Celebrating our English Graduates 2020-2021
— Gitanjali Shahani, Professor and Department of English Chair
Event Student Speakers
- Katrina Hsieh (English Education)
- Satomi Abe (M.A. English: TESOL)
- Courtney Sadowski (Linguistics)
- Chloe Donnelly (M.A. English: Linguistics)
Department of English Undergraduate Student Honorees
Undergraduate Honors Convocation Nominee and English Literature Distinguished Student: Mandolyn Tracy
One of Mandolyn’s professors writes: “I only met Mandolyn during her final semester in my Postcolonial Literature class, but she made an extraordinary impression. Her final research project on Tommy Orange's novel There There outlined an astute critique of what she called "colonial understandings of owned and contained 'places'" and showed how the complex narration in Orange's novel offers a powerful Indigenous reclamation of both physical and psychological place. Mandolyn shaped her project with fine attention to the nuances of writing such an analysis as a white-passing mixed race Indigenous person, drawing on materials from the class, independent research, and readings from her previous coursework in Native American Studies. The care that Mandolyn showed in her final project was also a quality she demonstrated week in and week out during class discussions. Her engagement, which balanced thoughtful listening and insightful sharing, helped the online class feel like a dynamic in-person one."
Courtney Sadowski (Linguistics)
Courtney's commitment to inquiry about language and how it functions in society has been apparent to all of us. She worked on research with Professor Smirnova and her peers on the parallels between computer mediated communication and telegrams from the 1960s and 70s. In Professor Lederer’s course on conceptual metaphor, Courtney examined metaphorical models of cancer survivorship. And for the capstone linguistics course, The History of English, Courtney's final paper is titled “Lumbee English as a Post-Colonial Language”. It examines the structure and socio-political history of Lumbee English, a variety spoken by the indigenous Lumbee peoples in what we now know as North Carolina and to whom Courtney has ancestral connection. It's been a joy for all of us in Linguistics to teach and learn from Courtney and we're thrilled to celebrate her degree.
Undergraduate Honors Convocation Nominee and Professional Writing and Rhetoric Distinguished Student: Wing Chi Wong
Wing Chi Wong is has been a remarkably capable, resourceful, and enthusiastic student of professional writing and rhetoric over the past several semesters. In all of her professional writing and rhetoric courses, she has consistently been a leader, inspiring her classmates to participate and interacting with them with a kindness and collegiality that promotes the kind of collaboration all professors hope to see among their students. As a child of immigrant parents for whom English is a second language, Wing feels passionately about using writing to empower others to navigate the complex, often opaque discourse of civic life. After graduation, she hopes to work in a setting where she can make complicated ideas and information accessible, less intimidating, and more useful to people.
Brenden Michael Nolan (Literature)
Brenden Michael Nolan graduates with an English Literature major and a Linguistics minor. Brenden believes in the power of literature and language to shape our world. As he asserts in the conclusion to one of his essays: “through literature . . . ideological revolution may begin to occur within people’s minds.” Professor Mary Soliday wrote of Brenden: “he is an unusually fine close reader, sensitive to nuance in language, and he enjoys wrestling with difficult texts. In class, he is a very thoughtful listener who is also responsive to others -- a sophisticated, ambitious, and critical reader, writer, thinker.” Brenden excelled in courses such as “Women in Literature,” “The Literature of Exile and Migration,” “Irish Literature,” and “Literature and Ecology.” Brenden will take his commitment to language and social justice to law school, as he is applying to UC Hastings for Fall 2020, eager to prepare for a career in law.
Katrina Hsieh (English Education)
Besides her outstanding academic achievements, Katrina has been a pleasure to know inside and outside of the classroom, a student who loves to discuss teaching! Personable, and with a warm sense of humor, Katrina’s contributions to class are guaranteed to deepen the level of discussion for all. "Katrina’s passion for knowledge, her emergent pedagogical and scholarly skills, and her optimistic and collaborative disposition create a strong foundation for her future success. She is clearly a special and unique student—among the most curious, hard-working, and compassionate that I have encountered in my career as an educator." Katrina has already supported school students by tutoring with 826 Valencia and as an instructor at the Aim High summer experience for middle school students.In July, she will start the Stanford Teacher Education Program. We are excited that she will continue to assert herself as a leader among her peers and future colleagues. The English Education faculty send her all our best wishes.
Lauren Baker (Linguistics)
Lauren Baker is passionate about language and linguistics. Her final project in ENG 680, co-authored with 3 other students, examines sentiment around COVID-19 using a custom computer program to analyze Twitter data. Lauren is also a member of the ECOLE lab and a Marcus Undergraduate Research Assistant working with Anastasia Smirnova on a project on language simplification. As part of the project she participated in the creation of a digital corpus and the design of behavioral experiment. After graduation, she is interested to apply her skills to better understand the role of language in society.
Graduate Student Awards for Distinguished Achievement
Satomi Abe (M.A. English: TESOL)
Satomi Abe is an incredible success story and a shining example of how an international student can grow professionally and as a scholar in our program to achieve a very high level of academic work and pedagogy. Having come through the ALI, Satomi was dedicated to doing all she could to succeed, including taking longer to complete the program in order to ramp up her linguistics background and academic writing skills. She has done excellent work in her studies, has pursued professional conference opportunities (CATESOL) multiple times to augment her grad training. Satomi has done exceptional service for the program as a SHINE Coordinator. On that front Satomi served for 3 years as a SHINE leader where she mentored other SFSU students to work effectively in adult ESL classes; in her work at SHINE she developed a writing workshop that integrates CSL and scholarship application writing. In short Satomi Abe was involved, engaged, and is the consummate professional.
