College of Arts and Sciences

English Graduate Students

Students in the Graduate Program in English are diverse in many ways. Many of our students are traditional full-time students who complete their degrees in two years and seek admission to doctoral programs. We also have a large number of part-time students, many teachers in high schools, for whom the MA in English offers excellent professional development. Many of our students are from Iowa and Illinois, though we do attract students from Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, among other countries.

Our students have excellent opportunities to be involved in the Department’s intellectual life. Students are encouraged to participate in department governance, with students sitting on the writing and graduate committees, and student input valued in all department matters. The English Graduate Organization sponsors an annual conference, as well as other social events, and department.

"Professors are extremely open to helping graduate students and went out of their way to help me, particularly when I mentioned that I was interested in pursuing PhD work. Overall, I couldn't be happier with my time at WIU. I was prepared academically and professionally to move on in the next stage of my career and the MA program gave me opportunities that I thought were closed-off to me by offering me a chance to teach, learn, and participate in department life." - Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt, PhD Student, Texas A&M University, Master of Arts in English, 2014

News of recent graduates

Got an update? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you and are happy to share this news of recent graduates:


  • Tralynn Pullen (M.A. 2019) has accepted a position as Director of The Academic Writing Center at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina (2019).
  • Rhobie Underwood (M.A. 2019) has accepted a position as an adjunct instructor at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL (2019).


  • Sheldon Gaskell (M.A. 2017) is an instructor in the First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (2019).
  • Erica Salmonson (M.A. 2017) accepted a position as Instructor of English and Writing Center Director at Illinois College (2019).
  • Eliza Wells (M.A. 2017) accepted a position as Copy Writer and Content Creator at Social Spice Media in Camarillo, California (2019).
  • Jared Worley (M.A. 2017) accepted a position as a Quality Reviewer for Systems Services Enterprises in Saint Louis (2019).


  • Chris Ivy (M.A. 2016) was accepted with full funding into the Ph.D. program in English at the University of Oregon (2019).
  • Lucas Marshall (M.A. 2016) accepted a position as Content Manager at Milwaukee Tool in Milwaukee (2019).


  • Abigail Tichler (M.A. 2015) accepted a position Haring News Network Product Manager at Clear Digital Media in Chicago (2019). Before that was a Content Architect at Clear Digital Media in Naperville, Il.
  • Alex Ayers (M. A. 2015) accepted a position as Assistant Director of Peer Learning and Tutoring Programs at Stanford University in California (2019). Before that had accepted a position as Writing Specialist at University of Illinois, Springfield.
  • Rayvon Shelton (M.A. 2015), who wrote his MA thesis in film studies, is a social media strategist and content creator for a local park district in Chicago, IL.
  • Ruby Kirk Nancy (M. A. 2015) organized an academic conference, Horizons of Challenge and Change, at Muscatine Community College in April, where she teaches. She has accepted an offer to attend East Carolina University’s Ph.D. program in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication beginning in the fall of 2015.
  • Veronica Popp (B.A. 2012 and M.A. 2015) is a doctoral candidate in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas Woman’s University (2019). Before that was accepted to a PhD program at Texas Woman’s University with a fully funded GA-ship and a TWU Graduate Student Scholarship PhD award but ultimately decided to move to Chicago where she is currently working for the American Federation of Teachers. She still plans to pursue her PhD in Women Studies.


  • Anjali Pattanayak (M.A. 2014) is Academic Enrichment Program Coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.
  • Ashley Jones (B.A. 2012  and M.A. 2014) is an Editorial Apprentice for Prime Publishing in Northbrook, Il.
  • Claudia Alonzo (M.A. 2014) Writing Instructor at Black Hawk Community College and Saint Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa.
  • Gina Wilkerson (M.A. 2014) is currently an adjunct at St. Ambrose University teaching Composition I. She is also an adjunct at Black Hawk College teaching Writing Fundamentals II, Composition I and Composition II, Davenport, Iowa.
  • Jessica Lowell Mason (M.A. 2014) published her book of poetry, Straight Jacket (Finishing Line Press) (2019).
  • Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt  (M.A. 2014) defended her doctoral dissertation, "Evidence and Epistemology in Early Modern English Drama" at Texas A&M University in Austin. Before that was accepted to attend a weekly seminar sponsored by the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC (2019).  She also presented her paper, “‘O Save us all, Moor of Moor-Hall’:  Social and Textual Identity in Dragon-Slaying Ballads” at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies, in Kalamazoo, Missouri from May 14-17, 2015.


