Meet the New Grad Students

They’ve made it (almost) though their first week of grad school at Kansas State, so please meet and welcome and maybe even buy a drink for our new group of English graduate students —


 

IMG_2317Name: Katie Cline
Hometown: Jacksonville, Alabama
Alma mater: Jacksonville State University
Area of study: Children’s Literature

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I’ve always been an overachiever, in school and in my personal life. My friends say I’m “extra.” I like to make posters for my friends who do plays with our local community theaters, I made personalized Christmas ornaments for all my friends each year of college, and I handwrite letters to mark birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, the beginning or end of semesters, or just because. I like to make people feel cared about.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series because she is so different from who I am on a day-to-day basis. (I’m much more of a Hermione.) Ginny is athletic and bold; she is fierce and unapologetic and coolly confident, and it would be exciting to be in her shoes for a little while. (Plus, I could do magic and be a redhead, which just sounds so wonderfully exotic to someone who’s been a brunette muggle her whole life.)

IMG_2336.JPGName: Mohammad Kasifur Rahman
Hometown: Chattogram, Bangladesh
Alma mater: Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka
Areas of study: Cultural Studies and Literature

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I love to  eat a variety of dishes though my appearance may deceive you.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would prefer to be Caliban from The Tempest, because I want to retell the history of this character from my own perspective which will allow me to break the prejudice of the oppressors of the globe.

IMG_2314Name: Nick Cady
Hometown: Osborne, Kansas
Alma mater: Kansas State University
Area of study: Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: My hobby is cleaning and organization. When I’m at home, I’m usually on my knees scrubbing something.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would transform into Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid’s Tale. First, I would smack myself in the face. Next, I’d free all of the handmaids from Gilead!

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Noelle Braaten (left) and Molly Burt (right).

Name: Noelle Braaten
Hometown: Carrington, North Dakota
Alma mater: University of North Dakota
Areas of study: Children’s Literature & Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: For my undergrad, I earned a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in English. I taught at the elementary level for a couple of years before deciding to pursue further education. Because of my background, I’m most interested in reading and writing literature for children and young adults.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I’d want to become Minerva McGonagall. As a Hogwarts professor, she always commands respect from her students, and I’d love to channel some of that persona. McGonagall is a highly skilled witch and animagus. She was also a hat stall during her sorting. The Sorting Hat took over five minutes deciding whether to put her into Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, and those are the houses I identify with most.

Name: Molly Burt
Hometown: Abilene, Kansas
Alma mater: Kansas State
Area of study: Children’s Literature

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: Although I got my undergraduate degree in Secondary Education, I’ve actually spent a lot of my life working with younger children. I began considering Children’s Lit after I read the Harry Potter series (and watched the movies, and played a hundred games of Quidditch, and hosted an all-day Harry Potter party) with my summer daycare class.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would want to be Hermione, because I would love to see the Wizarding World through fresh eyes and experience the magic myself. It would be a childhood dream come true.

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Name: Gehric Milton
Hometown: Powder Springs, Georgia
Alma mater: Kansas State
Areas of study: Creative Writing and Medieval Lit.

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: Something interesting about me: As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to believe that I would make a remarkably glorious peacock. I mean, just look at their plumage!

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Name: Anna Meyer
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Alma mater: Kansas State
Area of study: Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I take at least one road trip a year to indulge in live music in a new city.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. She made a huge impact on her community by using her writing ability to save her friend.

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Cailey McCabe (left) and Mikayla Sharpless (right)

Name: Cailey McCabe
Hometown: Irvine, California
Alma mater: University of California-Irvine
Area of study: American and British Literature Track

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: Back in California, I would go to Disneyland once a week, if not even more often!

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? From Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” I would transform into Connie so that I could immediately become hostile toward Arnold Friend and ultimately (hopefully) defeat him.

Name: Mikayla Sharpless
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Alma mater: University of Texas at Arlington
Areas of Study: Children’s Literature with a Technical Writing certification

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you:  I have a Doberman Pinscher named Dobby, and, yes, she is named after the house-elf.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would turn into Matilda, because she is the embodiment of empowerment and all things magical.