Final project title or area of study: Reflective Writing in Community Service Learning: Identity Representation of Multilingual Students in the Personal Statement Genre
Chloe Donnelly (M.A. English: Linguistics)
Her research involves a conceptual metaphor analysis of modern clinical psychology theory, showing how the conceptual structure of psychological theory and treatment mirrors and elaborates the metaphorical understanding of the mind in everyday language and thought.
Final project title or area of study: Conversations of the Divided Self
Maria Zuffanelli (M.A. English Literatures)
Maria is a gifted and dedicated teacher who has succeeded in every teaching opportunity available to English Department graduate students, serving as a model TA, a paid grader, and a GTA; she also recently stepped in to take over two classes for a faculty member who needed to take emergency sick leave. Many faculty have noted her commitment to student success and social justice both inside and outside the classroom, and one faculty member notes that “her work epitomizes what we have come to call resilient pedagogy.” Her flexibility and talent as a teacher will serve her well in her future endeavors.
Final project title or area of study: 20th-21st-century American and 20th-21st-century British literature
Monique Therese Ubungen (M.A. English: Composition)
For the past five years, Monique Ubungen has played a vital role in supporting the academic success of a diverse population of students, particularly those from historically disadvantaged cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Through her extensive work in community college English, ESL, and adult education courses, alongside university-level writing classrooms, she has been an advocate for critical literacy development and student empowerment. As a fourth generation Filipina-American and San Francisco native, she is firmly committed to increasing equity and access to higher education for urban communities of color and non-traditional student populations. Prior to beginning graduate school, Monique was a community college transfer student to UC Berkeley, where she earned her B.A. in English. During her English M.A. studies at SFSU, she served as a Graduate Teaching Associate for First-Year Writing. She also completed certificates in Teaching Post-Secondary Reading and Composition to more effectively address the learning needs of students who struggle in developing college-level reading and writing skills. Following graduation, Monique plans to pursue a secondary master’s degree in Education with a Concentration in Equity & Social Justice, and she aims to establish policies and programs that provide greater opportunities for everyday people to receive a college education.
Final project title or area of study: A Pandemic of Change: Lessons the COVID-19 Crises Taught Us About Education, Equity & Empowerment
Yuri Madenokoji (M.A. English Literature)
Yuri's excellent M.A. thesis examines what Mary Prince and Audre Lorde can teach us about the workings of systemic oppression. She is an exceptionally self-motivated, responsible, intelligent, and generous student who is committed to social justice, community building, and anti-oppressive pedagogy and research.
Yuri volunteers at Hospice East Bay, and is planning to pursue an MA in Secondary Education and a Teaching Credential at SF State in Fall 2020.
Emily Nicol (M.A. English Literature)
Emily is completing a remarkable thesis on Raymond Chandler that fuses a nuanced sense of historicity with a deft use of scholarly, critical, and biographic research; her examination of the relationship of Chandler's vision to cinema and the city of Los Angeles breaks new scholarly ground.
Emily has served as an excellent TA in the M.A. in English Literatures Program; her future plans include further pursuit of scholarship and teaching.
Cheryl Eccles (M.A. English TESOL)
Cheryl held high standards for herself throughout her time in the M.A. TESOL program. Her expertise as a drama teacher provided a natural source of inspiration as an academic, a teacher, and colleague. When her students read Farenheit 451 to write an analytic paper, she used drama-based techniques to engage her students. This eventually led to her culminating experience project.
Cheryl was a welcome source of intellectual energy and professional drive in our program. Her organizational skills, attention to detail and ability to seek the ‘big picture’ are evident in her performance as a graduate student, LAC tutor, Project SHINE leader, coordinator of our "TESOL Talks" series, a TA in ENG 201/202, and then as an ALI teacher and mentor teacher.
Skyler Ilenstine (M.A. English Linguistics)
His culminating experience project concerns the metaphors commonly used to discuss autoimmune diseases and explore hw these metaphors influence treatment intentions and feelings of patient empowerment. In line with research on the metaphorical framing of cancer, findings show that that, by far, the two most common metaphors for autoimmune disease in both corpora are AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE IS WAR and AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE IS A JOURNEY.
Tiffany Custer (M.A. English Composition)
For her culminating experience, Tiffany examines educational opportunity gaps experienced by under-represented students, particularly black males. She argues for pedagogical interventions to improve self-efficacy and academic self-concept.
Tiffany has supported countless students’ academic success at both SF State and Diablo Valley College, through her work as a tutor, supplemental instructional leader, and composition teacher.
Christopher Kyle Granados
Rafe Abd Al Illah Kassim***
Ze Hui Lu
Professional Writing & Rhetoric/Technical & Professional Writing
Jessica Tovar Bobadilla
M.A. in English: Composition
Monique Therese Ubungen
M.A. in English: Linguistics
M.A. in English: TESOL
Trang Thi Thuy Tran
M.A. in English Literatures
Maria Gorbea Zuffanelli
Valeria De Santiago*
Andrew James Diaz
Jia Yi Lao
Anna Marie Livesey
Kyrene Maria Narciso Castaneda
Maria Elena Urquico*
Huan Hong Liao
Nicolas Soto Juarez
Technical & Professional Writing
Wing Chi Wong**
M.A. in English: Composition
M.A. in English: Linguistics
M.A. in English: TESOL
Sin Yee Chau
Jasmine Giblin Ingaramo
Jessica Marcela Racca
M.A. in English Literatures
* Cum Laude Honors | ** Magna Cum Laude Honors | *** Summa Cum Laude Honors
For details on SF State’s plans to celebrate Graduates, please visit the Commencement website.