Tag Archive | "Literature"


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Tusculum College students recognized for literary works

Posted on 13 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Tusculum College students Brittany Connolly, Elizabeth McDonnell, David Roncskevitz and Ben Sneyd are the winners of the 2011 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Awards, annually given to recognize the literary achievements of the college’s creative writing students.

Brittany Connolly was the award recipient in the scriptwriting category with an excerpt from “Chateaux en Espange.” Connolly, a junior from Greeneville, Tenn., is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Elizabeth McDonnell was named the award recipient in the non-fiction category with “Little Ballerina.” McDonnell, a junior from Memphis, Tenn., is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.

David Ronckevitz received the award in the fiction category for his story, “Should Dogs Have Dreams.” This is third year that Roncskevitz has been recognized with one of the literary awards. Previously he has been the award winner in the poetry and scriptwriting categories. Roncskevitz is a senior from Franklin, Tenn., majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Ben Sneyd was the recipient in the poetry category for his work, “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Sneyd, a junior from Unicoi, Tenn., is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.


The literary award was named for Curtis Owens, a 1928 graduate of Tusculum College who went on to a teaching career at what is now Pace University in New York.  He and his wife established the Owens Award at his alma mater to encourage and reward excellence in writing among Tusculum College students.

The announcement of the winners was made during a reading by award-winning poet John Hoppenthaler, who served as the judge for the final round of competition. The reading was part of the annual Humanities Series, sponsored by the Tusculum College English Department.

Hoppenthaler, an assistant professor of creative writing at East Carolina University, read poetry from his two books of poetry, “Lives of Water” and “Anticipate the Coming Reservoir.” He also read some newer works.

His poetry appears in a number of publications, and he is an editor of poetry anthologies. Hoppenthaler has received numerous awards and honors, including an Individual Artist Grant from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, grants from the New York Foundation on the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

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Five Tusculum students present at Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference

Posted on 13 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

tclogoandseal2Four students from Tusculum College’s English Department and one student from the Mathematics and Computer Science Department were presenters on Friday, March 25, at the Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference, held at Maryville College.

English students presenting were Elizabeth McDonnell, a senior from Memphis; Abigail Wolfenbarger, a junior from New Market; Kenneth Hill, a junior from White Pine, and David Roncskevitz, a senior from Franklin. Elizabeth Wright, a sophomore from Powell, Tenn., represented the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

All of the English papers presented were the product of a literary theory class the students took with Dr. Sheila Morton, assistant professor of English, and were focused on an interpretation of Agatha Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Each paper employed different theoretical lenses in their study.

“The variety of their arguments illustrate just how much literary theory can enrich our reading of a single text, offering various and compelling readings that yet ring true,” said Morton. “In her paper, for example, McDonnell approaches the text as a new historicist, drawing parallels to other discourses contemporary with Christie’s novel, most notably film noir. Though very different in their realization, she argues, both are propelled by similar social feelings of isolation and alienation.”

Both Wolfenbarger and Hill approach the novel from the standpoint of reader response critics, Wolfenbarger arguing that the failure of the novel to surprise many twenty-first century readers is due in part to our changing “horizon of expectations” that has grown to accommodate the idea of a dishonest first-person narrator.  Hill, by contrast, focuses on the shifting role of the “narrattee,” a role the reader is asked to play as they enact the drama of the novel.

Roncskevitz’s presentation showed how he deconstructs the novel, likening the piecing of “clues” in whodunit novels to the linguistic piecemealing of everyday language.

According to Morton, the panel was a huge success, garnering considerable praise and attention, including an email from the coordinator of the conference.

Wright, who is majoring in mathematics with a concentration in computer science, made a presentation about “Secure Programming in Python” during the conference.

Python is a commonly used program language and in her presentation, Wright focused on ways to make programs written in the language more secure. She explored the use of pre-conditions and post-conditions on each function to make the determination if it is functioning properly. She also investigated the use of loop invariants, which are logical properties relating to the data that should be true at each repetition of the statements within the program as it loops.

The Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference is designed to encourage undergraduates in colleges in the Appalachian region to conduct research projects by providing a high-quality, low pressure forum for presentations. More than 80 undergraduate students from eight colleges in East Tennessee and Kentucky are expected to attend the 2011 conference. Approximately 60 separate presentations are planned.

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