IMG_2308Name: Gina D’Amato
Hometown: Shawnee, Kansas
Alma mater: Kansas State University
Area of study: Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I have been to Japan twice already, and I plan to volunteer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would want to be the Cheshire Cat because I could sneak in and out of situations, observe other people from a distance, and mess with others using wordplay.

IMG_2310Name: Jake James Martin
Hometown: Hampton Falls, New Hampshire
Alma mater: Stephen F. Austin State University
Areas of study: Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I’m probably the only person you know from New Hampshire.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? Edward Bloom, I love to tell stories, and I’m a firm believer that it is more important for a story to be fun to listen to as opposed to truthful. I’d love for my legacy to be the tales that I told my children and friends.

IMG_2316Name: Dustin Vann
Hometown: Junction City, Kansas
Alma mater: Kansas State
Area of study: Creative Writing with an emphasis on fiction

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I am terrified of whales.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would transform into Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because who wouldn’t want to own a chocolate factory for recreational use?

P1030797.JPGName: Alexis (Lexi) Bedell
Hometown: Bakersfield, California
Alma mater: Illinois State University
Areas of study: Children’s Literature

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I am heavily involved in the Quidditch community as a player and manager.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I’d be the pig from “If You Give a Pig A Pancake” simply because I like pancakes.

IMG_2300Name: Rebecca Nelson
Hometown: Windsor, Connecticut
Alma mater: University of Connecticut
Area(s) of study: Children’s Lit/Cultural Studies

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: As an undergraduate, I got a degree in Biology as well as English, and I have also studied public health.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? Jane Eyre so that I could meet Mr. Rochester and figure out what makes him so great that Jane overlooks the whole secret-wife-in-the-attic debacle. I can’t say I really understand her interest in him.

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Name: James Gilligan
Hometown: Edina, Minnesota
Alma mater: University of Minnesota-Duluth
Area of study: Cultural Studies

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I enjoy golfing, hiking, camping and generally being outside as much as possible.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451, because of the courageous action he takes to combat a dystopian world that increasingly resembles our own. 

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Name: Stephanie Wallace
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Alma mater: Kansas State
Areas of study: Cultural Studies

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: If a girl on a razor scooter with too many buttons on her backpack has zoomed past you on campus, it was probably me. I use my scooter to get to all of my classes, and the buttons on my backpack show off my love for nerdy things like Harry Potter, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and anime.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would become Katsa from Graceling because I admire her ability to survive any situation. She can physically defeat anyone, and she learns how to overcome more complex situations through her own savviness and her network of friends. I want to be more resilient like in my own life, so being her for a while might help me get practice.

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Name:  Molly Houser

Hometown:  Manistee, Michigan
Alma mater:  Troy University
Areas of study: Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I sew memory teddy bears out of clothing and have made over 700 of them.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would want to be Snowman/Jimmy from Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. I could witness the creation of the new human species and see the imaginative scientific innovations and technologies depicted in the book.

ty dowdy

Name: Ty Dowdy
Hometown: San Diego, California
Alma Mater: Kansas State
Area of study: Disability representation in modern literature and film

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I am a professional wedding/engagement/couples photographer!

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? If I could be any literary character I would chose Dorian Gray. Although he is a problematic character with disastrous habits and a poor temper, who wouldn’t want to live their lives without fear of repercussions.

P1030798.JPGName: Vilune Sestokaite
Hometown: Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Alma Mater: Northwest Missouri State University
Area of study: Creative Writing

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I moved to America with my family at the age of four and speak Lithuanian fluently.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? I would transform into Nancy Drew because she embraces curiosity, is independent, brave, and drives a blue roadster. Who wouldn’t want a blue roadster?

 

Name: Courtney Thompson (not pictured)
Hometown: Manhattan, Kansas
Alma mater: Kansas State
Area of study: American and British Literature

Please tell us something interesting/unique about you: I have two daughters, two cats, and two dogs.

If you could transform briefly into a literary character, who would you want to become and why? If I could, I would briefly transform into Sherlock Holmes. I would like to get a taste of how his mind truly works. Things don’t seem obvious until he points them out.

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