College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
English

Alumni Q & A

Memories, Info, and Advice from Past Butler English Majors

What initially led you to choose English?

I always loved reading, but being an English major taught me to think critically about the works I read. That type of thinking, looking past the words on the page, is a useful exercise in almost every facet of life. - Robert F. Seidler (1998)

My reason for choosing English is manifold. I began at Butler in 1987 as a broadcasting major but quickly switched to English after a survey course in literature opened my mind to a world I was unfamiliar with. The English professors seemed, how shall I say, different. There was a certain urbanity about them that appealed to me. I can remember sitting in class and wondering how someone becomes like that. I wanted to read important books and consider important ideas. I wanted to write with confidence and persuade readers to accept my thesis. I wanted to know what the best writers in the world were interested in, and why. - Doug Schaak (1990)

English was one of my favorite subjects in high school. I planned to go to law school, so I figured an English major would prepare me to read critically and write clearly. - Arianne Michalek Aughey (1996)

Describe a memorable moment, professor, course from Butler's English Departments

I always knew that the Writer's Studio put together an amazing group of guest speakers. Salman Rushdie. Seamus Heaney. Robert Bly. As I have traveled beyond the walls of Indianapolis to other schools, I have not found a single program that rivaled the quality and quantity of the guest speakers at Butler, whether they be poets, authors, and playwrights. - Jonathan Sundheimer (2003)

I took a Holocaust literature class from Professor Flanzbaum. I had studied the Holocaust in a history context, but it was amazingly powerful to consider the events of the Holocaust, and their effects on the millions of people and numerous places involved it, in the context of the literature that arose from it. - Arianne Michalek Aughey (1996)

Dr. Gregory had us to his house for the film every time we finished an Austen novel--and he fed us Not Dorm Food…I spent the night of my 21st birthday in Lee Garver's Romanticism class--and didn't mind. That class was so good because we studied more than the Big Six: Dr. Garver showed us how the trend called Romanticism was just a part of the literature going on at the time, and he gave us some sense of how all England's literature of the time related.- Jacqueline A. Warmke (2002)

Mary Bremer and I were in the same EN410 class. Many times, we'd take our workshop discussions into the Wellington in Broad Ripple and discuss our writing over half priced pints. - Lisa Battiston (2006)

Introducing Toni Morrison when she visited as part of the Visiting Writers' Series was a once-in-a-lifetime honor. - Robert F. Seidler (1998)

What did you do after graduating?

I guess you could say I'm working on two different collections of poems. Lately I've also been plotting out a script, a good old-fashioned revenge tragedy, based on a longish poem, "A Big Ball of Foil in a Small New York Apartment," which was reprinted in Best American Poetry 2005. I won fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and VCCA for the summer of 2007. So I'm going to have a month and a half to be pampered and just write. - Matthew Yeager (2002)

I then went to the University of Rochester School of Medicine for two years and completed my degree at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 2003. I spent the next three years at St Vincent Hospital (Indianapolis) as an internal medicine resident. I now am a partner at HMS Medical Consultants, providing both inpatient and outpatient internal medicine care. Since finishing residency and starting private practice I will return to my love of literature this fall at Butler, teaching a course in the Butler Honors program entitled "The Physician Writer." - Annie Ewbank, MD (1996)

Since graduating, I write a column that appears in the bi-weekly Broad Ripple Gazette. I also work as an Editorial Assistant for Russell Publishing, proofreading articles for our three magazines, heading the campaign for three separate e-newsletters focused on the publications, and updating the websites for the magazines as well. I also play in a local all-girl band, the Peggy Sues. - Lisa Battiston (2006)

Following graduation from Butler I attended law school at the University of Notre Dame, practiced with the labor and employment department of the law firm of Frost Brown Todd in Cincinnati for several years, and in 2005 decided to come back to Indianapolis, where I still had so many friends and contacts, to practice law with the firm of Ogletree Deakins. - Robert F. Seidler (1998)

Following graduation, I attended The University Alabama and earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. At Alabama, I was Poetry Editor for the nationally-known literary magazine, The Black Warrior Review. My poems have appeared in The Cream City Review, Italian Americana, Georgia State University Review, and GulfStream. Twenty-eight of my poems will appear in American Vignette, a book of landscape and wildlife photography, which will be published by Photography for the Preservation of Landscape. I have a scholarly article forthcoming with GRAAT (Groupe de Recherches Anglo-Américaines de Tours). Since completing my M.F.A in 2005, I have been an Instructor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University, where I have taught Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing. - Kimberly Campanello (2002)

Advice for future English majors?

Get involved at the Collegian or Manuscripts - it gives you publishable material that a potential employer will definitely pay attention to. - Lisa Battiston (2006)

Take a wide range of courses and enjoy every moment of them. Probably the best time of each semester is the end when you're working an three or four large papers. You have stacks of books surrounding your desk, and you just keep going deeper and deeper into you topics. You forget to eat--when you do remember, it's popcorn and HiC--but you're having a blast. All your English major friends are going through the same thing, and you have this bond--everyone is in high gear. You run into each other in the hidden corners of the library, and you talk for four hours about Yeats, even if neither of you are writing a paper on Yeats. - Kimberly Campanello (2002)

My best advice for future English majors is to keep an open mind and explore many career options. English can open all kinds of doors -- perhaps some you have never even thought possible! - Annie Ewbank, MD (1996)

Any other comments about the faculty at Butler or the English program?

I enjoyed the breadth of the English faculty's areas of expertise. As a result my bookshelf is a combination of wide varieties of literature, many of which, no doubt, I would not have picked up on my own. Reading them with a professor who loved them (even if I didn't) gave me a great appreciation for various styles and types of literature. - Arianne Michalek Aughey (1996)