College of Humanities & Fine Arts

BA in English

Program Highlights

Dr. Saundra Wright and the ESL Resource Center were featured in an article in the US News and World Report: "US College Tutoring Centers Help International Students(opens in new window)"

graduate students

Photo: Graduate student Amanda Rhine and undergraduate students Heather Stogsdill and Jania Johnson (BA 2017) work the Watershed Review table

Students in ENGL 415 (Editing Literary Magazines) produce Watershed Review, the department's literary magazine. They read submissions of poetry and prose from all over the country, gain valuable hands-on experience with printing techniques, obtain tangible professional experience in the world of literary publishing, and have the opportunity to travel to national conferences, take on lead editor positions, and work as paid employees.

Featured Alumni

Jer Xiong (center) with University Advisory Board member Farshad Azad and President Gayle Hutchinson

Jer Xiong

Option in English Studies, 2017

Photo: Jer Xiong (center) with University Advisory Board member Farshad Azad and President Gayle Hutchinson

Selected accomplishments at CSU, Chico:

  • Recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Student Service, Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion Teach Back, and Department of English Diversity awards
  • Recipient Elizabeth Rudolph Study Abroad Award
  • Studied abroad at Christ University in Bangalore, India
  • Editor, Watershed Review
  • Publication Designer, ME: Multicultural Echoes Literary Magazine
  • Lead Writing Tutor, Student Learning Center, CSU Chico
  • Civic Mentor, First-Year Experience, CSU Chico
  • Member, Hmong Student Association and Leaders for a Lifetime

Selected accomplishments since graduation:

  • Accepted into MFA program in Creative Writing, CSU, Fresno
  • Accepted into the MA Program in English, CSU Chico, option in Creative Writing
  • First Place for Creative Nonfiction in the Department of English's Creative Writing Prize

Future plans:

"I join my fellow Hmong American writers in writing Hmong narratives to increase visibility, voice, and space for the Hmong community. Furthermore, improving literacy, increasing mentorship, and promoting higher education in the Hmong community are three highly important goals."

Assessment of her experience as an English major:

"Being an English major at Chico State, with our thoughtful and caring faculty and staff, has provided me the space and opportunity to consider the importance of words and the impact of one's voice. After all, writing is a social act. Our words create, influence, and transform change. I've learned to articulate my meanings, reflect critically, and empathize strongly. My professors, my courses, and peers have fostered a warm and positive environment for me to connect with texts and people."

Haley Hansen presenting her research at a student symposium

Haley Hansen

Option in English Education, 2016

Photo: Haley Hansen presenting her research at a student symposium

Selected accomplishments at CSU, Chico:

  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude
  • Recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Department of English
  • Received a minor in Linguistics and a TESOL certificate
  • Earned Dean's List honors every semester
  • Received numerous awards, including the Bains Scholarship, Kutz Scholarship, and funding to attend the Annual Native Women's Leadership Forum
  • Worked as a mentor in the English 30 and Chico State Early Start Programs

Selected accomplishments since graduation:

  • Graduated from the highly competitive RiSE (Residency in Secondary Education) dual MA and teaching certificate program
  • Teaches English/English-Language Development (ELD) at Live Oak High School in Live Oak, CA

Future plans:

Haley would like to give back to her tribe, the Yahmonee Maidu, by assisting with the maintenance and revitalization of the Maidu language.

Zach Phillips holding the Glenn Kendall Public Service Award

Zach Phillips

Option in Literature, 2015

Photo: Zach Phillips holding the Glenn Kendall Public Service Award

Selected accomplishments at CSU Chico:

  • Graduated Honors in the Major
  • Recipient of the 2015 Glenn Kendall Public Service Award
  • Recipient of the 2015 Brooks Thorlaksson Outstanding Student Leader Award
  • Awarded 1st place in the 2015 Best Newspaper Column Award for his op-ed piece "In the closet: A fate worse than death"
  • Opinion Editor, The Orion, CSU Chico
  • Opinion Columnist, Assistant Opinion Editor, The Orion, CSU Chico
  • Poetry Editor, Watershed Review

Selected accomplishments since graduation:

  • Editorial Assistant, Public Affairs and Publications, CSU Chico
  • Assistant Editor, Chico Statements, CSU Chico
  • Earned a certificate in book publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver
  • Editorial Assistant, Crown Publishers, Penguin Random House, New York, NY

Future plans:

Zach Phillips is committed to hunkering down and learning the ropes of the New York City book publishing scene. He has the privilege of working under two esteemed nonfiction editors at an ambitious and forward-thinking publisher, and hopes to one day be trusted to acquire and edit books of his own. He's hoping to volunteer at a small letterpress in the city as well, to contribute to a literary tradition outside of the big five publishers. He's also considering crashing an adult ballet class, but hasn't quite plucked up the courage for it yet.

