Annual Conference

The annual English Undergraduate Festival in spring semester is a celebration of talent and new ideas emerging from our majors. The 2016 festival, "Celebrate English," takes place the evening of April 14 and all day April 15, in Walter Library 402. 

Students present academic and creative works in a supportive environment of peers, graduate students, and English faculty. A career track of panels features English alums addressing how they fashioned their careers and provides opportunities for networking with Twin Cities employers. Free meals bookend the panel sessions, which provide opportunities to meet other English majors and chat with professors.

Panelists gain practice with academic conference and work presentations. Students also acquire professional experience by helping to plan, publicize, and coordinate the conference. Email englmaj@umn.edu if you’re interested in helping with the conference.

2016 Schedule

Thursday, April 14

6-7 pm: Opening dinner

7-8:30 pm: Ivory Tower magazine presents Creative Writing Showcase with BA alumnus John Jodzio, author of the new story collection Knockout, as well as major Paul Glembocki and students from Ivory Tower's forthcoming edition.

Friday, April 15

9:30-10 am: Breakfast

9:50-10:50 am: Session 1, two tracks:

  • Student Presentations Panel: "'Lilacs out of the dead land': Emerging From Stereotype, Obscurity, Fear"
    —Lauren Cutshall, "Strangers in Space" [creative nonfiction]
    —Anna Posbergh, "The Women of Eliot's 'The Waste Land'"
    —Laura Schmidt, "The Duet" [film script reading]
  • Law, Politics, and Government Career Panel with employer representative from the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. Alumni participating: Barbara Case (Administrative Law Judge, Minnesota Office for Administrative Hearings), Brian Lieb (Hennepin County Public Affairs Officer) and Chris Sullivan (former partner at Lindquist & Vennum, just started his own law firm focusing on technology and intellectual property) 

11 am-12 pm: Session 2, two tracks:

  • Student Presentations Panel: "Hidden Languages:  Flowers, Identities, Poems, & 'Porn'"
    —Ellen Fee, “Poetry and Literacy: Creation of Poems for Young Readers”
    —Carter Gruss, “No Exit in a Room of One's Own: A Deconstruction of Communication in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
    —Neno Miller, “The Need to Recognize: Assata Shakur's Poetic Works and Slam Poetry Being Recognized as Revolutionary Feminist Theory"
    —Brian Reinken, “The Literary Afterlife of Sir Edmund Backhouse”
    —Benjamin James Schroeder, “Victorian Era Floriography in Daisy Miller: A Study”
    —Keri Lynn Soban, “Mrs. Jaskolski” [fiction]
  • Marketing, Publicity, and Advertising Career Panel with employer representatives Alex Steinman, Account Supervisor, Fallon, and Dave Dougherty, Digital Marketing Specialist, Risdall. Alumni participating: Brian Lieb ((Hennepin County Public Affairs Officer) and Alexandra Weaver (Client Relationship Manager, Fast Horse)

12-1:30 pm: Lunch buffet

12:30-1:30 pm: Publishing Career Panel with representatives from the Twin Cities publishing industry, including Graywolf Press, Llewellyn Worldwide, Paper Darts magazine, University of Minnesota Press, Wise Ink Press

1:45-2:45 pm: Session 3, two tracks:

  • Student Presentations Panel: "The Horror of Chaos: Hauntings & Chainsaws"
    —Claire Fallon, "3 Poems" [poetry]
    —Connor Prizy, "Texas and its Chainsaw Massacre"
    —Grace Schleisman, "Creating Order Within Chaos: Wallace Stevens' 'The Idea of Order at Key West'"
    —Laura Schott, "Minnesota Chills" [creative nonfiction]
    —Hayden Selingo,  "Extremity and Alienation: Lear's Loss of Identity and Life"
  • Nonprofits, Business, and Development Career Panel with alumni Jason Booth (CEO, Tribal Advancement Group, and Owner, Ishpi, Inc.), Mark Derks (Director of Marketing, CH Robinson), David Kapell (CEO and Founder, Magnetic Poetry), and Lance Witzig (Twin Cities Program Manager, New Sector Alliance).

3-4 pm: Session 4: English undergraduates on how to optimize the U experience for major, career, and life success
—Yena Lee, Psychology double major, media intern, Minnesota Daily copyeditor and reporter
—Laura Schmidt, playwright, Ivory Tower design editor, and strategic communications worker
—Julie Sinn, Center for Writing consultant and fellow, TA, and K-12 education volunteer
—Henry Zurn, Political Science double major, TA, and government intern