  • Anna Westermeyer (B.A. 2009 / M. A. 2013) is now in her fifth year of teaching secondary English Language Arts at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Illinois.
  • John DeGregorio (M.A. 2013) was accepted to the Ph.D. in English at The University of Iowa.
  • Kristyne Bradford (M.A. 2013) Executive Director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, Illinois.


  • Anna Cheng (M.A., 2012) wrote her MA thesis in film studies; she is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut.


  • Hayley Zertuche (M.A. 2011) completed her Ph.D. at Clemson University. Her work focuses on nonhuman animal rhetorics, visual/digital rhetoric, continental philosophy, and new material theories and pedagogies. She is also an Assistant Director of First Year Composition.
  • Travis Moran (M.A. 2011) is an English Instructor at English First English Centers in Haidian District, Beijing, China.


  • Christine Masters (M.A. 2010) Christine completed her Ph.D in Writing Studies at Purdue university, and she has accepted a tenure-track position at Frances Marion University in South Carolina.
  • Kevin Rach (M.A. 2010) is the Marketing Communications Manager at Officite in Naperville, Il.


  • Annie Schnarr (M.A. 2009) completed her Ph.D. in English from the University of California Riverside and is now  a tenure-track professor at Skagit Valley College in Seattle, Washington.


  • Bridgette Walker (M.A. 2008) Production Scheduler, Kraft Foods Group, Quad Cities
  • Carolyn Rohner (M.A. 2008): Second-year PhD student, on assistantship, Saint Louis University (6/2009).
  • Flannery Scott (M. A. 2008) is a Marketing Communications Specialist at The Brenn-White Group, Colorado Spring, Colorado.
  • Flannery Scott (M.A. 2008) is an acquisitions editor for Taylor Trade Publishing, Denver.
  • Joe Weinberg (2008): Second-year PhD student, on assistantship, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (6/2009).
  • Kay Hamada (M.A. 2008): tenured faculty specialist/academic advisor and PhD in Communication & Information Sciences from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (1/2019).
  • Larry Berman (M.A. 2008): First-year EdD student, Saint Louis University (6/2009).
  • Zac Dilbeck (M.A. 2008) completed his Ph.D. in English at Idaho State University, and is currently teaching in a tenure track position at Columbus State Community College.


  • Janet Francisco (M.A. 2007): Adjunct ESL instructor, Black Hawk College, Moline, IL (6/2009).
  • Lindsay Schaefer (M.A. 2007): Composition instructor and Coordinator of Graduate Writing, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA (6/2009).


  • Chris Hazlett (M.A. 2006): Third-year PhD student, on assistantship, University of Florida, Gainesville (6/2009).
  • Dan Citro (M.A. 2006): Second-year MFA student, on assistantship, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN (6/2009).
  • Erin Moore (M.A. 2006) accepted a position as Head of Media Services at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, IA (2019). Before that was a Medical Librarian of Genesis Health System in Davenport, Iowa.


  • Jane L. Carmen (M.A. 2004): Went on to ISU as Sutherland Fellow in Fiction and is now in the fourth year of her Ph.D. in the Creative Writing Program.
  • Noah Roderick (M.A. 2004): Senior Lecturer in Rhetoric at Orebro University in Orebro, Sweden researching and working in the areas of typified communication and genre studies.


  • Kristin Bivens (M.A. 2003): Tenured at Harold Washington College, Chicago, IL (6/2009).


  • Tom Irish (M.A. 2002): Tenured Professor of English, Sauk Valley Community College, Dixon, IL (6/2009).