Assessment of his experience as an English major:

"The book editing world is jam packed with English literature majors, many of whom graduated from huge East Coast schools—sometimes Ivy Leagues. When the 'college experience' conversation comes up, there are some universal takeaways that we all share. We all learned to read a metric ton of books in almost no time flat. We all learned to think and speak critically about those books. We all learned to format a works cited page to MLA Style, and then promptly forgot it again. All of that is true of my time in Chico State's English department. That said, one characteristic of Chico State's English department that stands out as truly singular from other universities is the steadfast mentorship I received from my professors. In my fourth year, a professor literally stopped me in my tracks outside Siskiyou Hall to recruit me into her Watershed Review editing course, because she somehow caught wind that I was interested in literary editing. That same professor bent over backwards the next semester to help me secure a grant to attend the annual AWP Bookfair & Conference, an experience that I credit with starting me down the path to the New York publishing world. I could go on and on with examples like this—of faculty members who weren't satisfied with simply letting us students pass through a pipeline of coursework, who went out of their way to ensure that we understood our potential and the resources available to help achieve it."

 Nicole Sims (left) in striped dress with members of the Americans with Disabilities Act Committee

Nicole Sims

Option in English Education, 2015

Photo: Nicole Sims (left) in striped dress with members of the Americans with Disabilities Act Committee

  • Recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Department of English
  • Earned a TESOL certificate
  • Undergraduate Representative, Internal Research Grant Committee, CSU Chico
  • Member, Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society
  • Secretary, Americans with Disabilities Act Committee
  • Student Assistant, Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), CSU Chico

Selected accomplishments since graduation:

  • M.S., Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ph.D. candidate, Disability Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois, Chicago

Future plans:

"I am in the process of planning my doctoral research which will create, implement, and evaluate a training that infuses disability studies theories and a social justice framework into the operate of administering disability services to students on university campuses to reimagine the potential disability services have not only to empower students with disabilities to be self-advocates within and beyond the university setting, but to shift the campus community's approach to and understanding of disability and students with disabilities. Although I will be enlisting social science methodology to complete this research, I believe what will set my research apart is my grounding in the humanities that began with the incredible professors in the English department at Chico State who fostered my passion for disability as a social justice issue."

Assessment of her experience as an English major:

"I feel that the skills I learned and developed as an English major at Chico State gave me invaluable tools to approach my humanities-based master's thesis which explored the concept of perceived authenticity of disability representations (in the medium of literature and film) using Stephen Hawking representations as a case study. Not only did I feel more situated as a writer, I also found myself relying on peers from my English program for editing support as I knew they would have the critical eye I needed in the final stages."

Michael Fitzpatrick in Petersen Rose Garden

Michael Fitzpatrick

Option in Literature, 2011

Photo: Michael Fitzpatrick in Petersen Rose Garden

Before enrolling at Chico State, Michael served for 5 years in the U.S. Army, where he made the rank of Sergeant, and was twice deployed to Iraq.

Selected accomplishments at CSU, Chico:

  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major in English and Philosophy
  • Vice President of the English Honors Society
  • President, Philosophy Club
  • Member, Religious Studies Student Society, Secular Student Alliance, the Chico Skeptics, and the Chico Triad

Selected accomplishments since graduation:

  • Recipient of the Outstanding MA Thesis Award for "'To Stand Upright Will Ask Thee Skill': Freedom in John Milton's Late Poems"
  • MA with distinction, English (Literature Option), CSU Chico
  • MA, Philosophy, Stanford University, Stanford CA
  • D. candidate, Philosophy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Future plans:

Michael hopes to earn his Ph.D. in 2020 and achieve a career in academia teaching in both English and Philosophy.

Assessment of his experience as an English major:

"I thoroughly enjoyed my English education at Chico State. I learned Chaucer, Milton, Ralph Ellison, and Zadie Smith from some of the best scholars reading these texts. Having now finished three years at an R1 university, I can safely say that I do not see any difference in quality between the education I received at Chico State and now. The Chico State English faculty are totally committed to their craft, and it shows in their devotion to their students and the rigor which they bring to their classrooms. I also enjoyed the opportunity to teach. I TA'd for Great Books and then taught as the Instructor of Record for the Literature for Life intro class. The skills developed in those contexts continue to serve me as I grow as an instructor, and I am very thankful to have been in a program that allowed a young master's student to teach."

Here's What Some of Our Recent Graduates Have Been Doing:

