December 14, 2022

USU’s annual Fall Student Research Symposium, which was held on Thursday, December 8, 2022, featured several students from the English Department. Students had the option of oral or poster presentations as well as in-person or virtual. Presentations were online for comments with the researchers responding and continue to be accessible on the Fall Student Research Symposium website. A great advantage of this approach is that USU students, no matter where they reside, could participate.

Faculty mentors from the English Department included Chen Chen, Jared Colton, Christine Cooper-Rompato, Joyce Kinkead, and Cree Taylor. Additionally, Joyce, as well as Emily Powell, and Taylor Wyatt, served as evaluators.

Cree Taylor’s students from ENGL 2010 presented on a range of topics, getting their first experiences with a professional conference. All presenters received critiques from two evaluators. 

Vanessa Garcia Vasquez was featured during the Peak Fellowship for her summer research on “Chicanos’ Negotiation of Language and Culture with Standard English in Cache Valley,” the only English major to win this prestigious summer award. She was mentored by Jared Colton. A second research project completed in ENGL 3470, an analysis of Latinx support centers at Utah universities, was presented during the morning session.

Kassidi Andrus and Maren Archibald, mentored by Chen Chen, also shared research projects, one focusing on the FLDS religious cult led by Warren Jeffs and the other Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

Shakespeare was the focus for two students mentored by Christine Cooper-Rompato. Madison Harrison investigated “Women’s Self-Harm” while Ashleigh Sabin looked at “Sign Language and the Seraglio.”

Joyce Kinkead’s empirical research methods course, English 3470, included seven individual presentations. Internet analyses featured in the work of Katelyn Allred, who investigated fanworks of “The Mechanisms”; Dylan Johnson, who analyzed US/Japanese perceptions of a Japanese museum website; Lizzy Bermudez, who looked at paranormal romance on BookTok. Future teachers focused on relevant topics of Banned Books Week (Olivia Samuels); teaching creative writing (Amy Shaw); and automated writing evaluation tools (Amanda Mackay). Joyce notes, “Empirical research is especially helpful to future high school teachers as they are learning teacher-action methods.”

English majors working in classes other than their home department also presented at the all-university event, including Alexis Julander, who did a fascinating analysis of Nostradamus prophecy poems for Alexa Sand’s course. The curated exhibition from this course on analyzing medieval books is located in Special Collections in the lower level of the library.

The next student research symposium on campus occurs in the spring during Research Week, April 11-12, 2023. Registration opens February 1. Before that event, students from the department will be presenting at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR) hosted in February at the University of Utah.