aesthetics of spectacle, sound, and staging, even as they ask us to revisit what it means to interpret film and drama produced in national and diasporic conditions. Joubin continues contributing to conversations today about relations between East Asia and Europe and the value and meaning of multilingual art in East Asian and European contexts.

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Department Kudos

Samuel Ashworth, Jennifer Chang and Aaron Hamburger were recipients of 2021 DC Arts & Humanities fellowships.

Edward P. Jones was featured in The New Yorker’s “The Best Books We Read in 2020” for his Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Known World and was profiled by The New York Times in the article “Edward P. Jones’s Carefully Quantified Literary World.”

Jane Shore’s poem “The Couple” was published in The New Yorker.

Holly Dugan co-coordinated a four-session series for Folger Institute Consortium graduate students across the United States and the United Kingdom to address research needs during the pandemic.

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Class Notes

Patricia Aburano, BA ’76, worked on Capitol Hill after graduating from GW and then travelled in Europe. She went on to work in Boston, attended law school and practiced law in Hawaii. She is now retired and living in northern Virginia to care for an elderly parent.

Julie Donovan, PhD ’07, is an associate professor in the Women's Leadership Program at GW.

Nicole Flynn, BA ’99,  is a kindergarten teacher at Kate Furbish Elementary School in Brunswick, Maine.

Nancy Friedman, BA ’56, lives in the D.C. area and continues to read a lot of books. Her social life has been minimal because of the pandemic.

Jacob Garber, BA ’14, recently joined the progressive digital firm Foglamp as vice president of advertising. He spent 2020 as the digital media director of Priorities USA.

Suzanne Gibbons, BA ’63, lives in the U.K. after 12 years in India and a career in the charity sector. She is enjoying an "actively" retired life involved with the local community and her garden.

Amit Goel, MA ’05, is an instructional designer at Purdue University Global. Amit uses various types of software to design online courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Adaorah Ikwueme, BA ’07, is currently at Citi as a global wealth management associate. Her English degree has provided her with an incredible foundation for success in business.

Laura Jofre, BA ’91, lives in New York and teaches English and ESL at the New School and Westchester Community College.

Marjorie Kalter, BA ’67, was executive vice president at Young & Rubicam, a faculty member of the MBA program at Columbia University and now a full-time marketing faculty member at New York University.

Alissa Karl, BA ’98, is an associate professor of English at SUNY Brockport, where she researches and teaches modern and contemporary literature and theory. She is chapter president of United University Professionals, the union for SUNY faculty and professional staff.

Yahia Lababidi, BA ’96, is a cultural critic and now reviews movies on Netflix for World Literature Today. He recently published the book Revolutions of the Heart (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2020). He was profiled in the CCAS Spotlight magazine.

John LoDico, BA ’83, is a former newspaper reporter, political operative and speechwriter for a university president, among other writing jobs. He is currently senior director of communications for the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.

Hannah Megna, MA ’18, is currently enrolled in the PhD program for Rhetoric and Composition at Ohio University, where she focuses on using pop culture and reader response in the writing classroom.

Anh Nguyen, BA ’20, worked for a marketing agency in D.C. as a creative associate after graduation. He recently began his MFA program in the prestigious Films & TV Production division at the University of Southern California.

Gail Obenreder, BA ’71, writes on music, visual art and theatre for Broad Street Review, Philadelphia's online arts journal. A 2016 Fellow of the O'Neill Theater's National Critics Institute, she is also a producer and consultant in Wilmington, Delaware.

Samantha Smith, BA ’05, is a director of marketing for a tech company based in Austin, Texas. She uses her English degree every day to create messaging and positioning, presentations, articles, research reports and more.

Ken Stryjewski, BA ’67, MA ’68, recently retired after serving as superintendent of the Poway Unified School District in San Diego County from 1998-2019.

Haylie B. Swenson, MA ’12, PhD ’18, was named a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow.


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Donor Recognition

The English Department would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department from January 1, 2020–December 31, 2020.

+ Faculty/Staff | # Parent | ~ Student | * Friend



Cheryl Blythe, PhD ’96

Michael Bocchini, BA ’00, MPS ’07

Vinod Busjeet *

Barry Cardin, BA ’05

Dr. Miriam Dow +

Richard Flynn, MPhil ’84, PhD ’87

Gordon Frost *

James Gross, BA ’09

Shoshana Grove, BA ’82

Anthony Hannani, BS ’18, MPH ’21

Karissa Lake, BA ’11, MA ’12

Dr. Donald Larsson, BA ’71



Melissa Matusky, BA ’14, MA ’15

Daniel Morse, BA ’04 

Timothy Nixon, PhD ’05

Dr. Gail Orgelfinger, BA ’72

Juan Rivera, BA ’99

Dr. Jeanne Marie Rose, BA ’95

Sharyn Rosenblum, BA ’86

Danielle Solomon, BA ’20

Dr. Christopher Sten +

Athena Stetson #

David Stetson #

Vergie Taylor, MA ’67

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