  • Academic Advisor, CSU Chico, Chico, CA
  • Assistant Canvass Director, Grassroots Campaigns, Boston, MA
  • Associate Faculty, Butte Community College, Chico, CA
  • Clerical Staff, Law Firm, Chico, CA
  • District Sales Manager, Frito-Lay Pepsico, Concord, CA
  • DSS Test Proctor, Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA
  • Editorial Intern, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY
  • English Instructor, Shasta College, Red Bluff, CA
  • English Teacher, Chico Unified School District, Chico, CA
  • English Teacher, Plumas Unified School District, Quincy, CA
  • English Teacher, Guiyang Vocational Technical, China
  • Editorial Intern, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY
  • Grad Student, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Luis, Obispo, CA
  • Grad Student, CSU Chico, Chico, CA
  • Grad Student in RiSE (in Secondary Education, dual MA and teaching credential program, CSU Chico, Chico, CA
  • Grad Student, Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA
  • Grad Student, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ
  • Grad Student, Indiana State University, Terra Haute, IN
  • Grad Student, MFA Program, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
  • Grad Student, University of Nevada, Reno, NV
  • Grad Student, Ph.D., Composition and Cultural Rhetorics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
  • Grad Student, Ph.D., Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • Grad Student, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • Grad Student, Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • Grad Student, MFA, Fresno State University, Fresno, CA
  • Inside Sales Representative,, Chico, CA
  • Law Assistant, R&R Legal Services, Whittier, CA
  • Law Student, McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, CA
  • Learning Center Coordinator, Amador Community College Foundation, Sutter Creek, CA
  • Media Assistant Manager, Social High Rise, Chico, CA
  • Reading Instructor, The Institute of Reading Development, Oakland, CA
  • Research Associate, Class Road, Culver City, CA
  • Registrar, Anderson Unified School District, Anderson, CA
  • Rowing Coach, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • Sales Representative, Direct TV, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Student Outreach, Los Rios Community College, Sacramento, CA
  • Teaching Credential, CSU Chico, Chico, CA

Symposia Presentations

Abridged List of EGSC and HFA Symposia Topics, 2011–2017

Includes presenter's name, presentation/paper title, and session name/category.

  • Nathan Lehmann, "Speaker as Poet: Analysis of the Speakers Characterization in Kubla Khan" ("Mythical Places and Identities")
  • Malissa Pierce, "First Person Narrative: A Study of High School Seniors and College Readiness" ("Using First Person Narratives and e-Textbooks")
  • Jon Williams, "Aesthetics of Hate" ("Rhetorical Agency")
  • Eli Coyle, "Zora Neale Hurston: The Journey of the Self" ("Voices of the Harlem Renaissance")
  • Michelle Novello, "Living Dead in Denmark: The Cultural Relevance of Shakespearean Zombies" ("Vampires, Zombies and Antiheroes")
  • Catherine Gill, "Narratology in Jhumpa Lahiri's  Unaccustomed Earth" ("Literary Analysis II")
  • Zachary Phillips, "Activism Through Artifacts: De-Centering Metafiction in Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits" ("Literary Analysis II")
  • Jill North, "Cross-Casting in Cloud Nine: Masking Homosexuality or Highlighting Gender Roles" ("The Politics of Literature")
  • Dylan T. deWit, "Country Roads: Selection of Poetry" ("Poetry in Action")
  • Reid Wagner, "The Psychological Reality of Iconism and Its Impact on the English Language" ("Language, Identity, and the Digital World")
  • Molly Sullivan, "Gentlemanlike and Ladylike Behavior: The Spectacle of Gender in Frances Burney's Evelina" ("Literary Analysis")
  • Esther Auerbach, "My Mother's Secret Farewell" ("Mothers and Others: Some Creative Works")
  • Haley Martin, "Use of Literacy in Social Media by Youth Culture" ("Literacy, Learning, and Moral Reasoning")
  • Javier Lopez, "Morality and Its Functions on Lives" ("Poetry")
  • Jania Johnson, "The Mirror of Gothic Spaces: Eudora Welty & Toni Morrison" ("Literature")
  • Jer Xiong, "Americanness" ("Fiction and Non-Fiction")
  • Janette Allen, "The Women of the Sagebrush School" ("American Women Writers")
  • Scott Trevellyan, "Public Moral Argument and Hunter S. Thompson" ("Figures in American History")
  • Jeanette Keables, "From the Trenches: A Collection of Life's Vicissitudes" ("Poetry")

Faculty Accomplishments

The Dan Brown Craze: An Analysis of His Formula for Thriller Fiction by Zhang
Dr. Aiping Zhang

The Dan Brown Craze: An Analysis of His Formula for Thriller Fiction by Zhenwu Zhu and Aiping Zhang (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016)

Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom
Dr. Kim Jaxon

Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom by Leslie Atkins Elliott, Kim Jaxon, and Irene Salter (Teachers College Press, 2016)

The Sino-Tibetan Languages, second edition, edited by Graham Thurgood
Dr. Graham Thurgood, Emeritus

The Sino-Tibetan Languages, second edition, edited by Graham Thurgood and Randy J. LaPolla (Routledge Language Family Series, 2017)

Spectators: Flash Fictions by Dr. Rob Davidson (Five Oaks Press, 2017)
Dr. Rob Davidson

Spectators: Flash Fictions by Dr. Rob Davidson (Five Oaks Press, 2017)

Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion Award Recipients

2017 Conversations on Diversity and Inclusion Award Recipients
Pictured from left to right:
Dr. Jeanne Clark
Dr. Tracy Butts, Pulling Us Together Award
Dr. Aydé Enríquez-Loya, Promising Newcomer Award
Dr. Nathan Heggins Bryant, Walk the Line Award
Jer Xiong (2017), Teach Back Award
Dr. Sara Trechter, Behind the Scenes Award
Dr. Saundra Wright